Excuses and Blame

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”~~Francis of Assisi
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is sophrosyne (pronounced “[suhfrosuhnee]), which means, “moderation; discretion; prudence.” Most political candidates suffer from a severe lack of sophrosyne.

Today is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. I wonder if this is the day when those guys thought up Talk Like A Pirate Day. Anyway, have fun with that.

I cannot express how wonderful last night’s Good Friday worship gathering was. The short messages from each pastor (three different ones, about ten minutes each) were each very insightful, and really seemed to go hand-in-hand with each other. And the thing is, I fasted and prayed throughout the day, yesterday, in preparation for this worship time. I don’t normally talk about when I do this, but it had such a positive impact on my worship last night, that I felt compelled to share it.

I had the thought during the workday on Thursday, that I needed to fast all day on Good Friday. I discussed it with Christi and asked her if she would be okay waiting until after the worship gathering to eat dinner. She was fine with that. So I didn’t eat any breakfast, lunch, or snacks during the day, yesterday. And here’s what happened. At about 9:00 AM, one of my co-workers walked by my desk and said, “I brought breakfast tacos! You’re welcome to have some!” I politely declined. A little bit later, I went to the restroom, which is in our breakroom. When I came out, the site manager was in the process of filling up one of the middle tables with cupcakes and chocolate, Easter-themed candy! I was, like, “Seriously??? Today???” Oh, and another co-worker had brought sausage rolls from Shipley’s Donuts. Typical, isn’t it? When you commit to doing something, there are always tests and temptations along the way. But I resisted, successfully, and had quite a few sweet moments of prayer, during the day.

I believe that this prepared me for the experience that I had last night. As the event began, I struggled to focus, as we had already decided where we were going to eat, after the gathering (two of my friends had decided to join me in the fast, and we were going to all go break our fast together). So I was, at first, thinking about where we were going and what I was going to eat. Note to self . . . next time don’t decide until after the gathering. But God drew me in, and my attention began to get more focused. The music portion of the worship was intense and dynamic. In fact, there were several times when I was so emotionally overwhelmed that I couldn’t sing. The focus of the worship was, of course, the cross, and the events leading up to the cross. The first pastor spoke about the upper room, where the “last supper” was taken. The second (our pastor) spoke about the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus experienced sever anguish and anxiety because he knew that he was about to experience the entire wrath of God for the sins of mankind. Finally, the third pastor spoke of the cross, itself, and what it means for us. It was a great evening, and the house was packed with members from all three churches. I’m pretty sure that we will plan on doing similar events in the future.

We went to Ginger Brown’s afterward, along with our pastor, and another family. We had a great time of food and fellowship there, and didn’t get home until almost 11:00 PM. Needless to say, I didn’t stay up and play Fallout.

Today, we will go get groceries around noon, grab some lunch, and then I have a rehearsal at the worship leader’s house at 3:00 PM. After that, we’ll probably chill the rest of the evening.

On this date in 1997, 39 people were found dead, apparently of mass suicide. 21 women and 18 men were later identified as members of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult. Leaders had convinced them that if they committed suicide and left their earthly bodies, they could enter an alien spaceship that was hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet. You can read this story at History.com.

Today’s birthdays include:

1874–Robert Frost, American poet
1905–Victor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist
1911–Tennessee Williams, American dramatist
1914–William Westmoreland, American military commander
1916–Harry Rabinowitz, South African composer/conductor
1916–Sterling Hayden, American actor
1917–Rufus Thomas, American musician
1925–Pierre Boulez, French composer/conductor
1930–Sandra Day O’Connor, American SCOTUS judge
1931–Leonard Nimoy, American actor
1934–Alan Arkin, American actor
1940–James Caan, American actor
1942–Erica Jong, American author
1943–Bob Woodward, American journalist
1944–Diana Ross, American singer
1948–Steven Tyler, American singer, Aerosmith
1948–Richard Tandy, British keyboardist, Electric Light Orchestra
1949–Vicki Lawrence, American actress and singer, The Carol Burnett Show
1950–Alan Silvestri, American film composer
1950–Martin Short, Canadian comedian/actor
1950–Teddy Pendegrass, American singer
1960–Jennifer Grey, American actress, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
1968–Kenny Chesney, American singer
1976–Amy Smart, American actress
1985–Keira Knightley, English actress

Leonard Nimoy was an American actor whose most famous role, without a doubt, was Spock, on the many incarnations of Star Trek. Here is a great video that someone put together as a tribute. Nimoy passed away in 2015, causing great sadness everywhere.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Walt Whitman, Raymond Chandler, Noel Coward, Edmund Muskie, Jan Berry, and Geraldine Ferraro are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!”
For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me.
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.

But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good.
Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

Psalm 38:15-22

When we sin, we often begin to make excuses and blame others (this happens a lot in the corporate world, as well, when mistakes are made). “But not here. In this prayer I learn to accept responsibility for my own sin (see v. 5), make an honest confession, and then look to God for deliverance.”

“O Lord, the next time I look for someone else to blame for the troubles my own sins have caused, recall to me the words of this psalm. Help me bravely to acknowledge my faults, submit myself to your judgments and hope in your grace, through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen.”

Father, as I reflect on the teachings that were brought, last night, and the beauty of the worship, I pray that it not fade from my memory. Help me to assimilate and maintain what was taught last night, about the upper room, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the cross. Keep the cross of Christ right in front of me, at all times, and help me to meditate and gaze upon it every day. Your grace is sufficient.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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