Good morning. It is Sunday, July 12, 2015.
Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is cachinnate. (It’s truly amazing how many of these words my spell-checker doesn’t recognize!) Cachinnate is a verb, meaning, “to laugh loudly or immoderately.” This is a perfect word to describe a woman where I work. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Today is Etch A Sketch Day. I remember those. I had hours of fun, moving those knobs, which moved the drawing points around, removing the somehow magnetic dust from the underside of that screen, drawing some kind of picture. Of course, that was before the Internet. Or computers. And maybe even color TV. Yeah. I’m that old. 😀
Last night, I may have heard part one of the best sermon I have ever heard. Jacob preached from Psalm 37:1-7, and only got through verse 4. The gist of the message is how we should respond to our world/culture, and the seeming prevalence of “evil.” The overall message is represented by the first two words in the Psalm. “Fret not!” We have seen a lot of fretting since that historic Supreme Court decision, an awful lot of fretting among people who call themselves Christians. And all of this fretting indicates that they are failing miserably in one of the most basic tenets of Christianity, which is “Trust in the LORD!” (Psalm 37:3) When we fret, we are not trusting, and that is all there is to it. Basically, the Psalmist’s message is, “STOP IT!” Stop fretting, and trust! Verse 3 continues, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” If we follow this advice, then there is no need for fretting over anything.
Jacob’s second point was from verse 4, an oft misused verse in this Psalm, and a memory verse for me from way back. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Many people have tried to use this verse to say that if we “delight” in the Lord, he will give us that new job, that new car, that huge house, or that spouse that we want. The problem is, we aren’t really delighting in God when we expect those things, are we?? If we truly delight in the Lord, which means that we find him more desirable than anything/anyone in the entire universe, he will give us the desire of our heart, which is . . . HIM!
Okay . . . I apologize for sermonizing above the double line. I don’t usually do that, but this sermon was so good, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, after church, we stopped by O.C. Burger for some dinner, and headed home to watch three recorded episodes of Wayward Pines. What a strange show.
This morning, as reported for a couple day, some friends are coming by to pick up Stephanie, at around 10:30, and take her to see some horses. Stephanie loves the “horse outings,” and these friends are very gracious to take Stephanie out there. At around 11:00, we have a plumber coming over (yes, on Sunday morning!) to look at our shower. I really haven’t mentioned this at all, but, for more than a month, our shower has been virtually dribbling. The water flow is very low, to the point that we have to keep the shower head on the setting that is supposed to almost hurt you, it’s so hard. We are relatively sure we don’t have a leak, because the water bill has not skyrocketed, and the pressure in the rest of the house is fine. Christi will probably go do the grocery shopping while the plumber is here, and I will will stay here with him. After that, I think our day is free from plans, so we can rest up for another work week.
On this date in 1543, King Henry VIII married his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. You’d think the women would have figured this out by number six. In 1804, Alexander Hamilton died from the gunshot wound received in yesterday’s duel with Aaron Burr. And in 1962, the Rolling Stones performed their first concert at the Marquee Club in London.
Today’s birthdays include Henry David Thoreau (American writer/philosopher), George Eastman (American inventor), George Washington Carver (American botanist), Oscar Hammerstein II (American lyricist), Kirsten Flagstad (Norwegian soprano), Milton Berle (American comedian), “Curly Joe” DeRita (American actor and comedian, Three Stooges), Andrew Wyeth (American artist), Van Cliburn (American pianist), Bill Cosby (American actor/comedian), Christine McVie (British singer/musician, Fleetwood Mac), Jay Thomas (American actor), Richard Simmons (American fitness trainer)(and I typed that with a straight face)(almost), Phoebe Snow (American singer/songwriter), Cheryl Ladd (American actress), Philip Taylor Kramer (American musician, Iron Butterfly), Sandy Patti (American singer), Kristi Yamaguchi (American figure skater), Topher Grace (American actor), and Phoebe Tonkin (Australian actress/model).
Van Cliburn was a world-renowned piano player, born on this date in 1934. He passed away in 2013, in Fort Worth, TX. Here is a recording of him playing the infamous Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, known in the piano world as, simply, the Rach 3. This is the piece of music that allegedly drove pianist David Helfgott a bit crazy, featured in the movie Shine. If you have 47 minutes to spare, this is an amazing piece of music, performed by one of the world’s greatest pianists.
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
(From Solid Joys)
Today’s reading is “Faith Expels Guilt, Greed and Fear.”
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
“Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder love.”
What happens when we feel guilt? We tend to “wallow in self-centered depression and self-pity.” We find ourselves unable to see anyone else’s need. Either that, or we find ourselves focusing on other people’s faults, to take our attention off of our own guilt.
What happens when we feel fear? It causes us to not approach a visitor at our church service, a person who might need a word of encouragement. We might struggle against a call from God to go into frontier missions, because it sounds dangerous. Perhaps we spend too much money on unnecessary insurance, “or get swallowed up in all manner of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to the needs of others.”
What happens if we are greedy? We might spend too much money on luxuries, things that we really do not need at all, money that could be used to spread the gospel. We don’t try anything risky, lest our possessions or financial future be jeopardized. “We focus on things instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage.” (Emphasis mine.)
“Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out of the heart.”
How does it push out guilt? “It holds fast to the hope that the death of Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
How does it push out fear? It banks on the promise of Isaiah 41:10. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
How does it push out greed? It is “confident that Christ is greater wealth than all the world can offer.” Matthew 13:44 says, The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.”
Father, I definitely need your grace in all of these areas. Perhaps fear is the biggest problem for me. I tend to believe that my guilt is taken care of by Christ, and firmly believe in the promise of Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. “No condemnation” means that I need not focus on guilt. But fear is a big one for me, Lord. I struggle with approaching total strangers, even in the comfortable surroundings of the church I attend. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of, but I ask for increased faith in your grace, that says you will strengthen me, help me, and uphold me with your almighty arms. I don’t struggle with greed nearly as much as I used to, but it is still a struggle. I don’t seek to acquire as much stuff as I used to. I tend to be more satisfied with what I have. But I need to be more satisfied with you, Father, and your grace. As Piper frequently says, you are most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in you.
I pray for this day. I pray that the plumber will be able to fix our water pressure issues in the shower at a minimal cost. I pray that Christi will be safe during her errands, and that Stephanie will be safe and have a good time during her horse visit. I pray for some good rest this evening. May we have a good work week, free from anxiety and stress. I pray that Rachel and Justin have been able to get some rest this weekend, and that their week will be a good week, full of good things from you. Finally, I pray that my mother is having a good time at church this morning, worshiping you with her church family. I pray that, if she makes it to the Supper service this evening, she will experience your grace in a special way, in the unity of her brothers and sisters in Christ.
Your grace is sufficient, Father. Help me to trust in you.
We battle guilt, fear, and greed with faith in God’s future grace. God will do what he says he will do. “Fret not,” says the Psalmist, “trust in the LORD.”
Grace and peace, friends.