Good morning. It is Wednesday, October 2, 2013.
Today is “Name Your Car Day.” I’ve done that. My Hyundai Sonata is named “Amadeus.”
My dreams of a 1975 World Series rematch were short-lived, as the Pirates beat the Reds in the NL Wild Card game last night. Oh, well. Tonight’s game features Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card game. I’m not terribly concerned about who wins, but whoever it is faces the Red Sox, starting Friday night. I wonder if I’ll have my new shirt by then. . .
We had a great Huddle group last night. There are changes a-comin’! I can’t really divulge anything yet, but there is going to be a major announcement this Sunday. We (Christi and I) are pretty excited about the future of The Exchange.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1187, after being under Christian rule for just under a century, Jerusalem fell to the Muslims under the leadership of Sultan Saladin. European Christians had captured Jerusalem during the First Crusade. But King Baldwin IV died of leprosy and, instead of passing to his young nephew, the throne was manipulated by Baldwin’s sister Sibylla, who seized the crown and had her husband Guy de Lusignan declared King. Unfortunately, Guy “had neither the intelligence nor the ruthlessness of former Christian rulers” and was lost the city to the Muslim raiders. Interesting fact. . . “To the delighted astonishment of the conquered Christians, Saladin and his men treated them with kindness and courtesy rather than the indiscriminate slaughter that followed the Crusaders’ capture of the city.”
Today’s birthday is Don McLean, born on this date in 1945. McLean is a singer/songwriter who has made many really good records. His most well-known song is, of course, “American Pie,” from the album by the same name. Also on that album, however, is a very fine song, a tribute to the painter, Vincent van Gogh, called, simply, “Vincent.”
Honorable mentions go to Sting, 62, Kelly Ripa, 43, Maury Wills, 81, Groucho Marx, 1890-1977, George “Spanky” McFarland, 1928-1993, Bud Abbott, 1895-1974, Annie Leibovitz, 64, Rex Reed, 75, and Mike Rutherford, 63.
Bonus video. Mike and the Mechanics (Mike Rutherford) singing “The Living Years.”
O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. Psalm 54:1-2
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. . . Psalm 116:13
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:19
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalm 56:10-13
Father, I do praise you, but I am still in the formative stages of trusting you. Yes, even after all these years, I struggle with trusting you. It must be a human thing. But I find myself closer to being able to fully trust you with my whole heart. May your Spirit guide me into that place. I do believe that I can speak that last line of Psalms, above, with clarity and confidence. You truly have “delivered my soul from death,” and you have delivered “my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” I praise you for this, Father. I ask you to guide me into your word this morning and teach me your ways.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Israel Would Not Submit to Me.” The scripture verse is Psalm 81:8-14.
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.”
This seems to be a psalm used on a specific feast day, “perhaps the fall Festival of Tabernacles.” The song celebrates “God’s saving power, particularly noting God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt.” God invites his people to “reap the benefits of his adequacy and generosity.” If we trust him with our whole hearts, we will get all that we need.
In this psalm, “submit” seems to mean “obey.” We know from the Biblical record that Israel, time and time again, failed to obey the Lord, which resulted in many negative consequences, not the least of which was 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, unable to enter “the promised land.” We should be able to learn a lot from Israel’s experience, but I’m afraid we don’t. However, God’s commands are different to us. And that is a totally different discussion that revolves around the words of Jesus Christ. The point of this morning’s reading is that, if we submit to the Lord and follow his ways, obeying his commands, we will be well-provided for.
Father, I pray for a spirit of submission to be prevalent in my life. I know that I struggled with that yesterday, and, after things that were revealed last night, now know that it was in vain that I struggled, because there was no need for the anxiety at all. I love how you are teaching me to trust you, even though it’s uncomfortable at times! I pray that you continue to teach me, as well as all your people, to be submissive to your will. Your plan is the ultimate priority; your plan will come to pass. What I must do is walk in that plan, walk in your truth, walk in your ways. Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
I pray for this day, as always. May we have a good work day, and may we be more aware of the people around us and their needs, not just walking in blindness, stuck in our own little world. Make us people of grace, people of peace. May we help others find your peace, Father. Teach Stephanie your will and your ways, Lord, and draw her closer to your heart.
I lift up a special prayer for our pastor, Jacob, as he leads us into unfamiliar territory. Give him strength and courage to do what you have shown him must be done. I pray that he is hearing you rightly and discerning accurately. Fill him with your Spirit and your truth.
God has shown us the truth; if we fully submit to him, we will be taken care of. Jesus reinforces that truth in Matthew 6:33. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Grace and peace, friends.