Today is Monday, the twentieth of June, 2022, in the twelfth week of Ordinary Time. Juneteenth observed.
May the peace of Christ be with you.
Over all, yesterday was a pretty good Father’s Day. C went out and got Jack in the Box sandwiches for breakfast for all of us. I hadn’t had those in a long time. Then, at 2:00, she and I went to a spa to get pedicures. That was very nice and a good, relaxing time. Except for that part where they tickle your feet. It’s not intentional, mind you, it just tickles a bit. The best part is the lower leg massages and hot wax on the feet.
Yeah, I know. Shut up. I surrendered my “man card” years ago.
The Texas Rangers couldn’t win the series against the Tigers, losing yesterday’s game 7-3. They tied the game 3-3, but then immediately gave up two more runs, and then Detroit nailed the coffin shut in the bottom of the eighth by scoring two more. The Rangers are now 31-35, and have dropped back into third place, as the Angels are on a winning streak. The Rangers are ten games out of first and five out of the Wild Card race. They are off today, and will be back home tomorrow, for another two game series against the Phillies.
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals 6-4, yesterday, to improve their record to 36-31. They are still in fourth place in the AL East, but only a half game behind Tampa. They are also a half game behind Cleveland for that third Wild Card spot. They will begin a series against the Tigers, in Boston, tonight.
The Yankees finally lost a game, but still have the best record (49-17) and best run differential (+143). The Athletics won a game, but still have the worst record (23-45). The Nationals have the worst run differential, at -109. The Brewers, Angels, and Rockies all have a three-game win streak, and the Reds are back to their losing ways, with a four-game losing streak.
The PWBA ladies are into the second round of match play (top 24) in the U.S. Women’s Open, in South Glens Falls, NY. The current standings, after 41 games (that’s a lot of bowling!) have Jordan Richard, Danielle McEwan, Lindsay Boomershine, Cherie Tan, and Shayna Ng in the top five. There are seven more games in the current round and one more round of eight, this afternoon, which will determine tomorrow night’s top five. I’m a fan of several of these ladies, plus a bunch that are still fighting for their shot, so I wish them all the best of luck as they continue bowling. I’ll be working during the finals tomorrow, so I’ll probably record it.
Today being Monday, I’m off work all day. I guess they are open today, but I wasn’t sure if they would be, since it is a Federal holiday. I’ll be chilling today, probably fold some laundry and get some reading in.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord God Almighty, bring in the day, the day of Jesus Christ, through whom we shall be united. Then we shall recognize each other as fellow citizens, as brothers and sisters, and we shall have peace on earth. Give your Spirit anew, O Lord our God. Free and enlighten every heart so that each person can acknowledge the Word you have given and hold fast to all your promises, even in dark and troubled times. Be with us. Be with our people. Help us in our times, O Lord God. We wait for you. We await your peace, a new peace – not the old peace, not a return to comfort and selfish desires, but your peace – which shall bring us into the life of heaven, where we find Jesus Christ, the Living One, our Shepherd and Leader. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for forgiveness and second chances 2. for the hope of real peace someday 3. for pleasant surprises 4. for the hope of waiting in expectation 5. for the benefits of silence
The word for today, from Pray a Word a Day, is surprise. Poet and novelist Alice Walker (The Color Purple) is quoted as saying, “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.”
I have frequently said that I don’t ever expect anything, so I’m constantly pleasantly surprised. We humans are surprised by a lot of things. Unfortunately, we tend to be surprised by God’s grace and mercy, too, and we shouldn’t necessarily be. After all, He has promised those things to us.
One who is never surprised, though, is God. He is not surprised when I go off the rails. Psalm 139 aptly explains all of this.
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalms 139:1-6 NIV)
And, mind you, this is a human being’s inadequate understanding of things. In spite of this, I believe David nailed it. Here’s the thing: God is what I like to call “omni-chronological.” We have all these “omni” words that we use to describe God. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. God is everywhere at once. The one we don’t consider as often is that God is also “everywhen” at once. He exists outside of our normal understanding of time. That is why, as Peter tells us, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
Trust me, I don’t have a very firm grip on this concept, either. And none of us do, really, because we are trapped in time.
But this is why God is never surprised. He’s already there; He already knows what we are going to do/say/think.
Are there things we should expect from God? Absolutely, I believe! We should expect Him to honor His promises. There are so many of them that promise His presence, protection, and provision. How’s that for alliteration? There’s three ready-made sermon points for all you preachers who can’t preach a sermon without alliteration!
True story: I once served with a pastor who, in every. single. sermon. I kid you not, started with a quote from a famous person, had three alliterative points (and, in between them, always said, “not only . . . but also . . .”), and ended with a poem.
And here is this gem from David, in Psalm 5, what I like to call the “morning” psalm.
Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
(Psalms 5:3 NLT, emphasis mine)
Father, I pray for the faith to wait expectantly when I pray. All too often, I do not expect the answers that I desire from my prayers. Perhaps my prayers are too “lackluster.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t think they are fancy enough. I don’t believe You care about “fancy prayers.” I do confess that, sometimes when I pray, I feel as though I am simply “going through the motions.” I do believe, Father, “help my unbelief!” In the meantime, surprise me, please!
Paul Tournier on silence and solitude:
“Modern people lack silence. They no longer lead their own lives; they are dragged along by events. It is a race against the clock. I think that what so many people come to see me for is to find a quiet, peaceful person who knows how to listen and who isn’t thinking all the time about what he has to do next. If your life is chock-full already, there won’t be room for anything else. Even God can’t get anything else in. So it becomes essential to cut something out. I’m putting it as simply as I can.”
When asked to define silence:
“It is extremely difficult. For me, above all it is a waiting. I wait for God to stimulate my thoughts sufficiently to renew me, to make me creative instead of being what St. Paul calls a tinkling cymbal. It’s the cornerstone of my life. It is an attempt at seeing people and their problems from God’s point of view, insofar as that is possible.”
(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)
Father, keep teaching me about silence and solitude. Teach me how to lead my own life, according to Your plan, and to not be “dragged along by events.” I really feel like this happened, yesterday, the dragging bit, that is. Help me to not be living a life that is only reaction to things, but rather inspiration from You.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. (Romans 11:36 MSG)
Grace and peace, friends.
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