1 Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. 2 So he called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? You’re fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.’ 3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What am I going to do? I’ve lost my job as manager. I’m not strong enough for a laboring job, and I’m too proud to beg. . . . 4 Ah, I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’ll do . . . then when I’m turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.’ 5 “Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “He replied, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ “The manager said, ‘Here, take your bill, sit down here – quick now – write fifty.’ 7 “To the next he said, ‘And you, what do you owe?’ “He answered, ‘A hundred sacks of wheat.’ “He said, ‘Take your bill, write in eighty.’ 8 “Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. 9 I want you to be smart in the same way – but for what is right – using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.” 10 Jesus went on to make these comments: If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things; 11 If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. 12 If you’re not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store? 13 No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second Or adore the first and despise the second. You can’t serve both God and the Bank. 14 When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing him as hopelessly out of touch. 15 So Jesus spoke to them: “You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others, but God knows what’s behind the appearance. What society sees and calls monumental, God sees through and calls monstrous. 16 God’s Law and the Prophets climaxed in John; Now it’s all kingdom of God – the glad news and compelling invitation to every man and woman. 17 The sky will disintegrate and the earth dissolve before a single letter of God’s Law wears out. 18 Using the legalities of divorce as a cover for lust is adultery; Using the legalities of marriage as a cover for lust is adultery.
19 “There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. 20 A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. 21 All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. 22 “Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. 26 Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’ 27 “The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father 28 where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.‘ 30 “‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ 31 “Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.‘”
Genesis 27:46-28:22 46 Rebekah spoke to Isaac, “I’m sick to death of these Hittite women. If Jacob also marries a native Hittite woman, why live?”
1 So Isaac called in Jacob and blessed him. Then he ordered him, “Don’t take a Caananite wife. 2 Leave at once. Go to Paddan Aram to the family of your mother’s father, Bethuel. Get a wife for yourself from the daughters of your uncle Laban. 3 “And may The Strong God bless you and give you many, many children, a congregation of peoples; 4 and pass on the blessing of Abraham to you and your descendants so that you will get this land in which you live, this land God gave Abraham.” 5 So Isaac sent Jacob off. He went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan Aram to get a wife there, and while blessing him commanded, “Don’t marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan Aram. 8 When Esau realized how deeply his father Isaac disliked the Canaanite women, 9 he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. This was in addition to the wives he already had.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. 13 Then God was right before him, saying, “I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I’m giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they’ll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. 15 Yes. I’ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go, and I’ll bring you back to this very ground. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you.”
16 Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, “God is in this place – truly. And I didn’t even know it!” 17 He was terrified. He whispered in awe, “Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.” 18 Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. 19 He christened the place Bethel (God’s House). The name of the town had been Luz until then. 20 Jacob vowed a vow: “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I’m setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, 21 and brings me back in one piece to my father’s house, this God will be my God. 22 This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives. And everything you give me, I’ll return a tenth to you.”
1 Your strength, God, is the king’s strength. Helped, he’s hollering Hosannas. 2 You gave him exactly what he wanted; you didn’t hold back. 3 You filled his arms with gifts; you gave him a right royal welcome. 4 He wanted a good life; you gave it to him, and then made it a long life as a bonus. 5 You lifted him high and bright as a cumulus cloud, then dressed him in rainbow colors. 6 You pile blessings on him; you make him glad when you smile.
7 Is it any wonder the king loves God? that he’s sticking with the Best? 8 With a fistful of enemies in one hand and a fistful of haters in the other, 9 You radiate with such brilliance that they cringe as before a furnace. Now the furnace swallows them whole, the fire eats them alive! 10 You purge the earth of their progeny, you wipe the slate clean. 11 All their evil schemes, the plots they cook up, have fizzled – every one. 12 You sent them packing; they couldn’t face you. 13 Show your strength, God, so no one can miss it. We are out singing the good news!
– 1/21/2005 8:14:49 PM
We’re all alone, Phil. You’ll see.