Prayer Begins With God

Today is Monday, September 11, 2017. Day 21,732. 31 days until our 32nd anniversary.

Tom Landry, who was born on this date in 1924 (died 2000), said, “Today, you have 100% of your life left.” A bit of a twist on the old, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Antinome ~ “something that is contradictory or opposite to another; a logical contradiction.”

Today is Hot Cross Bun Day. I really don’t even know what those are. I remember a nursery rhyme about them. Apparently, they used to be eaten on Good Friday as a symbol of the crucifixion. Here is a Wikipedia article about hot cross buns.

We have had a wonderful weekend. My mother is still here, this morning, and C is taking the day off to spend some time with her, taking her out shopping, then will take her back home, later this afternoon.

Yesterday’s worship gathering went well, and my worship leading seems to have been well-received. I certainly enjoyed it, and the young lady who sang with me did very well.

The Red Sox and Rangers both lost, yesterday, so the Rangers lost the series to the Yankees, and the Red Sox lost ground in their lead in the AL East. They are 3.5 up in the standings. The Rangers did not lose any ground in the wild card race, as the Twins also lost. But the Angels won, so they gained on the Twins. The Cleveland Indians won number 18 consecutive. The Washington Nationals became the first team to clinch not only a playoff berth, but their division. The Dodgers lost their tenth in a row, and the Diamondback won, reducing the Dodgers’s lead to only nine games.

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

“Bless God in the great congregation, the LORD, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
Psalm 68:26
Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
Psalm 74:20
Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, 
from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life.

Psalm 17:13-14
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.
Psalm 53:1
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:42-44

(From Living the Message)

Eugene Peterson reminds us why we need theologians.

“The reason that we who pray need a theologian at our side is that most of the difficulties of prayer are of our own making, the making of well-meaning friends, or the lies of the devil who always seems to be looking after our best self-interests.” You see, we tend to be always about our own interests and forget about God’s interests, or, at least, put our interests ahead of his. We get all caught up in what is happening to us, and then get confused by the “discrepancies between our feelings and our intentions.” We also tend to get distracted by false claims from well-meaning people (or perhaps some who are not so well-meaning). Lies like, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” or, “God helps those who help themselves.”

“But prayer has primarily to do with God, not us . . . And the theologian’s task is to train our thinking, our imagination, our understanding to begin with God not ourselves.”

Start with GOD—the first step in learning is bowing down to GOD; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
Proverbs 1:7 (The Message)

Father, I pray for your instruction in prayer, that I might make it more about you than about me. Show me not only how to pray, but what I should be praying for.
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.

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What Worship Does

Today is Wednesday, August 30, 2017. Day 21,720. Five more days until our Labor Day holiday!

Ted Williams, who was born on this date in 1918 (died in 2005), said, “They invented the All-Star game for Willie Mays.”
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Interstice ~ “a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced things.”

Today is Grief Awareness Day. All around us, there are people who are grieving. This week, especially, there are, quite possibly a million or more that are grieving loss of family or property in southeast Texas. We could all stand to be more aware of people around us and what they are going through, showing compassion and giving a shoulder to lean on.

Reports are saying that Harvey has, once again, made landfall, just west of Cameron, Louisiana. Houston may finally see a break in the rain today, but other areas are still being hit with the massive rain. Looking at the forecast, I see only a ten percent chance of rain tomorrow, which will be a very welcome relief for those people. How long it will take for the floods to go down, I have no idea.

The Rangers trounced the Astros at the Juice Box in Tampa, last night, 12-2. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the Twins also won, so they remain three games out of the second wild card spot.

The Red Sox had a good game against the Boo Jays, winning 3-0, behind the solid pitching of Chris Sale. The Yankees didn’t play (rained out?), so the Sox gained a half game, and are, once again, four games up in the AL East.

The Dodgers have lost three in a row. That may be the first time all season this has happened.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:4
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:18

(From Living the Message)

Here is what worship does for us. It’s not just us giving to God, but God giving to us, as well.

“The work of worship gathers everything in our common lives that has been dispersed by sin and brings it to our attention before God; at the same time it gathers everything in God’s revelation that has been forgotten in our distracted hurrying and puts it before us so that we can offer it up in praise and obedience. All of this does not take place merely in a single hour of worship. But, faithfully repeated, week after week, year after year, there is an accumulation to wholeness.” (Eugene H. Peterson)

The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night.
Revelation 22:3b-5a (The Message)

Father, once again, I ask you to draw my heart, my soul, back into solid worship. Gather all of these things that have been scattered by distraction and hurry, and place them back in front of me. Show me, teach me, what is important in this life.
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.

Worship God

Today is Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Day 21,719. Six days until the Labor Day holiday!

Temple Grandin, who is 70 today, said, “Autism is a neurological disorder. It’s not caused by bad parenting. It’s caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain’s computer cables that hook up the different brain departments.”
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Coalesce ~ “to grow together; to unite into a whole; to unite for a common end; join forces.”

Today is According to Hoyle Day. Edmond Hoyle was best known for his books on rules for a variety of card games. My parents had one of his books, when I was growing up, and I used to love to read through it. Hoyle died on this date in 1769.

There isn’t much going on around here, right now, but even if there was, it would pale in comparison to what is going on in southeast Texas. I haven’t mentioned it, yet, but Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on, I believe, Thursday or Friday night. Rockport and other coastal towns got hit pretty hard, but Houston is suffering the brunt of what is now a tropical storm, and seems to be pretty much camped out over Harris County, dumping billions of gallons of water on it. And it doesn’t look like Harvey will be leaving the area until at least Thursday of this week. My family and I are okay, as we live in the DFW Metroplex, which is about 250 miles north of there. We’ve gotten a little rain and some cloudy days, that’s pretty much it. But it’s still raining in Houston, and much of the city is underwater, in some places so high that trucks are underwater. If you are the praying type, you might want to send up a prayer for the rain to stop. There are a number of brave volunteers who are sacrificing to go out and help rescue people who are stranded in their homes. The death toll from the storm is between seven and fifteen, depending on which news you look at. In my opinion, that’s pretty miraculous that it’s that low. Any number is too high, of course.

And while all this is going on, I have Facebook friends who can’t seem to care about anything but whether some stupid football players stand up for the National Anthem. I just don’t understand some people.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Psalm 95:1
Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Psalm 144:5
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Psalm 71:23
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 89:1
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
John 10:17-18
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 
from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.

Psalm 17:7-9

(From Living the Message)

The Twenty-four Elders and the Four Animals fell to their knees and worshiped God on his Throne, praising, Amen! Yes! Hallelujah!
Revelation 19:4 (The Message)

John spends a lot of time, in this last book of the Bible, describing scenes of worship in heaven. It might lead one to believe that worship is kind of important. I have believed, for decades, that it is the most important thing we, as followers of Christ, can do. Some believe evangelism is most important; others believe making disciples is more important (no, they are not the same thing). However, as Jesus gave the most important command as loving God with all of our being (heart, soul, mind, and strength), I believe with all my heart that this embodies worship. This helps us keep our focus on what is right in this life. If we are worshiping God, everything else that we should be doing will fall into place.

Father, help me to worship you more. I have, it seems, rather fallen out of this practice. Not that I don’t worship you, but the passion seems to be missing. I implore you, please restore the passion of worship that I once had in my life. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Show me the path, make it clear to me, and then help me to keep my feet on it.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Revealing Angels

Today is Friday, August 25, 2017. Woohoo, Friday!!! Day 21,715. Only ten days until our Labor Day holiday!!

Quote of the Day

“If you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet, and you can find a lot of people there who don’t like you.” ~ Tina Fey, Golden Globes Acceptance Speech, 2009

Word of the Day

Incogitant ~ “thoughtless; inconsiderate.”

Today is Kiss and Make Up Day. Having a tiff? A lovers’ quarrel? Time to kiss and make up!

We have coffee again!! We have coffee again!! There’s a bit of a peculiar taste to it, this morning, but it was the first time we used it. Trust me, it’s still coffee, and it’s wonderful!

Not much else going on. The Rangers beat the Angels 3-0, last night. The Twins lost, so the Rangers are now only one game out of the second wild card spot. And the Astros are fading. They’re only playing .500 ball right now.

The Red Sox lost a slug-fest to the Indians, 13-6. They split the series. I’m beginning to think that there’s something wrong with Chris Sale, who has been hit pretty badly in his last two outings. But the Yankees lost, too, so the Sox maintain their 4.5 game lead in the AL East.

The Dodgers won their 90th game, last night.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 
He redeems my soul in safety

Psalm 55:16-18
To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. 
Psalm 28:1
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
Psalm 13:5
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Psalm 13:1-2
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 3:1-2

(From Living the Message)

Twice in the book of Revelation, John has to be told not to worship the angel who is revealing these things to him. I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9)

Why is this so hard to understand? Why do we have such a difficult time with this concept? Because, says Peterson, it is easier. “It is easier to indulge in ecstasies than to engage in obedience. It is easier to pursue a fascination with the supernatural than to enter into the service of God.” It happens frequently in the lives of well-meaning people who get caught up in the ecstatic.

“Revealing angels have always proved more popular than the revealed God.”

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, “The gods have come down! These men are gods!”
When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, “What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God.”

Acts 14:11, 14-15a (The Message)

Father, help me to be more about looking for and obeying you, rather than seeking the excitement of the fantastic and ecstatic.
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.

In Touch With Reality

Today is Monday, August 21, 2017. Day 21,711.

Quote of the Day

“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.” ~ Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

Word of the Day

Hebetude ~ “lethargy; dullness. Tired from being out late the night before, Jennifer allowed herself to fall into the hebetude of a lazy Sunday afternoon.”

Today is Poet’s Day, which would explain the Goodreads quote of the day, “Once, poets were magicians. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings — stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again.” (Greg Bear)

It was a marvelous weekend! We got to Mineral Wells around 1:30 or so, talked for a couple of minutes, then headed over to Pastafina (S’s choice) for lunch. We had a delicious Italian lunch, S having the ravioli special, C having lasagna, and my mother and I having veal parmigiana. After that, we went back to the house, where S opened her presents. My mother gives the best presents! Nothing real fancy, but so imaginative, and lots of them! We visited for a while, then had some homemade strawberry cake. Then C and Mama went back to the den to look at Mama’s computer, because she was having some minor trouble with something. S fell asleep on the couch, and I drifted in and out in a chair, while playing games on my phone.

We headed over to the hotel around 7:00. We had a small amount of trouble checking in, as the hotel didn’t seem to have our reservation. But we had a confirmation number with Expedia, so he called someone (I assume the Best Western main office?) and then checked us in, saying they were supposed to fax him something. Fax? People still use those?? Anyway, after getting everything up to the room, C and I drove over to Jack in the Box for some dinner, which we took back to the hotel room.

Sunday morning, we had our free breakfast in the hotel, which was actually pretty good. Except for the biscuits. They were crunchy. I almost couldn’t split one of the open, they were so hard. But gravy fixed that. Gravy fixes a lot of things.

We got back to my mother’s house around 10:15, visited for a few minutes, then headed to church. We had a good time worshiping with the folks at FBC Mineral Wells, and heard a good message by their youth pastor. After that, it was lunch at a new Mexican restaurant in town, the name of which I cannot remember. Wait, I found it. It is Taqueria La Estrella. It is a charming little place with amazing service and great food. I have learned that they must not be a new restaurant, but just moved to a new location. Anyway. Good times.

We went back to the house, visited some more, watched some of the Rangers game, had some more strawberry cake, then headed home. As I mentioned earlier, it was a marvelous weekend. S was very happy.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
Psalm 147:1
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.
Psalm 28:2
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,

Psalm 92:1-2
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Psalm 79:13
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 
All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

John 10:7-9
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.

Psalm 23

(From Living the Message)

“The claim of the gospel is that it puts us in touch with reality — all of it, not just a part. It puts us in touch with a God who creates and with the people and world he created. It puts us in touch with a Christ who redeems and the people whom he loves. It puts us in touch with our feelings of hope and despair, with our thoughts of doubt and faith, with our acts of virtue and vice. It puts us in touch with everything, visible and invisible, right and wrong, good and evil. It puts us in touch and then trains us in mature ways of living.

“We live in a world where people are going crazy. We have a gospel that sets us free to think, and in so doing it develops us in a rich and robust sanity. The sanity of the gospel is one of its most attractive features. Persons who truly live by faith are in touch with reality and become conspicuously sane.” (Eugene H. Peterson)

I would add that it puts us in touch with the Kingdom of God, which is the only true reality.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”
John 8:31-32 (The Message)

Thank you, Father, for putting me in touch with reality through the truth of the Gospel. Thank you for showing me your kingdom and allowing me to walk in it. Help me to walk more completely, and to follow in the steps of Jesus, as I try to demonstrate this gospel to those around me. Forgive me when I fail.
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.

Spirit

Today is Friday, August 18, 2017. Day 21,708. ONE MORE DAY until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

Word of the Day

Confabulate ~ to converse informally; chat.

Today is Bad Poetry Day. In honor of that, here is some Vogon poetry.

Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me,
As plurdled gabbleblotchits,
On a lurgid bee,
That mordiously hath blurted out,
Its earted jurtles, grumbling
Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming]
Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles,
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts,
And living glupules frart and stipulate,
Like jowling meated liverslime,
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
And hooptiously drangle me,
With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries.
Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
See if I don’t!

(Much thanks to Douglas Adams!)

So, today, C is taking a half day off (the after lunch half), and will be taking S to have lunch and get a mani/pedi. I wish I could go, but I can’t take today off, as someone else with an important role already had the day off. I don’t really want a manicure, but those fancy pedicures are the bomb diggity, man!

Tomorrow, we will be heading to Mineral Wells for the weekend, to visit Grandma, and go to church with her on Sunday morning. Good times. I also plan to stop by the Crazy Water store and pick up another case or two of that number four Crazy Water. It’s good stuff, and I swear it helped the arthritic pain I was experiencing in my right knee.

The Rangers beat the Other Sox, last night, 9-8. They gained a half game on the wild card because the Angels didn’t play. They also gained a game on the Astros, who lost. So they are tied for third place, with Seattle, 13.5 games out, and 1.5 out of the second wild card spot.

The Red Sox didn’t play, but lost a half game because the Yankees won. They are four games up in the AL East. I’m thinking September could be quite exciting!

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Psalm 31:23
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!
Psalm 30:10
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
Psalm 27:4
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 
For what can a man give in return for his soul? 
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:34-38
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

(From Living the Message)

It’s one of those times I will quote the reading verbatim.

“Spirit is the scriptural word for God sharing his life in our lives. It means that God is not an anonymous somebody ‘out there’ or an idea explained in a book, but a living presence whom I experience in the life I live day by day. God gives himself to me. I receive God into myself. Spirit is God’s gift of himself in my experience.”

When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
Romans 8:11b (The Message)

Father, live and breathe in me today! Help me to know your presence in my life today. Help me to see, feel, and know the presence of your Spirit as I walk through this day. Also, I ask that you help me to notice the people you put in my path today, people that also represent you in this world.
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.

Included In the Workforce

“The nature of Christ’s sovereignty is not to lord it over his people but to invite them into the exercise of his self-giving.”

Today is Sunday, August 6, 2017. Day 21,696. Only thirteen days until S’s and J’s birthday!!

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Psalm 47:1
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
Psalm 119:149
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

Psalm 36:7-9
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Psalm 105:3
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

John 14:1-3
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Living the Message)

At the end of chapter 2, Eugene H. Peterson comes back to that word, axios, that occurs at the central point of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. If you remember, that Greek word, translated “worthy” in the text, is a symbol of balancing scales. The two sides of the scale are represented by God’s calling and the Church walking.

Paul uses is paraphrase of Psalm 68 to anchor that metaphor “in Christ’s kingly rule and Christ’s generosity.” In other words, Paul shows us that, while Christ is exercising his rule as High King in his Ascension, he exercises “his rule most conspicuously by giving gifts. The nature of Christ’s sovereignty is not to lord it over his people but to invite them into the exercise of his self-giving.”

We begin to mature when we realize that we are “included in the workforce. We embrace the work as a gift.” What a wonderful gift this is, too! We get to work alongside Jesus, or Lord, “in this great salvation enterprise.”

Father, thank you for Jesus and his gifts to us. What a joy to walk alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ as we work alongside Christ! I pray that we all enter into this maturity with gusto and joy. Show all of your Church how to mature in Christ as we walk in our daily lives. Help us to recognize your calling on our lives and then to walk in that obedience, sharing the easy yoke with Jesus, walking in your Kingdom.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.