Good morning. We have made it to Friday! Friday, February 28, 2014. We have also made it to the last day of February. Spring Training games have started up, and we have only 31 days until Opening Day. Everyone is all excited because Prince Fielder hit a home run yesterday in his “first game” as a Ranger. First of all, it’s not really a “game” until it’s on the schedule. Second, it’s Spring Training! Everyone should hit home runs in Spring Training.
Well, this is interesting. I don’t remember this from last year. Today is Rare Disease Day. It is designed to raise awareness of diseases that most people don’t know about. I chose this today (over Chocolate Souffle Day, mind you) because my father has a rare disease, Inclusion Body Myositis.
It was on this date in 1993 that Federal agents with the ATF raided the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. This was an ugly event from the very beginning, was botched by the government, and ended very badly. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. (Don’t misunderstand. . . I’m certainly not defending David Koresh.)
(From The Divine Hours)
Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “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 will find it.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “No Place For Self-Indulgence.”
“The gradual transformation from an attitude of self-hatred to a spirit of self-acceptance is what occurs in the process of trying to be honest.” This is not to be misunderstood to be saying that we all need to love ourselves. There is a deeper principal at work, here. We need to “endeavor to make choices and decisions that are expressive of the truth of who we are in Christ Jesus, not who we think we should be or whom somebody else wants us to be.” This is, truthfully, the tricky part. We grow up (especially if we grow up in church), being taught what other people think we should be in Christ. That translates into a lifelong habit of continually berating ourselves, because we have not lived up to what someone else says we should be.
“Self-mastery over every form of sin, selfishness, emotional dishonesty, and degraded love is the less-traveled road to Christian freedom.” And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24) We are not perfect, and we will not be. But we must be constantly working to win these victories. It is said that Saint Francis said, “Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to his friends is that of conquering himself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Christ.” “There is no growth without pain, no integrity without self-denial, and neither is particularly attractive apart from the personal love of Jesus Christ.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.
1 Peter 5:6
Father, I’m not sure where my prayer is going this morning. You have worked mightily in my life in past years to move me from self-hatred to self-acceptance. Not that I ever truly “hated” myself. But I have grown (I hope) into more of what I truly am in Christ, as opposed to the distorted view I had achieved from years of errant teachings and philosophies. Grace is so amazing, Father! But I’m not there yet. I’m still working on that self-mastery, that self-denial over “sin, selfishness, emotional dishonesty and degraded love.” Especially the selfishness part. I’m so very selfish, Lord. But recognizing that is half the battle, right? Carry me forward, my Father! Don’t let me backtrack! My desire is to move forward until I have reached that point where I have conquered myself and would willingly endure “sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Jesus Christ.”
I pray for this day. First, I ask that Christi might hear something from BNSF today. It would be awesome if she could work there. We would rather your will be done, though, even if it meant driving to Plano. We just hope that’s not your will. Here’s how it is. We will pray for what looks best to us, but willingly submit to what you say is best for us. I pray for safe travel between work and home this morning. I pray for a smooth work day. I pray with some apprehension over the next few weeks at work. Give me the selflessness to get whatever needs to be done, done without complaining or arguing. I am your servant, and as your servant, I am the servant of my human bosses. Let me exhibit the mind of Christ throughout whatever is thrown at me over the course of the next six weeks.
I pray for Stephanie, that you would draw her ever closer to you and heal her mind, giving her wisdom and understanding. I also pray for Christi to feel better. She had a rough night last night. As always, I also pray for your hand of mercy on Rachel and Justin, providing for them whatever they need most this day.
Now, as I move on into the day, I will continue my prayers in intercession for others. Keep me in an attitude of prayer throughout the day, always looking for what needs to be prayed. I am yours, Lord, do with me as you will.
Your grace is sufficient.
Self-denial is what brings us growth. This is against what the world would teach us. But look at the shape the “world” is in and tell me which looks better. . .
Grace and peace, friends.