Good morning. It is Saturday, August 1, 2015. Welcome to August.
Tough choice for word of the day, today. So tough, I’m not choosing. I’m going to give you both of them! The word of the day from Merriam Webster is skulduggery, a noun, meaning, “underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; also : a devious device or trick.” I’ve always been a fan of that word. The other one, from dictionary.com, is noctambulous. I mean, who couldn’t love that word, right? It means, “of, relating to, or given to sleepwalking.” So let’s see if we can get on with some noctambulous skulduggery, here!
Today is Mead Day. No, not Margaret. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made with honey. It is similar to wine, but much, much sweeter. It is also very difficult to find, being a throwback to the days of knights and ladies of the court. Every year, when we visit Scarborough Renaissance Festival, I make it a point to have a glass of mead. It’s quite delicious, in my opinion. Perhaps I will see if I can scrounge some up, today, but I have my doubts.
I wound up working until just shy of 6:00 PM last night. Christi and I actually got off work at almost the same time, so that turned out okay. She stopped and got our Sonic drinks, and I ordered pizza. We didn’t stay up too terribly late, because she had to get up and go in by 6:00, this morning. But she’s already back home, and everything seems to be working correctly, which is good news.
We don’t have much planned for today, I reckon. We’ll get some lunch, and have our prayer and worship gatherings this evening. Tomorrow, we will go get our groceries, along with some for Christi’s mom and step-dad. Usual Sunday stuff. After that, who knows. Perhaps we will go bowling this weekend. We have decided that we don’t need another activity added to our weekly schedule, so we won’t be bowling in a league, just yet. Beginning Monday, I have band practice again on Monday nights; I have Huddle on Tuesdays; Christi has bowling on Tuesdays (currently over, but they are planning a winter league); Christi has Huddle on Thursday; we have church on Saturday. If we add a bowling league to that already frenetic schedule, we will have something five nights a week. That’s just too much. Maybe after our Huddles are done, we will look into something, but who knows. For now, we will stick to casual bowling on Sunday afternoons, whenever we get the chance.
The Rangers and Red Sox both won again, last night. The Rangers have a three-game winning streak on, while the Red Sox have won two in a row, which hasn’t happened in quite some time. Cole Hamels, newly acquired by the Rangers, will be pitching in tonight’s game.
On this date in 1876, Colorado became the 38th U.S. state. In 1902, the U.S. bought rights to the Panama Canal from France. In 1941, the first Jeep was produced. In 1944, Anne Frank made the last entry in her diary. On this date in 1966, Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother, after which he took numerous guns to the Tower on the campus of the University of Texas, where he killed 14 more people and wounded 32 others, from the observation deck of the tower. The tower was closed for a while, reopened and closed again several times, due to suicide jumps, 9/11, and other events. It has been open to visitors since 2004. On this date in 1981, MTV aired its first music video. It was, as is commonly known, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by The Buggles. I’m not sure when MTV played its last music video. (Sarcasm, there.)
Today’s birthdays include Claudius (Roman Emperor), William Clark (American explorer), Frances Scott Key (Star Spangled Banner), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Dom DeLuise (American actor/comedian), Yves Saint Laurent (French fashion designer), Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Tommy Bolin (American musician), Robert Cray (American blues musician), Joe Elliott (English musician, Def Leppard), and Madison Bumgarner (American baseball player). Also born on this date was my granddaddy, D.W. Vinson.
Joe Eliott is the lead singer for the rock group Def Leppard. He turns 56 today, and they are still touring. I think they are going to be playing in the DFW area soon. One of my work associates keeps asking me if I’m going to see them. :-) Here is their hit, “Pour Some Suger On Me.”
Notable deaths on this date include Marc Antony, Calamity Jane, and Charles Whitman (see history notes above).
Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 30 and Matthew 9. In Genesis 30, we pick up the ongoing tale of Rachel, Leah, and Jacob. Leah has had four children, and Rachel has had none. “Give me children, or I shall die!” she declares to Jacob. Jacob, flustered, says, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” So Rachel gives Jacob her servant, Bilhah. Because that worked out so well for Sarah, you know.
Leah’s sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Through Bilhah, Rachel had Dan and Naftali. Then Leah decided to get in on this act, since she had stopped having children. She sent her servant, Zilpah, in to Jacob. Zilpah had Gad and Asher. After this, Leah conspired with Rachel to get the mandrakes that Rachel had found. Apparently mandrakes had some kind of fertility characteristics. So, then, Leah had two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun. After this, Rachel had Joseph. That’s eleven, so far. Oh, and there was a daughter in there, who barely gets mentioned, Dinah.
At this point, Jacob starts trying to get away from Laban. It takes some scheming, as we will find out, for Laban was every bit as good a trickster as Jacob.
Rich Mullins wrote a song about this whole ordeal that Jacob went through.
In Matthew 9, we get a truncated account of Jesus’s healing of the paralytic that was brought to a house by friends. After this, Jesus calls Matthew, the tax collector, to follow him, and has lunch with him. This gets criticism from the Pharisees, because they really hate tax collectors. Matthew gives us quick accounts of Jesus raising a girl from the dead, healing a woman who had been sick for twelve years, healing two blind men, and casting a demon out of a man who had been unable to speak.
At the end of chapter 9, Jesus gives this instruction to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Today’s Psalm from Heart Aflame is Psalm 89:34-35.
I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.
(From Solid Joys)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Today’s reading is “Our Weakness Reveals His Worth.”
Our suffering magnifies Jesus Christ’s worth and power. This is God’s design for us. And this is grace, because our greatest joy is to see “Christ magnified in our lives.”
Right before the verse above, from 2 Corinthians, Paul had pleaded with the Lord to remove what he simply called a “thorn in the flesh.” We have no idea what this means. There is never any indication of what this “thorn in the flesh” was. We only know that the Lord refused to remove it from Paul’s life, responding, instead, with the verse that is quoted above. “God ordains that Paul be weak so that Christ might be seen as strong on Paul’s behalf.”
This is one of those things that is seen to be foolish by those who do not believe as we do. But we know that, if we appear to be self-sufficient, God does not get glory. Instead, we get glory. That is not our goal, nor our desire. Remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
So Paul, as he experienced this grace, rejoiced in it.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Living by faith in God’s grace means being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus. Therefore faith will not shrink back from what reveals and magnifies all that God is for us in Jesus. That is what our own weakness and suffering does.”
Father, may my faith not shrink back when suffering is ahead. I have not truly suffered for your sake. I cannot ever say that I have. But I have been weak before men, and will continue to do so, if being weak makes you appear to be stronger. I am surrounded by men who act as though they are strong. I pray daily that all of us who call ourselves by the name of Christ will rejoice in our weaknesses that make you stronger. May we say, along with Paul, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I pray for this day, that you will be glorified in what we do today. May our prayer and worship gatherings be strong in you today. May we lift your name high, both in prayer, and in worship. May we rejoice in you, and may we hear the proclamation of your word, and receive what you have to tell us today.
Your grace is sufficient in all things.
May we rejoice in our weakness, knowing that it makes Christ appear stronger.
Grace and peace, friends.