Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily Readings for February 19, 2016

Genesis 40:1-23
Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he waited on them; and they continued for some time in custody. One night they both dreamed-- the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison-- each his own dream, and each dream with its own meaning. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh's officers, who were with him in custody in his master's house, "Why are your faces downcast today?" They said to him, "We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them." And Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me." So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, "In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand." Then Joseph said to him, "This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. But remember me when it is well with you; please do me the kindness to make mention of me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this place. For in fact I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon." When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, "I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head." And Joseph answered, "This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head-- from you!-- and hang you on a pole; and the birds will eat the flesh from you." On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his cupbearing, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand; but the chief baker he hanged, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future-- all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Mark 2:13-22
Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples-- for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard this, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners." Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus said to them, "The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins."

Psalm 40 Expectans, expectavi
1   I waited patiently upon the LORD; he stooped to me and heard my cry.
2   He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
3   He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the LORD.
4   Happy are they who trust in the LORD! they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.
5   Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God! how great your wonders and your plans for us! there is none who can be compared with you.
6   Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! but they are more than I can count.
7   In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure (you have given me ears to hear you);
8   Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required, and so I said, "Behold, I come.
9   In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: 'I love to do your will, O my God; your law is deep in my heart.'"
10   I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips; and that, O LORD, you know.
11   Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.
12   You are the LORD; do not withhold your compassion from me; let your love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever,
13   For innumerable troubles have crowded upon me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more in number than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
14   Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me.
15   Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed who seek after my life to destroy it; let them draw back and be disgraced who take pleasure in my misfortune.
16   Let those who say "Aha!" and gloat over me be confounded, because they are ashamed.
17   Let all who seek you rejoice in you and be glad; let those who love your salvation continually say, "Great is the LORD!"
18   Though I am poor and afflicted, the Lord will have regard for me.
19   You are my helper and my deliverer; do not tarry, O my God.

Psalm 54 Deus, in nomine
1   Save me, O God, by your Name; in your might, defend my cause.
2   Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3   For the arrogant have risen up against me, and the ruthless have sought my life, those who have no regard for God.
4   Behold, God is my helper; it is the Lord who sustains my life.
5   Render evil to those who spy on me; in your faithfulness, destroy them.
6   I will offer you a freewill sacrifice and praise your Name, O LORD, for it is good.
7   For you have rescued me from every trouble, and my eye has seen the ruin of my foes.

Psalm 51 Miserere mei, Deus
1   Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
2   Wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.
3   For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4   Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.
5   And so you are justified when you speak and upright in your judgment.
6   Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, a sinner from my mother's womb.
7   For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
8   Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.
9   Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice.
10   Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
11   Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
12   Cast me not away from your presence and take not your holy Spirit from me.
13   Give me the joy of your saving help again and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
14   I shall teach your ways to the wicked, and sinners shall return to you.
15   Deliver me from death, O God, and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness, O God of my salvation.
16   Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
17   Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.
18   The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
19   Be favorable and gracious to Zion, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
20   Then you will be pleased with the appointed sacrifices, with burnt-offerings and oblations; then shall they offer young bullocks upon your altar.

Daily Meditation for February 19, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently upon the LORD, he stooped to me and heard my cry.

Faced with a problem, I want to make lists and take action. Waiting makes me fidgety. But sometimes tasks can’t be managed through immediate action.

I am on the board of directors of a nascent nonprofit organization. Right now, the project feels impossible. I have no idea how our goals can be achieved in the morass of money questions and utility issues and insurance details. I want lists, but the project is so big that I don’t even know what to put on a list.

The chair of the board, who has launched successful nonprofits in the past, assures me that this response is normal. She doesn’t just wait for things to work out, but she does know how to put one foot in front of the other. That seems to be how things work sometimes. To serve God, we often have to figure out how to persevere and wait at the same time.