Are We Hostile Toward God?

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 6, live from Commerce, Texas, high atop the Magnuson Hotel. Well, not exactly, “atop,” and not exactly “high,” either. I am on the top floor, though. Which is the third floor.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is frample. This is a verb, meaning, “Of a horse: to paw the ground.” I never knew there was a special word for that. But now I do, and so do you!

Today is Drive-In Movie Day. It’s the anniversary of the first one, which was in Camden, New Jersey. There has been a small resurgence of the drive-in movie, over the past few years, and there are actually several in the DFW area that show first-run movies on the weekends.

I got to the hotel in Commerce at about ten to 7:00, last night, so I decided to go ahead and get checked in at the hotel and get a shower. The reunion check-in only went until 7:00 last night, so I didn’t try to rush over to the music building for that. There’s another opportunity to do that, this morning.

The hotel is decent, and I have a coffee maker, fridge, and microwave in the room. So far, I’ve only used the coffee maker. Well, and the bed. There’s one of those, too. They do have free wi-fi, so that’s why I’m writing this morning. I also get some kind of breakfast with the room, so I’ll need to get down there in a bit and see what is available.

The evening started out with a nice dinner with a group of friends. I had asked, on Facebook, where people were hanging out, and got a response from a couple of them that they were having dinner at Luigi’s, a local Italian restaurant. I booked it over there, and squeezed in at the end of a table with about eight others, most of whom were some of the best friends that I remember from those days. There was another small group in a corner booth right next to them. We had a wonderful time! After we finished dinner, I found another group on the other side of the restaurant, most of which I remembered, but some had to job my memory. Fortunately, today, after we all get checked in, we will have name tags.

There was a room reserved at the old University Inn, which is now called The Lion’s Den (ETSU/TAMU Commerce football team is the Lions). A bunch of us headed over there to hang out. I mingled there for another hour or so, found a couple more old friends, and discovered that one of them lives not much more than a mile from my house! Small world, huh? He and I had a nice conversation, because his father passed only a couple of weeks before mine. We had a great talk about grief and its effects on us, and talked about getting together for coffee soon.

This morning, after breakfast, I will head over to the music building, trombone in hand, to check in and, hopefully play a bit. We have a two-hour session in the morning, lunch, and then a two-hour session this afternoon. I figure I have about thirty to forty good minutes of chops, so I’m hoping James Keene tells a lot of stories between rehearsal bits!

Two things happened on this date in 1968. Don Drysdale pitched a record 58th consecutive scoreless inning, a record that would stand until 1988. The other event was the death of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who died from a gunshot wound received the previous night. If I remember correctly, he was in the midst of a Presidential campaign. And, as reported above (without the date), on this date in 1933, the first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, New Jersey.

Today’s birthdays include Nathan Hale (writer/patriot), Vincent Persechetti (composer), V.C. Andrews (author), Gary U.S. Bonds (musician), Robert Englund (actor), Tony Levin (bassist/King Crimson), Dwight Twilley (singer), Sandra Bernhard (actress), Bjorn Borg (tennis player), Amanda Pays (actress), Steve Vai (guitar player), Bill Bates (football player), Paul Giamatti (actor), and Danny Strong (actor, Buffy).

Gary U.S. Bonds is a rhythm & blues singer, born on this date in 1939, making him 76 years old today. Here is one of his hits, “Quarter to Three.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Psalm 67

(From Solid Joys)

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.
Colossians 1:21-22

“The best news in all the world is that our alienation from God is ended and we are reconciled to the Judge of the universe. God is no longer against us but for us.” How it strengthens the soul to know that the omnipotent love of God is on our side! When God is for us, life is free, life is bold.

But Paul speaks of people being “alienated and hostile in mind.” How many people do you know who actually confess to being hostile to God? Most people don’t walk around saying, “I hate God.” What does Paul mean when he says that people were “alienated and hostile in mind” before being reconciled by the blood of Christ?

John Piper says, “I think he means that the hostility is really there toward the true God, but people do not allow themselves to think about the true God. They imagine God to be the way they would like him to be, which seldom includes any possibility that they might be in really serious trouble with him.”

I like this description. We want God to be the way we imagine him to be. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, MY God wouldn’t (insert whatever)!” That is a very dangerous thing to say. First of all, God is not MY God. He is OUR God, the God of his people. And he is sovereign over all things, and does whatever he pleases, whether I like it or not. I cannot afford to believe that God is exactly the way I want him to be. Rather, I need to shift my beliefs to line up with who he is, as revealed in Scripture. If I fail to do that, then, in mind, I am being “hostile” to God.

“That any of us is saved is owing to the wonderful truth that the death of Christ obtained the grace by which God conquered our hearts and caused us to love the One we once hated.” We also owe a lot to the fact that our God is “gloriously patient” with us.

Father, I thank you that you are, indeed, “gloriously patient” with us, as we all learn how to not be hostile toward you. Forgive us for making up our own versions of you, based on what we like and don’t like, or what “cause” we think is important. How dare we think that, just because we are passionate about baby seals, that you care that much for them, as well. Not to say you don’t, but what you are passionate for is revealed to us in Scripture, and that is where we need to stay to find out who you are and what you love and desire. Let us be faithful to learn of you through your Word, and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I pray for this day. May our time together on the stage today be fun. But I also pray that we might be able to make some beautiful music as well. As we re-live some precious memories, may we not get too caught up in what was, but be able to celebrate what is, and look forward to what will be. I thank you that time is the great equalizer for all of us. I thank you for old friends who care.

I pray for today’s baptisms that will occur at The Exchange. May you hold up the people being baptized, bathing them in your Spirit, and helping them either begin or continue a life-long walk with you. I pray for my family, that you would be strong with them today, and that they all may know your presence in whatever they do or wherever they are.

Your grace is sufficient.

Let us give thanks that our God has drawn us away from being hostile to him, and has saved us by his grace. Give him thanks for his great patience toward us.

Grace and peace, friends.

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