Today is Wednesday, the twenty-second of September, 2021. ‘Tis the first day of Autumn, my favorite season of the year!
Twenty days until our 36th wedding anniversary!
Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru, a wonderful Romanian photographer. My gratitude to Paul for allowing me to use his photos.
Fall has finally arrived, and has arrived in great style, as it is currently below sixty degrees in DFW, and the projected high is only 82 today. Tomorrow should be similar. There’s a little rain in the forecast, in about a week, but things could always change between now and then.
Yesterday was a great work day. I spent the first four hours in shelving, putting away some new books and DVDs, then pulled some large print books that are slated for probable “deaccession.” That means they will be pulled from library stock and placed in the next Friends of the Library sale. The second half was spent in the computer center, where my role is basically to sit there are wait for people to have questions or problems. There are occasional tasks with which I can assist, as well. I am also thinking about signing up to help with the library’s subscription service, a brain child of one of the media/tech people during the pandemic, while the library was closed to inside service. Each month, three books are chosen by library staff for subscribers, based on a survey they fill out, along with their check-out history (only made available for this service), then the patrons get to rate the books that they are given by the staff. I’ve not only considered signing up to help pick books, but I’ve also considered signing up for the service, itself. Sounds like fun.
Today, I work from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, and then I’m off for the next four days. Next week will be the “tough” week, tough only because of the number of hours I will be working during the calendar week, as my schedule changes to the new schedule I will have, going forward from October 1.
I’ve got a grocery order being delivered from Albertson’s, this morning, with some needed things, mostly watermelon and bananas. Can’t keep a banana in this house! It’s crazy.
At some point, I may have to break down and mow the yard. Maybe tomorrow. Also, in regards tomorrow, C received a text message on Monday, confirming that the Social Security folks will be calling her Thursday morning, in regards to to S’s benefit from my record. That should be interesting.
Today is Hobbit Day, as, apparently, it is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
The quote for today, from Eleanor Roosevelt, is “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
Significant birthdays on September 22:
Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, 1290 (did he ever die?) Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, 1515-1557 Michael Faraday, English scientist, 1791-1867 Charlotte Cooper, British tennis player, 1st female Wimbledon champion, 1870-1966 Tommy Lasorda, American baseball manager, 1927-2021 Toni Basil, American singer (Mickey), 1943 (78) David Coverdale, British rock singer (Deep Purple, Whitesnake), 1949 (Wikipedia says 1951, making him 70) Andrea Bocelli, Italian tenor, 1958 (63) Scott Baio, American actor (Happy Days), 1960 (61) Catherine Oxenberg, American actress (Dynasty), mother of India Oxenberg, victim of Keith Ranier's NXIVM cult, 1961 (60) Bonnie Hunt, American actress (Cheaper By the Dozen, Rain Man), 1961 (60) Tom Felton, English actor (Draco Malfoy), 1987 (34)
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Beginning of Fall is here; Cooler air outside; Refreshing and renewing.
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
(Isaiah 29:18-19 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for Autumn, and the cooler temperatures it brings 2. for the grace that floods my soul, this morning, even though I am undeserving of it 3. for the coming day when all people, all over the world, will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that You are Most High over all the earth 4. for the promise of rest and strength as we return to You in repentance 5. for my life in You, in the truth of Your Gospel, and the strength to share it with others
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK EIGHTEEN – DAY FOUR
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!
(Psalms 139:14 MSG)
As I pause here, in the quietness, I consider that You are, indeed, breathtaking! This body, this soul, so marvelously and wonderfully made! I watch my fingers move. I pay attention to my breathing. What marvel; what wonder!
A song. A psalm of Asaph.
O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof,
See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you,
whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:1-4, 17-18 NIV)
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.
The LORD’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?” They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.
(1 Samuel 5:1-8 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my meditations and prayers, and teach me something for my life today.
I do like the prayer at the beginning of Psalm 83. We should always be praying, I think, for God to not be silent, to not stand aloof, to not turn a deaf ear to us. It’s one of those prayers that seems superfluous, because God has already promised to not do any of those things.
It is we who are fickle, and I believe that praying prayers like this can center our souls, cause us to focus better on the Almighty. If we are asking Him to pay attention, it means we are speaking to Him. It’s a simple though, really, but it is similar to the idea that prayer, in itself, is an exercise in faith. If I had no faith, I would not be bothering to pray. But the fact that I pray indicates that there is at least a grain of sand worth of faith in there somewhere.
It is also interesting that Asaph phrases this psalm in such a way to indicate that it is GOD’S enemies that he is praying against, not his own. “These people are Your enemies, because they are trying to wipe out Your people.” In our day and time, the enemies of God have a different tactic. Mostly, I think, they simply ignore Him or try to prove that He doesn’t exist. All to their own destruction, eventually.
The last verse of the psalm is one of those great prayers that we can always pray, kind of like “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:18 NIV)
The Lord let the Philistines know that He was Most High in this mildly amusing story from 1 Samuel. The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant. They thought they had won, right?
Even their idol, their false God Dagon, bowed before the ark! That piece of stone or wood was found face down before the ark, the morning after they set the ark next to the idol. They even set it back up, but found it face down again, the next morning, with the head and hands broken off. Interestingly, their superstitions continued to rule them, as the head and hands were laying on the threshold, which caused the worshipers of Dagon to never step on the threshold of the temple again.
What does it say to us when a “god” that isn’t even real bows down to the Most High God? One also wonders why the Philistines continued to worship Dagon.
And then the “bad stuff” started happening. We don’t know the exact nature of it, other than “devastation” and “tumors.” Some wise people among them figured out that all of this was happening because they had the ark.
So they decided to move it. To Gath, another Philistine city. If you keep reading, the people of Gath dumped it on the city of Ekron, who immediately cried out, “”They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” Word gets around.
The amazing thing to me is that there is never any indication that any of these people thought to cry out to the God of Israel for mercy! They just kind of “shooed” Him off, dumped Him on the next town. Actually, today’s reading, in the devotional book, stops before any of the moving around, with the question, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”
A similar question looms, today. This God, the Most High God over all the earth, has revealed Himself in many ways. Paul, in the book of Romans declares that He has revealed Himself sufficiently in nature, to the point that no one on earth has any excuse for not believing in Him.
I lean toward agreeing with that thought. I do not, for the life of me, understand how anyone can look around at the beauty of this world (even the dry, arid, desolate places are beautiful in their own way) and not believe in a creator! Personally, I think it takes a lot more “faith” to believe that all of this is just serendipity.
The looming question is “What are you going to do with the God of Israel? What are you going to do with Jesus Christ?” You only have two choices. You can believe in Him, or you can not believe in Him. You can’t just ignore Him. You can try, but it has the same effect as not believing.
C.S. Lewis, I believe, was the first person to propose the idea, concerning Jesus, that you have three choices about Him. Either 1)He is who He says He is, which is God incarnate, the Savior of the world, 2) He is a bald-faced liar, making claims that simply aren’t true, or 3) He is a raving lunatic, a mad-man.
You simply do not have the choice to think that He was a “good teacher.”
He claimed to be God.
He was crucified, He was buried, and He rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven. There are eye witnesses to all of those!
I will proclaim these truths until my dying day.
Father, I pray that someone who does not believe in You will read this blog today. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will surround them as they read, and that they will be drawn into a believing relationship with You, by the power of the blood of Christ. I praise You that You drew me in so many years ago, that You caused me to be born into a believing family, and that You chose me to be one of Your children, before the foundations of the earth. I pray that You will, indeed, let them know that You, whose Name is Yahweh, that You alone are Most High over all the earth!
"Living God, You are the one true God, eternal, almighty, everywhere present, filled with compassion, knowing all things, most wise, perfectly holy, always patient, overflowing with goodness and truth. All my idols are reflections of my broken self, and only as I fall down and worship You do I find myself whole again. Amen."
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
(Matthew 5:4 MSG)
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
(Isaiah 30:15 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!
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. (Kyrie)
Grace and peace, friends.