Who Moves You?

“Satan’s desire is to turn me in on myself to the extent that I become enslaved and become a destructive force in community. The thrust from Jesus Christ is the opposite – to enhance my freedom so that I can become a creative force of love. It is the spirit of self-centeredness and selfishness versus the spirit of openness and self-sacrifice for the good of others.”~~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Good morning. It is Saturday, September 6, 2014. Only 15 more days of summer.

Today is Read A Book Day. Not necessarily a whole book. Just read.

Yesterday was another pretty good day. The work load where I work turned out to be rather light again. After two very heavy days, we had two of the lightest days I have seen since I have been at that location. It was very nice, and, by 4:30 PM, we had pretty much everything cleared out. The guy who works today shouldn’t have a whole lot to do, and should get to leave early.

Christi continues to be ecstatic at her new job. It’s going so well for her, which is so cool. She got a check yesterday for one day. Heh. Since she started on a Friday, I guess it feel right at the end of the pay period. She still hasn’t gotten her last check from Mindtree, but has been promised that it will be forthcoming. Apparently, they have to finalize all the details, making sure that she doesn’t owe them anything like borrowed vacation time or anything like. For some reason, it takes up to two weeks for them to figure this out. We think that’s pretty crazy. But they’re based in India, and over there, employees give three months’ notice before leaving. 😛

Today will probably be a typical Saturday. Christi will probably get the grocery list from her mom and step-dad, and then go to the grocery store, as usual. Then we will have something for lunch, and go to church around 3:30 PM. We have our “Anchor” prayer gathering at 3:45 and the worship gathering at 4:45. If you’re in the Keller/Watauga/Haltom City area, come check us out. We are The Exchange.

The Rangers lost again yesterday, but the big news was the sudden resignation of Ron Washington as the head coach. He cites “personal reasons” for leaving, but who among us doesn’t think it has something to do with the idiocy that is Jon Daniels’s management of the team since Nolan Ryan was booted out? I’ve even had one friend predict that Ron would head to Houston with Nolan. At any rate, the Rangers are on a pace to tie the worst season they’ve had in their history as the Rangers. That was 57-105. They still have to win four games to at least tie that record. The are still 2-8 in their last ten, but there are only 19 games left now.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, kept their meager hopes alive by coming back to beat the Blue Jays in the 10th inning last night. Their elimination number for the division series is 2. The number is 7 for the Wild Card race, but they are 15.5 games out in that race. While still statistically possible, it is practically unfeasible.

I made a comment on Facebook last night that this will be the first time in many years that I will actually be glad for baseball season to be over. It’s been dreadful this year, with both of my favorite teams in dead last place, one having the worst record in baseball (the Rangers).

(Source: This Date In History)

It was on this date in 1995 that “Iron Man” Cal Ripken, Jr., broke Lou Gehrig’s record of consecutive baseball games. Playing shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, on September 6, 1995, he played in his 2131st game. This occurred approximately one year after the infamous and shameful strike of 1994 that ended the season, cancelling the world Series. Ripken is credited for reviving fan interest in the game after that strike. It would be almost another decade before my interest in the game would be revived.

Today’s birthdays include Roger Waters, Rosie Perez, Jeff Foxworthy, Macy Gray, Jane Curtin, Swoosie Kurtz, Michael Winslow, Jo Anne Worley, David Allan Coe, Mel McDaniel, Max Schrek, Joseph P Kennedy, and Jimmy Reed.

Roger Waters is a co-founder of the rock band Pink Floyd. He was born on this date in 1943. He wrote most of what is probably the most famous of all Pink Floyd albums, The Wall. He left Pink Floyd in 1985, “amidst creative differences.” Here is a clip of Roger Waters and David Gilmour performing “Comfortably Numb,” from The Wall, live in London, 2011.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!

Psalm 96:1
With my whole heart I cry;
answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.

Psalm 119:145

Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers;
you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you in the splendor of your temple;
on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you, beholding the depths;
in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Te Deum

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

Today’s Gospel Reading

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48

Today, I finish Matthew 5. In this final passage of the chapter, Jesus continues the thought that was begun in verse 38. Not only are we to not retaliate, we must go so far as to love our enemies! For, Jesus tells us, even the most wicked people love the people that love them. Of particular interest to me is the phrase, “if you great only your brothers. . .” This is very radical stuff that Jesus is teaching his disciples. We must love and do good to our enemies! This is one of the marks of the true Christ follower.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Moved By the Spirit?”

“So often we become self-moved and -motivated rather than moved and motivated by the Spirit.” Am I making a decision in order to “win approval, avoid criticism, or escape rejection?” Am I making a power play in the office or prayer community, driven by my own narcissism? A quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Satan’s desire is to turn me in on myself to the extent that I become enslaved and become a destructive force in community. The thrust from Jesus Christ is the opposite – to enhance my freedom so that I can become a creative force of love. It is the spirit of self-centeredness and selfishness versus the spirit of openness and self-sacrifice for the good of others.”

The question becomes, who is really motivating me? Is it really the Spirit moving me, or is it my own desire?

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
Acts 4:32

And if you have ever been part of any local church, you know what an incredible statement is made in Acts 4:32.

Father, I pray for the ability to move outside of myself, to direct my focus toward others. This is a constant desire and constant prayer of mine, that I might be completely unselfish and totally motivated by the Spirit to love my “enemies,” and those who would not love me in return. Jesus instructed us to strive for perfection. I don’t strive hard enough in that direction. Give me more motivation in that direction, Father. I pray that I would be a “creative force of love.” Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Create in me a clean heart.

I pray for this day. Christi and I are both feeling a bit unwell. I pray that we would feel better, that we might be able to fulfill our responsibilities in this afternoon’s worship and prayer times. I pray for the rest of the weekend, that we might get some good rest.

I will attempt to look outside myself more in the coming days, and to allow the Spirit to move me, rather than my own selfish whims.

Grace and peace, friends.

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