Utter What Is Precious

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
(Eduro)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is Endsville, a slang word meaning, “most wonderful or exciting.” For example, a band might have been known as “Endsville,” in the late fifties or early sixties.

Today is Fairy Day. These mythical (or are they?) creatures have fascinated people for centuries. They have been featured in some of my favorite literature, such as “Toot Toot” in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Who would have thought that fairies love pizza? Of course, I imagine the most famous fairy is probably Tinkerbell, from Peter Pan. Be careful, though. Not all fairies are nice.

The biggest news of the day (and I had no idea that this was even going on until yesterday morning) is Great Britain has voted to leave the European Union. I have no idea what the consequences will be. The vote was very close, 52-48 percent. The word is that world markets have plunged as a result.

We all went out for dinner last night, something we rarely do during the week, but S had indicated that she wanted to do something “fun” with us, and said she wanted to go to Martha’s Mexican Restaurant, so we did. We had a wonderful time, and I’m glad we went, because we got to see Mike, the guy who used to own and run Fogata’s, which we miss terribly. On a down side, I gained two pounds this morning. Oh, well.

The weekend will be busy, as C’s step-dad will be moving to a new place. She will be helping tonight, and tomorrow. I’m not sure how involved I will be, just yet. We’ll see.

The Red Sox pulled out a victory over the Other Sox, yesterday afternoon. They needed that, because the Boo Jays are creeping up on them. The hard thing is that the Red Sox are coming to Texas today, for a three game series. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been a Red Sox fan for nearly 50 years. Long before we even had a team in north Texas. And that allegiance has not wavered. Nevertheless, it causes me great conflict when the Rangers and Red Sox play each other. Sometimes, I root for both teams, cheering whenever something good happens for either team.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Psalm 86

Eugene Peterson counts fifteen different petitions in this Psalm of seventeen verses. And if you read them, they seem to be scattered . . . almost distracted. However, almost right in the middle comes this one that says, “unite my heart to fear your name.” This “single petition weaves all needs into one prayer.”

“God, my soul feels scattered and incoherent like that poor wretch Legion (‘for we are many’). Gather up my diverse needs, my conflicting desires, my jumbled identity, and make a harmonious whole of me, ‘give me an undivided heart to revere your name’ (Mark 5:2-10). Amen.”

Incidentally, Psalm 86:11 (the verse highlighted above) is my “life verse.” I chose it at least a couple decades ago. “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” I pray that verse pretty much every day.

Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.
Jeremiah 15:19

This verse was featured at the end of today’s Daily Guideposts reading. I’m not going to talk about the reading, though, just what this verse made me think about. I’ve written, in the past couple days, about walking in the perpetual presence of the Holy Spirit. God, in the person of the Spirit, is with me, in me, and surrounds me at all times. My job is to be aware of this at all times. This is much harder work than you would imagine, as circumstances occur which distract me from this truth, or at least threaten to distract me.

So, as I walk in this presence, as I make myself aware of it, there are results, positive results. One of those should be an effect on what comes out of my mouth. A phrase in this verse, potentially taken out of context, drove this home for me, this morning. “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth.” God is speaking to his prophet, Jeremiah, in this verse. But I believe that it can apply to me, to us, as well. What comes out of my mouth, if I am a profession believer in Jesus Christ, represents God. Regardless of what I speak, whether it be good or bad, helpful or harmful, I am representing God. Therefore, I will be all the more determined to “utter what is precious and not what is worthless,” that I may be as his mouth.

Father, temper my speech by your Spirit. As I walk in your perpetual presence, I ask that you not only help me to be aware of your presence at all times, but that you would also, by the power of your Spirit, help me to utter what is precious and not worthless.

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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