Good morning. Today is Monday, January 7, 2013. Yes, today, it’s back to the real grind, after a short week last week. We had a great day yesterday, for the most part. There was some stress, but I’m not going to talk about it right now. Our worship celebration went well, and we had a nice lunch and afternoon with Rachel and Justin. Christi and I watched “Hope Springs” last night after they left, and it is a wonderful movie (a bit awkward at times) about an older couple struggling to regain intimacy in their marriage. The couple is played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, both of whom are cast, in my opinion, perfectly. It was heartbreaking several times, awkward a few times (there are some rather frank discussions about sex), but the ending was beautiful. I highly recommend it, especially for married couples. At one point, I turned to Christi and said, “If I ever get like that, please just shoot me.”
Today is “National Old Rock Day.” In honor of that, I give you this:
That kind of rock?? Oops. Sorry.
On this date, in 1558, Francois de Lorraine, second duc de Guise (the original “Scarface”), ended a six day campaign to finally oust all English presence from France, by defeating the English garrison at Calais. King Henri II had finally decided to “throw the English out for good,” after they had had claim to large portions of France for hundreds of years. Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”) was reported to have said, “When I am dead and opened, you shall find “Calais” lying within my heart.”
Today’s birthday is Charles Addams, born on this date in 1912. Addams was the cartoonist who created “The Addams Family.”
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. Psalm 16:1
I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2
Father, I pray that you show me a glimpse of yourself during my time of meditation this morning. Give me grace for this day alone.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 17:1-3.
1 An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
3 The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the LORD of hosts.
This oracle concerned Damascus, which was the capital city of Syria. Verse 3 seems to be indicating that, at the time of this oracle, Israel had no glory, therefore, Syria would have no remnant.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “The Lord Bless You.” The scripture reading is Numbers 6:22-27.
22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24 The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
God most definitely desires (and intends) to bless his people. “Our God is a God who blesses. Thus, the community of God is a blessed community.” God directed his priests to bless the people. Since we are now “priests,” under the blood of Jesus Christ, we are called to bless others. “We are spiritually mature when we can overcome our emotions and pray for, even ask God to bless, our enemies.” We can look at 1 Peter 3:9 and see that we are directed to not repay evil for evil. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Today, I am challenged to reflect on ways that God has blessed me. It will likely be an easy challenge, but it hasn’t always been. There have been darker times in my life, when I struggled to see God’s blessings. But, if we are struggling to find his blessings, we can start with basic things. Write them down. “Once you discipline yourself to start thinking of the ways God has blessed you, it is often hard to stop.” I will finish this day by thanking him for these blessings.
Father, this is a simple task, yet it yields great reward. I thank you for the many blessings that you have given me and my family. Yet that will not be the end of it. Cause me, by your Spirit, to think on these blessings throughout this day, living this day in your presence, looking to your face for inspiration. Remind me at the end of this day to look back and give you deep thanks for these blessings, and for this day.
I pray for this day, Lord, that you would give Christi a good day at work. Also help her to work with this boot that she is supposed to wear on her foot. I pray that my day will be smooth and without anxiety or stress. I pray that you comfort Stephanie today, and give her peace and hope. Strengthen her by your Spirit today, showing yourself to her.
I pray that God blesses you today, and that you can find his blessings in your day.
Grace and peace, friends.