Reading To Shape the Heart

Today is Monday, September 25, 2017. Day 21,746. 17 days until our 32nd anniversary!

Phil Rizzuto, who was born on this date in 1918 (died 2007), said, “I’ll take anyway to get into the Hall of Fame. If they want a batboy, I’ll go in as a batboy.”

Word of the Day

Monticule ~ “a small mountain, hill, or mound.”

Today is One-Hit Wonder Day. So sit back and enjoy your favorite one-hit wonders. One of my favorites is “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

We had a nice day yesterday. The worship gathering went well, and afterward, S got to go with our friends from church, to the place where the lady keeps her horses. That means so much to her, when they get to do that. C went and got the grocery shopping done early, so we were able to spend the rest of the day chilling.

The Red Sox won another game, and the Yankees lost, which increased the Sox lead to five games. Three more Red Sox wins and/or Yankee losses, and the Sox will win the division for the second consecutive year. The Rangers, however, couldn’t muster enough to beat the last place Athletics, and got swept by them. The Twins beat Detroit again, so the Rangers’ playoff chances are very slim, now, down to an elimination number of two. There are seven games left. I really don’t believe that the Twins are going to lose more than five of those seven games.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 

Psalm 103:1-2
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Psalm 16:1-2
I love you, O LORD, my strength. 
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:9-13
Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. 
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. 
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. 
Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. 
Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. 
Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!

Psalm 119:33-40
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

(From Living the Message)

More on spiritual reading, from Eugene H. Peterson:

“Spiritual reading, for most of us, requires either the recovery or acquisition of skills not in current repute: leisurely, repetitive, reflective reading. In this we are not reading primarily for information, but for companionship. Baron Friedrich von Hugel once said it was like sucking on a lozenge in contrast to gulping a meal. It is a way of reading that shapes the heart at the same time that it informs the intellect, sucking out the marrow-nourishment from the bone-words.”

I will add that it also means not hurrying through a book just so you can finish it. This is a challenge for me, as I have always prided myself on the number of books I can read in a year. I have this list of books I’ve read . . . it goes all the way back to April of 1974. The last book I finished was number 1446. I usually have a goal of trying to finish somewhere between twenty and thirty books in a year. That goal used to be 52, a book per week. That was before the Internet. Anyway. The point of Peterson’s words are that we need to slow down, and, as Dallas Willard famously said, “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” That includes in our reading habits, as well.

His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. 
And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

Luke 2:51b-52

Father, teach me to read all over again. In recent years, I have noticed diminished capacity to remember what I have read, in some cases what I have read minutes before. When it comes to reading either your word or books about you and your word, help me to retain what I have read. Help me to slow down and read, not “primarily for information, but for companionship.” Help me to treasure these things deep in my heart.
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.