Good morning. It’s Thursday morning, December 20. Five days to Christmas, six days to Cancun. Today is “Mudd Day,” apparently named after the doctor who tended to John Wilkes Boothe after he shot Lincoln and broke his leg. He went to the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who apparently delayed contacting the authorities, and, subsequently, served four years in prison for participating in the conspiracy to assassinate the President.
It’s also “Go Caroling Day.” I like that one better. 🙂
On this date:
In 1803, the “Louisiana Purchase” was completed.
In 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede.
In 1941, the “Flying Tigers” had their first battle in Kunming, China.
In 1957, Elvis was drafted. (Presley, not Andrus.)
In 2007, Elizabeth II became the oldest monarch of the U.K, passing Queen Victoria.
Today’s birthdays include Samuel Mudd (see the info on “Mudd Day” above), 1833, Branch Rickey (baseball exec), 1881, Fred Merkle (first baseman, “Bonehead”), 1888, Peter Criss (drummer for KISS), 1945, Alan Parsons (musician and producer), 1948
Cecil Cooper (baseball player), 1949, Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), 1966, Aubrey Huff (baseball player), 1976 (grew up in Mineral Wells, Texas, my home town), James Shields (baseball pitcher), 1981, David Cook (winner of American Idol), 1982, Jonah Hill (actor), 1983.
We didn’t do much yesterday, other than watch the two episodes of The Voice from this week, including the season finale. I won’t be a spoiler, but let’s just suffice to say that I was VERY unhappy with the final result.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Psalm 51:15)
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)
Father, you truly have been my refuge for all these years. Open my lips this morning, and I will praise you. Show me a vision of you, that I might serve you faithfully today.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 11:6-9.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
The beautiful scenario begun yesterday continues in today’s reading. The peace envisioned in the reign of the Messiah is almost unfathomable. Verse 9 is especially beautiful. “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
There also some interesting thoughts regarding children and animals that I don’t have time to get into this morning.
Today’s reading from My Utmost For His Highest is called “The Right Lines of Work.” The scripture reference is John 12:32, in which Jesus says, And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
“Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is a farce, and there was no need for it.” The world doesn’t just need love, the world needs open-heart surgery.
If a soul that is in difficulty can get to God through any other line than the Cross of Christ, then that Cross was unnecessary. I’m about to say something very unpopular, so get ready. If what many people say is true, that there are “many roads to God,” then the horrible suffering that Jesus Christ went through was a tragic, terrible joke on him. If there is any other road to get to God besides the road of the Cross of Christ, than that God is a cruel, sadistic, jerk. The truth, as I believe it, is that there are only two roads, and they lead in opposite directions. (That’s a Timothy Keller thought, there.) Even Led Zeppelin only mentioned two roads. “If you can help others by your sympathy of understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ.” I must keep my soul rightly related to God, and I must only try to help others on his line, not trying to help on the “human line” and completely ignoring God.
I must show the world Jesus Christ and him crucified. I must lift him up, so that he may draw to himself. “Every doctrine that is not imbedded in the Cross of Jesus will lead astray.” My usefulness to God depends solely on my simple relationship to Jesus Christ, and nothing else.
Our calling as “New Testament workers” is to “uncover sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior.” Chambers says we “cannot be poetical,” we “must be surgical.” While I might agree with that sentiment, I find great comfort in waxing poetical, at times, especially since I’m a fledgling songwriter. However, I do agree that “We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful discourses.” The aesthetic quality of our speech matters not one iota as long as the message being presented is the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All that being said, there is still a need for the truth to be spoken in love. There is a way to “uncover sin” that is not so harsh as some want to make it. The Gospel of Christ can be shared without being “judgmental.” “You’re going to Hell because of your sin,’ is probably not the best way to win someone over. “Here’s how much the Creator of the universe loves you,” is probably a better start.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Father, I pray for compassion for all people. While I recognize that sympathy is not what the world needs, and that “what the world needs now is love, sweet love,” is not quite an accurate assessment of the problem, when we attempt to spread the Gospel of Christ while spewing hatred at sinners, we don’t do much good. Over and over, your word tells us that we are to take care of the needy. The widows and fatherless are especially dear to you, and your word does not differentiate between the saved and lost widows and fatherless, at that point. The poor and needy are poor and needy, regardless of their spiritual condition. Nevertheless, I pray that, while we generously provide for the needs of the people, we don’t forget to give them what they really need, and that is Jesus Christ. I pray each day that I might help someone find your peace. That peace comes through Jesus Christ and him alone. Obviously, I don’t believe that there are many roads to get to you. But I do believe in using compassion to help someone find that one true road. So I pray for more compassion for people. You have told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. You have told us to treat people as we would be treated. That must lead me to the conclusion that there are a lot of “Christians” out there who would prefer to have hatred and venom spewed at them. I don’t want to be that person, and I thank you that you have brought me down a path of compassion instead. I want to love like you love, Lord. I pray daily that the characteristics of love presented in 1 Corinthians 13 would be manifest in my life. I pray that you would make me
not insistent on my own way,
not one that rejoices in wrongdoing,
one that rejoices in truth,
bear all things,
believe all things,
hope all things,
endure all things.
In short, I want to be like Jesus.
I pray for this day, Father. I pray for a good work day for Christi and for me. I pray for a day with no anxiety for us, as well as for Stephanie. I pray that Stephanie would feel better today, as she was a little “under the weather” yesterday. Draw us all closer to your heart today.
I thank you that our pastor’s wife is improving, and continue to pray for her healing and recovery from pneumonia. I also pray for my manager’s recover from shoulder surgery.
Repeating a previous statement. The world doesn’t just need love…it needs open-heart surgery.
Grace and peace, friends.