Good morning. It is Sunday, August 10, 2014. I’ve already had my first cup of coffee. Been cleaning up the study a little.
I have to confess. I’m torn between Duran Duran Appreciation Day (Seriously! I swear I’m not making this up!), and Lazy Day. Being as it is Sunday, and I don’t have much to do, I’ll go with lazy. Really?? “Duran Duran Appreciation Day??” Wow.
Just to be safe, here’s a Duran Duran song.
Yesterday turned out to be a pretty good day. Christi did her usual good deed of going to buy groceries for her mom and Don, and I took Stephanie to lunch, after which I went up to Walmart Neighborhood Market to get the one thing we can’t find at Kroger, Rotel Chili Fixin’s. Yes, I know that’s an incorrect usage of the apostrophe, but that’s how Rotel spells it. I like it enough to tolerate the spelling problem.
Anyway. We all got home at exactly the same time, so I helped carry in the groceries, then put them away while Christi took the other ones to her mom’s place. Around 3:00, we headed up to church, with a brief stop at Sonic for our ubiquitous Sonic drinks. My current favorite is Sprite Zero with peach. Yum!!
As we prepared for the evening’s activities, for some reason, Christi and I developed rather negative feelings. But when we got downstairs for our Anchor prayer gathering, that all changed. I want to tell you, God has been using those prayer gatherings in a mighty way. Has nothing to do with my leadership, but each week, I sit down and ponder the things we should pray about. Inevitably, the topics I come up with prompt confessions and pleadings to God for things such as love for our brothers and sisters, more consistent living, and simply celebrating the passion that God has for us. Whatever was wrong with Christi and me before the prayer time was definitely gone by the end! And the worship service last night . . . there was LIFE there! Not that there usually isn’t, but it was different last night. We did add a drummer to the mix, but I don’t that that was solely responsible for it. For one thing, it was “family worship gathering” night, when we bring the children into the service along with the “gr’ups.” After we had taken The Supper, we were singing some more worship songs, and I looked over to my left and several of the children were dancing behind the seating area. I couldn’t help but smile! Their mothers were trying to calm them down a little, but I seriously don’t think anyone minded at all. I saw other people smiling at them, as well. Reminds me of my blog from a couple days ago about “Wide-Eyed Wonder.”
After church, we went to Whataburger for dinner, took it home, and watched an old Andy Griffith movie from 1957, called “A Face In the Crowd.” I had never seen it before. It’s B&W, of course, and a totally different side of Andy Griffith than I have ever seen! It was a very powerful movie about how fame and power can corrupt a man. The ending was quite tragic.
(Source: Christian History Institute)
It was on this date in 1886 that Joseph M. Scriven, a Plymouth Brethren hymnwriter died by drowning. He is probably most known for his great hymn, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” Sadly, it was suspected that his death was suicide, as he had been plagued by bad health, financial issues, and depression. In addition, “his plans for marriage had twice been destroyed by tragedy: in Ireland, a bride-to-be drowned the evening before their wedding; in Canada, a second fiance fell ill and died suddenly before their scheduled wedding.”
(Now tell me that that video wasn’t just a little bit fun!!)
Birthdays for August 10 include Antonio Banderas, Suzanne Collins, Ian Anderson, Herbert Hoover, Eddie Fisher, Jimmy Dean, Bobby Hatfield, Rocky Colavito, Rosanna Arquette, Ronnie Spector, Leo Fender, Henri Nestle, and Jack Haley.
Ian Anderson is the frontman for the rock group Jethro Tull. Well-known for his style of flute playing, he has also played with the London Symphony. I believe he also owns a salmon farm. His daughter, Gael, is married to Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick in The Walking Dead. Here is a You Tube video of a live performance of “My God” from the Aqualung album. The clip is from the Isle of Wight concert in 1970. If you take the time to listen to the whole clip, his flute solo is quite, well, interesting.
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
(From The Divine Hours)
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Grant to me, Lord. I pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right,
that I, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
I have been convicted, over the past couple of weeks, that I have not been properly obeying the Lord’s command in Luke 9:35 (you can see that quoted above). I do realize that this was spoken to only three disciples. However, I believe that this command rings true down through the centuries, like a clarion call to all disciples. “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” How do we “listen” to him today? The most effective way, in my opinion, is to read the Gospels, because that’s where he is represented most. I do understand that you can “find” Jesus all through the Bible. What I am referring, to, however, is that, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we find the words and actions of Jesus, written down for all of us to “hear.” Therefore, I am, beginning today, going to take a few minutes each day to read some of the Gospels. I’ll just start with Matthew and work through them. I want to hear Jesus. I want to obey God’s command, and “listen to him!” At least for this time through, I will be reading the English Standard Version.
Today, I read Matthew 1.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
I’m not digging into deep theology in this, but simply reading to catch glimpses of Jesus, the things he said and did, in order to see how they apply to my lifelong journey of following him.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Experiencing Love.”
Do any of us love as much as we could or should? And what about our listening? Do we listen well? Brennan says, “Sometimes I hear what a woman says but not what she means and wind up giving sage counsel to a nonproblem.” He also speaks of a faux pas when he went to speak to a group of inmates at the Trenton State Penitentiary. He opened with, “Well, it’s nice to see so many of you here!” Last night, I made a sarcastic comment (meant as a joke) to someone at our church, not realizing where he was, mentally or spiritually. Later I apologized, fearing I had driven him further into the dark place he was already in. It was all good, he barely remembered the comment. But we speak things to people without knowing where they are. It’s part of our “poverty as a human being.”
If you were to ask a man who is “poor in spirit to describe his prayer life, he might well answer, ‘Most of the time my prayer consists in experiencing the absence of God in the hope of communion.'” But, “the experience of absence does not mean the absence of experience.” We must, as the poor man, understand that “the goal of the spiritual life is not religious experience but union with God through love.”
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
Father, I pray that you show me Jesus. I confess that I have not done a good job of listening to your Son. It doesn’t mean that I never listen. But I need to listen every day. I believe that this is one of the most important commands in all of scripture. (I said, “One of,” not THE most important.) There is no other voice as worthy of listening to than the voice of your Son. Help me to listen to him. Show me, as I read his actions and words in the Gospels. Let the message of the Gospels permeate my very existence. I want to know him better, that I might follow him better. Through this may I be able to love you, follow Jesus, and share the Kingdom.
May I also know love. May I both know love and show love. Help me to understand (and I believe that I mostly do) that my goal is not “experience” but intimacy of relationship with you. Help me to walk in love around all people that I encounter each day. Help me to think about the things that I say before I say them. I’m too quick to blurt out dry, sarcastic statements, which, even though meant in jest or fun, could serve to damage someone in a fragile moment. May I walk in grace and love before and around others, always being sure to consider others as more important than myself.
I pray for this day. Christi is going shopping for a new outfit for tomorrow. I pray that you keep her safe, and that she will enjoy herself while shopping. I pray for tomorrow afternoon’s event. May your will be done, on earth as in heaven. May your favor shine on her, and make her path clear. I pray for Stephanie as she rests today, that she will be drawn closer to your heart, and know the embrace of your crazy love. May we all know the “restless raging fury that they call the love of God.” And then, may we turn around and show that to the world.
“What is love?” Howard Jones wondered. “Does anybody love anybody anyway?” I say, yes! Maybe I can’t define it properly . . . not sure anyone can. But I do believe that it is possible to truly love someone. So let’s do it! What do you say?
Grace and peace, friends.