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25 Mar 2012
Baffling Beatitudes VII: Shalom-Maker
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
18 Mar 2012
Baffling Beatitudes VI: Hearts and Minds
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
11 Mar 2012
Baffling Beatitudes V: Lord Have Mercy
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
04 Mar 2012
Baffling Beatitudes IV: Just Desserts?
"21 ""I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!"
26 Feb 2012
Baffling Beatitudes III: Humble Pie?
"1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 ""Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?"" they asked. ""Hasn't he also spoken through us?"" And the LORD heard this.
3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
4 At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, ""Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you."" So the three of them went out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, 6 he said, ""Listen to my words:
""When there is a prophet among you,
I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7 But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8 With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?""
9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them."
19 Feb 2012
Baffling Beatitudes II: Good Grief?
"1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, ""Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.""
2 Elisha replied to her, ""How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?""
""Your servant has nothing there at all,"" she said, ""except a small jar of olive oil.""
3 Elisha said, ""Go around and ask all your neighbours for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.""
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, ""Bring me another one.""
But he replied, ""There is not a jar left."" Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, ""Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."""
12 Feb 2012
Baffling Beatitudes I: Spiritual Poverty?
"1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 ""Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
05 Feb 2012
15 Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
29 Jan 2012
No Act of Love is Wasted
"21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 ""What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are the Holy One of God!""
25 ""Be quiet!"" said Jesus sternly. ""Come out of him!"" 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ""What is this? A new teaching and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him."" 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee."
22 Jan 2012
The One That Got Away
"1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 ""Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.""
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city, proclaiming, ""Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown."" 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When Jonah's warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
""By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.""
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened."
15 Jan 2012
"1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.
Samuel answered, ""Here I am."" 5 And he ran to Eli and said, ""Here I am; you called me.""
But Eli said, ""I did not call; go back and lie down."" So he went and lay down.
6 Again the LORD called, ""Samuel!"" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ""Here I am; you called me.""
""My son,"" Eli said, ""I did not call; go back and lie down.""
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 A third time the LORD called, ""Samuel!"" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ""Here I am; you called me.""
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, ""Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'"" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ""Samuel! Samuel!""
Then Samuel said, ""Speak, for your servant is listening.""
11 And the LORD said to Samuel: ""See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.'""
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, ""Samuel, my son.""
Samuel answered, ""Here I am.""
17 ""What was it he said to you?"" Eli asked. ""Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you."" 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, ""He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.""
19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD."
08 Jan 2012
"1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ""Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.""
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 ""In Bethlehem in Judea,"" they replied, ""for this is what the prophet has written:
6 ""'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'""
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ""Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.""
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."