The Greatest Fraud I Have Ever Known

Today is November 22, 2016. Two days until Thanksgiving.

Quote of the Day

“Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.” – Thor Heyerdahl

Word of the Day

Gammoner – A thief’s accomplice who distracts the victim while a crime is committed. Also, A person who talks volubly or flatteringly, esp. so as to deceive or cajole another into a particular course of action.

Today is Go For A Ride Day. The only ride I’ll be going for is to work and back, unfortunately. Now, if this were on a weekend, I might just get in the car and drive, windows down, sunroof open, with no particular destination in mind.

Today is also the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.

I honestly don’t feel much like writing today. I’m disturbed and disheartened by the direction things are going. It seems as though we are taking giant steps backward in a lot of areas. And it seems like death is all around. Mama lost a good, close friend, yesterday, quite unexpectedly. When we got up yesterday morning, we were met with the stunning news that she was in the hospital, not expected to live. As late as Friday night, people stated that she was just fine. Then, just like that, she’s gone from us.

Yesterday evening, I just happened to see a Facebook post from one of C’s step-brothers (on her dad’s side), stating that one of his brothers had died. We certainly weren’t close, but it is still sad to see. This, combined with all of the “celebrity” deaths that have occurred this year, just weighs heavily on my mind and heart. I don’t have time to get all philosophical, here, and it probably wouldn’t make much sense if I did. And I won’t say that I’m necessarily “afraid” of death, or even obsessed with it. But I’m thinking about it, wondering exactly what it is and what the experience will be like, and, to quote King George, “What comes next?”

On a positive side, I am utterly hooked on Hamilton.

Ah, well . . . on with the show.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
Psalm 47:5-8

May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” Psalm 70:4

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Psalm 50:2

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psalm 136:1-9

In this antiphonal psalm, the leader calls out a statement about the Lord, and the people respond with the reason, “For his steadfast love endures forever!” “Every act of worship is just such a combination of diversity and continuity.”

“Thank you, O God, for your mercies, which are ‘new every morning,’ and for your nature which is ‘the same yesterday and today and forever.’ I never know what to expect from you; and yet I always know what to expect from you. You have so many ways of declaring redemptive love to me, but always it is redemptive love you bring, even through Jesus Christ (Lamentations 3:23; Hebrews 13:8). Amen.”

There are two lessons I am learning this morning. One, coming from this morning’s Daily Guideposts, assures me that God is with me and around me at all times, You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5) No matter what the circumstances, and no matter what I am feeling, God is with me, and he, as we are apt to say, these days, “has my back.”

The other comes from today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest. Springing from 1 Corinthians 10:31, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, Chambers speaks of the “shallow amenities” of our lives. He says, “It is not your devotion to God that makes you refuse to be shallow, but your wish ti impress other people with the fact that you are a spiritual prig.” The less profound things of life, the eating and drinking, the walking and talking, theses things, too, are “ordained by God.”

“We are so abominably serious, so desperately interested in our own characters, that we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life. Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.”

Ouch.

Father, these lessons are good for me, this morning. First, help me to realize that, yes, you are there with me all the time. I walk and talk, I eat and drink in your presence. You will never leave me; you will never forsake me. Even in death you will be with me, perhaps even more so than the rest of the times. Also, help me to not be so serious about things. Help me to not be the great fraud I have ever known.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

I love you, Mama.

Grace and peace, friends.

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