Just Do It

Today is Wednesday, the sixth of October, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life today!

Day 23,218

Six days until our 36th anniversary! The anniversary gift is supposed to arrive today. It will be too big to hide.

The Boston Red Sox are going to the American League Division Series! They defeated the Evil Empire 6-2 last night, in a game where they dominated the entire game. The Yankees were barely in the game. Yankees pitching walked quite a few Sox batters, while Nathan Eovaldi and company walked zero Yankee batters. The first Yankee run was on a Rizzo home run. A base running error probably cost them another run, mid-game, but the error is on the third base coach who waved Aaron Judge around third toward home. Two perfect throws, by the centerfielder and Xander Bogaerts nailed Judge at home plate. He was probably at least ten yard away when the catcher had the ball. Not even close. The second run came in the top of the ninth on a Stanton solo homer.

Next game is tomorrow night, in Tampa Bay. I’m already pleasantly surprised that they got this far, so everything else is bonus. Tampa won 100 games this year, so they are a formidable opponent. But if the Sox play like they did last night? They could win.

Tonight, the Cardinals take on the Dodgers for the NL Wild Card. I don’t normally care about NL games, but this is interesting because the Dodgers won 106 games and only got a wild card birth. How frustrating is that? I’ll be mildly cheering for the Cards, though, because C’s company CEO is a Cardinals fan, and his fiftieth birthday was yesterday. Oh, and because I don’t like the Dodgers. There’s that.

Last night’s shift went pretty well, but I messed up a little bit. I’m supposed to begin the shelving cleanup process forty-five minutes before closing. I got confused and waited until 7:45, which is actually only fifteen minutes before closing! Oops. This resulted in me leaving a stack of books/DVDs/magazines in a bin by the staff computer, that will need to be marked “used” this morning. I’ve already had communication with my manager, and her response was, “No worries. Time gets away from all of us, sometimes.”

It’s so hard to let go of the anxiety that my old job produced, and be okay with the idea of, “It’s okay, someone will do it tomorrow.” That simply wasn’t acceptable in my old world. The environment in this job is so much more relaxed. But next Tuesday, I will get it right. I’m still not perfect.

What’s on the schedule for today? Got some laundry to fold, and I plan to make a trip later this morning (or early afternoon) to a couple of grocery stores. Why two? Because we can’t get everything we need at a single store, because of the Vast Grocery Store Conspiracy! Only Walmart has the fat-free shredded cheese that we use. Only Alberton’s (and Tom Thumb) has the Nick’s ice cream that we love. Also, Walmart’s produce is quite mediocre, so we get fruit from Alberton’s. But Walmart is cheaper on most items. Oh, and Kroger has the center-cup bacon that lets you eat two slices for one WW point!

Today is Mad Hatter Day, celebrating the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. This date is chosen because of the tag on the Mad Hatter’s hat, which said, “In This Style 10/6.”

The word for today is gramarye, a noun which means, interestingly, “occult learning; magic.”

Today’s quote is from George Eliot, British author. “Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”

Significant birthdays on October 6:

George Westinghouse, American entrepreneur and engineer (air brakes, alternating current system), 1846-1914
Walter Ray Williams, Jr., American bowler (current record holder for all time PBA titles), 1959 (62) 
"Oil Can" Boyd, American MLB pitcher (Boston Red Sox), 1959 (62)
Darren Oliver, American MLB pitcher (Texas Rangers), 1970 (51)
Amy Jo Johnson, American actress (the pink Power Ranger), 1970 (51)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

I Cannot, by Daryl Madden

I cannot force
His gifts to bestow
But to Spirit can pray
An let His treasures flow

I cannot make
The scriptures run deep
But can savor the Word
And let It seep

I cannot cajole
God to proceed
But I can trust
He gives what I need

I cannot persuade
God to love me
But to know that He does
Eternally

All of these truths translate into effective prayers of faith, as I know and understand that my words don’t convince or manipulate God into doing something or loving me more.

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
(1 Chronicles 16:8-11 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that we can rejoice in Your presence
2. that You have drawn my heart to seek Your face and Your strength
3. for strength You give in temptation
4. for music and song
5. that You do not dwell in a physical house or building

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY FOUR

INVITATION

He loves it when everything fits, when his world is in plumb-line true. Earth is drenched in GOD’s affectionate satisfaction.
(Psalms 33:5 MSG)

BIBLE SONG

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
(Psalms 95:1-7A NIV)

BIBLE READING

After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying: “Go and tell my servant David, . . .
(2 Samuel 7:1-5A NIV)

. . . I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
“‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'”
(2 Samuel 7:11B-16 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I rest in Your presence, this morning, I rejoice. I give You thanks for your strength in me as temptation attacks, attempting to distract me from this purpose. Show me Yourself, Lord, as the Holy Spirit guides me through the next few minutes of meditation and prayer.

The unnamed composer of Psalm 95 is clearly in a mode of exultation and rejoicing. He encourages us to sing for joy, to shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. He desires that we come before the Lord, first with thanksgiving, and then with music and song.

Why? Because “the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.” I am still not sure who all of these other “gods” are, but does that really matter? Yahweh is King! He is the Rock of my salvation! All creation belongs to Him, the sea is His, the mountain peaks are His. For these reasons, let us worship and bow down before Him, for we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

David longed to bring glory to God by building Him a house. But in the part of the chapter that our reading for today skips, God is not concerned about having a house. “I have not dwelt in a house,” He says (2 Samuel 7:6). “When have I ever asked you to build me a house,” He asks in verse 7 (my paraphrase).

Then the Lord assures David that his offspring will build a house for His Name. In the meantime, though, God promises David that he will have rest from his enemies, and that “

Then the Lord assures David that his offspring will build a house for His Name. In the meantime, though, God promises David that he will have rest from his enemies, and that “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (verse 16)

As we know, Solomon did, indeed build the Temple. If you pay attention, though, Solomon’s own house was bigger.

The Lord still does not dwell in a manmade house, a house of brick and mortar or wood and nails. He dwells in the “temple” of the human heart (or stomach of kidney, depending on the culture). His Spirit dwells in our spirit. Truthfully, “churches” did not gather in large buildings until Emperor Constantine institutionalized Christianity in the 4th century AD.

How cluttered is my “house?” Is my spiritual house as cluttered as my physical house? Is there room in my “heart” for Jesus? That’s a bit of a trick question, isn’t it? It would be very easy to get carried away with legalistic thinking if we begin to try to answer those questions. And this, in turn, would make it difficult for us to follow the advice of the unnamed psalmist of Psalm 95. Or the passage from Chronicles before my gratitude list. How can my heart rejoice if it is full of anxiety over whether there is ample room for its Lord?

Let us simply seek Him and rejoice. He really makes it simple. We are the ones who complicate things by adding all of these dos and don’ts to the equation. We have two “dos.” Love God and love people. If we focus on those, I don’t believe we have to worry about the “don’ts.”

Father, I thank You that You have made me part of the sheep of Your pasture. I know that I am so much like a sheep, who runs off from time to time, seeking some flight of fancy (look, a butterfly!) or some softer, greener grass. Then, before I know it, I’m stuck, feet up, unable to move until You come rescue me. And You do it. You do it with great love and compassion.

I am also grateful that You do not dwell in a physical place. Your people do not have to make pilgrimage to find You. You are as close as a whisper. All we have to do is call out Your name, and You are there. To paraphrase James Taylor’s song, all we have to do is call, and You are right there . . . we’ve got a Friend. And oh what joy fills my soul to be able to call You, my Father, Friend. What a Friend we have in Jesus!

I pray right now for the students of Timberview High School in Arlington, as they have just had a school shooting at the campus. Father, I pray that no lives were lost, and I pray for the parents who are living in anxiety until they know if their children are safe.

"Faithful God,
You made an extravagant promise to David and kept it through generations of rebellion and failure,
until You sent Your Son as David's true descendant.
Keep us from ever thinking that we can build Your kingdom by our programs or efforts,
but call us to live out of the kingdom You have built in the death and resurrection of the son of David,
Jesus Christ,
our Lord,
amen."

BLESSING

“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.”
(Matthew 5:6 MSG)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
(John 10:10 ESV)

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV)

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

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!

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.