What Is the Aim?

Today is Thursday, November 10, 2016. Two more days until C’s birthday!

Quote of the Day

“He who loves with purity considers not the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver.” – Thomas a Kempis

Word of the Day

Frowzy adj. [frou-zee] – dirty and untidy; slovenly. Also, ill-smelling; musty.

Today is Sesame Street Day, initiated in 2009 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the first broadcast.

Today is the day we go down to Glen Rose for C’s birthday weekend. As always, we are excited about this getaway. It’s slightly tainted by Tuesday’s event, though. No, I’m not talking about the mockery that was an election. I’m talking about saying goodbye to our dear friend, Screamer, our eighteen and a half year old black cat. C is working this morning, and I have to take S to the doctor for her semi-yearly check-up so she can get her meds refilled. That’s happening at 11:30, so maybe, by the time we get home, C will be home from work and we can get packed up and head down to Glen Rose. We stay at the Paluxy River Bed Cabins, on the road that goes to the Dinosaur State Park. If you are in the area, and are looking for a good place to get away and relax, check them out. No phones, no TV (it’s amazing to me how many people say that’s a deal-breaker), and no wifi. There are four cabins with two basic floor designs, all with a full-sized hot tub on the front deck, along with some chairs and a small table for drinking coffee (or whatever) and just sitting and reading/relaxing. I plan to take a weekend break from social media, and may not even check my email for the duration.

We are also, of course, looking forward to pie from The Pie Peddlers. (Their main web page said “under construction,” so I’ve linked their Facebook page.) While the teachers no longer own the place, one of their students is now baking the pies, and she seems to have learned it well enough to carry on their legacy.

I had a reason to thank the Lord, yesterday morning. As I was driving to work, following the directions on my Waze app (Waze is a phenomenal GPS app, and I use it every day to get to work and back, because it will change my route, mid-stream, if there is a major traffic event that happens . . . at least most of the time), I saw emergency vehicles up ahead, close to the intersection of Denton Hwy and Loop 820. My first reaction was to immediately turn around (via a Race Trac parking lot) and go back to the side street that I had just passed. As I was turning, I thought, “C probably went that way! I’d better check on her to make sure she is okay.” I texted first, and when she didn’t answer right away, I called her. She was fine. But the wreck was the car in front of her!! Gah!! Turns out, the lady was going really fast (50 mph or more in a 45 zone, coming up to a major intersection), and never slowed down, plowing into the car in front of her. C was able to get around in the right lane, but both cars spun sideways, blocking the left and center lanes. I have to think a phone was involved. Anyway, I immediately gave thanks to God that C was not involved and got through safely.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. Psalm 119:145
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame.
Psalm 25:1-3
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

(From Praying With the Psalms)

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

In my modern world, there isn’t so much of a need for people to keep watch overnight. But there were, and possible still are, in some cultures, long watches of the night, where soldiers would guard over cities, and shepherds would keep watch over their flocks. The psalmist compares this with the soul’s wait before God. It is not a waiting of laziness or inactivity, but an alert watchfulness. “Waiting is vigilance plus expectation; it is wide awake to God.”

“You, Lord, commanded disciples to watch and pray, and not long after, you found them sleeping. I have similarly failed to stay awake to your commands and alert to your presence. Forgive my sluggishness and help me to make the most of the time. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:2

What is my aim in life? Ideally, I should have no aim of my own, I should be taken up in God’s purpose for me. “If you seek great things for yourself–God has called me for this and that; you are putting a barrier to God’s use of you.” Unfortunately, in our culture we seem to lead people in that direction, insisting that they identify God’s “calling” on their lives. I had a “calling,” once, and I led worship for a couple of decades or so. But I never felt that I was living up to God’s potential for my life. I still don’t, but I believe I’m getting closer, and the funny thing about that, is that I have no idea where I’m going. And the older I get, the more okay that is! I must get to a place where I have no “personal interest in [my] own character, or any set ambition,” so that I can press into identifying with God’s interests. I have to lose myself in order to find myself. We all know that Jesus said this. “Whoever loses his life will find it” (Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33). I especially like the Mark 8 verse, For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Emphasis mine)

“I have to learn that the aim in life is God’s, not mine.” Why is this so hard to learn? Why am I so self-serving, self-seeking? At my worst, I am, as C.S. Lewis said, “mercenary and self-seeking through and through; I’ve never had a selfless though since I was born” (not the exact order). It is somewhat amazing that I was just thinking about that poem last night. It is one of my favorite poems, set to music quite masterfully by Phil Keaggy.

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

When God uses me, it is from his standpoint, not mine. “All He asks of me is that I trust Him.” I have to stop telling him what I want, so he can “catch me up for what He wants without . . . hindrance.”

Father, it seems that I come to this same place so often, which makes me think that I’m not learning anything. But I believe, in my heart, that this is not the case. I do believe that I am learning, albeit quite slowly. And you do not push. I suppose you have all the time in the world, as you are a timeless being. We are locked in time, and time seems so very important to us. As I look forward to this coming weekend in Glen Rose, I pray for some quality, intimate time with you. May I have some success in reflecting on who I am in you, and where we are going. Not so much where, perhaps as how. Help me to trust you. I do believe; help my unbelief!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

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