Today is Friday, the twentieth of August, 2021.
Seventeen days until Labor Day, the next official holiday in the U.S.
The birthday celebrations have taken a bit of a bittersweet turn. The first thing that is causing this is that our dog, Tessie, is not doing well. Over the course of the past week or so, she has developed a condition in her hind legs that is giving her tremendous struggle in walking. It seems like it hurts her, but we are not sure. She hasn’t eaten consistently and, when she has eaten, she has some pretty gross diarrhea. So we aren’t sure what’s in the future for her.
The other thing has to do with our church. There seems to have developed a rift in our fellowship over some opinions that were shared last Sunday, concerning the vaccine and some who have elected to not receive it. That’s all I’m going to say about it, as the situation seems to be being resolved.
In the meantime, we are considering going to the zoo, later today. S has said that she would like to do that, and we haven’t been there in quite some time.
Today is World Mosquito Day. Why on earth would we have a day that celebrates mosquitos?? They answer that question in the link, should you care to read it.
The word for today is mickle. This is an archaic word that means, “great; large; much.”
Today’s quote, from Oscar Wilde, is, “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”
And now for today’s birthdays, right after I get back with another cup of coffee:
1561 Jacopo Peri, Italian composer and singer who wrote the 1st recognized opera "Dafne", born in Rome (d. 1633) 1833 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (Republican: 1889-93), born in North Bend, Ohio (d. 1901) 1890 H. P. Lovecraft, American horror writer (At the Mountains of Madness, Weird Tales), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 1937) 1905 Jack Teagarden [Weldon Leo Teagarden], American trombonist and actor (Meet Band Leaders), born in Vernon, Texas (d. 1964) 1907 Alan Reed, American actor (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and voice artist (Fred Flintstone, Lady and the Tramp), born in NYC, New York (d. 1977) 1918 Jacqueline Susann, American author (Valley of the Dolls), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1974) 1923 Jim Reeves, American country singer and actor (Gun Fury, Kimberley Jim), born in Panola County, Texas (d. 1964) 1926 Frank Rosolino, American jazz trombonist (The Frank Rosolino Sextet), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1978) 1931 Don King, American boxing promoter best known for his association with Mike Tyson and for his unusual hairstyles, born in Cleveland, Ohio 1932 Anthony Ainley, British actor (Doctor Who), born in Stanmore, Middlesex (d. 2004) 1935 Ron Paul, American author and politician (3 times presidential candidate, 1988, 2008, 12), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1942 Isaac Hayes, American musician and composer (Shaft), born in Covington, Tennessee (d. 2008) 1943 Sylvester McCoy, Scottish actor (Seventh Doctor in Doctor Who), born in Dunoon 1944 Graig Nettles, American MLB 3rd baseman (NY Yankees, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians), born in San Diego, California 1946 Connie Chung [Constance Yu-Hwa Chung Povich], American news anchor (NBC, CBS), born in Washington, D.C. 1946 Ralf Hütter, German musician (Kraftwerk), born in Krefeld, Germany 1947 James Pankow, American trombonist, arranger and composer (Chicago - "Make Me Smile"; "Colour My World"), born in St. Louis, Missouri 1948 Robert Plant, English rock vocalist (Led Zeppelin), born in West Bromwich, England 1949 Phil Lynott, Irish rock singer and bass player (Thin Lizzy - "The Boys Are Back In Town"), born in West Bromwich, England. (d. 1986) 1951 Greg Bear, American sci-fi author (2 Hugos, Eon, Eternity), born in San Diego, California 1952 John Hiatt, American singer and songwriter (Have a Little Faith in Me), born in Indianapolis, Indiana 1952 Rudy Gatlin, American country singer (Gatlin Bros-Broken Lady), born in Olney, Texas 1952 Doug Fieger, American singer–songwriter (The Knack - "My Sharona"), born in Oak Park, Michigan (d. 2010) 1954 Al Roker, American weatherman (NBC, Today), born in Queens, New York 1956 Joan Allen, American actress (Peggy Sue Got Married, Tucker, In Country), born in Rochelle, Illinois 1956 Rick Olsen, American rock guitarist (Berlin-Take My Breath Away) 1962 James Marsters, American actor (Spike-Buffy the Vampire Slayer), born in Greenville, California 1966 "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, American heavy metal guitarist (Pantera), born in Arlington, Texas (d. 2004) 1970 Fred Durst, American singer (Limp Bizkit), born in Gastonia, North Carolina 1971 Brad Avery, American musician (former guitarist for Third Day) 1974 Amy Adams, American actress and singer (Arrival, Man of Steel, American Hustle), born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy 1979 Jamie Cullum, English singer-songwriter, pianist and radio presenter, born in Rochford, England 1992 Demi Lovato, American actress (Camp Rock) and singer/songwriter (Unbroken), born in Albuquerque, New Mexico
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace. (Agnus Dei)
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.
As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
(Psalms 48:9-10 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
1. for Your steadfast, unfailing love 2. for the victory of Your strong right hand 3. for forgiveness, which is central in Your model prayer for us, and central to our very existence 4. for Your great and might acts, both in history and in our lives 5. for loving us, in spite of ourselves
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK THIRTEEN – DAY SIX
We will celebrate and praise you, LORD! You are good to us, and your love never fails.
(Psalms 106:1 CEV)
I pause for a moment to reflect on Your unfailing love, so grateful that Your love never fails, never gives up, and never runs out.
A psalm of Asaph.
The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.
(Psalms 50:1-6 NIV)
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
(Exodus 14:26-31 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, I linger, asking the Holy Spirit to guide my meditations and prayers.
The visual of Psalm 50:2 is beautiful to me. God shines forth from Zion, perfect in beauty.
When we read things like Psalm 50, it is easy to allow our misconceptions about God come through. I’ve written before about the dangers of thinking about God in terms of “us vs them.” We get this cockamamie idea in our brains that God is “on our side,” and then we read things like: “Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.”
We then read our preconceived incorrect thoughts about God into those verses and get all self-confident in our “causes” and believe that God is going to come down and wipe out all of “them,” whom we foolishly believe to be the sole source of all the evil in the world.
But here’s the thing. When God does come and send devouring fire before Him and His raging tempest, it’s not going to be pretty or pleasant. And many, if not most, of us are going to be surprised at the results.
I’ve said it before, and I will, no doubt, say it again.
God is on God’s side. And we need to (all of us) do a much better job of making sure that we are on His side.
When Pharaoh chased Israel into the middle of the Red Sea, God came, with a raging tempest. He instructed Moses to stretch his hand back out over the sea so that the walls of water would crash back down, engulfing the Egyptians. “Not one of them survived.”
The words of Moses turned out to be true. “The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.”
What is sad is that what is stated in verse 31, “And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant,” didn’t stick. It lasted only a few chapters, in fact.
So fast-forward a few thousand years. If the fickle human beings that saw, first hand, the miracles of the Lord, couldn’t be faithful to Him and His Word for more than a few days or weeks, how do we expect to do better?
The beauty of all of this is that He knows it. Nothing that we do surprises Him. He knows everything that there is to know about us, and, because He is outside of time, He already knows everything we are going to do before we do it. Therefore, I think it is even safe to say that He isn’t even “disappointed” in us, not the way we tend to get disappointed in one another.
For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
(Psalms 103:14 NLT)
And, in the words of a great Easter song that used to love to sing, “But still He loved me . . .”
Let’s go back to that one prayer that we have. You know the one . . . we usually call it “The Lord’s Prayer.”
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.
Is it a coincidence that “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” is pretty much right smack in the middle of that prayer? I’d like to think not. I’m not much of a believer in coincidences.
Now, let’s go back up to that bit at the top about some church issues. While I’ve been typing this blog (which has taken most of the morning), people have been talking. There have been multiple conversations, both in texting and verbally. It looks like things are working out, which is good, because we believe that this church is worth preserving. I don’t think any of us simply want to walk away. Forgiveness is central. It is the center of this prayer, and it is the center of our lives.
Honestly, we can’t survive without it.
Father, thank You. Thank You for forgiving us for our sins. Thank You for loving us, when we get so unlovable. Thank You for being faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to You. Thank You that “Your love never fails, it never gives up; it never runs out.” And thank You for giving us the ability to forgive one another. Help us to be stronger, though, and to not be so easily offended. Help us to be stronger for one another; help us to love one another and carry one another’s burdens. Also, help us to reach out when there are misunderstandings, rather than jerking our knees.
Please give us the Christlike ability to deny ourselves and serve others. Give us the commitment to do justice and show mercy. And please show mercy to those who are imprisoned, and give grace to those who minister to them.
"Strong and mighty God, retrieve holy fear for you from the depths of fright and anxiety. Make me deeply intimate with your awesome presence and mightily aware of your costly mercy. Mingle in my heart a holy fusion of reverence, love, awe, and trust, freeing me to lovingly, willingly yield my all to you. In Jesus' name, amen."
You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near to me. Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful.
(Psalms 16:11 CEV)
Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.
(Proverbs 20:30 GNB)
The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.
(Psalms 118:22-23 NLT)
Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:28-30 NLT)
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.