Me or Us?

“Loved. You can’t use it in the past tense. Death does not stop that love at all.” – Ken Kesey
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is campestral, which means something close to what I though when I first saw the word, “of or relating to fields or open country.”

Today is Different Colored Eyes Day. Do you know anyone who fits that description?

Today is the day that C travels to Indianapolis. She won’t be leaving until after work, but we won’t see her this evening. She will be returning next Monday. I’m not totally sure, but this may be the longest she’s been away from us. We will, of course, be praying for safe travels and return, as well as success in everything that is supposed to happen on this trip.

I didn’t watch it, but apparently Giancarlo Stanton won the Home Run Derby last night, crushing a record-breaking 61 home runs. He hit 20 of them in the final round. That’s pretty amazing. Of course, you have to realize that they get made-to-order pitches for this thing, thrown by a pitcher of their choice.

Tonight is the All-Star Game, which I probably won’t watch, either. I’m just not a big fan of the “Mid-Summer Classic.” I’m not sure what I will do, tonight, since C will be gone on her trip. I have these grand intentions of being wise with my time, and not just sitting in front of the PS4 the whole time she is gone. There are a few more important things that I could be doing, one of which is getting in some prime practice time on trombone, guitar, and keyboards. I need to spend some time cleaning up in my study. I could also spend the time studying, reading, or beginning to arrange my life around the practice of the spiritual disciplines. It all begins tonight.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!
The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this:
that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever;
but you, O LORD, are on high forever.
For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered.
But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil.
My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
Psalm 92:5-11

There are times when we seem to be completely oblivious to causes and consequences. But if we would keep our eyes open, we would see evidence of God all around us. And when we observe with our minds, as well as our spirits, we find “ever new materials for praise.”

“Give me a quickness of mind to see your hand in all things, O God–your gracious acts in creation and your steady purposes in redemption. I do not want to be among those who grope in the dark but with those who walk in your light. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Spiritual Society

. . . until we all attain . . . to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13

What we are after is Chambers’s definition of rehabilitation: “the putting back of the whole human race into the relationship God designed it to be in.” This is what Jesus began in Redemption, and it is the Church’s job to continue that, working alongside Jesus in this venture. But when the Church attempts to develop its own organization, it fails to be a “spiritual society.” It is interesting to note that in the early days of the Methodist Church, the individual churches were not called “churches,” but “societies.” The goal is “the realization of Jesus Christ in corporate life as well as in individual life.” I am not here to only develop my own spiritual life or to seek “spiritual retirement.” My purpose, along with all other believers and ministers, is “so to realize Jesus Christ that the Body of Christ may be built up.”

This brings me something to think seriously about in my pursuit of the spiritual disciplines. Am I praying, fasting, practicing solitude, simplicity, and all of these other things solely for my own benefit? If so, then I am missing the point. “Am I building up the Body of Christ, or am I looking for my own personal development only?” My personal relationship with Christ is important. I need to know him. That has to happen before anything else can. And I need to be completely abandoned to him and his purposes. However, if I am only seeking things for myself, my relationship is distorted. The purpose of all of my work needs to be for the building up of the Body of Christ. Us, not just me.

Father, drive this home in my spirit. I think that, in my heart, I understood this truth, but I need to make sure that I fully understand it. Let all of my spiritual exercises be for the building up of the Body, as well as my own spiritual growth. May I not be seeking growth for just me, but that I might work to increase the body (not just in numbers, here, but in spiritual growth). I have been placed in a position of assisting the pastors of our church in spiritual formation. I need to learn all I can about these things, that I may accomplish this purpose, Father, so teach me, and work in me to make me less selfish and more giving.

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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