Each of us must consider his neighbour’s good, so that we support one another. Christ did not indulge his own feelings, either; indeed, as scripture says: The insults of those who insult you fall on me. And all these things which were written so long ago were written so that we, learning perseverance and the encouragement which the scriptures give, should have hope. (Rom. 15:2-4)
Selfishness is not a Christian virtue. Selfishness is just a sin.
So here’s today’s prayer for them:
Vent your fury on them, let your burning anger overtake them. Reduce their encampment to ruin, and leave their tents untenanted, … Charge them with crime after crime, exclude them from your saving justice, erase them from the book of life, do not enrol them among the upright. (Ps. 69:24-28)
Interpreters of the bible who don’t read Hebrew and Greek.
Sheer futility: everything is futile! What profit can we show for all our toil, toiling under the sun?
A generation goes, a generation comes, yet the earth stands firm for ever. The sun rises, the sun sets; then to its place it speeds and there it rises. Southward goes the wind, then turns to the north; it turns and turns again; then back to its circling goes the wind. Into the sea go all the rivers, and yet the sea is never filled, and still to their goal the rivers go.
All things are wearisome. No one can say that eyes have not had enough of seeing, ears their fill of hearing. What was, will be again, what has been done, will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun! — (Eccl. 1:2-9)
No one who loves money ever has enough, no one who loves luxury has any income; this, too, is futile. Where goods abound, parasites abound: where is the owner’s profit, apart from feasting his eyes? The labourer’s sleep is sweet, whether he has eaten little or much, but the surfeit of the rich will not let him sleep at all.
Something grossly unjust I observe under the sun: riches stored and turning to loss for their owner. An unlucky venture, and those riches are lost; a son is born to him, and he has nothing to leave him. Naked from his mother’s womb he came; as naked as he came will he depart; not one of his achievements can he take with him. And something else grossly unjust: that as he came, so must he go; what profit can he show after toiling to earn the wind, as he spends the rest of his days in darkness, mourning, many sorrows, sickness and exasperation.
So my conclusion is this: true happiness lies in eating and drinking and enjoying whatever has been achieved under the sun, throughout the life given by God: for this is the lot of humanity. And whenever God gives someone riches and property, with the ability to enjoy them and to find contentment in work, this is a gift from God. For such a person will hardly notice the passing of time, so long as God keeps his heart occupied with joy. (Eccl. 5:9-19)
Perhaps wealth is really a curse and God gives it to those whom he wishes to punish.
There was once a small town, with only a few inhabitants; a mighty king made war on it, laying siege to it and building great siege-works round it. But there was in that town a poverty-stricken sage who by his wisdom saved the town. No one remembered this poor man afterwards. So I say: Wisdom is more effective than brute force, but the wisdom of a poor man is not valued: no one listens to what he has to say. The calm words of the wise make themselves heard above the shouts of someone commanding an army of fools. Wisdom is worth more than weapons of war, but a single sin undoes a deal of good. — (Eccl. 9:14-18)
Though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil. (Jn. 3:19)
People accept lies because they live in darkness. And like it.
Smooth lips with an evil heart are like glaze on an earthen vessel. A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within. When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him, for there are seven detestable things in his heart. Though his hatred is concealed by deception, his evil will be revealed in the assembly. The one who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever rolls a stone– it will come back on him. A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth causes ruin. (Prov. 26:23-28)
“Rise, Yahweh! God, raise your hand, do not forget the afflicted! Why should the wicked spurn God, assuring himself you will never follow it up? You have seen for yourself the trouble and vexation, you watch so as to take it in hand. The oppressed relies on you; you are the only recourse of the orphan.
Break the arm of the wicked and evil, seek out wickedness till there is none left to be found.
Yahweh is king for ever and ever, the heathen has vanished from his country. Yahweh, you listen to the laments of the poor, you give them courage, you grant them a hearing, to give judgement for the orphaned and exploited, so that earthborn humans may strike terror no more.” (Ps. 10:12-18)
There are three sorts of people my soul hates, and whose existence I consider an outrage: the poor swollen with pride, the rich who is a liar and an adulterous old man who has no sense. (Sir. 25:2)
Sound like anyone you know?
(Also, Sirach is way more ‘scriptural’ than Jude or 2 Peter. Sirach should be in the Protestant canon).
Is not human life on earth just conscript service? Do we not live a hireling’s life? Like a slave, sighing for the shade, or a hireling with no thought but for his wages, I have months of futility assigned to me, nights of suffering to be my lot. Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’ No sooner up than, ‘When will evening come?’ And crazy thoughts obsess me till twilight falls. Vermin and loathsome scabs cover my body; my skin is cracked and oozes pus. Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind. Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy. — (Job 7:1-7)
This is what distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil: whoever does not live uprightly and does not love his brother is not from God. This is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we must love one another, not to be like Cain, who was from the Evil One and murdered his brother. — (1 Jn. 3:10-11)
And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down to eat ‘? But will he not rather say to him, `Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink ‘? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, `We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (Lk. 17:5-10)
That’s when your faith will grow.
If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Lk. 17:3)
The series has kicked off and it looks absolutely fantastic. Especially this one upcoming:
The Genesis, Life, and Afterlife of the Gutenberg Bible
You can attend the lectures live or you can watch them online.
‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.”
But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?”
So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.’ — (Lk. 12:16-21)
Do not trust in nobles, in a son of man, who cannot save. When his breath leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die.
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry.
The LORD frees prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD raises up those who are oppressed. The LORD loves the righteous. The LORD protects resident aliens and helps the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. — (Ps. 146:3-9)
An archer wounding everyone, such is he who hires the passing fool and drunkard. As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool reverts to his folly. You see someone who thinks himself wise? More to be hoped for from a fool than from him! (Prov. 26:10-12)
October, as you know, is ‘Pastor Appreciation Month’. In some circles also known as ‘Clergy Appreciation Month’.
The greatest gift any pastor can be given is to have members who live their faith. If you attend a church and you want to really show your Pastor you appreciate them, then
- point others to Christ
- go to church
- or, if you can’t, then listen to the messages online
- and support the ministries of the Church financially
As Ephesians has it- “And to some, his gift was that they should be … pastors and teachers; to knit God’s holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.” (Eph. 4:11-13)