In the Presence of God

Today is Tuesday, March 7, 2017. THREE days until our Glen Rose weekend!!

Quote of the Day

“These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
― Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Word of the Day

Middlescence (pronounced like “adolescence,” but with “middle”) ~ the middle-age period of life, especially when considered a difficult time of self-doubt and readjustment.

Today is Unique Names Day. This must be “Name Week” or something, because this is the third day in a row about names. I don’t have a unique name, but I’ve heard some. Dweezil Zappa, for instance, is probably unique. As is Moon Unit Zappa. Yes, those are real names. Now, in order to be truly “unique,” there must be only one person with that name, because unique means “being the only one of its kind.” I am not the only person in this world with my name. I just found 262 matches on the White Pages web site! While my name is not exactly common, it is far from unique, and that’s okay. I mean, what would it feel like to never be able to find your name on one of those little license plate thingies?

Last night’s band practice was good, but challenging. There was a lot of playing, as we played straight through the concert list, repeating one song twice. So the chops were tired at the end of the night. I also don’t feel like I played very well. For some reason, I had trouble focusing a few times. Tonight should be better, because I’m staying home from work today, and should be well-rested. I’ll probably do a few things around the house, and will, no doubt, at some point leave the house for lunch. Unless I can talk S into grilled cheese sandwiches.

The concert is at 7:00 PM tonight, at Whites Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake, TX. It sounds like we might have a decent crowd, as someone appears to have recruited a couple hundred girl scouts to attend. I wonder if that someone promised them that we would all buy cookies?

We are greatly anticipating our weekend getaway, of course. As anyone who has read my blog for a while knows, we love the little town of Glen Rose, Texas. There just seems to be something magical about it. There aren’t as many shops to look at, these days, and a couple of our favorite restaurants are no more, but the magic is still there. Saturday afternoon, when we leave Fort Worth, we will be able to feel the tension and anxiety falling off of us in waves, as we look forward to three nights in the seclusion of Paluxy River Bed Cabins.

Twenty-seven days until Opening Day!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! 
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. 
He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. 
He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah.

Psalm 47:1-4
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Psalm 119:147
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1
They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
Psalm 92:13
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

Psalm 103:15-18

(From Living the Message)

“Christians worship with a conviction that they are in the presence of God.” When we worship, we are giving attention to “the living God who rules, speaks and reveals, creates and redeems, orders and blesses.” People who observe from the outside might see something different. They might see a group of people gathered, singing unknown songs (perhaps old and out of touch with modern times), occasionally off-key, with some guy in front who reads from an old book, then talks for a while, potentially saying things that are totally irrelevant to our time. Then the people get up and eat minuscule portions of bread and wine, thinking that this will nourish them, spiritually, the way steak and potatoes nourish their bodies.

Who is right? “Is worship an actual meeting called to order at God’s initiative in which persons of faith are blessed by his presence and respond to his salvation? Or is it a pathetic, and sometimes desperate, charade in which people attempt to get God to pay attention to them and do something for them?”

I would answer that question by saying it depends on the “church.” Sadly, I do believe that there are gatherings in which the second scenario is taking place. I would say with confidence, though, that our worship gatherings fit into the first category. We are definitely not trying to get God’s attention, nor are we attempting to manipulate him into doing things for us. Rather, we are gathering to bring attention to God, and seeking to see what we may do for him.

At this point, Peterson quotes Revelation 3:20-21, and I have to say that I heartily agree with this usage of the verses. For far too long, Revelation 3:20 has been misused as an evangelistic verse, even to the point that paintings have been made, depicting a passive Christ standing outside a door with no handle on the outside, waiting to be let in. But this verse was part of a letter written to the Church! Jesus is inviting us to let him in so that we can fellowship with him in worship. I pray that no “church” would keep that door closed.

“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father.”
Revelation 3:20-21 (The Message)

Father, may our worship, both corporate and private, be pure and properly motivated. If I ever sink into a mode where I’m trying to manipulate you, I pray that you, quite literally, slap me down. I’m horrified at the very thought of trying to manipulate almighty God! May our worship be exactly as I described it; us drawing attention to you, seeking your face, and seeking what we may do for you.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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