815.) Genesis 6

June 15, 2012

“Noah’s Ark” by Pennsylvania artist Edward Hicks, 1846 (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Genesis 6  (NRSV)

Now as we are coming into summer, Old Testament minor prophets and New Testament theological doctrine seem perhaps a bit heavy, demand too much thinking.  So let’s go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go back to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples to stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

And again, for subscribers — to get the full picture, click on the  book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 815.) Genesis 6) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and comment!

The Wickedness of Humankind

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.

3Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.”

4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown. 5The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

Mark 7:20-23 (New Living Translation)

And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

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Music:

“Change My Heart, O God”  by Eddie Espinoza.

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6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

8But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

Noah Pleases God

‘Noah and his sons building the Ark’ fresco by Raffaello Sanzio, 1519 (Città del Vaticano-Palazzi Pontifici – Loggia di Raffaello)

9These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.

13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

The dimensions of the ark, about 450 by 75 by 45 feet, indicate a stable and seaworthy vessel similar in size to a modern battleship.

16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

The animals came in, two by two,
The elephant and the kangaroo,
Supposing it were up to you
To bring in a tiger, and a shrew,
And a horse with eyes of blue,
And take them to their rooms so new,
And listen to the doves sing “Coo,”
And watch the world turn from green to blue.

20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.”

22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

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Humor:

God calls Noah, Bill Cosby’s version!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so9o3_daDZw&feature=player_embedded

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Current Events:

Click on the link below to read about Johan Huibers, a man who has recently built a model ark in The Netherlands as a testament to his faith.

one-man-and-a-vision-johan-huibers-ark-builder-in-netherlands

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Hicks.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Noahs_Ark.jpg
Sanzio.   http://viticodevagamundo.blogspot.com/2011/05/building-of-noahs-ark-construcao-da.html
Huiber and his ark.   http://www.photosfan.com/images/noahs-ark-replica-netherlands1.jpg

814.) Genesis 4 and 5

June 14, 2012

“Body of Abel Discovered by Adam and Eve” by William Blake

Genesis 4 and 5  (NRSV)

Now as we are coming into summer, Old Testament minor prophets and New Testament theological doctrine seem perhaps a bit heavy, demand too much thinking.  So let’s go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go back to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples to stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

And again, for subscribers — to get the full picture, click on the  book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 814.) Genesis 4 and 5) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and comment!

Cain Murders Abel

Now the man knew his wife Eve,

This is the first specific mention of sex in the Bible. The term “knew” or “to know” is a polite way of saying they had sexual relations and the term is used often in the Bible in this sense (Genesis 4:17, 4:25, 38:26, Judges 11:39, 1 Samuel 1:19).

There is power in this way of referring to sex. It shows the high, interpersonal terms in which the Bible sees the sexual relationship. Most terms and phrases people use for sex today are either coarse or violent, but the Bible sees sex as a means of knowing one another in a committed relationship. “Knew” indicates an act that contributes to the bond of unity and the building up of a one-flesh relationship.

We have no reason to believe Adam and Eve did not have sex before this. Adam and Eve were certainly capable of sexual relations before the fall, because there is nothing inherently impure or unclean in sex.

–David Guzik

and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” 2Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.

3In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

cain-abel-kid1

6The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

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Word Study:

The Hebrew verb translated as “must master” (verse 7) means more than any one English translation is able to show.  This verb may also be translated “can master,” “shall master,” or “must master.”  Thus, God’s statement to Cain about mastering sin is a command, an invitation, and a promise.

–from Genesis, by Linda B. Hinton

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8Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.

“The Killing of Abel by Cain,” by Jan van Eyck, from The Ghent Altarpiece at St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium, completed in 1432.

9Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

10And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

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1 John 2:11 (New International Version)

Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

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13Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.”

15Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. 16Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

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Hebrews 11:4 (Contemporary English Version)

Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God was pleased with him and his gift, and even though Abel is now dead, his faith still speaks for him.

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Music:

“He Ain’t Heavy,  He’s My Brother”  recorded by Neil Diamond.


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Beginnings of Civilization

17Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. 18To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech.

19Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock.

Tents! Thank you, Jabal!

21His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe.

Musical pipes! Thank you, Jubal!

22Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools.

Iron tools! Thank you, Tubal-cain!

The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

23Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

25Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him.” 26To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh.

At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord.

Adam’s Descendants to Noah and His Sons

The point is not how long they lived.  The point is that they all died.

5)  This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them “Humankind” when they were created.

3When Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years; and he died.

6When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 7Seth lived after the birth of Enosh 807 years, and had other sons and daughters. 8Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years; and he died.

9When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10Enosh lived after the birth of Kenan 815 years, and had other sons and daughters. 11Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years; and he died.

12When Kenan had lived 70, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13Kenan lived after the birth of Mahalalel 840 years, and had other sons and daughters. 14Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years; and he died.

15When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16Mahalalel lived after the birth of Jared 830 years, and had other sons and daughters. 17Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years; and he died.

18When Jared had lived 162 years he became the father of Enoch. 19Jared lived after the birth of Enoch 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. 20Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years; and he died.

21When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years, and had other sons and daughters. 23Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.

Micah 6:8 (English Standard Version)

He has told you, O man, what is good;
   and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

25When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26Methuselah lived after the birth of Lamech 782 years, and had other sons and daughters. 27Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years; and he died.

28When Lamech had lived 182 years, he became the father of a son; 29he named him Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.” 30Lamech lived after the birth of Noah 595 years, and had other sons and daughters. 31Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years; and he died.

32After Noah was 500 years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

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Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

–from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2

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Simple Secrets of the Kingdom
Study 4 – The Trouble with Man

This study shows us that we do hear other voices in the world. The voice of the Bible is the voice of reality.  The serpent’s lies begin with “if” or “what if.”  When we listen to and follow the voice of the serpent (the devil) we are cut off from the Word of life. Click here for  AUDIO or  VIDEO.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.   http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n63/smash_smash_smash_smash/WilliamBlakeCainandAbel.png
Abel and Cain.   http://www.childrenstory.info/childrenbiblestories/childrenbiblestoriesillustrations/ilst185.jpg
van Eyck.   http://www.wga.hu/art/e/eyck_van/jan/09ghent/1open1/u6kill.jpg
tent.   http://www.familytentcamping.com/members/1406228/uploaded/kinsmangigatent.jpg
musical pipes (a woodwind quintet).   http://www.belmont.edu/music/ensembles/images/woodwindsquintet2011.jpg
iron tools.   http://organizationinhomehome.com/Wrought-Iron-Fireplace-Tool-Set
birthday cake.  http://nicecliparts.com/download/Birthday_Cake_with_Candles1.gif
gravestone.  http://www.freeclipartnow.com/d/24557-1/R-I-P-gravestone.jpg

813.) Genesis 3

June 13, 2012

“Adam and Eve,” by Lucas Cranach, 1526 (The Courtauld Gallery, London)

Genesis 3  (NRSV)

Now as we are coming into summer, Old Testament minor prophets and New Testament theological doctrine seem perhaps a bit heavy, demand too much thinking.  So let’s go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go back to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples to stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

And again, for subscribers — to get the full picture, click on the  book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 813.) Genesis 3) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and comment!

The First Sin and Its Punishment

Now the serpent

The text here does not, by itself alone, clearly identify the serpent as Satan, but the rest of the Bible makes it clear this is Satan appearing as a serpent.

Ezekiel 28:13-19 tells us that Satan was in Eden. Many other passages associate a serpent or a snake-like creature with Satan (such as Job 26:13 and Isaiah 51:9). Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 speak of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan.

The representation of Satan as a serpent makes the idea of Moses saving Israel by lifting up a bronze serpent all the more provocative (Numbers 21:8-9), especially when Jesus identifies Himself with that very serpent (John 3:14). This is because in this picture, the serpent (a personification of sin and rebellion) is made of bronze (a metal associated with judgment, since it is made with fire). The lifting of a bronze serpent is the lifting up of sin judged, in the form of a cross.

Ezekiel 28 tells us Satan, before his fall, was an angel of the highest rank and prominence, even the “worship leader” in heaven. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan’s fall had to do with his desire to be equal to or greater than God, to set his will against God’s will.

–David Guzik

was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“

4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.

–from Paradise Lost, by John Milton

“Take and eat” will one day become verbs of salvation, but only after Jesus had lived in the world of Adam’s curse and surrendered to death.

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7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

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Romans 5:18-19 (New Living Translation)

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

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16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

22Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

“Losing Paradise” by He Qi

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Reflection:

What is God’s definition of sin?

How does the idea of sin fit (or not) into today’s culture?

What are the results of my own sins?

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Music:

“Lord Have Mercy,” sung by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.


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Today Your Mercy Calls Us
Oswald Allen  (1816-1878)

Today your mercy calls us
To wash away our sin.
However great our trespass,
Whatever we have been,
However long from mercy
Our hearts have turned away,
Your precious blood can wash us
And make us clean today.

Today your gate is open,
And all who enter in
Shall find a Father’s welcome
And pardon for their sin.
The past shall be forgotten,
A present joy be given,
A future grace be promised,
A glorious crown in heaven.

Today our Father calls us;
His Holy Spirit waits;
His blessed angels gather
Around the heavenly gates.
No question will be asked us,
How often we have come;
Although we oft have wandered,
It is our Father’s home.

O all embracing Mercy,
O ever open Door,
What should we do without you
When heart and eye run over?
When all things seem against us,
To drive us to despair,
We know one gate is open,
One ear will hear our prayer.

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Literature:

A powerful retelling of Genesis 3 by one of the greatest writers in the English language.  Paradise Lost, by John Milton, 1667, “to justify the ways of God to men.”   Try the new prose ‘translation’ by Dennis Danielson!

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Cranach.  http://static.artbible.info/large/cranach_adameva_1526.jpg
apple.  http://www.tpan.com/publications/pa/jul_aug_06/images/apple_bite.jpg
Thank you, Jesus.   http://i.myniceprofile.com/202/20262.jpg
He Qi.  http://www.heqigallery.com/GALLERY%20OT%20A/images/01_losing_paradise.jpg

812.) Genesis 2

June 12, 2012

“Creation” stained glass window from the Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview, MN

Genesis 2  (NRSV)

Now as we are coming into summer, Old Testament minor prophets and New Testament theological doctrine seem perhaps a bit heavy, demand too much thinking.  So let’s go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go back to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples to stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

And again, for subscribers — to get the full picture, click on the  book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 812.) Genesis 2) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and get to the links and comment!

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

Another Account of the Creation

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

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Poetry:

“The Creation,” by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938).

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8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12and the gold of that land is good;

This is the first mention of gold in the Bible.  And here is the last:

Revelation 21:18-21 (English Standard Version)

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

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Reflections on work/vocation:

God places humankind in the garden with specific duties (work) and specific instructions (boundaries and limits).  Although we often think of work and limits as negatives, God gives them to Adam as positives.  How can work and limitations be positives for us?

Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

VOCATION:

It comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a person is called to by God.

There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest.

By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you’ve missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.
Neither the hair shirt not the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

–Frederick Buechner

“True work is play.”

–Madeleine L’Engle

“The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone.”

–Martin Luther

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Music:

Work — after the Fall!  Dolly Parton, “Nine to Five.”
.
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18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.

2-adam-names-animals

21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

.
2-adam-eve-cartoon_________________________

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

PIONEERS BY DESIGN

Some of the most delightful surprises in my life have come from the portions of Scripture that seem most objectionable to the world.  Out of these controversial passages come the most illuminating insights.  For example, the Creation story, which is normally read through a fog of confusion, has become the very basis of my intellectual freedom.  Genesis 1 and 2 lay the foundation for all the rest of Scripture and human history.

  • Lesson 1:  There is only one God.  He is the Creator of all things.
  • Lesson 2:  All that he has made is good.
  • Lesson 3:  He has made the world not only for my enjoyment, but for my mastery, and not just for control, but for stewardship.

These lessons reveal that I am free—or rather, obligated—to explore and discover all that is part of my world.  This offers the most exciting challenges.  Anything that gives me a better understanding and control of his purposes in this world is a valid Christian calling.  God has given human beings a marvelous curiosity and has placed us in a world designed to encourage our curiosity.

God’s people have largely forgotten this command because we are preoccupied with ourselves.  Our forgetfulness though does not nullify God’s command.  Christians, of all people, should feel the most comfortable in intellectual pursuits.  Christians are the people whose basic philosophy justifies study.  We were made to discover the world that God has given us.  We are pioneers by design.  If we choose to see ourselves in that light, our approach to all life will be different.  We will diligently seek to learn and grow.  We will delight in the world he has given us.

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Simple Secrets of the Kingdom
Study 3 – The Creation of Man in the Image of God

In our last study, we learned that God created in Genesis by event and process.  God uses the same methods to create new life in us daily.   It is God’s Word that makes this change take place.  In today’s study we will see how God’s Word gives us dignity because we are created in His image.  We will also see the conflicts that this identity creates for us because we are in the world.  Click here for AUDIO or VIDEO.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
“Creation” stained glass window from the Presbyterian Church of the Way, Shoreview, MN.       http://www.pcotw.org/img/glass_creation.jpg
Michelangelo, detail from the Sistine Chapel.   http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_yKwDTmqOmJM/Spa9eWqLd-I/AAAAAAAAAUA/pG2k4nTuX5o/s400/Michelangelo-The-Creation-of-Adam-7157.jpg
Adam names the animals.   http://www.answersingenesis.org/assets/images/articles/nab/adam-naming.jpg
cartoon.   http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/rma/lowres/rman334l.jpg

811.) Genesis 1

June 11, 2012
The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, circa 1511 (Sistine Chapel, The Vatican)

The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, 1511
(Sistine Chapel, The Vatican)

Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a   (NRSV)

Now as we are coming into summer, Old Testament minor prophets and New Testament theological doctrine seem perhaps a bit heavy, demand too much thinking.  So let’s go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  Let’s go back to Genesis!  I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit.  And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples to stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”

And again, for subscribers — to get the full picture, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 811.)  Genesis 1) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and comment!

Six Day of Creation and the Sabbath

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

cosmic-light

6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

sky

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Music:

“The Heavens Are Telling”  from The Creation by Joseph Haydn, completed in 1798.     “The heavens are telling the glory of God; the wonder of His work displays the firmament.”

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9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

vegetation

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

birds_fish1

24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

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Music:

“All Creatures of our God and King,”   sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
.

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26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

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Reflection:

What does it mean that we are made in God’s image, “according to our likeness”?

How are we to be like God emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically? — or as Jesus said in Mark 12:30 — what can we do to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

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29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

“Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden” by Australian artist Margaret Preston, 1950. See the kangaroo and the koala? (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

2) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

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Music:

“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” sung by Marian Anderson.  Click on the link to hear her on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9AsA0cY8qg

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Books:

The Bible Jesus Read — Philip Yancey.
(Chapter 1: Is the Old Testament worth the effort?)

In the Beginning — Steve Turner.
(Simple rhymes, vivid pictures, for kids of all ages)

And:

Genesis 1:1-10 from outer space — A Christmas Greeting from Apollo 8.

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John 1:1-5  (Contemporary English Version)

In the beginning was the one

who is called the Word.

The Word was with God

and was truly God.

From the very beginning

the Word was with God.

And with this Word,

God created all things.

Nothing was made

without the Word.

Everything that was created

received its life from him,

and his life gave light

to everyone.

The light keeps shining

in the dark,

and darkness has never

put it out.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Michelangelo.  http://www.case.edu/med/reprobiol/images/michelangelo-creation-adam-.jpg
light from deep space (NASA).  http://jtintle.wordpress.com/2006/11/13/pia01322-chaos-at-the-heart-of-orion/
sky.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/SI-Sky.JPG
vegetation.  http://www.pansite.org/vegetation.JPG
sun, moon, stars.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_SoWTqfEqbSc/TKIqVDhQ1fI/AAAAAAAAAkE/iynyjGxbOGI/s1600/Celestial+Logo.jpg
“Birds and Fish after Escher” by Andrew Li.   http://illumenation.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/birds_fish_after_escher_artwork.jpg?w=590
Preston.  http://clatterymachinery.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/margaret-preston-adam-and-eve-in-the-garden-of-eden.jpg

810.) Proverbs 21

June 8, 2012

Proverbs 21 (New International Version)

 1 In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
that he channels toward all who please him.

1 Timothy 2:1

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

2 A person may think their own ways are right,
but the LORD weighs the heart.

3 To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

Here is a recent example of the truth of this verse.  Bernie Madoff is the former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market board of directors, and the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.  He is currently serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina. 

7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
for they refuse to do what is right.

8 The way of the guilty is devious,
but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

9 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked crave evil;
their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked
and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.

If we were to reword this verse into positive form, it would go something like — Whoever hears and responds to the cry of the poor can be sure the Lord will hear and answer his prayers as well.

“While ministering in Africa, I met a Christian worker who raised his 6 children on $10 a month. He told me the story of how children in his village were going blind because of a disease that could be prevented with medicine that only cost 50 cents. He began to pray and ask God to send a rich person to their village to help give the money for the medicine, but no one ever came. As he kept praying, the Lord told him he should give the money to buy the medicine. But with 6 children and only a $10 a month salary, he couldn’t see how he could do this. But he and his family prayed and decided that every month they would buy the medicine to help one child. When I last spoke with him, he’d been doing this for 7 years and had saved 84 children from going blind. And his family saw God meet all of their needs.”

–Dr. Brian Kluth

Lord, open my ears to the cries of the poor.  As I help provide for their needs, you will surely take care of mine.  Amen.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
comes to rest in the company of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
and the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
but fools gulp theirs down.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor.

22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.

23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
keep themselves from calamity.

James 3:2 (New Living Translation)

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
behaves with insolent fury.

25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
how much more so when brought with evil intent!

28 A false witness will perish,
but a careful listener will testify successfully.

29 The wicked put up a bold front,
but the upright give thought to their ways.

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the LORD.

Acts 5:34-39 (New Living Translation)

But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while.  Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing.  After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.

“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the LORD.

_________________________

Music:

“Be Thou My Vision” played on piano by Greg Howlett.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
People may be right . . .   http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-abw6nrAQoiw/Tfcmlgk-buI/AAAAAAAAFMc/eDAXFo63sxw/s1600/prov21_2.jpg
Pray for our president.   http://wah.midco.net/pkirsch/MagnetPictures/PrayPresident015.jpg
Bernie Madoff, mugshot.   http://sipwithsocialites.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/bernie_madoff_mugshot.jpeg
ten dollar bill.   http://www.westernjournalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ten_dollar_bill-1.jpg
Proverbs 21:19.   http://www.motifake.com/image/demotivational-poster/1003/proverbs-2119-happy-guy-in-desert-demotivational-poster-1267582449.jpg
taming the tongue.   http://voltageyouth.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/fiery-tongue-300×187.jpg

809.) Proverbs 20

June 7, 2012

Proverbs 20 (New International Version)

 1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

2 A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion;
those who anger him forfeit their lives.

3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.

4 Sluggards do not plow in season;
so at harvest time they look but find nothing.

5 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.

6 Many claim to have unfailing love,
but a faithful person who can find?

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Music:

Chris Tomlin sings about the one true “Unfailing Love.”

_________________________

7 The righteous lead blameless lives;
blessed are their children after them.

8 When a king sits on his throne to judge,
he winnows out all evil with his eyes.

9 Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin”?

1 John 1:8-9 (New Living Translation)

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

10 Differing weights and differing measures—
the LORD detests them both.

11 Even small children are known by their actions,
so is their conduct really pure and upright?

12 Ears that hear and eyes that see—
the LORD has made them both.

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little ears what you hear

13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;
stay awake and you will have food to spare.

14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
then goes off and boasts about the purchase.

15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

O be careful little mouth what you say
O be careful little mouth what you say
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little mouth what you say

16 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

18 Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance.

A word to the wise ain’t necessary — it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.
–Bill Cosby

When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality.  It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no.  You’re going to get it anyway.
–Erma Bombeck

She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it).
–Lewis Carroll

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that.  My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.
–Soren Kierkegaard

Anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice.
–Franklin P. Jones

19 A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.

20 If someone curses their father or mother,
their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.

21 An inheritance claimed too soon
will not be blessed at the end.

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.

Revenge is Satan’s way of destroying both the innocent and the offender.  Once vengeance becomes the motivation, the wounded party can suddenly be swept up in rage and hatred.  This poison spreads to everything the vengeful person touches.  On earth, we can see that we will never find perfect and complete justice, no matter the “goodness” of the judicial system in place at the time.  But God will not only bring justice, he will deliver us: deliver us from the hands of the oppressor and deliver us from the poison of our own hatred.

–Phil Ware

23 The LORD detests differing weights,
and dishonest scales do not please him.

O be careful little hands what you do
O be careful little hands what you do
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little hands what you do

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand their own way?

O be careful little feet where you go
O be careful little feet where you go
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little feet where you go

25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one’s vows.

26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;
he drives the threshing wheel over them.

27 The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD
that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;
through love his throne is made secure.

29 The glory of young men is their strength,
gray hair the splendor of the old.

30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
and beatings purge the inmost being.

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Simple Secrets of the Kingdom
Study 2 – God’s First Creation

Our first study revealed that there are four things we need to know about Christ (1 Corinthians 15) and what these mean for our lives.  Today in our second session we will learn in Genesis 1 how God creates with His Word both by event and by process.  We will discover how God’s creates a change in our relationship to Him by His word of forgiveness (event).  Then we can see how His word continues to work in our lives daily to make us a new creation (process).  Click here for  AUDIO or  VIDEO.

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New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 20:21.   http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lGG9ymuuKfI/T1m-ZgRtzcI/AAAAAAAAAKo/G4L7hNu2IkU/s1600/proverbs-20-1-free-bible-verse-desktop-wallpapers.jpg
lips of knowledge.   http://www.flickr.com/photos/tina2000tx/5897749745
advice.   http://maysblogs.tamu.edu/jakob/files/2012/01/advice__1_.jpg
scales.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/justice_scales.gif
Proverbs 20:24.   http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5ucPQyfX1A8/T6Q3ma220xI/AAAAAAAAAdc/kBmcl5jnvls/s1600/proverbs+20-24.jpg

808.) Psalm 102

June 6, 2012

Psalm 102   (NRSV)

Prayer to the Eternal King for Help

1Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.

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Music:

From Psalm 102, the Taize song, “O Lord, Hear My Prayer,” sung by the Taize Community Choir.

O Lord, hear my prayer,
hear my prayer
When I call answer me
O Lord, hear my prayer,
hear my prayer
Come and listen to me

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2Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.

3For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.

4My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread.

5Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.

6I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.

7I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.

8All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.

9For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink,

10because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.

11My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

12But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations.

13You will rise up and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to favor it; the appointed time has come.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (New International Version)

For God says,

   “In the time of my favor I heard you,
   and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

14For your servants hold its stones dear, and have pity on its dust.

15The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.

16For the Lord will build up Zion; he will appear in his glory.

17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.

18Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:

19that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,

20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die;

21so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem,

22when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

23He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days.

24“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away at the mid-point of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.”

Psalm 90:1-2 (New International Version)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
   throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
   or you brought forth the whole world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

26They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away;

27but you are the same, and your years have no end.

28The children of your servants shall live secure; their offspring shall be established in your presence.

My three children — Devlin, Maureen, and Sean — on Lake Eola, downtown Orlando.  May they dwell secure in the Lord!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
earth, verse 25.  http://www.bestfreechristian.com/clip_art_04/images/earth-001.gif
desert owl sketch.  http://img1.etsystatic.com/il_fullxfull.300822501.jpg
Today.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HzbHpiVck1w/TdcZjKclY4I/AAAAAAAAAao/kCPBmbUR9ec/s1600/8871-today-is-the-day-ep.jpg
“Let this be written . . .”   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FGeCP9_02-M/T4WozTcilZI/AAAAAAAAGmg/avWzOPhRFk4/s1600/psalm+102+18.jpg

807.) Psalms 100 and 101

June 5, 2012

Psalm 100   (NRSV)

All Lands Summoned to Praise God

1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

2Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

3Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

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Psalm 101   (NRSV)

A Sovereign’s Pledge of Integrity and Justice

This psalm is a carefully balanced psalm of decision.  Carefully formed positive decisions are balanced equally with the negative decisions that enable the positive decisions to be carried out.

Making a choice involves two things.  It is the rejecting of one thing to do another.

1I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing.

2I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;

Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep His statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do His will!

3I will not set before my eyes anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

4Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

Order my footsteps by Thy Word
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.

5One who secretly slanders a neighbor I will destroy. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate.

6I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, so that they may live with me; whoever walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.

Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget Thy way,
Restore Thy wandering sheep.

7No one who practices deceit shall remain in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue in my presence.

8Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord.

Make me to walk in Thy commands,
‘Tis a delightful road;
Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,
Offend against my God.

–Isaac Watts

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Music:

Both these psalms speak of singing praise to the Lord.  Here is Messianic praise and worship musician Paul Wilbur and “Praise Adonai.”

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Simple Secrets of the Kingdom
Study 1 – The Heart of Our Faith

The message of hope in Jesus Christ begins with the resurrection of our Lord:  Christ is risen!  Today we begin (again) the first in a series of 26 lessons produced by Good News Ministries of Midland, Texas.  The series, called Simple Secrets of the Kingdom, is based on an inductive Bible study method so you can follow along in your Bible.  The first lesson is based on 1 Corinthians 15.  Click here for  AUDIO or  VIDEO.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Worship.   http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_LI4d42767IY/SYAzJk8sq2I/AAAAAAAABMM/03iLjU–avU/s400/psalm+100.2+c+borders.jpg
Psalm 101.   http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/5069276397_16410c724f.jpg

806.) Psalms 98 and 99

June 4, 2012

Psalm 98   (NRSV)

Praise the Judge of the World

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

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Music:

A young teenager once complained to his father that most of the hymns they sang in church were boring to him because they were too far behind the times.  His father put an end to his son’s complaints by saying, “If you think you can write better hymns, then let’s see you try.”  So the teenager went to his room after church and wrote his first hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”  It was back in the year 1690, and that 16-year-old teenager was Isaac Watts.  And once he started, he continued writing hymns.

Later in life Watts turned to another task, metrical translations of the Psalms with a distinctly Christian perspective.  At the age of 45, he sat under a favorite tree on the estate where he lived and penned the now famous words of “Joy to the World.”  His 1719 hymnal, Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, included the words under his original title for the poetry: “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.”

As part of his effort to bring New Testament meanings to the Old Testament psalms, Watts based “Joy to the World” on the last half of Psalm 98: “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth, . . . Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.” (vs. 4, 8).

Psalm 98 celebrates God’s protection and restoration of his chosen people.  Watts’ carol rejoices in the same, as it expresses praise for the salvation that began when God became man.  Both the psalm and the hymn also look ahead, to Christ coming again to reign: “He will judge the world with righteousness” (v. 9).

“Joy to the World” includes references to other Bible verses as well, including Gen. 3:17, Rom. 5:20, and Luke 2:10.  And despite its lack of reference to Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, wise men, or the manger, it has become one of the most loved Christmas carols!

By the time of his death, Watts had written over 750 hymns, some of which are still well known and loved now, some 300 years later.

Here is Third Day singing “Joy to the World.”  I bet Isaac Watts would enjoy hearing this version!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Psalm 99   (NRSV)

Praise to God for His Holiness

1The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

2The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.

3Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!

Psalm 138:2 (English Standard Version)

I bow down toward your holy temple
   and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
   for you have exalted above all things
   your name and your word.

4Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

5Extol the Lord our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!

6Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them.

1 Peter 5:7   (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

7He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.

8O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

9Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy.

“This psalm rather remarkably draws together the key elements of Israel’s faith tradition.  God’s enthronement makes holy presence accessible and makes righteous will more urgent.  Neither emphasis can be minimized without distorting who this ruling one is.”

–Walter Brueggemann

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Praise.   http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XtQCQOteypA/TubqqfMzbGI/AAAAAAAAC_c/6jjPN8twNQc/s1600/Psalm+98+Praise.jpg
Psalm 99:9.   http://www.imagesinthebackcountry.com/images/inspirational/07-004-bible-verse-quote.jpg