“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” ― Annie Dillard, The Living
Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is nulla-nulla, “A wooden club, traditionally used by Australian Aborigines as a tool for hunting or a weapon for fighting.”
Today is International Jazz Day. I was never great at jazz, but don’t mind listening to some good jazz. Let me rephrase that. I can pretty much play anything that’s written on the page, jazz or straight. It’s the improvisation part that I always sucked at. I have the utmost respect for people who are good at that.
Well, Christi got home, finally. She arrived between 1:30 and 2:00 this morning. And, as promised, I was still up. It’s kind of funny. I had just quit playing on the PS4 about five minutes before she drove into the driveway.
We didn’t get up until after 10:00 this morning. Which is why this is somewhat late getting posted.
And now the cable isn’t working. Ugh. I guess I’ll move along to other things. It’s so late today, that I’m skipping the history and birthdays.
(From Praying With the Psalms)
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us.
You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters.
You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.
You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah.
That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us!
God has spoken in his holiness: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies.
Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.
Anger is normally associated with negative emotion. And, if we are honest, when we thing of God being angry, we probably think of it in that way. But perhaps we might consider “another kind of anger – a positive energy in God that deals with disobedience and rebellion in a way that brings us blessing.”
“Merciful God, you express anger against my sin without spite and without vindictiveness: help me to respond to it with brave repentance, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
A side note, here. We are probably incapable of even thinking about anger in this way. When I get angry, it is normally accompanied with spite and vindictiveness, and I want there to be consequences. I’m angry with people. Somehow, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand the other kind of anger.
(From My Utmost For His Highest)
“The Spontaneity of Love”
Love is patient and kind . . .
1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is not premeditated, it is spontaneous, i.e., it bursts up in extraordinary ways. There is no math or science to it. I means, seriously, how many times have you seen a person and said, “I’m going to calculate how to love that person”? I’m pretty sure nobody does that. Rather, there begins some calculation on how to get that other person to love us. Love is spontaneous; it is not planned.
Likewise, when we try to live according to the words of Christ, the harder we try, the more we fail. It is only when we allow the Holy Spirit to have his way with us that we look back and see that we were, in fact, living by the words of Christ without even knowing it. “In everything to do with the life of God in us, its nature is only discerned when it is past.”
We cannot find God’s love in our hearts, naturally. “It is only when it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
Now, get this: “If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we do not love Him.” Read that again, as I believe it to be the central point of this reading.
“If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we do not love Him.”
Father, teach me this kind of spontaneity in love. I know that I don’t have to prove that I love you, and that I would only fail if I tried. But this trying to live the life of Christ and put his words into practice is, in a sense, kicking my butt. I pray that, over the next few weeks, as I read some of what I consider to be key books in the area of spiritual formation, you will draw/pull me closer into your heart than I have ever been.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.