Shipwrecked and Rescued

Good morning. It is Monday, December 22, 2014. Only three days until Christmas!

Today’s Word of the Day is “fissile.” 1. “capable of being split or divided in the direction of the grain or along natural planes of cleavage.” 2. “capable of undergoing fission”.

Today is Forefathers’ Day , a day set aside to commemorate the pilgrims who sailed across the ocean to settle in a new land, and, eventually, form the United States of America.

We had a nice time yesterday, except for the part when we dropped off something at Christi’s mother’s apartment. I’m not even going into that. But we finally got (I think) all of our Christmas shopping finished, as we loaded up on candy stocking stuffers. After that, we went bowling again. That was great fun. We bowled two games, in which Christi averaged about 138, and I averaged 167. Stephanie averaged around 65, which is not bad for her, either, especially since she started bowling without the rails.

After bowling, we went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch. I still had a $25 gift card that I got from work, so that paid for a good portion of our lunch. The food was okay, but not great. I was actually slightly disappointed.

We spent the rest of the evening just resting up for the work week. We’ll be at work today and tomorrow, then off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then have to work again on Friday.

Oh, and the Dallas Cowboys have, apparently, won their division for the first time in I don’t know how long. Weird. I’m not really a fan, but I guess I’m happy for them. I’m not happy for Jerry Jones, but, oh, well.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Fourth Week of Advent

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

Psalm 31:23-24
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
Psalm 31:3
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
Psalm 31:19
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126 A Song of Ascents
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Purify my conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at
his coming, may find in me a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

Matthew 21:12-17

Matthew seems to mention this event, almost in passing. But the words of Jesus are important. “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” he says. Basically, the temple had been turned into a market place. I’ve heard all the explanations about what was going on, regarding buying sacrifices for people who traveled long distances, as well as changing currency for the temple tax, and so on. The bottom line is that the house of the Lord is not a place for taking advantage of people, to turn a profit. It is a house of prayer, a place to serve people.

As Jesus hung around in the temple, afflicted people came to him for healing. Children cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Maybe they sang. But the religious leaders couldn’t stand this. They confronted Jesus, apparently to get him to deny the truth of what the children were saying. But he would not. He simply quoted more Scripture to them, and left, traveling to Bethany, no doubt the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Shipwrecked At the Stable.”

“The shipwrecked at the stable are the poor in spirit who feel lost in the cosmos, adrift on an open sea, clinging with a life-and-death grip to one solitary plank. Finally they are washed ashore and make their way to the stable, stripped of the old spirit of possessiveness in regard to anything. The shipwrecked find it not only tacky, but utterly absurd to be caught up either in tinsel trees or in religious experience–‘Doesn’t going to church on Christmas make you feel good?’ They are not concerned with their own emotional security or with any of the trinkets of creation. They have been saved, rescued, delivered from the waters of death, set free for a new shot at life. At the stable in a blinding moment of truth, they make the stunning discovery that Jesus is the plank of salvation they have been clinging to without knowing it!

“All the time they were battered by wind and rain, buffeted by raging seas, they were being held even when they didn’t know who was holding them. Their exposure to spiritual, emotional, and physical deprivation has weaned them from themselves and made them reexamine all they once thought important. The shipwrecked come to the stable seeking not to possess, but to be possessed, wanting not peace or a religious high, but Jesus Christ.”

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus,
called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

1 Corinthians 1:2

Father, I praise you for drawing me to the stable. I have clung to the plank of salvation that is Jesus. Have I yet to come to the place, though, where I desire to be possessed more than to possess? I truly believe that I am closer than I have ever been in my life. I pray for Jesus in my life. Not that I don’t believe that he is here, but this prayer is for a closeness with Christ that surpasses everything else. This prayer is that I might truly know him, above all things. The lights and decorations of Christmas are nice, and pretty. But they are not the true meaning, even when we examine the symbolism of them. The real meaning of this season, nay, the real meaning of life, itself, is Jesus Christ. Without him, there is no meaning. I pray that this message would be clear, that the Gospel would shine clearly throughout Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe travel to and from work. I pray for a good work day today, and that we would be able to display your Kingdom in all things. May you speak to Stephanie during these days, that she might understand the true meaning of Christmas. May your Spirit be real to her, and teach her your ways.

I pray for Samantha, as she has back surgery today. May the surgery be successful and, after recovery, relieve the terrible pain that she has been enduring. I pray for Craig, as he takes care of her and the kids during her recovery. May your grace and peace shine down on all of them.

The beautiful writing of Brennan Manning is such a great description of our encounter with Jesus. I pray that all the “shipwrecked” will discover that the “plank” that they are desperately clinging to is Jesus Christ!

Grace and peace, friends.

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