Morning Prayer: 30 Jun – Proverbs 30:1-6 ~ I am weary, O God…

Peanut Gallery: During the month of June we are reading through the Book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. “Growing in Character” is the theme; each day we will look for practical advice on living a wise and godly life in this present age.

I recommend that you begin by reading through the entire chapter for the day yourself (a link will be included, see below.) There is something for everyone in the Book of Proverbs. I will focus on what speaks to me in the chapter and follow that theme for the day. But the verse that speaks to me, on any particular day, may be different from the wisdom God has for you… and you don’t want to miss out.

Growing in Character: Proverbs 30

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence and prayer

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
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Open my eyes, Lord, to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)
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A reading from Proverbs: Proverbs 30:1-6 (NLT)

The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.

weary

I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.

Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name — and his son’s name? Tell me if you know!

Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
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A reading from the Letters: Colossians 1:9-23 (NLT) 

We have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
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Reflection:

Proverbs 30:1-6 (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Agur speaks of himself as wanting a righteousness, and having done very foolishly. And it becomes us all to have low thoughts of ourselves. He speaks of himself as wanting revelation to guide him in the ways of truth and wisdom. The more enlightened people are, the more they lament their ignorance; the more they pray for clearer, still clearer discoveries of God, and his rich grace in Christ Jesus.

In verse 4, there is a prophetic notice of Him who came down from heaven to be our Instructor and Savior, and then ascended into heaven to be our Advocate. The Messiah is here spoken of as a Person distinct from the Father, but his name as yet secret. The great Redeemer, in the glories of his providence and grace, cannot be found out to perfection. Had it not been for Christ, the foundations of the earth had sunk under the load of the curse upon the ground, for man’s sin.

Who, and what is the mighty One that does all this? There is not the least ground to suspect anything wanting in the word of God; adding to his words opens the way to errors and corruptions.
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MY GOD – Stuart Townend

MY GOD FULL OF MERCY / Heard our weeping / Came to bring us home again / My God takes the broken / And makes them whole

My God touched the leper / Raised the lame man / And He caused the blind to see / My God takes the broken / And makes them whole

My God stood for justice / Shamed the prideful / But He called the sinner friend / My God takes the broken / And makes them whole

My God felt the anguish / Of the soldier / Made his child to live again / My God takes the broken / And makes them whole

My God mocked and beaten / Crushed and bleeding / Yet crying Father God forgive / My God became broken / To make me whole

My God on the third day / In the morning / Broke the shackles of the grave / My God takes the broken / And makes them whole

My God knows my failures / Speaks forgiveness / Gives me strength to try again / My God takes the broken / And makes me whole
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Morning Prayer: 29 Jun – Proverbs 29:17 ~ on discipline

Peanut Gallery: During the month of June we are reading through the Book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. “Growing in Character” is the theme; each day we will look for practical advice on living a wise and godly life in this present age.

I recommend that you begin by reading through the entire chapter for the day yourself (a link will be included, see below.) There is something for everyone in the Book of Proverbs. I will focus on what speaks to me in the chapter and follow that theme for the day. But the verse that speaks to me, on any particular day, may be different from the wisdom God has for you… and you don’t want to miss out.

Growing in Character: Proverbs 29

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence and prayer

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
_____

Open my eyes, Lord, to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)
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A reading from Proverbs: Proverbs 29:17 (NLT)

discipline

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
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A reading from the Letters: Hebrews 12:5-7 (NLT)

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?
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Reflection:

What the Bible Says About Discipline – by Chip Ingram
Part of the Effective Child Discipline Series

The case study I want us to look at comes from Scripture. The subject is a group of spiritual children, Jewish Christians who are rebelling and pulling away from Christ. They are suffering persecution and wondering if the Christian life is worth the trouble. They know the right thing to do — maintain faith in Jesus. But that seems too hard, so they’re crossing their arms and turning away.

We can listen in on God’s response to these Christians in Hebrews 12:1-11. This is how God disciplines His children. (By the way, any time you see God operating as a parent in Scripture, take note. If you’re the kind of parent to your children that God is to His, you’re right on target.)

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The passage gives a very human illustration: “Our fathers disci­plined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (v. 10). The point? “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (v. 11).

Do you see what Scripture is saying here? Far from being a dirty word, discipline is evidence of love. When you consistently disci­pline your child and do it with the right attitude — compassionately, under control, with consistent boundaries and consequences, and focused on the child’s best outcome — you are expressing love exactly as God sometimes expresses His love. It may seem uncom­fortable both to you and your child at the time, but in the long run, it’s the most selfless, compassionate thing you can do to set your child up for happiness in life and fruitfulness in God’s Kingdom.

The Bible’s perspective on discipline is affirmed by what many psychologists and sociologists are now learning about child development: that children left to themselves will do what all people left to themselves in a fallen world will do. They’ll make bad decisions that produce pain and turmoil in their lives. Relationships won’t work right, money will be mismanaged and debt will pile up, conflict will erupt both within and without, and long-term goals will never be realized. So God tells the Hebrew Christians that the adversity they face comes from His loving hand, not because they’re bad, but because He wants the best for them. That’s our motivation as parents as well.
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Same-Sex Marriage and the Future: Reblog / Russell Moore / TGC

Same-Sex Marriage and the Future (see original article here)
Russell Moore / June 26, 2015

Above all, we must prepare people for what the future holds, when Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality aren’t part of the cultural consensus but are seen to be strange and freakish and even subversive. If our people assume that everything goes back to normal with the right President and a quick constitutional amendment, they are not being equipped for a world that views evangelical Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews and others as bigots and freaks.

The Bible tells us that the king of Israel once wanted to hear from the prophets, as to whether he would be victorious over his enemies. All the court prophets told him exactly what he wanted to hear. Yet the king of Judah, wisely, asked whether there might be another voice to hear from, and Israel’s king said that, yes, there was, but that he hated this prophet “because he never prophesies good concerning me” (1 Kings 22:8).

Once found, this prophet refused to speak the consensus word the king wanted to hear. “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak” (1 Kings 22:14). And, as it turned out, it was a hard word.

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When it comes to what people want to hear, the church faces a similar situation as we look to the future of marriage in this country. Many want the sort of prophetic witness that will spin the situation to look favorable, regardless of whether that favor is from the Lord or in touch with reality.

Some people want a court of prophets who will take a surgeon’s scalpel to the Word of God. They want those who will say, in light of what the Bible clearly calls immorality, “Has God really said?” Following the trajectory of every old liberalism of the past, they want to do with a Christian sexual ethic what the old liberals did with the virgin birth—claim that contemporary people just won’t have this, and if we want to rescue Christianity, this will have to go overboard. All the while they’ll tell us they’re doing it for the children (or for the Millennials).

Preaching a Gospel That Doesn’t Save

This is infidelity to the gospel we’ve received. First, no one refusing to repent of sin—be it homosexuality or fornication or anything else—will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9–10). This strategy leaves people in condemnation before the judgment seat of Christ, without reconciliation and without hope.

Second, it doesn’t even work. Look at the empty cathedrals of the Episcopal Church, the vacated pews of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and right down the line. Let me be clear. Even if embracing same-sex marriage—or any other endorsement of what the Bible calls sexual immorality—“worked” in church building, we still wouldn’t do it. If we have to choose between Jesus and Millennials, we choose Jesus. But history shows us that those who want a different Jesus—the one who says, “Do whatever you want with your body, it’s okay by me”—don’t want Christianity at all.

But there will be those who want prophets who will say that the gospel doesn’t call for repentance, or at least not repentance from this sin. These prophets will apply a selective universalism that denies that judgment is coming, or that the blood of Christ is needed. But these prophets don’t speak for God. And we have no one to blame but ourselves since, for too long, too many of us have tolerated among us those who have substituted a cheap and easy false gospel for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Too many have been called gospel preachers who preach decision without faith, regeneration without repentance, justification without lordship, deliverance by walking an aisle but without carrying a cross. That gospel is different from the one Jesus and his apostles delivered to us. That gospel doesn’t save.

So when these prophets emerge to tell people they can stay in their sins and still be saved, we must thunder back with the old gospel that calls all of us to repentance and to cross-bearing, the gospel that calls sin what it is in order to call grace what it is. J. Gresham Machen warned us that our Lord Jesus himself never attempted to preach the gospel to the righteous but only to sinners. Those who follow him must start by acknowledging themselves to be in need of mercy, to be in need of grace that can pardon and cleanse within.

Marriage Revolution Is Real

There’s another form of court prophet of these times, too. This one has no problem identifying homosexuality as sin. He may do so with all sorts of bluster and outrage, but he still does what court prophets always do—he speaks a word that people want to hear. Some people want to hear that sexual immorality is moral after all, and other people want to hear that same-sex marriage is simply a matter of some elites on the coasts of the country. This prophet implies that if we just sign checks to the right radio talk-show hosts, and have a good election cycle or two, we’ll be right back where we were, back when carpets were shag and marriages were strong. I don’t know anyone in any advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.—and there are many fighting the good fight on this one—who is saying that. As a matter of fact, the organizations closest to the ground know just how dark the hour is.

In some form or another, your church will have to address the marriage revolution. This includes thinking through steps that churches should take to protect themselves and their confessions of faith from legal action. But it also includes being honest about our congregations. It’s simply not the case that homosexuality, same-sex attraction, transgenderism, and so on are issues in “big” churches or “city” churches. In backwood rural churches of Appalachia or the mythological Bible Belt of the American South, congregations have to know how to faithfully and compassionately minister to the sexual revolution’s refugees. Churches that aren’t addressing these issues in their Sunday gatherings are ignoring the Great Commission.

That’s why this isn’t merely an issue of an election cycle or two. There is an urgent need for conscience protections for those who dissent from the High Church of the Sexual Revolution. Look at the way the CEO of Mozilla was hounded out of office simply for supporting a ballot measure defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Look at the way Baronnelle Stutzman was accosted by her own government, not for refusing services to gay customers (she served many gay clients for years) but for refusing to agree with two customers, and the state, about a same-sex wedding.

If the church doesn’t read the signs of the times, we will be right where we evangelicals were after Roe v. Wade—caught flat-footed and unprepared. Thankfully, many Christian leaders, and many outside the evangelical tradition, became bold leaders in the cause of protecting unborn life. We owe much today to their courage.

Lessons from the Pro-Life Movement

So what should we do? Precisely what we should have done before and after Roe. We should recognize where the courts and the culture are, and we should work for justice. That means not simply assuming most people agree with us on marriage. We must articulate, both in and out of the church, why marriage matters, and why its definition isn’t infinitely elastic.

We must—like the pro-life movement has done—seek not only to engage our base, those who already agree with us, but to persuade those who don’t. That doesn’t mean less talk about marriage and sexuality but more—and not just in soundbytes and slogans but in a robust theology of why sexual complementarity and the one-flesh union are rooted in the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 5:22–33). We must—also like the pro-life movement—understand the danger of a Supreme Court that won’t will into existence constitutional planks.

Above all, we must prepare people for what the future holds, when Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality aren’t part of the cultural consensus but are seen to be strange and freakish and even subversive. If our people assume that everything goes back to normal with the right President and a quick constitutional amendment, they are not being equipped for a world that views evangelical Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews and others as bigots and freaks.

Jesus told us we would have hard times. He never promised us a prosperity gospel. He said we would face opposition, but he said he would be with us. If we are going to be faithful to his gospel, we must preach repentance—even when that repentance is culturally unwelcome. And we must preach that any sinner can be forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. That means courage, and that means kindness. Sexual revolutionaries will hate the repentance. Buffoonish heretics, who want only to vent paranoia and rally their troops, will hate the kindness. So be it.

Be Ready

Our churches must be ready to call out the revisionists who wish to do away with a Christian sexual ethic. And we must be ready to call out those who tell us acknowledging the signs of the times is forbidden, and we should just keep doing what we’ve been doing. An issue this culturally powerful cannot be addressed by a halfway-gospel or by talk-radio sloganeering.

The marriage revolution around us means we must do a better job articulating a theology of marriage to our people, as well as a theology of suffering and marginalization. It means we must do a better job articulating to those on the outside why children need both a Mom and a Dad, not just “parents,” and why marriage isn’t simply a matter of court decree. It means we must start teaching our children about marriage “from the beginning” as male and female when they’re in Sunday school. It means we may have to decide if and when the day will come in which we will refuse to sign the state’s marriage licenses.

The long-term prospects for marriage are good. Marriage is resilient, and the sexual revolution always disappoints. It’s true these are dark days for the culture of marriage. But dark days are exactly what our gospel is for. No day was darker than the day the Son of God died in Palestine on a criminal’s cross. We are here because that dark day was not the end of the story. And because it wasn’t the end then, it will never be the end now.
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Editors’ note: For more resources on same-sex marriage and homosexuality, visit Equip, a joint initiative of The Gospel Coalition and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to provide a broad range of resources on homosexuality and same-sex marriage issues to prepare your church for this changing culture.

Morning Prayer: 28 Jun – Proverbs 28:2, 5 ~ on moral rot

Peanut Gallery: During the month of June we are reading through the Book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. “Growing in Character” is the theme; each day we will look for practical advice on living a wise and godly life in this present age.

I recommend that you begin by reading through the entire chapter for the day yourself (a link will be included, see below.) There is something for everyone in the Book of Proverbs. I will focus on what speaks to me in the chapter and follow that theme for the day. But the verse that speaks to me, on any particular day, may be different from the wisdom God has for you… and you don’t want to miss out.

Growing in Character: Proverbs 28

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence and prayer

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
_____

Open my eyes, Lord, to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)
__________

A reading from Proverbs: Proverbs 28:2, 5 (NLT)

White_House_in_rainbow_colors

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
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Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the Lord understand completely.
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A reading from the Letters: Romans 1:16-32 (NLT) 

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes — the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

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But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
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Reflection:

The Emperor’s New ClothesA translation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Keiserens nye Klæder” by Jean Hersholt.

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the clothes for me,” thought the Emperor. “If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away.” He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

“Heaven help me,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see anything at all”. But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of it,” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it’s beautiful -it’s enchanting.” The old minister peered through his spectacles. “Such a pattern, what colors!” I’ll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.”

“We’re pleased to hear that,” the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn’t see anything.

“Isn’t it a beautiful piece of goods?” the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

“I know I’m not stupid,” the man thought, “so it must be that I’m unworthy of my good office. That’s strange. I mustn’t let anyone find it out, though.” So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, “It held me spellbound.”

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

“Magnificent,” said the two officials already duped. “Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!” They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

“What’s this?” thought the Emperor. “I can’t see anything. This is terrible!

Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It’s very pretty,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, “Oh! It’s very pretty,” and they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to lead. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of “Sir Weaver.”

Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, “Now the Emperor’s new clothes are ready for him.”

Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, “These are the trousers, here’s the coat, and this is the mantle,” naming each garment. “All of them are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that’s what makes them so fine.”

“Exactly,” all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

“If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off,” said the swindlers, “we will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror.”

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something – that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” He heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the minister of public processions announced: “Your Majesty’s canopy is waiting outside.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be ready,” the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?” He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

Gay_Pride_Parade_1

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Morning Prayer: 27 Jun – Proverbs 27:6, 9, 10, 17 ~ on lasting friendship

Peanut Gallery: During the month of June we are reading through the Book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. “Growing in Character” is the theme; each day we will look for practical advice on living a wise and godly life in this present age.

I recommend that you begin by reading through the entire chapter for the day yourself (a link will be included, see below.) There is something for everyone in the Book of Proverbs. I will focus on what speaks to me in the chapter and follow that theme for the day. But the verse that speaks to me, on any particular day, may be different from the wisdom God has for you… and you don’t want to miss out.

Growing in Character: Proverbs 27

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening sentence and prayer

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
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Open my eyes, Lord, to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)
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A reading from Proverbs: Proverbs 27:6, 9, 10, 17 (NLT)

Friend-with-Jesus-clear

Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
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The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
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Never abandon a friend — either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.
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As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
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A reading from the Gospels: John 15:14-16 (NLT) 

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
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A reading from the Letters: Romans 5:9-11 (NLT)

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Reflection:

Excerpt from Susan Hedahl’s Commentary on John 15:9-17

One significant change in relational reality, stemming from the arguments in verses 12 and 13, is Jesus’ clarification of how he regards his disciples. They are not strangers, nor merely disciples, and certainly not just servants: they are friends.

Jesus notes the reason he calls them “friends” is he has shared the riches of all he has with them, in terms of his relationship with God. “I have made known to you everything…” (John 15:15). Here Jesus’ offer of the intimacy of friendship is overwhelming. To appropriate Jesus the Risen Lord is to be invited into friendship with God.

Friends of God. The reality of friendship with Jesus offers, in one of America’s favorite words these days, transparency. To know the Risen Christ is to know the heart of God.
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Christ a friend

Jonathan Edwards when he came to die, his last words, after bidding his relations good-bye, were–“Now where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never failing Friend?” and so saying he fell asleep.
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Canticle

Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen