Today is Monday, the fourth of October, 2021
May the peace of God reign in your life today!
Only eight more days until our 36th anniversary!
We had an awesome Zoom worship gathering, yesterday morning. Our former pastor surprised us with his presence (he was hunting at the ranch with Brandon and Terry), and his knowledge of the Bible is so much better than any of ours. He has been sorely missed. We read through and discussed 1 John 4, and hashed out some difficulties in the passage, most of which largely related to cultural context and the period in which the letter was written.
After church, we had our usual lunch from Applebee’s. They got one of our orders wrong, but fixed it quickly. It was fortunate that the wrong one happened to be on top and I was able to see it. Otherwise, I would not have noticed until I got home with it. Personally, I think it’s because of the recent change in their menu and how it looks when you substitute an item. It looks confusing to me, so it probably does to the kitchen staff, as well.
Here’s how the baseball season ended. The Red Sox came from behind to beat the Nationals in the final game, 7-5, and the Yankees scored a run, I believe, in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Rays 1-0. Because of that, it didn’t matter that Toronto won their last game by a pretty big margin. The Seattle game wouldn’t matter, either, but I believe they lost to the Angels.
So the Red Sox and Yankees will play in the Wild Card game at Fenway Park tomorrow night. I guess the Sox won more head to head games, so they get home field. For the NL, the Cardinals and Dodgers will play the WC game on Wednesday night. How sad is it that the Dodgers won 106 games and only get a Wild Card spot?? But the Giants won 107. What a crazy season! Everyone else in the NL West was under .500 for the season!
Tampa Bay will play the Wild Card winner in the AL division series, and the White Sox will play the Astros in the AL division series. The Braves will play the Brewers in the NL division series, and the Giants will play the WC winner.
Because of the way they ended the season, I don’t have high hopes for the Red Sox, but maybe they will step up and beat the Yankees tomorrow night.
The Rangers finished the season 60-102, third worst in MLB. It’s like we’re back in the seventies again, only with worse management.
I have a few plans for the day. I plan to finish A Dance with Dragons (about 150 pages left). I will likely make a grocery run, maybe to Winco. It’s a little farther from home, but we like the selections they have. I haven’t yet checked to see if they have a curbside pickup option. They apparently don’t (I just looked), but in the process, I discovered that the store is open twenty-four hours a day. That is mildly surprising.
I also have a little bit of laundry to fold and floors to sweep. I’m sure all of this information is terribly interesting and engaging.
Today is my first Monday of the new library schedule, and I will be off every Monday until the schedule changes. Monday Off. There is a jazz vocal group called Monday Off. I tried to find some video of them. But they only have one published album from back in 2006. I might be able to share a track here.
I honestly don’t know if people who don’t have a Spotify account will be able to hear that.
Oh, and today is my official WW weigh-in day, even though I’m digital only and not attending workshops at this time. I managed to lose 1.8 since last Monday. I’m still up around ten pounds from when I retired from my old job.
Today is Vodka Day. I may or may not “celebrate” this. A shot of vodka (or pretty much any other whiskey or liquor) is 3 WW smartpoints. And it is true, vodka is, in general, made from potatoes.
Today’s word is Weltanschauung. I promise you that a cat did not just walk across my keyboard. I’m not making this up. It means, “a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.” It is pronounced [ velt-ahn-shou-oong ]. Okay, I think I understand. It basically means “worldview.” Not any particular or specific worldview. As a Christ-follower, I have a certain Weltanschauung. An atheist has a different Weltanschauung.
Today’s quote is from Henry Van Dyke, American poet: “Love is the best thing in the world, and the thing that lives the longest.” I believe the Apostle Paul would agree.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV)
Significant birthdays on October 4:
Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1626-1712 Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th U.S. President, 1822-1893 Buster Keaton, American actor and comedian, 1895-1966 Charlton Heston, American actor (Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes), 1923-2008 Alvin Toffler, American author (Future Shock), 1928-2016 Anne Rice, American author (Interview with A Vampire), 1941 (80) Tony La Russa, American baseball HOF player and manager, 1944 (77) Susan Sarandon, American actress (Bull Durham, Thelma & Louise, Rocky Horror Picture Show), 1946 (75) Andreas Vollenweider, Swiss new-age harpist, 1953 (68) Mark McLemore, American baseball player and broadcaster (Texas Rangers), 1964 (57) Alicia Silverstone, American actress (Clueless), 1976 (45) Caitriona Balfe, Irish actress (Outlander), 1979 (42) Dakota Johnson, American actress, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, 1989 (31)
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Pray without ceasing; Be joyful no matter what; This is the Lord's will. (1 Thessalonians 5)
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for Mondays off 2. that I have so much for which to be grateful 3. that true joy is not based on circumstances 4. for these daily pauses, to allow God's Word to dwell in my life 5. for the spiritual sustenance that God's Word gives me
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY TWO
He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.
(Psalms 33:5 NLT)
I pause to regain focus and concentration after being interrupted. Nothing serious at all, but interruptions do disrupt the flow of things. Sometimes it is hard to regain. I focus on the presence of the Lord and His unfailing love.
The LORD is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, LORD, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
(Psalms 94:1-3 NIV)
Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?
Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.
Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law;
(Psalms 94:8-12 NIV)
David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.
Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
(2 Samuel 6:1-8 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I center into these passages, reading them again, I intentionally ignore distractions from other sources, such as notifications about new Facebook posts or emails. My purpose is to seek the Lord’s face and His truth and wisdom. May the Holy Spirit guide me.
We only read a few verses of Psalm 94 today (there will be more tomorrow), a psalm that has the sub-heading, “The Lord Will Not Forsake His People.” The beginning speaks of vengeance, something that stayed heavy on the hearts and minds of ancient Israel. But it makes proper note of the fact that vengeance belongs to God, and we are not to take it upon ourselves. The psalm begins with a prayer for God to take vengeance, for Him to pay back what is deserved.
The danger of such a prayer, of course, is that I would never pray for God to give me what I deserve. Therefore, I am hesitant to pray such a prayer about anyone else. I would rather pray for Him to show mercy. Yet we find such a prayer in Scripture, so we must recognize that it is proper. But we must examine our hearts and motivations.
In this case, the psalmist (unnamed for Psalm 94) asks how long the wicked will be allowed to “be jubilant.” And, like any true believer, I will confess that there are times when I shake my head, wondering at the fact that “the wicked” seem to always be partying down, having a good ol’ time, and never suffering any consequences. Sometimes, we just have to rest in the knowledge that “they will get theirs.” The will get what’s coming to them.
Or, perhaps, even better, they will repent and believe.
Tell the truth . . . which would you rather see?
I like the turn that the psalm takes in verses 8-12. The psalmist begins asking rhetorical questions. Essentially, in my own way of thinking, he is asking, “Do you think God is stupid??” The truth is, He does, indeed, know our plans. He knows them all, even before we do, and He knows that the plans of humans are futile.
We are blessed if God chooses to discipline us, and teach us from His laws.
In the passage from 2 Samuel, we see a rather severe case of the Lord’s discipline. Uzzah touches the Ark of the Covenant, and he is struck dead. Just like anyone else who reads this, I see it and think, “Whoa! That’s pretty harsh!” I mean, he was just trying to keep it from falling off the cart.
Here’s the thing. Based on the research I have done, they weren’t carrying the Ark properly. And only priests were allowed to touch it. It was supposed to be carried by staves, on the shoulders of two men, not riding in a cart pulled by oxen.
This whole sequence of events upset David so much that he was afraid of the Lord and wouldn’t even continue to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. Instead, he left it at the house of “Obed-Edom the Gittite.”
He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.
(2 Samuel 6:10-11 NIV)
I’m willing to make a big leap here and get all figurative with the Word. What we see here is a household being blessed when the Word of God dwells within it. Maybe that is too big a reach, I don’t know. But I don’t think I need to find a specific passage of Scripture to validate that truth, either.
This portion of the morning’s devotional is called “Dwelling.” To dwell means, as a verb, to live in or at a specific place. But there is also another meaning, in the operation of machinery. It means, “a slight regular pause in the motion of a machine.”
Interesting. In the motion of the machine of my life, there is a “dwelling” each morning. It is a “slight regular pause” in the motion of my daily life.
If, during that pause, I allow the Word of God to live in or reside in me, I am blessed. That Word, that the Lord speaks, permeates my being, just like drinking a glass of water or eating a piece of bread sustains my body. I believe this to be the reason Jesus used phrases like “living water” and “bread of life.” I need Him as much as I need real water and real bread. I cannot live without either of them.
Father, as I go through the motions of my life, as this “machine” operates, I am grateful for the regular pauses that You have initiated in my life. I am often torn, Father, between the desire to see the wicked suffer for their crimes and the desire to see them brought to life. We are a people who love to see vengeance. Yet, You call upon us to love our enemies. So how can I love someone, yet desire to see them harmed by Your wrath? I cannot reconcile the two. Help me to lean toward the compassionate side. I see the prayers of the psalmists, when they ask You for vengeance, so I acknowledge that this is acceptable. However, I would rather follow in the path of Jesus, seeking the restoration of all people, spiritually. Your heart’s desire to to see all men come to repentance, to know You intimately. Therefore, I will pray toward that end.
Thank You for the sustenance of the living water and bread of life. Help me to see You in all things around me, wherever I may direct my gaze.
"Holy God, keep me from dishonoring You, boxing You into tidy formulas I can take hold of, taming You into something I can manage. Let me really know You so I never trivialize You but make the glory of Your name the concern of my life. Amen."
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
(Matthew 5:6 NLT)
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain . . .
(Revelation 3:2 KJV)
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV)
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.