Today is Saturday, the seventeenth of September, 2022, in the twenty-fourth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ reign within you today!
It’s going to be a busy day, today. First, I am scheduled to work my eight-hour shift in Circulation at the library. Then, immediately after, I will be driving to a friend’s house to help celebrate her birthday, which was Thursday. The event begins at 5:00 PM, so I will be driving straight there, and meeting C and S at the house.
Yesterday was a pretty normal day in the Computer Center. It wasn’t very busy, but there were a handful of patron interactions. I have no idea if it was very busy at the circ desk.
For the last four days, now, the high temperature has consistently been two degrees below the predicted high. Yesterday, it was predicted to be 91, and we topped out at 89. This is one degree above the average temp for the day. Today’s high is forecast at 93, and we have mid-nineties predicted for nine of the next ten days, which is disappointing. Fall-like weather will come, soon enough, but, since this is north central Texas, it will be gone too soon. Yesterday, the director of our library said that it would be convertible weather soon (top-down), and I said, “for about a week, right?”
The record high for today’s date is 98 again, in 1997.
The Texas Rangers managed to get a win against the Tampa Bay Rays, last night, 4-3. Nathaniel Lowe got his 24th home run of the year. Martin Perez got his 12th win. This puts the Rangers at 63-81 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, 31.5 games out of first and 17 out of the Wild Card race. With only 18 games left, their WCE# is 2. I feel quite confident that they will lose at least 2 of those last 18. They play Tampa again, today, in the Juice Box, at 7:10 PM CDT.
The Boston Red Sox barely beat the KC Royals (but barely is enough, for a W is a W), 2-1. This puts them at 70-74 for the season. They are in last place in the AL East, 17 games out of first place (E# 2), and 10 games out of the Wild Card race (WCE# 9). They also have 18 games remaining. I suppose they still have a slim chance, but it would require them to win most of their last 18 and the at least one team ahead of them to lose most of theirs. Not likely. They play KC again today, in Boston, at 4:10 PM EDT.
And this happened, last night.
With only two more left to reach 700, I really hope he does it at home.
The Dodgers won, yesterday, which puts them at 99-44. They need to win 18 of their last 19 to beat the win record. They are still the only team to clinch their division, but the Astros clinched a playoff berth, last night. Seattle could mathematically still win the division, but the Astros would really have to tank. I can hope, right? All of the other divisions are still way too close to call.
The Nationals won a game, but still have the worst MLB record, at 50-94. They are 1.5 behind the Athletics. The Astros now have the current longest win streak, at six games. The Royals and Angels both have four-game losing streaks going. The Dodgers are at +323 for run differential, and the Nationals are at -210 (with the Pirates only four runs ahead of them).
There are now seven teams eliminated from any playoff contention.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, you fill heaven and earth with your Spirit and allow us to share in your gifts. We thank you for all you have given us, for all you are giving and will give. We are poor and needy; all people are poor and needy in spite of their striving, longing, and seeking. Only you, through your Spirit, can awaken something in us to help us go toward your goal. Keep us from being caught up in what men do. The greatest help for our hearts is what you do, and each of us can tell something about it. Each of us has received help beyond anything we had hoped or thought of. How much you have done for us! How much you are doing for the nations! Yes, we thank you for this present time. Although our lives often seem hopeless and full of sorrow, your powers are still living among men, working for their good and awaking them to new life. The time will surely come when our hearts will be released from their hunger and we can be filled with the life from above, which you give us in Jesus Christ. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- that Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin
- that by the Holy Spirit, God awakens something within us to help us reach His goals for us
- that we are allowed to share in God’s gifts
- that my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God (Psalm 84)
- that what is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18)
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
(John 18:25-27 ESV)
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalms 84:1-2 ESV)
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalms 84:10-12 ESV)
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
(Psalms 51:7 ESV)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalms 23:1-6 ESV)
"For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with man is possible with God." (Luke 18:25-27 ESV)
Simon Peter denied that he knew Jesus, three times. He gets a pretty bad rap for this. As if any of us would have been different.
But let’s consider something else. We tend to look somewhat judgmentally upon the disciples in some of the accounts of their actions and attitudes. They bicker among themselves. Who is the greatest? Can we sit at your right hand? What about this guy??
Here’s the thing. These guys may have been as young as twelve years old when Jesus chose them as disciples. We don’t know how old they were; we only know the practices of rabbis and their apprentices, and it was not uncommon for them to select their apprentices at a relatively young age.
So Simon Peter could have been as young as fifteen or sixteen when he denied Jesus three times. How many teenagers do you know that would be more responsible? Hmm??
But that’s just a side topic for today. That’s not my “big idea,” if you will. It’s actually something I thought of yesterday when I read the account of the first denial, but then forgot to include in my writing.
You see, Jesus restored Peter, later, and then the Holy Spirit made him a powerhouse of a preacher, with confidence through the roof. And this is one of those things that, while seemingly “impossible with men,” is “possible with God.”
How does God accomplish these things? Well, for starters, He’s God, and we’re not. But, besides that, there is this thing called “grace.” “God can do for us what appears to be beyond our reach,” says Andrew Murray. Dallas Willard defined grace as God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
Remember yesterday, when I wrote that we cannot make ourselves whole-hearted? Right. God has to do that, and that is part of grace, when He does something for us that we cannot do ourselves.
One way that this all comes about is through the concept of abiding, which I have also been writing about, this week. Remember a couple days ago, I quoted Andrew Murray as saying, “The Christian life is not a struggle to live rightly but rather resting in Christ and finding in Him our life and our righteousness.”
That statement really resonated with me, and has stuck with me. In our lives, it all depends on the relationship that is maintained with the Lord. “God must be working and we must be receiving from God through trust and obedience.” (Murray) If we are not understanding this, we begin to “try harder” with our own efforts, and we usurp God’s role in our lives.
This is where meditating on a passage such as Psalm 23 can be very helpful. “He makes me lie down . . .” “. . . still waters.” “He restores my soul.” All of these things sound very restful and peaceful to me. It sounds like abiding. It sounds like “resting in Christ and finding in Him our life and our righteousness.”
By grace, God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. When we try to do it ourselves, things don’t go well. But what is impossible for us is possible for God.
Father, I thank You for the truths You have been revealing (or, should I say, “re-revealing,” because I’ve seen them all before) to me, this week. I pray for consistency in living them out. Help me to rest in Christ and receive my life and righteousness from Him, realizing that I can do nothing on my own, and that, by grace, You will do for me what I cannot do for myself.
May my prayers reflect this attitude, as well. Help me to pray with expectation; expectation that You will do the impossible for the people for whom I am praying (including myself). May Your blessings fall on us, Lord, and may Your love be channeled through me onto everyone I come in contact with. Let them see Your love, Lord. Help us have a love revolution.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalms 86:11-12 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.