260.) Proverbs 10

April 30, 2010

Proverbs 10 (The Message)

The Wise Sayings of Solomon

An Honest Life Is Immortal

1 Wise son, glad father; stupid son, sad mother.

2 Ill-gotten gain gets you nowhere;
an honest life is immortal.

3 God won’t starve an honest soul,
but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked.

Psalm 37:25 (New International Version)

I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.

_________________________

4 Sloth makes you poor;
diligence brings wealth.

5 Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart;
go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid.

6 Blessings accrue on a good and honest life,

but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

7 A good and honest life is a blessed memorial;
a wicked life leaves a rotten stench.

8 A wise heart takes orders;
an empty head will come unglued.

9 Honesty lives confident and carefree,
but Shifty is sure to be exposed.

Reflections on telling the truth and lying:

Who lies for you will lie against you.
~Bosnian Proverb

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.
~Abraham Lincoln

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.
~Thomas Carlyle

A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.
~Charles Edward Montague

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
~Thomas Jefferson

_________________________

10 An evasive eye is a sign of trouble ahead,
but an open, face-to-face meeting results in peace.

11 The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,
but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

12 Hatred starts fights,
but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.

1 Peter 4:8 (New International Version)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

_________________________

13 You’ll find wisdom on the lips of a person of insight,
but the shortsighted needs a slap in the face.

14 The wise accumulate knowledge—a true treasure;
know-it-alls talk too much—a sheer waste.

The Road to Life Is a Disciplined Life

15 The wealth of the rich is their bastion;
the poverty of the indigent is their ruin.

16 The wage of a good person is exuberant life;
an evil person ends up with nothing but sin.

17 The road to life is a disciplined life;
ignore correction and you’re lost for good.

18 Liars secretly hoard hatred;
fools openly spread slander.

19 The more talk, the less truth;
the wise measure their words.

20 The speech of a good person is worth waiting for;
the blabber of the wicked is worthless.

21 The talk of a good person is rich fare for many,
but chatterboxes die of an empty heart.

Fear-of-God Expands Your Life

22 God’s blessing makes life rich;
nothing we do can improve on God.

_________________________

Music:

The Oslo Gospel Choir sings about how rich life is in  “The Power of Your Love.”  Lyrics below.

Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I’ve found in You
Lord I’ve come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the Power of Your love

Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like an eagle
And I will soar with You
Your spirit leads me on
In the Power of Your love

Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see you face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As you live in me
Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
In the Power of Your love

Hold me close
Let Your love surround me
Bring me near
Draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love

_________________________

23 An empty-head thinks mischief is fun,
but a mindful person relishes wisdom.

24 The nightmares of the wicked come true;
what the good people desire, they get.

1 John 5:14-15 (New International Version)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

_________________________

25 When the storm is over, there’s nothing left of the wicked;
good people, firm on their rock foundation, aren’t even fazed.

26 A lazy employee will give you nothing but trouble;
it’s vinegar in the mouth, smoke in the eyes.

27 The Fear-of-God expands your life;
a wicked life is a puny life.

28 The aspirations of good people end in celebration;
the ambitions of bad people crash.

Job 8:11-13 (New International Version)

Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?

While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.

Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.

_________________________

29 God is solid backing to a well-lived life,
but he calls into question a shabby performance.

30 Good people last—they can’t be moved;
the wicked are here today, gone tomorrow.

31 A good person’s mouth is a clear fountain of wisdom;
a foul mouth is a stagnant swamp.

32 The speech of a good person clears the air;
the words of the wicked pollute it.

Psalm 19:14 (New International Version)

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:

various workers and verse 4.    http://rfiles.thebowmans.us/Images/Scriptures/Proverbs/Proverbs10_4.jpg

boy eating bread.    http://www.britsattheirbest.com/images/ii_bread_boy.gif

crown and verse 6.   http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i317/glorifing/Bible%20Scripture/proverbs10_6crop.gif

Pinocchio.   http://eurohero.wikispaces.com/file/view/pinocchio.jpg/94456428/pinocchio.jpg

Love.    http://okanaganchristianevents.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/love-westside.jpg

butterfly and verse 19.    http://www.godsbutterflies.com/images/prov10.19s.jpg

painting of the face of Jesus by Ju Chul Kim, 2006.    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_UINMWAJ5Ul8/SVI01IN3LuI/AAAAAAAAAAg/pymUlv8mP20/s400/Oh+My+God0019.JPG

papyrus plant.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Papyrus_plant.jpg

air pollution.    http://www.urbansprout.co.za/files/images/air%20pollution_0.jpg

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259.) Proverbs 9

April 29, 2010


Proverbs 9 (The Message)

Lady Wisdom Gives a Dinner Party

1-6 Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.

The word “church” in English means both a group of believers and the building in which they meet.  As our chapter talks about the former, here is one of the latter:  Notre Dame de Paris, completed around 1345,  is widely considered to be one of the world’s finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (New International Version)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

_________________________

The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Having dismissed her serving maids,
Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place,
and invites everyone within sound of her voice:
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

7-12 If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.

1 John 5:20 (New International Version)

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

_________________________

Music:

Peter says, To Him be glory!  Paul says, He is the true God!  What do we say?

“My Savior, My God,”  by Aaron Shust.  This song was awarded Song of the Year at the 2007 Annual GMA Dove Awards in Nashville.

_________________________

Madame Whore Calls Out, Too

13-18 Then there’s this other woman, Madame Whore—
brazen, empty-headed, frivolous.
She sits on the front porch
of her house on Main Street,
And as people walk by minding
their own business, calls out,
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Steal off with me, I’ll show you a good time!
No one will ever know—I’ll give you the time of your life.”
But they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet,
that all her guests end up in hell.

_________________________

The Spider and the Fly
a cautionary tale by Mary Howitt, 1821.

(When I think of Madame Whore, she has distinctly arachnid characteristics!)

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?'” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, ” Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I ‘ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome — will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind Sir, that cannot be,
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I’ve a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you ‘re pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple — there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond  bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue,
Thinking of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour — but she ne’er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:

ocean rocks and verse 10.     http://www.christianwalks.org/images/cards/Proverbs_9v10.jpg

Notre Dame.    http://www.essential-architecture.com/IMAGES2/NotreDameDeParis.jpg

Grow in Christ.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/Christ/nlbrown1/Religous/GrowinChrist.jpg

The Spider and the Fly.    http://blaine.org/jules/SpiderFly1.jpg


258.) Proverbs 8

April 28, 2010

In this Greek icon, Lady Wisdom is presented with her three daughters, Faith, Hope, and Love.

Proverbs 8 (The Message)

Lady Wisdom Calls Out

1-11 Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling? Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
I’m telling you how to live at your best.
My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—
I can’t stand the taste of evil!
You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
truth-ready minds will see it at once.
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.

_________________________

from Whistling in the Dark:  An ABC Theologized
by Frederick Buechner

In the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is a woman.  “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,” she says (Proverbs 8:22).  She was there when he made the heaven, the sea, the earth.  It was as if he needed a woman’s imagination to help him make them, a woman’s eye to tell him if he’d made them right, a woman’s spirit to measure their beauty by.  “I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,” she says (Proverbs 8:30), as if it was her joy in what he was creating that made creation bearable, and that’s why he created her first.

Wisdom is a matter not only of the mind but of the intuition and heart, like a woman’s wisdom.  It is born out of suffering as a woman bears a child.  It shows a way through the darkness the way a woman stands at the window holding a lamp.  “Her ways are ways of pleasantness,” says Solomon, then adding, just in case there should be any lingering question as to her gender, “and all her paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17).

_________________________

12-21 “I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Proverbs 8:14 — Counsel is Mine and sound wisdom:  I am understanding; I have strength.

Job 28:23 — God understandeth the way thereof and He knoweth the place thereof.

God understands. There are no ways and no places that He does not understand.

Have you ever thought what a tremendous difference it would make to our lives if this were not true?  Imagine the feelings of a soldier if he had good reason to doubt that his commanding officer understood the situation.  We are soldiers.  Our Commander understands.  His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5).  Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident (Psalm 27:3).

Because of His infinite understanding, God knows that we want to be sure that the One who says He understands has been through the mill Himself.  And so we have this wonderful touch of His special understanding in Proverbs 8, where it is clear that the speaker is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  I am Understanding. I, the man of Sorrows acquainted with grief, I who was tempted in all points just as you are, I am Understanding.

It is restful to be understood, to be with one who never misjudges.  Let us rest in his presence today.

_________________________

With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!

_________________________

Though described as with God, wisdom is not asserted to be God.  Such a presentation is consistent with personification, a literary metaphor in which a thing or an abstraction is represented as a person.  (Common examples of personification in our ordinary lives include Mr. Clean, Aunt Jemima, the Jolly Green Giant, etc.)  So “Lady Wisdom”  is not the female side of God, nor is she a feminine deity in her own right.  Instead she praises God; she calls people to heed her teachings and so to find life.  Wisdom shows the character of God, and God will give wisdom to all who learn from the Proverbs.

_________________________

22-31 “God sovereignly made me—the first, the basic—
before he did anything else.
I was brought into being a long time ago,
well before Earth got its start.
I arrived on the scene before Ocean,
yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes.
Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape,
I was already there, newborn;
Long before God stretched out Earth’s Horizons,
and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather,
And set Sky firmly in place,
I was there.
When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
built the vast vault of Heaven,
and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
When he drew a boundary for Sea,
posted a sign that said no trespassing,
And then staked out Earth’s Foundations,
I was right there with him, making sure everything fit.
Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause,
always enjoying his company,
Delighted with the world of things and creatures,
happily celebrating the human family.

_________________________

Music:

Hillsong sings  “God Is Great.”  The whole earth sings to the glory of the Creator!

_________________________

32-36 “So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.

“Mother Jeanne Nursing Her Baby” painted by Mary Cassatt, 1907

Luke 11:27-28 (English Standard Version)

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said,  “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

_________________________

Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:

Lady Wisdom.    http://hindsfoot.org/xsophia3.jpg

painting by Arthur Douet.    http://www.arthurdouet.com/gallery/goddess_463x600.jpg

“He Cares” by Valeria Jean Marcus.   http://www.valeria-blue-rain.com/cards/tall_cards/he_cares.jpg

Aunt Jemima.    http://darwen.us/darrell/blographics/080325d.jpg


257.) Proverbs 7

April 27, 2010

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is one of my favorite reflections on true love.  It draws a very different picture from what we read in Proverbs 7.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

____________

Proverbs 7 (The Message)

Dressed to Seduce

1-5 Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.

6-12 As I stood at the window of my house
looking out through the shutters,
Watching the mindless crowd stroll by,
I spotted a young man without any sense
Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived,
then turning up the path to her house.
It was dusk, the evening coming on,
the darkness thickening into night.
Just then, a woman met him—
she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him.

Dressed for success . . . 

Brazen and brash she was,
restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall,
hanging out at every corner in town.

13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
boldly took his arm and said,
“I’ve got all the makings for a feast—
today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I’ve come to find you,
hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
colorful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
and exotic fragrances.
Come, let’s make love all night,
spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!

_________________________

Other (shorter) pick-up lines:

I have a cat who would really like to meet you.

Do you have any raisins?  No?  How about a date?

If you were a new hamburger at McDonald’s, you would be McGorgeous.

Well, here I am.  What were your other two wishes?

Does my breath smell OK?

_________________________

My husband’s not home; he’s away on business,
and he won’t be back for a month.”

Dear Hubby,

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” —
So stay away a little longer!

_________________________

21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand,
bewitched by her honeyed speech.
Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her,
like a calf led to the butcher shop,
Like a stag lured into ambush
and then shot with an arrow,
Like a bird flying into a net
not knowing that its flying life is over.

24-27 So, friends, listen to me,
take these words of mine most seriously.
Don’t fool around with a woman like that;
don’t even stroll through her neighborhood.
Countless victims come under her spell;
she’s the death of many a poor man.
She runs a halfway house to hell,
fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.

a build-it-yourself coffin kit!

_________________________

Music:

True love is quite different from what this chapter describes!

This song was one of “our” songs when David and I first started to realize that we were going to be more than just friends.  Now, almost seven years after we were married (during a Saturday night worship service at Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Peachtree City, Georgia), being with David still “Feels Like Home to Me.”   Sung by Chantal Kreviazuk.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:

William Shakespeare.    http://karinshah.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/shakespeare1.jpg

harlot.    http://elementoffire.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/harlot.jpg

girl at bar.    http://funnypickuplines.org/images/funnypickuplines.jpg

Bye-bye.    http://www.funmunch.com/comments/good_bye/good_bye_comment_graphic_02.gif

coffin.    http://buildityourselfcoffinkit.com/images/coffin2.jpg


256.) Proverbs 6

April 26, 2010

“I love ants!  Do they have uncles?  Ha-ha!”     (Elmo, on Sesame Street)

Proverbs 6 (The Message)

Like a Deer from the Hunter

1-5 Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
Don’t procrastinate—
there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!

A Lesson from the Ant

6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent house guest!

Scripture tells us to consider the ways of the ant and be wise.

When my family and I lived in Nigeria, we were often attacked by driver ants, little black meat eaters.  If you stood in one place after a heavy rain and they were nearby, they might move up your leg and start their dinner.  You would pick them off and quickly go somewhere else.  Sometimes they would move into your house en masse.  You might just move out and let them clean out all the scraps of meat lying in corners and wait until they left.  One night they moved into my biology lab at school and cleaned out (literally) the white rats awaiting dissection.

Ants work together.  They cooperate.  One ant is insignificant, but an army of them can accomplish a great task.  They also plan.  They prepare ahead of time for the dry season when no food is available, and look ahead to the harvest.  They are self-starters.  They initiate and need no one to tell them what to do.

What great lessons we can learn when we ponder God’s work in little creatures.  By applying them we avoid unprofitable independence and sloth.

—Dr. James H. Kraakevik, in Stones of Remembrance

_________________________

Always Cooking Up Something Nasty

12-15 Riffraff and rascals
talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
they cross their fingers behind their backs.
Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.

Seven Things God Hates

16-19 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.

Warning on Adultery

_________________________

Music:

Alan Jackson, from Newnan, Georgia (my hometown for 10 years), is one of the big names in current country music.  Here he sings  “She Just Started Liking Cheatin’ Songs.”

_________________________

20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.

_________________________

Deuteronomy 5:18 (New International Version)

“You shall not commit adultery.”

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24-35 They’ll protect you from wanton women,
from the seductive talk of some temptress.
Don’t lustfully fantasize on her beauty,
nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.

Claudia Lynx has  (beautiful)  sultry bedroom eyes.

You can buy an hour with a whore for a loaf of bread,
but a wanton woman may well eat you alive.
Can you build a fire in your lap
and not burn your pants?
Can you walk barefoot on hot coals
and not get blisters?
It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife:
Touch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.
Hunger is no excuse
for a thief to steal;
When he’s caught he has to pay it back,
even if he has to put his whole house in hock.

Adultery is a brainless act,
soul-destroying, self-destructive;

Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
and a reputation ruined for good.

For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him.

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:

ants carrying food.    http://freshread.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/ants-3.jpg

deer.    http://www.decaltec.com/prodimages/deer_scope_lg.jpg

driver ant.    http://www.butterfly-designs.com/butterflies/images/driverant2.jpg

John 3:16.    http://inlinethumb35.webshots.com/546/1413072516051563516S600x600Q85.jpg

Claudia Lynx.    http://llara.blogg.se/images/2009/claudia1_26873246.jpg

lipstick on his collar.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2550/3684211748_1407aff5ed.jpg


251.) Deuteronomy 34

April 19, 2010

Moses was buried somewhere around here!  Mt. Nebo, in present-day Jordan.

Deuteronomy 34 (English Standard Version)

The Death of Moses

Question: What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I, with body and soul, both in life and death,
am not my own,
but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;
who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied all my sins,
and delivered me from all the power of the devil;
and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father,
not a hair can fall from my head;
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit,
He also assures me of eternal life,
and makes me sincerely willing and ready,
henceforth, to live unto him.

Q/A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, 1563

_________________________

1Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, 2all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”

5So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, 6and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.

_________________________

Psalm 49:15 (New International Version)

But God will redeem my life from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself.
Selah

“And when she (the Church) buries a man, that action concerns me:  all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”

–John Donne, Meditation XVII

_________________________

7 Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. 8And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

_________________________

Hebrews 3:1-6 (New International Version)

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

_________________________

9And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

_________________________

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

–Pericles,
quoted in The New Gold Standard, by Joseph A. Michelli

_________________________

Music:

Moses was “Going Home.”  The tune is from Dvorak, sung by Libera.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

monument on Mt. Nebo.    http://student-sites.net/xhtml_projects/LoriA/Images/MtNebo3.jpg

Life and Death.    http://lifeanddeath.baduk.org/media/box.jpg

Christ Church Cemetery, Philadelphia.    http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/pennsylvaniaphotos/philly/christchurch.jpg


250.) Deuteronomy 33

April 16, 2010

“Moses from the Bible” by Marc Chagall

Deuteronomy 33 (English Standard Version)

Moses’ Final Blessing on Israel

1This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. 2He said,

“The LORD came from Sinai
and dawned from Seir upon us;
he shone forth from Mount Paran;
he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
with flaming fire at his right hand.

_________________________

Hebrews 12:29 (New King James Version)

For our God is a consuming fire.


Spirit of God, descend upon my heart,
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies:
But take the dimness of my soul above.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The baptism of the heaven descended Dove;
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

_________________________

3Yes, he loved his people,
all his holy ones were in his hand;
so they followed in your steps,
receiving direction from you,
4when Moses commanded us a law,
as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
5Thus the LORD became king in Jeshurun,
when the heads of the people were gathered,
all the tribes of Israel together.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Reuben” by Marc Chagall

6 “Let Reuben live, and not die,
but let his men be few.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Judah” by Marc Chagall

7And this he said of Judah:

“Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah,
and bring him in to his people.
With your hands contend for him,
and be a help against his adversaries.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Levi” by Marc Chagall

8And of Levi he said,

“Give to Levi your Thummim,
and your Urim to your godly one,
whom you tested at Massah,
with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
9who said of his father and mother,
‘I regard them not’;
he disowned his brothers
and ignored his children.
For they observed your word
and kept your covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob your rules
and Israel your law;
they shall put incense before you
and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11Bless, O LORD, his substance,
and accept the work of his hands;
crush the loins of his adversaries,
of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Benjamin” by Marc Chagall

12 Of Benjamin he said,

“The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety.
The High God surrounds him all day long,
and dwells between his shoulders.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Joseph” by Marc Chagall

13And of Joseph he said,

“Blessed by the LORD be his land,
with the choicest gifts of heaven above,
and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14with the choicest fruits of the sun
and the rich yield of the months,
15with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.

Exodus 3:1-2 (New International Version)

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

_________________________

May these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17 A firstborn bull—he has majesty,
and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
with them he shall gore the peoples,
all of them, to the ends of the earth;
they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Zebulun” by Marc Chagall

18And of Zebulun he said,

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Issachar” by Marc Chagall

and Issachar, in your tents.
19They shall call peoples to their mountain;
there they offer right sacrifices;
for they draw from the abundance of the seas
and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Gad” by Marc Chagall

20And of Gad he said,

“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
Gad crouches like a lion;
he tears off arm and scalp.
21 He chose the best of the land for himself,
for there a commander’s portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
with Israel he executed the justice of the LORD,
and his judgments for Israel.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Dan” by Marc Chagall

22And of Dan he said,

“Dan is a lion’s cub
that leaps from Bashan.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Naphtali” by Marc Chagall

23And of Naphtali he said,

“O Naphtali, sated with favor,
and full of the blessing of the LORD,
possess the lake and the south.”

.

“Jerusalem Windows: The Tribe of Asher” by Marc Chagall

24And of Asher he said,

“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
let him be the favorite of his brothers,
and let him dip his foot in oil.
25Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
and as your days, so shall your strength be.

.

26 “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
who rides through the heavens to your help,
through the skies in his majesty.
27The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Psalm 63:8 (King James Version)

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

_________________________

And he thrust out the enemy before you
and said, Destroy.
28So Israel lived in safety,
Jacob lived alone,
in a land of grain and wine,
whose heavens drop down dew.
29Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
a people saved by the LORD,
the shield of your help,
and the sword of your triumph!
Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
and you shall tread upon their backs.”

_________________________

Music:

“Fire Fall Down”  by Hillsong United — a worship song for God, who is refining fire and worthy of all praise.

_________________________

Marc Chagall, photographed in 1941.

about Marc Chagall and the Jerusalem Windows:

Artist Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) was born into a Jewish community in the Russian Empire, but spent most of his adult life in France and the United States.  In 1960he began creating stained glass windows for the synogogue of Hebrew University’s Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.  The twelve windows represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  They were installed in 1962 — each window about 11 feet high and 8 feet wide.  I love the color and the vibrant singing quality of them!

French philosopher Gaston Bachelard said:   “Chagall reads the Bible and suddenly the passages become light.”

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English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:

Chagall, Moses.   http://fcom.us.es/blogs/tecnicasdegrabado/files/2009/09/marc-chagall-moses-from-the-bible.jpg

fire on the altar.    http://janicefountaineministries.com/000803_1082_0830_osls_op_716x464.jpg

Marc Chagall — “Jerusalem Windows.”  All the  tribes.

http://www.weinstein.com/chagall/jerusalem_windows.html

burning bush.    http://www.fireonyourhead.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/burning-bush-web.jpg

man holding child in his right hand.    http://china.notspecial.org/blogimages/life_uyghur_baby.jpg

photograph of Chagall.    http://en.academic.ru/pictures/enwiki/77/Marc_Chagall_1941.jpg