Today is Saturday (it is Saturday, right?), the eighteenth of June, 2022, in the eleventh week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ be with you today.
Yesterday was a mixed bag, I suppose. Over all, it was a pretty good day, but C began feeling poorly at some point. We had planned to go out and see a friend who is a musician, who had a show, but wound up not going. I could have gone by myself, but I didn’t want to take a chance and possibly expose others to something that might be contagious. However, she is feeling much better, this morning.
The Texas Rangers treated us to a good game, last night, beating the Detroit Tigers 7-0. It seems like pretty much everyone contributed in this game. Jonah Heim, my favorite Rangers, went 2 for 4, with one homer and three RBIs. Jon Gray pitched a great game. So, the Rangers are now 31-33, back to within two games of .500, and can win the series with a win today. Today’s game is at 3:10 CDT, in Detroit. They are in second place in the AL West, two games ahead of the Angels and nine games out of first. They are four games out of the Wild Card race.
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals 6-5, last night. They are now 35-30 for the season, but still in fourth place in the AL East. They are only a half game behind Tampa, though, and 2.5 behind Toronto. 13.5 out of first place. However, Cleveland seems to have slipped into that third Wild Card spot, as the Sox are a half game out of that. The Sox play the Cards again today.
The Yankees (sigh) still have the best record in MLB, at 48-16. The Athletics are currently the worst, at 22-44. The Braves finally lost a game, so they won’t be catching those Giants, this time. The Yankees (double sigh) now have the longest win streak, at eight games. The Nationals have the longest losing streak, currently at seven games. The Rangers have won two in a row. The Yankees (triple sigh) have the best run differential, at +140. I think we need a steroids investigation. The Nationals have the worst differential, at -114. The Rangers are back in the green with +7, and the Red Sox are at +54, tied with the Cardinals.
In PWBA news, the ladies are now into their third day of qualifying rounds, on oil pattern number 3 (there are a total of 4), in the U.S. Women’s Open, taking place at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center in South Glens Falls, NY. I’ve been to Glens Falls. It’s quite beautiful up there, at least in October. After two complete rounds, Cherie Tan, from Singapore was in the lead, followed by Liz Johnson, Stefanie Johnson, Kayla Bandy, and Erin McCarthy. After today’s three squads bowl, the top thirty will move on to bowl in the fourth round tomorrow, on the fourth pattern.
In a little while, the whole family is planning to go out for lunch. I chose to have Father’s Day lunch out today, rather than trying to go out tomorrow. We are planning to go to Martha’s Mexican Cocina, because I decided I want “tableside guacamole.” We haven’t been there in a while, and the whole family is going! Good times.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, radiant, light giving, and almighty God through all the ages, be with us in our time too. Strengthen the grace we have received from Jesus Christ, and let it be known over all the world so that your name may be honored everywhere. Bless us, we pray, and let your blessing spread from us to others, to the glory of your name. Grant that the good may be strengthened in us, the good you have let us hear about for so many years. May everything that belongs to your Word come alive in us and in the world. May your blessing be on our actions, for we want to remain under your blessing, to the glory of your righteousness and truth. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
FYI, I literally pray these prayers, out loud, every morning. I don’t just post them for others to read.
Oh Lord, bless my eyes With vision to see In viewing the soul And not the body I’m tired of judging By wealth or beauty Whom to look past And who seems worthy A lens, distorted To think sinfully Gift me new eyes Of how You see me The way to see their True, identity With Your mercy and grace Your beloved, they be Here now to practice And look deep in their eyes A view soul to soul Past bodies’ disguise
Please take a look at Daryl’s site, via the link provided above.
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1:8-10 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the grace we have received from Jesus Christ, and for the blessing that we have, that we might spread it around from us to others
- that Jesus Christ has ultimately destroyed death
- that God is teaching me how to “tweak” my attitudes when things don’t go quite according to plan
- for Albanese gummy bears; seriously, have y’all tried these??
- for the disciplines of silence and solitude
- for “Sabbaths” (the word literally means “stop”); times to pray and play, times to stop and look around, to listen
- more than that, I’m grateful for TIME
Today’s prayer word, from Pray a Word a Day, is tweak. This should be interesting.
“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.” ~ Helen Keller
You will not find the word “tweak” in the Bible. But then, we don’t just limit ourselves to words that are in Scripture, do we? There used to be an Internet comic called “Coffee with Jesus.” I really liked it, and don’t have a clue what happened or why they stopped. I had a friend who was a pastor who complained, once, that they “put words in Jesus’s mouth,” and he didn’t like that.
My thought on this was, does this person think that Jesus only ever said words that are in the Bible?? Seriously?
The spirit of the word in today’s reading is that of dealing with difficulties and limitations. We all have them. Sometimes, the solution to a difficulty or limitation is to “tweak” the situation, to try to bring it around to our advantage. That’s not always possible, of course, and when it is not, then, perhaps, we need to tweak our attitude or perspective.
This, to me, hearkens back to that day when I was thinking about accepting situations that I cannot change. All the tweaking in the world won’t change those. I can’t tweak the price of gasoline down. I couldn’t tweak the difficulty that I had switching mobile carriers. I could have tweaked my attitude that day, and pretty much failed to. It made for a very difficult day.
I’m learning, though. At least I hope I am. Just yesterday, I had to go out (well, I didn’t have to . . . I chose to) and get my car inspected so I can get my license tag renewed for another year. The first place I went to, our “go-to” place for oil changes and inspections, was unable to do it. Their previous person for that role was no longer there, and they would not be certified again until July 5.
I didn’t get upset!! Seriously! I just said, “Oh, okay,” and drove away to find another place. And I found one that was about a block away, so I didn’t have to drive very far. And while I was there, it looked like another car was cutting in front of me. He wasn’t, it turns out, because he had just finished getting an oil change, so he was next in line for the inspection. I didn’t get upset!!
I waited patiently. I successfully “tweaked” my attitude, because there was nothing I could do about the situation.
Father, I thank You for helping me to adjust my attitudes when there is nothing I can do about the circumstances. Getting upset over situations is of no benefit to anyone. It really only hurts things. Help me to always do this. When I can’t get my way, or when things don’t line up the way I want them to or think they should, help me to remember that I belong to You, and that You are in control of all things, not me. Again, I pray for the ability (as well as the humility) to accept the things that I cannot change. I believe some folks call that “serenity.” So be it. Please give me that, along with compassion, kindness, and grace. Truly, I pray that I will be able to spread the blessings with which You have blessed me all around to others.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
(Colossians 3:13 NLT)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
(Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT)
These are some much-needed words for today. Make no mistake, I struggle with them as much as anyone, perhaps. But here’s the thing. I acknowledge that they are true and I think about them frequently. There is a much-too-large contingent of “Christians” out there, today, that doesn’t even stop to think about the hate they are giving. One of the heart-rending results of this attitude is that it drives people away from the Gospel, which is the opposite of what we are supposed to be doing.
I especially like the NLT of Colossians 3:13 because of the use of the word “anyone.” Here’s the verse in KJV:
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
(Colossians 3:13 KJV)
It is interesting to note that the word “another” after “forbearing” and “forgiving” is two different Greek words! After “forbearing,” the word is allelon, which means, “one another:—each other, mutual, one another, (the other), (them-, your-)selves, (selves) together.” After “forgiving,” the word is heautou, which means, essentially, “them.” And then, KJV has that phrase, “if any man have a quarrel against any.” Which, I believe, lends validation to NLT’s “anyone.”
We are commanded to forgive ANYONE who offends us!
Father, I pray that You help me to obey these commands. And not just me, but all of Your people. I’m just asking for me, first, because I have to do it, too. We cannot walk this walk on our own; we cannot forgive others in our own strength, because we are too self-centered. We cannot forgive others until we lay down our selves, take up our crosses, and follow You. Have mercy, Lord!
"Those who know the Lord are never alone. Solitary times are opportunities to know him in greater depth. In order to be free for this new level of being, all self-pity must be conquered. Our self-centeredness must be reckoned for the enemy it is. God cannot squeeze into a self-centered heart." (Anna Mow, today's Daily Dig from Plough.com)
“Solitude is never complete without silence. Silence is solitude’s necessary and natural companion. . . . It is not just that we use words to control and manage others and need to be free from such soul-destroying habits, though this is true enough. It is that we use words constantly to adjust our public image. You see, we fear so deeply what others think of us. If I have done some wrong thing, or even some good thing that I think you might misunderstand, and I learn that you know about it I am going to be very tempted to speak up and straighten you out on that matter. Now, silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the spiritual life simply because it puts the stopper on all that self-justification.
“Though the discipline of silence, then, we are learning to place our reputation in God’s hands. We no longer need to be sure everyone understands us or thinks well of us. We let go of even needing to know what they think of us. We are silent.”
Of course, another, even more important benefit of silence is that maybe, just maybe, when we are being silent, “we just may hear God’s voice in his wondrous, terrible, loving, all-embracing silence.”
(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin, pp. 158-159)
Father, help me to practice this more often. May I see the truth that my reputation, for whatever that is worth, anyway, is in Your hands, not mine. I don’t need to make sure everyone is understanding me or accepting me. This is the narcissism that social media contributes to. I pray that I, along with all the saints, can release that need, while still employing the medium for the good that it can do. Help me to be silent more than I speak. And help me to spend my times of solitude in seeking Your voice and Your face.
Officially, Biblically, today is the “Sabbath.” Growing up Southern Baptist, I was made to believe that Sunday was the “Sabbath.” This, of course, is wrong. The reason that Christians began to worship and have their services on Sunday was that that was the day (if we can even get our days to correspond with the Jewish days) that Jesus rose from the grave. It was the “first day of the week.”
But that did not change the Sabbath. The Sabbath was always the seventh day of the week. Hence we have such “denominations” as Seventh-Day Adventists, who worship on Saturday instead of Sunday.
But, I believe, we all miss the point of this. Legalism demands that we pick a certain day of the week. Hyper-legalism demands that it be Saturday. Otherwise, it has to be Sunday. We used to have “Blue Laws” in place. Women couldn’t buy pantyhose on Sunday. We couldn’t get toilet paper on Sunday!! I remember riding to church with a work associate, way back in my seminary days, and we saw someone mowing their yard. “I wish he wouldn’t do that,” said the guy with whom I was riding.
Here’s the thing (what, twice in one blog??). The word from which we get “sabbath” is a Hebrew word that means, quite literally, “stop; cease; desist.” “It’s a stop sign on the street of days,” says Eugene Peterson.
Here’s some more of what Peterson says. “We have more leisure hours per person per year as a country than anyone could have guessed a century or two ago. But we are not leisurely. We are not relaxed. We are anxious. We are in a hurry. Anxiety and hurry ruin intimacy and sabotage our best intentions in faith, hope, and love – the three actions in which most of set out to do our best.”
Hence, “sabbath.” “Stop what you are doing and look around; see what is going on. And listen.”
Peterson begins this particular reading with the simple statement, “Time is holy.” I have seen him say something like this before. I believe he said something to the effect that hurry is the great enemy of time, and that time is sacred.
We don’t think of time in that way, do we? I admit I really haven’t. But it is a gift from God, so it must be, right? And Sabbath is a way of “protecting time against desecration.” And, while most of us would agree that praying is a good thing to do on the Sabbath (after all, most of us worship on the day that we came to believe was the Sabbath), Peterson also states that it is a day for “playing!” “Praying and playing,” he says, are “the two activities for which we don’t get paid but that are necessary for a blessed life.” He calls them “warp and woof, woven in the bounty.”
As he encourages us to keep a Sabbath, he says he wants us to “live well.” He, that’s the title of the book . . . On Living Well! He wants us to “live whole and mature, with appreciation and pleasure, experiencing the heights and depths of God’s glory in your bodies and your work, your friends and your gardens, your minds and your emotions, at the ocean and in the mountains. You can’t do that if you are on the run. You can’t do that if you are watching the clock.” (Emphasis mine)
“We are called to be humans who explore the fullness of freedom and who experience the relationships of love. We can’t do that if we don’t stop working long enough to see ourselves in relation to God’s work, stop what we are doing so that we can take a long, attentive look at what God is doing, stop what we are saying so that we can take in what God is saying. Sabbath.”
So, does it matter what day this happens on? I, for one believe that it doesn’t. But it’s okay if you believe that it does. Observe what you believe. I’m semi-retired, now. I have the ability to have several “sabbaths” a week (at least every other week). And, I confess, I still like to take things relatively easy on Sundays. In spite of what I believe, it still feels like “sabbath” to me. The important thing is that we all take time to pray and play, and that we take a day to just stop! Stop working; stop hurrying; stop the anxiety.
I love what Dallas Willard once said (you’ve read this before, here). He told John Ortberg, in answer to a particular question, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Father, help us to stop. Western society has deified work and accomplishment. And we seem to be pressing it on to our children, as well, with the constant pressure to be performing, whether it be in academics or sports. And then they grow up to be worse than us. Help us to stop and smell the proverbial roses, to look around, to observe what is going on around us. How can we ever hope to hear and see You when we can’t take our noses away from the grindstones for a few hours a week?? Help us to stop, to pray, and to play, for goodness sake! I do believe that, to a large degree, our society has forgotten how to play! Help us, O God! Have mercy on us!
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, my friends.
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