“God Calls; We Walk” (Part 2)

“The Bible is not a book to carry around and read for information on God, but a voice to listen to. The word of God that we name Bible, book, is not at root a word to be read and looked at and discussed. It is a word to be listened to and obeyed, a word that gets us going. Fundamentally, it is a call. God calls us.”

Today is Friday, July 14, 2017. Day 21,673.

“Famous remarks are very seldom quoted correctly.” ~ Simeon Strunsky, No Mean City (1944)
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is savant, a noun which means, “a person affected with a mental disability (such as autism or mental retardation) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (such as mathematics or music).”

Today is Mac and Cheese Day. Who doesn’t love mac and cheese?? Don’t answer that; I don’t really want to know.

We had the best time last night! Only four other people came to our gathering, but it was a blast. We had pizza delivered, and played in the pool until around 9:00 PM. It was a great time of fellowship, enjoyed by all. The highlight was probably when B was throwing his eight-year-old daughter across the pool like a cannonball. Good times.

Baseball finally resumes tonight after the break for the pointless thing called the All Star Game. The Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway, and the Rangers play the Royals in KC. Current standings, the Sox are in first 3.5 ahead of the Bronx Bombers, and the Rangers are tied for second with the Angels, 16.5 behind the Astros. No one else matters.

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

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 
He redeems my soul in safety

Psalm 55:16-18
Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.
Psalm 50:3
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. 
Psalm 25:11
Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! 
Psalm 109:26
Jesus taught us, saying, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 
And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 
and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

John 5:25-30

(From Practice Resurrection)

God does not just hand us information. Nor does he explain (at least not very much, sometimes). He calls us. No condemnation, no excuses. God calls us.

It began with Adam in the garden. Adam disobeyed God’s command and “broke the intimacy that had been created by God’s speech. The equilibrium between God’s word and Adam’s walk was destroyed.” But God called Adam and began restoring him.

God called Abraham when he was in Ur, and told him to leave his home and family and go “to the land that I will show you.” This wound up being Canaan. Abraham walked according to God’s call, which “resulted in Abraham becoming our father in the faith.”

Moses, while tending sheep in Midian, heard his name being spoken from a burning bush. He learned the name of the one who called him: “Yahweh.” His walk “developed into a congregation of people walking out of Egypt through the sea into freedom.”

When Jesus was on the shores of Galilee, he called four men by name. He kept calling . . . those four became twelve. “They followed him up and down the roads of Galilee, listening, obeying, questioning, observing, praying.” Later, Jesus would call them again; calling them to “take up their cross and follow him to his cross, his death in Jerusalem.” They heard, and they walked with him, becoming “the company that the Holy Spirit formed into the church.”

Saul walked on the Damascus road, seeking “Christians” to kill. He was called by name, and learned the name of the one who called him: “Jesus.” His very name was changed, and his walk became the majority of what we know as the New Testament.

“God speaks the decisive word that puts us on the way, the road, the path of life.” The Hebrew word for Bible is Miqra, “a noun formed from the verb ‘to call,’ qara. The Bible is not a book to carry around and read for information on God, but a voice to listen to.”

“The word of God that we name Bible, book, is not at root a word to be read and looked at and discussed. It is a word to be listened to and obeyed, a word that gets us going. Fundamentally, it is a call. God calls us.”

Father, thank you for calling me many years ago. My walk has not been even remotely close to perfect. Several times, it has been disrupted, but you always called me back. I pray for a walk like Abraham’s, Moses’s, the disciples’, and Paul’s. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Help me to walk in the easy yoke of Jesus, in your Kingdom, in your Kingdom ways. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates, day and night.” Let me be that man, Father.
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.

Discover and Receive

Today is Thursday, July 13, 2017. Day 21,672.

“A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.” ― Wole Soyinka
Goodreads

The word of the day is meme, a noun which means, “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture,” or, “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”

Today is Embrace Your Geekness Day. “Pokemon fans to Final Fantasy nerds, LARP’ers to Medieval Reenactors, rise up and be proud! Don your Lyre Pipe hats and your rattan swords, polish up your gunblades and bundle up your pokeballs, Embrace Your Geekness Day is for you! No matter what your fandom or what impassions you to creativity and brings a skip to your step, cry it loud and proud! The Geek and fan community is truly one of the most amazing and creative groups out there, and every year more geeks are crying their fandoms loud and proud.”

Okay, so last night was one of those nights when I wished I had been doing something other than bowling. To begin with, C wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t go. But practice started out well. I got a couple of strikes in a row, so I sat down. Then I struck in the first frame, followed by several spares in a row. After that, I left four-fifths of a “Greek Church.” That looks like this.

A Greek Church has the ten pin on the right side, as well. So I rolled toward the right side and actually got the six and seven pins. One on the right, and the back pin on the lift. That was crazy. For one thing, I have NEVER picked up a 6-7 split! So the one time I do, it just so happens that there are two other pins up, and I miss both of them. Oh, well.

Unfortunately, the night declined from there. I bowled 152, 160, and 135. Three not so good games, not hitting my average even once. We lost all three games, along with total pins, as well.

C is staying home from work today. She feels some better, but not quite right, yet. She has her work laptop, so she’ll probably do some work from home. We’re supposed to have the Night of Worship “Missional Gathering” at our house tonight, or, rather, in our swimming pool. Hopefully, C will feel well enough to do that.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8
As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
Psalm 40:11
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
Psalm 57:7
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Luke 17:5-6
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Psalm 91:11-13

(From Living the Message)

“Where all is gift, I do not own things or persons and thus don’t have to protect them. Therefore I don’t have to be anxious. In a world of grace I do not live in laborious struggle trying to fashion a world that suits my needs and desires, hammering together a life out of the bits and pieces of scrap lumber that come my way. I do not live in anxious suspicion, nervous about what others might do to me, what others might think of me. I simply discover and receive.

There is a world to enjoy, a salvation in which to rejoice. God gives. ‘Grace is everywhere’ [George Bernanos]. We receive and explore. We do not nullify the grace of God.”

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?
Galatians 3:5 (The Message)

Thank you for the gifts, oh, my Father! Truly, my “ownership” of things is unimportant. I do not own anything, and especially do not own any person! I praise you for the gift of life and that you have trusted me with the things with which you have trusted me. By your grace and by your Spirit, may I be a faithful steward of all things. May I also eagerly receive that which you are pleased to give me.
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.

“God Calls; We Walk”

“When our walking and God’s calling are in balance, we are whole; we are living maturely, living responsively to God’s calling, living congruent with the way God calls us into being. Axios, worthy–mature, healthy, robust.”

Today is Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Day 21,671.

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” ~ Kin Hubbard
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is onerous, an adjective meaning, “involving, imposing, or constituting a burden.”

Today is Simplicity Day. What a great thought! Simplicity is one of the Spiritual Disciplines. It is one of the disciplines of abstinence, going along with silence and solitude. Engaging in simplicity is a great way to get our minds off of the complexities that distract us and become focused on what really matters.

Did I mention we had peaches? I can’t remember. A work friend went to a peach festival in a nearby town, Saturday. We couldn’t go because we had lunch plans with our Egyptian friends, so I gave him $20 to get us some peaches. He brought me a bag of somewhere around eighteen large peaches, totally ripe, and smelling wonderful. C and I each took one to work with us yesterday, and they were delicious! Last night, she made some cookies, using the peaches, with a new recipe. They didn’t turn out as good as we hoped they would, but they are tasty. We cut up most of the rest of them and put them in the freezer, saving four of them to eat during the week. I’m thinking peach cobbler and ice cream might be in the near future.

The American League won the All Star Game last night. Not that I care. 2-1 in ten innings. Too many people would consider that a boring game. Not a true baseball fan, though. It sounds like pitching reigned in this game.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

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
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Psalm 30:2-23
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 
And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 
but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. 
Psa 119:165  Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:164-165

(From Practice Resurrection)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
Ephesians 4:1

Eugene H. Peterson begins in the center of Ephesians. There’s a word in the verse above, translated “worthy” in English. The word in Greek is axios. Peterson says that the entire letter of Ephesians pivots on this word, which, to me, looks a lot like axis.

Axios, though, is a picture word. The picture is that of a set of balancing scales. Anyone who took physics in school remembers these scales. There’s a crossbeam balanced on a vertical pole, with pans or trays suspended from each end of the beam. A known weight, usually of lead, is placed on one pan, and the object you wish to weigh is placed on the other. When they are balanced, then we know that the weights match up. The two items are axios, worthy. They have the same value.

The items that Paul is balancing in Ephesians are “God’s calling and human living.” Look at the verse again. “I . . . urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” “When our walking and God’s calling are in balance, we are whole; we are living maturely, living responsively to God’s calling, living congruent with the way God calls us into being. Axios, worthy–mature, healthy, robust.”

The scales center the letter of Ephesians. Paul’s intent is “to keep God’s calling (chapters 1-3) and our walking (chapters 4-6) in equilibrium.” We can’t measure ourselves by ourselves, and we can’t make God into some kind of abstract, impersonal truth. “We can understand neither God nor ourselves in any living, adequate, and mature way that is an impersonal, non-relational way. When God’s calling and our walking fit, we are growing up in Christ.

“God calls; we walk.”

Father, help us to walk in the way of your calling. Help us to do what needs to be done in order to grow up in Christ, that our walking may be axios, worthy, of the calling with which you have called us. Help me to be centered today.
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.

Oh Give Thanks To the Lord!

Today is Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Prime Day. Day 21,670.

“I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I’m in the wrong building.” ~ Charles M. Schulz
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is perambulator, a noun, which means, simply, “baby carriage.” However, it could also mean, “an odometer pushed by a person walking,” or, “a person who makes a tour of inspection on foot.” The baby carriage meaning is chiefly British, and, at some point, was shortened to “pram.”

Today is World Population Day. The idea is to raise awareness of the population problem of the world, in general. And while I acknowledge that there are parts of the world that are, indeed, severely overcrowded, the entire population of the world could fit in Montana and have 546 square feet apiece.

It’s also “Palindrome Week,” a week in which the dates are same forward and backward. Of course, that only works if you a) don’t include the “20” in the date, as in 7/11/2017, and b) you only use the U.S. form of dating, as in 7/11/17. If you use the European form of dating, 11/7/17, it also doesn’t work.

Time has slipped by, this morning, and it’s already 6:20, so, I’m way behind.

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
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. 
Psalm 119:147
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
Psalm 13:5
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20
The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.

Psalm 93:1-3

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; 
tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” 
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! 
Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. 
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 Chronicles 16:28-34

I give thanks to you, O God, for you are good;
You alone are good!
I thank you for your steadfast love, which endures forever!
I thank you for the roar of the sea,
and the stars of the heavens!
Indeed, let the heavens be glad,
and let the earth rejoice!
Let the earth proclaim your majesty
and your salvation!
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.

Heal These Bones

Today is Monday, July 10, 2017. Day 21,669.

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.” ― Anne Bradstreet
Goodreads

The word of the day is madeleine, a noun, meaning, “A (kind of) small rich cake, in French cookery baked in a fluted tin, and in English cookery usually baked in a dariole mould and decorated with coconut and jam.” So what I’ve learned today is the reason for the name of the popular French pastry/sandwich shop, known as La Madeleine. Here is what madeleines look like.

Today is International Town Criers Day. “Hear, ye! Hear, ye!”

Yesterday was a pretty nice day. Our worship gathering went really well. I think we played pretty well, musically, especially considering that three of the four songs we did were not as familiar to us. In fact, two of them were new to us. I led “How Great Thou Art,” and we did Paul Baloche’s arrangement, which is more upbeat than traditional. It went so well that the worship leader asked if we could do it again next week.

We had lunch at Los Molcajetes, then headed home for an afternoon of watching TV, gaming, napping, and whatnot. A good day.

Back to work for us today. We’re still keeping a close eye on the cat wounds on my leg. Most of the scratch wounds are gone, as far as we can see, but the bite wound remains a concern. It hurts a little, this morning, but we are continuing the medications. All of the seeping fluids have stopped, though, so that’s good.

No band practice tonight. We are off until August 7, I think. First Monday in August, whatever that is.

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

. . . but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I have another quote from C.S. Lewis. “Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.” From The Weight of Glory

(From The Divine Hours)

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.
Isaiah 1:18
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 
Psalm 71:3
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
Psalm 12:6
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
Psalm 12:5
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 
give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:36-38
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.
May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!

Psalm 72:13-14, 17

(From Practice Resurrection)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called . . . But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
Ephesians 4:1, 7-8

“The letter is pure music. . . . What we read here is truth that sings, doctrine set to music . . . the most contemporary book in the Bible.” (John A. MacKay, God’s Order: The Ephesian Letter and the Present Time)

Chapter 2 of Practice Resurrection begins with Eugene H. Peterson’s own introduction to Ephesians, in The Message.

“What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created.

“Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sin-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture, ‘sets’ this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones–belief and behavior–knit together and heal.

“Once our attention is called to it, we notice these fractures all over the place. There is hardly a bone in our bodies that has escaped injury, hardly a relationship in city or job, school or church, family or country, that isn’t out of joint or limping in pain. There is much work to be done.

“And so Paul goes to work. He ranges widely, from heaven to earth and back again, showing hoe Jesus, the Messiah is eternally and tirelessly bringing everything and everyone together. He also shows us that in addition to having this work done in and for us, we are participants in this most urgent work. Now that we know what is going on, that the energy of reconciliation is the dynamo at the heart of the universe, it is imperative that we join in vigorously and perseveringly, convinced that every detail in our lives contributes (or not) to what Paul describes as God’s plan worked out by Christ, ‘a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.'”

Father, I thank you that you have invited us to join you in this work. I thank you for the Church, for what it has meant to me for all of my life, and how, in many different ways, the local church has bonded together in support to hold me up in difficult times, and to do the same for others. Imperfect as we are, flawed as we are, broken as we are, when we stop “trying to do better,” and simply live by the words of our Savior, things do get better, we love each other better, and we grow together. You are life, Father, and I am committed to displaying life in the 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.

Our Faith Is Not Private

Today is Sunday, July 9, 2017. Day 21,668.

Today is Sugar Cookie Day. While I like sugar cookies, I prefer them with icing on them. You know, sugar on the sugar.

We had the most wonderful time, yesterday afternoon! As mentioned yesterday, we had lunch at one of C’s co-worker’s home, with his family. And he has such a sweet family. S did not go, as she said she wasn’t feeling well. I, however, was feeling better, so I went, and am very glad that I did. The family seemed genuinely glad to see all of us, and even went so far as to say that we were their “new family.” They even seemed sincerely disappointed that S didn’t come. They have two children, both at intermediate/middle school age. The son is a computer whiz! I walked into his room, and he had, essentially two things in there. A bed and a computer. His PC is set up with three large monitors, and he’s a gamer. Very powerful and fast computer! He showed me how well it played on Assassin’s Creed III. He was very excited to keep showing me things, too. It was kind of adorable.

The appetizers were delicious. First, did I mention that they are from Egypt? So everything that we ate yesterday was Egyptian. Except for the guacamole. His wife likes guac, so she made some, and it was delicious! There was also hummus, which was good, and then some other things that I don’t remember the names of. Oh, and a little bit of octopus, which we tried. It was definitely different. They had these hors deuvres (I had to look that up) that were like little, round pita or tortilla bread with a small piece of salmon, some cream cheese, and an olive. They were delicious!!

The lunch table was amazing! There was fried fish, shrimp, some kind of fish on a shish kabob, a rice dish with shrimp on top, and this soup! Oh, my the soup was unbelievable! It had some kind of fish, oyster, calimari, and the broth was amazing! It was my favorite. Later, we had dessert, which was a sort of an Egyptian version of baklava. Everything was great, and we felt so welcome at their home. In fact, at one point, C and I acted like we were about to leave (which we were) and Emmy (not sure of the spelling) looked so sad and told us to sit for a while longer. So we did. Oh, and Ramez has a lute! A real lute. I had never seen one of those up close before. He played it for us, and let me play it for a bit. That was fun.

In other news, the Rangers beat the Angels last night, 5-2, and Adrian Beltre tied Carl Yastrzemski’s home run total last night. And I’m okay with that. The Red Sox lost a close one to the Rays, 1-0.

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.

Traditional Doxology
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Psalm 80:1
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Psalm 108:1
Jesus said, But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23-24
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2
O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving you and my neighbor:
Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart,
and united to others with pure affection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

(From Living the Message)

There is a popular belief that peoples’ religion is something that is personal and private. Here’s what Eugene H. Peterson has to say about that:

“No life of faith can be lived privately. There must be overflow into the lives of others.”

This is not to imply that we are to “beat people over the head with our Bibles.” May it never be! We are supposed to love people, and in that love, we share our faith with them. But sharing faith with people also doesn’t mean constantly chattering about Jesus and the cross and salvation. The Gospel is that the Kingdom of God is here and available now, not something that we have to wait for until we die. This is what we need to walk in; this is our faith, and this is what we share with people by the way we walk and live our lives, in obedience to the words of Jesus.

Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. 
If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Galatians 6:2-3

Father, teach us to let our faith “overflow into the lives of others.” Let us not hoard it, keep it to ourselves, as if it were something private that needs to be protected. But let us be wise and discerning, as well, never “casting our pearls before swine.” Help us to live the Gospel, to walk in the Kingdom, and to obey the words of Jesus.
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.

The Way of Grace

“‘By his grace’ means that God does not look around to see who will best suit his purposes and then single them out because he is pretty sure that they will do a good job.”

Today is Saturday, July 8, 2017. Day 21,667.

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” ~ Aldous Huxley
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is turpitude, a noun, meaning, “inherent baseness: depravity.” Bonus points if you can tell me the 1981 movie in which this word is used.

Today is Chocolate with Almonds Day. Do I even need to say anything else about that? I think not.

I saw a Nurse/Practitioner at the doctor’s office, yesterday, which I much prefer to the popular “Physician’s Assistant.” She prescribed an antibiotic (Augmentin), along with some topical cream (Bactoban) to put on the affected areas. The antibiotic is the typical twice daily for ten days. The cream is thrice daily for fourteen days. She also told me to keep an eye on the fluid seepage, and that if turned yellow and pus-like, to come back right away. She said that the extreme itching that I experienced the night before may have been a sign that infection was trying to set in. At any rate, it’s a good thing I went ahead and went to the doctor yesterday morning.

I picked up some lunch for S and me, after which I had to go back out and get the meds. I spent a couple hours playing games, then took a nap for a couple of hours. When C got home, we were a little afraid that the wounds might have triggered cellulitis, as my leg had a fairly dark red spot, but this morning, that looks better, as does the bite wound. The seepage appears to have completely stopped. I also slept much better last night! However, I was running a low-grade fever (99.4) before going to bed, and feeling a little weird. I feel better this morning, though not exactly right, and there doesn’t appear to be any fever.

We’re supposed to go have lunch at the home of one of C’s work associates, this afternoon. I’m still not sure if I’ll make it.

The Rangers beat the Angels, 10-0, last night, with Cole Hamels getting his fourth win, and Adrian Beltre hammering a “wedding proposal” home run.
http://m.mlb.com/video/v1586330683/must-c-clips-beltres-special-homer-from-one-knee/?game_pk=491397
The Red Sox beat the Rays, 8-3, behind Drew Pomeranz, with Dustin Pedroia hitting a two-run homer.
http://m.mlb.com/video/v1584775783/bostb-pedroia-belts-a-tworun-homer-to-left-field/?game_pk=491391

The Red Sox hold a 4.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, and the Rangers are in third place in the AL West, 16.5 games behind the Astros, who continue to be the best team in MLB. Actually, I’m wrong. The Rangers are in a virtual tie for second, .001 percentage point behind the Angels.

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

I want to share this brief quote from C.S. Lewis, on grief:

What sort of a lover am I to think so much about my affliction and so much less about hers? Even the insane call, ‘Come back,’ is all for my own sake. I never even raised the question whether such a return, if it were possible, would be good for her. I want her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal?

From A Grief Observed

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. 
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. 
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. 
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 
The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. 
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:2-11
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:1-4
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 
you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; 
for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. 

Psalm 44:1-3
Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations! 
Psalm 82:8
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 
nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Luke 17:20-21
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

(From Living the Message)

“Life is not an aimless groping. We are called. ‘By his grace’ means that God does not look around to see who will best suit his purposes and then single them out because he is pretty sure that they will do a good job. It means that God has a capacity so large in love and purpose that he calls us in order to do something for us–to give us something. Grace.” (Eugene H. Peterson)

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.
Galatians 2:21 (The Message)

Father, too much of my life has been as if it were, indeed, “aimless groping.” Help me to fulfill the calling you have placed on my life. You have given me a vision of what my life needs to look like, a vision that is based on the way, the truth, and the life, of Jesus. I have the means to work that vision into reality. But the intention is weak. May my intention be stronger. Thank you for grace, which is you accomplishing things in my life that I could not accomplish on my own.
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.