Launching Out

“How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!” – Emily Dickinson
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is sniglet. I used to have a book of those, somewhere. It means, “any word coined for something that has no specific name.” For example: Beepilepsy – the gyrations made by everyone in the room when a beeper goes off. Bovilexia – “The uncontrollable urge to lean out the car window and yell ‘Moo!!’ every time you pass a cow.” And, finally, blotch – “To slap the bottom of a catsup bottle with increasing intensity, ultimately resulting in a BLOTCHSLIDE.”

Today is World Music Day. Do I even need to comment about that? Music is a vital part of pretty much every culture in the world. It brings people together, and can be inspiring. Of course, I’m biased. I’m a musician.

Band practice went well, last night. I got to use my new trombone stand, which worked perfectly. We have one more practice and then our July concert comes up on July 3. This will be at the Southlake Stars & Stripes event. Things will crank up at around 6:00 PM, when the Southlake Swing Band performs. The Southlake Community Band (concert band) will play at 8:15, up until time for the fireworks, which occur at 9:30. There will be plenty of other things to do at the festival, including a number of food trucks.

The Texas Rangers are rolling. They have now won seven consecutive games, and are 9-1 in their last ten. After last night, they have won ten consecutive series, and are 9.5 games ahead of the second place team. Today, they begin a two game series against the Cincinnati Reds tonight, after which they will have Thursday off, followed by a weekend series with the Red Sox. Word is, they are going to do a tribute to David Ortiz Saturday night, but I waited too long to try and get tickets. I couldn’t find two seats together anywhere (unless I wanted to pay $206 each). So I guess I’ll watch from home.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Psalm 84:8-112

The place we call the sanctuary – where the people of God meet regularly to sing praises, renew covenants, and hear the word of God – is filled with great associations. “The concentration of memory and meaning that takes place there makes it more desirable than any other place.”

“Lord God, you are sun and shield: the light of your word gives meaning to what I experience, the strength of your presence provides protection against despair. I thank you for hours of worship when I can listen again to that word and reaffirm that presence, even in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Ministry of the Interior

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

“How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves?” Chambers asks. How do we get to be this “royal priesthood” to which Peter refers? “Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer?”

This “ministry of the interior” to which Chambers refers is intercessory prayer, and he mentions it in yesterday’s reading. But before we can truly get into that, we have to stop the “continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be.” This produces what Chambers calls “a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God.”

And I have seen people like this, who walk about in misery, because they believe they aren’t good enough, yet. Always moaning about the condition of their souls. Well, yes. We are all sinners! I am a sinner! I confess this daily. But then, I get up and move on, setting my sights on Jesus and launching into “the priestly work of prayer.” Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have it down perfectly. There are some days when I hardly pray at all. There are also some days where I fall into this trap of “continual grubbing on the inside.”

What we need to do, however, is to, “Launch out in reckless belief that the Redemption is complete, and then bother no more about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ said . . .” Once again, describing what Willard says is the basis of discipleship, putting the words of Jesus into practice in our daily lives. I am reminded of the words of the great Yoda: “Do or not do. There is no try.” This is true in our Christian life. It is not about trying harder. It is about practicing and training in the disciplines. And we do this in reckless abandon, knowing that Jesus Christ shoulders our burden in the “easy yoke.”

Father, I pray that you help me stop worrying about whether I am “good enough.” Help me to know that the redemption is complete, and that my work is simply to put the words of Jesus into practice. Help me to step into (and stay in) the easy yoke with Jesus. It is his work, not mine.

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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