1065.) Proverbs 25

May 31, 2013

Pr 25 apples of goldProverbs 25   (NIV)

More Proverbs of Solomon

These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
    to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

“He would not be God,” said Thomas Cartwright, “if His counsels and works did not transcend human intelligence.”

As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,
    so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.

Remove the dross from the silver,
    and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
remove wicked officials from the king’s presence,
    and his throne will be established through righteousness.

Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
    and do not claim a place among his great men;
7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
    than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.

Pr25 walk humbly

Luke 14:8-10   (NLT)

When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

What you have seen with your eyes
    do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
    if your neighbor puts you to shame?

If you take your neighbor to court,
    do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you
    and the charge against you will stand.

11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
    is a ruling rightly given.

by Laurie Nelson

“Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver #2”  by Laurie Nelson

Barb and I sat at the corner table of a French restaurant in Laguna Beach, California on an August evening.  It was our 25th wedding anniversary.  Sublime dessert had followed exquisite meal, and our occasional glances out the large window facing the sea turned into lengthy stares as we watched the sun slide gently into the Pacific.


Twilight descended on the bay, and Barb said she had a gift for us.  She handed me a packet of envelopes wrapped in a silver ribbon.  On the top envelope she had written Thanks, and inside was a white card on which she had written something about our relationship over the years for which she wanted to thank me (“for the maps you make to help me find my way”).  I read it, and we talked about it for a minute or two.  “Your turn,” she said.   I thought of something to thank her for (“for following me to new cities and new jobs that were my idea”), wrote it on the back of the card, gave it to her, and we talked about that for another few minutes.


The second envelope said I Appreciate.  Same procedure—open, read (“that your feet are on the ground; your sense of perspective”), talk . . . my turn (“your vision that goes beyond common sense”).  Then followed Early Memories, Joys, Shocks, Fun Times, another Thanks, another I Appreciate . . . 25 envelopes in all, 25 cards, 50 words aptly spoken . . . some of them with such a lump in my throat that they could scarcely, I’m sure, be heard across our small table.  Every word was positive, affirming, genuine, loving . . . apples of gold in a setting of silver.


Years have passed.  More anniversary dinners and gifts have been shared.  The one we remember, however, is the one in Laguna where we recalled good times and spoke words of appreciation and thanks to one another.  No gift has ever meant more to me.


The world is full of shouting.  There is a surplus of criticism and sarcasm.  Even good relationships strong enough to bear harsh words will benefit from times in which we speak tenderly to one another.  Find opportunities to express gratitude.  Take a moment to recall together a fun experience you shared.  Intentionally . . . thoughtfully . . . offer occasional words of affirmation or appreciation.  You are giving apples of gold.


–Dr. Michael A. Halleen

_________________________

Music:

Psalm 19:14 (KJV)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Philippians 4:8   (KJV)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

HERE  is Fernando Ortega and “Let the words of my mouth.”

_________________________

12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
    is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.

13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
    is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
    he refreshes the spirit of his master.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
    is one who boasts of gifts never given.

15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
    and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

The value of moderation, in what you eat and in where you go:

16 If you find honey, eat just enough—
    too much of it, and you will vomit.
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—
    too much of you, and they will hate you.

18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow
    is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
19 Like a broken tooth or a lame foot
    is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.
20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
    or like vinegar poured on a wound,
    is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

Pr25 Romans 12.21

23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain
    is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.

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

25 Like cold water to a weary soul
    is good news from a distant land.

The gospel is God’s good news from a far country—heaven.  Like cold water to a thirsty soul, the gospel is refreshing and thirst quenching.

–William MacDonald

26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well
    are the righteous who give way to the wicked.

27 It is not good to eat too much honey,
    nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.

28 Like a city whose walls are broken through
    is a person who lacks self-control.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Proverbs 25:11.   http://gotfruitblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/proverbs-25-11-20090314.png
Micah 6:8.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jsYIl5iCxis/T99QeRuHcHI/AAAAAAAAKqM/YexCmIA5Txk/s1600/micah6-8.gif
Nelson.   http://laurienelsonart.com/images/452_PROVERBS_25_11.jpg
Romans 12:21.    http://media.focusonthefamily.com/blogmedia/images/jim-daly/Romans1221.jpg
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1064.) Psalms 124 and 125

May 30, 2013
We have escaped like a bird . . .

We have escaped like a bird . . .

Psalm 124   (NIV)

A song of ascents. Of David.

The Lord is able to protect His church from the attacks of principalities and powers in the spiritual realm (Eph. 6:10-20).

If the Lord had not been on our side—
    let Israel say—
if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
    the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
    would have swept us away.

Praise be to the Lord,
    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
    from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
    and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Pilgrim Band and “Psalm 124.”

________________________

P125 mountains surround J

Psalm 125   (NIV)

A song of ascents.

From the temple on Mount Zion, the Lord provides protection for His people.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forevermore.

The scepter of the wicked will not remain
    over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
    their hands to do evil.

Lord, do good to those who are good,
    to those who are upright in heart.

The good people here are those who have been saved by faith and who walk in obedience to the Lord.  Their uprightness is not the basis of their salvation, but is the fruit of their trust and obedience.

–William MacDonald

But those who turn to crooked ways
    the Lord will banish with the evildoers.

Peace be on Israel.

Shalom, shalom!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
escape like a bird sketch.    http://www.moreh.net/p2/albums/userpics/normal_XXXPsalm_124_7.jpg
Jerusalem surrounded by mountains.    http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/jmjoncas/LiturgicalStudiesInternetLinks/JewishWorship/JewishWorshipMusic/OTPsalms/Ps125IrvDavis.jpg

1063.) Psalms 122 and 123

May 29, 2013
Let us go unto the house of the Lord!

Let us go unto the house of the Lord!

Psalm 122   (NRSV)

Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem.

I lived in Jerusalem for the school year 1978-1979, working as an English teacher at the Anglican International School.  (I remember in my 7th grade class, I had 11 students who spoke 11 different languages at home; we all spoke English at school.)  I also played the organ every week for the English speaking services at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Old City.

I lived in Rehavia, a section of the New City (my apartment was not far from the Prime Minister’s official residence).  So every Sunday morning I traveled (often walked) to the Old City.  I would enter through Jaffa Gate.  I got into the habit of saying the first two verses of Psalm 122 whenever I entered the city on Sunday morning.  And it is a habit I have kept up for all these years — most Sunday mornings, when I wake up and begin to get ready to go to church, I say these verses to myself.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
 Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
    the thrones of the house of David.

P122 pray for peace

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
    and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
    I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your good.

The name “Jerusalem” means city of peace.  We pray for peace in the city of peace.  The benediction of peace rests upon all who love the city of the Great King.

–William MacDonald

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me”  by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918).  You may remember the piece as the processional at the start of the marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey on April 29th, 2011.

_________________________

P123 v1

Psalm 123   (NRSV)

Supplication for Mercy

The scene is the land of captivity—an all-too-familiar setting for the oppressed people of Israel.  They found themselves there in Egypt, in Babylon, in Nazi Germany, in the Warsaw ghetto and the Siberian slave-labor camps.  Their urgent plea is for mercy.  They pour out their prayer to the One who is their only refuge and security, to the Friend of the oppressed and downtrodden.

–William MacDonald

A Song of Ascents.

To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
    to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    until he has mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than its fill
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud.

What is the most difficult thing in your life right now?  What weighs you down? The most broken relationship?  The most nagging fear?  The part of you that feels hopeless or faithless?  Read this psalm again with that in mind and ask God for mercy for you.  Isaiah 30:18 says, Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  Blessed are all who wait for him!

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 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:
Let us go unto the house of the Lord.    http://closerdaybyday.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/psalm-122.jpg
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.    https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/p480x480/945807_10151926829079896_1829685976_n.jpg
Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes.    http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o8/Jessdad/psalm123_1.jpg

1062.) Psalms 120 and 121

May 28, 2013
They are for war -- I am for peace!

They are for war — I am for peace! — painting by Benn.

Psalm 120   (ESV)

Deliver Me, O Lord

A Song of Ascents.

Song of Ascents is a title given to fifteen of the Psalms, 120–134, that each starts with the ascription Shir Hama’aloth (Hebrew:  שיר המעלות‎, meaning “Song of Ascent”).

Many scholars believe these psalms were sung by the worshipers as they ascended up the road to Jerusalem to attend the three pilgrim festivals  (Deuteronomy 16:16 lists the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths), or by the priests as they ascended the fifteen steps to minister at the Temple in Jerusalem.

They were well suited for being sung, by their poetic form and the sentiments they express. “They are characterized by brevity, by a key-word, by repetition …. More than half of them are cheerful, and all of them hopeful.”

–Wikipedia

In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
Deliver me, O Lord,
    from lying lips,
    from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you,
    and what more shall be done to you,
    you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows,
    with glowing coals of the broom tree!

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
    that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I had my dwelling
    among those who hate peace.
I am for peace,
    but when I speak, they are for war!

P121 hills

Psalm 121   (ESV)

My Help Comes from the Lord

It is traditional for some Jews to place a copy of Psalm 121 in the labor and delivery room to promote an easy labor by asking God for mercy. As well, it is placed on the baby’s carriage and in the baby’s room to protect the child and surround the child in learning about all that is holy.

A Song of Ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

P121 help

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

OUR ONLY HOPE

The greatest value of Psalm 121 lies not in a praise of nature but in its presentation of the contrast between nature and grace.  The psalmist does not decry nature; he just knows its limitations and proclaims that there is no salvation in the natural world.  Salvation comes only from above and beyond the creation.  The hills represent nature at its best but the best the earth has to offer is not big enough or good enough to rescue us from ourselves.

The answer to our need is neither within us nor within our world.  It rests in the transcendent One from beyond the confines of the universe.  When he comes, he brings supernatural resources to meet our natural needs.  In this psalm the writer paints the background for the manger in Bethlehem where the eternal One broke into time and space, became a human person, and brought redemption to the world.

For those who can see, the need for this truth is apparent in every area of life.  Modern people have tried every earthly source to solve their problems:  government, education, economics, social sciences, psychology, and psychoanalysis.  We have expected somewhere within us or within our world to find the key, the solution that we seek.  Thousands of years ago there was a man, wiser than we, who saw the sterility of our vain efforts.  He decided that help for humans comes only from Yahweh, who created and rules over all the factors and all the processes in which we place our hopes.  Our only true hope and our only sure help is in the God who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Brian Doerksen and “I Lift My Eyes Up.”  Oh, how I need you, Lord!

_________________________

Images courtesy of:
Benn (Benejou Rabinowicz, 1905–89).    http://payload.cargocollective.com/1/2/88505/1542531/07-Benn-%28Benejou-Rabinowicz–1905-89%29–Psalm-120-7_900.jpg
I lift up my eyes.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_yGng4B9qxBc/TURofCTv8YI/AAAAAAAABOM/RATD_5XJBrk/s1600/Psalm+121++1-2.jpg
My help comes from the Lord.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_bqFquCx5Yh4/S7EvEXcpDwI/AAAAAAAAAbc/kv2ncRQZkcc/s1600/Prayer6.gif

1061.) Luke 24

May 27, 2013

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, a popular site for pilgrims.

Luke 24   (NIV)

The Resurrection

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8Then they remembered his words.

Psalm 27:13 (English Standard Version)

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!

_________________________

Music:

GLAD sings one of their classics, “The Easter Song.”

_________________________

9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

_________________________

B.C.  —  by Johnny Hart:  a comic for Easter Sunday.

Click  HERE.

_________________________

On the Road to Emmaus

“The Road to Emmaus” by He Qi

13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.

17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

from Morning and Evening
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke xxiv:27

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a most profitable journey. Their companion and teacher was the best of tutors; the interpreter one of a thousand, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Lord Jesus condescended to become a preacher of the gospel, and He was not ashamed to exercise His calling before an audience of two persons, neither does He now refuse to become the teacher of even one. Let us “court the company” of so excellent an Instructor, for till He is made unto us wisdom, we shall never be wise unto salvation.

This unrivalled tutor used as His class-book, the best of books. Although able to reveal fresh truth, He preferred to expound the old. He knew by His omniscience what was the most instructive way of teaching, and by turning at once to Moses and the prophets, He showed us that the surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning, or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God. The readiest way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea. When Jesus Himself sought to enrich others, He wrought in the quarry of Holy Scripture.

The favoured pair of disciples were led to consider the best of subjects, for Jesus spake of Jesus, and expounded the things concerning Himself. Here the diamond cut the diamond, and what could be more admirable? The Master of the House unlocked His own doors, conducted the guests to His table, and placed His own dainties upon it. He who hid the treasure in the field Himself guided the searchers to it. Our Lord would naturally discourse upon the sweetest of topics, and He could find none sweeter than His own person and work: with an eye to these we should always search the Word. O for grace to study the Bible with Jesus as both our teacher and our lesson!

28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Psalm 94:19 (New American Standard Bible)

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.

33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

L24 Jesus in room
36
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension

The Ascension of Christ, painted by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, 1758 — in a church in Sumeg, Hungary

50When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.

“If he has blessed you, you shall be blessed, for there is no power in heaven, or earth, or hell, that can reverse the blessing which He gives.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

51While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Psalm 84:10 (Contemporary English Version)

One day in your temple

is better

than a thousand

anywhere else.

_________________________

The End of Luke’s Gospel.  I invite you to share with our blogging online community anything that has touched your heart or mind in a fresh way as you have been DWELLING in the Word these few weeks with Luke.  Just reply and leave a comment below.  Thank you for your interaction and feedback!

_________________________

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

Images courtesy of:
Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.    http://gointosail.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/garden_tomb_sunshine-729942.jpg
He Qi.     http://www.heqigallery.com/GALLERY%20NT%20C/images/46the_road_to_emmaus.jpg
Walk Thru the Old Testament.   http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SeRGUG42KEk/TthBEyvHi2I/AAAAAAAACbg/p_DJf9eZ3Q0/s1600/Walk+thru+the+Old+testament.jpg
candle burning.    http://4e.img.v4.skyrock.net/4ef/sileas–3/pics/841301233.jpg
Jesus in the room!   http://www.vocations.ca/Images/Prayers/2008_Easter/2008_03_30_risen.jpg
Ascension.    http://www.hung-art.hu/kep/m/maulbert/muvek/4sumeg/sumeg04.jpg
reading Bible.    http://www.gifs.net/Animation11/Religious/Christian/Reading_bible.gif

1060.) Luke 23:26-56

May 24, 2013

“Crucifixion”  by Harry Anderson (1906-1996)

Luke 23:26-56  (NIV)

The Crucifixion

1 Corinthians 1:23  (ESV)

We preach Christ crucified.

26As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

“Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross” by Eric Gill, 1917 (Tate Collection, London)

27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30Then

” ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘

31For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

“Forgive them.”  Pure grace. A word of pure grace. This is the most powerful example of grace and forgiving love in the whole Bible. While in so much pain, Jesus asked God to forgive his tormentors. They didn’t ask for forgiveness; they didn’t deserve it; but Jesus gave them forgiveness.

And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38There was a written notice above him, which read:  THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

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Music:

I often find myself singing this song.  HERE  is “Jesus, Remember Me,” a Taize song.

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43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus makes a huge promise to the robber next to him on the cross. Today you will be with me in paradise.

Today. In your hearts, write down the word, “today.”   Immediately. Instantaneously. Now. Not tomorrow. Not in a hundred years. Not in a thousand years. Not in a in a million years.  But today.

You. In your hearts, write down the word, “you.”  That means you and me. We too will be in paradise with God when we die. At Christmas time, we often say, your name needs to be on the present for you to receive the gift. Christ’s promise is not only towards the thief on the cross but Christ’s promise is directed towards you and me as well. To be a Christian, you need to realize that God’s gift is for you personally.

With me. In your heart, write down the words, “with me.”   We then go to paradise to be reunited with our long lost mother, father, brother, sister, spouse who have died before us. But that is not the emphasis in the Bible. What the Bible emphasizes is better, much better. We will be with Christ, and when we are with Christ in paradise, we are with pure grace, with God’s Presence which is pure love, who forgives us all our sins.

In paradise. There is that word again, that word found in the very beginning of the Bible and at the very end of the Bible. “Paradise.”  We will see the incredible beauty all around us. We will see the face and glory of God. We will be with loved ones. There will no war nor starvation nor evil for these things will have been all destroyed. And our hearts, knowing all of this, will be filled with praise and thanksgiving.

Psalm 17:7   (NRSV)

Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries.

Jesus’ Death

44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

When we die, our Spirit goes to be with God. We give our Spirit up into the living and loving hands of God. We don’t become simply dust and ashes. We don’t simply say, “sayonara,” or “close the door on life,” or wave goodbye. Rather, we commit our Spirit into the loving care of our Father God.

–Pastor Edward F. Markquart was pastor of Grace Lutheran Church close to Seattle.  These three comments (in red, above) on the last words of Jesus are from him.  Click  HERE  to read the entire piece.

47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

L23 good-friday Christ

GOOD FRIDAY
by Christina G. Rossetti

Am I a stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?


Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;


Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon–-
I, only I.


Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Jesus’ Burial

“The Entombment of Christ” by Sisto Badallochio, 1610 (Galleria Borghese, Rome)

50Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

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Music:

Selah sings, so beautifully, “Were You There?”

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

Images courtesy of:
Anderson.    http://www.dst-corp.com/james/PaintingsOfJesus/Jesus13.jpg
Gill.     http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=5225&searchid=4721&tabview=image
Christ on the cross.    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EgB6sMrYTFk/T39PopSDQjI/AAAAAAAAAXs/XVEunnrCJEI/s1600/good-friday1.jpg
Badallochio.     http://www.wga.hu/art/b/badalocc/entombme.jpg

1059.) Luke 23:1-25

May 23, 2013

“Jesus before Pilate” by Corinne Vonaesch

Luke 23:1-25 (New International Version)

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod

1Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar

Wait a minute!  Didn’t Jesus just say, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” ?!  (See Luke 20:25.)

and claims to be Christ, a king.”

3So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

4Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

5But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

6On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

John baptizes Jesus

This Herod, Herod Antipas, is the son of Herod the Great, who had met with the Wise Men and had ordered the killing of the baby boys in Bethlehem.  Herod Antipas, who ruled the region of Galilee for the Romans, was responsible for the death of John the Baptist.  Upon hearing news about the work of Christ, Herod was afraid that Jesus was actually John come back from the dead (Mark 6:16).

Herod heard truth from John, and saw the one who is “the way, the truth, and the life” in Jesus.  He disregarded them both.

8When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

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Music:

I was in high school the first time I heard the rock opera Jesus Christ  Superstar.   One song that has stayed with me through the years is King Herod’s Song, perhaps because Herod was so outrageous.  I had not realized that Jesus had been treated so disrespectfully (although how I thought the Romans would crucify someone respectfully is lost to me now!).  Anyway,  HERE  is the song that shaped some of my understanding of the humiliation and mockery Christ suffered in going to the cross so that my sins, and the sins of all the world, could be forgiven.

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13Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

18With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19(Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

from Peculiar Treasures:  A Biblical Who’s Who
by Frederick Buechner

BARABBAS

Pilate told the people that they could choose to spare the life of either a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus of Nazareth, and they chose Barabbas.  Given the same choice, Jesus, of course, would have chosen to spare Barabbas too.

To understand the reason in each case would be to understand much of what the New Testament means by saying that Jesus is the Savior, and much of what it means too by saying that, by and large, people are in bad need of being saved.

20Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

“Jesus with a crown of thorns” penciled by Julio Molina-Muscara, 2004.

Ah, Holy Jesus, how hast thou offended?
That man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty?  Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
for man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter Passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee;
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

–written by Johann Heermann, translated by Robert Bridges

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

Images courtesy of:
Vonaesch.    http://www.c-vonaesch.ch/imgcolcoulevan2/index.htm
coin.   http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IJGhx_AYZhM/TNc5aRELYPI/AAAAAAAADRE/tj3wJ72UCyU/s1600/denarius.jpg
John baptizes Jesus.    http://www.crystalinks.com/johnthebaptist.jpg
Molina-Muscara.     http://www.drawingsofjesus.com/Drawings/images/drawings/JesusChrist/jesus-with-crown-of-thorns.jpg