Today is Monday, March 4, 2013. Today is Hug A GI Day. Hallmark Ultimate Holiday Site says, “It’s March fourth, so march forth and find yourself a GI to hug.” I think that’s a swell idea. Just don’t sneak up behind them and surprise them, especially if they are suffering from PTSD. Seriously…if you see a soldier of any brand today, at least give them a “thanks.” I try to do that whenever possible. I never served in the military, so I always try to thank the ones who do.
Christi is still experiencing a great deal of pain, but she’s heading on to work today, because that’s the kind of person she is. She’s not going to let her bodily discomfort keep her from her responsibilities. I am, of course, trying to take on as much of the “around the house” responsibility as possible, to give her a break during this. She just said that her foot doesn’t hurt as bad because her back is hurting now. Yay?
Steph and I got in another workout yesterday after we got home from church and lunch. I’m really proud of her for carrying on like this. I’m frustrated, though, because I’m not dropping any serious pounds at the moment. I’ve lost about 20 on the year, so far, which is nothing to sneeze at. But over the past week, I’ve been basically level. Oh, well. Plateau, I guess.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1193, Saladin died. Saladin was the “legendary leader” who resisted Richard the Lion-Heart’s crusade to reconquer Jerusalem. Saladin, while an effective military leader, was also very chivalrous. It is said that, while engaged in battle with Richard, “he sent him and his captains chilled win, pears and grapes from Damascus to ease their life in camp.” There is even one story that says that, when he saw Richard’s horse killed under him, rather than have his men finish Richard off, he sent him a new horse. Richard finally gave up the crusade in October of 1192. Saladin died five months later, on this date, of a fever. While he was dying, it is said that he realized how ephemeral his triumphs were, and gave these instructions to his followers: “Go and take my shroud through the streets and cry loudly, ‘Behold all that Saladin, who conquered the East, bears away of his conquests.’”
Today’s birthday is Tom Grieve, born on this date in 1948. Tom has been involved with the Texas Rangers baseball organization, almost since its inception in 1972, actually before, as he played with the Washington Senators in 1970. He played for the Rangers from 1972-1977. After he retired in 1979, he joined the Rangers organization as a TV broadcaster, but then became the general manager in 1984, where he served until 1994. He is currently one of the TV broadcasters, a household name among Rangers fans, and well-loved by all (or at least should be). I have met Tom, personally, and he seems to be an extremely kind and gentle man. He has always treated Stephanie with great respect, which wins all kinds of points in my book.
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent. Psalm 71:8-9
O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! Psalm 88:1-2
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
I pray, Father, that I might get a glimpse of you this morning. Give me grace to carry me through this day. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 30:8-14.
8 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.
9 For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them,
13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
14 and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.”
Sometimes, things appear in scripture that sound as if they are written about our modern society. So I guess the idea of “preaching” a popular “gospel” is not new. Of course, as Isaiah points out, via the very words of God Almighty, a popular “gospel” is no gospel at all. I saw a quote by Charles H. Spurgeon yesterday, that said, “That very church which the world likes best is sure to be that which God abhors.” Churches can spend a lot of time and money trying to be appealing to “lost” people, or they can simply preach the gospel, which, according to scripture, possesses all the power necessary for salvation. I have said before that God is infinitely attractive, and any effort on man’s part to make him more attractive actually has the opposite effect.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Learning from Creation.” The scripture reference is Psalm 19:1-4.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
There are terms called “natural revelation” and “general revelation,” which refer to “how the world itself pours out on us wordless speech about God.” Our lives are “wordy” and very busy, but if we simply take time to “listen” to creation, we can learn a lot about God. I am challenged, today, to consider what I have learned about God from creation. This prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is offered:
Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful…
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste…
Praised be you, My Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Please note (as there are some who will jump to erroneous conclusions) that it is God who is being praised in this prayer, not the creation. God is glorified through his creation, which serves the purpose for which it was created.
Father, I praise you for your creation, through which I frequently gain insight into you you and your ways, or at the very least am able to draw closer to you and praise you. Many times, I have gazed upon the night sky, especially when I am in a place that is away from the light pollution of the large city, and have almost had my breath taken away at the wonder of your majesty. I have been blessed to gaze numerous times upon the splendor and majesty of the oceans of the world. I can scarce take in the immensity of them with my feeble, finite brain. To me, the oceans and the night sky are similar, in that, to my small mind, they seem endless. Even though I know that the ocean ends somewhere, on another shore, I cannot see that shore from where I stand. The body of water is huge, seemingly infinite (though I know it is not) from my point of view. From these, I get a small glimpse of your infinite majesty. I am thankful that this “vision” that you have given me (for it is obvious that the ability to see you in creation is, in itself, a gift from you, for there are some who, apparently have not this vision). I revel in the thoughts of your majesty when I look at the stars, the oceans, the beautiful creatures, and the forests and jungles. I see you all around me, and I worship you in those settings. Teach me more of you, my Father! Teach me more!
I pray for my family on this day, Lord. May you grace my wife with some relief today, as she goes about her work day. Give her a good work day, free from any more anxiety than she is already experiencing. I pray that Stephanie be draw closer to you today, and I thank you for her continued enthusiasm over working out at the gym. It helps keep me motivated, as well. I pray for a good work day for me today, as well, as I continue to adjust my work schedules and time management to new responsibilities. Draw me closer to you and teach me more about yourself.
There is so much we can learn about God, if we only have eyes to see his glory and majesty in the creation around us.
Grace and peace, friends.