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Today is Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Back to work for the new year.

Quote of the Day

Today’s quote is by J.R.R. Tolkien, who was born on January 3, 1892. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Word of the Day

Orcish – Of, belonging to, or characteristic of orcs; suggestive of or resembling an orc. The language of orcs.

Today is Festival of Sleep Day. How unfair is that?? Why does this “holiday” fall on our first day back to work for the new year? Thank goodness it is also Chocolate Covered Cherry Day. I think we might still have some of those in the house, somewhere.

Yesterday seemed like a busy day. After finishing the morning’s blog, C, S, and I went out for lunch, and then drove out to the hospital to visit her step-dad. He is still in ICU at a hospital on the west side of town. We were somewhat shocked when we got there, as he didn’t look well at all. But his son and daughter-in-law were also there, and said that he was actually doing better, but had choked on some soup earlier, which had aggravated his already fragile heart. They had given him some drugs, which had knocked him out, and he had a breathing tube in his mouth. Hopefully, he recovered from that quickly. His son said the doctors were saying that he had actually made great progress.

After returning home, we looked at some recipes for the new pressure cooker which should be arriving tomorrow, then we went to the grocery store to get ingredients for some of those. By the time we got home, it was after 7:00 PM. We snacked for dinner and watched a couple episodes of Black Mirror, a British Netflix original series.

53/90

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Psa 31:23  Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.

Psa 119:147  I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.

Psa 118:28  You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

Psa 124:8  Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

(From The President’s Devotional)

Psa 4:8  In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

“Don’t play for safety. It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.” – Hugh Walpole, Fortitude

“What does it mean to be safe?

There are different kinds of safety. Physical safety may be the first concern of many. We feel safe under the protection of police, military, and guns. But there are always bigger guns. There is always danger that could break through the barriers of police and military.

Financial safety is important to many. But it hasn’t been so very long since we have seen how delicate and fragile that is. Thousands upon thousands of people lost everything in the stock market collapses in our history, as recent as 2008.

Is it possible to ever feel completely safe? Deuteronomy 33:12 tells us, “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” Of course this does not meant that there will never be any harm that will come to us. “But come what may, we will always be closely quartered with an omnipotent God. We are his beloved, and secure in his arms.” In our Father, we have eternal security. This is something that physical, economic, and emotional stress can never take away from us.

“Dear God, thank you for the safety that comes from your presence in my life. Let me feel that presence closely and be secure. Amen.”

(From Living the Message)

Eugene Peterson is, of course, a writer. He is involved in “story-making.” His allies are novelists and poets, “writers who are not telling me something, but making something.”

It is easy to take shortcuts in the stories of the people around us. As God draws these people into our stories, we fall into the trap of categorizing, rather than “assisting in the development of a character.”

“Instead of seeing each person in my life as unique, a splendid never-to-be duplicated story of grace, unprecedented in the particular ways grace and sin are in dramatic tension, I slap on a label so I can efficiently get through my routines. Once the label is in place I don’t have to look at him and her any more; I know how to use them.”

Then Peterson read some of the great authors and saw how they create, how they see “unexpected depths in the ordinary, the capacities for good and evil in the apparently unconventional!”

Are we guilty of this? I know I have been. We constantly slap labels on people because it’s easier, and we are lazy. It takes work to suss out the “story of grace,” to try to discern the “particular ways grace and sin are in dramatic tension,” so we slap those labels on. Conservative or liberal; Christian or not; disciple or backslider; and so on.

God help us view the possibilities in every person we encounter.

Gal 4:19  Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth.

Father, as I go through this day, help me to see each person through your eyes. I believe that was yesterday’s prayer, as well! Help me to see the possibilities that grace can bring to each person, from the atheist to the gossip, from the dedicated worker to the slacker. Help me to strip away those labels that make things so simple and easy for me. And may I not be a label to someone else, as well. Help us to break the molds, live like Jesus, and see others the way Jesus sees them.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

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