Good morning. It is Saturday, September 20, 2014. I have to hurry this morning, because I have an 8:00 appointment to get a recall notice service performed on my car. The dealership is in Irving, so I’ll need to leave pretty soon.
(Thanks to Robert Warden for suggesting that song.)
Today is Gymnastics Day. I have had a great appreciation for gymnasts for many years. It’s one of my favorite part of the Olympics. The amount of strength and stamina that a gymnast must have is amazing. Some of the things that they do on parallel bars, rings, and that beam thing are phenomenal.
There’s not much to write about, personally, so I’m going to move on to the devotional portion right away.
We’ll have our Anchor prayer gathering at 4:45 this evening, followed by our worship time at 5:45. We are having a family fellowship time after the worship tonight, with food and some wacky games (or so I hear). We are The Exchange.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
(From The Divine Hours)
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Today’s Gospel Reading
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
This is an often quoted passage, and is usually applied to either faith or prayer. Or praying with faith. I believe the point Jesus is trying to make is that our Father is eager to give us good things. He is not a stern taskmaster, just waiting for us to fail so he can punish us. Jesus has taken the punishment for our sin, and their remains “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God will give us what we need. Now, I’m not a believer in the idea that he will give us everything we ask for. I don’t believe that Jesus teaches that, even though some of his statements can be interpreted that way. If that were true, I would have a lot of things that were most definitely wrong or not good for me.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Success in Failure.”
Who among us has not failed? If you say you haven’t, just move on and read someone else’s blog. You’re either delusional or a pathological liar. I can identify with Brennan, this morning, as there have been times in my life when I have failed miserably, and saw “my life as a complete waste – not only for the things I was doing, but for the things I wasn’t doing, the meager, paltry, stingy response I was making to Christ in the least of my brothers.” There were feelings of “discontent, guilt, fear, shame, and unbearable hypocrisy.”
But Brennan says that “living out of the center” has taught him that “every failure succeeds in some way.” When we fail, there is opportunity to humble ourselves. When we fail, we learn “to be with the failure of others.” If we never failed, how would we ever minister to others or understand the depths of the human heart?
It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Father, I thank you for the failures in my life, even as dismal as they have been. I praise you that you took those failures and brought me through to where I am today. Not that I have “arrived,” by any stretch of the imagination. I still fail, sometimes very badly. And you still pick me up and bring me along, sometimes having to retrace steps that have already been taken. Your patience with me is astounding. I thank you that you still have work for me to do. May I be faithful to do it.
I pray for this day. I pray that the car work will be done quickly, and properly. I pray for Christi as she has to do the things she normally does this morning, and is not feeling well. I pray that you bring healing on her as she continues to sleep this morning. May our worship time tonight be honoring and glorifying to your name. May our fellowship together be pleasing in your sight.
The next time you fail, stop and think about where you’ve been and where you are. Allow God to turn your failure into success. Run to Jesus.
Grace and peace, friends.