Today is Monday, the first of August, 2022, in the eighteenth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!
Eighteen days until S turns 29!
We had a pretty good day, yesterday. I finished a PS4 game that I had been playing for a long time. It was one of the most difficult games I have ever played, but I stuck with it and finished the story. Then, later, I finished a book, as well.
The Texas Rangers beat the Angels 5-2 to win the series. So they are back, again, at nine under .500, 46-55. They are still in third place in the AL West, still twenty games out of first, and 7.5 out of the Wild Card race. The trade deadline is tomorrow evening, and I’m waiting with great apprehension to see if they trade Martin Perez, the only decent starting pitcher they have, right now. Maybe that’s not fair . . . Jon Gray is pretty decent, but Perez has been stellar, this season. They begin a home stand, this evening, with a three game series against the Orioles. That should be interesting, seeing how the O’s have been surging, recently.
The Boston Red Sox managed to win one game out of three against the Milwaukee Brewers, winning yesterday 7-2. The Red Sox lost or tied every single series in the month of July. They are 51-52 for the season, still in last place in the AL East, eighteen games out of first, but only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race. That AL East division is something, this year. They begin a series this evening, unfortunately, against the cheaters in Houston.
The Dodgers continue to have the best MLB record, by percentage, at 68-33. The Nationals, back to losing, still have the worst record, at 35-68. The New York Mets have the longest current win streak, at six games, and the Pirates are still on that losing streak, now at seven games. The Evil Empire, though, still has the best run differential, at +207, and the Nationals remain on the bottom with -168. The Rangers are at +11, and the Red Sox are at -17.
Today being Monday, I am home all day, as I always have Monday off.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, bless us all through your Spirit, that we may find certainty of heart in community with you under your rulership. May we keep this certainty, whatever course our lives may take, whatever battles and suffering may come to us, for we belong to you and you rule and guide us as your children. Watch over all who are still far away from you but who long for you. Watch over all who are good-hearted and sincere, even if they often do not understand you. Protect them, and let your kingdom come so that your will is carried out more and more by the many who feel compelled to seek for you and for the goodness and truth which are your will. May we and many others serve you with our whole lives. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
However, as the scripture says, "What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him." But it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9–10a, TEV
Today I am grateful:
1. that I finished a really hard video game, yesterday (not everything in life is spiritual, you know) 2. that I inherited a love for reading from my parents, and they nurtured that within me 3. that God watches over all of us, even those who refuse to acknowledge Him 4. the God has blessed us in Christ "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3) 5. that the goodness of God is greater than my failures
So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.
(2 Kings 13:20-21 ESV)
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
(Isaiah 49:16 NLT)
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT)
I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
(Psalms 116:1 NLT)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
(Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV)
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:9-15 ESV)
“Anyone who is truly faithful will know that the goodness of his Beloved is greater than his own failures.” ~ Hadewijch of Antwerp
That quote from Hadewijch of Antwerp is a game changer. How often do we wallow in our failures, believing that we have somehow managed to mess up God’s plan for our lives?
Beloved, we are not that powerful.
We need to take to heart so many different verses from God’s Word that reassure us. In Isaiah 49, the people of God thought that God had forsaken them and forgotten them. Part of His reply was verse 26, in which the Lord says, “I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”
The passage in 1 Peter 5 assures us of His care for us, and reminds us that “at the right time,” if we humble ourselves before Him, He will lift us up. Humility and patience are necessary, both of which seem to be in short supply in our culture, these days. We are then admonished to give all our worries and cares over to Him, because He cares for us. It’s a simple word, “all.” The Greek word is pas. The meaning is given as, “including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole:—all (manner of, means), alway(-s), any (one), × daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no(-thing), X thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.”
So, what part of “all” do we not understand?
And guess what!! When Paul says that God has blessed us with “every spiritual blessing,” it’s the same Greek word. Pas! All!
“Life and blessing are inseparably intertwined. Abiding in Christ means abiding in the heavenly places and in all the spiritual blessings with which God has blessed us in Him. Faith in Christ is meant to be nothing less than unceasing dependence and fellowship with Him and receiving from Him every grace the soul can possibly need.” (Andrew Murray)
Just as I need air for my physical life, I need fellowship with Christ for my spiritual life. And God, in Christ, has provided me with everything I need. It is truly possible, as Dallas Willard wrote a book about, to live a “life without lack.”
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psalms 34:1 ESV)
If we believe we are lacking in something, perhaps we need to spend more time in the “adoring worship of the Holy Trinity. It is upon God the Father, who has blessed us in Christ Jesus that our expectations rest. It is in Christ that blessing is to be found if we continue in close and unceasing fellowship with Him. It is through the Holy Spirit that the presence of the Father and Son in divine power can be known and experienced.” (Andrew Murray)
Through this, though, let us not underestimate the importance of forgiveness. And I speak of our forgiveness of others more than God’s forgiveness of us. That forgiveness is also inseparably linked to our spiritual lives, as Jesus stated at the end of His “model prayer.”
Today's sources: Pray a Word a Day Daily Guideposts 2022 Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emelie Griffin Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray
Father, I recognize the need to be in continuous fellowship with Jesus, for my own good. I know, in my mind, that You have blessed us with all the spiritual blessings we need in order to have a great life and relationship with You. The question becomes, how do I so easily forget this on a daily basis? How do I get so caught up in things that simply do not matter?
Oh, they might matter right at the moment, as somethings do. But they do not matter in the “big picture” of spiritual life with You. They are small things, “footstool problems.”
So help me to be more aware of this, and to always be, in some way, worshiping You, the Son, and the Spirit, in my life.
I thank You that You have given us everything we need. I praise You that Your great, infinite goodness is bigger and more powerful than any of my failures. That one is really huge, because I know that there have been times when I foolishly believed that I had messed up Your plan for my life. But I know that You are much wiser and have infinite knowledge, so there’s no way that could happen.
Thank You for the way You care for us, and help us to always cast those cares upon You, rather than trying to carry the weight of them ourselves.
Also, please help us to always be forgiving toward others. I cannot pretend to completely comprehend those frightening words of Jesus, concerning forgiveness. But I do, to a degree, understand the importance of extending grace to others, just as You have extended grace to us. That parable about the guys who owed money to another is pretty clear about that.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.