If You Love Jesus, You Will Love the Church

Good morning. It is Sunday, February 8, 2015. Welcome to the Weekend Edition, pt. 2! 57 days until Opening Day; 12 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Today’s word of the day is passepartout, a noun with several meanings.
1. “Originally: a person who may go anywhere (obs.). Subsequently: a thing giving a person the right or opportunity to go anywhere; spec. a key that opens any or many doors, a master key; (occas.) a passport.”
2. a. “An engraved plate or block with the centre cut out for the insertion of a different plate or block, thereby providing a fixed border for different pictures. Also: a fixed typographical border for a printed page. Obs. Used largely in illustrated books of the 16th and 17th centuries.”
b. “A border or mount for a picture made from a piece of card or similar material with the central part cut out to receive the picture. Also (in full passepartout frame): a ready-made frame consisting of two sheets of transparent material (or one sheet with a card backing) held together at the edges.”
c. “A kind of adhesive paper or tape used for framing pictures.”
The pronunciation is “ˌpaspəˈtu”.

Today is World Marriage Day. So, if you’re considering proposing to that special someone in your life, today would be a great day for it!

We had a pretty good day, yesterday, although I started feeling bad right around time to head to our church meetings. Later, I felt better, though. This stuff is just weird. This morning, I’m experiencing continued sinus congestion, but I haven’t taken anything, other than my nasal sprays. Anyway, Christi had a pretty good time at the women’s gathering. She said that several of the speakers were really good, while a couple of them were, as she described it, “over the top.” But that’s to be expected at any event like this, I believe. Our prayer time, I believe, was good. These prayer times have continued to be quietly amazing. The worship time was good, in spite of our leader not feeling well. And Jacob’s message was very good last night, as he introduced the current series on church membership. Our PAT meeting (Pastoral Assist Team) afterward, was one of the better meetings that I can remember. All of the discussion seemed to be positive and encouraging, even when discussing what we perceive to be “failures” in our ministry areas. We also discussed something that I am not at liberty to divulge, that could potentially be very exciting for our church. It will definitely be a matter of prayer, going forward.

Christi will be doing our shopping this morning, and then Rachel (and maybe Justin, too) is coming over around lunchtime, for the purpose of some life decision discussion with Christi (maybe me, too, I’m not sure how this is supposed to work today).

(Source: Wikipedia)

It was on this date in 1855 that The Devil’s Footprints mysteriously appeared in East Devon and South Devon, England. On the night of February 8-9, after a heavy snowfall, there appeared in the snow a series of “hoof-like marks in the snow.” They were about four inches long, three inches across, eight to sixteen inches apart, and mostly in single file. They were reported in over thirty locations in Devon and a few in Dorset, as well. The total distance of the tracks was estimated to be somewhere between 40 and 100 miles. The tracks even allegedly appeared on the roofs of houses and barns. There are many possible explanations listed in the article, none of which involve Satan.

Today’s birthdays include Jacob Praetorius (composer), William Tecumseh Sherman (general), Jules Verne (author), Lana Turner (actress), Audrey Meadows (actress), Jack Lemmon (actor), James Dean (actor), John Williams (composer), Ted Koppel (journalist), Nick Nolte (actor), Terry Melcher (record producer), Dan Seals (singer), Mary Steenburgen (actress), John Grisham (writer), Gary Coleman (actor), Seth Green (actor), and Danny Tamberelli (actor).

Dan Seals was an American singer, younger brother to James Seals, of Seals & Crofts. Dan was part of the duo of England Dan & John Ford Coley. He was born in McCamey, Texas, on this date in 1948. He passed away in March of 2009. Here is there hit single, “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
Psalm 16:3

(From Heart Aflame)

In the spirit of our current sermon series, comes today’s devotion from John Calvin’s commentaries on the Psalms. Today’s reading focuses on the verse quoted above, Psalm 16:3.

“The only way of serving God aright is to endeavor to do good to his holy servants.” Since we cannot, technically, do good deeds to God, he substitutes the saints, or the Church as the recipients of our good works. Therefore, when we exercise charity toward one another, we are, in effect, doing good works for God. “When men, therefore, mutually exert themselves in doing good to one another, this is to yield to God right and acceptable service.” Jesus validates this thought in the Gospels when he says, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”

So, David, after seeing that he has nothing that he can give to God, and that everything good comes from God, “sets his affection upon the saints, because it is the will of God that, in this world, he should be magnified and exalted in the assembly of the just, whom he has adopted into his family for this end . . .”

“This passage, therefore, teaches us that there is no sacrifice more acceptable to God than when we sincerely and heartily connect ourselves with the society of the righteous, and being knit together by the sacred bond of godliness, cultivate and maintain with them brotherly goodwill.” Through this, we achieve “the communion of the saints” and become the “holy and peculiar people of God.”

For this reason, we must highly value the true servants of God, and should regard as the utmost importance that connection with the body of Christ. And the only way to reasonably achieve this connection is through membership in the local church.

Father, I pray for the local church in our nation and in our world. The idea of the importance of church membership is waning in our culture, as we have become a society that is “me-centric” and totally focused on emotional fulfillment. I thank you for giving me such a great love for your Church, and I pray that you would emphasize this in the hearts of all believers all over the world. We need a resurgence of the importance of the Church, and to realize the truth that Jesus did not die for me, but that he died for a people! This, coupled with our pastor’s statement last night, that we need to “marry the Church and not just date her,” has driven home the truth of the Gospel as it applies to the body of Christ. I pray that we might regain this kind of thinking in our culture in days ahead. Thank you for our faithful pastor, who studies diligently and listens to you as he prepares to lead us in the direction that you want us to go. I pray that you would continue to open our ears as you guide us, that we might hear truth as you give it to us.

I pray for this day, that Christi will be safe as she gets the grocery shopping done. I pray for the afternoon, whatever it might hold forth, and I pray for Rachel as she faces decisions that will have an impact on her life and future. Give her the strength to do what is best for here, and give her the confidence to not worry about what anyone else thinks. Help her to know that her mother and I are 100% behind whatever she decides to do. I pray that we might have ample time for rest, this evening, as we prepare for another work week. I also pray for my mother’s surgery prep visit, that was changed to this coming Tuesday, due to the nurse being sick. Of course, I would ask for healing for her eyes and my father’s muscles, but pray for your will to be done on earth as in heaven.

Bring power to your Church, O Lord!

One true test of whether you are a Christian is if you love the Church. Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? It is impossible to love Jesus and hate the Church.

Grace and peace, friends.

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