Thirst For Approval

Good morning. It is Thursday, March 5, 2015. 32 days until Opening Day. One week until we go back to Paluxy River Bed Cabins in Glen Rose, TX!

Today’s word of the day is oxpecker No, I am not making this up. Click the link if you don’t believe me. “Either of two African birds which habitually cling to the backs of cattle and other large mammals to feed on ticks and other parasites, the yellow-billed Buphagus africanus and the red-billed B. erythrorhynchus (family Sturnidae or, in some classifications, Buphagidae).” That’s probably more than you wanted to know.

Today is Absinthe Day. Years ago, partakers of Absinthe were said to be “chasing the green fairy.” This alcoholic concoction, which had something called “wormwood” in it, was said to be hallucinogenic. So much so, that was made illegal in the U.S. for many years. It’s back, but, from what I understand, it is not quite the same. Nevertheless, I have had some in a mixed drink, and it tastes a lot like licorice. It is also expensive. I looked at some at our local liquor store, and it was as much as $80 a bottle. Egad.

Winter has given a final (we hope) gasp, overnight. Our cars are completely covered in about three or four inches of snow, and the roads are still covered, at least around our house. The temperature is still 25 degrees, so nothing is melting, yet. I sent word to my lead and manager that I would not be going in at the regular time, but would shoot for 12:00-12:30, as the temps are supposed to get above freezing at around 11:00 this morning.

My trip home from work yesterday was uneventful, although traffic was heavier than usual. I’m not quite sure I get that. It rained on me most of the way home, sometimes very hard. Right when I got home, it began to sleet a little bit. The temperature kept dropping, and by the time we went to bed, close to 10:00 last night, it was snowing like a blizzard. I know I’ve stated before that I really loathe February. Well, I hate it even more when it lingers on into March.

Here’s my Public Service Announcement for the year. In case you are not aware, in the U.S., Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday morning at 2:00 AM. Why on earth does the time change in the middle of the night? Is it because that’s when the bars close? Anyway, I was not aware of that until yesterday! It seems like it’s getting earlier every year. For the record, I am not at all a fan of DST. I wish we would drop it and just stay on normal time all year.

It was on this date in 1770 that the Boston Massacre occurred. Five Americans, including Crispus Attucks, as well as a boy, were killed by British troops in an event that would figure heavily in the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. The soldiers were defended in a trial by John Adams.

Today’s birthdays include Frederick Cornwallis (Archbishop of Canterbury), Charles Goodnight (cattle rancher), Howard Pyle (illustrator), Heitor Villa-Lobos (composer), Sir Rex Harrison (actor), Philip Farkas (French horn player), Jack Cassidy (actor), Barry Tuckwell (French horn player), Dean Stockwell (actor), Samantha Eggar (actress), Murray Head (actor/singer), Penn Jillette (magician/comedian), Andy Gibb (singer), David Fury (TV writer/producer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Joel Osteen (heretic “preacher”), Paul Blackthorne (actor), Eva Mendes (actress), and Paul Konerko (baseball player).

Murray Head is an English actor and singer who was born on this date in 1946. He is the older brother to Anthony Stewart Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. Murray played the part of Judas Iscariot in the original album of Jesus Christ, Superstar, in 1971. Here he is in “Superstar.”

He also had a hit in 1984 with the song, “One Night in Bangkok,” from the musical Chess.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Psalm 19:12

(From Solid Joys)

They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
Matthew 23:5-7

Today’s reading is “Look to Jesus for Your Joy.”

“The itch of self-regard craves the scratch of self-approval. That is, if we are getting our pleasure from feeling self-sufficient, we will not be satisfied without others seeing and applauding our self-sufficiency.” That almost sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But it’s true. And it fits Jesus’s description of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.

You would think that “self-sufficiency,” (with the word “sufficient” being in there, which means “enough”) would free the person from the need of others’ approval. But it does not. In fact, it seems to do exactly the opposite.

Of course, the self was never intended to satisfy itself. “It can never be sufficient.” We are made in the image of God, but we are not God. “We are shadows and echoes.” There will always be an emptiness inside the self that struggles to be satisfied with self.

This craving for the praise of others indicates that there is an absence of faith in God’s grace. In John 5:44, Jesus is speaking to the Jewish religious leaders when he says, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” “Itching for glory from other people makes faith impossible.” That’s an interesting statement, isn’t it?

You see, “faith is being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus.” If we are intent on getting our itches scratched by other people’s acclaim, we will turn away from Jesus (or never turn to him at all).

“But if you would turn from self as the source of satisfaction (repentance), and come to Jesus for the enjoyment of all that God is for us in him (faith), then the itch would be replaced by a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).”

. . . but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Father, I thank you that you have drawn me more toward Jesus and away from the praise and acclaim of other men. I confess, I still struggle with this, as do all people. But my heart is directed more toward being satisfied in you. I pray that it would remain that way, and that I would not turn away from faith to the error of “self-sufficiency.” I know myself fairly well, and know that I could never be sufficient. You, however, in Christ Jesus are sufficient for all things. I pray for your Church, that we would all find our sufficiency in you, and that we would all stop looking for approval from other men.

I pray for this day, Father. As Christi and I get out in a little while to try to get to work, I pray for safe passage in both directions. I pray that the ice on the roads will melt off and dry up enough that there will not be a danger of refreezing tonight, when the temperature goes back down. I also pray that this is the last of the wintery weather for us, this season. I pray for a difficult decision that we need to make. Give us wisdom to do what is right, but also give us faith to not be guilted into doing something that might not be necessary. I pray for grace for Stephanie, that you would show her your overwhelming love. I also pray for the pain she is currently experiencing, that you would relieve it.

Teach us your ways, that we may walk in your truth.

Drink from the water that Jesus gives; find sufficiency in him. It matters not one iota what men think about you.

Grace and peace, friends.

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