Good morning. It is Saturday (it IS Saturday, right?), November 29, 2014. One more day left in November.
Did you know that Jackie Chan’s parents tried to sell him to the doctor that delivered him?
Today is Small Business Saturday. On the heels of Black Friday, I’m sure there will be many people still out trying to get the best deals on things that nobody needs. So, give the small business a shot.
I can’t describe in words how wonderful yesterday turned out to be. We had such a great time at my parents’ house; the food was delicious, but the conversation, I think, was even better. Sometimes I wish I had a recorder going while we talk, because my parents share such wonderful memories of life (admittedly, sometimes the memories are painful). Rachel and Justin joined Christi, Stephanie, and me, as well as my Mom and Dad, of course, and it was simply a great time.
After we got home and got everything put away, Christi and I sat down to relax and watch some TV. After she went to bed, I stayed up a while and watched Apartment 143 on Netflix. It was a typical “found footage” movie, but was pretty entertaining.
While I am typing this, Christi is moving around the house, putting up Christmas decorations. It is our tradition . . . the weekend after Thanksgiving, we put up our decorations. The tree will likely go up this evening after church. Well, it might go up earlier, but it will probably get decorated tonight. We’re not sure about the outside lights, yet. Christi has so much pain in various parts of her body that I’m not sure I’m comfortable with her climbing ladders. I would do it, but, unfortunately, I am quite a bit heavier than the maximum weight limit on the ladder.
This evening, we will have our usual prayer time at 4:45 PM, followed by our worship service at 5:45 PM. If you are in the area, you are welcome to visit us. We are The Exchange.
(Source: This Day In History)
It was on this date in 1942 that coffee rationing began (gasp!). It was not due to a shortage of coffee, but, rather, due to the demands of shipping the popular commodity. The resources needed for shipping coffee were needed elsewhere, hence the rationing. In spite of rumors that coffee would be scarce after the war, it was taken off the rationing list as early as July 1943, while sugar continued to be rationed until June 1947.
Today’s birthdays include Russell Wilson, Howie Mandel, Mariano Rivera, C.S. Lewis, Don Cheadle, Andrew McCarthy, Louisa May Alcott, Vin Scully, Brian Baumgartner, Cathy Moriarty, Diane Ladd, John Mayall, Chuck Mangione, Garry Shandling, Christian Doppler, Joel Coen, Wendell Phillips, Madeleine L’Engle, Minnie Minoso, Dagmar, and Felix Cavaliere. Oh, my, there are a lot of “good ones” today. Mariano Rivera, retired, was probably the best closer the game of baseball has ever known. C.S. Lewis was a writer of great renown, who died on the same day as JFK, back in 1963. Vin Scully, 87 years old today, is the famed broadcaster for the LA Dodgers, and, as far as I know, is still broadcasting. John Mayall is a famous blues musician. Madeleine L’Engle, a famed writer of juvenile science fiction (A Wrinkle In Time). Felix Cavaliere is the lead singer that was the voice of The Rascals.
Here’s John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, with Eric Clapton playing lead guitar, “All Your Love.”
(From The Divine Hours)
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
Today’s Gospel Reading
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
“An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign . . .” What does this say about the number of “Christians” in our society who insist on “signs and wonders?” We must be careful that we worship God Almighty, and not the benefits that he gives us.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Embracing Jesus’ Humanity.”
“Fearing that I would miss the divinity of Jesus, I distanced myself from his humanity, like an ancient worshiper shielding his eyes from the holy of holies.” Would we be more comfortable with a “remote deity” than with an “intimate confidence in a personal Savior?” That’s probably why there are many who believe in God, but tend to prefer to think of him as an impersonal deity who simply set things in motion and then stepped back to watch it all play out, without being involved.
Consider the apostle John, who leaned back on Jesus’s breast during the Last Supper. Did he hear the heartbeat of the Son of God? ” . . . he comes to know him in a way that surpasses mere cognitive knowledge.”
We all know that there is a vast difference between known about someone and knowing him. We can know every fact there is to know about someone, “but all those vital statistics tell us nothing about the person who lives and loves and walks with God.”
“In a flash of intuitive understanding, John experiences Jesus as the human face of the God who is love. And in coming to know who the Great Rabbi is, John discovers who he is–the disciple Jesus loved.”
. . . for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
Father, do I truly know Jesus, or do I simply know about him? I believe that, at least in some way, I do know him. It’s true that I know a lot about him, as well as a great deal about you, that I read in Scripture. But there are things that I think I know about you and about Jesus that might not be so clear in Scripture. These may or may not be valid ideas and thoughts. I confess my ignorance to you. I confess that I have spent much of my life only trying to know about you, rather than seeking to know you. Some may object that I am only playing semantic games, here, but I believe that there is a vast difference between the two, and I believe that the most important should be obvious. But if I really believe that, then why have I not lived by it? Because it is easier to know about you. It is easier to know things about Jesus than to expend the time and energy it takes (as well as focus) to KNOW you; to KNOW him. I pray, Lord, that you will drive me to strive more to know you deeply and intimately. This is part of the prayer ministry that you have given me. I need to know you more; I need to know your Son more. Nudge me with your Spirit, that I might focus more on this intimate, personal knowledge of you and my Savior.
I pray for this day. I pray for Christi to be safe as she goes to the grocery store, right now. I pray for her to not be excessively aggravated at her mother, as there was some tension this morning. Keep her inclined to your heart, Lord, that she might be more gentle and that we might both do a better job of sharing your kingdom with our families. I pray for this evening, that your name would be lifted high, and that everything that we do at The Exchange would serve to glorify your name, love you, follow Jesus, and share your Kingdom.
I pray for our dear friend Lindsey, today. I know not why; I simply know that she has requested prayer. So I pray for your merciful hand to provide whatever it is that she needs at this moment. Speak peace to her; speak guidance into her life. Draw her closer to you, Lord.
I know it sounds cliche, but do you know Christ, or do you simply know about him? I believe it is an important question.
Grace and peace, friends.