The darkness was gathering around the city of Mareshah, where Hoshaiah and his division of the army of Judah were stationed. His commanding officer, Yaush, was in Lachish, a few miles away, and they communicated regularly by way of letters written on pieces of broken pottery. It was a tense time, as the Babylonian armies advanced closer and closer; and the strain is evident in the letters.
Awhile back I read an article, don’t remember exactly where, that said Thanksgiving is the most religious of all the major holidays we celebrate in this country. When I read it, my first thought was, “What about Christmas and Easter?” How is Thanksgiving more religious than Christmas or Easter?
What do you do to get ready to come to church? Do you put on clothing that is different from what you wear during the week? Used to be that folks only took baths once a week, and it happened on Saturday night, so they’d be clean for Sunday. Even now some ladies get their hair done at the end of the week, so it will be nice for Sunday.
Something seems to have happened at our grocery stores in the last few years. We’ve been bombarded with too many choices in things like cereal for quite awhile. Now that great variety has migrated over to the spice aisle. There are, of course, lots of spices and herbs and various seasonings; you need different ones for different foods and ethnic cuisines. But now there are even several kinds of salt!
Seems a little bit of a stretch to try and base a stewardship message on this story, doesn’t it? The last time I preached on this passage, there had just been a very public, self-inflicted downfall of a well-known megachurch pastor. His downfall was mainly a result of his having done away with all the structures and people in his church who had any oversight over how he did his ministry.
Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:1, 4-12, 17-23, 26, 31-49 Scripture Reader: Peggy F. Giants are found in the folklore of most Western countries. Eastern folklore may be similar; I just am not as familiar with it. I would guess that the best-known folktale featuring a giant might be “Jack and the […]
One thing that’s pretty much universal among churches is the tendency to accumulate stuff. Old educational materials, extra vacuum cleaners, tables and chairs, costumes and choir robes, dishes, pots and pans, artificial flower arrangements…you name it, some church somewhere has it stashed someplace.
It’s hard to fault the Israelites for being frightened that day. Pharaoh had finally, after a series of plagues that ended with every Egyptian firstborn male—human and animal—dead, agreed to let Israel leave Egypt. Their Egyptian neighbors were so relieved to have them and their plagues gone that they sent them out with as much Egyptian gold, precious stones, and jewelry they could carry.
If we are doing it correctly, sometimes we pastors must approach the task of preaching with great fear and trembling. We speak from a position in which our words are understood as coming from God. In the pulpit, we are not expressing our own opinions, but trying to communicate to a congregation a message God has for them on a particular day.
When Mike and I go to a movie, we generally stay put until the credits have completely rolled. That’s because, quite often, there are more little scenes that interrupt, or follow, the credits, or sometimes bits of humor mixed in among the names; and if you leave when the movie actually ends, you’ll miss them.