Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘Israel’

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.”

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The Difficulty of Prayer 051413

Old prayer-book

Old prayer-book (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 29

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2029&version=MSG

 

Chronicles 5:2-14

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Chronicles%205:2-14&version=MSG

 

 

Acts 26:19-29

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2026:19-29%20&version=MSG

 

 

The Difficulty of Prayer 051413

 

 

The Difficulty of Prayer is that we really have no reason or excuse for not praying , not a really good reason or a really good excuse, that

is. The problem with prayer is that we originally found it quite easy and natural. Now, it’s become an unnatural act. We have to stop,

rearrange our schedule, and rearrange our activities to allow time for prayer. But it doesn’t happen that way for me so much. Prayer should come to us as easily and naturally as kneeling

down to take a cool drink of water from a clear stream.

 

 

Instead, the world and people and activities that have to be done crowd in on me and crush me like a little stinky bug. I can’t even slow this

crushing rearrangement of life, the taking of my life day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

 

 

I know every day how difficult it is to find time for prayer and to find time for reading the Bible.

 

 

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 29

 

The Message (MSG)

 

A David Psalm

 

29 1-2 Bravo, God, bravo!
Gods

and all angels shout, “Encore!”
In awe before the

glory,
in awe before God’s visible

power.
Stand at attention!
Dress your

best to honor him!

 

3 God thunders across the

waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming

brightness—
God, across the flood waters.

 

4 God’s thunder tympanic,
God’s

thunder symphonic.

 

5 God’s thunder smashes

cedars,
God topples the northern cedars.

 

6 The mountain ranges skip like

spring colts,
The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.

 

7-8 God’s thunder spits fire.
God

thunders, the wilderness quakes;
He makes the desert of Kadesh

shake.

 

9 God’s thunder sets the oak

trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips

their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”

 

10 Above the floodwaters is God’s

throne
from which his power

flows,
from which he rules the world.

 

11 God makes his people strong.
God

gives his people peace.

 

2

Chronicles 5:2-14

 

The Message (MSG)

 

Installing the Chest

 

2-3 Bringing all this to a climax, Solomon got all the

leaders together in Jerusalem—all the chiefs of tribes and the

family patriarchs—to move the Chest of the Covenant of God from

Zion and install it in The Temple. All the men of Israel assembled

before the king on the feast day of the seventh month, the Feast of

Booths.

 

4-6 When all the leaders of Israel

were ready, the Levites took up the Chest. They carried the Chest,

the Tent of Meeting, and all the sacred things in the Tent used in

worship. The priests, all Levites, carried them. King Solomon and the

entire congregation of Israel were there before the Chest, worshiping

and sacrificing huge numbers of sheep and cattle—so many that no

one could keep track.

 

7-10 The priests brought the Chest

of the Covenant of God to its place in the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy

of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. The outspread wings of

the cherubim formed a canopy over the Chest and its poles. The ends

of the poles were so long that they stuck out from the entrance of

the Inner Sanctuary, but were not noticeable further out—they’re

still there today. There was nothing in the Chest itself but the two

stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb where God made a

covenant with Israel after bringing them up from Egypt.

 

11-13 The priests then left the

Holy Place. All the priests there were consecrated, regardless of

rank or assignment; and all the Levites who were musicians were

there—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their families, dressed in their

worship robes; the choir and orchestra assembled on the east side of

the Altar and were joined by 120 priests blowing trumpets. The choir

and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God—orchestra

and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God:

 

Yes! God is good!
His loyal love goes on forever!

 

13-14 Then a billowing cloud filled

The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties

because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of

God.

 

Acts

26:19-29

 

The Message (MSG)

 

19-20 “What could I do, King

Agrippa? I couldn’t just walk away from a vision like that! I

became an obedient believer on the spot. I started preaching this

life-change—this radical turn to God and everything it meant in

everyday life—right there in Damascus, went on to Jerusalem and the

surrounding countryside, and from there to the whole world.

 

21-23 “It’s because of this

‘whole world’ dimension that the Jews grabbed me in the Temple

that day and tried to kill me. They want to keep God for themselves.

But God has stood by me, just as he promised, and I’m standing here

saying what I’ve been saying to anyone, whether king or child, who

will listen. And everything I’m saying is completely in line with

what the prophets and Moses said would happen: One, the Messiah must

die; two, raised from the dead, he would be the first rays of God’s

daylight shining on people far and near, people both godless and

God-fearing.”

 

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!”

 

 

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The Hopeless Religious 022012

English: Icon of Jesus praying. Pyrography. Ελ...

English: Icon of Jesus praying. Pyrography. Ελληνικά: Εικόνα Ιησού που προσεύχεται. Πυρογραφία. (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 120 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20120&version=MSG

Jeremiah 22:11-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2022:11-17&version=MSG

Luke 11:37-52 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2011:37-52&version=MSG

The Hopeless Religious 022012

In Luke 11 we hear it straight and clear. What use is it to be correct in matters of religion, when we ignore the poor?

Are we somehow in doubt about taking care of the poor, the orphans and widows, and those in jail? Did we clearly hear what Jesus says on this?

I wonder how much money we spend hiring preachers, building churches and keeping them warm or cool, yet neglecting what Jesus said. Did he ever say to build a big building with a steeple, or Tower of Babel, staff it with graduates of seminary and college, use scarce resources taken from the poor (countries) and then to use it basically 2 or 3 hours per week? I don’t remember any of this in the New Testament.

In fact, much of my own interest in religion is really an academic exercise. I am fascinated by what Israel looked, felt and smelled like in the time of Jesus, and even what it sounded like, and I’m fascinated by the everyday life and history of that time. What would it be like to sit in the shade of an olive tree , during the heat of a middle eastern day, drinking wine and listening to the conversations of Jesus and his disciples? It is a pleasant thought.

But Jesus hasn’t really invited me to sit idly and engage in pleasant dreams, has he? This is just a mental exercise for my own enjoyment, and in a certain, all theology, all religion is just the same. It is good to try to understand the finer details of our religion, but at a certain point, an early point in our thinking, it is just pleasant speculation, unless our religion and speculation are all about how to serve the poor even better, or how to feed the hungry. For all our education, have we even begun to do what Jesus asked of us?

Pray for peace, and an end to religion, as we begin to listen to Jesus.

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 120

The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

120 1-2 I’m in trouble. I cry to God,
desperate for an answer:
“Deliver me from the liars,
God!
They smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth.”

3-4 Do you know what’s next, can you see what’s coming,
all you barefaced liars?
Pointed arrows and burning coals
will be your reward.

5-7 I’m doomed to live in Meshech,
cursed with a home in Kedar,
My whole life lived camping
among quarreling neighbors.
I’m all for peace, but the minute
I tell them so, they go to war!

Jeremiah 22:11-17

The Message (MSG)

11-12 For this is God’s Word on Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah: “He’s gone from here, gone for good. He’ll die in the place they’ve taken him to. He’ll never see home again.”

13-17 “Doom to him who builds palaces but bullies people,
who makes a fine house but destroys lives,
Who cheats his workers
and won’t pay them for their work,
Who says, ‘I’ll build me an elaborate mansion
with spacious rooms and fancy windows.
I’ll bring in rare and expensive woods
and the latest in interior decor.’
So, that makes you a king—
living in a fancy palace?
Your father got along just fine, didn’t he?
He did what was right and treated people fairly,
And things went well with him.
He stuck up for the down-and-out,
And things went well for Judah.
Isn’t this what it means to know me?”
God’s Decree!
“But you’re blind and brainless.
All you think about is yourself,
Taking advantage of the weak,
bulldozing your way, bullying victims.”

Luke 11:37-52

The Message (MSG)

Frauds!

37-41 When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, “I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn’t the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands.

42 “I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.

43-44 “You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You’re just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under.”

45 One of the religion scholars spoke up: “Teacher, do you realize that in saying these things you’re insulting us?”

46 He said, “Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.

47-51 “You’re hopeless! You build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed. The tombs you build are monuments to your murdering ancestors more than to the murdered prophets. That accounts for God’s Wisdom saying, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, but they’ll kill them and run them off.’ What it means is that every drop of righteous blood ever spilled from the time earth began until now, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was struck down between altar and sanctuary, is on your heads. Yes, it’s on the bill of this generation and this generation will pay.

52 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, you locked them. You won’t go in yourself, and won’t let anyone else in either.”

Related articles

Aside

Where did this all go wrong? 102912

Cover of "Prayer (Ivp Booklets)"

Cover of Prayer (Ivp Booklets)

 

Where did this all go wrong? 102912

 

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

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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

 

Psalm 119:17-24 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20119:17-24&version=MSG

Exodus 4:1-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%204:1-17&version=MSG

1 Peter 2:1-10 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Peter%202:1-10&version=MSG

 

Where did this all go wrong? 102912

 

As I write, the television is screaming about the storm, named ‘Sandy’ that is 1,000 miles across. It is clear to almost everyone that this kind of storm is part of what we’ve earned, as users and abusers of the environment.

 

Syria and Israel are locked in a head-to-head stare down contest that may lead to even more violence, and violence always strikes the helpless and weak first. And the use of nuclear weapons is also a global issue, beginning right between and Israel. (Syria would have to march through a valley named ‘Armageddon’ to get there).

 

We know where this all went wrong. It went wrong when Eve reached for the apple, and Adam and Eve decided to try to live without God, even if they tried to live without God for an instant.

 

What do we do now? We’re created an imbalance in the environment that won’t go away. We’ve created an imbalance between humans on earth that seems to call for more and more revenge. Once we started acting independent of God, we began living lives of violence. What do we do now?

 

We ask God if we can come back home, and we pray for peace.

 

Pray for peace.

Bill

 

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

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

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

 

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

 

Psalm 119:17-24

Exodus 4:1-17

1 Peter 2:1-10

 

Psalm 119:17-24

The Message (MSG)

17-24 Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life;
not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
I’m a stranger in these parts;
give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!—
insatiable for your nourishing commands.
And those who think they know so much,
ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it!
Don’t let them mock and humiliate me;
I’ve been careful to do just what you said.
While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me,
I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight;
I listen to them as to good neighbors!

Exodus 4:1-17

The Message (MSG)

4 Moses objected, “They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say. They’re going to say, ‘God? Appear to him? Hardly!’”

2 So God said, “What’s that in your hand?”

“A staff.”

3 “Throw it on the ground.” He threw it. It became a snake; Moses jumped back—fast!

4-5 God said to Moses, “Reach out and grab it by the tail.” He reached out and grabbed it—and he was holding his staff again. “That’s so they will trust that God appeared to you, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

6 God then said, “Put your hand inside your shirt.” He slipped his hand under his shirt, then took it out. His hand had turned leprous, like snow.

7 He said, “Put your hand back under your shirt.” He did it, then took it back out—as healthy as before.

8-9 “So if they don’t trust you and aren’t convinced by the first sign, the second sign should do it. But if it doesn’t, if even after these two signs they don’t trust you and listen to your message, take some water out of the Nile and pour it out on the dry land; the Nile water that you pour out will turn to blood when it hits the ground.”

10 Moses raised another objection to God: “Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.”

11-12 God said, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, God? So, get going. I’ll be right there with you—with your mouth! I’ll be right there to teach you what to say.”

13 He said, “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!”

14-17 God got angry with Moses: “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you’ll use it to do the signs.”

1 Peter 2:1-10

The Message (MSG)

2 1-3 So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

The Stone

4-8 Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:

Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone in the place of honor.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
will never have cause to regret it.

To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,

The stone the workmen threw out
is now the chief foundation stone.

For the untrusting it’s

. . . a stone to trip over,
a boulder blocking the way.

They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.

9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

Barefoot Mennonite Girl

Barefoot Mennonite Girl (Photo credit: John Starnes)

Aside

A Certain Christian Selfishness 102512

A bible from 1859.

A bible from 1859. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Certain Christian Selfishness 102512

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 126 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20126&version=MSG

Jeremiah 23:9-15 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2023:9-15&version=MSG

Hebrews 7:1-10 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%207:1-10&version=MSG

A Certain Christian Selfishness 102512

This is a day late, but we’re still here!

Last evening I fell asleep with these scriptures and today’s blog on my mind. Something that bothers me, and concerns me is that at the base of many scriptures, including today’s verses is a certain selfishness.

Don’t worry, I have different but also intense misgivings about every world religion, and they are more serious than this concern. I would mention some of those concerns about other world religions, but it might cause riots in certain world capitals! But, back to my concern about selfishness, and Christianity.

Jesus does so much for os, and God does so much. They do everything, and I’m not complaining, but last evening and this morning I was so tired, I nearly had to roll and fall out of bed to get to the coffee pot, and start again. And I prayed, once again, for God to give us strength to continue, and for God to send Jesus to us all. I’ve never failed to receive, receive, receive.

But, is this why I’m a Christian, because I can .get, get, get’? Sometimes, the Bible focuses on what God did for Israel, or what God is doing and will do for Israel, and sometimes Jesus focuses on what God does for us and can do for us.

But, we miss that the Bible is really telling us what we should be doing in God’s name, in Jesus’ name.

Pray for peace.

Bill

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

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

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

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

Psalm 126

Jeremiah 23:9-15

Hebrews 7:1-10

Psalm 126

The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

126 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.

4-6 And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

Jeremiah 23:9-15

The Message (MSG)

The “Everything Will Turn Out Fine” Sermon

9 My head is reeling,
my limbs are limp,
I’m staggering like a drunk,
seeing double from too much wine—
And all because of God,
because of his holy words.

10-12 Now for what God says regarding the lying prophets:

“Can you believe it? A country teeming with adulterers!
faithless, promiscuous idolater-adulterers!
They’re a curse on the land.
The land’s a wasteland.
Their unfaithfulness
is turning the country into a cesspool,
Prophets and priests devoted to desecration.
They have nothing to do with me as their God.
My very own Temple, mind you—
mud-spattered with their crimes.” God’s Decree.
“But they won’t get by with it.
They’ll find themselves on a slippery slope,
Careening into the darkness,
somersaulting into the pitch-black dark.
I’ll make them pay for their crimes.
It will be the Year of Doom.” God’s Decree.

13-14 “Over in Samaria I saw prophets
acting like silly fools—shocking!
They preached using that no-god Baal for a text,
messing with the minds of my people.
And the Jerusalem prophets are even worse—horrible!—
sex-driven, living a lie,
Subsidizing a culture of wickedness,
and never giving it a second thought.
They’re as bad as those wretches in old Sodom,
the degenerates of old Gomorrah.”

15 So here’s the Message to the prophets from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:

“I’ll cook them a supper of maggoty meat
with after-dinner drinks of strychnine.
The Jerusalem prophets are behind all this.
They’re the cause of the godlessness polluting this country.”

Hebrews 7:1-10

The Message (MSG)

Melchizedek, Priest of God

7 1-3 Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Highest God. He met Abraham, who was returning from “the royal massacre,” and gave him his blessing. Abraham in turn gave him a tenth of the spoils. “Melchizedek” means “King of Righteousness.” “Salem” means “Peace.” So, he is also “King of Peace.” Melchizedek towers out of the past—without record of family ties, no account of beginning or end. In this way he is like the Son of God, one huge priestly presence dominating the landscape always.

4-7 You realize just how great Melchizedek is when you see that Father Abraham gave him a tenth of the captured treasure. Priests descended from Levi are commanded by law to collect tithes from the people, even though they are all more or less equals, priests and people, having a common father in Abraham. But this man, a complete outsider, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him, the one to whom the promises had been given. In acts of blessing, the lesser is blessed by the greater.

8-10 Or look at it this way: We pay our tithes to priests who die, but Abraham paid tithes to a priest who, the Scripture says, “lives.” Ultimately you could even say that since Levi descended from Abraham, who paid tithes to Melchizedek, when we pay tithes to the priestly tribe of Levi they end up with Melchizedek.

Aside

Exhausted 101112

An exhausted father uses a pram

An exhausted father uses a pram (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 90:12-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2090:12-17&version=MSG

Deuteronomy 5:1-21 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%205:1-21%20&version=MSG

Hebrews 3:7-19  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%09%09Hebrews%203:7-19%20&version=MSG

 

Exhausted 101112

 

I’ve been out of town this week working. In the evening, the doors and stairwells and stair ways of the cheap motel where I’m staying are crowded with workers, girlfriends and boyfriends, wives and husbands. They know I’m a preacher because one evening as I was walking inside my Bible fell out of my case, and a young man picked it up for me and handed it to me.

 

They smoke and drink and laugh and moan as they relax in the cool evening air of fall. I suppose we all could condemn them (and everyone else!) for some reason. But like me they are exhausted. They work hard and when I wake at 6:00 am, their pickups and equipment trailers full of ladders and tools are gone from the parking lot.

 

It’s so easy for Christians to be people of condemnation and arrogance. But instead, why can’t we be people of comfort, or people of joy?

 

Psalm 90 sounds like a song sung by the workers of ancient Israel, asking for God;s help:

‘And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Read it aloud to yourself, and everyone you know who is weary.

 

Pray for peace,

Bill

 

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

 

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

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

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

 

Psalm 90:12-17

Deuteronomy 5:1-21

Hebrews 3:7-19

Psalm 90:12-17

The Message (MSG)

12-17 Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Deuteronomy 5:1-21

The Message (MSG)

Moses Teaches Israel on the Plains of Moab

5 Moses called all Israel together. He said to them,

Attention, Israel. Listen obediently to the rules and regulations I am delivering to your listening ears today. Learn them. Live them.

2-5 God, our God, made a covenant with us at Horeb. God didn’t just make this covenant with our parents; he made it also with us, with all of us who are alive right now. God spoke to you personally out of the fire on the mountain. At the time I stood between God and you, to tell you what God said. You were afraid, remember, of the fire and wouldn’t climb the mountain. He said:

I am God, your God,

who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of a house of slaves.

No other gods, only me.

8-10 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God. I hold parents responsible for any sins they pass on to their children to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation. But I’m lovingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

11 No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.

12-15 No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you. Don’t ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength. That’s why God, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest.

16 Respect your father and mother—God, your God, commands it! You’ll have a long life; the land that God is giving you will treat you well.

17 No murder.

18 No adultery.

19 No stealing.

20 No lies about your neighbor.

21 No coveting your neighbor’s wife. And no lusting for his house, field, servant, maid, ox, or donkey either—nothing that belongs to your neighbor!

Hebrews 3:7-19

The Message (MSG)

6-11 Now, if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house! That’s why the Holy Spirit says,

Today, please listen;
don’t turn a deaf ear as in “the bitter uprising,”
that time of wilderness testing!
Even though they watched me at work for forty years,
your ancestors refused to let me do it my way;
over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked, oh, so provoked!
I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God;
they refuse to walk down my road.”
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”

12-14 So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.

These words keep ringing in our ears:

Today, please listen;
don’t turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising.

15-19 For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren’t they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt? And who was God provoked with for forty years? Wasn’t it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness? And when he swore that they’d never get where they were going, wasn’t he talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear? They never got there because they never listened, never believed.

 

 

Aside

Empty Promises 101012

Church Parking Lot

Church Parking Lot (Photo credit: michaelgoodin)

Empty Promises 101012

 

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 112 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20112&version=MSG

Jeremiah 3:6-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%203:6-14&version=MSG

Matthew 5:27-36 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:27-36&version=MSG

 

Empty Promises 101012

 

Preachers are the worst for this, and their ‘christians’ ‘with a small ‘c’. Saying we will do what Jesus said, but then ignoring the poor and hungry, not caring for orphans and widows, and not visiting those in jail, after we promised Jesus we would—this is outrageous! The church parking lot needs new asphalt, we think—new carpet in the sanctuary, and the paid preacher wants a raise! He/she should go get a real job and begin to understand how the flock suffers in the Great Recession!  Churches become like leeches, that suck blood only for themselves, but churches lead us to believe they will do something for Jesus’ flock.

 

But it’s like churches sell prayers to the poor. It’s not a perfectly clear contract or deal, but the church is supposed to be there for us when we need it, but I’ve heard more than one preacher say that they can be available only for their loyal members. How is loyalty mea$ured?

 

Think about it. We’re in a church together and some may get called to be preachers or music directors or on the committee of elders, and actually being a Sunday School teacher is the best job of all. But we do it because we love each other and we love Jesus, and it would take lots of money to pay us not to do what Jesus commanded.

 

Purify your church, and pray for peace,

Bill

 

 

Pray for peace,

Bill

 

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

 

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

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

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

 

Psalm 112

Jeremiah 3:6-14

Matthew 5:27-36

 

 

 

Psalm 112

 

The Message (MSG)

 

112 1-10 Hallelujah!

Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God,

Who cherish and relish his commandments,

Their children robust on the earth,

And the homes of the upright—how blessed!

Their houses brim with wealth

And a generosity that never runs dry.

Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—

God’s grace and mercy and justice!

The good person is generous and lends lavishly;

No shuffling or stumbling around for this one,

But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation.

Unfazed by rumor and gossip,

Heart ready, trusting in God,

Spirit firm, unperturbed,

Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies,

They lavish gifts on the poor—

A generosity that goes on, and on, and on.

An honored life! A beautiful life!

Someone wicked takes one look and rages,

Blusters away but ends up speechless.

There’s nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.

Jeremiah 3:6-14

The Message (MSG)

Admit Your God-Defiance

6-10 God spoke to me during the reign of King Josiah: “You have noticed, haven’t you, how fickle Israel has visited every hill and grove of trees as a whore at large? I assumed that after she had gotten it out of her system, she’d come back, but she didn’t. Her flighty sister, Judah, saw what she did. She also saw that because of fickle Israel’s loose morals I threw her out, gave her her walking papers. But that didn’t faze flighty sister Judah. She went out, big as you please, and took up a whore’s life also. She took up cheap sex-and-religion as a sideline diversion, an indulgent recreation, and used anything and anyone, flouting sanity and sanctity alike, stinking up the country. And not once in all this did flighty sister Judah even give me a nod, although she made a show of it from time to time.” God’s Decree.

11-12 Then God told me, “Fickle Israel was a good sight better than flighty Judah. Go and preach this message. Face north toward Israel and say:

12-15 “‘Turn back, fickle Israel.
I’m not just hanging back to punish you.
I’m committed in love to you.
My anger doesn’t seethe nonstop.
Just admit your guilt.
Admit your God-defiance.
Admit to your promiscuous life with casual partners,
pulling strangers into the sex-and-religion groves
While turning a deaf ear to me.’”
God’s Decree.
“Come back, wandering children!”
God’s Decree.
“I, yes I, am your true husband.
I’ll pick you out one by one—
This one from the city, these two from the country—
and bring you to Zion.
I’ll give you good shepherd-rulers who rule my way,
who rule you with intelligence and wisdom.

Matthew 5:27-36

The Message (MSG)

Adultery and Divorce

27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.

31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.

Empty Promises

33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

 

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