In Touch With Reality

Today is Monday, August 21, 2017. Day 21,711.

Quote of the Day

“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.” ~ Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

Word of the Day

Hebetude ~ “lethargy; dullness. Tired from being out late the night before, Jennifer allowed herself to fall into the hebetude of a lazy Sunday afternoon.”

Today is Poet’s Day, which would explain the Goodreads quote of the day, “Once, poets were magicians. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings — stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again.” (Greg Bear)

It was a marvelous weekend! We got to Mineral Wells around 1:30 or so, talked for a couple of minutes, then headed over to Pastafina (S’s choice) for lunch. We had a delicious Italian lunch, S having the ravioli special, C having lasagna, and my mother and I having veal parmigiana. After that, we went back to the house, where S opened her presents. My mother gives the best presents! Nothing real fancy, but so imaginative, and lots of them! We visited for a while, then had some homemade strawberry cake. Then C and Mama went back to the den to look at Mama’s computer, because she was having some minor trouble with something. S fell asleep on the couch, and I drifted in and out in a chair, while playing games on my phone.

We headed over to the hotel around 7:00. We had a small amount of trouble checking in, as the hotel didn’t seem to have our reservation. But we had a confirmation number with Expedia, so he called someone (I assume the Best Western main office?) and then checked us in, saying they were supposed to fax him something. Fax? People still use those?? Anyway, after getting everything up to the room, C and I drove over to Jack in the Box for some dinner, which we took back to the hotel room.

Sunday morning, we had our free breakfast in the hotel, which was actually pretty good. Except for the biscuits. They were crunchy. I almost couldn’t split one of the open, they were so hard. But gravy fixed that. Gravy fixes a lot of things.

We got back to my mother’s house around 10:15, visited for a few minutes, then headed to church. We had a good time worshiping with the folks at FBC Mineral Wells, and heard a good message by their youth pastor. After that, it was lunch at a new Mexican restaurant in town, the name of which I cannot remember. Wait, I found it. It is Taqueria La Estrella. It is a charming little place with amazing service and great food. I have learned that they must not be a new restaurant, but just moved to a new location. Anyway. Good times.

We went back to the house, visited some more, watched some of the Rangers game, had some more strawberry cake, then headed home. As I mentioned earlier, it was a marvelous weekend. S was very happy.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
Psalm 147:1
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.
Psalm 28:2
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,

Psalm 92:1-2
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Psalm 79:13
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 
All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

John 10:7-9
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23

(From Living the Message)

“The claim of the gospel is that it puts us in touch with reality — all of it, not just a part. It puts us in touch with a God who creates and with the people and world he created. It puts us in touch with a Christ who redeems and the people whom he loves. It puts us in touch with our feelings of hope and despair, with our thoughts of doubt and faith, with our acts of virtue and vice. It puts us in touch with everything, visible and invisible, right and wrong, good and evil. It puts us in touch and then trains us in mature ways of living.

“We live in a world where people are going crazy. We have a gospel that sets us free to think, and in so doing it develops us in a rich and robust sanity. The sanity of the gospel is one of its most attractive features. Persons who truly live by faith are in touch with reality and become conspicuously sane.” (Eugene H. Peterson)

I would add that it puts us in touch with the Kingdom of God, which is the only true reality.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”
John 8:31-32 (The Message)

Thank you, Father, for putting me in touch with reality through the truth of the Gospel. Thank you for showing me your kingdom and allowing me to walk in it. Help me to walk more completely, and to follow in the steps of Jesus, as I try to demonstrate this gospel to those around me. Forgive me when I fail.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

“We Open Our Hands and Receive”

“We become aware that we are in the presence of a reality that cannot be used, cannot be packaged, cannot be grasped on any other terms than are given to us by God. We open our hands and receive.”

Today is Saturday, August 19, 2017. Day 21,709. It is S’s and J’s birthday!! Happy birthday!!!

Quote of the Day

“1. Never tell everything at once.” ~ Ken Venturi, Ken Venturi’s Two Great Rules of Life

Word of the Day

Theine ~ caffeine, especially in tea.

Today is Humanitarian Day. There were ten different choices for today’s “holiday.” I chose this one because I believe the world could use more humanitarianism right now.

C and S had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon. They kept sending me pictures of what they were doing, from Lunch at Martha’s Mexican Cocina, to the place where they got mani/pedis, to the cupcake shop. After I got home from work, we went to a local hibachi restaurant. We waited over an hour for a table, and the service and food were only okay, but we still had a good time. You can check out my review on Yelp. After dinner, we stopped at Sonic for drinks (of course), then ran through the Krispy Kreme drive through for some donuts for this morning’s breakfast.

While all of this was going on, the Red Sox were beating the Yankees (after falling behind), 9-6. This puts them five games up in the AL East.

Meanwhile, the Rangers lost to the last place team in the Central Division, the Other Sox. 4-3, with the go ahead run being an inside the park round trip on the relief pitcher’s first pitch. So the Rangers fall back to one game below .500, 14.5 behind the first place Astros, but didn’t lose any ground in the wild card race, because the Halos and Yanks both lost, as well.

In a little while, we will pack up a few clothes and head to Mineral Wells to visit with Grandma, spend the night, and go to church with her tomorrow. Not sure when the grocery shopping will get done.

Oh, and one last thing. I will not be doing a blog entry tomorrow. I don’t plan to take my laptop to Mineral Wells with me.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:3
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. 
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11-12
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:11
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Matthew 13:33
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; 
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. 
The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 
The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146:5-10
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Psalm 23:1-2

(From Practice Resurrection)

Today, we look at the third of the seven verbs that Eugene H. Peterson highlights in Ephesians 1:3-14. This verb is destined.

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:5-6

Please note that the above reference is from the English Standard Version. There is some disagreement, across translations, as to where the words “in love” belong. King James Version places them at the end of the previous sentence, as does Peterson, in The Message. The New International Version agrees with the ESV, as does the New American Standard Bible. The New Revised Standard Version, however, agrees with the KJV and The Message. So, who knows? It’s not really relevant to this discussion, anyway. Moving on . . .

The words “destined” and “chosen” are very similar and, perhaps, even synonymous. Both words show us that our lives are not random, they have intention. “We are not a swarm of bees buzzing in and out of a hive, not a colony of ants following a scent in and out of an anthill.” God chooses and he destines. But they are not quite synonymous.

The word “destine” is, of course, included in the word “destination.” “God notices, identifies and chooses us. But that generalized choice now gels into an appointment that is congruent with God’s choice.”

The Greek word for “destine” is prooridzo, which “derives from the noun ‘boundary’ (oros). Literally, it means to set a limit, to mark a boundary.” What this tells us, is that, “When God destines, he marks out the boundaries in which we live the purposed life to which he appoints us. We aren’t set loose in the cosmos to find our place and way in it as best we can.” It is evident that there are many people out there who believe that we are, in fact, left alone to figure out our own way. Sadly, some of these even claim to be followers of Christ. But this being chosen is not abstract. “It develops into a relationship that is mutual and reciprocal.”

There is also much mystery involved in this idea of destining. “The moment we recognize that virtually everything that has to do with God takes place previous to our knowing anything about it, it becomes obvious that since we are not gods ourselves, we are forever unable to totally comprehend this ‘everything.'” These are very important truths that Peterson is laying out for us, here. He gives us two effects of this: first, “it absolutely demands humility — we don’t know enough to either protest or approve.” Second, “adoration is spontaneous. We become aware that we are in the presence of a reality that cannot be used, cannot be packaged, cannot be grasped on any other terms than are given to us by God. We open our hands and receive.”

Over the decades, many have still worked at “decontextualizing and depersonalizing” the word “destined,” or “predestined,” trying to create a sort of “blueprint” theology that wants to determine “the way we will live our lives in each detail. Some even go so far as to say that the blueprint actually determines the eternal fate, salvation or damnation, of each and every purpose who has ever lived.”

Concerning this idea, George Eliot once said, “The dunce who can’t do sums wants to solve the problems of the universe.”

The problem is that none of us has the blueprint. So all of the guessing, “over study Bibles in churches and over pitchers of beer in saloons,” is nothing more than squandered speculation. “The blueprint version of predestination wreaks havoc in too many lives. It is not a satisfactory formula for growing up in Christ.”

Now, anyone who has known me for very long knows that I have been a pretty staunch “Calvinist” for several decades. However, I prefer not to use that term, any more. I prefer to say that I believe in the “doctrines of grace.” I still pretty much subscribe to the “TULIP” model, but I certainly appreciate Eugene’s perspective on this. And I find myself largely in agreement with him. I used to lack humility in this area. That is no longer true (don’t misunderstand . . . I am in no way, shape, or form declaring how humble I am). I find that I agree that we don’t have the blueprint, and that trying to definitively declare anything in this matter is dangerously speculative. We are, indeed, as Eugene says, “forever unable to totally comprehend this ‘everything.'”

To further clarify this, Peterson tells us that Markus Barth says that this passage in Ephesians, rather than hinting at determinism, has a tone of “adoring rather than calculating.”

“The God who destines/predestines cannot be depersonalized into a cosmic blueprint — even if the blueprint has ‘God’s will’ inscribed on it and a host of angels are energetically making sure its specifications are being enacted in each and every life on planet Earth.”

Father, I do give you praise for choosing and destining me. Thank you for putting me in a place with boundaries, so that I don’t have to wander around in mystery, trying to find my place in this world. I also thank you for pulling me back from a place that lacked humility regarding these things. How dare I believe that I had put you in a theological blueprint box!! I praise you that you don’t fit in any boxes!! Keep teaching me about yourself, and about this wonderful entity that we call “church.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Spirit

Today is Friday, August 18, 2017. Day 21,708. ONE MORE DAY until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

Word of the Day

Confabulate ~ to converse informally; chat.

Today is Bad Poetry Day. In honor of that, here is some Vogon poetry.

Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me,
As plurdled gabbleblotchits,
On a lurgid bee,
That mordiously hath blurted out,
Its earted jurtles, grumbling
Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming]
Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles,
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts,
And living glupules frart and stipulate,
Like jowling meated liverslime,
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
And hooptiously drangle me,
With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries.
Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
See if I don’t!

(Much thanks to Douglas Adams!)

So, today, C is taking a half day off (the after lunch half), and will be taking S to have lunch and get a mani/pedi. I wish I could go, but I can’t take today off, as someone else with an important role already had the day off. I don’t really want a manicure, but those fancy pedicures are the bomb diggity, man!

Tomorrow, we will be heading to Mineral Wells for the weekend, to visit Grandma, and go to church with her on Sunday morning. Good times. I also plan to stop by the Crazy Water store and pick up another case or two of that number four Crazy Water. It’s good stuff, and I swear it helped the arthritic pain I was experiencing in my right knee.

The Rangers beat the Other Sox, last night, 9-8. They gained a half game on the wild card because the Angels didn’t play. They also gained a game on the Astros, who lost. So they are tied for third place, with Seattle, 13.5 games out, and 1.5 out of the second wild card spot.

The Red Sox didn’t play, but lost a half game because the Yankees won. They are four games up in the AL East. I’m thinking September could be quite exciting!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Psalm 31:23
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!
Psalm 30:10
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
Psalm 27:4
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 
For what can a man give in return for his soul? 
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:34-38
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, 
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

(From Living the Message)

It’s one of those times I will quote the reading verbatim.

“Spirit is the scriptural word for God sharing his life in our lives. It means that God is not an anonymous somebody ‘out there’ or an idea explained in a book, but a living presence whom I experience in the life I live day by day. God gives himself to me. I receive God into myself. Spirit is God’s gift of himself in my experience.”

When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
Romans 8:11b (The Message)

Father, live and breathe in me today! Help me to know your presence in my life today. Help me to see, feel, and know the presence of your Spirit as I walk through this day. Also, I ask that you help me to notice the people you put in my path today, people that also represent you in this world.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

I Will Wait For Your Name, For It Is Good

Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017. Day 21,707. Only TWO MORE DAYS until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” ~ Charles Mackay

Word of the Day

Oppugn ~ to fight against; to call in question. We need to oppugn the bigotry and hatred we are seeing in our country.

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day. We used to have two black cats, and loved them dearly. Now we have grey (gray?) cats. We love them, dearly, too.

We had fun at bowling last night. I did a little better than Monday night, topping out with a 178 in the third game, which was enough to make my average for the night. We only have one week of competition left. We will finish the league in solid last place. That’s okay, we’ve had a good time. Most of the people against whom we have bowled have been friendly and fun. There are a lot of really good bowlers in this league, hence the name, “High Points.” I told C we should have joined the drinking league on Sunday evening. I believe it’s called “The Watering Hole,” or something like that. We wouldn’t be drinking, so we might have had a chance. 😀

The Red Sox came back in the bottom of the ninth, on a Mookie Betts wall ball, to beat the Cardinals 5-4. It was an exciting finish. Well, for us Red Sox fans, at least. The Yankees also won, so the Sox maintain their 4.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.

The Rangers also came back, but a lot earlier. At one point, they were behind the Tigers 4-2. But that didn’t last long, as Adrian Beltre homered to tie the game, and later, Elvis homered, as well. I’m not sure what else happened, but they wound up winning 12-6! Sadly, the Astros and Angels both won, so no ground was made. But we still have all of September and almost half of August left.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Psalm 81:1
Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.
Psalm 50:3
I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
Psalm 52:9
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
Psalm 52:8
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:17-19
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria

Father, I pray that I will always be able to “sing aloud” to you; that you will always be my strength; that I will be able to “shout for joy” to you, my God! Help me find that joy in you again. I have allowed current events to affect my joy. Draw me away from that and more deeply into you, that my joy may be full in Jesus Christ. Help me to “wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Chose

Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017. Day 21,706. Only THREE MORE DAYS until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“There is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement.” ~ E. B. White

Word of the Day

Paludal ~ of or relating to marshes; produced by marshes, as miasma or disease.

Today is Rum Day. What else do I need to say?

Tonight is our regular bowling night. Hopefully, we will do better than we did Monday night. And hopefully, my knee will not be in agony after it is over. There has been a day between, so maybe it will be okay. Otherwise, I’ll be taking a lot of Ibuprofen tonight.

The Red Sox blasted the Cardinals 10-4, last night, as Porcello actually got another win. The Yankees won, too, so the Sox maintain their 4.5 game lead in the AL East.

The Rangers also did some blasting, beating the Tigers 10-4 (how weird is that?). The Astros also won, so no gain, there, but the Angels lost, so the Rangers are now only two games out of the second wild card spot.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

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
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
Psalm 12:6
The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!
Psalm 119:64
Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luke 12:33-34
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
The Concluding Prayer of the Church

(From Practice Resurrection)

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Ephesians 1:4

Today’s verb is “chose.”

Most of us have memories in our lives of not being chosen for something. I wasn’t chosen for the high school baseball team. I wasn’t chosen for the junior high basketball team. Sometimes, we are the last one chosen in a recess kickball game (which may be worse than not being chosen at all). We might be not chosen for a job, or not chosen for a spouse. When we are not chosen, it sends a subliminal message; “I have no worth, . . . I am not useful, . . . I am good for nothing.”

We don’t take this lying down. We might counter by borrowing an identity, living vicariously through a sports team or political cause. Some “develop the persona of a bully who breaks decorum and rules, compelling notice even though it gets us expelled from a classroom or club or saloon.” Some people dye their hair purple, or get a well-placed tattoo.

All of these strategies do accomplish getting noticed, but they don’t last.

“Against this background, common to all of us, of not being noticed, being ignored, being dismissed as of no account, being indistinguishable from the background, the verb ‘chose’ is a breath of fresh air: God chose us.”

“And yes, God chose us.” And it wasn’t some last-minute thing, either. Look at the verse. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” “We are in on the action, long before we have any idea that we are in on the action. We are cosmic.”

Father, thank you for choosing us, for letting us know that we have some value to you. Let us not get arrogant about that “value,” because the only reason we have any value is because you gave it to us. And let us live in such a way as to be worthy of your choosing. Not so that we can get you to like us or love us more . . . that is impossible. But so that we can be closer to you, walking in your kingdom as a follower of Jesus Christ; participating in his “easy yoke.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Blessed

Today is Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Day 21,705. Only FOUR more days until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, ‘Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes.’ And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?’ My answer to that would be, ‘No.'” ~ Aaron Copland

Word of the Day

Ululate ~ to lament loudly and shrilly.

Today is Relaxation Day. Which is totally unfair. I guess I can relax tonight.

Our bowling didn’t go so well, last night. I finally got my average in the last game, with a 164, but my first game was 131, and my second was 141. Not horrific, but still well below my average, which was, as of last night, 157. We get to bowl again tomorrow night. As I struggled, last night, I kept thinking, “Only two more weeks!” Hahaha. I do love bowling, but this weeknight stuff is hard for us.

The Red Sox lost to their previous manager, Terry Francona and the Indians, last night. The Yanks won, so the Sox are back at 4.5 up, still in first place.

The Rangers beat Detroit 6-2, and the Astros lost. They are 14.5 games out, in fourth place. Still 3 games back of the second wild card spot, because the Yankees and Angels both won. The Angels are on a six game winning streak.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 
Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;

Psalm 136:1-3
Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.

Psalm 86:1-2
The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. 
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. 
Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.

Psalm 50:1-3
The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.”
Psalm 132:11

(From Practice Resurrection)

Yesterday, I mentioned the seven verbs that Peterson highlights in Ephesians 1:3-14. Today, we examine the first of those; blessed.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 1:3

We can see right away that the word is used in two completely different ways. The first is an adjective, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The adjective “characterizes God, who blesses as he himself is blessed.” The second is the verb, “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” The noun “blessing” describes our our experience with God. “What God does comes out of who God is. And what we receive from God is who God is.”

We do not divide God up into parts. “God is who he is. We don’t figure God out. We don’t explain God. We don’t define God. We worship God who is as he is.” We are always guilty of trying to explain or define God, though, aren’t we? And it truthfully cannot be done, not in human words, anyway. So it is best to simply accept God as who is is, who does what he does out of who he is.

We also should not presume to try to tell God how to be God. “When we worship God, we let God be God.” Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, MY God wouldn’t (fill in the action you don’t like)!” Don’t do that. Just don’t. As the Psalmist said, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)

But we begin our journey with “blessed.” God is blessed, he blessed us with spiritual blessings.

Father, you allow us to “bless” you, but not in the same way that you “bless” us. You bless us out of who you are, and I praise you for that. Forgive me for when I try to “figure you out” or explain you. You are God; you do whatever you please, and that is your right and privilege, because you are God, and we are not. Thank you for your blessings! Help us to recognize them more fully and often, that we might not complain or grumble so much about other things.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Seven Verbs

Today is Monday, August 14, 2017. Day 21,704. Only FIVE days until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase ‘As pretty as an Airport’ appear.” ~ Douglas Adams

Word of the Day

Iconoclastic ~ attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity.

Today is National Navajo Code Talkers Day. To learn more about this, check out this link.

We had a lovely day with R and J, yesterday. After give J his gifts, we all went to Mexican Inn for lunch. Then we came back home, and after much debate and discussion, decided on watching a Patton Oswald stand-up comedy special. Oh, and we had red velvet cake (that C made) and ice cream, too.

This evening, C and I have to go bowling to make up for last week’s Wednesday night games, which we skipped because our teammates were out of town. Then we bowl again on Wednesday. Hopefully, my knees can handle it. Our last official week is next Wednesday, the 23rd, then we have a fun night on the 30th, where prizes will be awarded (I’m not thinking any of us will get any), and there will be what is called a “sweeper.” This is a one-night event in which all bowlers contribute to a prize pot, which is won by the highest scores.

I think school starts in our area tomorrow. So traffic will be a little heavier, going forward. This means I need to be more efficient with my time in the mornings, so I can get out of the house on time.

The Rangers lost a close game to the Astros, yesterday, but they won the series. Nevertheless, the Silver Boot record is now 5-8, in favor of the ‘stros, and the Rangers are back to 15.5 out, still in fourth place. They play Detroit tonight.

The Red Sox beat the Yankees 3-2 in ten innings, winning that series 2-1, and increasing their lead over the Yankees to 5.5 games. The Sox play Cleveland tonight.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 96:9
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Psalm 80:1
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
Psalm 50:2
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

Isaiah 61:10-11
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. 
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psalm 34:1-8
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer

(From Practice Resurrection)

In the days to come, we will be looking at seven verbs that Eugene Peterson has highlighted from Paul’s long sentence in Ephesians 1:3-14. Blessed, chose, destined, bestowed, lavished, made known, and gathered up. “Seven verbs, each one detonated by God, verbs that fill the sky and illuminate the earth with God’s ways of working among us.”

Father, continue to teach me what it means to be part of your church. Take away my desire to be isolated from people. Infuse me with a desire to be around my brothers and sisters in Christ, both giving to them and receiving from them. Make us more willing to receive from you when we worship you. Help us to see you working and be willing to join you in that work. Take away our penchant to start working on our own and then hope you will bless that work.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.