Good morning. Today is Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Three more days and we’re on vacation!! And work has gone very smoothly the last couple of days, which is really helping me wind down toward this much-needed vacation.
There really isn’t much else going on around here.
Today, of course, is “Juneteenth,” which celebrates the abolishment of slavery in the U.S. It’s also the day I started working at Special Dispatch in Arlington, 18 years ago. Of course the company that I started working for 18 years ago, no longer exists, and I now work for CEVA Logistics.
Today is also “Sauntering Day,” which encourages everyone to just slow down and enjoy the world around you. Go for a saunter. I like that idea. Is that anything like “surrying?” You know, “Surry down to a stoned soul picnic?” Apparently, Laura Nyro made up that word.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1867, Mexican Emperor Maximilian von Habsburg was executed by firing squad, having been found guilty of “usurping the power of the legitimate government and using a foreign army to wage war against Mexico.” How on earth was a Habsburg Emperor of Mexico? He was the younger brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and had been persuaded by “Mexican reactionaries, French Emperor Napoleon III and his own ambitious wife Charlotte” to accept this crown. He reigned for three years and nine days. His last words are said to have been “Viva Mexico.”
Today’s birthday is (oh, my, how to choose, how to choose) Charles Spurgeon, born on this date in 1834. Spurgeon is hailed by many to be one of the greatest preachers that ever lived. He is even called “The Prince of Preachers.” He pastored the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London for 38 years. It is estimated that he preached to 10,000,000 people in his lifetime. He passed away in 1892, at the young age of 57.
Honorable mentions go to Blaise Pascal, 1623, Moe Howard, 1897, Lou Gehrig, 1903, Lester Flatt, 1914, Ann Wilson, 1950, Kathleen Turner, 1954, Meredith Brooks, 1958, Robin Tunney, 1972, Poppy Montgomery, 1972, and Doug Mientkiewicz, 1974.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. Psalm 67:1
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Psalm 31:1
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16
Father, I pray that you would show me something unique during my devotional time this morning. As I meditate on your words, may they come alive to me, as they never have before.
Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “The Beginning of Knowledge.” The scripture reading is Proverbs 1:1-7.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This passage explains that the book of Proverbs is “not just a collection of clever sayings.” The book is designed to “educate the young and inexperienced and to shape them in the right conduct.” It is a book “of spiritual and moral formation.” Many verses of Proverbs have been committed to memory by many people. If we read this book often, there are certain texts that will speak to us. “With open, well-formed hearts, we will hear God’s voice, if we read slowly and prayerfully, letting the Lord speak to us through the text.” This prayer is offered in the book:
Father God, I am so often in a hurry, skimming or reading as fast as I can,
so I can be on to the next thing. Help me to slow down, so I can be shaped
by the texts I turn my attention to this week. Help me to read prayerfully,
so that I can hear your voice through the words. In your name I pray.
Continuing on in The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard (still in chapter one), we read that those of us who have been touched by God’s forgiveness and have received his new life are now, not only entered into God’s rule, but have become “bearers of that rule.” After Jesus had spent some time with his followers, he sent them out to do what he did. They were to Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:9) Even those who rejected them were to know that “the kingdom of God has come near.” (v. 11)
But there are still other kingdoms that are “at hand,” as well. There are people on earth who are allowed to have “a ‘say’ that is contrary to [God's] will.” There is certainly a “kingdom of darkness” here, as well as many little individual kingdoms of people trying to run their own show, so to speak. So there is a combination of the “already here” as well as the “not yet” aspects of God’s rule on earth.
Teresa of Avila spoke of an “interior castle” within the human soul, a place that has many rooms that are being “slowly occupied by God, allowing us time and room to grow.” Nevertheless, “right beside and among the kingdoms that are not God’s stands his kingdom, always ‘at hand.’ It is that of Jesus and his heavenly Father. It can be ours as well. The door is open, and life in that kingdom is real.” (pp. 28-30)
Father, I have, for as long as I can remember, believed firmly that your kingdom is real. I cannot look back in my life and find any time when I did not believe in you and your kingdom. I pray that I continue to integrate my “rule” into yours, that the “many rooms” of my “interior castle” are, indeed, being slowly occupied by your Spirit, and that I am truly growing in you. As I seek your wisdom, through scripture and meditating on it, I pray that you give me the patience to slow down, to “saunter,” as it were, through your word, taking time to ponder it, to meditate, to see what it is that you are speaking to me through those words. This is not, as some fear, a sitting down and emptying the mind and soul, opening it up to spiritual attack. It is with the purpose of being filled with you and your Spirit, as you teach me more and more about yourself.
I pray for this day. May Christi have a good day at her work today, and may her foot continue to heal. She says it is getting better every day, and I praise you for this. I pray that by next week, it will be even better, that we may thoroughly enjoy our vacation trip. I pray for Stephanie as she continues to do the “homework” that Jacob has given her. Show her your truths and yourself as she reads your words. I pray for my own job today, that it will go well and that things are beginning to wind down toward the end of this week and the end of this client account.
I lift up Melinda Jernigan to you today, as she has somehow broken her leg and is waiting this morning to get it set and put in a cast. Relieve her pain and make her healing quick. I pray also for Dennis, as he has to lead a conference this weekend, in the midst of this struggle.
Your grace is sufficient.
If you take time to read some scripture today, do exactly that; take time. It is so easy to rush through. I have been very guilty of that, myself. We must, as state above, read “slowly and prayerfully, letting the Lord speak to us.”
Grace and peace, friends.