“The Reckless, Raging Fury . . .”

Today is Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Day 21,740. 23 days until our 32nd anniversary!

Rich Mullins, who died on this date in 1997, said, “Having grown up Protestant, I was unfamiliar with St. Francis. Then I watched the movie ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’… I just became fascinated with the character of St. Francis. What I saw in that movie was a man who had fallen in love with God, someone for whom God was everything.”
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Word of the Day

<em>Oceanicity ~ “the degree to which the climate of a place is influenced by the sea.”

Of course, today, somewhat famously, now, is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Although Dave Barry did not originate this “holiday,” apparently, we have him to thank for promoting it.

As noted above in the daily quote, today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins, one of the greatest Christian songwriters of the late twentieth century. I will share my favorite song of his, which is actually two songs, from “The World As Best As I Remember It, Volume 1.” The video is made by someone else, just some pretty scenery and stuff.

C is still not feeling well, and is staying home from work today. The coughing is making her have a tough time sleeping. I don’t think she feels horrible, but the coughing and sneezing is bringing her down.

The Red Sox beat the Orioles, 10-8, in eleven innings, last night. The Yanks won, so no change in the standings, there. But the Twins lost, so everyone else gained a half game in the wild card standings. So the Rangers are 4.5 games out of the second wild card spot, and the elimination number is still nine. They have thirteen games left.

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! 
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123:1-2
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 7:17
And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Mark 9:36-37
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! 
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

Psalm 68:4-5

(From The President’s Devotional)

“Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, “For Success”

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 
1Co 13:10  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Father, give us love for each other, give us love for you, and help us to know your love for us.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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Paul Calls Us Saints

Today is Monday, September 18, 2017. Day 21,739. 24 days until our 32nd anniversary!

Greta Garbo, who was born on this date in 1905 (died 1990), said, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.”
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Word of the Day

Amanuensis ~ “one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript.”

Today is Cheeseburger Day. That’s kind of funny, because I could swear that Friday was Double Cheeseburger Day. I had a good cheeseburger on Saturday, so that will have to count for today.

I have to say that it was a very nice weekend. I’ve already described what we did Saturday. Yesterday, we had a good worship gathering, followed by lunch at Mexican Inn. C is still feeling a bit under the weather, but she was okay to eat lunch. After that, we went home, where I grabbed the grocery list and headed to Kroger, while C laid down for a nap. I got the groceries done, put away, and then played Horizon: Zero Dawn for a while, while C painted on a paint by number set that she bought. It was a nice, relaxing afternoon.

The Red Sox lost to the Rays, 3-2, but the Yankees also lost, so the standings in the AL East stay the same. The Boo Jays are eliminated (YAY!!), and Tampa and Baltimore both have an elimination number of one. But neither Boston nor New York will clinch anything until just days before the end of the season. Who knows? It may come down to the last game of the year.

The Rangers beat the Angels, which helped the Astros clinch the division, and knocked the Angels back a game in the wild card hunt. The Twins won, so the Rangers did not gain any ground in that hunt. In the wild card race, Seattle, Kansas City, and Texas all have an elimination number of nine. Texas has thirteen games left.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Psalm 96:2-3
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
Psalm 5:3
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
Psalm 21:13
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth.

Psalm 96:12-13
So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 
While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

John 12:35-36
Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. 
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 
The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. 
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! 
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. 
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. 
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, 
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Psalm 147:1-11
O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule my heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Practice Resurrection)

Paul calls us saints. In fact, that seems to be his favorite term for us. He uses the word nine times in the letter to the Ephesians, to describe the people of God. “Understanding who these men and women are, this resurrection company that we now find ourselves among, requires a renovation of imagination as thoroughgoing as when we submitted to the blessing.” Not only do we find that most of our conceptions about God were wrong, we also find that most of our conceptions about our neighbors were wrong.

We also find that we cannot practice this resurrection life alone. It is not a private thing. We cannot “grow up in Christ” by ourselves.

What is a “saint?” It means, literally, “holy one.” Most of us would balk at that designation for ourselves. However, it has nothing to do with what we do. We can never earn the title. Paul “means for us to take a second look at these men and women that it would never have occurred to us to name as saints.” He “deliberately chooses a word that identifies us by what God does in and for us, not what we do for God. He re-identifies us as creatures of God, saved by Jesus, formed for holiness by the Spirit. He is retraining our imaginations to understand ourselves not in terms of how we feel about ourselves and not in terms of how others treat us, but as God feels about us and treats us.”

This should, at least, give us cause for humility. Paul uses a word for us that defines us in terms of who God is for us and what he is doing in our lives. This, of course, requires a “radical shift in perception of both ourselves and of others.”

Father, let us not hesitate to think of ourselves as “saints.” But also let us not become haughty and arrogant at the usage of the name, because, if we are saints, we are only saints because of what you have done in and for us. Let us give thanks for the things that you have done in and for us. And let us live our lives in grace and humility, walking in that which you have given us, your Kingdom.
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.

Greater Things

Today is Sunday, September 17, 2017. Day 21,738. 25 days until our 32nd anniversary!

Roddy MacDowall, who was born on this date in 1928 (died 1998), said, “I enjoyed being in movies when I was a boy. As a child you’re not acting – you believe.” I wonder if that is still true today.
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Word of the Day

Zizz ~ “The noise made by the rapid motion of a wheel.”

Today is Wife Appreciation Day. I figured I had better pick that one out of the other choices. And I do so appreciate my wife! She has put up with me for almost thirty-two years! She’s not feeling great, this morning. She has developed a nasty cough.

We had a fun day, yesterday. In the early afternoon, we headed out to Euless, where we had burgers at Chop House Burgers. It was delicious! C and I both had the signature Chop House Burger, with an added fried egg, and I added bacon to mine. S had the chicken fried chicken “burger.” After we ate, we headed across the highway to our favorite Nail Spa, where we all got pedicures. I love pedicures. Do not be deceived, my brothers, because it’s not at all about getting toenails cut. That’s just the beginning. You get feet and lower legs massaged, hot stone rubs, hot towels, and even a hot wax treatment on your feet. And it feels so good, I can’t describe it with words. So very relaxing!

The Red Sox beat the Rays 3-1, last night, and the Yankees won, as well, so that race remains the same. The Sox are three games up and the Yanks hold the top wild card spot. The Indians won, clinching their division. The Rangers lost to the Angels, 2-0, but the Twins also lost, so the Rangers remain five games out of the wild card race. The Angels, however, move to within one game of the Twins in that race. The Rangers elimination number for the wild card race is ten, with fourteen games remaining.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
Psalm 101:1
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Psalm 88:13
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Psalm 93:5
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:13-16
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
O God, because without you we are not able to please you,
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things
direct and rule my heart;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From The President’s Devotional)

“We are but as the instrument of heaven.
Our work is not design, but destiny.” ~ Owen Meridith, “Clytemnestra”

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
John 14:12

When Jesus left this earth, he left us some tasks to accomplish.

“Today is not meant for trivial tasks. It is not to be consumed with consumption or used up with self-glorification.” Today is a day to “build more temples to God’s glory here on earth.” We are here to bring a measure of the Kingdom of God to earth.

“It’s not a day for the mundane, for the usual, for less. It’s a day for greater, and greater, and greater works.”

“God, let me be a striver. Help me reach not toward my own high calling but toward yours. And in your name, let me accomplish great things. Amen.” (Joshua Dubois)

Amen, and amen, Father! Today, let this day be about you and what I can accomplish in your name and in your power. Let today be about your glory, and help me to build those temples to your glory. As I continue to work to live my life without anger, let your glory shine through, let me display walking in your Kingdom, and let that overflow into other areas of my life, as well. Indeed, help me, in the power of your Holy Spirit, to do greater things in your great name!
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.

On the Imitation of Men

Today is Saturday, September 16, 2017. Day 21,737. 26 days until our 32nd anniversary.

B.B. King, who was born on this date in 1925 (died 2015), said, “I don’t have a favorite song that I’ve written. But I do have a favorite song: ‘Always on My Mind,’ the Willie Nelson version. If I could sing it like he do, I would sing it every night. I like the story it tells.”
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And just for kicks, here’s that Willie Nelson verson.

Word of the Day

Travesty ~ “a debased, distorted, or grossly inferior imitation.” Also, “a burlesque translation or literary or artistic imitation usually grotesquely incongruous in style, treatment, or subject matter.”

Today is Guacamole Day. Do I need to even say anything else about that?

So the legendary winning streak came to a screeching halt last night, as the KC Royals beat the Indians 4-3. However, what happened immediately after that was very cool. They were playing in Cleveland, and after the final out, the crowd stood up and cheered their team for at least five minutes, and the team, led by Terry Francona, came out of the dugout, tipped their hats and applauded the fans. I swear I had tears in my eyes. It was a beautiful thing. One of the things that has kept this family interested in this series (and I mean the whole family, not just me and S, the baseball fans), is that C’s stepdad, who passed away earlier this year, was a Cleveland fan. So we kept thinking about him as his team was making history. And if the Rangers and Red Sox don’t make it to the World Series, I’ll be cheering the Indians all the way.

Speaking of Red Sox, they beat the Rays 13-6, last night. In fifteen innings! It was tied 5-5 at the end of nine. In the fourteenth, both teams scored a run. But in the top of the fifteenth, the Red Sox exploded for seven runs! Unfortunately, the Yankees also won, so the Sox remain three up in the AL East. But, as I always say, if you win your games, you don’t have to worry about what the teams behind you do.

The Rangers, in the meantime, lost their fourth consecutive game. After being swept by Seattle, they traveled to LA, where they lost to the Angels, 7-6. They are officially eliminated from division contention, being seventeen games behind in fourth place. However, they are still only five games out of the second wild card spot, and while it looks doubtful that they will manage to make that spot, their eliminate number is still eleven, with fifteen games left. There is hope until that “E” appears in the wild card column.

As it stands right now, Cleveland in the AL, and Washington and LA in the NL are the only teams that have clinched playoff spots.

Naturally, as it was Friday, I had to work late, last night. I think it was 6:00 PM when we got out of there. But I was okay with it, as I have recently begun trying to work Dallas Willard’s beliefs about anger into my own life. To put it in a nutshell, I stumbled across his quote, “”I believe that everything you can do with anger you can do better without it. You may have to learn how to do that.” I have a feeling that the second sentence is a bit tongue-in-cheek.” Because, yes, we most certainly will have to learn how to do that.

I’m not sure what is on the menu for today. I hear there’s a possibility of pedicures. I love a pedicure, and we haven’t had one since . . . maybe March? I can’t remember. So, I’d best get a move on.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
Psalm 46:8
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.
Psalm 20:9
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
Psalm 59:9
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

Psalm 103:15-16
And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 
And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 
people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 
Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
“So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Luke 21:8ff

(From Practice Resurrection)

To further press this idea of not finding formulas to imitate in prayer, Eugene H. Peterson relates a story from his teenage years. He tells of a wise teacher that he knew, named John Wright Follette. His parents knew John well, and frequently had him over to their house. On one such occasion, Peterson, about sixteen at the time, decided he wanted to talk to Follette about prayer, since he deemed Follette to be a wise and holy man. However, Follette had seemingly fallen asleep in a hammock on the front porch. Peterson grew impatient, and spoke to his mother, who said she didn’t think he was asleep. “He likes to be quiet and listen to the spirit.”

So Peterson drew up his confidence and went to talk to the man. “Dr. Follette, can I talk to you about prayer?”

Follette never opened his eyes, but spoke. “I haven’t prayed for forty years!”

Peterson was stunned, stood there for a moment, and left. He was devastated, scandalized, even. He says he never told his mother, lest she also be scandalized at this revelation.

It took Peterson a few years to realize what had happened, and how wise and holy Follette actually was, after all. “He knew intuitively that the callow adolescent that was me that day would have swallowed whole anything he said and slavishly imitated it. Not matter what he said, no matter how wise and holy, it would have sent me off for years of trying to be Dr. Follette at prayer–wasted years of imitating an icon–when I needed to be experimenting, practicing, internalizing the way of language that would bring me into the God-initiated conversation that is prayer.”

Meanwhile, over the next few years, Peterson discovered David in the Psalms, Paul in Ephesians, and Jesus in the Gospel.

While it is never a bad thing to seek advice from people who are wiser than we, we must resist the temptation to imitate men over seeking Jesus. To truly “practice resurrection,” we need to look to the author and finisher of our faith, the one who was truly and firstly resurrected, Jesus Christ. Men like Eugene Peterson and Dallas Willard can help me. But I must be careful, lest I begin to worship and imitate them over the life and words of Jesus.

Father, teach me. Draw me in to your heart even more. Show me the ways of Jesus as I look at both his life and the lives of people who have followed him. Most especially, give me strength in this new journey of a life without anger. I know I won’t be perfect. I know I will slip and fall. But help me to pick right back up again and keep walking. Teach me to walk in your kingdom, where anger is not necessary and love reigns.
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.

Acts of Prayer

Today is Friday, September 15, 2017. Day 21,736. 27 days until our 32nd anniversary.

Agatha Christie, born on this date in 1890 (died 1976), said, “An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.”
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Word of the Day

Wodgy ~ “Solid, bulky; large, chunky. Also: dense in texture”

Today is Hug Your Boss Day. I just might do that. The reaction is always fun.

The Cleveland Indians made MLB history last night. In a nail-biter, they beat the KC Royals 3-2 in the bottom of the tenth inning. This gave them their 22nd consecutive win, which, with no ties interrupting, is a MLB record. I watched the end of the game, and it was quite exciting. And, with that win, they finally clinched at least a playoff spot. They are the third team to do so.

The Red Sox beat the Athletics yesterday afternoon, but the Yankees also won, so the Sox remain three games up in the AL East. The Rangers lost to the Mariners, which, I believe means they were swept in this series. They dropped to five games out in the AL West, with only sixteen games left.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, 
who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God! 
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!

Psalm 135:1-3
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
Psalm 140:6
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
Psalm 97:9
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 
For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:34-36

(From Practice Resurrection)

Paul has used three verbs to describe what he is doing: “bless, give thanks, pray.” There is also one noun: prayer. But we must be careful, lest we fall into the trap of thinking that prayer is all about grammar. We often think of prayer in terms of some model. Many of us are familiar with the ACTS model: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. As if to say that it’s not really prayer unless we follow that formula and in that exact order. And perhaps there is some value in that. However, Peterson (and I agree with him) has never been fond of that practice. He says that it excludes too much.

“What we are after in the practice of resurrection is a way of language in which the word of God to us is continuously implicit in the way we use words, both in response to God and in relation to one another.”

Peterson quotes Martin Thornton, who took to always capitalizing prayer: “Written with an initial capital — Prayer — we have a generic term for any process or activity qualified by a living relation between human souls and God. . . . Prayer, quite simply, is the total experience of the Christian man and woman.”

Says, Peterson, “We pray when we are meditatively quiet before God with Psalm 118 open before us; we pray while taking out the garbage; we pray when we are losing our grip and then ask God for help; we pray when we are weeding the garden; we pray when we are asking God to help a friend who is at the end of her rope; we pray when we are writing a letter; we pray when we are in conversation with our cynical and bullying boss; we pray with our friends in church; we pray walking down Main Street in the company of strangers.”

He is not trying to say that everything we do is automatically an act of prayer. But what he is saying is that everything we do can be prayer! In fact, he even says that “many of pray far more than we are aware that we are praying.”

It’s not harmful to know some of the models that are out there, but looking for something that can just be imitated is “not the way to mature in prayer any more than learning stock phrases as a child . . . is the way to become fluent in the English language.”

“We saturate our minds and memories in Christ and the Scriptures, and then go about our day’s work without a prepared script, unself-consciously trusting the Holy Spirit language — its syntax and metaphors, its tone and rhythm — always working deep in our souls without awareness, sometimes articulate in our ears and on our tongues.”

Father, by the power and work of your Holy Spirit, and helping me to remember everything I have read in your Word, let everything I do, say, and think, today, be an act of prayer.
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.

Resurrection Country

Today is Thursday, September 14, 2017. Day 21,735. 28 days until our 32nd anniversary.

Andrew Lincoln, who was born on this date in 1973, said, “I think my wife has always been aware, whatever country we have been in, of my dramatic leading man status; a little too dramatic she would probably say.” One reason I chose this quote is that Andrew is married to Gael Anderson, the daughter of Ian Anderson, founder of Jethro Tull.
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Word of the Day

Mickle ~ “great; large; much.”

Today is Gobstopper Day. Now, most of us, of course, will immediately think of Willie Wonka when we see that word. However, this day is not just about the Gobstoppers. It’s about all of those favorite candies that we ate in our childhood days. Jawbreakers, Lemonheads, Red Hots, and so on. All of these candies are made by a very interesting process called “panning,” wherein layer after layer of delicious sweet (or in some cases sour) goodness is added to the candy. So treat yourself to day.

Yesterday afternoon, the Cleveland Indians broke the American League record for consecutive wins by beating the Tigers 5-3. Their streak stands at 21 games. There seems to be some dispute as to whether the listed longest streak of 26 games by the 1916 New York Giants is legitimate, as it was interrupted by a tie game. However, the Indians are now tied for second place, with the 1880 Chicago White Stockings and the 1935 Chicago Cubs. If they can beat the Royals today, they will stand alone in second place of all time win streaks.

The Red Sox and Rangers both lost last night. The Yankees won, so the Sox are, once again, three games up in the AL East. The Rangers are back in fourth place, four games out of the second wild card spot. Both teams have seventeen games left. I just noticed, this morning, how bad the NL East division is. So bad that the Nationals who are, thus far, the only team to clinch a division title, are the only team in the division with a winning record. The Dodgers, who have now won two in a row, have clinched a playoff spot, but not the division. Oddly, enough, the Indians haven’t even clinched a playoff spot, yet.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:16
Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. 

Psalm 86:1-2
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 90:1-2
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Psalm 85:9
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 
And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 
But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Luke 8:19-21

(From Practice Resurrection)

As we continue looking at Ephesians 1:15-23, we are reminded that Paul began all of this by praying, and blessing God, who blesses us. But in verse 15, he shifts the focus from God to “the saints,” which includes us who believe today. We are pulled into Paul’s act of thanksgiving in verse 16: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” And then, before we know it, he is praying for the saints. He prays for five things for the saints: “wisdom and revelation, an enlightened heart, hope, the riches of his glorious inheritance, the immeasurable greatness of his power.”

All of this happens because of “the working of his great might” that God worked in Christ. Paul lists four things that God did in Christ: “He raised him from the dead. He seated him at his right hand. He put all things under his feet. He made him head over all things for the church.”

The first five things listed are things that we can expect from God as we practice resurrection. But we do not come by these things in private. Not only do we participate in what God has done in Christ, but we also participate in these things in community, with one another.

“The five prayed-for gifts and the four dimensions of the reach of Christ’s power take their place in the context of the seven all-encompassing rocket verbs of blessing and the triply emphatic ‘praise of his glory’ that tells us how all this is going to turn out.”

One of the most important things for us to realize, and this is something that is being emphasized in our local church, through the teachings of Dallas Willard, is that this kingdom, this “resurrection country,” as Peterson calls it, is not something that we think of in terms of where we go after death. “This is the country that we live in. Here. Now.”

Father, help me to live in this country now! I pray for this wisdom, revelation, enlightened heart, and that I may know the hope to which you have called me. Show me the riches that are mine in Christ, the greatness of your power. As I consider what you have done in Christ, help me to participate joyfully in these things, and live in the resurrection country, while walking in this “country of death.”
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.

Who Shall Ascend?

Today is Wednesday, September 13, 2017. Day 21,734. 29 days until our 32nd anniversary.

Fiona Apple, who was born on this date in 1977, said, “But I honestly don’t read critics. My dad reads absolutely everything ever written about me. He calls me up to read ecstatic reviews, but I always insist that I can’t hear them. If you give value to the good reviews, you have to give value to the criticism.”
BrainyQuotes

Word of the Day

Precocious ~ “exceptionally early in development or occurrence.” Also, “exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age.”

Today is Quiet Day. While we may not be able to have a complete day of quiet or silence, there is great value in silence. Silence and solitude are two of the spiritual disciplines, and are quite valuable in spiritual formation. I would encourage you to find some time to be silent, and to find a place where the noises of the world don’t creep in. Quite some time ago, I turned off the radio on my morning drive to work. I spend the first ten minutes or so listening to the days segment on the Pray As You Go app, then nothing is playing for the rest of my hour long drive to work. Sometimes I pray out loud, sometimes I don’t say a word. It’s interesting to find out where your thoughts go in complete silence.

I’m running short on time. I’ll quickly say that the Red Sox won, the Rangers lost, and Cleveland won their 20th consecutive game, which I believe ties a major league record.

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.

Doxology
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
Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being;

A Song to the Lamb
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.
Psalm 84:10
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 
And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 
and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Acts 4:32-35
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.

Psalm 24:1-6

Father, teach me to wait patiently for you. Give me those qualities of the one who shall ascend “the hill of the Lord.” I desire to stand in your holy place, so give me clean hands and a pure heart. Let me not lift up my soul to what is false. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.
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.