From the Hedges

Welcome to November! And off of Daylight Saving Time. And for everyone who complains (and there will be plenty) about it “suddenly” getting dark at 5:00 PM, just remember that if we hadn’t jacked with the time in the first place, this darkness would have been creeping slowly instead of ambushing us all in one day. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is ferhoodle, “to confuse or mix up: Don’t ferhoodle the things in that drawer.

Today is Extra Mile Day, a day to ponder what we can do to help better ourselves or to help out our community; to “go the extra mile.”

Yesterday turned out to be a good morning work day. I had two other guys there to help me, which did help quite a bit. Between the three of us, we got everything done in a timely manner, and had some time to sit around and wait for noon to arrive. It is required that we stay until noon, in case UPS or FedEx deliver any packages. Neither one did, yesterday, even though there was a “really hot” delivery that was supposed to arrive.

Christi couldn’t get hold of her step-dad early enough, so she waited until after I got home to get the groceries, which is fine, because I wanted to help her anyway. It’s a good thing, too, because their list was much larger than usual. Before we did that, though, we went to a restaurant that we had not previously visited. Martha’s is a Mexican restaurant that is owned and run by the lady that was helping the man who ran Fogata’s, which is now closed. It’s a very nice place, and the menu is almost identical to Fogata’s menu. It was nice to know that we can still go find our favorites, and we do love Martha. She was very happy to see us.

Last night, we had the pleasure of going over to our pastor’s mother’s house for some of her homemade chili. They have this tradition; she makes this chili every year on Halloween, and friends and neighbors come over and have a bowl. It is, very possibly, the best chili I have ever had (and it even has beans in it, which I usually do not like). It is a mixture of beef and venison. Very delicious!

This morning, we are getting ready for church, and will try to leave in about 20-25 minutes. So I’d best get on with things.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Daily Guideposts 2015)

Today’s reading springs from Luke 18:9-14.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Earlier in Luke, Jesus had told a parable about a wealthy man who had given a big party. When his invitees began making excuses as to why they could not attend, he told his servants to go out “to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in.”

Carol Knapp, the writer of today’s reading, takes the hedges to symbolize the place where, according to Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Ms. Knapp says, “It took a major stumble for me to truly own up to being from the hedge myself.”

She grew up as a pastor’s daughter, which created within her a bit of smugness. She believed she “was automatically in God’s pocket.” And how many of us have been in that same way of thinking? You don’t have to be a preacher’s kid to think that. I grew up in church, being born to a young couple who faithfully followed Jesus in their lives and took me right along with them. It’s very easy to think that we just ride in on the merits of our parents. But we do not. We are all in the “hedges.” “The hedge is made up of people making willful and hurtful choices and in need of a turnaround.” Any time we sin, it is because we have willfully decided to go against God’s will for our lives. But Jesus calls us out from the hedges to “His Father’s feast, a table replete with things pleasing to God that bring lasting joy and fulfillment.”

As we consider our place in the Kingdom, let us be more compassionate to other “hedgers.” We cannot afford to think like that Pharisee in Luke 9. We must remember that we were once (or perhaps even still are) “hedgers,” ourselves.

Father, remind me that I have had plenty of time in the hedges, myself. Let me not fall into the trap of praying like that Pharisee, but, rather, let me remember and be compassionate on those who will not follow you, for whatever reasons. Help me remember to always be in prayer for them, and for all who need to come to a knowledge of you through Jesus Christ.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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