Power for Living in Reality

Today is Saturday, the twenty-third of April, 2022, in the first week of Easter.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today!

Day 23,417 (the number of days since I was born)

We are planning a trip to Scarborough Rennaissance Festival today, so I don’t want to piddle around, here. We are meeting my SIL and her husband, as well as C’s niece, there. They are only planning to stay until around 2:00 PM, so we don’t want to get there too late. I think it would be fun to get there for the opening at 10:00, but I don’t know if we will make that.

It’s Viking & Ale weekend, which may not be our first choice of special events, but we wanted to make sure we made it, this year, as it has been several years since we attended. The main thing I am interested in catching this year is the “Cirque de Sewer,” which is billed as the “world’s only girl and rat circus,” featuring “amazingly trained vermin and felines.” I can’t wait! Of course, the Kamikaze Fireflies are back, so we want to see them, as well.

The Texas Rangers have their first official winning streak of the season! They beat the Oakland Athletics 8-1, last night, in Oakland! Glen Otto (who?) got his first MLB win in the game. The Rangers are now 4-9 for the season, still in last place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind the Angels and Mariners. They play again this afternoon at 3:07 CDT, with Martin Perez starting. He’s overdue for a win, so maybe . . .

The Red Sox beat the Rays 4-3, to get their record back to .500 (7-7). They are tied for third place with those same Rays. The Blue Jays are currently in first, and the Orioles, of course, bring up the rear. Boston and Tampa will play again today.

The LA Dodgers have the best record in baseball, at 10-3, but the NY Mets are right behind them, at 11-4. The Cincinnati Reds continue to keep the Rangers out of last over all by not winning any more games. They are at 2-12 for the season. If the Rangers could manage to extend their winning streak today, they might catch the Orioles and Diamondbacks, who are both 5-9.

Enough of that.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Saturday in Easter Week)

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. all of our cats; Cleo, Luna, Rocky, Trixie, and Maggie
2. for a day to visit the Ren Faire and hang out with C
3. for Scottish Eggs (Scotch?)
4. for good memories
5. that Jesus leads us into more; into "reality"

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
(Joshua 5:13-15 ESV)

This is a very important passage, right here. All too often, we get this notion that God is on “our side.” While it may, occasionally, be accurate to make this claim, most of the time, it is not. Here, the commander of the Lord’s army makes it clear; He is on neither “side.” He is on God’s side! I would rather be on God’s side “fighting” for what He is doing. His is the only “cause” worth fighting for.

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind. Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.
(Job 23:13-17 ESV)

Today’s prayer word is “dunamis.” Dunamis is a Greek word, whence we get our word “dynamite.” It is usually translated “power,” as in Ephesians 3:20.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

The “power that is at work within us,” is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
(Ephesians 1:18-21 NIV)

Again, we find the word “dunamis” in that passage. And what better thing to pray for ourselves and others around us, than for God’s mighty power to be at work within us?

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, I pray for Your mighty power to be known in our midst, and in our spirits. May I know Your power in all that I do, today, not that it would draw attention to me, but that I would be drawn more into Your presence and Your purposes, that I might be able to adequately join Your forces and Your cause in this world. As Job said, You will complete what You have appointed for me, and it is that power that raised Jesus from the dead that will accomplish this! All glory to You, Father!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

As we continue to remember the week of my father’s passing (I believe tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the memorial and burial), I am grateful for memories.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”
(Mark 1:35-37 ESV)

“Does being with Jesus reduce or enlarge our lives? Does Jesus contain us in a small world of cozy domesticity or lead us into a large world of demanding exploration? It is alarming when we observe how meagerly so many people live; our alarm increases when these meager lives are labeled ‘Christian.’

“Is this what the search for Christ results in? Caution? Playing it safe? Predictable approval? How much reality are we prepared for when following Jesus? A lot or a little?”

It would do us well to examine the Gospel narratives more closely. “Jesus is always leading us into more. We can enter the real world.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, help me to enter into as much reality as You have prepared for me. Let my life as a “Christian” not be “meager,” but let Jesus lead me into “more.”

Thank You for memories, too, but do not let me dwell in them. Memories are not for staying in. They help us, at times, and they comfort us at times, but too many people get bogged down in them and never want to come out to face reality. I do not desire this. I love the memories, but desire to continue on in reality and see everything that You have planned for me. Let it be so, Lord.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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