Forgive Us Our Debts . . .

Good morning. It is Tuesday, September 1, 2015. 39 days to Playa Del Carmen.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is rigmarole. And all this time, I’ve been saying this word wrong. I thought it had another syllable in it . . . “rigamarole.” See? You can teach an old dog new tricks! Anyway, this noun means, “confused or meaningless talk,” or, “a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure.” I’ve you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, there is probably a lot of rigmarole that goes on where you work.

Today is Calendar Adjustment Day. What a fascinating story. From the website:

Following the British Calendar Act of 1751, Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. However, the current Julian calendar system required them to drop eleven days in order to sync themselves with the proposed Gregorian Calendar. So, on the evening of 2nd September 1752, the population of Britain and its American colonies went to sleep and awoke the next morning to 14th September 1752.

The changeover is also responsible for New Year’s Day being celebrated on 1st January, as before then it had been celebrated on 26th March.

As a result of Calendar Adjustment Day, there was rioting on the streets by those who felt cheated, and demanded the eleven days back!

Had another good band practice, last night. I seem to be playing a little better each week. Now, if I would only carve out space to practice more than once a week . . . I’m going to have to over the next couple of weeks, as I will not attend the September 7 rehearsal, because I’m not going to be at the September 12 concert. We will be in Oklahoma, at Winstar, that night, to see Jim Gaffigan. As an added bonus, Christi found a couple of mailers from Winstar that gave us two free nights at their hotel, along with free buffets at one of the restaurants! Oh, and $100 of free playing money! This trip may wind up only costing the gasoline to get there and the price we paid for the tickets, which we bought, like, last December, I think.

Christi’s going to a doctor, this morning, to see about her leg/calf. Hopefully, they can do something to get this under control before we go to Mexico, next month. We are so looking forward to this. We have also booked an excursion to Chichen Itza, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Tonight is Huddle night for me. Last week, I wrote a “Huddle Haiku.” It goes like this:

Where is direction?
Will it go round in circles?
It’s in the kairos.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 102:4-7.

My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.

The Psalmist feels as though his heart is cut off from its natural source of nourishment. His sorrow is so great that he forgets to eat.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

This is the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and another one of the difficult ones. This petition concerns our relationships with others, and our relationship with God. Luther says this about it:

If anyone insists on his own goodness and despises others . . . let him look into himself when this petition confronts him. He will find he is no better than others and that in the presence of God everyone must duck his head and come into the joy of forgiveness only through the low door of humility.

If confession and repentance are things that we find to be “traumatic or demeaning,” then our hearts are not right with God, and we will find it difficult to draw confidence from the Gospel. Keller goes on to say, “If regular confession does not produce an increased confidence and joy in your life, then you do not understand the salvation by grace, the essence of the faith.”

But Jesus goes on to link “our relationship with God to our relationship with others.” There are two ways to look at this. “If we have not seen our sin and sought radical forgiveness from God, we will be unable to forgive and to seek the good of those who have wronged us.” This means that “unresolved bitterness” in our hearts is a good indication that we are not right with God. The other side of this is that “if we are holding a grudge, we should see the hypocrisy of seeking forgiveness from God for sins of our own.” John Calvin says it this way:

If we retain feelings of hatred in our hearts, if we plot revenge and ponder any occasion to cause harm, and even if we do not try to get back into our enemies’ good graces, by every sort of good office deserve well of them, and commend ourselves to them, by this prayer we entreat God not to forgive our sins.

So, you see why this prayer is so difficult. If our hearts are not right with God and with others, we may actually be praying that God not forgive us. What a chilling thought.

Father, as I consider this part of your model prayer, I pray that your Spirit examine my heart and seek out any unforgiveness that I might have toward anyone else. At this moment, I do not believe there is any, but sometimes I am easy on myself when it comes to these things. Or perhaps there is something hidden away in there that I have completely forgotten or purposefully shoved into the shadows. May you expose any feelings in my heart, that I might make things right, both with my brothers and sisters and with you. May confession and repentance be a regular part of my experience with you, that I might be able to draw hope and confidence from the Gospel each day.

I pray for this day, that our travel might be safe and smooth. I pray for Christi’s doctor appointment, this morning, that relief might be forthcoming. I pray for her work day, as well. I pray that your grace would be strong in Stephanie’s life today, as well as in Rachel, Justin, and Mama. Let us always find ourselves in the center of your will for our lives.

I lift up a prayer for a college bandmate and friend, Steve, as he is in the hospital. They don’t seem to be completely certain what is wrong, other than his brain is involved somehow. May you bring healing to his body and wisdom to the attending physicians. They say surgery is probable. I pray for everything to go well for him.

Your grace is sufficient.

We should all attend to our own spiritual condition as we pray this petition. May our relationships with others be in good shape as we pray for forgiveness from God.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Good morning. It is Monday, August 31, 2015. Last day of August.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is muzzy. This adjective means, “Of a place, occasion, etc.: dull, gloomy, tedious. Also, of the weather: misty, foggy; muggy,” “of persons, their actions, manner, etc.: dulled, drowsy, spiritless; confused, mentally hazy; dazed and unfocused,” or “Of something presented to the mind or senses: vague, hazy, indistinct; imprecisely defined.” It can also mean, “Affected by alcohol; dazed or fuddled from drinking.” Good word. I think my brain is a little muzzy this morning.

Today is We Love Memoirs Day. Apparently, this is a real thing, begun in 2013 by Victoria Twead and Alan Parks, two writers of memoirs. There is even a Facebook page for the group, which sponsors meetups each year for people who love memoirs.

As promised, we didn’t do much yesterday. The only time I left the house was around 5:00 PM, to drive up to CVS to pick up Christi’s prescription, and stop for Sonic drinks. We ordered pizza for our only real meal for the day.

It was a sad day, though, as I woke up to the news of the death of Oliver Sacks, a noted neurologist and author, and right before I went to bed, saw news of the death of film director Wes Cravens.

Tonight, it’s band practice, while Christi and Stephanie have dinner with an old work friend of Christi’s. Good times.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 102:1-3.

A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.
Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!
For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13

Today, we come to the first of the personal petitions, “give us this day our daily bread.” We are reminded by Augustine that “daily bread” means necessities, not luxuries. We also should note that, before we ever got to this prayer, we have been focusing on the fact that God is “our true food, wealth, and happiness.” When we adjust our frame of mind in that way, our prayer list of needs changes drastically. Augustine also believed that this prayer should be framed by Proverbs 30:8-9, which says, Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Calvin would remind us that we still focus on God’s glory, even when asking for our own needs. “We come with our needs expectant of positive response, but we do so changed by our satisfaction in him and our trust of him. We do not come arrogantly and anxiously telling him what has to happen” (Keller’s words).

Luther adds a social aspect to the mix. And I do notice that Jesus tells us to pray, “Give US this day OUR daily bread.” Luther says that to pray this prayer is to “pray against ‘wanton exploitation’ in business, trade, and labor, which ‘crushes the poor and deprives them of their daily bread.’ Ominously he warns those who do injustice about the power of this petition.” For Martin Luther, when we pray for our daily bread, we are praying for “a prosperous and just social order.”

Father, as I pray this prayer, each day, may I take into account the things that are taught here. First, that I am praying for necessities. Let me only ask for things I need. I suppose there is no harm asking for something that I want, as long as I acknowledge that it is not desperately needed, and that your wisdom is far better than mine, defaulting back to the third petition, “your will be done.” Second, let me always be cognizant of your glory in my prayers. So let me pray for things that will glorify you, even when asking for “daily bread.” Finally, may I consider the aspect of my community of believers, my city, my country, and the world, when I pray these prayers, that all people would be provided with their “daily bread,” that social injustice and poverty would be stricken, and that corporate greed would cease.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe travel to and from work. I pray for a good day at work, and that Christi and I would exhibit characteristics of your kingdom throughout this day. I pray for Christi’s leg to be healed, that she might not have to walk in constant pain. I pray for band rehearsal this evening, and for Christi and Stephanie to have a good time with Margaret at dinner. May you lavish grace on Rachel and Justin, and keep my mother safe as she does whatever she needs to do. Your grace and mercy are amazing.

Some good thoughts for us to ponder today, as we pray for “daily bread.”

daily bread

Grace and peace, friends.

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Your Will Be Done

Good morning. It is Sunday, August 30, 2015. Only one more day in August.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is moot. If you click on the link, you will find a lot of definitions. The one for the word of the day listing is the adjective, which means, “open to question : debatable,” “subjected to discussion : disputed,” or, “deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic.” The most common usage is the latter of those. One reason that I chose this particular word was to highlight the fact that the word is moot, not “mute,” as is commonly, mistakenly, used. The point is not “mute,” it is “moot.” No extra charge for that lesson.

Today is Pony Express Day. “Pony Express Day celebrates those brave souls who made up the unique mail delivery system of the same name.”

I had a really great time last night, but it almost didn’t happen. While we were eating lunch, yesterday, I started feeling quite nauseated. I don’t know what was wrong, but I didn’t finish lunch. Since I was supposed to go out with Rob after church, Christi left earlier, in her car, and I was to follow later, and get drinks from Sonic on the way. I went ahead and did that, not feeling very well at all. I was able to lead the prayer gathering, and asked for prayer during that, saying that I might be going home between prayer and worship, also letting Rob know that I might not be able to make it for the evening. But by the time prayer was over, I was feeling better. I stayed for the worship gathering, and, afterward, decided that I was up to going out.

We decided to go for a movie, to the somewhat new Moviehouse & Eatery, in Keller. We elected to see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, which started at 9:15. That gave us just over an hour before movie-time, so we sat at the bar and had some burgers, which turned out to be quite tasty. The place is a bit pricey, but nice. Just inside the door, it resembles a hotel lobby, or something similar, with a huge bar toward the back. The movie tickets were $12, and my burger w/fries was $12.50. The seats in the theater were luxurious recliner-style, with a food tray that swings over the lap. Food was also available in the theater, with the same menu as out in the lobby. However, since I had already eaten, I just got popcorn and a Diet Coke. The “bottomless” popcorn was $7 (not bad at all, compared to regular theaters), and the “bottomless” soda was $4.

The movie was entertaining, but just a tad too long, I think. It is almost 2.5 hours, and I think it would have been better at the 2 hour mark. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, and noted afterward that I didn’t remember a single cuss word in it, which is extremely rare. Basically, it’s just action/adventure, no sex, no bad language. Overall, a good movie. My favorite characters were Simon Pegg’s and Jeremy Renner’s. Rebecca Ferguson also did a great job in the roll of Ilsa Faust. She reminded me of the classic “Bond girl” from days gone by. Except a tad tougher.
ilsa faust

Not sure what’s on the plate for today. We had talked about maybe going bowling, but that was before Christ’s leg popped again. Oh. I forgot mention that, above. When Christi was going up the stairs at church, her calf muscle popped again, so she’s back to having serious pain when she walks. Very frustrating. So we may not do much of anything at all today. But isn’t that what a “day of rest” should be like?

On this date in 1791, the HMS Pandora sank after running aground on a reef. In 1835, Melbourne, Australia, was founded. One year later, to the day, Houston, Texas was founded. On this date in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

Today’s birthdays include Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (English writer), Shirley Booth (American actress), Joan Blondell (American actress), Fred MacMurray (American actor), Ted Williams (American baseball player), Kitty Wells (American country singer), Geoffrey Beene (American fashion designer), Warren Buffet (American entrepreneur), John Phillips (The Mamas & the Papas), Elizabeth Ashley (American actress), Jean-Claude Killy (French skier), Robert Crumb (American cartoonist), Tug McGraw (American baseball player/manager), Molly Ivins (American political humorist), Peggy Lipton (American actress, Mod Squad), Lewis Black (American comedian), Timothy Bottoms (American actor), Michael Chiklis (American actor), Cameron Diaz (American actress), Marlon Byrd (American baseball player), Cliff Lee (American baseball player), and Adam Wainwright (American baseball player).

A lot of baseball birthdays, today. But, without a doubt, the most influential of all of those is the Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame, Ted Williams. Born on this date in 1918, Ted Williams is statistically the greatest hitter to ever play the game of baseball. He is the last player to finish a season with a .400+ batting average. He still holds the honor of having the longest home run in Fenway Park, so illustrated by the lone red seat in the right field stands.

the red seat

That red seat is 502 feet from home plate. Here is a video clip of Williams hitting a home run in his last MLB at bat.

Max Factor, Sr., Charles Coburn, Vera-Ellen, Charles Bronson, and Glenn Ford are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 101.

A Psalm of David.
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

We have arrived at the third petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “your will be done.” This, if we truly comprehend it, is one of the more difficult petitions of the prayer. Martin Luther paraphrases it like this: “Grant us grace to bear willingly all sorts of sickness, poverty, disgrace, suffering, and adversity and to recognize that in this your divine will is crucifying our will.” It also directs us back to the first phrase of the prayer, “Our Father in heaven,” because, if we are not certain that God is our Father, how can we pray, “your will be done?” Keller says, “Only if we trust God as Father can we ask for grace to bear our troubles with patience and grace.”

So, how are we sure that God is trustworthy? One way is to see that this petition is one that our Savior, himself, prayed when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, under much more dire circumstances than any of us are likely to face.

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:39

Jesus Christ submitted to his Father’s will, rather than assert his own, and the result was our salvation. This is why we can trust God. “Jesus is not asking us to do anything for him that he hasn’t already done for us, under conditions of difficulty beyond our comprehension.”

Luther also says that, if we do not have this trust in God, we might try to take God’s place and “seek revenge on those who have harmed us.” Keller adds to this, “If we can’t truly say ‘thy will be done’ from the bottom of our hearts, we will never know any peace. We will feel compelled to try to control people and control our environment and make things the way we believe they ought to be.” Calvin goes even farther with this and says that, when we pray “your will be done,” we are submitting not only our will to God, but our feelings as well, “that we do not become despondent, bitter, and hardened by the things that befall us.”

As we have considered these first three petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, the order is important. “We are not to let our own needs and issues dominate prayer; rather, we are to give pride of place to praising and honoring him, to yearning to see his greatness and to see it acknowledged everywhere, and to aspiring to full love and obedience.” We must allow our prayers to begin with adoration and praise, along with “God-centeredness,” so that we can be healed of our own self-centeredness, “which curves us in on ourselves and distorts all our vision.”

Father, may I truly be able to pray, “Your will be done,” in my prayers. I also pray for the grace to do prayer in the right order. So many times, I just into the needs of people around me, my family and friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, before I take the time to acknowledge your place in my life, your over-riding holiness and awesomeness, and the fact that your will for my life just might not line up with what I think it should be. May this prayer, “Your will be done,” be a staple in my prayer life, and may it be a truly honest prayer from the depths of my being.

I pray for this day, that we will get some good rest as we prepare for the coming work week. I pray for relief for Christi, from this nagging pain in her calf muscle. I pray for healing, that she might not have to visit a doctor. But if she winds up having to do that, I pray for wisdom for whoever she visits, that the right diagnosis and treatment will be made.

Your grace is sufficient, Father.

your will be done

Toward the end of his life, my father was known to say that “Your will be done” was the one prayer that could never fail. May it be so in our lives.

Grace and peace, friends.

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We Are His Workmanship

Good morning. It is Saturday, August 29, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is argy-bargy. That is pronounced with hard g sounds. This noun means, “a vigorous discussion or dispute.” I like this word. I think I’ll find a way to incorporate it into my vocabulary.

Today is Franchise Appreciation Day. A franchise is a store that is owned by an individual or small company, but has the financial backing of a larger company and its name. There are (or at least there used to be) some McDonald’s restaurants that are franchises. I think most Subway restaurants are franchises. I know I worked at a Southern Maid donut shop when I was in college, and it was a franchise store. It’s a good business model. So celebrate this day by supporting a local franchise store.

I’m up a little early, this morning, as I have an appointment to have coffee with a college friend, this morning, at 8:00. I set an alarm, but woke up before it went off.

I wound up working until almost 6:30, last night. There were still a couple others working when I left. It wasn’t pretty, and there probably is a good bit left for the Saturday person, this morning. But he has at least one other person coming in to help him. My Saturday is next week. I could take Monday off, but I was given the option of working and getting overtime on the Saturday. I didn’t have anything that I really wanted to do Monday, so I’ll go ahead and work, this time.

It’s our regular church day, so we will have our prayer gathering at 4:45 and our worship gathering at 5:45. After church, this evening, I’m going out to eat with a friend from church. So it’s a busy day for me. Sometime between the morning coffee and getting to church, we’ll get groceries.

I do have some unfortunate news. We finally got the results from those tests that Stephanie went through, and they determined that she was not eligible for this particular program. We’ll keep investigating though, and find something that can help her. I have to remember that my prayer for this was that if it was right for her, that it would happen. I have to believe, now, that it would not have been a good fit for her. We’ll keep looking.

On this date in 1831, Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction. In 1833, the UK abolished slavery. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler patented the first internal combustion motorcycle. in 1898, the Goodyear tire company was founded. On this date in 1966, the Beatles performed their last official concert, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. And on this date in 2005, Hurricane Katrina brought devastation to the U.S. Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing almost 2000, and causing more than $80 billion in damage.

Today’s birthdays include John Locke (English philosopher), Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (American physician and writer), Ingrid Bergman (Swedish actress), Charlie Parker (American musician), Richard Attenborough (English film director), John McCain (American politician), Elliott Gould (American actor), James Brady (White House Press Secretary), Robin Leach (English TV host), Temple Grandin (American animal welfare and autism expert), Michael Jackson (American pop singer), Rebecca De Mornay (American actress), Chris Daughtry (American musician), Carla Gugino (American actress), Roy Oswalt (American baseball player), and Lea Michelle (American actress/singer).

Charlie Parker, also known as “Bird,” was an American jazz saxophonist, born on this date in 1920. Here is his recording of “Summertime.”

Brigham Young, David T. Abercrombie, Adolphus Busch III, Nathan Leopold, Jimmy Reed, Lowell Thomas, Ingrid Bergman (died on her birthday!), Lee Marvin, and Archie Campbell are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 100:3-5.

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.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

“Believers are the persons whom the prophet here declares to be God’s workmanship, not that they were made men in their mother’s womb, but in that sense in which Paul, in Ephesians 2:10, calls them the workmanship of God, because they are created unto good works which God has before ordained that they should walk in them; and in reality this agrees best with the subsequent context.” (p 242)

Father, I thank you that I am your workmanship. I also thank you that, in Christ, you created me to do good works, ordained beforehand, that I might walk in them. So I pray for the obedience that is necessary to do those good works. May your Spirit help me to walk in them an be obedient to what you have created me for.

I pray for this day, and all its activities. May we be safe as we drive around town today. May our prayer gathering and worship gathering be glorifying to you, this evening, and I pray for my time of fellowship with my brother in Christ. I pray that your grace will continue to rain down on our family, and that we might be pleasing to you. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Your Kingdom Come

Good morning. It is Friday, August 28, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is opprobrius. This adjective means, “outrageously disgraceful or shameful.” I think this is kind of funny, because the Merriam-Webster word of the day is prevaricate, which means, “to deviate from the truth : equivocate.” (A fancy word for “lie.”) So I guess it is possible to be an opprobrius prevaricator. :-D

Today is Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day. We’ve all done this, right? When something is taking longer than usual to load up, race your mouse around the icons. Okay, technically, you’re racing your cursor around the icons, but you’re using the mouse to do it.

Not much to report from yesterday. Christi’s leg continues to feel better. Something weird happened Wednesday when she was walking down the stairs on Wednesday. She had a sudden, sharp pain, and had to stop. But after that, it didn’t hurt with every step she took. Almost like something stretched or popped back into place, or something. Whatever inexplicable thing happened, she is quite happy about it.

I didn’t practice last night. After I got home from work, I noticed the pool was kind of messed up, so I spent some time working on that, and I was tired. So, after Christi went to Huddle, I sat on the couch and watched part of World’s End, with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Martin Freeman.

Since it is Friday, I will likely have to work late. I don’t think we have any plans for this weekend. We might go back to doing the grocery shopping on Saturday morning. It seems less crowded. Maybe we’ll go bowling on Sunday.

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 100:1-2.

A Psalm for giving thanks.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

“The prophet commands that God should be served with gladness, intimating that his kindness towards his own people is so great as to furnish them with abundant ground for rejoicing.” (p 241)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13

What does it mean to prayer, “Your kingdom come?” While God is reigning over all things, currently, his light is still absent to those who refuse to open their eyes. “This is the cause of all our human problems, since we were created to serve him, and when we serve other things in God’s place, all spiritual, psychological, cultural, and even material problems ensue.” So, we need his kingdom to come.

According to Calvin, there are two ways that this happens. First is through the Spirit, “who ‘corrects our desires.'” Second is through God’s Word, “which ‘shapes our thoughts.'” That makes this what we might call a “Lordship petition.” We are asking our Father to “extend his royal power over every part of our lives–emotions, desires, thoughts, and commitments.” We ask and desire our Father to rule us in such a way that we desire to “obey him with all our hearts and with joy.”

Luther adds another dimension to this. “The reign of god on earth is only partial now, but the fullness of the future kingdom is unimaginable. All suffering, injustice, poverty, and death will be ended.” When we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we are asking, nay, yearning, for that future life “of justice and peace,” that what we finally experience in God’s future kingdom will be the consummation of that which he has begun in us on earth.

Father, help me to be able to pray these things and mean them. When I say, “Your kingdom come,” do I really understand what I am asking for? I believe I do. Do I mean it with all my heart? I’m not sure I can answer that as definitively. I want to say, “Yes!” And there are times when this is true. But there are equally times when I’m just saying words, and the true meaning of them doesn’t get past my tongue. May my heart always be involved in my prayers, Father, and may I truthfully be praying for the consummation of your kingdom in the hearts of your children. I would pray that you would create in me a desire to obey you with all my heart and with joy.

I pray for this day, that our travel to work and back will be smooth. I pray for a good day for both of us, that Christi’s meetings will go without anxiety or stress, and that I might not have to work late today. May you show your great love to Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama. May your presence be felt in their lives today.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we truly pray, with all our hearts, today, “Your kingdom come.”

your kingdom come

Grace and peace, friends.

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Hallowed Be Your Name

Good morning. It is Thursday, August 27, 2015. Pre-Friday!

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is sycophant. This noun means, “a servile self-seeking flatterer.” In the corporate world, you might refer to them as “yes men.”

Today is Burger Day. So, to celebrate, Sonic is selling corn dogs for fifty cents. Right. I guess they didn’t get the memo. Anyway, I won’t be having a burger tonight, because it’s Thursday, and on Thursdays, we have Mexican soup.

I’m wearing a red shirt today. Why, you ask? We have been asked to wear a red shirt today, in order to kick off “Red Shirt Fridays.” I’ll let you think about that for a minute. Today is Thursday. . . Yeah, I’m confused, too. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to wear a read shirt tomorrow, also, or if every Red Shirt Friday will fall on Thursday.

Christi and I both got our new glasses, yesterday after work. So far, mine appear to be doing exactly what I needed them to do. As soon as I got home, I sat down in front of a music stand, and the music was much clearer! I’m also wearing them to look at the computer screen, right now, and it is also very clear. They are bifocal style, so the reading portion is at the bottom, toward the middle. That part works well, too, but will take some getting used to. I think I may have had bifocals, once upon a time, but it’s been probably close to fifteen years, so I have to remember how to use them.

Christi noticed that her long distance vision is much better. She does wish that she had gotten the wider progressive lens, though, as she is initially struggling with the closer vision part. I think she will get used to it, though. They said that it sometimes takes as much as six weeks to really get your eyes trained to the new glasses.

Tonight is Christi’s Huddle. I will probably try to practice some, wearing my new glasses. I’m pretty excited about this.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 99.

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he!
The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!
Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them.
O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!

“Now that the shadowy dispensation has passed away, God cannot otherwise be properly worshipped, than when we come to him directly through Christ, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells.” (p 240)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13

Today, we move to the second phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, which is actually the first petition. “Hallowed be your name.” Out of the entire prayer, this is the phrase that we probably struggle the most with. Keller calls it “somewhat opaque to contemporary English speakers.” There are several reasons. One is that we seldom use the word “hallowed” today. Another is that the idea of holiness (which is the basic meaning of the word hallowed) “is alien in our secularized society.” A third reason deals with logic. Why would we pray for God’s name to be made holy? Isn’t he already holy? Luther agrees, but then adds that “in our use of it his name is not kept holy.” As “born again Christians,” we all have God’s name inscribed upon us. And, as name bearers, we “represent a good and holy God, and so we are praying that God keep us from dishonoring the name by which we are called, that he would empower us to become ourselves good and holy.”

When we pray for God’s name to be hallowed, we also pray, along with Augustine, that God “be glorified among all nations as you are glorified among us.” We are asking that “faith in God would spread throughout the world, that Christians would honor God with the Christ-likeness or holiness of their lives, and that more and more people would honor God and call on his name.”

Calvin adds one more thought to these ideas. “What is more unworthy than for God’s glory to be obscured partly by our ungratefulness?” We fail to honor God’s name when we are ungrateful and indifferent toward him. “To ‘hallow’ God’s name is not merely to live righteous lives but to have a heart of grateful joy toward God–and even more, a wondrous sense of his beauty.” We would pray that God’s name “captivate us with wonderment for him.”

Father, as I seek to hallow your name, may I walk in gratitude for the grace you have bestowed upon me. May your Spirit captivate me with wonderment for your name! I pray, along with Luther and Augustine, that your name would be glorified among all nations, and that I would honor your name by living in a Christ-like way. This requires that your Spirit empower me to set aside anything in my life that does not honor you. This is the true struggle, isn’t it? I pray for that to take place, though, and that I would be continuously drawing nearer to you, in order to glorify your name. May the goal of my life be you, Father, in Jesus Christ.

I pray for this day, that our travel to and from work be safe and smooth. I pray for Christi’s day, as she continues to adjust to the reorganization that recently occurred. I am thankful that something happened in her leg yesterday that seems to have eliminated the sharp pains she has been experiencing. I pray that this continue to be the case. May your grace fill us today, that we might display your Kingdom and your Gospel. Fill Stephanie with your love today. Draw Rachel and Justin to your heart, and protect my mother with your loving arms.

Your grace is sufficient.

When we pray for God’s name to be hallowed, we pray for our own lives to glorify him, and that his name would be glorified among all nations. May we enjoy God with hearts of grateful joy.

Hallowed
Grace and peace, friends.

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God and God Alone

Good morning. It is Wednesday, August 26, 2015. Hump Day.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is absquatulate. What a wonderful word!! This verb means, very simply, “to flee; abscond.” Example, “The old prospector absquatulated with our picks and shovel.” I simply must find a way to use that in a sentence today, at work.

Today is Women’s Equality Day, so marked by the certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which occurred on August 26, 1920. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.

Our Huddle group went well, last night. A couple of guys were late (I arrived on time, for a change), and two were absent. One had “baby duty,” as his wife had a teacher meeting, and they have a newborn. The other was on a business trip. Last night, we talked about spiritual gifts, and how they help us share the Kingdom.

Nothing much else to report, other than it’s just over a month until our 30th anniversary vacation to Playa del Carmen!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 98.

A Psalm.
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

“God had manifested his salvation in a singular and incredible manner. For having spoken of marvelous things, he represents this as the sum of all, that God had procured salvation with his own right hand; that is, not by human means, or in an ordinary way, but delivering his Church in an unprecedented manner.” (p 239)

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Shadows and Streams.”

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

Psalm 104:31-34

“God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond themselves to God himself.”

I believe, with Piper, that God definitely intends for us to be in awe of his creation. “But not for its own sake.” He desires for us to look at his creation and think that, if his creation is so full of wonder and beauty, what must the Creator be like?

“These are but the backside of his glory, as it were, darkly seen through a glass.” Just as Moses was only allowed to see the backside of God’s glory, so are we. But what will it be like to see God, himself? “A billion galaxies will not satisfy the human soul. God and God alone is the soul’s end.”

Piper quotes Jonathan Edwards:

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. . . . [These] are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the ocean.

Psalm 104, a psalm which celebrates creation, ends with this proclamation of the glory of God, himself. “In the end it will not be the seas or the mountains or the canyons or the water spiders or the clouds or the great galaxies that fill our hearts to breaking with wonder and fill our mouths with eternal praise. It will be God.”

Father, I do love your creation! I love to look at it in all its glory! But, truly, it directs me to you. When I look at the seemingly endless array of stars (especially when I am away from light pollution), it causes me to worship you in your glory, for the creation only reflects the glory of you, the Creator! When I gaze upon the crashing waves of the mighty ocean (one of my favorite places to be), I remember that, even though the ocean appears to be endless, even it has boundaries. The expanse of the ocean is only a mild reflection of your glory, which is infinite, and has no boundaries. I pray, Father, for all the world to see you in your glory! My soul cannot wait for the day when I can finally gaze upon you and see your fullness. My appetite has been whetted by your creation, and longs to be eternally fulfilled.

I pray for this day, Lord, that our travel to and from work will be safe. I pray that our work day will be a good day, and that we might remember to allow your Spirit to work through us, displaying your Kingdom in all circumstances. Help me to remember to look for where you are breaking into my world and the world of those around me. I pray for Stephanie, that she would know your great love today. I pray for Rachel and Justin, that you would grant them grace. And may you be ever present in my mother’s life, surrounding her with your great love.

I pray for my friend, Guy, who is in the hospital, recovering from an accident. May you bring him healing and patience.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grace and peace, friends.

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