August 4, 2015

Amos 4-6
...People would never stagger from village to village crazed for water and never quenching their thirst.  But you never got thirsty for me.  You ignored me....but you continued to ignore me....but you didn’t notice me.  You continued to ignore me...but you never looked my way, you continued to ignore me....seek me and live...so seek God and live!....

People hate this kind of talk.  Raw truth is never popular.  But here it is, bluntly spoken:  Because you run roughshod over the poor and take the bread right out of their mouths, you are never going to move into the luxury homes you have built....speak good and not evil--and live!  

You talk about God being your best friend.  Well live like it, and maybe it will happen...hate evil and love good, then walk it out in the public square...When God comes, it will be bad news before its good news, the worst of times, not the best of times...    

I can’t stand your religious meetings, I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.  I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals.  I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making.  I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.  When was the last time you sang to me?  Do you know what I want?  I want justice---oceans of it.  I want fairness--rivers of it.  That’s what I want.  That’s all I want.                         
                                         
Catastrophe is just around the corner!  Woe to those who live in luxury and expect everyone else to serve them!  Woe to those who live only for today, indifferent to the fate of others!  Woe to the playboys, the playgirls, who think life is a party held just for them!  Woe to those addicted to feeling good--life without wrinkles!  They could not care less about their country going to ruin....            

Do you hold a horse race in a field of rocks?  Do you plow the sea with oxen?  You’d cripple the horses and drown the oxen.  And yet, you’ve made a shambles of justice, a bloated corpse of righteousness, bragging of your trivial pursuits, beating up on the weak and crowing, “Look what I’ve done!”  

Acts 25
Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take up his duties as governor, he went up to Jerusalem.  The high priests and top leaders renewed their vendetta against Paul...Festus answered that Caesarea was the proper jurisdiction for Paul, and that he himself was going back there in a few days.”  You’re perfectly welcome,”  he said, “to go back with me then and accuse him of whatever you think he’s done wrong.”

About 8-10 days later, Festus returned to Caesarea...    Then Paul took the stand and said simply, “I’ve done nothing wrong against the Jewish religion.”  Then, to get on the good side of the Jews, Festus said, “How would you like to go up to Jerusalem and let me conduct your trial there?”  Paul then appealed,...Festus then gave his verdict:  “You’ve appealed to Caesar, you’ll go to Caesar. 

A few days later King Agrippa, and his wife, Bernice, visited Caesarea...They made a flourishing grand entrance and took their places. Festus then ordered Paul brought in and explained to King Agrippa....I looked into the charges and decided that he had committed no crime.  

He requested a trial before Caesar and I agreed to send him to Rome. But what am I going to write to my master, Caesar? All the charges made by the Jews were fabrications, and I uncovered nothing else....for it seems silly to send a prisoner all that way for a trial and not be able to document what he did wrong.”