Is Christ Worth It?

Good morning (or, perhaps, afternoon). It is Saturday, May 23, 2015. Only seven more days in May.

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is apothegm. The “g” is silent, which, of course, begs the question, why is it even there? Apothegm is a noun, meaning, “a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.”

Today is Title Track Day, celebrating those recordings that are defined by a single track that has the same title as the album. The first one that came to my mind is “Aqualung,” by Jethro Tull. Sometimes, the title track is the first one on the album. Sometimes, it is not. Occasionally, as in the case of Black Sabbath, you get a title track that is also the band name.

Well, we made it to the weekend. There’s not much to write about yesterday. Work was work, and it went okay, I think, for both of us.

Stephanie continues to feel a little ill, but we sincerely believe that she is struggling with grief. As an Autistic, she really doesn’t have the “tools” to process grief well. Heck, do any of us? I’m struggling with it, too, but I don’t think it is affecting me physically. Or is it? I seem to be much more tired, in the past few weeks. For example, last night, we barely made it past 9:00. We used to stay up until midnight or later on Friday nights!

Today, as usual, we will have our prayer and worship gatherings, beginning at 4:45 this afternoon. I think we have decided that we prefer to do the grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon, so that will wait until tomorrow. Other than that, we don’t really have any plans, until Monday, when we will go to Mineral Wells, to spend Memorial Day with my mother. Hopefully, Rachel and Justin will join us.

It was on this date in 1995 that the first version of the Java programming language was released. On this date in 1945, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, committed suicide. And on this date in 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.

Today’s birthdays include Ambrose Burnside (Civil War Union General), Douglas Fairbanks (actor), Artie Shaw (clarinetist and big band leader), Scatman Crothers (actor), James Blish (writer), Rosemary Clooney (actress/singer), Joan Collins (English actress–I did not know Joan Collins was from England!), Robert Moog (pioneer of electronic music), Buck Showalter (baseball manager), Drew Carey (actor/comedian/game show host), Jewel (singer), Ken Jennings (record Jeopardy winner), and Tristan Prettyman (musician).

Robert Moog was born on this date in 1934. Moog was, as stated above, a pioneer in electronic music. He invented what is probably the single most popular synthesizer ever used, the Minimoog. In this video, he shares a brief demonstration of the Minimoog, the descendant of what was first heard in the likes of Switched On Bach, and, later, in the seventies, ELP. I still remember seeing Emerson’s eight-foot-tall synthesizer in the TV broadcasts of California Jam, in, I believe, 1974 (my memory is fuzzy).

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

To the choirmaster: according to Shushan Eduth. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he strove with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return struck down twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us.
You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters.
You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.
You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah.
That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us!
God has spoken in his holiness: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies.
Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 60

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3

I am reminded by today’s Daily Guideposts that it is important to savor life and all that it has to offer us. We are in far too big a hurry.

(From Solid Joys)

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:26-27

Today’s reading is “Is Christ Worth It?”

Jesus tells us the worst, upfront. He pull no punches when it comes to telling us the cost of accepting his invitation. There is a painful cost to being a Christian: hating family (v. 26), carrying a cross (v. 27), and giving up (or renouncing) possessions (v. 33). “There is no small print in the covenant of grace.”

Satan, on the other hand, hides the “small print.” He puts forth his best: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), and “All these things I will give to you, if you fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). But in print so small that it can only be read “with the magnifying glass of the Bible,” we find, “And after the fleeting pleasures, you will suffer with me forever in hell.”

Why is Jesus willing to show us the worst, along with the best? It is because the worst that we can face will be more than abundantly counterbalanced by the best, which, in the opposite case of Satan, is not true. All of the fleeting pleasures that this life has to offer could, in no way, counterbalance eternity in the punishment of hell, whatever form that may take. Another thing I have noticed, during my life, that Piper does not mention, is that modern evangelism tends to hide the worst, especially in the “charismatic” denominations. They preach a great life, full of victory and blessing, and in some cases, health and prosperity, but don’t bother to talk about the cost that Jesus so explicitly mentions. So my question is, does modern evangelicalism actually play into the hands of the enemy?

We also note that Jesus’s call to us is not a call to suffering and self-denial. It is a call to a banquet. This is the point of Luke 14:16-24! Jesus promises a glorious resurrection where we will be repaid for all of the losses that we endure in this life; he promises help in enduring the hardships; he promises the gift of the Holy Spirit; he even promises that, if we are killed because of our faith, “not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).

All of this together means that, when we calculate the cost of following Jesus, it is well worth it. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

With our enemy, Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel. (Proverbs 20:17)

Father, by your grace, I have seen the cost and counted it worthy, more than worthy. However, I also acknowledge that there are areas in my life where I have not renounced all possessions. I have made decisions in the past that indicate that I don’t value Jesus more than family or personal comfort. I have struggled for years with the question of whether I can actually succeed in being a disciple. But I have also seen the grace that you have provided, which tells me that you will take care of these questions; you will make sure that I succeed in being a disciple! I praise you for this truth, and I praise you for your grace and mercy, so abundantly lavished on me, even in the times of my darkest sin. I pray for your help, though, in the Spirit, to consider all things rubbish for the sake of knowing Christ. Teach me, Father. Teach me the way of truth, that I may walk in it, and lead others in it, as well.

I pray for this day, that we will lift you up in whatever we do. I pray for our worship and prayer gatherings this evening. I also pray for the people of FBC in Mineral Wells, as they prepare to worship in their gym tomorrow morning. I pray that inspections will find that there is no structural damage to their sanctuary, that they might be able to continue worshiping in there, next week. I pray for strength for the pastor and other staff members as they work through this crisis. May they have the grace and mercy to be encouraging to their church family. I pray that you continue to hold up our family, as well, and ask for extra grace for Stephanie, that she might be able to work through her grief and think of the positive things that memories of her Grandpa will bring her. Give Christi and me grace to help her. I pray for your arms of mercy to continue to hold up my mother, along with Rachel and Justin, as well, especially as Rachel continues to work through what her future will hold for her.

Your grace is sufficient, Lord!

Following Christ is costly, and, at some point, might even become physically dangerous. May God give us the grace to always count Christ worthy of whatever following him may cost us.

Romans 8-18

Grace and peace, friends.

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