Stay Close To the Word

Good afternoon. It is Sunday, February 22, 2015. 43 more days until Opening Day. Welcome to the Weekend Edition!

Today’s word of the day is pribble. Isn’t that just the cutest word? It means, ” A petty or pointless dispute, a squabble; trivial or nonsensical speech or writing; squabbling, quarrelling; idle chit-chat.” It is frequently used in tandem with “prabble.”

Today is Be Humble Day. That is certainly a challenge. It’s also tricky, because if you think you’re humble, then you probably aren’t.

The reason it is afternoon is that we slept late today. Quite late, in fact. We woke up at about ten minutes to 10:00 this morning. It felt very nice, too.

My day at work, yesterday, went pretty well. We got finished with everything at around 2:30, so I was home in plenty of time to make to our prayer and worship gatherings. Those both went pretty well, too. There were a couple of people at the prayer gathering who aren’t usually there. The message last night was more along the lines of what our mission is at The Exchange. The purpose was, as there will be an opportunity to relaunch our membership next Saturday, to let people know, “This is what we are about. If that is what you fell called to, then please join us.” I firmly believe that Jacob would rather have ten people who fully agree with the mission and purpose of the church than 50 people who are somewhat noncommittal.

After the gathering, we had burgers for dinner, and watched this week’s episode of Backstrom, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite TV shows. It’s very interesting, because one of the police people that works with Backstrom is a part time preacher, and they seem to present his faith in a positive light. Backstrom, himself, is an avowed atheist, and continually makes fun of him, but the show itself seems to present him in a good way.

I just talked to my mother, and she will be calling the hospital tomorrow morning to cancel the cataract surgery. There is still a 90% chance of sleet, beginning at 11:00 tonight, and not ending until about 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. Since I already have PTO scheduled, I will not be going to work tomorrow, unless the ice just doesn’t happen. If that should happen, I will go ahead and go to work and cancel the PTO for the week. If it ices over, I will stay home tomorrow, and try to go in Tuesday, in which case, I will cancel four days of PTO.

It was on this date in 1980, in Lake Placid, New York, that the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet Union hockey team in the Olympics, 4-3. The US team would go on to defeat Finland for the gold medal. The USSR team had won the gold medal in six of the previous seven Olympic Games.

Today’s birthdays include George Washington (president), Arthur Schopenhauer (philosopher), Edna St. Vincent Millay (writer), Dwight Frye (actor), Robert Young (actor), Sheldon Leonard (actor), Robert Wadlow (tallest human ever), Don Pardo (TV announcer), Charlie Finley (sports entrepreneur), Paul Dooley (actor), James Hong (actor), Ted Kennedy (politician), Sparky Anderson (baseball manager), Oliver (singer), Julius Erving (basketball player), Kyle MacLachlan (actor), Steve Irwin (Croc hunter), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Drew Barrymore (actress).

Dwight Frye was an American actor, born on this date in 1899. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Renfield in the classic Bela Lugosi Dracula movie. Alice Cooper memorialized him in his tribute, “The Ballad of Dwight Frye.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt.
So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Psalm 18:21-24

(From Heart Aflame)

As we look at the portion of Psalm 18 quoted above (verse 21-24), we see some words that might, on the surface, give one pause. David makes claims here, that, if we just read the words, we know are not true. “I have kept the ways of the LORD,” he says. Well, we all know that David, at times, “fell into sin through the weakness of the flesh.” Most famously, the whole ordeal with Bathsheba immediately comes to mind. The the key is that “he never desisted from following after godliness, nor deserted the service to which God had called him.” We have to read deeper than the surface of the words. In the end, no matter how many false judgments men may make against us, God will vindicate our character.

How did David maintain his faithfulness? We find that in verse verse 22: “For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.” As Calvin says in his commentary, “he always applied his mind to the study of the law of God. Whoever, therefore, would desire to persevere in uprightness and integrity of life, let them learn to exercise themselves daily in the study of the word of God; for whenever a man despises or neglects instruction, he easily falls into carelessness and stupidity, and all fear of God vanishes from his mind.” It is important for us, if we are to stand our ground and remain faithful to that which God has called us, to read, study, and meditate on God’s Word on a regular basis.

I’m currently reading an outstanding book on prayer, by Timothy Keller, called Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. In this book, Keller, by way of Calvin, Luther, and Augustine, insists that, before we can adequately pray, we must read and meditate on Scripture! It is true for prayer; it is true for living our lives. Therefore, let all of us who would be faithful to Christ, be sure and keep our eyes upon the “law of God,” which is simply another way of describing the entirety of Scripture.

Father, I thank you for the Bible. I thank you that you have given me a love for your Word. However, I must confess that I do not love it enough. I pray that you give me even more love for reading, studying, and meditating on your Word. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. I have felt so much of this in recent days, and it is marvelous. But I desire more. I don’t ever want to be satisfied with what I have, in terms of faithfulness and devotion to you and Christ. Make me even more a student of your Scriptures and teach me how they apply to my life and to prayer. Increase my faith, increase my love for you and your Word, and increase my fervency in prayer.

I pray for the remainder of this day. May we get some good rest. I pray for Christi, because she is out doing some errands right now. I pray for her safety. If the weather does what is predicted tonight and in the morning, I pray that, if she tries to go to work, you will keep her safe. I truly pray that the weather might not wind up as bad as predicted. But if it does, please keep people safe out there. I pray for Stephanie, as she has a toe that is currently infected. Please bring healing to that, that her pain will be lessened. Teach her about you and your love for her.

I thank you for bringing a successful liver transplant to Craig, a friend of a fellow Red Sox fan in North Carolina. I have seen his family giving praise to you, and that warms my heart. Thank you for hearing the prayers of people close to him.

Your grace is sufficient.

David stayed close to the Word of God, and it kept him faithful. Yes, he stumbled, but he never turned away from his Lord. We would do well to heed his example and hold the Word of God close to our hearts.

Grace and peace, friends.

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