It’s All About Jesus

Today is Sunday, March 9, 2017. Palm Sunday. One week until Easter.

Quote of the Day

“Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.” ~ Gore Vidal

Word of the Day

Ostensible ~ outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended.

Today is Cherish An Antique Day. It’s a day to hearken back to days gone by when craftsmanship was still high in decorative objects and furniture.

The night after winning their first game in a slugfest, the Texas Rangers came very close to being no-hit. The Athletics beat them 6-1. Yu Darvish took the loss. The Rangers are now 1-4 on the season. They take on Oakland again at 2:05 today, with Martin Perez taking the mound again.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox dropped another game to the Tigers in Detroit, 4-1. they are 2-2 on the season. They play again at 12:10 today, with Rick Porcello taking the mound.

We had a most wonderful day, yesterday. We all went to the Mesquite Pit for lunch, where most, if not all of us ate way too much. Afterward, I dropped Mama, R, and C off at the house and went to get a couple more cases of Crazy Water #4. I drink that stuff faithfully, and truly believe that it helped the pain in my right knee. After I got back to the house, we all just kind of sat around and chatted (I almost fell asleep several times). After about an hour, we all had some strawberry cake that C made. It was delicious!

This morning, we are getting ready for our worship gathering. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street, in Fort Worth. Our worship begins at 10:15.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah. 
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

Psalm 67:3-5
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
Psalm 119:149
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.

Psalm 118:25-26
The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 
Psalm 118:27
“Assist me mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that I may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that I may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

(From Living the Message)

Too Much Religion

Eugene Peterson reminds us that “too much religion is a bad thing.” We cannot have too much of God, or too much faith, too much obedience, or too much love and worship. But that thing we call “religion,” the “well-intentioned efforts we make to ‘get it all together’ for God,” can and will get in the way of whatever God is doing around us and in our lives. The central theme should be what God “has done, is doing, and will do for us.” Jesus is his revelation of these things, and our main job is to “live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus.” We do this by faith.

What happens is that, as we work on this, we become “impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents worth.” Let me just say that it is absolutely not possible for us to improve on anything God is doing! But oh, how we try! Just like the Pharisees in Jesus’s day, “we add on, we supplement, we embellish.” Of course, our efforts have the opposite effect of what we intended. Instead of improving, we dilute, we clutter. “We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way.”

Peterson advises us that it is at these times that we need to revisit the letter to the Hebrews, which was written for a group of people who had become too religious. That had become “Jesus-and” Christians. In Hebrews, we see “Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood.” In our day, we encounter “Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Buddha.” The letter to the Hebrews erases both the hyphens and the add-ons. The focus is clear. It is all about Jesus. No add-ons. No hyphens. No “and.” “And we are free once more for the act of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way.”

You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’
Matthew 5:36-37 (The Message)

Father, as we gather to worship you on this Palm Sunday, I pray that we remember these words and that we never attempt to add anything to the perfect work that you have already done. May we not get in the way, but stay “on the Way.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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