July 7, 2015

Jeremiah 48-49
The Message on Moab from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel:...
Oh, run for your lives! Get out while you can!  Survive by your wits in the wild!  You trusted in thick walls and big money, yes?  But it won’t help you now. Your big god Chemosh will be hauled off, his priests and managers with him.  A wrecker will wreck every city. Not a city will survive.  The valley fields will be ruined, the plateau pastures destroyed, just as I told you....

“Moab has always taken it easy— lazy as a dog in the sun, never had to work for a living, never faced any trouble, never had to grow up, never once worked up a sweat.  But those days are a thing of the past. I’ll put him to work at hard labor.  That will wake him up to the world of hard knocks. That will smash his illusions.

“We’ve all heard of Moab’s pride that legendary pride, the strutting, bullying, puffed-up pride, the insufferable arrogance. I know”—God’s Decree—“his rooster-crowing pride, the inflated claims, the sheer nothingness of Moab.  But I will weep for Moab,... “My heart moans for Moab, for the men of Kir-heres, like soft flute sounds carried by the wind. They’ve lost it all. They’ve got nothing. “Everywhere you look are signs of mourning: heads shaved, beards cut, hands scratched and bleeding, clothes ripped and torn.... But yet there’s a day that’s coming when I’ll put things right in Moab.  For now, that’s the judgment on Moab.”

God’s Message on the Ammonites:...“When I’ll fill the ears of Rabbah, Ammon’s big city, with battle cries.  She’ll end up a pile of rubble, all her towns burned to the ground. Then Israel will kick out the invaders. I, God, say so, and it will be so... Why do you brag of your once-famous strength?  You’re a broken-down has-been, a castoff who fondles his trophies and dreams of glory days and vainly thinks, ‘No one can lay a hand on me.’ Well, think again. I’ll face you with terror from all sides.”... Still, the time will come when I will make things right with Ammon...

The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies on Edom:  “Is there nobody wise left in famous Teman? no one with a sense of reality? Has their wisdom gone wormy and rotten? Run for your lives! Get out while you can!... I’m bringing doom to Esau. It’s time to settle accounts.... Ah, Edom, I’m dropping you to last place among nations, the bottom of the heap, kicked around.  You think you’re so great—strutting across the stage of history, living high in the impregnable rocks,  acting like king of the mountain.  You think you’re above it all, don’t you, like an eagle in its aerie?  Well, you’re headed for a fall.  I’ll bring you crashing to the ground....

So, listen to this plan that God has worked out against Edom, the blueprint of what he’s prepared for those who live in Teman: “Believe it or not, the young, the vulnerable—mere lambs and kids—will be dragged off.  Believe it or not, the flock in shock, helpless to help, will watch it happen.  The very earth will shudder because of their cries, cries of anguish heard at the distant Red Sea.  Look! An eagle soars, swoops down, spreads its wings over Bozrah.  Brave warriors will double up in pain, helpless to fight, like a woman giving birth to a baby.”

The Message on Damascus:... The blood will drain from the face of Damascus as she turns to flee.  Hysterical, she’ll fall to pieces, disabled, like a woman in childbirth. And now how lonely—bereft, abandoned!  The once famous city, the once happy city....“I’ll start a fire at the wall of Damascus that will burn down all of Ben-hadad’s forts.”

The Message on Kedar and the sheikdoms of Hazor who were attacked by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. This is God’s Message:  “On your feet! Attack Kedar!... Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has plans to wipe you out, to go after you with a vengeance:  After them,’ he says. ‘Go after these relaxed nomads who live free and easy in the desert, who live in the open with no doors to lock, who live off by themselves.’...

God’s Message to the prophet Jeremiah on Elam at the outset of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies says: “Watch this! I’ll break Elam’s bow, her weapon of choice, across my knee.  Then I’ll let four winds loose on Elam, winds from the four corners of earth. I’ll blow them away in all directions, landing homeless Elamites in every country on earth.... But the time will come when I make everything right for Elam again.” God’s Decree.

Acts 10:1-10:23
There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there. He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer. One day about three o’clock in the afternoon he had a vision. An angel of God, as real as his next-door neighbor, came in and said, “Cornelius.”....

The angel said, “Your prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God’s attention. Here’s what you are to do. Send men to Joppa to get Simon, the one everyone calls Peter. He is staying with Simon the Tanner, whose house is down by the sea.” As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two servants and one particularly devout soldier from the guard. He went over with them in great detail everything that had just happened, and then sent them off to Joppa.

The next day as the three travelers were approaching the town, Peter went out on the balcony to pray. It was about noon. Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. Then a voice came: “Go to it, Peter—kill and eat.”  The voice came a second time: “If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.” This happened three times...

 As Peter, puzzled, sat there trying to figure out what it all meant, the men sent by Cornelius showed up at Simon’s front door. They called in, asking if there was a Simon, also called Peter, staying there. Peter, lost in thought, didn’t hear them, so the Spirit whispered to him, “Three men are knocking at the door looking for you. Get down there and go with them. Don’t ask any questions. I sent them to get you.”... They said, “Captain Cornelius, a God-fearing man well-known for his fair play—ask any Jew in this part of the country—was commanded by a holy angel to get you and bring you to his house so he could hear what you had to say.” Peter invited them in and made them feel at home.

The next morning Peter got up and went with them. Some of his friends from Joppa went along. A day later they entered Caesarea.... The minute Peter came through the door, Cornelius was up on his feet greeting him—and then down on his face worshiping him! Peter pulled him up and said, “None of that—I’m a man and only a man, no different from you.”