I Am Not A Measuring Rod

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is alliaceous, meaning, “having the odor or taste of garlic, onion, etc.”

Today is Apple Strudel Day. That actually sounds good, this morning. Wish I had some.

Yesterday afternoon, Colby Lewis flirted with perfection. He was perfect through seven innings, as the Texas Rangers battled the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland pitcher wasn’t too shabby, either, but his game fell apart in the seventh, when Ian Desmond launched a line-drive home run. Colby walked a guy on four straight pitches in the eighth, but still had his no-hitter going. He lost that on the first better in the ninth. The Rangers won the game, though, 5-1. They have now won an unprecedented eight consecutive series. Tonight, they face off in interleague play, against the Cardinals of St. Louis.

The Red Sox have been struggling, lately, and lost the series to the Orioles. However, they are only one game back in second place, as they won one of the three games.

It’s Friday! Seems like it’s been a long week. But it’s almost over, and it will be a busy weekend. We will travel to visit my mother tomorrow, and then hang out with R & J on Sunday, for Father’s Day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known:
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah.
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 81

This psalm presents a “festival” attitude. God desires that we live in a festive attitude toward him. That’s why there were so many festivals/celebrations in the Old Testament. If we, in our common lives, don’t live up to that, it’s not the fault of God or his promises. It is because, as verse 11 says, “Israel would not submit to me,” or, in the version Peterson quotes, “Israel would have none of me.”

“I haven’t asked enough from you, O God – I see that now. Remembering what you have promised and what you have done, I will rejoice in festival celebration, taking what you so generously give and sharing what you so joyously provide. In Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Uncritical Temper

Judge not, that you be not judged.
Matthew 7:1

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook a quote from Richard Foster’s Celebration Discipline. “When we genuinely believe that inner transformation is God’s work and not ours, we can put to rest our passion to set others straight.” This morning’s reading seems to go hand in hand with that quote.

Chambers says, “The average Christian is the most penetratingly critical individual.” Some folks are naturally critical, and in some realms, such as the business world, this can be an advantage. However, “in the spiritual domain nothing is accomplished by criticism.” It serves to divide the powers of the one who is being criticized. In fact, Chambers says that the Holy Spirit is truly the only one who is in a position to criticize. “He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding.”

We cannot enter into proper communion with God when we are in a critical state. It makes us “hard and vindictive and cruel,” and it makes us think we are superior. I should know. I’ve been there. I tend to be a very critical person. We must, as disciples of Jesus, “cultivate the uncritical temper.” This is a difficult process, and is not something that is done only one time. This is also something that is helped by practicing the Spiritual Disciplines, the subject of the Richard Foster book quoted above.

Jesus has the penetrating vision. Remember what he says, if I see a mote in your eye, I most likely have a beam in mine. When I judge you, I condemn myself, according to Romans 2. “Stop being a measuring rod for other people.” There is always a part of that other man’s story that I do not know!

Father, it’s getting to a point where I am no longer amazed at how much the readings of Oswald Chambers go hand in hand with what I am reading in Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. I pray that these things will take hold in me, as I attempt to walk in your Kingdom and put the words of Jesus into practice. Today, help me to not judge people. I still have issues with that on a daily basis. I pray for your Spirit to calm me and remind me that I have plenty of beams in my eyes, and that there are things about that other person that I just don’t know. Always. Help me to show the love and compassion of Christ toward other people.

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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