Good morning. It is Monday, September 30, 2013. Last day of September.
Today is “Mud Pack Day.” Don’t look at me, I don’t make these up. . .
We had a great morning at church yesterday. The worship went really well, and Jacob really nailed the sermon. He is preaching through “The Sermon on the Mount” from Matthew 5-7, and yesterday, he came to the potentially awkward section in Matthew 5:27-37. This is the section that talks about lust and divorce. It may have been the best sermon I have ever heard on that subject matter. If you’re interested, there should be a podcast up sometime this week at the website for The Exchange.
The Rangers kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Angels once again, yesterday. They won their last seven regular season games. It didn’t quite make up for the damage done by the seven-game losing streak earlier in September, but it forced a tiebreaker game against the Rays tonight. If the Rangers win that, they will face the Indians for the Wild Card Game on Wednesday. If they win that, they will meet the Red Sox in the ALDS, beginning October 4. That will certainly be interesting.
It’s back to Monday again, and I have no idea what this week holds in store for us. Could be just another week. We shall see.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1399, King Richard II of England became the first English king to abdicate the throne. During his time as king, Richard had become “increasingly selfish and extravagant,” as well as more and more authoritarian. He began to ignore Parliament, and even, at one point, attempted “to be elected Holy Roman Emperor.” In 1939, Richard exiled his cousin, Henry Bolingroke and seized his property. But then, Richard made a grave mistake. He went on an expedition to Ireland. Bolingbroke invaded England, “as champion of all the dispossessed nobles.” He landed at Ravenspur on July 4, 1399, and “soon took control of most of England.” When Richard hurried back, he “found every hand turned against him and was forced to surrender to Bolingbroke’s supporters.” He was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where, after being threatened and fearing for his life, he finally agreed to abdicate. On October 13, Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV. Henry moved Richard to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, where, four months later, he was dead, “possibly a suicide from starvation but more probably murdered on the orders of the new king.”
Today’s birthday is Buddy Rich, born on this date in 1917. Buddy is still known as one of the best drummers who ever lived. This clip is from a concert in 1987, just a few months before he died.
Honorable mentions go to Fran Drescher, 56, Johnny Mathis, 78, Barry Williams, 59, Angie Dickinson, 82, Jenna Elfman, 42, Marilyn McCoo, 72, Truman Capote, 1924-1984, Trey Anastasio, 49, Dominique Moceanu, 32, Robin Evan Roberts, 1926-2010, Deborah Kerr, 1921-2007, Jack Wild, 1952-2006, Eric Stolz, 52, Marc Bolan, 66, Gibby Haynes, 56, and Tony Hale, 43.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul! Psalm 103:20-22
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1
Father, I pray that you might show me some revelation during this time of devotion this morning. May your words come alive in my spirit today.
Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “No One Has Power Over the Wind.” The scripture reading is Ecclesiastes 8:5-8.
Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.
(The version quoted in the devotion renders “spirit” as “wind,” in verse 8.) We truly don’t know the course of our lives. Many of us seem to think that we can direct our lives in a certain direction, but, in truth, we have no clue what is coming. “It is easier to obey than to try to run our lives.” It is frustrating to attempt to keep control over our lives in this fallen world. It’s like trying to control or master the wind. It is impossible to do. Death is the same way. It is impossible to delay it forever, no matter how hard some people try. The one who wrote the words in the above scripture, only known as “The Teacher,” comes to the conclusion in the final verses of the small book, The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (12:13) Modern man seems to have either forgotten this, or is simply ignoring it altogether.
How many of us are nervous on airplane flights? (I raise my hand.) For many of us, this is caused by the fact that we have no control over our own destiny during the flight. We have, essentially, two choices. We can continue to be nervous, anxious, and, overall, miserable. Or we can release all of those feelings to God and trust his hand, along with the skills of the people flying the plane. But we struggle with relinquishing control, don’t we? The same is true of our daily lives. We want to feel like we are in control of things. But, in the end, we truly are not.
Pray Without Ceasing: A Thirty-One-Day Course, by Andrew Murray
What to Pray: For the Spirit of Christ in His People
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. John 13:15
“As branches of the Vine, we are to be so like the Vine, so
entirely identified with it, that all may see that we have the same
nature, and life, and spirit. When we pray for the Spirit, let us
not only think of a Spirit of power, but the very disposition and
temper of Christ. Ask for and expect nothing less. Ask it for yourself
and ask it for all God’s children. This should be the deepest
cry of our heart.”
How to Pray: Striving in Prayer
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf. . . Romans 15:30
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face. . . Colossians 2:1
“Paul asked his followers to join him in his trials by praying
for him. All the powers of evil seek to hinder us in prayer. Prayer
is a conflict with opposing forces. It requires the whole heart and
all our strength. May God give us grace to strive in prayer for
others, and may we all be blessed with many who pray also for
Thus ends the “thirty-one day course,” Pray Without Ceasing.
Father, I thank you for the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and I pray that he might be more evident in my life, as I live each day. I pray daily for the life of Christ to be lived in me, and that his characteristics, listed in the Beatitudes, may be evident in my life. I also pray daily for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifest in my life. I pray this for all believers, throughout the world today, that they might experience the life of Christ. Not only that he might empower them and enable them to live according to the commands of God, but that Jesus Christ might actually live in them and through them! I also pray that we might successfully relinquish attempting to control our own lives, our own destinies, when it is painfully obvious that we cannot. May we submit fully to you, daily.
I pray for this day, Father, that we will have a good work day, and that you will surround us with your steadfast love and mercy. I pray this for Stephanie, as well, that you will show her your love and enable her to know you more.
Part of submission is relinquishing control. To acknowledge the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit within us is the most effective way to do this.
Grace and peace, friends.