No Strain, No Strength

Today is Tuesday, August 2, 2016. 17 days until S turns 23!

Quote of the Day

“A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.” – Andre Maurois

Word of the Day

Galluses – a pair of suspenders for trousers.

Today is Ice Cream Sandwich Day. I’m a big fan of ice cream sandwiches. Especially those round ones with chocolate chips all around the edge!

Band practice went well, last night. We started working on some “new” music (I put it in quotes because it’s all music that the band has played before, but not recently, and I have never played it) for a concert on September 17. I was thrilled when I realized that one of the pieces incorporates the theme music from Looney Tunes! Or maybe Merry Melodies. Or perhaps both. It’s the first one in this clip.

The band is going to be busy over the next few months, as they are talking about two potential concerts in October, and there is a great possibility that I might not be able to make either one, as my 40 year HS reunion is the first weekend in October, and we are leaving for Galveston on October 14, for a week. I’m really looking forward to that trip!

The Rangers made some good deals at the trade deadline, yesterday. The acquired Carlos Beltran from the Yankees, who, even though he is toward the end of his career, is still putting up some good numbers at the bat. They also acquired Jonathan Lucroy, a catcher, from the Brewers, who is reported to be a great catcher and a good hitter, as well. Thrown in with that deal was a decent relief pitcher. Still lacking a fifth starter, though. The Red Sox didn’t do a lot, landing a relief pitcher from the Twins. The Rangers were off last night, and play in Baltimore tonight, while the Red Sox helped the Rangers by beating the Mariners 2-1, in Seattle. This also put the Sox back in second place (tied with the Boo Jays) and only one game behind Baltimore. So tonight could be a win-win for both of my favorite teams, if the Rangers beat Baltimore. As an added bonus, Cleveland lost last night, which puts the Rangers back on top of the AL.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.
Psalm 104:1-4

Eugene Peterson points out that there are no “nature psalms,” but there are “Creator psalms.” In other words, the writers of the psalms did not glorify nature; rather, they used nature to glorify the Creator. They developed “a rich vocabulary of praise to God out of the stuff of his creation.”

“Like the wind, O God, you are invisible; yet all your effects are visible–from the gentle breeze that cools and comforts, to the roaring hurricane that moves and rearranges. I ready myself to respond to every aspect of your creative work in me: ‘Breathe on me, breath of God’ (Edwin Hatch). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Discipline of Difficulty

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

You won’t see many lists of “spiritual disciplines” that include the discipline of difficulty. It’s not one of the “classic” disciplines. However, Chambers certainly makes a good case for it. “An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different.” That “average view” is what spawns the proliferation of incorrect statements such as “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I have discussed the serious issue with that statement in previous blogs.

The psalmists also addressed this truth. For example, Psalm 34:19 says, Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. It does not say that the Lord keeps the righteous from having trouble. God gives us strength through the strains of difficulty. “If there is no strain, there is no strength.” It’s just like muscle strength. You have to strain the muscles in order to build up strength. And God gives us strength for the moment. “God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.”

Father, I pray for this attitude about difficulties. Of course, I never want to face any difficulties, because they’re, well, difficult. But I know that, in your plan for my life, there must be difficulties so I can grow in strength and in faith. So help me to face them head-on, with the confidence that, as the psalmist wrote, you will deliver me out of those difficulties. Let me never lose heart and cave in.

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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