Today is Saturday, August 19, 2017. Day 21,709. It is S’s and J’s birthday!! Happy birthday!!!
“1. Never tell everything at once.” ~ Ken Venturi, Ken Venturi’s Two Great Rules of Life
Word of the Day
Theine ~ caffeine, especially in tea.
Today is Humanitarian Day. There were ten different choices for today’s “holiday.” I chose this one because I believe the world could use more humanitarianism right now.
C and S had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon. They kept sending me pictures of what they were doing, from Lunch at Martha’s Mexican Cocina, to the place where they got mani/pedis, to the cupcake shop. After I got home from work, we went to a local hibachi restaurant. We waited over an hour for a table, and the service and food were only okay, but we still had a good time. You can check out my review on Yelp. After dinner, we stopped at Sonic for drinks (of course), then ran through the Krispy Kreme drive through for some donuts for this morning’s breakfast.
While all of this was going on, the Red Sox were beating the Yankees (after falling behind), 9-6. This puts them five games up in the AL East.
Meanwhile, the Rangers lost to the last place team in the Central Division, the Other Sox. 4-3, with the go ahead run being an inside the park round trip on the relief pitcher’s first pitch. So the Rangers fall back to one game below .500, 14.5 behind the first place Astros, but didn’t lose any ground in the wild card race, because the Halos and Yanks both lost, as well.
In a little while, we will pack up a few clothes and head to Mineral Wells to visit with Grandma, spend the night, and go to church with her tomorrow. Not sure when the grocery shopping will get done.
Oh, and one last thing. I will not be doing a blog entry tomorrow. I don’t plan to take my laptop to Mineral Wells with me.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
(From The Divine Hours)
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
(From Practice Resurrection)
Today, we look at the third of the seven verbs that Eugene H. Peterson highlights in Ephesians 1:3-14. This verb is destined.
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Please note that the above reference is from the English Standard Version. There is some disagreement, across translations, as to where the words “in love” belong. King James Version places them at the end of the previous sentence, as does Peterson, in The Message. The New International Version agrees with the ESV, as does the New American Standard Bible. The New Revised Standard Version, however, agrees with the KJV and The Message. So, who knows? It’s not really relevant to this discussion, anyway. Moving on . . .
The words “destined” and “chosen” are very similar and, perhaps, even synonymous. Both words show us that our lives are not random, they have intention. “We are not a swarm of bees buzzing in and out of a hive, not a colony of ants following a scent in and out of an anthill.” God chooses and he destines. But they are not quite synonymous.
The word “destine” is, of course, included in the word “destination.” “God notices, identifies and chooses us. But that generalized choice now gels into an appointment that is congruent with God’s choice.”
The Greek word for “destine” is prooridzo, which “derives from the noun ‘boundary’ (oros). Literally, it means to set a limit, to mark a boundary.” What this tells us, is that, “When God destines, he marks out the boundaries in which we live the purposed life to which he appoints us. We aren’t set loose in the cosmos to find our place and way in it as best we can.” It is evident that there are many people out there who believe that we are, in fact, left alone to figure out our own way. Sadly, some of these even claim to be followers of Christ. But this being chosen is not abstract. “It develops into a relationship that is mutual and reciprocal.”
There is also much mystery involved in this idea of destining. “The moment we recognize that virtually everything that has to do with God takes place previous to our knowing anything about it, it becomes obvious that since we are not gods ourselves, we are forever unable to totally comprehend this ‘everything.'” These are very important truths that Peterson is laying out for us, here. He gives us two effects of this: first, “it absolutely demands humility — we don’t know enough to either protest or approve.” Second, “adoration is spontaneous. We become aware that we are in the presence of a reality that cannot be used, cannot be packaged, cannot be grasped on any other terms than are given to us by God. We open our hands and receive.”
Over the decades, many have still worked at “decontextualizing and depersonalizing” the word “destined,” or “predestined,” trying to create a sort of “blueprint” theology that wants to determine “the way we will live our lives in each detail. Some even go so far as to say that the blueprint actually determines the eternal fate, salvation or damnation, of each and every purpose who has ever lived.”
Concerning this idea, George Eliot once said, “The dunce who can’t do sums wants to solve the problems of the universe.”
The problem is that none of us has the blueprint. So all of the guessing, “over study Bibles in churches and over pitchers of beer in saloons,” is nothing more than squandered speculation. “The blueprint version of predestination wreaks havoc in too many lives. It is not a satisfactory formula for growing up in Christ.”
Now, anyone who has known me for very long knows that I have been a pretty staunch “Calvinist” for several decades. However, I prefer not to use that term, any more. I prefer to say that I believe in the “doctrines of grace.” I still pretty much subscribe to the “TULIP” model, but I certainly appreciate Eugene’s perspective on this. And I find myself largely in agreement with him. I used to lack humility in this area. That is no longer true (don’t misunderstand . . . I am in no way, shape, or form declaring how humble I am). I find that I agree that we don’t have the blueprint, and that trying to definitively declare anything in this matter is dangerously speculative. We are, indeed, as Eugene says, “forever unable to totally comprehend this ‘everything.'”
To further clarify this, Peterson tells us that Markus Barth says that this passage in Ephesians, rather than hinting at determinism, has a tone of “adoring rather than calculating.”
“The God who destines/predestines cannot be depersonalized into a cosmic blueprint — even if the blueprint has ‘God’s will’ inscribed on it and a host of angels are energetically making sure its specifications are being enacted in each and every life on planet Earth.”
Father, I do give you praise for choosing and destining me. Thank you for putting me in a place with boundaries, so that I don’t have to wander around in mystery, trying to find my place in this world. I also thank you for pulling me back from a place that lacked humility regarding these things. How dare I believe that I had put you in a theological blueprint box!! I praise you that you don’t fit in any boxes!! Keep teaching me about yourself, and about this wonderful entity that we call “church.”
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.