Blessings

Today is May 1, 2017. Welcome to May.

We had a great time at Scarborough Renaissance Festival, yesterday. I got my Scottish Eggs, as well as my cup of mead, we saw Cale the Juggler, and S got her hair braided. S and C also got henna “tattoos.” In addition, I got to see several musical acts while S was getting the hair braiding. The weather, while a bit windy, was very nice. There were a lot of people there, but I never felt overly crowded.

Back to work today, and then band practice tonight, as we hurriedly prepare for another concert in only two weeks.

We have also planned our vacation for this year. We are going to Oregon, to the coast, for a week in June. We have the house booked, the flights booked, and the rental car booked. Should be great. We’ll be flying into Portland, and then driving about an hour and a half to the coast. The average temperature in June is 70-77. That will be a nice relief from the usual Texas summer.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Bless God in the great congregation, the LORD, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
Psalm 68:26
Arise, O God, defend your cause.
Psalm 74:22A
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, 
  from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life.

Psalm 17:13B-14A
God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
Psalm 53:2
Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. 
  Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 
  Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. 
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 
  Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. 
Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. 
Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. 
  Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!

Psalm 119:33-40
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

(From Living the Message)

Today’s reading is simply The Beatitudes from The Message.

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said: 
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 
  “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. 
  “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘carefull,’ you find yourselves cared for. 
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. 
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. 
  “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. 
“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Matthew 5:1-12 (The Message)

These are not just ideals or suggestions about how we might live. This is the life of Christ, lived through us. This is how we should walk in Jesus.

Father, keep these words in front of me throughout this day. As I drive to work, as I interact with my work associates, may your words fuel my walk with Christ. Teach me your ways that I may walk in your truth.
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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