Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!

Today is Saturday, July 7, 2018. Day 22,031.

43 days until S turns 25!

130 days until Fallout 76!

“When one burns one’s bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.” ~ Dylan Thomas, BrainyQuote

The word for today is plantigrade, “walking on the whole sole of the foot, as humans, and bears.”

It took until after 9:00 last night, but we finally got our A/C up and running. When I got home from work, it was 87 degrees in the house. It was close to 8:00 before the repairman finally arrived, as his earlier calls took longer than expected. I should think that they would always expect that. At any rate, the “scheduler” did a very poor job of communicating this to us, and, at one point, we were thinking we would have to find someone else. But it all worked out, and the guy who came was great. He was very friendly, explained a lot to us (not that I understood much of what he explained . . . what the heck is “superheat?”), and got us up and running. He even adjusted the refrigerant because he said his tests were showing that our system was overcharged. He had to replace some kind of capacitor, and also did some cleaning off of the outside of the unit, which had accumulated some hard, caked-on dirt, which was restricting airflow. By 4:00 this morning, our house was back at its usual temperature.

This incident has led us to two courses of action. One is, we will hose off the outside unit on a regular basis, probably monthly, to keep it from building up that dirt again. The second thing is that we plan to, going forward (why do we say that?? We can’t very well go backward, can we?), have the unit serviced on a yearly basis, the heating unit around October, and the cooling unit, probably round March. Preventive maintenance is always a good thing.

I feel blessed that we got out of this for just over $300. It could have been much worse.

The Red Sox beat the Royals 10-5, to become the first MLB team with 60 wins, this season. The Blue Jays beat the Yankees, so the Sox have extended their league in the AL East to two games.

The Rangers lost to the Tigers, 3-1, the only run being the leadoff home run by Choo. This puts the Rangers at 39-50, and 19.5 out in the AL West. The Astros, incidentally, with their win over the Other Sox, bumped the Yankees out of second place in overall MLB standings.

Today, I have to go pick up our groceries from Kroger between 12:00 and 1:00, practice some music for tomorrow’s worship service at FBC Smithfield, and then we have a small gathering with some friends from church, a “game night,” they are calling it. However, it is beginning at 4:00 PM, so it’s more of a “game evening?” Should be fun, though.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; 
then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word. 
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. 
I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, 
and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. 
I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, 
for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. 
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

Psalm 119:41-48

In this passage, God’s word (promise) becomes “an answer for him who taunts me.” I would take this with caution, however, as it should not be a source of pride, but rather, simply a gentle answer should someone taunt us concerning our faith. I also see, in verses 46-47, assurance that, when we delight in God’s word (commandments), we can have the confidence to speak before people of great authority, and “not be put to shame.” I have not reached that point, yet. The way to reach that, I believe, is to practice verse 48, meditating on the statutes of the Lord.

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Years ago, Dairy Queen paraphrased this into “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!”

In today’s Daily Guideposts reading, Stephanie Thompson gets honest and shares some of her life with us. It turns out that she seems to be wired a bit like C (my wife). She likes to work. On weekends, C is always cooking up some kind of project. She wanted to clean out the garage on July 4th. In Texas. She only did a little bit of that before she went to Denton to help our oldest and her husband pack some things up to move to their new rental house.

Ms. Thompson writes of a summer when she had all these plans laid out, but her daughter, Micah, pretty much just wanted to hang out. Stephanie managed to get Micah to participate in a lot of her activities, but not without some grumbling and resistance. Finally, at one point, Stephanie became overwhelmed by clutter while organizing the garage. She discovered that she simply did not want to do this. She found herself just laying on the “cool tile floor” of the house, which is where her daughter found her.

“Wanna hang out?” Stephanie asked Micah.

So, the point here, is this. C loves to work. It’s what makes her happy. I love to “hang out,” which you can read as “play games on the PS4 and X-box.” Sometimes I try to discourage C from working so much, especially when she’s trying to clean out the garage on July 4th. In Texas. I worry that she will hurt herself. And she has, before. But . . . it is what makes her happy.

Solomon (or whoever wrote Ecclesiastes) encourages us to eat and drink and take pleasure in our toil. “Toil” is a result of the fall in Genesis. We were always going to have to work, but “toil” is the negative side of work. Nevertheless, it is our lot in life, and the writer of Ecclesiastes admonishes/encourages us to take pleasure in it. Or, to simply do what makes us happy.

There is nothing wrong with doing things that make us happy (as long as, you know, laws aren’t broken, people aren’t hurt, and so on). So we should, as time is available, take pleasure in whatever we do, as a gift from God.

Even if it means cleaning out the garage on July 4th. In Texas.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Mark 6:31

Father, you have given us all things, including the toil that we must do, and the recreation that we have available. May we, as your children, take pleasure in both, as gifts from you! Help us, indeed, to “eat, drink, and be merry,” in you!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Listen to the Word

Today is Friday, October 27, 2017. Day 21,778.

Four days until C’s knee replacement surgery.

Dylan Thomas, who was born on this date in 1914 (died 1953), said, “As I read more and more – and it was not all verse, by any means – my love for the real life of words increased until I knew that I must live with them and in them, always. I knew, in fact, that I must be a writer of words, and nothing else.”

The word of the day, from, is preta, a word from Hindu mythology, meaning, “a wandering or disturbed ghost.”

Today is Black Cat Day. We miss our black cat.

Game three of the World Series will be tonight, with Yu Darvish and the Dodgers facing off against Lance McCullers Jr. and the Astros. “Facing off.” That’s a hockey term. Oh, well. Anyway, this game will be in Houston.

Tomorrow, C and I are volunteering to help our church work at the YMCA’s “Boo Bash,” their yearly Halloween festival. It’s only from 4-6 PM, and should be fun.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!
Psalm 99:9
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
Psalm 40:13
But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me! 
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me. 

Psalm 109:21-22
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103:8
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. 
The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

Psalm 145:18-20
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
Psalm 55:17
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
The Concluding Prayer of the Church

(From Living the Message)

In today’s reading, called, “Learn to Listen to the Word,” Eugene Peterson says this:

“We are mistaken when we look at the Bible as a spiritual toolbox. We can’t take things out of the Bible and make them work for us. The whole process of the spiritual life is to come before the God who is alive, who becomes present to us in his Word, and who by means of that Word creates and redeems. We don’t use Scripture; God uses Scripture to work his will in us.”

While we should be reading and studying the Bible, it is all about the motive or intent with which we do this. If we are studying just to get information, so that we can put down all the right answers on the test, we will fail in the spiritual life. But if we read and study for the purpose of transformation, for the purpose of allowing God to do miraculous things in and through us, we will be successful.

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”
John 5:39-40 (The Message)

Father, thank you for your Word and for the spiritual depths to which it can take me. Thank you for the truths you are revealing to me. Keep me focused on the path of spiritual transformation, and help me work out a plan to begin to practice the disciplines more seriously.
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.