Meditation

I am returning to my blog, somewhat impaired, for I have been off undergoing surgery on both of my eyes, to be able to see without eyeglasses for the first time in 60 years, so bear with me please. My doctor is new to me or I would have probably tried to put this off a bit, but instead she had me scheduled before I could say a word. It’s not that I don’t appreciate her decision and my newfound “look on life,” but I wanted to thanks to those who sought me out as to my whereabouts and just wanted to thank all for the prayers for me during this time. May God please all and I hope to have no more interruptions for awhile.

12/01/2022

Then Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If all these men die a actual death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, they they go down alive into the great, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt. As soon as he finished saying all these this, the ground under them splint apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. As soon as he finished saying all of this, the ground under them split apart and the each opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men an all their possessions. They wend down alive into the graves with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting: ‘The earth is going to swallow us too!’ And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.” (Numbers 16:28-35- God’s will be revealed in History)

God’s will in a situation may be revealed through His historical acts. In punishing the revels against Moses and Aaron, God revealed His will to work through Moses and Aaron as His chosen leaders.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, in this short story, but rather overwhelmingly effective story, revealed that Aaron and Moses were His chosen leaders and that when they spoke, they spoke for God Himself. In our very recent times, the site of Sodom and Gomorrah has been located, though to date, only charred rocks have been located, for all else was consumed. Today we have entered the Advent Season of the year, we move closer to the birth story of our Lord and Savior and we will turn our eyes and hearts to that time when God entered this world. In the meantime continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The bridge you burn now may be the one you later have to cross.”

KNOWING GOD:

Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both of Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the water of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. It was not your children who saw what he did for you to the desert until you arrived at this place and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But is was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.” (Deuteronomy 11:2-7 – God’s will be revealed in History)

God lets us see evidence of His power in history to lead us to love and obedience to Him.

I AM:

A barren woman from Zorah was married to a man named Manoah. The woman encountered the angel of the Lord and was instructed to take no fermented drinks and only clean foods, for her son would be born and he would become Nazirite and was to be raised as one and that his hair was not to be cut for any reason. Manoah was told by his wife of the encounter, and the angel of the Lord came up to them. Manoah took a young goat together with the grain offering , and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched. As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. ‘We are doomed to die!’ he said to his wife. ‘We have seen God!’ But his wife answered, ‘If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would have not accepted a bunt offering and grain offering offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.’ The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him when he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Estaol.” (Judges 13:8-10, 26-27 – God’s will be revealed in History )

The young couple they had been favored by God, to bless them with a child and they were given instructions as to how he would be raised and how he was to do all that the instructions given them were to be followed. God entered history to select the couple that honored Him in their lives and would do has He instructed them to do concerning the boy, and he name was to be Samson.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Just as I had determined to bring disaster upon you and showed no pity when your fathers angered me,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘so not I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid.’ These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment tin you courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely, I hat all this,’ declares the Lord.” (Zechariah 8:14-15 – God’s will be revealed in History )

History reveals God’s freedom to act in response to His people and in accord with His purposes. Neither judgment nor deliverance totally characterizes God’s relation to His people and their history. Once God judged a faithless nation without pity. Then He chose to achieve His purposes by doing good for His people. Wrath is God’s temporary work so He can perform His permanent work of grace. Just as creation was a good work of God, so He wants His work in history to create a people that is good!

Justice is not confined to prophetic judgment sermons. Announcements of hope and renewal echo the call for truth, sound judgments, concern for neighbors, and honest testimony. Every society, whateveer its economic and political situation, must strive to encourage these qualities in its citizens. God’s people should form the vanguard, if you will, in the efforts for justice!

Advertisement

Meditation

19th Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 24 – 10-16-22

Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2nd Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8

I invite you all to read today’s scripture readings, but have decided that one William Tyndale deserved to be discussed this Sunday, for his efforts to bring the Word of God to all people.

William Tyndale: Biography of the Father of the English Bible

William Tyndale: Father of the English Bible

How many Bibles do you have in your house? For most of us, Bibles are easily accessible, and many of us have several. That we have the Bible in English owes much to William Tyndale, sometimes called the Father of the English Bible. 90% of the King James Version of the Bible and 75% of the Revised Standard Version are from the translation of the Bible into English made by William Tyndale, yet Tyndale himself was burned at the stake for his work on this day, October 6, 1536.

William Tyndale was born near the Welsh border of England in 1494. Forty years earlier, two important events occurred in Europe which would have a great impact on Tyndale’s life and work. In May, 1453, the Turks had stormed Constantinople, and the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Muslim invaders. Greek scholars fled westward and brought with them a scholarship which had been almost forgotten in the West. Greek language studies of the classics increased, and the Scriptures began to be studied in the original Greek, rather than the Latin Vulgate. The invention of the printing press in 1454 was a second important development. The printing press would eliminate copyist errors and make the Scriptures more easily available in quantity editions. But to have the Bible in English was illegal.

In an attempt to restrain the influence of Wycliffe’s followers, in 1408 Parliament had passed the “Constitutions of Oxford” which forbade anyone translating or reading a part of the Bible in the language of the people without permission of the ecclesiastical authorities. Men and women were even burned for teaching their children the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments in English. William Tyndale, however, had an unquenchable passion to make the Bible available to every Englishman.

Back in the fourteenth century, John Wycliffe was the first to make (or at least oversee) an English translation of the Bible, but that was before the invention of the printing press and all copies had to be handwritten. Besides, the church had banned the unauthorized translation of the Bible into English in 1408.

Over one hundred years later, however, William Tyndale had a burning desire to make the Bible available to even the common people in England. After studying at Oxford and Cambridge, he joined the household of Sir John Walsh at little Sudbury Manor as tutor to the Walsh children. Walsh was a generous lord of the manor and often entertained the local clergy at his table. Tyndale often added spice to the table conversation as he was confronted with the Biblical ignorance of the priests. At one point Tyndale told a priest, “If God spares my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.”

It was a nice dream, but how was Tyndale to accomplish this when translating the Bible into English was illegal? He went to London to ask Bishop Tunstall if he could be authorized to make an English translation of the Bible, but the bishop would not grant his approval. However, Tyndale would not let the disapproval of men stop him from carrying out what seemed so obviously God’s will. With encouragement and support of some British merchants, he decided to go to Europe to complete his translation, then have it printed and smuggled back into England.

William Tyndale Follows God’s Will to Germany

Tyndale went to the Bishop of London, Cuthbert Tunstall, to seek permission to translate the Bible into English. Tunstall refused. But while in London Tyndale came into contact with several merchants who were smuggling into England some of Martin Luther’s writings from Germany. They encouraged Tyndale to go to Europe to translate. They would help smuggle the Bibles back into England.

In 1524 Tyndale sailed for Germany. In Hamburg, he worked on the New Testament, and in Cologne, he found a printer who would print the work. However, news of Tyndale’s activity came to an opponent of the Reformation who had the press raided. Tyndale himself managed to escape with the pages already printed and made his way to the German city Worms where the New Testament was soon published. Six thousand copies were printed and smuggled into England. The bishops did everything they could to eradicate the Bibles — Bishop Tunstall had copies ceremoniously burned at St. Paul’s; the archbishop of Canterbury bought up copies to destroy them. Tyndale used the money to print improved editions!

King Henry VIII, then in the throes of his divorce with Queen Katherine, offered Tyndale a safe passage to England to serve as his writer and scholar. Tyndale refused, saying he would not return until the Bible could be legally translated into English. Tyndale continued hiding among the merchants in Antwerp and began translating the Old Testament while the King’s agents searched all over England and Europe for him.

Tyndale fled England to translate the Bible on the Continent. Even there he had to be careful to avoid English spies and informers, as well as European opponents of the Reformation. His whereabouts are often difficult to determine, but he spent time in Hamburg, Wittenberg, Cologne, Worms, and Antwerp. In 1525 his New Testament was printed and smuggled back into England. It was the first translation of the Bible from the original Greek into English –indeed, it was the first translation of a Greek book into English.

Tyndale’s Betrayal and Martyrdom

In 1534 Tyndale was betrayed by a false friend near Brussels, arrested by imperial forces, and thrown into prison. Tyndale was finally found by an Englishman who pretended to be his friend but then turned him over to the authorities. After a year and a half in prison, he was brought to trial for heresy — for believing, among other things, in the forgiveness of sins and that the mercy offered in the gospel was enough for salvation. He was accused of maintaining that faith alone justifies.

In August 1536, he was condemned; on this day October 6, 1536, he was strangled and his body burned at the stake. His last prayer was “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” The prayer was answered in part when three years later, in 1539, Henry VIII required every parish church in England to make a copy of the English Bible available to its parishioners.

The Martyrdom of William Tyndale

Bibliography:

  1. Adapted from an earlier Christian History Institute story.
  2. Bowie, Walter Russell. Men of Fire. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1961.
  3. Daniell, David. William Tyndale, a biography. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.
  4. Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921 – 1996.
  5. Kunitz, Stanley L. British Authors Before 1800; a biographical dictionary. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1952.
  6. Mozley, J. F. William Tyndale. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: The Macmillan company, 1937.
  7. Sampson, George. Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge, 1961.
  8. “Tyndale or Tindale, William.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
  9. Wild, Laura Huld. The Romance of the English Bible; a history of the translation of the Bible into English from Wyclif to the present day. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1929.
  10. Various encyclopedia articles.

Last updated May 2021

As for myself, I have 15 to 20 Bibles of numerous versions. I enjoy reading the Word that our Father in Heaven left to us to study, to understand, to guide us in our daily lives and the prepare us for the day when He will send Jesus back again, to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on this earth, after it is restored completely as it was in the beginning. William Tyndale died at the age of 42, hung, and then burned to death alive, because he had been given a vision of everyone have the ability to read the Bible for themselves, in the English language.

Today, people use Bibles as show pieces for their visitors to see on tables in their living rooms, but sadly, many are not opened. I know, because when I see one, I ask if it’s ok to look at it and will see how the pages have never been turned. For me, there is nothing more restful, than to hold a Bible (not on an I-Phone, laptop or any other digital or electronic device) in my hands and read Scripture. William was impacted by many of the Reformation clergy of the day and he would never have been able to accomplish his task without the printing press and the printers who also took risks just talking with him. I have talked to missionaries who were able to get Bibles into Communist countries where they are illegal and wondered how blessed we are to be able to sit leisurely in our own homes or in parks, in churches, yet no one carries a Bible with them to worship.

So Today, let us pause to say thank you to William Tyndale and all those who helped in the pursuit of sharing God’s Word with billions of people. Beloved, humor me today, and take some time to open your Bibles and read today’s scriptures for this Sunday, and then pause a little while longer and ask yourself how it applies to your life today. Who knows, maybe you just might do it again tomorrow. At least I can hope this will happen to you! Amen

Meditation

10/14/2022

At that time I commanded Joshua; ‘You have seen with your own eyes all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. The Lord will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. Do not be afraid of them; the lord your God himself will fight for you.’ At that time I pleaded with the Lord: ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?” (Deuteronomy 3:21-24- God in History)

Beloved history reveals to people of faith the incomparable nature of God and relieves fears brought by historical crises. No human can do the things God does, and clearly no other god can match His power. The gods are no more than blocks of stone or wood or molten images created by human hands. The Lore has demonstrated His sovereign power by creating all things and calling a servant people for Himself.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, in this short story, we come to realize that no human being has ever had to capability of reproducing what You alone can do, and that all of the other gods are nothing but images of gods people have crafted out of wood or stone or molten images crafted by artisans and that have no ability to see, hear, do anything other than sit on shelves or walls. Abba, You alone are our God and we both love and honor You by our services offered at Your direction. Today, we recommit ourselves and our skills to Your honor. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The bridge you burn now may be the one you later have to cross.”

KNOWING GOD:

Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, ‘Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.’ When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, ‘Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” (Judges 16:23-24 – God in History)

God’s actions in history may not be evident. Other people may claim control of history for their god (s). The long run of history show that only the one true God controls history.

I AM:

To whom then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A man too poor to present such an offing selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.” (Isaiah 40:18-24 – God in History)

Beloved, God’s judgment on political powers points to His unique position in the world.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Just as I had determined to bring disaster upon you and showed no pity when your fathers angered me,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘so not I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid.’” (Zechariah 8:14-15 – God in History)

History reveals God’s freedom to act in response to His people and in accord with His purposes. Neither judgment nor deliverance totally characterizes God’s relation to His people and their history. Once God judged a faithless nation without pity. Then He chose to achieve His purposes by doing good for His people. Wrath is God’s temporary work so He can perform His permanent work of grace. Just as creation was a good work of God, so He wants His work in history to create a people that is good!

Meditation

10/13/2022

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. For the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and whee he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and the Perizzites wee also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before ou? Let’s part company. If you go the the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.’ Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company. Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lord chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The women parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lord lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.” (Genesis 13:1-13- History, Narrative)

Israel’s authoritative Scripture is historical narrative in form rather than theological discussion of doctrine or catechetical life of teaching. The narrative centers on persons of minor or no significance from secular historians of the biblical period. Biblical history is concerned with the spiritual experiences of chosen people with God rather than with the political history of powerful nations. Only as international politics intersects with the working out of God’s purposes do international institutions and personalities receive notice in biblical history. Abram moved from Mesopotamia through Canaan to Egypt, but no kings, pharaohs, or international events were name. Rather Abram’s ability to bring blessing or cursing on nations and individuals is the focus. History is the story of God’s blessing and promise, 12:2-3, and promise, 13:14-17.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, in the story of Lot and Abram, we see two brothers traveling together, though Lot’s situation depended desperately upon water, that the plains would provide, while Abram was willing to going either way to appease the rift between him and his brother. Lot’s focus overlooked the danger of sinful Sodom, and it would later cost him dearly. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

A man is rich according to what He is, not what he has.”

KNOWING GOD:

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. He did evil in the eyes of he Lord and did not turn away from any of he sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel fro Lebo Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, in accordance with the words of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through His servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher. The Lord had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering: there was no one to help them. And since the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he, he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash. AS for the other vents of Jeroboam’s reign, all he did, and his military achievements, including how he recovered for Israel both Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Yaudi, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jeroboam rested with his fathers, the kings of Israel. And Zechariah his son succeeded him as king.” (2nd Kings 14:23-29 – History Narrative)

Historical narrative dominates the inspired Old Testament. This narrative documents that which God wants to teach His people, not that which human historians need to reconstruct a political history of Israel. Political historians would provide extensive details of Jeroboam’s forty-one years, particularly of his important military victories. The biblical historian simply summarized the reign briefly, emphasizing the king’s serious spiritual errors and noting the goodness of God in fulfilling the prophetic word in responding to the people’s suffering. God’s Word is interested in obedience more than political accomplishment.

I AM:

As for other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Naah the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat?” (2nd Chronicles 9:29 – Narrative History)

As for the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seers, the records of Nathan, the prophets and the records of Gad the seer, together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and he kingdoms of all the other lands. In short, it was a custom of this time that if a seer or prophet mentioned and event or king, it was written down by whomever heard about the subject. These folks wrote better that we have conversations, so to think someone my get by with something, is pretty slim. Besides, God knew all anyway.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The word of the Lord that came to Zehaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gediliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah, son of Amon king of Judah.” (Zepaniah 1:1– Narrative History)

Prophetic books basically record series of prophetic sermons. The introduction of the books give, however, and historical framework to the prophet’s ministry. Prophetic preaching is closely tied to historical events and cultural contexts. It gains meaning by relating to historical human existence rather than idealistic spiritual dreams. God’s judgments and hope grow out of historical conditions and historical needs. Prophecy retains its power as we find it so natural to relate to the historical conditions of a previous generation and find God’s call to them speaks to our historical conditions also.

Meditation

10/12/2022

After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, ‘It is too much for you you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ One day he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.” (1st Kings 12:28-30- Confession of Belief Recites History)

Confessing the right words in the wrong context is sinful. Jeroboam repeated Israel’s basic confession of faith in God’s deliverance in the Exodus. He suggested his calves represented the presence of the God of the Exodus. God punished his house for this grave sin because God explicitly prohibited images representing Him, with no exceptions allowed.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, throughout history Your church has lifted up persons as being saints for the work they did which caused Your church to grow and bear much fruit for the kingdom of Heaven, and yet not even one has ever been the focus of worship. As the Triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit), You and You alone have been and always should be the focus of our worship. The verses from 1st Kings is a reminder that it was not ever appropriate to worship golden calf or anything else but You alone. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Giving makes living better.”

KNOWING GOD:

Proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 26:7 – Confession of Belief Recites History)

Proclaiming God’s saving acts is a central part of worship. God wants believers to tell the masses the wondrous deeds of the Lord. The “joy of the Lord” is not only our strength; it is the motivation of our evangelization towards all people.

I AM:

My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember, your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you make known the righteous acts of the Lord.“ (Micah 6:3-5 – Confession of Belief Recites History)

Israel’s worship was supposed to center on confession of God’s historical acts. Too often it centered on complaint about God’s lack of action. God called Israel to remember what He had done and know He would continue to be their Redeemer. Correctly seen, history justifies God. It does not condemn God. It calls to praise and confession not complaint and self-pity.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: ‘Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!! The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. ‘After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ ‘From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised. Before the coming of Jesus John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people” (Acts 13:16-31– Confession of Belief Recites History)

New Testament proclamation continued the Old Testament practice of formulating confessions of faith in narrative form, confessing God’s historical acts. New Testament confession center on the history of Jesus. The confession is a message of salvation available to all peoples—-Jews and non-Jews. The confession is not a statement to be memorized and held as a standard of judgment for others. It is a personal formulation of the church’s central message for its members and to all people who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and that we confess this willingly and openly, for the salvation being offered is free to all who claim it!

God’s salvation history with Israel is a part of Christian proclamation. Jesus’ offer of justification and forgiveness for intentional and unintentional sins through faith is a crucial element of said proclamation.

Meditation

10/11/2022

Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—-come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—let not the rebellious rise up against him.” (Psalm 66:5-7- History Leads to Praise)

Review of God’s mighty acts calls God’s people to praise. In His unlimited power God rules the world. He displays His power in historical acts which defeat the enemies of His people. These acts reveal God’s power to all people. Our suffering may not be the deserved punishment for sin but a testing of our faith. God allows us to face situations where our faith in Him is experiences, we praise God for them and use them as personal testimony to encourage others.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, Your acts may be accomplished in a number of ways; sometimes You take action on our behalf; sometimes You direct others (that may or may not even be believers) to accomplish actions for Your people, and sometimes You even use us in a way that accomplishes Your goal, to test our faith in You. We open our hearts and minds to Your use this day and everyday, Abba, that Your will be done at all time. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Plant the Word of God in your hear and your life will grow and produce a good harvest, rain or shine, that’s a promise!”

KNOWING GOD:

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of he earth have seen the salvation of our God.” (Psalm 98:1-3 – History Leads to Praise)

Note the close relationship between God’s love and righteousness and salvation. Letting His people see His salvation reveals to all people that He is righteous. He acts to save because He love and is faithful to His purpose and promises. Furthermore, God wants us to be more like Him with our families, our neighbors, our communities and even beyond those borders. We ought to treat others in the same manner we have been loved.

I AM:

Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord, you who minister in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possessions. I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of he earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of men and animals. He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings—-Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan and all the kings of Canaan—-and he gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to his people Israel. Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, through all generations. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those make them will be like them. And so will all who trust in them. O house of Israel, praise the Lord; O house of Aaron, praise the Lord; O house of Levi, praise the Lord; you who fear him, praise the Lord. Praise be to the Lord from Zion, to him who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.“(Psalm 135:5-18 – History Leads to Praise)

This is a “hallelujah” psalm—-one which begins and ends with “Praise the Lord.” It praise God for who He is to Himself as well as to what He has done for His people. verses 15-20 are nearly identical with verses 115:4-11. In praise we not only speak to God, we also encourage one another to praise Him.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

I will exalt you my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your worlds to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is and your dominion endure through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give hem their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” (Psalm 145:1-21– History Leads to Praise)

Individual worship involves meditation on God’s historical acts. This reveals God’s majestic personal characteristics: greatness, majesty, power, goodness, righteousness, grace, compassion, loving, glory, splendor, faithfulness, presence, giving, saving, holy. His character leads us to praise Him and to strive in our individual lives to emulate His character. We are to treat each other righteously, in compassionate manners and faith, and to live one another as we seek to be loved in return. Christianity is not easy, it takes diligence and hard work to change our worldly outlook to that of God’s outlook. This is why Jesus had to come to earth, to model the example of living righteously and how to live out lives in the world, but with a godly outlook and not a worldly outlook.

Meditation

10/10/2022

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 17:6- God Works Through God’s Leaders)

God’s people needed role models and spiritual leaders. Without them the past history of God’s acts and the future hope based on those acts can be easily forgotten. Lack of leadership and forgetting of history lead to self-centered life. Israel ignored God’s moral and religious demands when no one led them to remember His historical deliverance.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, we are bereft of true role models with moral values and many time our spiritual leaders do not teach the truth regarding living moral laws and have righteous characters. Our country lacks serious leaders who serve us instead of themselves. Their votes are up to the highest bidders, who do not have our best interests in mind. Abba, we need true honest men and women who want to serve our country as servants and not as self-centered tyrants. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Take the Word of God and take God at His Word.”

KNOWING GOD:

Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear and ephod in my presence. I also gave your father’s house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites. Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel? Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me forever. But now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendant will die in the prime of live. And what happens to your sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—-they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always. Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a crust of bread and plead, ‘Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.’” (1st Samuel 2:27-36 – God Works Through God’s Leaders)

God’s revelation in history should be sufficient motivation for His chosen leaders to remain faithful to Him. Leaders cannot expect to retain positions when they ignore God and His expectations. God is not bound to honor unfaithful leaders. Those who have been called to serve God and choose their own needs over God’s commands, will suffer a heavy price for their choice.

I AM:

Altogether, those chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds numbered 212. They were registered by genealogy in their villages. The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer.” (1st Chronicles 9:22 – God Works Through God’s Leaders)

History gives claim to inherited positions. Returning from the Exile, Israel’s religious leaders used genealogical lists reaching back to David to show their right to serve in the new Temple. God’s leaders need roots in the history and traditions of His people. The Chronicler used the genealogies of chapters 1-9 to give such identifying roots to his post Exilic audience before telling Israel’s story. The center of history for Chronicles is the reign of David, so the writer began with Saul’s death, introducing David’s reign.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the men and women singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a traditions in Israel and are written in the Laments.” (2nd Chronicles 35:25– God Works Through God’s Leaders)

Fallen faithful leaders should not be forgotten. Lament over their death helps God’s people learn the needed lessons of history. This is not a recommendation from God; rather, it was a decision with all future leaders and people to remember.

Meditation

18th Sunday After Pentecost – Proper 23 – -0-09-2-22

Psalm 66:1-11; Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; 2nd Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19

Our psalm for today is both about testing and praising God. He most certainly can put us to the test, to gauge the strength of our faith; like a silversmith clears out the ugly portion of the melted silver, he take a tool and spreads that which is dirty or unpure to the side of the container, so that he can then reach the clear and purified silver for His use. God will allow us at times to face situations where our faith in Him is challenged and can e strengthened; thus, we look back on such experiences and we praise God for them and use them as personal testimony to encourage others. Although some psalms praise God as the peculiar God of Israel, the majority extol Him as the God of all peoples. This one typifies the many expressions of praise. Such praise is not a private prayer but a public testimony, which provides an important principle of prayer. Unconfessed, and thus unforgiven, sin blocks communication with God.

From Jeremiah we come to understand there are prophets, but only those God speaks to give His revelations to His people in truth. Even in exile the Hebrew people continued to look to false prophets and to diviners who sought God’s word from natural forces and animal parts. Change of scenery and economic conditions did nothing to change their sinful attempts to create revelation rather than depending on God for it. Prophets receiving divine revelation appeared to be mad. God rules foreign lands as well as the land of His chosen people. Geography does not restrict God. Neither do prophets who preach without receiving words from Him. We can trust God in His sovereign rule because we know ultimately His plans give us hope and a future.

From 2nd Timothy we are reminded as a human Son of David, Jesus fulfilled all God’s promises to Israel. As the One raised from death, He gave us reason to endure all the world’s suffering and persecution, knowing we will live with Him now and forever. On the cross, He put away our old way of life and introduced us to enduring faithfulness which will lead us to reign with Him in heaven. He is always faithful to His character and His promises, and he wants us to know that we can trust in faith, that He will do just as He said He would do and that we can depend upon Him. The Word of God, alive and unchained, cannot be contained by human effort. Even though the messenger is imprisoned, the message is never imprisoned. God knows who are His people. Always remember that “Carriers of the truth of God are to represent that truth and the God of truth well enough that we need never apologize for ourselves. God wants His people to be well prepared in the interpretation of God’s truth. The messenger who interprets God’s truth for others is an agent of hiss revelation.”

Finally from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is on the border of Samaria and Galilee and encounters ten men who are afflicted with leprosy and they stood at a distance from Him and called out in a loud voice, “Jess, Master, have pity on us!” Upon seeing them, he said, “God show yourselves to the priest.” And as they wen they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He thew himself at Jesus’ feet an thanks him—-and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Ten lepers, at least one of them a Samaritan, asked for healing. In response to Jesus’ charge to show themselves to the priest, they went—-in faith. All were cleansed. Only one, a Samaritan returned to thank Jesus. This action expressed greater faith. Miracles should increase our faith and cause us to both thank and praise God.

Each of us beloved is a servant of the Masters calling. A servant is a disciple who by their obedience to serve in faith and with righteous character, to do His will in gratitude for what Christ did, not in response to His charge to show themselves to the priest, they went—in faith. All were healed as was the one who went back to thank Him and praise God for his healing showed greater faith. Amen

Meditation

10/07/2022

On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.’ ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’” (Psalm 92:4- God Gives and Limits Freedom)

God’s history of deliverance calls His people to cooperate with Him and with one another to achieve His purposes. God showed Israel clearly His plan for their life in the Promised Land. He spelled out the consequences of failure to cooperate in His plan. History is not a preset course people have to follow. History is a conversation between God and His people as He seeks to lead us to achieve His perfect purposes.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, these verses remind us that we are to be obedient to Your Word, that punishment similar to that which would happen to those the Israelites were displacing, but also to them if they disobey. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

No time for Christ? He has an eternity for you!”

KNOWING GOD:

Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.” (Joshua 15:63 –God Gives and Limits Freedom)

God’s historical act of giving the land involved the possibility of human failure. Dan could not gain control of the western inheritance and retreated to the northeast to gain a territory. God’s history is not a continuous series of successes for His people. Rather, He allows freedom to fail but remains present to direct through and beyond failure. Beloved, even when the promised property was lost or not gained, God was able to fulfill His promise to provide His people with an inheritance. When Dan could not possess its original lot, God replaced it with a placed call Leshem, which was renamed Dan. God always points to divine faithfulness, not guaranteed human achievement.

I AM:

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who know but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this/’ Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘God, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go the the king, even thought I it against the law. And if I perish,I perish.’” (Esther 4:12-16 – God Gives and Limits Freedom)

Humans face decisions to be available for God’s use or not. God leads people to places in life where they they can be useful in His purposes. He forces no one to be so used. He can always accomplish His saving purposes through someone else.

Fasting is usually associated with prayer. Fasting in the sumptuous luxury of the palace was an indication of unusual earnestness. Esther needed dedicated prayer as she prepared to risk her life for her people.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (Acts 4:27-28– God Gives and Limits Freedom)

God’s plan for saving a people for Himself included Christ’s death. Herod, Pilate and many other people conspired to cause Christ’s physical death. Their historical actions were not forced upon them. They acted in freedom and had to bear the weight of responsibility for their sinful acts. God works ou His plans in time and history without robbing humans of freedom to act.

Meditation

10/06/2022

For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.” (Psalm 92:4- God works in Individual History)

The redemptive actions of God brought the worshiper gladness, and He celebrated the faithfulness of God in the constant revelation of His love for His people through deeds of mercy and salvation. The joy the believer experiences is based upon God’s unfailing presence and work in all that happens. The history of God’s acts for His people brings joy and hop to individual worshipers.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Dear Abba, this verse is a reminder of Your love and care for us, your believers. As believers, we sing our praises of joy at the very works of Your hands, Abba. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Do not ask to know God’s will until you are ready to follow it.”

KNOWING GOD:

I cry to you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of h living.’ Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.” (Psalm 143:5-6 –God works in Individual History)

Present historical conditions do not reveal the ultimate reality of history. Historical memories of what God has done must line on to kindle hopes of what He is going to do. God can and will do what He pleases to bring about His purposes.

I AM:

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1 – God works in Individual History )

Individual hope does not come in length of days or accomplishments of all plans. God controls each individual’s destiny. We will never fulfill all our plans. Our only source of pride and security is in God Almighty.

SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.’ (Luke 1:25–God works in Individual History)

God’s saving acts bring new hope to individuals. With the encounter of Gabriel brought the news that though Elizabeth was well beyond child bearing age and her husband, Zechariah was well beyond age to produce a child, and that child would be the “one crying out in the wilderness,” that the Messiah was coming and to get ready. He works mighty deeds in individual lives as well as in international political affairs.