Good morning. Today is Friday, January 18, 2013. Did I mention that it’s Friday?
Stephanie’s doctor visit went well, yesterday. The doctor even said he would prescribe her Wellbutrin for her, because we’ve been having issues with the psychiatrist and Medicaid. That helps a lot! He was proud of her for losing so much weight over the last year, as well. Speaking of weight, I’ve lost seven pounds so far this week. Had a good workout last night, too. I tried the Stairmaster for the first time. I lasted six minutes. It kicked my butt. Back to the elliptical, and I’m not ashamed. I gained a new respect for the people I see on that beast every time.
Aww…today is “National Winnie the Pooh Day.” I love Pooh and all the Pooh stories. Must read them today.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1871, “King Wilhelm of Prussia was crowned Kaiser of the Germans.” Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had labored for over six years for this time, when all German states would be unified under a single empire led by Prussia. There had been three wars: Denmark in 1864, Austria in 1866, and France in 1870.
Today’s birthday is A.A. Milne, born on this date in 1882. That explains why today is “National Winnie the Pooh Day.” A.A. Milne is the author of the original Pooh stories. Honorable mention goes to Jason Segel, born on this date in 1980. He plays Marshall on How I Met Your Mother.
Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Psalm 96:1
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. Psalm 119:145
Father, I pray for a glimpse of you this morning, as I read and meditate on your word.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 19:16-25.
16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the LORD of hosts shakes over them.
17 And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose that the LORD of hosts has purposed against them.
18 In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD of hosts. One of these will be called the City of Destruction.
19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border.
20 It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them.
21 And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them.
22 And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
24 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth,
25 whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
After all of the things spoken of in the preceding verses, the Egyptians will turn to the Lord and be blessed. They will even build an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land (v 19). Even Assyria will be blessed at this time, as there will be a major highway connecting the two nations, and they will worship together. Israel will join together with them all.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “I Am With You Always.” The scripture reference is Matthew 28:16-20.
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
When Jesus had been resurrected, he first appeared to the women, telling them to instruct the disciples to go to Galilee. They did as they were told, and Jesus appeared to them, as he promised he would. In this short passage, Jesus first declares that he has all authority in heaven and on earth. He then passes along the authority to his disciples to make other disciples. But he does even more. “He promises to be with them (Immanuel) as the divine power, presence, and Wisdom of God until the close of the age.” The Gospel closes out with Jesus as God’s wisdom and presence, dwelling within his people, guarding and guiding them. We, in turn, are called to send out that call to others.
Jesus is present with us today, just as he promised. He is present with us as he dwells within us, by the power of the Holy Spirit. But he is also present in greater power when we gather together, worshiping him together. It is said that there is strength in numbers. This is true. But when believers gather together in Christ, there is something more going on. At that point, there is strength in “Oneness.” The strength is not so much in the numbers as it is in the single One who resides within each of us.
Jesus, I praise you that you are still with us today, even as you promised you would be. Your presence is in my life as you form and live your life within me. You told me a while back that the characteristics of the beatitudes are more than just an ideal for me to live by; they are your life in me, your characteristics that should flow out of me as you live your life in me. I depend on you to live through me. I do not try to live this life; rather, I try to let you live it. I praise you that, when many of us gather together, whether it be in our worship celebrations or our small group meetings, there is power in the Oneness that happens when we come together. As we merge our personalities together with yours, there is an extraordinary, supernatural power that occurs. May we look for that each time we gather, sense it, feel it, and then act on it. You have called us to make more disciples. May we, your Church, be faithful to obey that command.
I pray for this day. I pray, as always, that you would heal Christi’s pain. I also pray that she will have a good work day today, in the aftermath of layoffs that occurred yesterday. I pray for a sense of comfort and peace in spite of yesterday’s news. I pray for Stephanie’s day, as well. May you bring peace to her today, inspiring her to look to you for everything. And lastly, I pray that I might have a good work day today, free from anxiety. May I project your image to all around me today, and bring your peace to the environment around me.
There are many things that the presence of Jesus brings to our lives. Think on those today as you live your life. What does Jesus bring to you?
Grace and peace, friends.