“Who Do YOU Say That I Am?”

Good morning. It is post-Monday, December 2, 2014. 23 more days until Christmas!

Did you know that European Nutella is stronger than American Nutella?

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day that attempts to remind people that “there is more to holidays than consumerism and commercialism.”

Yesterday was a rough day. We basically got two days worth of freight from UPS, Friday’s and Monday’s. Boss wanted us to stay until 8:00 PM, but that didn’t happen. I left at 6:30, and a couple other first shift people were still there. I will probably try to get in at 7:00 AM today.

Christi made some delicious chili for dinner last night, and I made cinnamon toast for dessert. We watched the “mid-season finale” of The Walking Dead, and the season premier of The Mentalist. I think it might be the last season for The Mentalist, but I’m not sure. I was pretty beat, so we went to bed right after that.

Tonight is our weekly men’s Huddle meeting. Hopefully, I won’t have to work until 6:00 PM again.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1975 that Archie Griffin, a running back from Ohio State, won his second consecutive Heisman Trophy.

Today’s birthdays include Britney Spears, Aaron Rodgers, Lucy Liu, Hernando Cortes, Gianni Versace, Monica Seles, Maria Callas, Cathy Lee Crosby, Christopher Wolstenholme, Rick Savage, Charles Ringling, Brian Lumley, and Meg Griffin.

Britney Spears is . . . oh, come, now. Everyone knows who Britney Spears is! She’s 33 years old today.

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

First Week of Advent

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123:1-2
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
John 3:16-18
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty God, give all of us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the
armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came
to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his
glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Psalm 148:3

Today’s Gospel Reading

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Matthew 16:21-23

First of all, what a slap in the face this must have been to Peter! Here, he thought he was doing a good thing! But Jesus had other ideas, didn’t he? I think there is a deeper message for us, though, that even gets down to our prayer lives. When we set our minds on the things of men, rather than the things of God, we are a hindrance to Christ! When we allow ourselves to constantly be offended by petty little things that we perceive to be “holy and righteous” (for example, whether someone says, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”), are we helping or hurting the “cause of Christ?” What about when we pray for someone? I’ve heard prayer requests such as, “Pray for so-and-so to get out of prison.” What if God WANTS so-and-so to be in prison for a while?? One of the things that I am constantly praying for, in regard to my intercessory prayer ministry, is that the Holy Spirit show me how to pray for people. I don’t always know their deepest need, but God does. I don’t always know if I’m supposed to pray exactly what was requested, or if there is something else deeper that God desires for that person. But I can pray for God to show me. We need to have our minds set on the things of God, rather than on the things of men. Jesus had to go to Jerusalem, be tortured, and die. Peter could not stop this with his selfish thinking, even though he thought he was thinking about Jesus.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Is My Belief My Own?”

This journey that we make, not unlike Abraham’s journey “from Haran to Canaan,” is personal. “Each one of us bears the responsibility of responding to the call of Christ individually and committing ourselves to him personally.” Who do I believe in? “Do I believe in Jesus or in the preachers, teachers, and cloud of witnesses who have spoken to me about him?” Are my beliefs my own, or are they the beliefs of my parents, teachers, preachers, “and Oswald Chambers?” I must decide for myself what I believe. Sure, all of these other people can be good influences, and without the Godly parents that I had, there’s no telling where I would have ended up. But there came a time in my life when it was my responsibility to examine everything that I had heard and been taught over the years, search God’s Word, listen to the Holy Spirit, and decide for myself what I believe! How many people in our churches have no clue what they believe because they are too lazy to examine it for themselves? They just go along with whatever the preacher says (or doesn’t say).

Jesus’s question to Peter–“Who do you say that I am?–is addressed to every would-be disciple.”

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now,
not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work
out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

Philippians 2:12

Father, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I am so very thankful to you that you placed within my heart and mind the desire to suss out my own beliefs for myself, many years ago. There was a definite time when I began to seriously question everything I had grown up believing. Everything. What I came away with is, surely, still not perfect, for we can never understand perfectly until we see you face to face. However, I believe that what I did come away with was closer to Biblical truth than what I started with. Naturally, I retained a good bit of “what I started with.” I would not completely discredit any of the influences that I had along the way, and I am even more thankful for those influences, most especially, my aforementioned parents, Ken and Bonnie Bickley. You placed me in their care, and I believe that they did a marvelous job of leading me to you. There are many others along the way that helped me in this process. But, ultimately, it was up to me and the Holy Spirit. Lest anyone else misunderstand, though, this process is still going on. And it will continue, hopefully, until the day I cross over to meet my Savior. I will never stop examining my beliefs in the face of Scripture. I will never stop listening to others who have gone before me (or even some who are coming behind me), but it will always be my responsibility to know what I believe, and who I think you are.

I pray for this day, that our travel to and from work will be smooth. I pray that we will be able to get caught up at my work today. I pray that Christi’s day will go smoothly. Again, I am so very thankful that you brought her to this job. I pray for Stephanie, today, as always, that you would give her wisdom and understanding, and show yourself to her. Help her to know Jesus as King. Help us all to treat Jesus as King as we live our lives.

Who do YOU say that Jesus is?

who do you say

Grace and peace, friends.

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