Good morning. It is Monday, November 24, 2014. First day of a three day work week!

Did you know that over half of the population of Canada has a college degree? Canada is the most educated country in the world.

Today is Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day. I have talent(s), but I’m not sure if I have any “unique” talents. I did learn, quite a few years ago, that I can wiggle my ears.

I had a really nice day, yesterday. Breakfast with Rob and Andy went very well, and we had some very good conversation about Huddle and other things. After breakfast, Rob and I headed over to a Cinemark theater to see Interstellar. I don’t have the time or words to tell you how much impact that movie had on me. It’s pretty much three hours long, and made me cry once for each of those hours. At hone point, a lady in front of me offered me a tissue. That was funny. In all seriousness, though, the movie has a huge emotional impact, especially the way it deals with time relativity in space and the effect that has on families. I loved the story, but it was that piece of it that hit me like a punch in the emotional gut. All the way home from the movie, I kept breaking into tears. I don’t know when the last time I was affected by a movie like that. I want to see it again, at the theater, if possible. This is one of those movies that will definitely not be as good on DVD, unless you have a wall-sized TV. The last movie I saw more than once at the theater was Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp).


(From The Divine Hours)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

Psalm 103:1-2
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Psalm 16:1-2
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

Today’s Gospel Reading

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”

Matthew 15:1-9

Jesus turns the Pharisees’ criticism right back onto them, in this passage. They were nitpicking over something as insignificant as washing hands, but Jesus crushed them with their loophole about honoring their parents. The key is the quote from Isaiah, calling out the hypocrites who “honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Faith? Or Formula?”

“If we could rid our minds for a moment of all the definitions of faith that we have grown up with and that have caused more trouble than they were every worth, we might discover with alarm that the essence of biblical faith lies in trusting God.”

I remember some of those “definitions.” Forsaking All I Trust Him was one of the most prevalent.

There is a huge difference between “faith as a belief in a series of doctrinal formulations–such as incarnation, salvation, redemption–and faith as unconditional trust in God.” This unshakable trust is our only remedy for “our sickness, melancholy, and self-hatred.”

“The heart converted from mistrust to trust in the irreversible forgiveness of Jesus Christ is redeemed from the corroding power of fear.” And while I’m here, let me address, briefly, the erroneous thought that we can actually lose this great salvation. If this were true, as many well-meaning people believe it to be, then where would be the absence of fear?? How can I have any peace in my life at all if I believe that I, who had absolutely nothing to do with gaining my salvation in the first place, could actually do something to lose it??

“Unfaltering trust in the merciful love of the redeeming God deals a mortal blow to skepticism, cynicism, self-condemnation, and despair.”

These are huge statements, and worthy of much meditation.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and
believes him who sent me has eternal life.
He does not come into judgment,
but has passed from death to life.

John 5:24

Oh, dear Father, grant me this trust!! I have lived for many years on the very edge of such deep, unwavering trust. I’m not sure that I have ever crossed over into that territory. At best, I may have taken a step or two over the line, but managed to step back into the comfort zone of semi-trust. That has to be the best way to state it, “semi-trust,” for it is not truly trust. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Is this true of me? Do I trust you? I claim to. I pray that you would increase my faith to the point that my trust is truly unwavering, unshakable. I think that my belief in you is unwavering. I know that you are there. I think that belief is unshakable. But is my trust? Father, let my mind and heart be thinking on this all day, today.

I pray for this day, that we might have safe and smooth travel to work. I pray for Christi’s pains to be relieved, and that we might be able to figure out what is going on in her muscle structures to cause such pain. I pray for a good work day for both of us as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holidays. I pray for Stephanie today, and am grateful for her proclamation that she prayed about something yesterday and believes that she heard from you about it. This is a huge step. I pray that you would give her more confidence in this area.

Thank you for your grace and mercy in our lives. Now, as I continue my prayers on the drive to work, keep me focused and attentive to where your Spirit would lead me.

Do we really trust him?

Grace and peace, friends.


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