Discover and Receive

Today is Thursday, July 13, 2017. Day 21,672.

“A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.” ― Wole Soyinka
Goodreads

The word of the day is meme, a noun which means, “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture,” or, “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”

Today is Embrace Your Geekness Day. “Pokemon fans to Final Fantasy nerds, LARP’ers to Medieval Reenactors, rise up and be proud! Don your Lyre Pipe hats and your rattan swords, polish up your gunblades and bundle up your pokeballs, Embrace Your Geekness Day is for you! No matter what your fandom or what impassions you to creativity and brings a skip to your step, cry it loud and proud! The Geek and fan community is truly one of the most amazing and creative groups out there, and every year more geeks are crying their fandoms loud and proud.”

Okay, so last night was one of those nights when I wished I had been doing something other than bowling. To begin with, C wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t go. But practice started out well. I got a couple of strikes in a row, so I sat down. Then I struck in the first frame, followed by several spares in a row. After that, I left four-fifths of a “Greek Church.” That looks like this.

A Greek Church has the ten pin on the right side, as well. So I rolled toward the right side and actually got the six and seven pins. One on the right, and the back pin on the lift. That was crazy. For one thing, I have NEVER picked up a 6-7 split! So the one time I do, it just so happens that there are two other pins up, and I miss both of them. Oh, well.

Unfortunately, the night declined from there. I bowled 152, 160, and 135. Three not so good games, not hitting my average even once. We lost all three games, along with total pins, as well.

C is staying home from work today. She feels some better, but not quite right, yet. She has her work laptop, so she’ll probably do some work from home. We’re supposed to have the Night of Worship “Missional Gathering” at our house tonight, or, rather, in our swimming pool. Hopefully, C will feel well enough to do that.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8
As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
Psalm 40:11
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
Psalm 57:7
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Luke 17:5-6
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Psalm 91:11-13

(From Living the Message)

“Where all is gift, I do not own things or persons and thus don’t have to protect them. Therefore I don’t have to be anxious. In a world of grace I do not live in laborious struggle trying to fashion a world that suits my needs and desires, hammering together a life out of the bits and pieces of scrap lumber that come my way. I do not live in anxious suspicion, nervous about what others might do to me, what others might think of me. I simply discover and receive.

There is a world to enjoy, a salvation in which to rejoice. God gives. ‘Grace is everywhere’ [George Bernanos]. We receive and explore. We do not nullify the grace of God.”

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?
Galatians 3:5 (The Message)

Thank you for the gifts, oh, my Father! Truly, my “ownership” of things is unimportant. I do not own anything, and especially do not own any person! I praise you for the gift of life and that you have trusted me with the things with which you have trusted me. By your grace and by your Spirit, may I be a faithful steward of all things. May I also eagerly receive that which you are pleased to give me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Our Faith Is Not Private

Today is Sunday, July 9, 2017. Day 21,668.

Today is Sugar Cookie Day. While I like sugar cookies, I prefer them with icing on them. You know, sugar on the sugar.

We had the most wonderful time, yesterday afternoon! As mentioned yesterday, we had lunch at one of C’s co-worker’s home, with his family. And he has such a sweet family. S did not go, as she said she wasn’t feeling well. I, however, was feeling better, so I went, and am very glad that I did. The family seemed genuinely glad to see all of us, and even went so far as to say that we were their “new family.” They even seemed sincerely disappointed that S didn’t come. They have two children, both at intermediate/middle school age. The son is a computer whiz! I walked into his room, and he had, essentially two things in there. A bed and a computer. His PC is set up with three large monitors, and he’s a gamer. Very powerful and fast computer! He showed me how well it played on Assassin’s Creed III. He was very excited to keep showing me things, too. It was kind of adorable.

The appetizers were delicious. First, did I mention that they are from Egypt? So everything that we ate yesterday was Egyptian. Except for the guacamole. His wife likes guac, so she made some, and it was delicious! There was also hummus, which was good, and then some other things that I don’t remember the names of. Oh, and a little bit of octopus, which we tried. It was definitely different. They had these hors deuvres (I had to look that up) that were like little, round pita or tortilla bread with a small piece of salmon, some cream cheese, and an olive. They were delicious!!

The lunch table was amazing! There was fried fish, shrimp, some kind of fish on a shish kabob, a rice dish with shrimp on top, and this soup! Oh, my the soup was unbelievable! It had some kind of fish, oyster, calimari, and the broth was amazing! It was my favorite. Later, we had dessert, which was a sort of an Egyptian version of baklava. Everything was great, and we felt so welcome at their home. In fact, at one point, C and I acted like we were about to leave (which we were) and Emmy (not sure of the spelling) looked so sad and told us to sit for a while longer. So we did. Oh, and Ramez has a lute! A real lute. I had never seen one of those up close before. He played it for us, and let me play it for a bit. That was fun.

In other news, the Rangers beat the Angels last night, 5-2, and Adrian Beltre tied Carl Yastrzemski’s home run total last night. And I’m okay with that. The Red Sox lost a close one to the Rays, 1-0.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Traditional Doxology
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Psalm 80:1
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Psalm 108:1
Jesus said, But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23-24
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2
O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving you and my neighbor:
Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart,
and united to others with pure affection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

(From Living the Message)

There is a popular belief that peoples’ religion is something that is personal and private. Here’s what Eugene H. Peterson has to say about that:

“No life of faith can be lived privately. There must be overflow into the lives of others.”

This is not to imply that we are to “beat people over the head with our Bibles.” May it never be! We are supposed to love people, and in that love, we share our faith with them. But sharing faith with people also doesn’t mean constantly chattering about Jesus and the cross and salvation. The Gospel is that the Kingdom of God is here and available now, not something that we have to wait for until we die. This is what we need to walk in; this is our faith, and this is what we share with people by the way we walk and live our lives, in obedience to the words of Jesus.

Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. 
If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Galatians 6:2-3

Father, teach us to let our faith “overflow into the lives of others.” Let us not hoard it, keep it to ourselves, as if it were something private that needs to be protected. But let us be wise and discerning, as well, never “casting our pearls before swine.” Help us to live the Gospel, to walk in the Kingdom, and to obey the words of Jesus.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Way of Grace

“‘By his grace’ means that God does not look around to see who will best suit his purposes and then single them out because he is pretty sure that they will do a good job.”

Today is Saturday, July 8, 2017. Day 21,667.

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” ~ Aldous Huxley
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is turpitude, a noun, meaning, “inherent baseness: depravity.” Bonus points if you can tell me the 1981 movie in which this word is used.

Today is Chocolate with Almonds Day. Do I even need to say anything else about that? I think not.

I saw a Nurse/Practitioner at the doctor’s office, yesterday, which I much prefer to the popular “Physician’s Assistant.” She prescribed an antibiotic (Augmentin), along with some topical cream (Bactoban) to put on the affected areas. The antibiotic is the typical twice daily for ten days. The cream is thrice daily for fourteen days. She also told me to keep an eye on the fluid seepage, and that if turned yellow and pus-like, to come back right away. She said that the extreme itching that I experienced the night before may have been a sign that infection was trying to set in. At any rate, it’s a good thing I went ahead and went to the doctor yesterday morning.

I picked up some lunch for S and me, after which I had to go back out and get the meds. I spent a couple hours playing games, then took a nap for a couple of hours. When C got home, we were a little afraid that the wounds might have triggered cellulitis, as my leg had a fairly dark red spot, but this morning, that looks better, as does the bite wound. The seepage appears to have completely stopped. I also slept much better last night! However, I was running a low-grade fever (99.4) before going to bed, and feeling a little weird. I feel better this morning, though not exactly right, and there doesn’t appear to be any fever.

We’re supposed to go have lunch at the home of one of C’s work associates, this afternoon. I’m still not sure if I’ll make it.

The Rangers beat the Angels, 10-0, last night, with Cole Hamels getting his fourth win, and Adrian Beltre hammering a “wedding proposal” home run.
http://m.mlb.com/video/v1586330683/must-c-clips-beltres-special-homer-from-one-knee/?game_pk=491397
The Red Sox beat the Rays, 8-3, behind Drew Pomeranz, with Dustin Pedroia hitting a two-run homer.
http://m.mlb.com/video/v1584775783/bostb-pedroia-belts-a-tworun-homer-to-left-field/?game_pk=491391

The Red Sox hold a 4.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, and the Rangers are in third place in the AL West, 16.5 games behind the Astros, who continue to be the best team in MLB. Actually, I’m wrong. The Rangers are in a virtual tie for second, .001 percentage point behind the Angels.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

I want to share this brief quote from C.S. Lewis, on grief:

What sort of a lover am I to think so much about my affliction and so much less about hers? Even the insane call, ‘Come back,’ is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return, if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?

From A Grief Observed

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. 
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. 
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. 
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 
The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. 
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:2-11
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:1-4
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 
you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; 
for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. 

Psalm 44:1-3
Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations! 
Psalm 82:8
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 
nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Luke 17:20-21
As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. 
Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! 
Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, 
consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation 
that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.

Psalm 48:10-14

(From Living the Message)

“Life is not an aimless groping. We are called. ‘By his grace’ means that God does not look around to see who will best suit his purposes and then single them out because he is pretty sure that they will do a good job. It means that God has a capacity so large in love and purpose that he calls us in order to do something for us–to give us something. Grace.” (Eugene H. Peterson)

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.
Galatians 2:21 (The Message)

Father, too much of my life has been as if it were, indeed, “aimless groping.” Help me to fulfill the calling you have placed on my life. You have given me a vision of what my life needs to look like, a vision that is based on the way, the truth, and the life, of Jesus. I have the means to work that vision into reality. But the intention is weak. May my intention be stronger. Thank you for grace, which is you accomplishing things in my life that I could not accomplish on my own.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Good News About Ourselves

Today is Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Day 21,664.

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.” ~ Bill Watterson, who turns 59 today.
Goodreads

Bonus quote: “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” ~ Mitch Hedberg
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is gobsmacked, a mostly British adjective, meaning, “utterly astounded; astonished.”

Today is Bikini Day. Don’t blame me, it’s the only choice they gave me. It’s the anniversary of the invention of the bikini, in 1946, by a Parisian fashion designer, named Louis Reard.

Yesterday was mostly a nice day. I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up about 5 things that we forgot about when we sent our order to Instacart, then picked up Sonic drinks, followed by Taco Bell for lunch. Earlier that morning, C had thrown some ingredients in the crock pot for a cheeseburger soup, which we had for dinner. It was okay, but not great. The fire-roasted tomatoes that were called for in the recipe seemed to have a sweet taste to them, and none of us really cared for that. That, along with the fact that you have to brown the ground beef before putting it in the crock pot probably make this a non-repeater, as we typically have crock pot dinners on work days.

I played Fallout: New Vegas for most of the afternoon (my reward for going to the store and getting lunch), and we watched some TV while we ate dinner. Then the fun came. It wasn’t actually as difficult to get to sleep as we thought. However staying asleep was a different story, altogether, as someone in the neighborhood thought it would be fun to toss firecrackers around, at intervals of at least thirty minutes, up until around 2:30 AM. I mean, seriously, it was as if they had some kind of monitor to tell when we had just fallen back asleep. And it was always just two or three, not a lot of them. They finally stopped, though, but sleep was restless, pretty much the rest of the night. I’m not angry (as I’m sure some people are), but feel that people who do these kinds of things (along with people who perpetrate road rage) are seriously deranged and need some time in a mental institution.

Tonight is bowling night, but the team we are supposed to bowl against will not be there. They bowled their games last Wednesday, after our normal league time was over. The good thing about that is that we should get through early tonight.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! 
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

Psalm 98:5-6
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139:17-18
The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.”
Psalm 132:11
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 
She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 11:25-27

(From Living the Message)

One of the ways that the gospel is “good news” is that it is “good news about ourselves.” This reality within us is just as important as any world news that we might take in every day. Even if world peace existed, and all economies were fair and stable, we would still have to deal with the reality of ourselves.

It doesn’t matter how nice my house is, how well-educated I am, or how secure I feel within my job or family. It doesn’t matter how competent and happy I appear. If I am “filled with anxieties and guilt and hopelessness,” I can’t make it. If I cannot escape the conviction that my life has no meaning, it’s bad news. We all need “a sense of integrity and purpose. We need to count, to mean something, to be important to somebody, to make a difference.”

It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20b (The Message)

Father, help us to see the good news about ourselves in the Gospel. The good news that we don’t have to try to impress anyone, any more, not even you! Christ is in us, and we need to strive to live the kind of life that Christ would live if he were us.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Being Light

Today is Sunday, June 18, 2017. Day 21,647. Father’s Day.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ― Mark Twain
Goodreads

Today’s word of the day is whizzo, an adjective meaning, absolutely first-rate; superb; excellent. It is British slang.

Today is International Panic Day. So today, go ahead. Do panic. Don’t “remain calm.” Or, you could just go fishing, because it’s also Go Fishing Day. It’s also International Picnic Day, which is a little strange, because “picnic” and “panic” are alarmingly similar.

Today is Father’s Day. I wish I had more time to write about this, but since it’s Sunday, I’m pressed for time. And Windows tried to kill my computer yesterday (see yesterday’s entry), and I was planning on writing a bit about that yesterday. Anyway, if my math is correct, and it frequently is not, this is my third Father’s Day without a father. While it is true that the initial pain has subsided somewhat, there is still a great emptiness there. Not just today. Today is just a day. The emptiness is every day. when you “lose” a loved one, if I may be so bold as to state this, the emptiness will always be there. There will always be things that you shared with that person, that you can no longer share with him or her. The radio is a constant reminder, because I will come across a song and think, “My dad would love this song.” I’ll see something about a movie and remember how much he loved that movie. We heard “All Night Long,” by Lionel Richie, while we were in Oregon, and I remembered that it was my dad’s very favorite music video. This memories will never fade. At least I certainly hope that they don’t!

So, today, if you still have a father on this earth, and you have any kind of relationship with him (I understand that there are broken relationships), give him some love. If you are able, give him a big, strong, embrace (more than just a hug), and give God praise for him. And if you are a father, Happy Father’s Day to you! I hope you have a great day and are able to share it with your kids. We pretty much celebrated ours yesterday, and it was great.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:5
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you,
we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis
At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.
Psalm 75:2
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 
And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

Luke 4:16-22
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” 
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. 
You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.

Psalm 12:5-7
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love,
that through your grace each of us may proclaim your truth with boldness,
and minister your justice with compassion;
for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Living the Message)

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 
Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message)

We are supposed to be “light.” There are an awful lot of “Christians” spreading darkness on social media these days. Let’s put a stop to that, please. Let’s be light.

Father, help me to be light and not darkness. Help my life to be a life of light, mercy, and grace, showing your love to the world around me. Help me to walk in the your Kingdom and in the “easy yoke” of Jesus. Help me to walk in his words and in his steps.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Enemies

Loving and praying for our enemies is not a “strategy that will turn them into good friends. Love is the last thing that our enemies want from us and often acts as a goad to redoubled fury.” Keep in mind that “the enemies that Jesus loved and prayed for killed him.”

Today is Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Hump Day. Day 21,643.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Jung
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is sibylline, an adjective meaning, “mysterious; cryptic.”

Today is International Bath Day, so designated because it was allegedly this date on which Archimedes made his famous discovery in a bathtub, and, in his excitement, ran naked down the street, yelling, “Eureka! Eureka!”

After missing a week while on vacation, C and I will get back into our bowling tonight. The league starts at 6:30, so we’ll just have time to get something for S to eat and bring it home to her. We’ll probably wind up ordering food from the bowling alley snack bar. The actually have some decent sandwiches, so it won’t be all pizza and wings or stuff like that. Hopefully, we can keep up the averages we set a couple weeks ago.

The Texas Rangers kept up their winning streak, last night, beating the Astros 4-2. Their streak is now five games, and they are eleven games out of first, tied for second. The Boston Red Sox won another game in extra innings, beating the Phillies 4-3, they, too, are in second place, three games behind the Yankees.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:7
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Psalm 71:23
Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
Psalm 68:28
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 9:4-5
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! 
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

John 93:3-5

(From Living the Message)

Jesus has the last word on “the enemies.” Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). However, in order to do this, we have to be aware that we have enemies and know who they are. “Enemies, especially for those who live by faith, are a fact of life. If we don’t know we have them or who they are, we live in a dangerous naivete.” We may not understand what we are saying when we pray, “deliver us from evil.”

We hate sin and we hate evil, and this provides motivation for compassion for their victims. However, this hatred is “the wrong fuel for the engines of judgment; only love is adequate to sustain these passions.”

Let us not be deceived, however. Loving and praying for our enemies is not a “strategy that will turn them into good friends. Love is the last thing that our enemies want from us and often acts as a goad to redoubled fury.” Keep in mind that “the enemies that Jesus loved and prayed for killed him.”

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and GOD will look after you.
Proverbs 25:21-22 (The Message)

Father, help me be aware of who my enemies truly are, that I might love them and pray for them. Perhaps I walk in this dangerous naivete, not being completely aware that I have enemies. But, in truth, I know that there are enemies out there that hate the faith that I profess and that hate you or even deny your existence. Help me to identify these and pray for them, showing them love from the depths of the love that you have provided for us. Help me to walk in the words and ways of Jesus today.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Life Is Liturgy

Today is Sunday, June 11, 2017. Day 21,640.

“If you live to be one hundred, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age.” ~ George Burns
The Quotations Page

Today’s word of the day is purpurate, and adjective, meaning, “Purple in colour; †clothed in purple.” It can also mean, “Of noble origin; born ‘in the purple’,” or “Of language or rhetoric: rich; elaborate, ornate.”

Today is Corn on the Cob Day. That actually sounds pretty good. Perhaps we will have some of that today.

We got back home at around 8:30 last night. I think that we have decided that this may very well be our favorite vacation, thus far. It will definitely be hard to beat. And there is so much more to see in Oregon that I’m sure we will have to go back, maybe in a couple years.

We knew we would be tired and need to rest some, so that we can get back to work tomorrow (our first full work week in three weeks!), so we decided weeks ago that we would not be making it to our worship gathering this morning. By next weekend, we should be back in full swing. I’ve already mentioned in another blog that tomorrow morning, it will feel like we are getting up at 3:15. Neither one of us slept well, last night, in spite of being back in our home bed. For me, I kept getting hot. After all, we’ve been sleeping with a window open and temperatures in the upper forties to mid-fifties at night. We also missed the sounds of the ocean roaring through the open window.

Not much on the agenda for today. We’ll probably hit the grocery store in a little while, and then just relax for the afternoon. I’ll have band practice tomorrow night, and, even though I’ll still be a little tired, probably, I need to make it, because it’s been three weeks since I’ve practiced.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:7-9
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18:31
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 7:24-27
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

O God, from whom all good proceeds:
Grant that by your inspiration I may think those things that are right,
and by your merciful guiding may do them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.

(From Living the Message)

Eugene Peterson began talking about liturgy in yesterday’s reading. As much as we might dislike liturgy (especially those of us who are entrenched in more “Baptist” ways), it can be a beautiful thing. Yet is not about beauty or aesthetics. What it does is provide for space, time, and order. We come together “at appointed times in agreed upon places” to worship and pray as a community. Even the congregations that rebel against liturgy tend to do things in the same order every week, which is actually “liturgy,” like it or not.

Today’s reading, though, called “Let Us Pray,” is about thinking that prayer is something that we do on our own initiative. “We experience a deep longing for God, and so we pray. We feel an artesian gush of gratitude to God, and so we pray. We are crushed with a truckload of guilt before God, and so we pray.”

However, when we are involved in liturgy, as a community, “we do not take the initiative.”

“We don’t start it; someone else starts it, and we fall into step behind or alongside. Our egos are no longer front and center.”

I believe it is important for us to realize that not everything we do is of our own initiative, especially when it comes to spiritual formation. Even those times when we pray are probably not on our own initiative, but promptings by the Holy Spirit. When I feel a deep need for God, how else do I know this need unless the Spirit draws me; when I feel gratitude, where does that come from? I don’t start it! When I feel guilt, that certainly doesn’t come from me! So even those acts of prayer are, on the deepest level, not my own initiative.

Perhaps all of life is “liturgy” of some kind.

So come, let us worship: bow before him,
on your knees before GOD, who made us! 
Oh yes, he’s our God,
and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.

Psalm 95:6-7 (The Message)

Father, there is so much more I need to recognize in this life of liturgy. Help me to know that all things spiritual are not my own initiative. When I pray, it is because the Spirit draws me; when I sing or worship in other ways, it is because your Spirit draws me; when I walk in the ways and words of Jesus, it is because your Spirit enables me and teaches me. None of this comes from my own doing or thinking. My ego is not front and center. I am nothing without you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.