All Is Grace

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 20, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is hobbit. Who doesn’t know what a hobbit is, right? It is “a member of a fictitious peaceful and genial race of small humanlike creatures that dwell underground.” As far as I know, hobbits were invented by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Today is World Juggling Day. I used to have a set of those vinyl juggling balls, but seem to have misplaced them. I got fairly decent at juggling three of them, but will never be as good as this guy!

The trip to work yesterday was interesting. My GPS sent me down the freeway, instead of across the side roads, and, initially, the trip was extremely quick and smooth. I encountered very little traffic until I got to Grapevine. Then, suddenly, everything stopped. It took me about twice as long as usual to get through Grapevine to Coppell, and on to the 121 access roads going on up to I-35E. Later, I found out what the problem was/is. Lake Grapevine is overflowing into Denton Creek (which I have never heard of), and has caused the closing of at least one major road in the area. 2499, a major thoroughfare, was closed at Grapevine Mills Pkwy and Lakeside Lane, causing backups for miles, which also affected the traffic the main highway, SH121, which is where I was. Fortunately, the first half of my trip went fast enough that this did not make me late for work. The scary thing is that it hadn’t even rained since Wednesday. Of course, it rained a lot on Wednesday. And reports still say that the Trinity River in Dallas is at 37+ feet, and the flood stage is 30 feet! So, even though we have not had any rain in three days, we are still under flood warnings. All that water has to go somewhere!

2499

Today, we will probably try to get the groceries done, as tomorrow is Fathers Day, and we will be in Mineral Wells for most of the day. That means I need to get moving with this here blog and get it finished in a reasonable time.

Today is two months since my father passed away.

On this date in 1214, the University of Oxford received its charter. In 1840, Samuel Morse got the patent for the telegraph. In 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted for the murders of her father and stepmother. In 1948, Ed Sullivan debuted with his show, originally called Toast of the Town.

Today’s birthdays include Jacques Offenbach (French composer), Errol Flynn (Australian actor), Audie Murphy (American Medal of Honor recipient and actor), Chet Atkins (American guitar player), Martin Landau (American actor), Olympia Dukakis (American actress), Danny Aiello (American actor), Len Dawson (American football player), Brian Wilson (American musician, The Beach Boys), Anne Murray (Canadian singer), Bob Vila (American TV host), Lionel Richie (American musician), John Goodman (American actor), Nicole Kidman (Australian actress), and Mike Birbiglia (comedian).

Brian Wilson is 73 years old today, born on this date in 1942. He is best known, of course, as being one of the leaders and co-founders of The Beach Boys. This clip is not Brian Wilson, but it’s about him.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

A Maskil of Asaph. O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs.
They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees.
And all its carved wood they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground.
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them!
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.
Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name.
Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts; do not forget the life of your poor forever.
Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!

Psalm 74

(From Solid Joys)

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10

Today’s reading is “Grace is Pardon–and Power!”

“Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.”

Paul describes, 1 Corinthians 15:10, grace as the power that enables him to worker “harder than any of them.” When we make effort to obey God, it is not “an effort done in our own strength.” It is, according to 1 Peter 4:11, the strength that is supplied by God. Whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Paul confirms this way of thinking in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Note that the works are works “of faith by his power,” and they are done, “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith.” This is the same grace through faith that gives us salvation. Grace saves; grace sanctifies. All is by grace.

Father, thank you for this grace, that first saves me, then enables me to live. Why do I not always avail myself of this grace in my life? I cannot answer this question. I can only pray that I would. May this grace that gives me the power for obedience shape everything in my life. May the desires of my heart become the desires of your heart. Show me the scope of my “mission” in life. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day. As we go to the store and do our errands, I pray for safe travel, and that all things will work out smoothly. May our time together this evening, in prayer and worship, bring glory to you. I pray for safe travel to Mineral Wells tomorrow, to visit my mother. I also pray for safe travel for Rachel and Justin, as they come down from Denton. May our time together be blessed by your presence.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grace is the power for life. Everything we need is wrapped up in the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

grace2

Grace and peace, friends.

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