Today is Monday, the eighth of November, 2021.
May God’s peace reign in your heart today.
Four days until C’s birthday!
Today’s header photo is from Paul Militaru. Please check out his photo blog.
We had a mostly nice day, yesterday. The worship time at FBC Mineral Wells was pretty awesome. We had a great lunch from Natty Flats BBQ (although slightly delayed, as they were shorthanded).
This brings up an important point. I know from experience, it is quite easy to get impatient when I have to wait longer than usual for a food or drink order. But please keep in mind . . . it is not the fault of the person/persons serving you and they are most definitely not deserving of our wrath. Many people have left the restaurant/serving industry because of how rudely they have been treated during the past eighteen months or so.
Most especially, if you call Jesus your Savior, you must be patient and kind with people.
After lunch, we had a nice time of conversation with my mother, during which many topics were discussed. Our trip home was safe, but had a few tense moments. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
I’m off work today, and only have a few chores planned. I’ve already been to the grocery store, which is why I’m running a tad behind with the blog, this morning. We have a pool tech coming, sometime this afternoon, to check on why our indoor control panel won’t connect with the outside panel. That’s about it.
There have been some big changes made to WW (Weight Watchers), beginning today. My plan has changed quite a bit, based on some answers I gave to questions upon opening the app, this morning. The biggest thing for me is, based on my ongoing bout with type 2 diabetes, fruits are no longer zero points. That means I have to count grapes!! Egad! But, as a trade-off, I can now have avocados/guacamole for zero points! And, when I eat a cup of non-starchy veggies, I get to add a point back. So that’s cool. Just some adaptation to be made, but I plan to carry on and keep moving forward.
Today is World Orphans Day.
The word for today is angakok, “a shaman in Inuit society.” “Inuit” is what we used to call “Eskimo.”
Today’s quote is from Winston Churchill, British statesman. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
Birthdays for November 8:
Julian of Norwich, English saint, 1342-1416 Vlad the Impaler (really!), Wallachian prince, the inspiration for Dracula, 1431-1476 (It should be noted that most sources do not provide a day of the year for Vlad's birth. My guess is that it has been put on this date because it is also Bram Stoker's birthday.) Edmund Halley, English mathematician and astronomer (Halley's Comet), 1656-1742 Bram Stoker, Irish author (Dracula ), 1847-1912 Hermann Rorschach, Swiss psychiatrist (inkblot test), 1884-1922 Margaret Mitchell, American author (Gone with the Wind), 1900-1949 Joe Flynn, American actor (McHale's Navy), 1924-1974 Patti Page, American singer (Tennessee Waltz), 1927-2013 Bert Berns, American songwriter (Twist and Shout, Piece of My Heart, Hang on Sloopy), 1929-1967 Darla Hood, American child actress (Little Rascals), 1931-1979 Ben Bova, American sci-fi author (Exiled from Earth), 1932-2020 Bonnie Bramlett, American blues-rock vocalist (Delaney and Bonnie), 1944 (77) Bonnie Raitt, American blues singer/songwriter/guitar player (Something to Talk About), 1949 (72) Jerry Remy, American baseball player and broadcaster (Boston Red Sox), 1952-2021 Gordon Ramsay, British chef (Hell's Kitchen), 1966 (55)
I really wanted to post a video of Gordon Ramsay freaking out over raw food, but there were too many bad words.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord, I dedicate this day to You. May my feet walk only where You want them to walk. May my eyes see only what You want them to see. May my ears hear only what You want them to hear. May my mouth say only what You want it to say. May my mind think only what You want it to think.
All your works
shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints
shall bless you!
(Psalms 145:10 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for all the saints, who are constantly giving You thanks and praising Your Name 2. that I am alive and breathing 3. for our good visit with Mama yesterday 4. for the rest You give when we step into the easy yoke of Christ 5. that my help and salvation is from You, in the Name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – DAY TWO
Then Jesus said,
“Come to me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28 NLT)
I pause, now, during this very quiet moment, peacefully sleeping kitten nearby, and consider the rest that Jesus gives to those who are weary. If our burdens are heavy, we need only step into His “easy yoke,” and allow Him to carry the bulk of the load. It doesn’t mean we don’t work . . . but it does mean our work is much easier.
A song of ascents. Of David.
If the LORD had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
if the LORD had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
would have swept us away.
Praise be to the LORD,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalms 124:1-8 NIV)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:1-8 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
I read these passages again, perhaps even out loud, in order to force myself to pay more attention to the words. How has the Word of God moved me? I ponder and meditate on what has connected with my heart and my mind. I pray to God what has moved me, turning my every thought to Him and quietly enjoying His presence.
Along with Israel, I can firmly say, “my help is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!” Through Him, in His power, by the power of His Holy Spirit, I have escaped the “fowler’s snare.” The binding traps of the enemy have been broken.
As the Church, the new Israel, I do believe that we can confidently believe that the Lord is on our side. That means the Church, capital C, world-wide, and does not at all apply to any single country. However, lest we get too big-headed about it, we should remember that, in the big picture, the Lord is on HIS side. We should, therefore, be careful to be found on His side, as well. Let us not champion ourselves and hope that the Lord joins in. Rather, let us champion Him and His purpose, joining in His “cause,” the only cause worthy of defending.
Isaiah 6 is, indeed, a beautiful passage. When I was in music school at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, it was presented as the biblical model of a worship service. I do believe there is something to be said for that, however, I don’t feel that it needs to be adhered to, rigidly.
There are certainly characteristics of the chapter that should be found in any worship service, regardless if it is in a huge cathedral or an intimate living room in a house.
First, God is central. Worship is all about God. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. Worship is not, and never has been, about us. When we make it about us, it is not “worship.” It is idolatry. Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, seated on His throne. We have no other description of what the Lord looked like, other than the fact that the train of His robe was really, really big.
Second, it is worth noting that the attending “living creatures” (these seem to be the same beings that Ezekiel saw), covered their faces and their feet with four of their six wings. I’m not sure what that means for us, to be honest, other than that we had best be careful how we conduct ourselves in worship. If the seraphim, these terrifyingly majestic beings, felt the need to cover their faces and feet, I believe we would do well to exercise a bit of humility in the holy presence of God.
Side note . . . maybe they aren’t the same creatures Ezekiel saw . . . they are only described as having four wings. He saw four of them. We do not know how many seraphim Isaiah saw, and it really doesn’t matter.
Third, the seraphim “sang” a hymn to the Lord. Maybe they weren’t singing. Whatever they were doing shook the very foundations of the temple, their voices were so powerful. This tells me that, when we praise the Lord, it needs to be
Now, this doesn’t mean the musical instruments need to be blasting through the speakers. What it does mean is that the sound of our voices should not be timid, but strong. How beautiful is it to hear the sounds of many voices, singing in unison, the praises of our God?
Side note . . . I believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who preferred unison singing when congregations sang together. While harmony is pretty, unison is more powerful.
Fourth, back to humility. Note Isaiah’s response to this vision. “Woe to me! I am ruined!” While the narrative doesn’t specify this, I have a vision of Isaiah falling on his face while he cried out those things. He recognized his own impurity, his own uncleanness, his SIN! Isaiah! The called prophet of God! When we come into the powerful presence of God, there is no room for pride and arrogance! I am not calling for shame. That is a tool of our enemy, the devil. Not shame, but recognition of, acknowledgment of, our condition before Him. He is HOLY! We are most definitely NOT holy!
He is “Other.”
Fifth, there is cleansing. Now, I don’t know how literally to take this passage. I know people who are way smarter than me when it comes to theology. But could it be that Isaiah’s sins were atoned before Christ’s blood was shed? This puts Isaiah in a rather special place, does it not? But that’s what one of the seraphim told him, the one who touched Isaiah’s lips with the burning coal. I know . . . vision. Not reality. Nevertheless, before we can be sent out on mission, naturally, we must be cleansed. Our cleansing comes from the shed blood of Christ, but there must be confession, just as Isaiah did.
Finally, there is an invitation and an acceptance. The invitation comes from the Lord. It’s more of a challenge, actually. “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah responded. “Here am I! Send me!”
I do not see this as an argument for the traditional evangelical invitation at the end of every service. I personally am not in favor of those, and feel they are largely unbiblical and manipulative. But that’s just my opinion, arrived at after years of observation and Scripture-searching.
There’s a twist, here, though. If you keep reading beyond the selected passage for the day, you will see that Isaiah’s message was anything but the traditional, evangelistic message.
He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “For how long, Lord?” And he answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
(Isaiah 6:9-13 NIV)
Father, I am grateful that I can proclaim, along with David, that You have rescued me from the “fowler’s snare,” that I have escaped from the traps of our enemy. Why do I manage, though, to find myself back in them, after having escaped?? That is a question that I will have to wait to have answered. Until that day, I will strive to keep my feet out of those snares. They are broken (the traps, I mean). . . they cannot hold me. So if I find myself back in one of them, it is my own doing, even though I am free to walk away at any time. I thank You that I am part of Your Church, a small piece of “all the saints,” who praise Your Name and give You thanks, daily. I pray for the times of worship that we have, that they will be You-centered; that our attention will be on Your glory and majesty, and that we, like the seraphim, will practice humility as we cry out praises at the top of our lungs, praises to You, who are completely and utterly “Other,” and “Holy, holy, holy!” And then, just like Isaiah, when we acknowledge our sinfulness and our unworthiness to be in Your presence, cleanse us from our impurities, and send us to proclaim whatever message You give us to proclaim. Most importantly, may we listen to You for that message, for we will not all have the same message. All praise to You, through the Son and by the Spirit!
"High and exalted God, Your holiness crushes my pride and pretense, and I cry, 'Woe is me.' Thank You for Jesus, the cleansing fire from Your heavenly altar who takes away my guilt so I may hear Your call. Amen."
give me your unfailing love,
the salvation that you promised me.
(Psalms 119:41 NLT)
Father, take us through this day, make us humble, and make us kind to one another.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
May the Lord make your love
increase and overflow
for each other and for everyone else,
just as ours does for you.
(1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV)
Grace and peace, friends.