Imagine my surprise when I realized this is Thursday! See? I have to remind myself what day it is. It’s a little scary, actually. Anyway, that means that tomorrow’s Friday, and we are off to Houston on Saturday, to watch the Red Sox play the Lastros. Sunday, we will head on down to Galveston and spend July 4th at the ocean. Mmmmmm….I can’t wait. I don’t even care if there are a kabillion people there. I won’t be here, and I’ll be able to see/hear/smell the ocean. That’s all I need.
Yesterday seems to have been a pretty good day. We had a much needed 100% delivery day, with minimal issues. Christi’s day was…well, every day is pretty miserable for her right now, and that’s all I can really say about that, you know…
In baseball, the Rangers beat the Lastros again, 3-2, clinching the “Silver Boot” once again. I know…it sounds stupid. It’s just a Texas thing. I don’t necessarily endorse it, okay? The Sox continue to meander in a melee of mediocrity (HAH!) (and one dictionary defines “melee” as “a confused struggle”) and lost to the Sandwiches again, 2-1. Lackey didn’t pitch badly, apparently, but the bats didn’t hit well. Obviously, I picked the wrong Ranger for Home Run Beat the Streak, because Nelson Cruz did NOT hit one. Ian Kinsler, on the other hand, hit TWO! Dang. I’m still going for Cruz again today. The boomstick is bound to come alive soon. Dustin Pedroia got a hit, so my Beat the Streak is off and running again at one. Heh. Only 56 more to go, right? Today’s pick will be Michael Young.
Today’s album that I’m ripping to digital is “Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe.” Yet it is NOT “Yes.” I’m really not sure why they did that…published in 1989, it has a Roger Dean cover. It looks like Yes. It sounds like Yes. But, no, it’s not Yes. Heh…THAT was a weird sentence…
Today’s Bible readings from Discovering the Bible, by Gordon L. Addington:
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Again, I wish there wasn’t a chapter division here. It flows so smoothly from the end of chapter 12. Paul is still discussing spiritual gifts, but he takes a little side path and tells us that it doesn’t matter WHAT gift we have, if we don’t have LOVE, it’s worthless. It’s like a clanging symbol, just making noise. Even if we understand every mystery there is to understand, if we lack love, we have…
Love is the most important thing. The two greatest commands both center around love. Love the Lord with all your being. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Then Paul lists qualities of love. And ever time I get to this chapter, I take inventory to see how I’m doing. So let’s see…
1. Love is patient. I’m still working on that. I think I’m about 50/50 on that one, which is not very good. 50 is a failing grade.
2. Love is kind. Again. I’m kind some of the time, maybe even most of the time, but I do slip into some very unkind moments. Especially when I’m failing at number 1.
3. Love does not envy. I think I do pretty good at that one. I don’t envy others very often. I don’t want much of what other people have. There are things that I want that I don’t have, but I rarely envy someone else’s possessions or status.
4. Love does not boast. I think I do pretty good at that one, too. In fact, I rarely boast about my own ability or stuff. I’m not one to “toot my own horn.”
5. Love is not arrogant. Now, that’s different from boasting. You can be arrogant without boasting. I struggle with that one sometimes, because I tend to think I’m pretty intelligent, and that a lot of other people are pretty stupid. I need to be more humble. Because I’m also pretty stupid sometimes.
6. Love is not rude. Sadly, I can be pretty rude sometimes. But it’s usually when I’m in traffic, so no one else can hear me. Unless there are other people in the car. But I can also get rude when I’m failing at number 1, especially when I’m getting really poor customer service somewhere, which causes me to also fail at number 5 and number 2. See how these are all linked??
7. Love does not insist on its own way. I’m pretty good at that one, most of the time. Too good, perhaps, because sometimes, it takes us hours to decide what to have for a meal. I rarely ever throw a fit if I’m not getting to do what I want to do.
8. Love is not irritable. Ouch. Another one that I struggle with, especially if numbers 1, 2, and 5 are not in place.
9. Love is not resentful. That one is rare for me. I think. I could be wrong, but I don’t resent very often.
10. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing. I think I can say that I do okay at that one. I don’t like to see wrong done. However, I am not perfect, and struggle sometimes when something “bad” happens to someone I really don’t like (especially public figures). For example, when Joba the Hutt got injured while pitching for the Grumpy Old Men.
11. Love rejoices with the truth. I’m definitely down with that one. I pretty much always rejoice when the truth wins out. However, we must be careful that we don’t get number 5 going when we rejoice with the truth. I’ve seen Christians get pretty 5 and un-2 when the truth wins.
12. Love bears all things. That’s a little different from patience. It’s tolerance. Ooh. We Christians can be pretty intolerant sometimes, can’t we? How am I at “bearing” all things. Meh. I’m so-so. Again, it depends on how some of those other numbers are going.
13. Love believes all things. What, exactly does THAT mean? I think Paul is being kind rhetorical here. But I tend to lean toward the idea of believing the best about people. And I need some work on that. I’ve grown cynical in my older age, and am finding it harder to trust people. Not that I don’t have good reason, but it’s not fair to not trust someone when they’ve never given you reason not to.
14. Love hopes all things. I have a pretty strong hope. To me that designates a faith in what John Piper calls “future grace.” I have faith that things are going to work out according to God’s plan.
15. Love endures all things. I believe Paul got a little redundant in his rhetoric here. To me…”endure” and “bear” pretty much mean the same thing. However, I’m not a Greek scholar, so I don’t know what nuances exist between the words in the original language.
So there you go. *tabulating scores…* Looks like I’m about 7 out of 15. Not very good is it? Maybe that’s why I keep at this devotional thing.
In the rest of the passage, Paul discusses the enduring nature of love. All of the spiritual gifts will eventually cease, because, when we all get to heaven (what a day of rejoicing that will beeeee….when we aaaalllll see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victor–shout the victory) we won’t NEED those any more, right? But we will still need love. Paul also talks about how our understanding is murky. Isn’t THAT the truth?? But when we see Jesus face to face, we will “know fully.” What a glorious day that will be.
2 Kings 1-2
I love chapter 1! It is awesome! Ahaziah was reigning in Ahab’s place. He fell through a lattice in his upper chamber (how?? I have no idea) and was laying in his sick bed. He sent messengers to inquire of Baal, to see if he would recover. As they were going, Elijah met them. Elijah told them to go back to the king and say this: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die. (vv. 3-4) So the messengers went back with the message. Ahaziah said, “What did this guy look like?” When they described him, he probably uttered a curse as he said, “That’s Elijah.” The king sent a captain with 50 men to get Elijah. “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” (v. 9) But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. (v. 10) Yeah, baby! So the king sent another captain with 50 men. Same thing happened. So the king sent ANOTHER captain with 50 men (some people are really slow learners, aren’t they?)(and if you were the third captain would YOU have gone??). But this captain fell on his knees before Elijah and begged him not to call down fire from heaven. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go ahead and go with him. But when he got there, he simply repeated the first message: Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron–is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?–therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die. (v. 16) And so he died. Jehoram became king in his place.
Chapter 2 describes the taking up of Elijah. Elijah is one of two people in the Bible that did not suffer physical death. (Bonus points to whoever names the other one.) (I don’t know why I said that…I don’t GIVE points…) He was taken up by chariots of fire with horses of fire. Elisha was with him and was privileged to witness it, which signified that he would receive a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit, as was his request. Elisha took off his robe, tore it up and put on Elijah’s and went back across the Jordan. The “sons of the prophets” met him there and wanted to go look for Elijah. He tried to stop them, but they were persistent. When they got back after three days of looking, he said, “I told you so.”
An interesting event occurs at the end of chapter 2. Some boys jeer at Elisha, saying “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” He “cursed them in the name of the Lord,” and two bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the boys. The Reformation Study Bible suggests that the boys were sarcastically mocking Elisha, comparing him to Elijah, who had worn a garment of hair, and were taunting him to “go up” to heaven the way Elijah had. It just goes to show…mocking a true prophet of God can have dire consequences.
1 A Song of Ascents. Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!
Great blessings are proclaimed upon anyone who fears the Lord and walks in his ways.
Father, I bless you this morning. I praise you and thank you for the grace that you have lavished upon me and my family. Lord, I thank you for love. I pray that my life will exhibit the characteristics of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. Help me to remember to examine my life more often, comparing it to these qualities. I look forward to the day when the need for the spiritual gifts has ceased to be. I look forward to the day when faith and hope are no longer necessary! What a day that will be, my Lord Jesus!!!
I pray that I will be like the person described in the Psalm. Let me be one who fears you and walks in your ways daily. I pray for blessings upon my wife and children, blessings upon my house, and blessings at my job, and at Christi’s job. I pray for blessings for Rachel and Justin, as they move on to a new chapter. I pray for Rachel’s success in the graduate program she has chosen. Let her see your hand at work in her life. I pray for blessings on Stephanie. Let her day at Champ Camp be tremendous. I pray for her success in her senior year. Let it be her best year ever.
I pray for this day, Lord. Let it be a good day.
Love is the greatest thing. After all…it makes the world go round, right?
Grace and peace, friends.