Is Individuality In the Way?

Today is Sunday, December 11, 2016. Fourteen days until Christmas!

Quote of the Day

“Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependant upon popular opinion?” – William Lloyd Garrison

Word of the Day

Fillip – to strike by holding the nail of a finger against the ball of the thumb and then suddenly releasing it from that position.

Today is International Mountain Day. It says one of the ways to celebrate is to “head out to your local mountain.” Um . . . I live in north central Texas. What’s a mountain? Instead, I will celebrate by listening to a Mountain.

We had a great time at the USBC Christmas party last night. The best part was when C won an ice cream maker from the door prizes. The food was good, but the company was better. We sat with some great people at our table. The DJ was okay, but we never got on the dance floor. We left around 10:15, before they drew names for the “big” prizes, where were three 32″ TVs and a 16 gig iPad Air, or whatever it’s called. The catch was, if your name got called for a big gift, and you had already won something, you had to make a choice; either keep the gift you already had, or surrender it for the big prize. We don’t need a TV or an iPad, so we left before they gave those away. While we were in the parking lot, C got a text from one of her associates, saying her name had been drawn for one of the TVs. Hahaha!

We are tired this morning, of course, but getting ready for our worship gathering. I am nervous about “Breath of Heaven,” but as long as I keep my focus, it should go fine. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street, in Fort Worth. The gathering begins at 10:15.

76 days until the first Spring Training game.
113 days until Opening Day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Sunday in the third week of Advent

Psa 146:1-2  Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Psa 141:3-5  Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies! Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.

Psa 115:1  Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Psa 19:14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Luk 2:33-35  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Psa 142:1-4  A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer. With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.

“Trouble does its best work when it drives us to God.” When we discover that others either cannot or will not help us, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we also discover that God can and will assist us. “That we are abandoned by others is not the last straw so much as the first step to realization that God is our help and salvation.”

“In the empty places in my life, devastated by broken promises and vacated by faithless companions, come, Holy Spirit, as Companion and Comforter. I will use my times of trouble to receive the help that only you can give. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Mat 16:24  Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

“If we mistake individuality for the personal life, we will remain isolated.” What does it mean to deny myself? Individuality must go, “in order that the personal life may come out and be brought into fellowship with God.” The traits of individuality are “independence and self-assertiveness,” two things that we have to dispense with if we are to follow Jesus and walk in the Kingdom of God.

If I find that I cannot believe, it is because “individuality is in the road.” If I cannot be reconciled with my brother, it is because I am holding on to individuality. What is it that causes us to be offended by the least little thing? It is our individuality. In order to come into perfect union with our Father, we must be willing to give up our right to ourselves. We must deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus.

Father, this something that plagues me consistently. I have struggled with this for years, and I continue to do so. I do believe that we are making progress, but it is still an issue, as I find myself being overly judgmental toward people, being offended by certain things, or simply not wanting to interact with other believers at all. I pray for your Holy Spirit to continue to chisel away at this husk of individuality until my personal life can shine through and walk in unity with you through Christ.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory now and for ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Grace and peace, friends.

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