Transformation

Today is Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Word of the Day

Perfidious ~ deliberately faithless; treacherous; deceitful.

Today is Pretzel Day. There were way too many choices for this day, so I picked the tastiest one. Plus, there are many times that life feels like a pretzel.

I’m continuing to feel better. Last night, I slept without NyQuil for the first time in over a week. There is still a bit of annoying cough and sniffles, but, for the most part, I’m feeling much better.

We have our bi-weekly “Missional Gathering” tomorrow night, I think. That is always fun. There are about six or eight of us that gather, share a meal, and just fellowship for a while. Sometimes we talk about and plan the next Night of Worship, which, in this case, is on May 6.

After completing a sweep of the KC Royals, the Rangers are in danger of getting swept by the Twins, who are only a little better than the Royals, so far this year. The Rangers lost 8-1 last night. They are 9-12 on the season, but have managed to get out of last place, which is, once again, held by the Mariners. The Red Sox got rained out last night, and will play the Yankees tonight. They are still 11-8 on the season, in third place.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:24
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. 
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. 
  I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

Psalm 116:16-18
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. 
  For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. 

Psalm 54:6-7
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:19
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. 
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. 
  For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. 
O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. 
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 
  Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. 
  Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Psalm 86:11-17

(From Living the Message)

In today’s reading, “A Life of Daily Prayer,” Eugene H. Peterson says this:

“The outside is a lot easier to reform than the inside. Going to the right church and saying the right words is a lot easier than working out a life of justice and love among the people you work and life with. Showing up at church once a week and saying a hearty Amen is a lot easier than engaging in a life of daily prayer and Scripture meditation that develops into a concern for poverty and injustice, hunger and war.”

He’s right, you know. So very right. I have been reading a lot of Dallas Willard and friends in the past year, and they echo this truth. Willard’s writings center on the subject of “spiritual formation,” which is exactly what Peterson is talking about in this reading; transforming the inside, keeping the soul right. This involves something that all but dropped off of the charts for evangelical churches, over the decades; something called “disciplines.” At some point, we became more concerned with converting people to a “salvation” that was all about forgiveness of sins and nothing more. Oh, sure, there was a list of rules to follow, but there was no talk of transforming the inside of the person.

In order to truly be a disciple of Jesus, the inside must be transformed. The soul must be changed. We must pray and meditate; we must find ways to engage in silence and solitude, as well as occasional fasting, as needed. All of these things work together to create a person who follows the words of Jesus almost automatically. That can’t happen by just going to church every week, nor can it happen by claiming to believe the right things. Salvation is more than just forgiveness of sins. Salvation is life, interaction with God.

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)

Father, you have been drawing me into this place of transformation for a while, now, and I pray that you don’t stop. Yesterday, I experienced what must have been a battle of the flesh, trying to maintain a level of control over the spirit. For the first time, as I battle my emotional state, I think I realized what was going on. The result was a conversation with my own soul, and it worked! Your peace gradually came over me as I battled, as WE battled. I thank you that you are right here with me, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, to fight those battles. I look forward to what you are doing in me, as this transformation continues. help me to live, to engage in this life of daily prayer. Help me to find a way to plan regular times of silence and solitude, of meditation and prayer. Restore my soul. Make me alive!
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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