Integrity and Compassion

Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

Today is Paperback Book Day. What else do I even need to say about that?

I had a pretty good day yesterday. Christi’s was hectic, but she got what sounds like good news. It now sounds like the account she is working on will go until at least next June. That’s great news, if it works out that way. There was some concern that it might not last past the end of the year. Of course, she has built a pretty good relationship with one of the top people for the customer, which is always a good thing. Who knows? She might eventually wind up working for them instead of the consulting firm.

Last night’s Huddle gathering was interesting. We discussed the future. We have a couple of options. Either we can lead our own Huddle, with the intent of developing future Huddle leaders, or we can lead a “Missional Gathering” (I don’t really like that word), with the intent of reaching a community. We also have the option of leading or supporting one of either type of group. Christi and I are both unsure of what we think we need to do. We are going to have to pray about this . . . a lot!

Tonight, we are going to our pastor’s mother’s house for dinner. She is, allegedly, making chili, which is supposed to be her specialty. I can’t wait!! Oh, yes. She is also a Red Sox fan! Can it get any better??

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:1-2
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Psalm 123:1
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
Psalm 97:9
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
Psalm 103:11
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Life of Integrity.”

This life of integrity has “no room for romanticized idealism, condescending pity, or sentimental piety. When a disciple’s every response, word, and decision is motivated by compassion, he has put on Christ and walks in the way of integrity.” We must also consider that the Biblical definition of compassion includes action. If I only shed tears for the thousands of children flooding the border of Texas and Mexico, that is only emotion. But when those tears are combined with prayer or finding a way to do something about the crisis (and by do something about it, I mean trying to find a way to help the children, which is what I believe Jesus would do), it becomes compassion. This concept is further illustrated by John in his first letter.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18

The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

Proverbs 11:3

Father in heaven, I pray for more compassion. I pray for more of the kind of compassion that produces tears when praying, like I had yesterday morning while praying for a dear woman of our church. I pray for the kind of integrity in my life that lives the life of compassion that Jesus lived. I pray that your Spirit would quench any desire to sin once and for all, that I would stop playing around with this life and begin to take it completely seriously. While I certainly realize that the future of your Church is not in the hands of humans, nevertheless, my part in this Church is largely up to what I do and don’t do. Help me to know more about Jesus, that I might be more inclined to live like him. I pray for the supernatural life of Christ to live in me, as described in Galatians 2:20, a verse that will be forever shrouded in mystery to me, because I do not, and never hope to, understand how, exactly, that works. Yet I pray for its truth in my life.

I pray for this day. May we have safe passage to and from work this morning. I pray that our jobs will go smoothly today, and that we will have a most excellent time sharing a meal with our pastor and his family tonight. We are truly looking forward to this. I pray also that we might become more hospitable and find ways to invite others into our home for fellowship. Give us insight and wisdom as to our role in the future of The Exchange and the Huddle ministry. I pray for Stephanie, that she might have wisdom and understanding. Show her your love today.

I pray for Sue Ellen Smith, this morning, that you might heal her from her kidney infection. Give grace and comfort to her family.

Your grace is sufficient.

1 John 3 17-18

May we consider these words from John this morning and walk in integrity and compassion.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Transformation

Good morning. It is Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Only two more days in July.

Today is Rain Day. It would certainly be nice if it would do that today. There’s a slight chance, and little more chance later this week.

Yesterday went pretty well. Christi had a late meeting, so she got home late, but I cooked spaghetti and garlic toast for dinner. My work went pretty well yesterday, no real issues to speak of.

The Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays, 14-1, while the Rangers managed to beat the Evil Empire, 4-2, behind Yu Darvish. There are still two months left in the season, but it’s starting to look out of reach for the Sox.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

(From The Divine Hours)

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
Psalm 111:2
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35
As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.
Psalm 48:10-14

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Transparent Christian.”

How the transformation of the Christian works is a mystery which we cannot comprehend. But the effects of that mystery are clearly taught in the New Testament. “The bottom line is that the transparent Christian resembles Jesus, becomes a professional lover who is motivated by compassion in all that he or she thinks, says, and does.” Paul describes this change in various ways: “putting on Christ, living in Christ, Christ living in the Christian, or life in the Spirit.” These all point to radical change. Our lives, values, habits, and attitudes cannot stay the same. There may also be negative effects (at least negative in human eyes): we may lose our lives, become impoverished, or disgraced. “In any event we are sure to lose at least some of the goods of this world, which Jesus took the trouble to point out are of no importance anyway.”

So we do not lose heart.
Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

Father, I pray for this transparency in my life and in the life of all your children. May we effectively put on Christ each day, in every moment of every day, that our lives, values, habits, and attitudes might reflect those of Christ. May our speech be ever seasoned with grace, no matter what the circumstance. Fill us with your Spirit to the point of overflowing, and may we truly treat our worldly goods with the attitude that the “are of no importance anyway.”

I pray for this day. As we go out for work, may we have safe travel there and back again. I pray for Christi’s day, that she would continue to succeed and make good progress with the customer and her employer. Your grace has truly shone in this situation. We are so thankful for this. I pray for Stephanie, that you would increase her wisdom and understanding, and help her find your path for her life.

Your grace is sufficient.

May the effects of Christ’s transforming power in our lives be evident to all who come in contact with us today.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Walking in Love and Grace

Good morning. It is Monday, July 28, 2014.

Today is Milk Chocolate Day. Any day dealing with chocolate should be a real holiday. “I can’t come to work today. I have to eat chocolate.”

Christi worked hard yesterday. She cleaned the house a bit, did laundry (I helped), then after lunch, she went and picked up her mother, and they, along with Stephanie, took Tessie to get her nails clipped. It’s so much quieter in the house now. :-) After that, Stephanie and Carol (Christi’s mother) came back to the house, while Christi went up to Kroger to get a few groceries for her mom and Don. After she took Carol back home, Christi trimmed my hair and beard. Then we sat down and watched a few more episodes of Downton Abbey. We finished season 2 and started season 3, which can be streamed at no extra charge in Amazon Prime. Yes, that’s a shameless plug. We love Amazon Prime. I don’t even care if they raised the price this year. It’s still worth it. The free shipping alone pays for it every year.

Enough commercial. It’s Monday, back to work. Hoping for a good week for both of us.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

(From The Divine Hours)

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:1-2
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
Psalm 140:6
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
Psalm 73:25

The Cry of the Church
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Law Out of Balance.”

“Unbalanced emphasis on external law has made the church a haven for the shallow and insecure.” Strong words, but true. We have, though not intentionally, “fostered legalism and phariseeism” by such strong emphases on “external formalities.” Brennan has even had people ask him how late they could be to mass without “committing serious sin!” “A small-town mayor in Alabama is outraged that a girl entered church in Bermuda shorts; he is silent on the issue of racial equality.” On Ash Wednesday, a woman in a restaurant diligently searches her soup to make sure there is no meat in it, yet she is rude to the waitress.

“What are we doing to the gospel?”

Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live,
yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice,
none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered,
but in his injustice that he has done he shall die.

Ezekiel 33:13

Father, forgive us for making outward appearances more important than the heart. Forgive us for making external law more important than the way we treat our brothers and sisters. Show us the way of love, not law. Jesus made it clear that the law was fulfilled by him. Paul explained to us that the law was to show us how sinful we are. I pray, Father, that your Church will be consistent with word, belief, and action. May we live what we believe, and may we truly believe the words that you have spoken to us in your scriptures. Teach us your ways, that we may walk in your truth. Let us not be Pharisees.

I pray for this day, Father. I pray for safe passage to and from work. May Christi’s work day be good, and may she continue to develop in-roads with the customer, gaining approval with them. Thank you for our jobs, and I pray that they will remain constant for us, that we might use our resources to glorify your name. I pray that you surround Stephanie today with your loving arms.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all do a better job today of walking and living in grace, both toward ourselves and others.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Looking Through the Wrong Lens

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Thanks to my friend Robert Warden for reminding me about that song from the seventies!

Today is Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day. I swear I am not making this up. Just click the link, you’ll see. This creates a rather hilarious visual image for me. Houseplants on a leash? In fact, someone else has already created the visual for me!
houseplant walk
Hopefully, she doesn’t mind me borrowing her picture. I’ll link her blog for credit. carriebuchert.wordpress.com

Yesterday was odd, in some ways. I managed to get myself in a grumpy mood, early on, over something silly, really, and it colored most of the day. Nothing really went badly, so it was, overall, a pretty good day. We got the grocery shopping done, had a nice lunch, and time to relax before going to church. Then the prayer time before our service was very moving, just as last week’s was. The pastor has encouraged all who are involved with the worship ministries to be in there Not demanding, but strongly encouraging), and I think it has had a great effect on both the prayer time and the worship service. The worship was good, as well, and, as a result, my grumpiness was long gone by the time it was over. We stopped by Lee’s Grilled Cheese on the way home, and picked up dinner. Yum!

One thing I did, yesterday, was to finally create the Facebook prayer community that I have been wanting to create for several weeks. After looking at several possible names (I wanted to call it “The Prayer Exchange,” but there were already about six or seven Facebook pages by that name), I finally decided on “A Prayer Gathering.” I sincerely hope that is what it becomes, too. Not just a place for people to post prayer requests, although that is what it is, but also a place for people to pray together over those prayer requests. My desire is that this becomes a true community of prayer, reaching all over the world. Please check it out; feel free to post a prayer request or a prayer.

Today looks like it will be a little busy. Christi is going to the grocery store again, because Don didn’t feel up to going to the Commissary yesterday. They didn’t call her until last night to ask her to get some things for them. We also are planning to take Tessie (our Corgi) to the pet store to get her nails trimmed. Christi wants to trim my hair and beard today, as well. That might be all. Who knows?

(Source: This Day In History)

On this date in 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was overthrown and arrested, effectively ending his “Reign of Terror.” He and 21 others were led to execution without trial, by the very guillotine which he, himself, had executed many others, in the Place de la Revolution. Another 82 of his followers were executed over the next few days.

Today’s birthdays include Seamus Dever, A-Roid, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Julian McMahon, Jerry Van Dyke, Bobbie Gentry, Peggy Fleming, Maureen McGovern, Norman Lear, Lupita Tovar (104 years old!), Max Scherzer, Johann Bernoulli, Sage Kotsenburg, Sasha Mitchell, Keenan Wynn, Leo Durocher, Gary Gygax, and Irv Cross.

Maureen McGovern is a singer who turns 65 today. The only song of hers that I can remember is “The Morning After,” the theme song from the seventies disaster movie, The Poseidon Adventure.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

(From The Divine Hours)

Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Psalm 96:10
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
Psalm 67:3
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;
Psalm 65:5
My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
Psalm 119:20
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
Psalm 119:1-3

The Prayer Appointed for the Week
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing
is holy: Increase and multiply upon all your faithful people your mercy; that, with you as
our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things
eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Seeing Christ In Others.”

G.K. Chesterton is quoted as saying, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”

Gandhi has his famous quote, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

Brennan says, “Unless and until we have men and women who live by the inner dynamism of the Spirit, human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ, Christianity will be a musty antique of a medieval past.”

Just last night, our pastor said that there seems to be a layer of “Christian dust” that has settled all about the DFW Metroplex, but not much of it has penetrated to a deeper level.

As Christians, we seem to be afraid of “making waves.” We want to “float through life like a majestic iceberg taking no chances.” There are other people (not Christians) who are sounding the need for racial justice better than we are. Unfortunately, there are too many people who believe that living “by the inner dynamism of the Spirit” involves things like speaking in tongues and handling snakes. But what it truly means is loving one another as Christ has loved us; that “fire of love for Christ” that Brennan mentioned above.

“What a strange breed of Christianity the law has ushered in! What little resemblance it bears to the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

. . . that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:6

Father, forgive your Church for losing sight of the true gospel. Forgive us when we go astray and become more judgmental than merciful. Forgive us when we desire the gifts of the Spirit more than we desire the Spirit himself. May we become “human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ,” and begin to penetrate to deeper levels of our culture. I love that this is what our pastor is trying to create at The Exchange. I pray that you continue to inspire him and give him wisdom, discernment, and courage. May you give Jacob Seay eyes to see things the way you see them and the ability to focus on things above. May you give us the faith and courage to be light in a dark world; to invite people we know to “come and see.” We don’t have to be able to answer ridiculously hard questions. We don’t have to be able to effectively defend Jesus. All we have to do is bring them along. “Come and see.”

I pray for this day, Father, that we will get the errands done that need to be done. Keep us safe as we get out and about today, and then give us good rest later on, that we may be prepared for the week of work ahead. As we go through that week of work, I pray that we will remember whose we are, and always be looking for opportunities to serve you, pray for others, and share the kingdom with them.

Your grace is sufficient.

While I never take much stock in criticism of Christians by non-Christians, I do believe that we have a large segment of “Christianity” that is completely on the wrong path. I pray diligently that we will choose the way of love, letting our love for Christ color what we see around us. We have a tendency to look through a lens of the wrath of God. We must be very careful. Only God is qualified to do that, because only he is holy.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Fulfillment

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Today is All Or Nothing Day. Break through your barriers and ignore your fears. Carpe diem. Or carpe noctem, if you prefer.

I almost wound up working today, but we got enough done yesterday afternoon that the lead came and told me that I didn’t need to come in if I didn’t want to. Well, you don’t have to tell me that twice!

I’m meeting a friend, later this morning, at Dunkin Donuts. We used to go to church together, and he’s been having a rough time. We like to get together for breakfast every now and then.

Christi is taking Don (her step-dad) to the base commissary, this morning, as well. I don’t think he’s been there for a long time. He’s going to enjoy that. I think we are all going to meet at Fogata’s afterward for lunch.

As is our custom, we will have our church service this evening at 5:45, with a prayer time beforehand, at 4:45.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1833 that William Wilberforce, on his deathbed (he died three days later), received the good news that “a bill for the abolition of slavery had passed its second reading in Parliament.” He said, “Thank God, that I should have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give twenty millions sterling for the abolition of slavery!” He had been fighting this battle for four decades. An excellent movie has been made on this subject, called Amazing Grace. Albert Finney plays the part of John Newton, a former slave-trader who wrote the hymn after which the movie is named.

Today’s birthdays include Sandra Bullock, Mick Jagger, Kate Beckinsale, Kevin Spacey, Helen Mirren, Vivian Vance, Stanley Kubrick, Dorothy Hamill, Gracie Allen, George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Jason Robards, Jr., Carl Jung, Bob Lilly, Rebecca St. James, Don Carter, Dobie Gray, and Terri Nunn.

Dobie Gray was a singer, born in 1940, in Simonton, Texas. He is best known for his hit song, “Drift Away.” He passed away in 2011.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Psalm 25:4-5
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:11-12

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Fulfillment.”

“We recognize that Jesus responds to needs and desires that we’ve long had, perhaps without being fully aware of them. He speaks to our innermost being, supplies our needs, satisfies our desires. In him the obscure is illuminated, the uncertain yields to the certain, insecurity is replaced by a deep sense of security. In him we find that we have come to understand many things that baffled us. The encounter with Jesus awakens us to possibilities we have never seen, and we know that this person is what we have been seeking.”

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Father, may I be more constantly aware of these truths about my Savior. May I bring those needs and desires to him on a consistent basis, instead of looking elsewhere to satisfy them. Strengthen my faith that I may know that he meets needs that I am not even aware of. Open my spiritual eyes and ears, that I might hear his voice within me, by your Spirit. May I be ultimately satisfied by Jesus every day, and may my security be in him, not in money, not in entertainment, not in any of my abilities, or anything else. May I truly understand those things that have baffled me.

I pray for this day. I pray for your hand of blessing on the activities of the day. May I be able to be an uplifting presence for my friend, this morning. May Christi be a channel of grace for Don as they go shopping together. May our worship time this evening glorify you and lift you high.

Your grace is sufficient.

The presence of Jesus can yield uncountable blessings and mercies in our lives. May we recognize even a few of those today.

Grace and peace, friends.

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We Have Been Called Friends

Good morning. It is Friday, July 25, 2014. My data plan resets today. :-D

Today is Talk In An Elevator Day. Go on! You can do it!

Christi had a pretty good day again, yesterday. In fact, she beat me home from work! Then we made breakfast for dinner. Yum!

Christi’s step-dad cooked some fresh green beans and new potatoes the other day, and shared some with us. She stopped by and picked them up on, I think, Wednesday evening. They were delicious. It’s really good to see him cooking like that again. They seem to really be thriving in their new environment. We are pleasantly surprised.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

(From The Divine Hours)

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
Psalm 99:1
Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
Psalm 70:1
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Psalm 71:5
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
Mark 13:24-27

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “No Greater Love.”

Consider these statements:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
I have called you friends (John 15:15)
Abide in my love. (John 15:9)
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1)
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:3)
You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16)

These are phenomenal statements!” Is there any other “religion” in this world whose “deity” speaks with such “tenderness, incredible familiarity, indomitable confidence, and spellbinding power?”

You did not choose me,
but I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit
and that your fruit should abide,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name,
he may give it to you.

John 15:16

Ah, Father, what love! Help me to know this love beyond reason. Help me to abide in this love; to have faith in the provision that comes with this love. Help my unbelief! You have shown me this great love, and I constantly ignore it. You have laid down your life for me, and called me “friend.” You are preparing a place for me, and will return someday to take me there. I pray that your joy will find a permanent home within me, that it may be full. Increase my faith; increase my belief, that my heart will never be troubled. Thank you, Father, for choosing me.

I pray for this day, that it will be a good work day for both Christi and me. Keep us safe as we drive to and from work. I pray for a good weekend, with time to rest. I also pray that our worship time tomorrow evening will be glorifying to you. I pray for Stephanie today, that she would be drawn closer into your loving arms. I pray for you to give her life meaning.

Your grace is sufficient.

Consider the verses quoted above and what marvelous statements our Savior has made.

Grace and peace, friends.

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The Father’s Love

Good morning. It is Thursday, July 24, 2014. . . . and the beat goes on.

Today is Cousins Day. If you have any, reach out to them today.

Christi had a better day yesterday. It seems to go that way. There will be a couple of good days (or at least less stressful), and then a horrific day. But I think, in general, it is improving quite a bit. The important thing is that the customer seems to be really happy with what she is doing there.

Not much else going on here. The weekend is approaching, which is a good thing. I have an appointment to have breakfast with a friend on Saturday morning. Well, I can’t really call it a “date,” now, can I? This guy used to go to church with us, and we meet for breakfast every couple of months. His life is not going so well right now.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
Psalm 29:2
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
Psalm 31:1
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:11
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Psalm 19:1-6

The Gloria
Glory be to God the Father,
God the Son,
and God the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
so it is now and so it shall ever be,
world without end.
Alleluia.
Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Father’s Compassion.”

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13) Brennan tells a story of a sculpture that he received from some friends. It depicts “a father cradling his little son on his instep and rocking him back and forth.” The child is gazing up at the father with complete trust and love. But what if that child deliberately got off of the father’s instep and walked away? How would that father feel? “How would you feel? Would you miss your little one? Would you call out his name? Would you be eager for his return? . . . would you love him in his absence? Well, the Abba of Jesus is at least as nice a person as you.”

That’s putting it mildly, I think. An understatement of infinite proportions. We’ve read the story of the prodigal son. We’ve heard the parables of Jesus about the woman who turns her house upside down looking for a lost penny, or that shepherd who searches endlessly for that lost sheep. This is our Father. This is our Savior. He infinitely desires our fellowship, and when we have strayed from his path, he waits endlessly for us, awaiting our return with open arms.

Father, I am so grateful that your love and compassion is infinitely greater than what I could ever show, even to my own children. When I consider the love and compassion I have for my own daughters, and then consider how much greater your love is for us, I am overwhelmed. It is almost too much for me to consider. I praise you for this eternal, infinite compassion, Lord. I thank you for your never-ending love. Help us to display that to the people with whom we come in contact every day.

I pray for this day. May you grant us safe passage to work and back today. May you grant Christi a successful day at work, giving her complete confidence in what she is doing. May you grant her favor with those whom she is working, both employer and client. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show her this unending love and compassion today. Give her wisdom and understanding. I pray for my work today, that it will go smoothly, but more importantly, that I will have opportunity to shine your light on someone today.

I pray, this morning, for Dr. Sheik Umar Khan. You know he has been working in Africa, treating people in this horrible ebola outbreak that we seem to be ignoring over here. It is reported that he has been infected with the virus. I pray for healing, Lord. These people desperately need your hand of mercy and healing. I pray that you rain down compassion on them and show them your love.

Your grace is sufficient.

Consider the Father’s love for you today. Let it wash over you like a gentle rain.

how-deep-the-fathers-love-for-us

Grace and peace, friends.

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