Discipleship Is Impossible Unless . . .

Today is Sunday, September 25, 2016. 19 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Word of the Day

Albatross – a seemingly inescapable moral or emotional burden, as of guilt or responsibility. Also, something burdensome that impedes action or progress.

Today is One Hit Wonder Day. There are so many of these, it is impossible to count them. Celebrate by finding your favorite one-hit-wonder and giving it a listen today. Or maybe even see if you can find a playlist of one-hit-wonders. I’ll give you one (not necessarily my favorite, just one I thought of).

The Rangers shut out the Athletics again, 5-0, while Houston and Seattle both lost. The Rangers are 10.5 games ahead of the second place Mariners. It really didn’t matter, though, because the Rangers clinched the AL West the night before. Now, they are just trying to maintain home field advantage for the playoffs. Except for the World Series which is ridiculously determined by the otherwise meaningless All Star Game.

The Red Sox extended their winning streak to ten games, beating the Rays 6-4, thanks to a Dustin Pedroia grand slam home run! Their magic number is now three, with seven games left. They play Tampa one more time, this afternoon. They have tomorrow off, after which they travel to New York to take on the Yankees for three games, and then home to face the Boo Jays in what could very well be a very important series. The Sox have clinched, at the very least, a playoff birth for this season. I have to confess, though, that they are scaring me a little bit with this run at the end of the season. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help thinking of the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who won something like 21 straight regular season games at the end, to win their division. Then the Red Sox swept them in the World Series.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with our brothers and sisters at The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach St., in Fort Worth. We worship at 10:15. We will be there at around 8:00 for set up and rehearsal.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:2-4
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.
Psalm 118:19-20

“Biblical faith is characterized by a vocabulary of access and invitation–well-marked approaches to follow and wonderfully courteous invitations to accept. Faith is access to God, and discipleship is entrance into his joy.”

“I don’t want my life, Lord, to be a meandering stream, its course altered by every stone and diverted by each depression, following the path of least resistance. I want it to be a direct, undiverted flow through the wide, inviting gates that lead to your will in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41

Jesus teaches much about being disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. We have to remember that, even though there are, perhaps, thousands of people gathered and listening, Jesus was speaking to twelve of them. “The summing up of Our Lord’s teaching is that the relationship which He demands is an impossible one unless He has done a supernatural work in us.” Too often, we forget this, and we scrabble and claw to try to accomplish something in that relationship. But Jesus “demands that there be not the slightest trace of resentment even suppressed in the heart of a disciple when he meets with tyranny and injustice.” I don’t know anyone who can accomplish that without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

The teachings in the Sermon are not just an ideal that it would be nice if we could live by. “It is a statement of what will happen in my when Jesus Christ has altered my disposition and put in a disposition like His own. Jesus Christ is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount.” We must be made disciples supernaturally. Don’t be mistaken; we still have work to do. We call those the Spiritual Disciplines. These are practical, tangible things that we can practice in order to put ourselves in a position for Christ to supernaturally work within us. It is a delicate balance between the work of the Spirit and what we must practice in our own lives. But we can’t do it without Jesus starting it for us.

Father, I believe that this supernatural work was begun in me many years ago. But I have only just begun to focus on the disciplines and truly trying to be your disciple. On the one hand, so many years wasted in wandering, meandering in the path of my faith. On the other hand, lessons learned, and, hopefully, a number of years left to practice and get better at being a disciple. Only you know that, for sure. Nevertheless, I pray for the disciplines to take root in my spirit. Help me to identify which ones need the most work, in order to make me more like Jesus, that I might walk with him in his easy yoke. Teach me to abide in him and his words in me, that I might walk in the truth of his words.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant me the fullness of your grace, that I, running to obtain your promises, may become a partaker of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Grace and peace, friends.

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