Today is Thursday, the eleventh of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ be in your soul today!
Only EIGHT more days until S turns 29!!
The temperature only got up to 98, yesterday, and it rained again, which, once again, dropped the temperature significantly between 5 PM and 7 PM. C said it rained so hard that she had to use her windshield wipers on high. It didn’t rain that much at our house. The ten-day forecast shows only three days over 100, and more chance of rain next week.
Last night, I made Beefy American Goulash for dinner. It was definitely a hit. And there was enough left over for a couple more servings. I plan to take one for lunch at work today. Oh. that reminds me . . . I have to start soup in the crock pot for tonight’s dinner. Be right back.
I’m back. Thanks for waiting.
The Texas Rangers exploded (not literally) in the top of the tenth inning, last night, to beat the Houston Astros 8-4. The game was tied 3-3, going into the tenth. The Rangers are now 49-61 for the season, still in third place, 21 games out of first place, and nine games out of a Wild Card spot. They have another game against the Astros, this afternoon, at 1:10 CDT, in Houston. Then they are back at home for three games against the Mariners and four against the Athletics.
The Boston Red Sox score was also 8-4. Unfortunately, the Sox were on the short end of that stick. The Braves won the game. Boston is now 54-58 for the season, sinking further into last place, seventeen games out of first place, and five games out of a Wild Card spot. They begin a four-game weekend series with the Orioles, tonight, in Boston. Oops. That was an assumption. This must be one of those weird make-up games for a game that was cancelled because of the pre-season lockout. It’s only one game, followed by a three-game series with the Evil Ones. And look! The Orioles have moved into third place! Shout out to kristianw84.
The LA Dodgers continue to roll on. They are on top of all three categories that I track, here. 77-33 record, five full games ahead of the Mets (the Yankees remain in fourth place), +236 run differential, and a TEN GAME win streak going! Vin would be proud. The Nationals remain on the bottom in two categories, with a 37-76 record, and a run differential of -200. I was wondering what the worst run differential in history was. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders had a run differential of -723. Anyway, the only category that the Nats aren’t the worst in is losing streak, currently owned by the Athletics with a five-game losing streak. The Red Sox have a four game losing streak. They now have a -36 run differential, while the Rangers keep bouncing around zero, and now have a +1.
It’s Thursday, so I’ll be working an eight-hour shift at the library computer center today, from 11:15-8:15.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, grant that we may be your watchmen, who can understand what you mean for our time. We thank you for all you have already done, for every change to the good among the nations. For the nations must bow to your will so that nothing happens unless accomplished by you. Judge us wherever necessary. Open our eyes to see where we are wrong and where something does not go according to your Spirit. Be with us and give us strength. Raise up more watchmen everywhere, in every place and in every home. Wherever something happens to move people's hearts, let the watchmen proclaim, "This comes from God. It does not matter how much we suffer. This comes from Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, but who rose again." Raise up such watchmen among young and old everywhere on earth, to the glory of your name. Let there be a people who go to meet you with shouts of joy and thanksgiving. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.
(Isaiah 52:7-8 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the good news, the Gospel of peace, and that our God reigns 2. for the willingness to open my eyes and allow God to show me when I am wrong 3. that God alone is who I wait for to satisfy the longings of my soul 4. that I strive for integrity and uprightness in my life 5. that His grace is sufficient in all things
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)
“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:33-37 NLT)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 ESV)
Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 NLT)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8 ESV)
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
(Psalms 25:21 ESV)
Here, we see a link between Jesus’s words in Matthew concerning making oaths (let your yes be yes and your no be no), and this verse in Psalm 25 about integrity and uprightness.
The psalmist is asking for a true heart, a pure heart, because that is how we must draw near to God. Don’t misunderstand . . . we do not need to be totally without sin before we can approach God, because that is impossible. Even though all our sins are forgiven and wiped clean, we are still not completely without sin. It is the motivation of the heart that is in question here.
“To meet with the Holy One, our heart must be wholly given over to His will.” (Andrew Murray) When we first begin to wait upon God, we find out how treacherous our hearts really are. It is difficult to dispense with ulterior motives when praying. I find myself questioning my own motives, frequently, when I pray.
Why, for example, do most popular prayer “formulae” begin with “adoration” or “praise?” Pardon my cynicism, but I think it’s because we foolishly believe that we can “butter up” God. You know . . . “If I praise Him first, maybe He’ll answer my prayer.” Are we so naive that we don’t realize that He can see right through that?
The question also arises, what are we waiting for? When we pray, do we desire God’s gifts and actions more than we desire Himself? These are hard questions, I know. Trust me, I know, because I have grappled with them, myself, and still do. I pay attention to the words I pray. Sometimes I catch myself uttering silly, meaningless phrases, “vain repetitions,” when I pray. And when I do, I stop, immediately and confess. Sometimes, I even stop saying words for a few minutes and simply contemplate.
I don’t believe this is shameful, though, beloved. It is human. It is the normal behavior of us who are dust. And He remembers that we are dust.
I do long “for a sense of His holy presence and nearness.” Sometimes, I thirst for a manifestation of God’s power. But what is equally important is to know for whom we wait. I am not waiting on any human being to satisfy the longings of my soul. I am waiting for God and God alone, because it is He alone who is able, He alone who is worthy.
This just took an unexpected turn.
The prayer word of the day is “why.” I think the article intended it to be a question of “why,” as in “why is this happening to me?” And that, of course, is valid. However, this morning, I choose to look at it differently. And that, hopefully, will explain why I included it.
In the Weight Watchers community, it is strongly encouraged that we have a “why” in our mindset. Why am I doing this program? What is my reason? What is my “why?”
So what is my “why?”
Why do I continue to believe when so many of my old friends seem to have left the path? Why do I wait upon the Lord?
It is because I have experienced the nearness of God. I cannot prove it. I cannot even prove that God exists, just as an atheist cannot prove that He doesn’t. But I can firmly say, as Paul says,
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
(2 Timothy 1:12 ESV)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
Does this mean I never have doubts? Oh, heck no. I certainly do. And I’m honest enough to admit it, unlike some. Frankly, I don’t believe anyone who says that they have never doubted.
Nevertheless, I am convinced of the same things of which Paul is convinced. And I know that it is on God alone that I wait. It is God and God alone who is worthy of my allegiance, my adoration, my praise, and my worship. He alone is worthy of my service, which works itself out in service to other humans.
My “why” is because He is faithful and has been faithful to me, for sixty-four years, through my unfaithfulness and my doubts. As I said above, I have experienced His nearness, His presence. I have felt His embrace. Scoff if you will, but that is something that can never be taken away from me.
Today's sources: Pray a Word a Day YouVersion Bible reading plan Daily Guideposts 2022 Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray
Father, I am so grateful for You. You have been faithful to me, all these years, in spite of my own unfaithfulness. I still, to this day, sometimes wander off the path, and You are always there to guide me back, usually gently. And I remain convinced of Your care for me, Your love for me, and that nothing can ever separate me from Your love.
You alone are worthy of my praise. You alone created all these things that we sometimes think belong to us. Yours is the glory; Yours is the honor; Yours is the praise. It is on You alone that I wait.
I know that You will never leave me or forsake me, and, consequently, do not feel that I need to ask for that.
What I do ask is that I would be able to reflect Your love to the world. Help me to have those “beautiful feet” that spread the Gospel of peace to the world, that tell the world that You reign. Let me be a channel of Your grace and mercy to all people, and not just to the ones who I think deserve it. I believe You want us to love everyone as best we can, the way You have loved us.
Hallelujah, my God! All glory to You! Who can satisfy my soul like You? You are my “fountain;” You are my King.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.