Today is Thursday? Yes, Thursday, December 20, 2018. Third week of Advent.
FIVE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!
“I like to play chess with old men in the park. But it’s so hard to find 32 of them.” (You might have to think about that one for a second.)
Emo Phillips, US comedian
The Quotations Page
The word of the day is misosophy, “hatred of wisdom.” (Oxford English Dictionary) Seems to be a lot of that going around, these days.
I’m experiencing an unusual amount of pressure at work, but my manager came up with a plan, yesterday, that helped. I handle shipments that are, for one reason or another, “unreceivable” until they get fixed. The client looks closely at the dollar amount of those unreceivables, and, as of yesterday morning, we had approximately $850,000 worth of them. I actually managed to reduce that by more than $700,000 yesterday! At one point, I said that I would like a bonus of 1% of everything I received. Hahah! I still have a large number of “dispositions” (those are unreceivables that are allegedly fixed), though, so I may work late tonight. We’ll see what they say today. I told my manager, yesterday, that would work all night tonight, if I had to, to keep from having to work Saturday! At this point, at least, there is no talk of having to work on Christmas Eve.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Today I am grateful:
1. That my manager formulated a good plan at work yesterday.
2. That God worked in me to change my attitude at work yesterday (I truly believe that this happened).
3. For an upcoming four-day weekend.
4. That God has placed within me a heart of gratitude.
5. That it doesn’t look like there will be any bad weather for Christmas.
O Lord and Ruler of the hosts and heaven,
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of all their righteous offspring:
You made the heavens and the earth,
with all their vast array.
All things quake with fear at your presence;
they tremble because of your power.
But your merciful promise is beyond all measure;
it surpasses all that our minds can fathom.
O Lord, you are full of compassion,
long-suffering, and abounding in mercy.
You hold back your hand;
you do not punish as we deserve.
In your great goodness, Lord,
you have promised forgiveness to sinners, that they may repent of their sin and be saved.
And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart,
and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,
and I know my wickedness only too well.
Therefore I make this prayer to you:
Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.
Do not let me perish in my sin,
nor condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,
and in me you will show forth your goodness.
Unworthy as I am, you will save me, in accordance with your great mercy,
and I will praise you without ceasing all the days of my life.
For all the powers of heaven sing your praises,
and yours is the glory to ages of ages. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer, A Song of Penitence, Prayer of Manasseh, 1-2, 4, 6-7, 11-15)
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.”
We have to give up our self. C.S. Lewis writes about this in Mere Christianity. Jesus, he says, will give us our real personality, but if we go to Him looking for that, we will not find it. If we go to Christ looking for anything else other than Jesus, we will not find Him or the thing we are looking for. But if we go to Jesus looking only for Him, we will get what we were looking for to begin with. This is a sort of a paradox, I believe, and I believe it firmly to be true.
Many people go to Jesus, thinking that they are going to get rich, get healed, get famous. Some even go to Him thinking they will become more humble or compassionate. But the truth of the matter is, we must go to Jesus looking only for Jesus. The crux of the matter is summed up in Lewis’s statement: “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” This is very similar to another of Lewis’s popular quotes, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Seek Jesus and Him alone. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Everything else will be added.
Father, may I seek You in Christ for no other reason than You and Jesus today. May Your Spirit guide me to look to You, to “seek Your face,” for no other reason than to be looking at You. I confess it is difficult to pray these things without feeling an ulterior motive. We are human, after all. There are things we want. But what I want right now is for the desire of my heart to be solely to seek You. Hang all the other stuff! Let me see You today.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Grace and peace, friends.