Morning Prayer: 26 Jun – Proverbs 26:4-5 ~ an exercise in futility?

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 26

+ 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 26:4-5 (NLT)

Exercise-in-Futility-488x325-300x199

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
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A reading from the Pastoral Letters

1 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly.

2 Timothy 2:14 (NLT)

Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.

2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT)

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.
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Reflection:

Benson Commentary on Proverbs 26:4-5:

These contrary directions are easily reconciled, by considering the difference of persons, times, places, and other circumstances, and of the manner of answering.

Answer him not:

  • Answer him not, when he is incorrigible, or when he is inflamed with wine, or with passion, or when it is not necessary nor likely to do him good.
  • Answer him not, according to his folly — So as to imitate his folly, in such passionate, or reproachful, or foolish speeches as he uses to thee; lest thou be like unto him — Show thyself to be as great a fool as he is.

Answer him:

  • Answer him, when he is capable of receiving good by it, or when it is necessary for the glory of God, for the discharge of a man’s duty, or for the good of others.
  • Answer a fool according to his folly — So as his folly needs and requires, convincing him strongly, reproving him sharply, and exposing him to just shame; lest he be wise in his own conceit — Lest thy silence make him arrogant and presumptuous, as if his words were unanswerable.

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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: 25 Jun – Proverbs 25:21-22 ~ shame your enemies

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 25

+ 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 25:21-22 (NLT)

If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.
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A reading from the Letters: Romans 12:19-21 (NLT)

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
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Reflection:

Eva Mozes Kor — ‘Getting even has never healed a single person.’

Background: Eva Mozes Kor – born in Porţ, Romania January 30, 1934

The identical twins Eva Mozes Kor and Miriam Mozes survived the deadly genetic experiments conducted by The Angel of Death, Josef Mengele, in Auschwitz. Their parents, grandparents, two older sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins were killed ..

The sisters were put through many extremely brutal surgeries and experiments by Mengele, who experimented mainly on twins. Eva later recalled:

“I was given five injections. That evening I developed extremely high fever. I was trembling. My arms and my legs were swollen, huge size. Mengele and Dr. Konig and three other doctors came in the next morning. They looked at my fever chart, and Dr. Mengele said, laughingly, ‘Too bad, she is so young. She has only two weeks to live ..'”

Eva Mozes Kor, at right, points to a photograph of herself taken during the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp on January 27, 1945, by the advancing Soviet army. Photo provided by Ms. Mozes Kor.
Eva Mozes Kor, at right, points to a photograph of herself taken during the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp on January 27, 1945, by the advancing Soviet army. Photo provided by Ms. Mozes Kor.

The fact that Eva and Miriam survived Auschwitz was a miracle in itself, as only few individual twins were still alive at the time the camp was liberated.

As adults, Eva and Miriam suffered serious health problems. Eva suffered from miscarriages and tuberculosis. Her son had cancer. Miriam’s kidneys never fully developed and she died in 1993 of a rare form of cancer, probably brought on by the unknown medical experiments and injections which she was subjected to at the hands of Josef Mengele.

Lewis B. Smedes – ‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.’

Fifty years after the liberation of Auschwitz, Eva returned to the site and stood where so many were tragically murdered. At her side was Dr. Hans Münch, a Nazi doctor who knew Dr. Mengele, but did not work with him in Auschwitz. Eva read Dr. Münch’s signed witness statement to contradict those who denied the Holocaust.

To the surprise of many, she then freed herself from her victim status and announced to the world that — in her name alone – she forgave the Nazis. An incredible weight of suffering was lifted and she felt strong. Offering her forgiveness healed Eva, but it did not mean she would forget or that it changed what happened.

Eva Mozes Kor – ‘The day I forgave the Nazis, privately I forgave my parents whom I hated all my life for not having saved me from Auschwitz. Children expect their parents to protect them; mine couldn’t. And then I forgave myself for hating my parents.’

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Aber du weißt den Weg für mich (But you know the way for me)

Gott, laß meine Gedanken sich sammeln zu dir. / Bei dir ist das Licht, du vergißt mich nicht. / Bei dir ist die Hilfe, bei dir ist die Geduld. / Ich verstehe deine Wege nicht, aber du weißt den Weg für mich.

God, gather and turn my thoughts to you. / With you there is light, you do not forget me. / With you there is help and patience. / I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me.

Based on a prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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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: 24 Jun – Proverbs 24:11-12 ~ on lethal negligence

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 24

+ 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 24:11-12 (NLT)

The Dachau concentration camp pictured above on the day it was liberated by American forces.
The Dachau concentration camp pictured above on the day it was liberated by American forces (April 29,1945).

Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
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A reading from the Gospels: Luke 4:18-19 (NLY)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
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Reflection:

THE CRIME OF NEGLIGENCE – Excerpted from Maclaren’s Expositions

Proverbs 24:11 – Proverbs 24:12.

The text… deals with the fault which besets us all in our relations and in life: and the wholesome truths which it utters apply to our duties in regard to… every misery within our reach. They speak of the murderous cruelty and black sin of negligence to save any whom we can help from any sort of misery which threatens them. They appear to me to suggest four thoughts which I would now deal with:-

I. The crime of negligence.

Not to use any power is a sin; to omit to do anything that we can do is a crime: to withhold a help that we can render is to participate in the authorship of all the misery that we have failed to relieve. He who neglects to save a life, kills…. Violence slays its thousands, but supine negligence slays its tens of thousands.

II. The excuse of negligence.

The shuffling plea, ‘Behold we knew it not,’ is a cowardly lie…. We are bound to know, and the most ignorant of us does know, and cannot help knowing, enough to condemn our negligence…. In so far as the excuse ‘we knew it not’ is true, it is no excuse, but an indictment. It lays bare the true reason of the criminal negligence as being a yet more criminal callousness as to the woe and loss in which such crowds of men whom we ought to recognise as brethren are sunken.

ISIS video shows execution of Ethiopian Christians on beach and in desert by Islamic State terrorists in Libya; ISIS tells Mideast Christians: Convert or face death. (April 19, 2015)
ISIS video shows execution of Ethiopian Christians on beach and in desert by Islamic State terrorists in Libya; ISIS tells Mideast Christians: Convert or face death. (April 19, 2015)

III. The condemnation of negligence.

The great example of God is put forward in the text as the contrast to all this selfish negligence…. God ‘takes pain,’ so to speak, to see after His children. Are they not bound to look lovingly on each other? God seeks to know them. Are they not bound to know one another? Lofty disregard of human suffering is not God’s way. Is it ours?

No less eloquently does the other name which is here applied to God rebuke our negligence. ‘He preserveth thy soul.’ The strongest motive for seeking to save others is that God has saved us….

IV. The judgment of negligence.

‘Doth not He render to every man according to his works?’ There is such a judgment both in the present and in the future for Christian men as for others…. We rob ourselves of blessed sympathies and of the still more blessed joy of service, and of the yet more blessed joy of successful effort, by our indolence and our negligence…. And if we stretch our view to take in the life beyond, what gladness can match that of the man who shall enter there with some who will be his joy and crown of rejoicing in that day, and of whom he shall be able to say, ‘Behold I and the children whom Thou hast given me!’

If there is one tear we could have dried and didn’t, or one wound we could have healed and didn’t, that is a sin; if we could have lightened the great heap of sorrow by one grain and didn’t, that is a sin; and if there be one soul that perishes which we might have saved and didn’t, the negligence is not merely the omission of a duty, but the doing of a deed which will be ‘rendered to us according to our works.’
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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: 23 Jun – Proverbs 23:4-5 ~ on storing treasure

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 23

+ 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 23:4-5 (NLT)

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
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shutterstock_74004133-2-800x430

A reading from the Gospels: Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
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A reading from the Letters: 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NLT)

Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
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Reflection:

Excerpts from – Theology of Work Projectfull article here

“Store your treasure in heaven, not on earth” (Matthew 6:19-34)

“Treasures in heaven” are things of worth in God’s coming kingdom, such as justice, opportunity for everyone to be productive, provision for everyone’s needs, and respect for the dignity of every person. The implication is that we would do better to invest our money in activities that transform the world, than in securities that protect our accumulated surplus.

Is it wrong, then, to have a retirement portfolio or even to care about the material things of this world for ourselves or for others? The answer is again both no and yes. The no comes from the fact that this passage is not the only one in the Bible speaking to questions of wealth and provision for those who are dependent on us. Other passages counsel prudence and forethought, such as, “Those who gather little by little will increase [wealth]” (Proverbs 13:11b), and, “The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22)… And Jesus speaks favorably in the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30, which will be discussed later) of investing money. In light of the rest of Scripture, Matthew 6:19-34 cannot be a blanket prohibition.

But the yes part of the answer is a warning, summed up beautifully in verse 21, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” We might expect this sentence to run the other way, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” But Jesus’ actual words are more profound. Money changes the heart more than the heart decides how to handle money. Jesus’ point is… “The possessions you own will change you so that you care more about them than about other things.” Choose carefully what you own, for you will inevitably begin to value and protect it, to the potential detriment of everything else.

We may call this the “Treasure Principle,” namely, that treasure transforms. Those who invest their deepest treasure in the things of this world will find they are no longer serving God but money… leading to anxiety and uncertainty.

The question, then, is what kind of attention you should pay to material needs and the accumulation of resources. If you pay anxious attention, you are foolish. If you let them displace your trust in God, you are becoming unfaithful. If you pay excessive attention to them, you will become greedy. If you acquire them at the expense of other people, you are becoming the kind of oppressor against whom God’s kingdom is pitched.

How are we to discern the line between appropriate and inappropriate attention to wealth? Jesus answers, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you” (Matt. 6:33). First things first. Despite our large capacity for self-deception, this question can help us observe carefully where our treasure has put us. That will tell us something about our hearts.
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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: 22 Jun – Proverbs 22:2, 9, 22-23 ~ both made by 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 22

+ 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 22:2, 9, 22-23 (NLT)

Rich and poor divide in San Paulo,  Brazil
Rich and poor divide in San Paulo, Brazil

The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both.
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Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.
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Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them.
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A reading from the Gospels: Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
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A reading from the Letters: James 2:5 (NLT)

Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?
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Reflection:

John Gill’s explanation of the Bible –

The rich and poor meet together:

In an hostile way, as some; they rush upon one another; the rich despise the poor, and the poor envy the rich; they cannot speak well one of another…

Or they are dependent on one another, they cannot do without each other… the rich stand in need of the poor to till their land, to plough and sow, and do all other servile works for them; and the poor have need of the rich to employ them; have need of their money as their wages for their work, to support themselves and families with…

Or they sometimes change conditions, and so meet; the poor grow rich, and the rich become poor; the one goes uphill and the other downhill, and so meet in their passage.

They meet together in all places of the earth; go where you will, there are rich and poor.

The godly rich and poor meet together in one place to worship God; they meet together in a Gospel church state, enjoying the same privileges and ordinances; and will all meet the Lord, and all meet together at his judgment seat; and they will meet in heaven, and be together to all eternity, where the distinction will cease…

The wicked rich and poor meet together to commit sin; and they meet together in the grave, where there is no difference; and they will meet at the bar of God at the last day, and in hell, where they will be together for evermore….
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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