Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
Today is “Drive-Thru Day.” And yes, it’s really spelled that way. I wish the Subway close to us still had a drive-thru. They bricked it up when they expanded the store. It’s still unique, though, as it is the only Subway I know of that is open 24 hours.
Yesterday was a hectic day, especially at work. Pretty busy all day long. But it wasn’t really a stressful kind of busy, like it used to be. That’s nice. Christi had meetings pretty much all day, but it makes the day go by fast, at least, when you’re busy like that.
Then we got home and had to deal with a pretty severe meltdown from Stephanie. It was probably the worst one in at least a year. I won’t go into what it was over. But after that, we barely had time to eat, when it was time to go to our Huddle group. We normally would not have met last night, but our leader is going to Africa next Monday for two weeks, and we would have gone three weeks without meeting had we not met last night. Needless to say, we were exhausted and went straight to bed when we got home.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1704, during the “War of the Spanish Succession,” England seized control of Gibraltar from France. It has remained British ever since. Between 1779 and 1783, Spain “besieged Gibraltar,” but failed to get rid of its British occupiers. In the 1960s, Spain tried again, but “the British organized a referendum in which Gilbraltarians were asked to choose between a highly subsidized and tax-free existence under democratic Great Britain or absorption into the impoverished dictatorship of Francisco Franco.” Guess which one they chose. Spain subsequently closed its borders to Gibraltar, but lifted the blockade in 1985.
Today’s birthday is Summer Glau, born on this date in 1981. Summer was born in San Antonio, Texas. She recently played a terminator in the TV series by the same name, but we love her most for her portrayal of the somewhat insane River Tam in Firefly.
Honorable mentions go to Jennifer Lopez, 44, Amelia Earhart, 1897-1939, Lynda Carter, 62, Zelda Fitzgerald, 1900-1948, Anna Paquin, 31, Kristin Chenoweth, 45, Ruth Buzzi, 77, Alexandre Dumas, 1802-1870, Robert Hays, 66, Chris Sarandon, 71, and Gallagher, 67.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Psalm 100:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. Psalm 67:1
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Father, I thank you for your presence, which is promised at all times. May you truly make your face to shine upon us today. You are worthy, indeed, to receive glory and honor and power. May my life glorify you today. Teach me your ways this morning, as I look into your words. Cause me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ, just as Christ loved us.
Today’s reading in
is called “Down From the Mountaintop.” The scripture reading is Mark 9:2-9.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
This is the last reading on the discipline of Solitude. This passage describes the epitome of a “mountaintop experience.” Hopefully, we’ve all had them. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most people, regardless of faith or belief system, have probably had some kind of “mountaintop experience.” Everything seems so clear, so perfect. We don’t ever want to leave that place or that time. We want to stay right there forever. But we can’t. This reminds me of an old, old, CCM song by Chris Christian, called “Mountain Top.” And there is actually a clip of it on You Tube!
Anyway. In our passage today, even though Peter wants to camp out up there, Jesus leads them back down the mountain. Back down “to the challenges and opportunities of the daily life of faith.” That’s where our lives are lived; “in the daily pains and pleasures of this world.” The point of this is that we can’t spend all of our time in solitude. There are some of us who like solitude more than others, and would love to spend the majority of our time alone. But we can’t. I’ve had some pretty cool “mountaintop experiences” while in solitude. But we have to live our lives, and we have to live them in community.
Here is a prayer offered by the devotional book:
“Father God, help me to parlay my experiences with you into strength and
encouragement for doing your kingdom work in my daily life. Remind me
to continue to find moments of solitude in the middle of life and to have
the courage to take time out when my soul needs refreshing. In your name
I pray. Amen.”
Continuing on in The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard, I’m still in Chapter Two, “Gospels of Sin Management.” The next section is called “Some Puzzling Facts,” and comes on the heels of the discussion on “Bar-Code Faith.” You can look back to Saturday’s blog entry to see that part. In this section, a Gallup Poll survey is cited, which says that 94% of Americans believe in God and 74% claim to have “made a commitment to Jesus Christ.” 34% say that they have had some kind of “new birth” experience. Willard says, “These figures are shocking when thoughtfully compared to statistics on the same group for unethical behavior, crime, mental distress and disorder, family failures, addictions, financial misdealings, and the like.” He wonders if “such a combination of profession and failure” truly be the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. Or, perhaps, is our understanding of “commitment to Jesus Christ” failing to break through to “his living presence in our lives?” A Christianity Today editorial from 1990 spoke of a leader from a “certain evangelical institution” that resigned because of “moral failure.” The magazine chose not to report on the case because such cases had become so numerous that they had “been forced to set criteria to decide which ones are newsworthy.” In this instance, the leader in question “was not a top-level leader.” This is tragic! This provokes deep reflection on what is the faith and interior life of our leaders, as well as ourselves. “Are we to suppose that everyone, from Mother Teresa to Hitler, is really the same on the inside, but that some of us are just vigilant or ‘lucky’ enough to avoid doing what we all really want to do? Are we to suppose that God gives us nothing that really influences character and spirituality?” Does Jesus have no impact whatsoever on our daily lives? It has been said that we often wonder if celebrities who advertise certain products really consume those products. (Have all of those sports figures really had lasik surgery??) “This is the very question now most pressing for those of us who speak for Christ.” Something must be wrong when there are so many moral failures in our midst. “Perhaps we are not eating what we are selling. More likely, I think, what we are ‘selling’ is irrelevant to our real existence and without over over daily life.” (pp. 38-39)
I hate to stop there, but I have to, due to time restraints. This is a very thought-provoking message, and quite tragic.
Father, as I go into this day, I pray that your presence in my life would be evident to me, as I live in the “daily pains and pleasures of this world.” I also pray that the faith that I am “selling,” I am also “eating.” May I not be part of the masses that preaches a faith that is irrelevant to real existence. I believe that Jesus Christ has given me something that can empower me to live the Christian life. No, I won’t be perfect, never. But there is power in the blood, and there is power in the name of Jesus! I pray that you help me to recognize and live in that power today. I also pray that my life in Christ, this life that I live each day, may be something that is worthy of imitation, not that I desire to have my own “disciples,” but that my life might draw someone to be interested in being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I pray for this day today. Give Christi strength as she goes though this day today. Flood her with your overwhelming, steadfast love today and let her feel it. I pray that her healing continues and that she will be fully released on her next doctor visit. I also pray for Stephanie today. I pray desperately that you would reach down and touch her with your hand of mercy, showing her how much she is loved, both by you and by us. Finally, I pray for my work day today, that it will go well, and that we will get everything done that needs to be done. May my life reflect the beatitudes and the fruit of the Spirit today.
Your grace is sufficient.
Come down from the mountaintop with Jesus and live the life in the valley of this world. He has given us the power to do this effectively.
Grace and peace, friends.