A New Name

“There is no condition of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.”

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“You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.” – Harriet Martineau
(Goodreads)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is overslaugh, pronounced oh-ver-slaw, meaning, “to pass over or disregard (a person) by giving a promotion, position, etc., to another instead.”

Today is Loving Day. While that may sound sweet and sentimental, it truly has more depth than that. It is designated so because, on this date in 1967, in the case of Loving vs Virginia, the Supreme Court voted to disband all laws that made interracial marriages illegal. The two people in the case were Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving. So today is Loving Day.

I had a really good time last night. I was the first one there, and other started arriving shortly after. The host was just beginning to cut up the brisket that he had cooked in his Big Green Egg. One of our other members, Brandon (creator of Brando Bait), brought some Jim Beam Maple flavored bourbon. I had one small glass of it, just to taste. It tasted like maple syrup. That takes your breath away and burns on the way down! It was quite delicious! The brisket was very good, too.

But the fellowship was better. We played ping pong for a while. Rob was undefeated. I lost two games, both to Rob, but beat two others. Not bad for not having played in about 10 years or so. Then eight of us started up a poker game. The ones who didn’t play poker either watched us or sat in the living room talking. I’m not well-versed in the art of poker, but I managed to do okay. I only lost $7, and won three hands. We all disbanded at around 10:00, which was the time I had set that I would be leaving, anyway.

We are getting ready for worship, as usual. We show up at 8:00 for set-up and rehearsal (I’m once again a permanent member of the worship band, on keys), and our worship begins at 10:15. We are The Exchange, and we meet at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street, in Fort Worth. You should come check us out if you live in the area. Our pastor is one of the best preachers I have ever listened to.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe.
So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror.
When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant.
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.

Psalm 78:32-55

Some people keep track of sins, always telling tales of the hopelessness and degradation of humanity, while others “notice that the grace of Christ is even more evident.” In spite of all of their sin and forgetfulness, God had compassion on his people and atoned for their iniquity, just has he has for us today.

“I will not be disheartened, O God, by those who tell me stories of human decadence and society’s disintegration; I have heard those stories before. Instead I will see every sin as a place where your forgiveness can operate and every rebellion as a focus for your redemption. You are more than a match for sin – mine and everyone’s. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Getting There

“Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” . . . “Come and you will see.” . . . “Follow me.”
John 1:38-39, 43

When the disciples went with Jesus, it says that they stayed with him for that day. Sometimes it seems that this is all we do, stay with Jesus, abide with him for just a day or a few hours, even. We “wake up,” and self-interest takes over, the abiding is passed. “There is no condition of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.”

Jesus gave Simon a new name. Chambers says “God writes the new name on those places only in our lives where He has erased the pride and self-sufficiency and self-interest.” I’m not sure that this is entirely a biblical thought, but I like the idea behind it. Chambers then says, “Some of us have the new name in spots only, like spiritual measles.” When I’m in my good spiritual mood, you would be impressed. But don’t you dare look at me when I don’t have that mood on. The true disciple has that new name all over him; “self-interest and pride and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.” Once again, I think I have only met a couple of people who fit that description.

We must refrain from making statements such as “Oh, I’m not saint.” That may sound good to humans, and has the appearance of humility. But it is “unconscious blasphemy before God!” Why? Because we seem to be saying that God can’t make us a saint; we are too bad; we don’t believe he can fix us. All of this can be taken care of if we simply abide. We put the words of Jesus into practice in our daily lives, finding them to be true. That’s how we abide.

Father, these truths need to be embedded in my very being. They need to sink into my heart and soul, beyond the mere surface level of my brain. Help me to abide. When I get overly irritated at a brother (or anyone else, for that matter), I am not abiding, not practicing patience. Teach me, Father!

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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