Turning Natural Into Spiritual

“The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily.”

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Today is Thursday, September 8, 2016. (I had to think a minute.) 36 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” – Mark Twain

Word of the Day

Phalanx – a number of individuals, especially persons united for a common purpose. Also, (in ancient Greece) a group of heavily armed infantry formed in ranks and files close and deep, with shields joined and long spears overlapping.

Today is Literacy Day. Now, if you ask me (which you didn’t), they have these last three in the wrong order. We had Read A Book Day, followed by Buy A Book Day, and now Literacy Day. Literacy Day should, at best, have been between buying a book and reading a book, don’t you think? On the other hand, I guess you need to have a book in order to learn how to read it. So, maybe Literacy Day should have been before buying and reading. On the other hand, as already noted, nobody asked me.

Mama’s cataract surgery went, as far as we know, very well, yesterday. The doctor was pleased. We were home by 11:30, and had some lunch. After lunch, my mother went and rested for a while, while I cranked up the PS4. Later, she came out of her room, I turned off the game, and we sat and talked until C got home from work. For dinner, we had our crockpot chicken soup over rice, and watched Major Crimes, followed by So You Think You Can Dance. It was a good day. As previously noted, C will be taking Mama to her follow-up this morning at 10:10 AM.

The Red Sox beat the Padres 7-2, and are now in first place by themselves, as the Yankees beat the Boo Jays. The Sox have the day off, and will play those Boo Jays in Toronto tonight. The Rangers, on the other hand, got beat pretty decisively, again, by the Mariners, 8-3. The Astros also lost, though, so their magic number is down to 15. They have 22 games left. The Sox have 23 left.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.
Psalm 109:30-31

We don’t have a god of fables, some “heroic figure” from some mythology. We also don’t have a “philosophical god,” who is nothing more than a “divine idea” that helps us answer life’s difficult questions. “God is he whom we need at our right hand to save us from condemnation.”

“‘God be in my head, and in my understanding; God be in mine eyes, and in my looking; God be in my mouth, and in my speaking; God be in my heart, and in my thinking; God be at mine end, and at my departing’ (Sarum Primer). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Today begins a two part reading called Do It Yourself. Right off the bat, let’s make it perfectly clear that this is not talking about salvation. “Deliverance from sin is not deliverance from human nature.” There are various things in our nature, such as prejudice, that must be destroyed by neglect. There are things that only God can deal with, but these characteristics of our nature are what must be changed by what others call the spiritual disciplines. (I have to say that I am continuously amazed as I work through My Utmost this time, in collaboration with the books I am reading on the disciplines. Chambers was teaching largely the same thing all along, but using different words.)

Our warfare is not against sin. That needs to be understood. We mistakenly think that we are fighting against sin. Jesus dealt with sin in the Atonement. “The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily.” We do this by the choices we make, by training our bodies to align with our redeemed spirits, as Dallas Willard said.

God makes us holy “in the sense of innocence,” and we must work that into our character “by a series of moral choices,” i.e., the spiritual disciplines.

Father, the further I go into this process, the more excited I get. But I also get more frustrated when I fail. Help me to not focus on the failures, but, rather, focus on Jesus Christ and his “easy yoke,” that I might walk fully in your kingdom and train my body by practicing these “moral choices,” as Chambers calls them.Teach me the ways of Jesus, that I may walk in them. Help me to believe Jesus, not just believe in him.

Come, Lord Jesus!

God be in my head, and in my understanding; God be in mine eyes, and in my looking; God be in my mouth, and in my speaking; God be in my heart, and in my thinking; God be at mine end, and at my departing.

Grace and peace, friends.

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