Good morning. It is Wednesday, December 3, 2014. Hump Day. 22 days until Christmas.
Did you know that, in 1976, when Indiana took a 7-6 lead against Ohio State, Indiana coach Lee Corso called a time out to take a picture of the scoreboard with the entire team?
Today is Disability Day, also known as International Day of People with Disability. Being the parent of a child with a disability, this day has a special place in my heart, as it strives to raise awareness of the people in our world who have disabilities. Interestingly, our autistic daughter has a heart for people who are even more disabled than she, and has a desired to be an aid for “medically fragile” people.
Last night’s Huddle was pretty good. A couple of guys were out, as one was sick, and another was out hunting family. Wait. No. Hunting WITH family. Heh. Anyway. We had a good discussion on a topic that is concerned with the balance of “invitation and challenge” in our lives. We draw a matrix that looks something like this:
We were introduced to this matrix last week (some were, I had seen it before, having already gone through the Huddle process), and were supposed to give examples from our lives for each quadrant. One difference in the matrix we use, is that, in the “boring” quadrant, we substitute the word “death.” But I like the way the illustration above is drawn out. I saw several that put the word “empowering” in the high invitation/high challenge quadrant.
The work day was fair. We got much less on the inbound truck, yesterday, and, I think, got mostly caught up. There will be some left over to do this morning, but we managed to get through the huge day from Monday with minimal misses (late goods receipts). Christi whipped up some broccoli cheese soup for dinner, which we had along with the rest of the leftover ham from Thanksgiving.
(Source: This Day In History )
It was on this date in 1979 that the last AMC Pacer rolled off the assembly line in Kenosha, Wisconsin. You remember the Pacer, don’t you? It was described by someone as looking like a pregnant roller skate. It was also described by some as a fishbowl. It was incredibly heavy and, thus, quite fuel inefficient.
Today’s birthdays include Ozzy Osbourne, Amanda Seyfried, Brendan Fraser, Julianne Moore, Anna Chlumsky, Andy Williams, Daryl Hannah, Katarina Witt, Joseph Conrad, Anna Frued, Ferlin Husky, and Jaye P Morgan.
Katarina Witt is a German figure skater who won Olympic gold in 1984, in Sarajevo. Today, she turns 48 years old. Here are some highlights from her performances.
(From The Divine Hours)
First Week of Advent
Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah.
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
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.
Today’s Gospel Reading
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
More challenging words from Jesus. What does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross? I believe this is different for everyone, to some degree. What is the thing in your humanity that would keep you from following Christ completely? That is what must be denied. Habits that compromise my faith; anything that would distract me from Jesus; that which divides my heart; in short, anything that threatens to be an idol, which I would “worship” in front of God. What does it mean to take up my cross? it means to willingly shoulder the load of faith in this life; it means that, sometimes, I must say “No” to friends who would have me do something that I know I shouldn’t do; it means I must take a stand for Christ. The key to all of this is in the next statements. What is my life worth, humanly speaking? It is most definitely not worth as much as my life, spiritually speaking. So if I spend all my energy and resources trying to “save” my human life, in the end, I will lose it. But if I spend my resources for the sake of Christ, even if I wind up losing my human life, I will, ultimately, be saved. This is all somewhat similar to a C.S. Lewis quote, in which he says, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
What does that last statement in chapter 16 mean? There has been much debate over this. I tend to agree with the Reformation Study Bible notes, which say that Jesus is likely referring to the whole process of his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Matthew Henry says, “But this points at Christ’s coming by the pouring out of his Spirit, the planting of the gospel church, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the taking away of the place and nation of the Jews, who were the most bitter enemies to Christianity.” I think he makes some good points, as well. I will not pretend to be wise enough to know for sure.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Preparing for Jesus.” It is brief, so I will quote the whole thing.
“The primitive confession of faith ‘Jesus is Lord’ is not an
abstract theological proposition but a highly personal
statement. It puts my integrity on the line and profoundly
affects the way I celebrate Advent, the four weeks of
preparation for the birth of Christ. If Jesus is Lord of my life and
my Christmas, I am challenged to submit all the priorities of my
personal and professional life to this primary fact.”
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Father, as we are now well into the first week of Advent, I pray that this attitude of “Jesus is Lord” would be prevalent in my life and everything that I do. May it permeate my work life, my driving life, my home life, as well as my devotional life. May the thought of Jesus being my Lord and King be the foremost thing in my mind and heart as I sit down at this computer every morning. May it color everything I write, and everything that I say, and even everything that I think! There’s the challenge, now, isn’t it? Submitting my very thoughts, which sometimes run rampant and out of control, to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! Help me to accomplish that, by the power of your Spirit. I also pray that you would help me to deny myself and take up my cross daily. Help me to love you, follow Christ, and share the Kingdom.
I pray for this day, that our travel to work and home would be safe and smooth. I pray that our work day would go well. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her, and let her know that you love her more than any human is capable of, even her parents. Teach us your way, that we may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight.
“Jesus is Lord.” On the surface it seems like such a simple statement, yet is so very full and rich. Consider that today.
Grace and peace, friends.