Choose To Die

Good morning. It is Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is quisling. This is a noun, meaning, “one who commits treason : traitor, collaborator.”

Today is Be A Millionaire Day. I would, naturally, love to oblige. I’ll see what I can do.

Last night was a rough night for my home town of Mineral Wells. While the damage they received was not nearly as devastating as what happened to Van last week, it is still heartbreaking to see, especially places that are so familiar to me. My mother is fine, as she lives a few miles from downtown, which is where the major damage occurred on this one. A portion of the old First National Bank building drive through is laying in the middle of Oak St. Trees and power lines are down all over. And my mother’s church, First Baptist Church, lost an entire section of outside wall, above the gym.

Oak Street
Oak Street

First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church

Fortunately, no one has been injured, at least that I know of at this point. As people are saying, buildings can be replaced.

We will still be visiting my mother on Monday, if the Lord says so, too. We are really looking forward to that holiday. The weather is still potentially rainy for another week or so, with possible thunderstorms predicted on Sunday, but nothing too serious looking, at this point.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 57

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “How to Hate Your Life.”

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:24-25

This flies in the face of modern-day “pop psychology,” which is all about loving ourselves. Even some modern “evangelistic” churches preach the same stuff. It is not popular to “hate yourself” in our culture. But it is exactly what Jesus instructed us to do. But wait. Or did he? What he said, there, is that “whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” It sure sounds like that is loving myself, to me!

But what does it mean? Here are some ideas.

“If men speak well of you, it doesn’t matter much.
If they hate you, it doesn’t matter much.
If you have a lot of things, I doesn’t matter much.
If you have little, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are persecuted or lied about, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are famous or unheard of, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are dead, these things just don’t matter much.”

But it goes even beyond these things. All of these things are relatively passive in nature. We must go beyond this and make conscious choices to follow Christ, from Gethsemane to the cross. “Jesus is not just saying: If things go bad, don’t fret, since you are dead anyway. He is saying: choose to die with me. Choose to hate your life in this world the way I have chosen the cross.”

It doesn’t really matter what happens to us, as long as we are living to the glory of the grace of God.

Father, as I reflect on these things, right on the heels of yesterday’s reading about being complete in Christ, help me to make the right choices today, choices that would indicate that my life in this world is nothing to me. Help me to follow Jesus into this day and beyond, choosing to “die to myself,” and live to your glory. May I be fully satisfied in you today.

I pray for this day, that our travel to work and back would be safe. I pray for our work day, that you would give us the grace and mercy we need, for this day only. Give us today our daily bread. I pray for the people of Mineral Wells and First Baptist Church, as they continue cleaning up from yesterday’s tornadoes. May your strength and guiding hand be with them. I thank you that, as far as we know, there are no reports of injury. I also thank you that my mother, along with other families of friends, are safe. I pray that this will be all of this kind of weather for now, for this town. May you show your great love to Stephanie, Justin, and Rachel, today, as they go about their business. I especially pray for Rachel, as she continues to suss out her future.

Your grace is sufficient.

Let us who follow Christ make choices that would move us toward the cross.

Grace and peace, friends.

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5 thoughts on “Choose To Die

      1. Much better. I’m back in the “real world” — the main hurdle now is transferring my medical benefits to a different County. So I don’t have all my meds. I have meds for the hypothyroid condition, but not for the “other” condition – which I need. Otherwise, I started up my music transcription service again, and got two customers right off the bat. Danielle, my admin from 2010, is working with me again, and doing a great job. I’ve won back my daughter and my brother — but a lot of people seem to have fled for good. I left Berkeley at the beginning of the month and moved to Burlingame, California, where for many years I was a successful musician, teacher, and church worship leader. It’s a better climate for me here. I found a great church with a great Bible Study – and I am blessed, brother. I’ll send today’s Gratitude List to your email. Thanks for asking – God bless.

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