Good morning. It is Monday . . . no wait! Tuesday! September 2, 2014. It’s a four-day work week!
Today is V-J Day, the day that marks the official end of WWII. Even though the Japanese surrendered on August 15, the official ceremony occurred on this date in 1945. President Truman marked this day as V-J Day.
We had a nice holiday yesterday, although I’m a little sad that we never got in the pool all weekend. We still have time, though, before it starts to get cool again. We actually got out of the house and ran around some yesterday afternoon. We started by having lunch at a place that we have never been before. DeVivo Bros Eatery has been open for a few months, now, and we finally made it up there to try them. Located in Keller, on S. Main (which is also Hwy 377), they feature fresh-made food at a median price. Christi had their meatloaf, which was delicious. I had the day’s special, a sandwich called the Navajo, which was grilled chicken breast on pizza dough bread, with chipotle mayonnaise. Stephanie had a grilled cheese, by far the worst value in our meal. We overheard the guy sitting at the next table saying that his cheeseburger was the best burger he had ever had. We tried their bread pudding for dessert, and it was the best bread pudding we have ever had. Yes, it was better than Chef Point Cafe! Stephanie tried their strawberry short cake, which was also delicious, featuring home-made ice cream and a foundation of a biscuit! Very unique. I’m sure we will be back, because I want to try that burger!
Later in the evening, we watched Winter’s Tale, a movie with Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, and Will Smith. It also featured Jessica Brown Findley, who played Sybil on Downton Abbey. The first half of the movie was pretty good, and, over all, it was entertaining. But the ending was a bit silly. At least, in my opinion. Will Smith was a most excellent Lucifer, however.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.
(From The Divine Hours)
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name.
May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Today’s Gospel reading
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Another one of Jesus’s “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . .” statements. He has moved from anger to lust, with basically the same message about a different topic. The Law says, “You shall not commit adultery,” but Jesus takes it to a deeper level, just as he did the murder command. If we even look at another person with lustful thoughts, we have committed adultery in our hearts. Does Jesus advocate self-mutilation here? I’ve never read a commentary or interpretation that thought Jesus was being literal, here. But he is illustrating the severity of sin in the hearts of believers. The “hand” commits the physical act, but the “eye” commits the mental act. We are to avoid both at all costs. I think it also important to note that Jesus did not say “everyone who looks at another man’s wife,” but rather simply stated, “everyone who looks at a woman.” And just to be clear, I don’t believe he was saying that only men can commit adultery!
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Living Out Of the Center.”
“Living out of the center frees us from the tyranny of peer pressure.” And what tyranny peer pressure is! How many foolish acts have been committed simply for the sake of pleasing other people? We should be living to please one and one only–our Father in heaven; this should be the basic impulse of our lives. But this requires “a remarkable degree of freedom.” It is obvious that Jesus was never swayed by public opinion. “In order to be free for the outcasts, the sinners, the marginals in his social world, Jesus had to keep his distance from the expectations and the moralizing judgments of the authorities and the respectable.” Imagine the scandal when he went to have lunch with Zacchaeus! He didn’t care. “He wasn’t looking around anxiously, fearing what people might say.” He went to the house of Zacchaeus because Zacchaeus, a sinner, just like me, was a child of his Father.
Be strong and courageous.
Do not fear or be in dread of them,
for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.
He will not leave you or forsake you.
Father, I pray for myself and for all Christians, that we would completely free ourselves from the tyranny of peer pressure. While we must not go out of our way to purposefully offend people (I fear that is done all too often), we must also not be too worried about what they think of us. That should be our goal as we walk this earth, looking for opportunities to help people and bring your Kingdom to their lives. May we be observant as we walk; may we always be able to see when someone needs us for whatever reason, and may we never be afraid to offer our help, whether spiritual or physical.
I pray for this day. May it be a day full of grace and peace, your grace and peace. I pray for our drive to work, that it will be safe. I pray for Christi’s second day at the new job, that she will have smooth sailing as she begins to get acclimated to the new systems and work responsibilities. I pray that she will continue to get on famously with the people she is working with. I pray for Stephanie, that her day will be a day of discovery of your love for her, as you draw her closer to you.
Your grace is sufficient, Father!
Peer pressure is, indeed, tyranny that threatens to trap is daily. May we shed that pressure and live in freedom, out of the center of God’s holiness.
Grace and peace, friends.