Today is Monday, November 13, 2017. Day 21,795.
Only ten more days until Thanksgiving!
Robert Louis Stevenson, who was born on this date in 1850 (died 1894), said, “He who sows hurry reaps indigestion.”
The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is wastrel, a noun, meaning, “a wasteful person; spendthrift.” In chiefly British usage, it may also mean, “a. refuse; waste. b. a waif; abandoned child. c. an idler or good-for-nothing.”
Today is World Kindness Day. Show some kindness today. And don’t make it random. Make it purposeful.
Yesterday was a good day. It was busy for me, until around 2:00 PM, but once I got groceries done, trash and recycling taken out, and lunch prepared for the family, it was smooth sailing from there on. I wish it could have been a better birthday for C, but “it is what it is,” as they say. “But what if it isn’t?” asked The Grinder. However, she did, at one point yesterday, proclaim that my cake was the best chocolate cake she had ever eaten. I was shocked, flattered, and pleased, all at the same time.
Our worship gathering seemed like it went well, yesterday. I was given another food dish (a cheeseburger casserole) by a good friend of ours, after the gathering was over. It was frozen, so I put it in the freezer because we still had enough of Saturday evening’s meal to make lunch yesterday. Perhaps we will have that casserole tonight after I get home from work.
C has her follow-up doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and she plans to begin working from home tomorrow.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
(From The Divine Hours)
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.
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.
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
“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.”
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The Cry of the Church
(From Practice Resurrection)
Once Paul introduces the term “church” to his readers (Ephesians 1:22-23), he “sets out to stimulate a praying imagination in us that is adequate for taking in all that is involved in church.”
But in order to do this, he must renovate our understanding of church by reminding us “what church is not.” In Ephesians 2:11-12, there are several things that Paul tells Ephesians that they must remember. He calls on them to remember what their “pre-church life was like.” “This is important;” Peterson says,” if you are going to understand what it is to be a church, you must keep in mind what church is not, remember your pre-church life.” Peterson counts seven negatives that Paul reminds them about: “Gentiles (all the Ephesians were Gentiles, that is, not-Jews), uncircumcised, without Christ, aliens to the commonwealth, strangers to the covenants, having no hope, godless.”
Peterson paraphrases this: “Remember what that transition was like when you crossed the threshold into church, the transition from exclusion to inclusion? Remember the surprise of being an insider to God and his revelation after being an outsider? Remember this well, for church cannot be comprehended by negatives, by what it is not. And neither can you.”
It helps to remember the culture into which these Ephesian Gentile Christians were entering. The first “Christians” were Jewish. And the Jews had gotten quite good at being “God’s chosen people.” So much so that “they had . . . developed an entrenched prejudice against non-Jews as a rejected people, which they were not.” If we look back at the original covenant with Abraham, God told him, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) Then, later, in Isaiah, “and many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD'” (Isaiah 2:3), and, “for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)
So, it was difficult for the Jewish Christians to accept the Gentile Christians. But they did, eventually. And Paul was instrumental in this, being “tireless in insisting that church brooks no divisions, no condescension, no rejection of anyone for any reason.” He drives this point home in Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Father, thank you for “church,” and thank you for these teachings that church is to be all-inclusive of all peoples. Help us, as modern Christians, to remember these things, as we tend to fall into a kind of “chosen people” mentality, especially in America. There is still a strong feeling in our country of being a “Christian nation” (of which there is no such thing), and that you favor us for some reason. But you are not playing favorites. Everyone who calls on your name is looked at equally by you. Help us to treat people in the same way.
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.