28 July 2015

Today's Readings and Stuff ----- Tuesday, 28 July 2015

another day .....................

Took Dear Wife to the Physical Therapy session this morning.  This is located in the nearest town (we live about 1-1/2 miles from the city limits) in a building in a plaza, the building used to be a large movie theater, now defunct like so many others.  Part of that building is a cut-rate grocery, the other half is a medical "complex".  The physical therapy group is there, so is wife's bone doctor, so is a big x-ray, ultrasound, etc. diagnostic center.  So, as of a couple months ago, is our primary care doctor.  Seems these days, in large part "courtesy" of the abomination known as Obamacare, physicians are more like well-paid employees, not independent professionals with their own practice.  It has a few advantages for us, discerning the "in-network" and "out of network" people is pretty easy and the data transfer between the various specialties has been pretty good, at least from our viewpoint.  With an extraordinarily complex case such as Dear Wife's, that gets to be critical, actually a life-or-death situation quite quickly, as it has on several past occasions.
But we recently got word that our Primary doctor, Dr. S., is leaving this place.  Actually, he's simply moving to the next city over, an extra 10 miles or so, and getting into another "doc-in-a-box" situation, or so it appears.  Might be one with a bit more freedom for him, not certain.  We came out of the therapy section towards the center admin area, right by the outside door, and saw his top nurse /PA on the phone with someone.  We waited until she was done, then check that Wife's appointment at the end of next week is still good (it is, she'll be about the last of his appointments), and let her know we are thinking hard about following him to his new situation.  She'll be going over there with him, which would be helpful.

All that ate about 2-1/2 hours, not including travel time.  We came home, she ate a little, then she crashed on the recliner for about 2 hours while I tried to be quiet.  Makes it impossible to do much around here, and it was 88 degrees outside, VERY hot for here.  So I sat quietly and read and surfed.

Such is our life these days.

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The Old Testament reading today is Psalms 53, 54, and 55


1
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
2
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3
Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
4
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
5
There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.
6
Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.


1
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
2
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3
For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
4
Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
5
He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.
6
I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
7
For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.


1
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
2
Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
3
Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
4
My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
5
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
6
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
7
Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.
8
I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.
9
Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10
Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
11
Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
12
For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
13
But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
14
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
15
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
16
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
17
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
18
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
19
God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.
20
He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.
21
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.
22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
23
But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.





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The New Testament passage is verses 26-44 of Acts 27.  Paul is on his way, under guard, to Rome, there to appeal to Caesar.  And, in so doing, to spread the Gospel in a new area and at Rome's expense as well.  The seeds he will plant there grew, and we see the results even today, nearly 2000 years later.  Not bad!!  But in the meantime, he' s having to deal with the here and now, and in this case, that means being on board a small ship in the Mediterranean Sea in a horrible storm that ends in the destruction of the ship.  Talk about opposition!!

26
Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
27
But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
28
And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.
29
Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
30
And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
31
Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
32
Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
33
And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
34
Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.
35
And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
36
Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
37
And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
38
And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.
39
And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.
40
And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
41
And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
42
And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
43
But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
44
And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.



27 July 2015

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Monday, 27 July 2015

hard to believe that in a few days we will enter that period of the year with the long month names.  I prefer, FAR prefer, the ones with really short names.  Names like April, May, June, July.  I hate the ones like October, December, February, etc.  But we are now about 1/3 of the way from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox.  I know that path, have seen it too many times, and hated it always.  I restrained the loathing pretty well when we lived in the South, but we're now about 100 miles south of the Canadian border, and the weather confirms that.
Does not help my mood, no not a bit.

Dear Wife is looking a bit better.  She went next door and "watched" beloved great-niece today.  They both love that, the Little One fell asleep in her arms.  Makes for good memories and bonding for sure.

Tonight she took the Humira stuff, tomorrow she has a physical therapy session scheduled.  Had several scheduled for last week, but she was REAL sick and cancelled.  We'll try to re-set during the session tomorrow.   Her foot and ankle, the one she broke a few years ago, have her in constant pain.  There's not a thing I can do for that.  Massage and rubs and heating pads and all are very well, but provide only a moderate and temporary relief.  There may be no cure as such, but we continue to hope and pray for healing and relief.

The water situation seems to be rectified.  A nearby oil well holding tank sprung a leak and dumped several barrels of oil into a creek that joins a larger stream that feeds a river that runs into the reservoir from whence the utility draws our water.  They've had us on pretty heavy conservation since Friday morning.  That was lifted today, so we can take showers and flush the toilet more than twice a day and do dishes and all that stuff.  We had three days of dirty dishes piled up.  I am the dishwasher here (the automatic one being No Good) so have spent a lot of time at the sink.  I am lazy enough to not dry the dishes, just place them in a dish drainer rack and wait for the water to evaporate.  Just got done a bit ago.

An exciting life we lead, eh?

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The Old Testament passage here is Psalms 50, 51, and 52.  Psalm 51 is a long-time personal favorite.

1
The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
3
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5
Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6
And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
7
Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
8
I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
9
I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
10
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
11
I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
12
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
13
Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
15
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
16
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
17
Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.
18
When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
19
Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
20
Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
21
These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
22
Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
23
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.


1
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.


1
Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.
2
The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
3
Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
4
Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
5
God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
6
The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
7
Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9
I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.



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The New Testament passage is verses 1-25 of chapter 27 of the Acts.  Even in the storms, the Lord was at work.


1
And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.
2
And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.
3
And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.
4
And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
5
And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
6
And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
7
And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;
8
And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
9
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
10
And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
11
Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
12
And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
13
And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.
14
But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
15
And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
16
And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:
17
Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.
18
And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;
19
And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
20
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
21
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
23
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25
Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.




26 July 2015

Today's Readings and Stuff --- Sunday, 26 July 2015

A somewhat better day.  Niece from next door took Dear Wife for much of the day while I was attending church services.  She is doing a little bit better, a bit.  Has been a rough week.  We've had worse, and probably will again, but perhaps getting a teeny bit better.  We'll take it.

Still in heavy water conservation mode here.  The original commitment was for it to be lifted yesterday.  Then we were told it would last the weekend.  The latest word is that it's still on for several days in the week upcoming.  We're eating on foam plates, drinking out of bottled water we keep around for trips, etc.  The sink is FILLED with dirty dishes.  I took a very brief shower this morning, the first since Thursday morning, a very needed one.  Hopefully to be resolved Real Soon Now.  We hope.

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The Old Testament reading is Psalms 47, 48, and Psalm 49


1
O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
2
For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
3
He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
4
He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
5
God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
7
For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
8
God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
9
The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.


1
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
2
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
3
God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
4
For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
5
They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
6
Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
7
Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
8
As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
9
We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10
According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11
Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12
Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
13
Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
14
For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.


1
Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2
Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
3
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
4
I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
5
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
6
They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7
None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8
(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
9
That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10
For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11
Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
12
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13
This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
14
Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
15
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
16
Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17
For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18
Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19
He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20
Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.




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The New Testament reading is chapter 26 in the Acts of the Apostles
Verse 28 is one of the saddest in all Scripture.
A god hymn subject Almost Persuaded


1
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
2
I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
3
Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4
My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5
Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers:
7
Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
8
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
9
I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10
Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
11
And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
12
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17
Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
19
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
21
For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
22
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
24
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
25
But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26
For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
27
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29
And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
30
And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31
And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32
Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.




25 July 2015

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 25 July 2015

Dear Wife is still quite ill, though perhaps a teeny tiny itty bitty bit improved. Perhaps.
And it has been "fun" in other ways.  A couple of days ago, a leak was detected from a storage tank at an inactive oil well nearby.  Some of it made its way into a nearby creek, thence into larger waterways, and finally into the river and reservoir that supplies water to a large area.  We are in that area.  And we received a robo-call and a cell phone text message this morning.  So, no showers, flush toilet twice a day, no dish washing, no laundry, no lawn watering or car washing or anything else that is not completely necessary.  Things may be a bit, ah, "genuine" in church services tomorrow.  And an oil spill on the on-ramp of a nearby Interstate highway that gets a LOT of traffic.  The all-clear on that has just been announced, but it's been "one of those days" all day.  Just glad I don't work for the water service or that Haz-Mat operations or the cleanup crews or the like.

Niece and husband and child next door were out doing yard-type work, so I went out and pushed the great-niece on her swing for a while, letting mom & dad work without hovering over her.  Fun for both of us.  Wife normally does this, but she's still quite ill, still in PJ's under blankets on the recliner.  So I was the fill-in 2nd team.  Fun any way.

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The Old Testament reading today is Psalms 44, 45, and 46.  Some favorites of mine.  Yours too, perhaps, or may become so.

1
We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.
2
How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
3
For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.
4
Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.
5
Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
6
For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
7
But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.
8
In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
9
But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.
10
Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.
11
Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.
12
Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.
13
Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
14
Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.
15
My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,
16
For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.
17
All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
18
Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
19
Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
20
If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
21
Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
22
Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
23
Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.
24
Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?
25
For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
26
Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake.


1
My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
2
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
3
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
4
And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
5
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
6
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
8
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
9
Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
10
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
11
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
12
And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
13
The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
14
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
15
With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
16
Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
17
I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.


1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.





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The New Testament reading is chapter 25 in the Acts of the Apostles.


1
Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2
Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
3
And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
4
But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
5
Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
6
And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
7
And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
8
While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
9
But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
10
Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
11
For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
12
Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
13
And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
14
And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
15
About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
16
To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
17
Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
18
Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
19
But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20
And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
21
But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
22
Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
23
And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
24
And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25
But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
26
Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
27
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.