Worship Together

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), October 19, 2017. Day 21,770.

Twelve days until C’s knee replacement surgery.

John Lithgow, who was born on this date in 1945, said, “In animation, there’s this exhilarating moment of discovery when you see the film and you say, Oh THAT’S what I was doing.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is nocent, which means, “harmful; injurious.”

Today is Evaluate Your Life Day. That’s too heavy. I think I’ll celebrate Chocolate Cupcake Day, which I missed yesterday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD . . . For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:1-3
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:4
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
Psalm 57:5
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
Psalm 69:6
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29
Lord, I pray that your grace may always precede and follow me, that I may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(From Living the Message)

We have been given many different means of spiritual growth: Scripture and prayer, silence and solitude, service and suffering, and so on. But one of the biggest and most foundational ways of growth is worshiping together. “Spiritual growth cannot take place in isolation.” While the disciplines of silence and solitude are important, spiritual growth, at its heart, is not “a private thing between the Christian and God. In worship, we come before God who loves us in the presence of others whom he also loves. In worship, more than at any other time, we set ourselves in deliberate openness to the actions of God and the need of the neighbor.”

The regular gathering with the saints to worship is essential to the growth of the Christian. It’s spiritual food and water. It is “the light and air in which spiritual growth takes place.”

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.
Acts 2:46-47a (The Message)

Father, I’m glad that you have made me love worship. For decades, I have believed that worship, specifically the act of public worship, is one of, if not the, most important activities in which the Church can engage. When we gather together this coming Sunday, help me to engage with each individual that I see there, and help me to worship you more fully, with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Attachment vs Detachment

Today is Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Day five in Galveston.

Quote of the Day

“Sometimes it’s worse to win a fight than to lose.” – Billie Holiday

Word of the Day

Plusquamperfection – Utter perfection.

Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day. What could possibly be wrong, today, that a chocolate cupcake couldn’t fix?

We slept through the sunrise, this morning. Mostly because we stayed up past midnight, last night.

Yesterday, we drove into town to eat breakfast/brunch at Miller’s Seawall Grill. I had Lump Crab Benedict, and, boy, was it good!! After we ate, we went on over to The Strand to walk around a little. We watched salt water taffy being made at La King’s candy shop, and got some free samples. I also bought a small amount of several flavors and decided that I really like salt water taffy.

That was the extent of our adventure, yesterday. We drove on back to the house and spent the rest of the day relaxing, reading, watching/listening to the ocean.

This morning, we are getting ready to go to another place for breakfast, ShyKatZ. Who knows what we will do after that?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!Psalm 125:4

(From Praying With the Psalms)

I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors.
Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me.
My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.
I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!
It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken.
Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.
Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.
Psalm 119:121-128

The Word of God is available to us at no charge; we can neither buy nor sell it (I’m not speaking of “Bibles” here). At the same time, it is priceless and shapes all of our values. Do our check stubs reflect the values shaped by God’s Word?

“You know, O Lord, how easily I am corrupted by the world’s values, how I judge people by their salaries and things by their price tags. Purge me of all such baseness and teach me to value everything in relation to your love revealed in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 3 John 7

How does our love to Christ manifest itself? We must identify with his interests in other people, not attempting to identify Jesus with our interests in other people.

“The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself, not being detached from things externally. External detachment frequently shows an internal attachment to the very things that we seek to keep away from externally. We are better to be attached solely to Christ, rather than attempting to be detached from other things.

Father, I would seek this internal and external attachment to Christ, rather than external detachment from things. I desire to seek Jesus and him only, and allow this to color my attitude toward everything else. Help me to identify with your interests in those around me, rather than attempting to manipulate you into my interests.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Beatific Vision

Bring on the chocolate cupcakes!

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is auding. This is one I have not seen or heard before. It is a noun, depicting an action, which is also strange. It means, “The action of comprehending and retaining the information in speech that is heard, as opposed to merely hearing it or listening to it.” An example usage: “Both auding and reading comprehension rates for college-level readers are optimal at around 300 wpm.”

Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day. What else do I even need to say about that?

Yesterday took a small toll on us. Christi spent well over two hours with her mother and step-dad, taking them to the bank to try to work out some issues that they are having. I don’t have time to go into details, but it’s pretty convoluted.

After she got home, we had some lunch and watched some TV. We finally got around to going to the grocery store around 4:00 PM. I seriously allowed anger to work into me, though, not at Christi, but at her mother for putting Christi through everything she’s been through over the past years. My tolerance is just about gone. To make matters worse, other people keep entering into the situation, and offer up opinions that nobody else in Christi’s mother’s family cares about her. Of course, they don’t know the history.

I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. Plus I don’t have time, as I said, as we are planning to leave for church at 7:00, this morning.

Our church, The Exchange, is now meeting at the YMCA on North Beach Street, in Fort Worth. Our worship service will begin at 9:15. If you are in the area and awake, you are welcome to visit us. 9100 N. Beach, Fort Worth, TX 76244.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Another way to speak of meditating on Christ and his attributes is to speak of seeking his face. In Psalm 27:8, David said, You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” What does this mean? We know, both from experience as well as other Scriptures, that God is everywhere, omnipresent.

Consider when you have a conversation with another person. We don’t normally look at their knees or feet, back or stomach, do we? We typically look at their face, and, even sometimes, make eye contact. “The face is the ‘relational gate’ into a person’s mind and heart.” When we seek God’s face, we are not looking to find the place where he is located. “Rather, it is to have our hearts enabled by the Holy Spirit to sense his reality and presence.” To seek the face of God is to “seek communion with him, a real interaction with God, sharing thoughts and love.”

We know, from reading the Old Testament, that people were forbidden to see God’s face, as they would be consumed by his holiness. However, because of the work of Christ on the cross, we are able to have a nearness to God that was impossible in Old Testament times. “Jesus’ person and work is the breakthrough for any who want to draw near and seek God’s face.”

John Owen gave a lot of attention to 2 Corinthians 3:18. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. He connected this with 2 Corinthians 4:6. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Owen constantly returns to a subject that he calls the “beatific vision.” This describes “the direct sight of the glory of God.” As the redeemed, we will have this fully, literally, by sight, in heaven, but on earth, we can only partially obtain this by faith, not by sight. Owen says that, “our Christian life and thinking should be oriented toward the hope of the beatific vision, and shaped by the foretaste we receive of it here and now.”

Essentially, what Owen is saying is that if we are not captivated by the beauty and glory of Christ, in our imaginations, we will be captivated by something else. We must “find Christ beautiful for who he is in himself.” When we seek his face, we meditate on his “character, words, and work on our behalf,” and become consumed with his inherent beauty. Keller goes on to say, “If we don’t behold the glory of God in the face of Christ, then something else will rule our lives.”

So, if we desire to see the glory of God in heaven, we must be practicing that here, by faith. “If we want freedom from being driven by fear, ambition, greed, lust, addictions, and inner emptiness, we must learn how to meditate on Christ until his glory breaks in upon our souls.”

The choice is ours.

Grace and peace, friends.

O Taste and See

Good morning. It is FRIDAY!! October 18, 2013.

Today is “Chocolate Cupcake Day.” Yeah, I could totally do that. It has the word “chocolate” in it.


Yesterday, the work day was pretty much wasted by a six hour training session on Hazmat awareness. All because our customer ships us one box of stuff that has one can of spray paint in it. So now I know way more than what I need to know about hazmat. And a few local restaurants, because our leader couldn’t seem to stay on topic.

The Red Sox took game five of the ALCS last night, 4-3. Once again, Mike Napoli was the hero, or at least one of them, starting the night of with a home run, and then later getting a ground rule double. The Tigers fought back from 4-0, scoring one run each in three consecutive innings. Then John Farrell brought in Koji Uehara. That boy has been almost untouchable this season, as a closer. He’s made one mistake that I know of, which was that home run that lost the third game of the ALDS against Tampa. I’m pretty sure I heard one of the Fox announcers say that he has a lower baserunner per batter average than any pitcher. EVER. That’s pretty impressive. What is really kind of adorable is the post game celebration ritual that he and Big Papi seem to have adopted. This is the best video I could find of it. The only one, actually.

Today is a traveling day. Game six is at Fenway Park tomorrow night. NLCS is also at 3-2, in favor of the Cardinals.


Today’s birthday is David Murphy, born on this date in 1981, in Houston, Texas. Murphy is an outfielder for the Texas Rangers, who began his career with the Boston Red Sox. He was traded to the Rangers in in the trade that sent closer Eric Gagne to the Red Sox in 2007. He is 32 today. Here is Murphy’s feature clip for “I Am Second.”

Honorable mentions go to Chuck Berry, 87, Erin Moran, 53, Dawn Wells, 75, Mike Ditka, 74, Laura Nyro, 1947-1997, Pam Dawber, 62, Peter Boyle, 1935-2006, Wynton Marsalis, 52, and George C. Scott, 1927-1999.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13

Father, I have tasted and seen that you are good. Unfortunately, my “taste” still desires other things. I pray that you direct my heart so that it is satisfied only with you. Be my rock of refuge and my fortress. Show me wonderful things out of your words this morning.


Today, in A Year With God, I begin the section on the discipline of “Sacrifice.” Sacrifice is defined as, “Deliberately forsaking the security of satisfying our own needs with our resources in the faith and hope that God will sustain us.”

Sacrifice is first encountered in the Old Testament when we see people offering animals and grain to God. Grain offerings were gifts, either of thanksgiving, or seeking his favor. Animals offerings were for atonement, that sin might be covered up. But later in the Old Testament, prophets criticized the sacrifices, because there was a lack of repentance and commitment in the offerings. Jesus “turned the concept of sacrifice on its head by offering his own body on the cross–the ultimate act of obedience.” He also ended the necessity of any other kind of atoning sacrifices. We offer “sacrifice” by following Jesus’s example, offering time, money, or service. “Through sacrifice we show our obedience to God.” When we offer things that we need or want to God, “we are recognizing that God is the one who provides for all our needs.” I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1


Father, you know my heart, even better than I do. My desire is to be wholeheartedly devoted to you. I pray that, as I study this discipline of sacrifice, you will empower me, by your Spirit, to be more sacrificial toward you. Show me those things which I can do without, so that I might devote more to you. Thought I have tasted, and seen that you are good, I desire to “taste” more. Draw me deeper and closer to you each day.

I pray for this day. I ask that Christi and I may have a good work day today. I have a good bit to get accomplished today, since I was in training sessions all day yesterday. Give me a spirit of efficiency and diligence today, that I may work intelligently. Christi is working from home. I pray that everything goes smoothly for her today. As always, I pray that you draw Stephanie closer to your heart today. Give us a good, restful weekend.


Sacrifice is not much more appealing than submission, perhaps even less. It is not something that our culture values. May God lead us to be willing to make sacrifices to honor him.

Grace and peace, friends.