Not So Simple, It Seems

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 27, 2015,

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is preprandial. This is an adjective, meaning, “before a meal, especially before dinner.” “Preprandial came to English in the early 1800s from the Latin prandium meaning ‘luncheon, meal.'”

Today is Sunglasses Day Just might be a good day for that, too. It seems to be a bit cloudy out, right now, though, and we had rain/thunderstorms during the night.

As is typical for Fridays, I wound up having to work more than an hour over, last night. I didn’t mind, terribly, though. I was in a better frame of mind than the last time I had to do that. All this talk of “abiding” seems to have helped me along in that regard. I picked up some dinner on the way home, and Christi and I alternated between watching recorded TV shows and talking about trombones. That seems to be the topic of the month, but Christi is getting a little weary of it. I don’t blame her, really. I tend to get obsessed about things.

We have decided to move on from the two Holton trombones I found on Ebay. Both of them are pretty old. The one that has a minimum bid of $700 (a great price) was likely manufactured in the late seventies, based on the serial number, which makes it older than my current horn. The seller doesn’t know how old it is, and estimated 15-20 years, which is way off base. The other horn has a “buy it now” price of $950, but is likely pretty old, too. Both of them have a closed-wrap F-attachment system, though, and I am wanting to go for the open-wrap F-attachment, as most reviews say it has less resistances to airflow.

Currently, I am looking at a couple that are on Craig’s List, one in Southlake and one in Mesquite. The one in Southlake seems to be a relatively new Bach 42B with a Thayer valve. I know . . . I’m speaking Greek to anyone who might be reading this. Anyway, I’m currently awaiting email responses from a couple of those ads.

Today is our usual prayer and worship gathering day. This evening’s worship gathering will consist of prayer and singing, with no sermon. I’ve got the prayer portion lined out and ready to go, I think. As usual, I’m a little apprehensive about it, but it will probably be fine. Our prayer gathering is at 4:45 and the worship gathering will be at 5:45. We are The Exchange

It was on this date in 1844 that Joseph Smith, Jr and his brother, Hyrum Smith, were murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail. Dum dum dum dum dum. On this date in 1898, Joshua Slocum, of Briar Island, Nova Scotia, completed the first solo global circumnavigation. In 1950, the U.S. decided to enter the Korean War. In 1967, the first ATM was installed in Enfield, London.

Today’s birthdays include Helen Keller (American deaf and blind activist), Bob Keeshan (American actor, Captain Kangaroo), Ross Perot (American businessman), Rico Petrocelli (American baseball player), Vera Wang (American fashion designer), Julia Duffy (American actress), J.J. Abrams (American TV/Movie writer and producer), Viktor Petrenko (Ukranian figure skater), Christian Kane (American actor and singer), Tobey Maguire (American actor), and Leigh Nash (American musician, Sixpence None the Richer).

Christian Kane is one of my wife’s favorite actors and singers. We first saw him as “Lindsey” on Angel, the Buffy spin-off. He has since been in a couple of other TV shows, including Leverage and, most recently, The Librarians. He also starred in a movie last year, called 50 to 1, which told the true story of a long-shot Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird. Christian is also a country music singer/songwriter, who has recorded both in his own name, and with a band that was simply called Kane. Here is a song from his most recent CD release, “The House Rules.” He was born in Dallas, TX, and turns 41 years old today.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,
when he performed his signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the destroying locust and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them; he apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies,
but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers; they twisted like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
When God heard, he was full of wrath, and he utterly rejected Israel.
He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind,
and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people over to the sword and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men, and their young women had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine.
And he put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting shame.
He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever.
He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

Psalm 78:38-72

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Timothy Keller writes of the “confusing landscape that one will find while seeking to learn how to pray. Somewhere in the last generation or so, there has been a growing interest, in Western culture, in “spirituality, meditation, and contemplation.” Perhaps it started when The Beatles began showing interest in Eastern mysticism, and perhaps it was “fueled by the decline of institutional religion.” As time goes by, the number of people who experience any kind of regular religious routine is shrinking. Yet “some kind of spiritual craving remains.” Each year, many people make pilgrimage to “ashrams and other spiritual retreat centers in Asia.” Not too long ago, even Rupert Murdoch tweeted that he was learning Transcendental Meditation.

Similarly, there has been a resurgence of interest in prayer in the Christian church. “There is a strong movement toward ancient meditation and contemplative practices.” The “spiritual disciplines” have been very popular in the past decade or so.

The problem with this is that it is not what might be considered a “single, coherent ‘wave.'” This is where the “confusing landscape” idea comes in. Many more fundamentalist types reject contemplative spirituality as though the devil, himself, came up with it. So the simple act of seeking resources to help learn to pray becomes much less simple.

I hate to leave things on a “cliffhanger,” here, but that is the end of the particular section, and I must move on.

Father, as I continue in this course of seeking to learn to pray more effectively and powerfully, I pray for wisdom. I pray for anyone out there who is on the same journey, that your Spirit might direct and protect; direct to the true and right way, and protect from errant ways. I desire truth; I desire the most intimate communion with you that is possible. As I move forward, I will be uttering these words time and time again, “Lord, teach me to pray.” I will look at the prayers of Jesus, and I will look at the teachings/observations of other men, as well. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day. May your name be lifted high and glorified as we pray and worship you, this evening. May your grace rain down on us and empower us. May we all learn better means of communing with you. I also pray that we would have adequate time to rest today and tomorrow, as a new work week approaches.

Your grace is sufficient.

Learning to pray is, unfortunately, more complicated than it needs to be, due to the well-meaning efforts of humanity. May we seek the face of God in our efforts, and learn in his Spirit.

Grace and peace, friends.

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