It is Saturday, January 5, 2019. The twelfth day of Christmas.
39 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
“Expert: a man who makes three correct guesses consecutively.”
Laurence J. Peter, Canadian writer, 1919-1990
The word of the day is siderosous. It means, “Star-struck; (also) full of stars, starry.” (Oxford English Dictionary)
I got a couple new “toys” from Amazon, yesterday. One is a new sustain pedal for my keyboard. The one I have been using has begun to squeak at random times. Last Sunday, it started squeaking at a most inopportune time, as I was leading “Revelation Song.” It has some quiet moments in it. It really shook me and disturbed my concentration. So I got a new one. I also got a box for vocals, called “Mic Mechanic 2.” It provides ambience to the vocals, such as reverb and delay. It also has a pitch correction feature (NOT autotune!) that I probably won’t use, as my vocals are usually on pitch.
This morning I’m going to meet with our pastor again, at a nearby Starbucks, to discuss a book we’ve been reading. He’s way ahead of me (I think he already finished it), but that’s okay. It’s called Glittering Vices:A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies. I’ve only gotten through two of the seven vices, but that’s because I’m trying to follow the schedule of the Renovare Book Club.
Later today, I’ll make the usual trip to Kroger to pick up our Click List. I may try to watch the movie Ready Player One, as well. I might even watch some football tonight. I’m not sure about that. The Cowboys are playing the Seahawks tonight in the first round of playoffs. Tomorrow, the Ravens play the Chargers. I’m thinking about watching that game, as well. The Ravens are my favorite football team, for reasons which have nothing to do with football.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Today I am grateful:
1. For a pastor that I connect so well with.
2. For a place where we can sit, talk, and drink coffee.
3. That I can go pick up groceries without getting out of the car.
4. For mornings to sit and reflect on life and spiritual things.
5. For opportunities to pray for others.
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Saturdays)
(From Every Step An Arrival, Eugene H. Peterson)
God Is Not A Problem Solver On Call
GOD did to Sarah what he promised: Sarah became pregnant and gave Abraham a son in his old age, and at the very time God had set. Abraham named him Isaac.
Birth stories are good for us; they do things for us that we need “over and over and over again.” We tend to do one of two things with God. “One is to flatten him down into the banal and the humdrum. We lose all sense of mystery. We reduce him to morals or platitudes or a genial source of good advice. We lose all sense of the transcendent or the glorious or the beyond.
“The other tendency is to sentimentalize God into diversion or entertainment. We fantasize him and hope for an escape from whatever we don’t like about what is happening to us at the time.”
Peterson says that most people do one of these two things, and “our lives are unchanged.”
But the message of the gospel is that “God invades us with new life, and the life changes what we presently are.” As noted by the title of this reading, God is not “a means by which we solve problems,” or a “means to avoid problems.” Based on most peoples’ prayer requests, that is what the majority of people see God as. He’s a problem solver. Heal this, heal that, I need money, I need this or that problem to go away.
Don’t misunderstand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for these things, and I do it for people on a daily basis! But if that is the sole content of our prayers, we aren’t quite getting something right.
The most important thing God does for us is create new life. “He is not a problem solver but a person creator.” I like that phrase. There are “birth stories” happening all around us every day, if we but simply look and pay attention.
May we not view God as a means to and end, but as a Creator who walks with us through our lives.
Father, I pray for You to “birth a holy awe” in my life today. May I not see You as a “problem solver,” but as one who creates daily in our lives. Help me to see You at work everywhere I look.
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.
Soli Deo Gloria!