Good morning. Or afternoon, depending on when I finish this. I stayed up really, really late, playing X-Box baseball, and slept until 10:00 this morning. That’s the nice thing about having church on Saturday evening. Anyway, this is Sunday, July 20, 2014. In 30 days, Stephanie will be 21 years old.
Today is Moon Day. Hold on, now. Everyone keep your pants up!! This is about that “cold-hearted orb that rules the night,” the Moon. Of course, this is “Moon Day” because this is the day that, 45 years ago, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and some poor guy whose name nobody remembers landed on the moon. Or did they?? 😀 I’ve seen Capricorn One. Who knows?? Anyway . . . “One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Yesterday turned out to be a pretty great day. Our prayer time and worship service were both great last night. There was definitely a strong sense of the Lord’s presence in both events. There was also an intense moment between the two. During our prayer time, I felt a strong impression from the Lord to take care of some business with some people. After we finished, I gathered the four people that have been leading worship, lately, and had a conversation with them. I confessed to them that I had been harboring jealousy, which is true, because I haven’t been asked to help with the worship leading very much at all. I got to lead the Christmas Eve service last year, and one other regular service. But the thing is, God has me doing something else, right now. The struggle for me, over the past few months is to let the worship part go so I can concentrate on what he has me doing at this stage of my life. And what that is is intercessory prayer. So I asked the four people for forgiveness, and they were graciously responsive. It was a very sweet time. Interestingly, that freed me up to have one of the most intense worship times that I have experienced in a long time.
We were planning to go up to Denton today to visit with Rachel and Justin, but they are both extremely busy with summer school projects this weekend, so we will wait until next week. Not sure what we will do for the rest of this day.
(Source: Christian History Institute)
I wasn’t aware of this, but in conjunction with “Moon Day,” I’ve learned that it was on this date in 1969 that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon. How spectacular must that have been?
Today’s birthdays include Carlos Santana, Kim Carnes, Natalie Wood, Omar Epps, Gisele Bundchen, Judy Greer, Sir Edmund Hillary, Diana Rigg, Stone Gossard, Reed Diamond, Stephen Strasburg, Petrarch, Sally Ann Howes, Alexander the Great, Nelson Doubleday, Dennis Yost, and Dan Shaughnessy. Kim Carnes is a singer, most famous for her 1981 hit, “Bette Davis Eyes.” She is 69 years old today.
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
(From The Divine Hours)
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:1, 3
Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know my necessities before I ask and my ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Love Without Conditions.”
“The fundamental secret of Jesus in relation to his disciples was his sovereign respect for their dignity. They were persons, not toys, functions, or occasions for personal compensation.” In Luke’s account of Peter’s denial of Christ, he makes the observation that, after Peter’s third denial, Jesus turned and looked at him. (Luke 22:61) “In that look the reality of recognition was disclosed. Peter knew that no man had ever loved him or no woman could ever love him as Jesus did.” This is, of course, speculation, but I find that I tend to agree with it, especially this next part.
“The Man whom he had confessed as the Christ, the Son of the living God, looked into his eyes, saw the transparent terror there, watched him act out the dreadful drama of his security addiction, and loved him.”
This love that Jesus had for Peter (and the rest of his disciples) was rooted in “his complete and unconditional acceptance of him.” We humans who place conditions on our love fail to see that it is not really love, but an exchange. “If you really loved me, you would. . .” We finish the sentence with whatever addiction we are highlighting at the moment. May we learn the unconditional love of Jesus. No, we cannot learn it, can we? May Jesus impart to us the ability to love people unconditionally, just as he does!
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
(I love that last line: “even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.”)
Father, in heaven, continue teaching me to love as you have loved. Give me the love that Jesus has for his disciples. Give me unconditional love. Make me to stop putting conditions on my love for people. No one owes me anything, and I owe them love. Help me to obey the commands of Jesus in this regard, to love others as myself, and to love my brothers and sisters as he has loved us. I thank you that you have been working on me in this, and pray that it will continue, and that I will come closer and closer to being like Jesus.
I lift up an additional prayer this morning (and every day going forward) for the massive numbers of children who are flooding the borders of Mexico and Texas. Father, I pray for compassion on these children. I pray that the Church in America will stop idolizing our nation and its borders and begin to show compassion on these children. May we focus on what is important in your kingdom, not in this earthly “kingdom.” We can let the politicians lose themselves in that battle. Our duty is to help bring about your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, and focusing on our own comfort while ignorantly ignoring the plight of thousands and thousands of children is being blatantly disobedient to your commands.
I pray for this day. In whatever activities we engage for the remainder of this day, may we be safe, and may we have a restful time.
Your grace is sufficient.
Unconditional love. It is what we owe each other, but it is also impossible, unless we allow the Spirit to rule in our lives. May we all do so.
Grace and peace, friends.