The Heartbeat of Our Lives

Good morning. It is Saturday, December 27, 2014. Four more days left in 2014.

Today’s Word of the Day is “partied-out.” Someone at the OED really has a sense of humor. Partied-out means exactly what you would think it means. “Exhausted from celebrating, drinking alcohol, etc.; hung over; tired of parties.” I would add “eating” in there, as well.

Today is Visit the Zoo Day, which, apparently fall on December 27 each year. It just happens to be on Saturday, this year. With our temperatures expected to reach the low to mid sixties today, it might just be a perfect day to visit the zoo.

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty nice day, especially at work. The drive in was a breeze, taking just about forty minutes. We got a light load of freight in, for receiving, and were actually done with everything by 3:30 PM! So we went home! I was home before 5:00 PM (only that late because, of course, Sonic drinks were necessary). We ordered pizza for dinner, and settled in to watch some TV shows from the week, including Major Crimes, The Mentalist, and The Librarians. The most recent episode of The Librarians was, in our opinion, the best one, yet. The writing seems to have been better than the previous few, and, for added attraction, Bruce Campbell played Santa Claus!! He was quite good in the role, too! I stayed up and watched a movie on Amazon Prime (using our new “Fire TV”), then went to bed.

Today could be pretty busy. Christi needs to go back to Car Max in Irving to sign final financing papers for Rachel’s new VW Passat, plus there are a couple other errands that need to be done. Then we have prayer gathering and church, this evening, beginning at 4:45 PM. As always, just in case anyone is interested, you are welcome to visit us. We are The Exchange (meeting in the upstairs youth area of Harvest Baptist Church).

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1900 that Carry Nation took an ax and gave her mother . . . no, wait. Wrong story. Carry Nation did, however, take a hatchet and smash up the bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas. She caused several thousand dollars in damage (quite a bit for 1900, I would imagine), and landed in jail for her actions. She was released shortly afterward, however, and went on to become famous in her hatchet-wielding crusade against alcohol. Why did she hate alcohol so much? It seems she married a hard drinker, whose drinking killed him early, leaving her alone to support their young child. Women in those days didn’t have the same rights they do in our society, and in such circumstances, life became pretty much impossible for them. After marrying preacher and lawyer (how on earth can those two words even be used in the same description of a person???) David Nation, and moving to Kansas, she became involved in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Kansas became the first state to enact prohibition, but it was not enforced well, which led to Carry’s belief that she needed to take matters into her own hands. No pun intended.

Today’s birthdays include Hayley Williams, Louis Pasteur, Marlene Dietrich, Masi Oka, Gerard Depardieu, Cole Hamels, Heather O’Rourke, Johannes Kepler, William Masters, Scotty Moore, Michael Pinder, Mick Jones, Cokie Roberts, Terry Bozzio, David Knopfler, Matt Slocum, Cas Haley, James Mead, and Rick Porcello.

Heather O’Rourke was a child actress whose most famous role was the little girl in Spielberg’s hit haunting move, Poltergeist. She was born on this date in 1975, but, sadly, passed away at the age of twelve. Here is a clip of her famous scene in Poltergeist, as she announces the arrival of the ghosts.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

The Feast of the Nativity

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

Psalm 95:6-7
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
Psalm 59:10
I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
Psalm 52:9
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”
Psalm 2:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:7-10
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.

Psalm 85:8-13
O God, you have caused the holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light:
Grant that I, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him
perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

“Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.
And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.

Matthew 21:33-46

This parable was boldly spoken directly to the people whom it was about, the religious leaders. The master of the house is God; the vineyard is his Kingdom; the servants are the prophets, and, of course, the son is Jesus. The tenants are those in the house of Israel who are opposing Jesus. Jesus graphically describes the Kingdom being taken away from the Jews and given to all the world, including the Gentiles. I like verse 45. “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.” Duh. They wanted to arrest Jesus, but were still afraid of the crowds. They had to come up with a way to turn the general public against him.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Spirit of Christmas.”

Brennan tells of a documented miracle that occurred in Lourdes, France, in 1957. A French father took his son, blind from birth, on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. The son was ten years old, and, upon arriving at the shrine, begged his father to pray for him. The father did, praying aloud, “Lord, give my boy his sight.” According to the story, the boy’s sight was given to him instantly! As he looked around, he saw flowers and trees, green grass and open sky. As he turned and looked into his father’s eyes, “the eyes that went with the only voice he had known during ten long years of darkness and loneliness,” he said, “Oh boy! Everybody’s here!”

“This,” says Brennan, “is the spirit of Christmas. Everybody’s here! The deep, passionate love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and brother, is the breakthrough of Bethlehem and the heartbeat of the Christian life.”

Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.”
The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.

John 4:50

Father, may this spirit of Christmas accompany my life always! Let the “deep, passionate love of Jesus Christ” be my heartbeat as I live this life. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name!

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s safety as she is out running errands. Thank you for all of your provision for our family. Your gifts are lavish and your grace is amazing. I pray for our prayer and worship time, this evening, that your name would be glorified in all that we do. I also pray that we will have ample time to rest up for the coming week of work, and that you will cause to pause and reflect as a new year approaches.

May the deep, passionate love of Christ be the heartbeat of your life in the coming year!

Grace and peace, friends.

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