The Power of the Cross

Today is Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

Day 22,315

Wednesday of Holy Week

Twenty-two days until our Vegas trip!!

Quote of the Day

“The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.”
P.J. O’Rourke, American comedian, 1947-

Word of the Day

Florilegium ~ A compilation of excerpts; anthology. (Wordsmith A.Word.A.Day)

I am not feeling well, this morning. I wasn’t feeling too bad last night, when we went to bed, but it got worse during the night. Chest feels heavy, and my face feels full of gunk. I assume it’s the somewhat yearly case of “the crud,” as we call it around here, aka, sinu-bronchitis. I’m probably going on in to work, though. I don’t have fever, and, having taken Dayquil about a half hour ago, am already feeling a little better. I just feel like I could sleep all day.

We had a bit of unwanted excitement, yesterday. At around 11:30 AM, our pastor messaged our prayer team that our trailer was stolen from outside the YMCA where our church gathers to worship. This trailer has all of our stuff in it, from sound equipment to children’s ministry materials to Bibles, pens, and prayer request cards to coffee and a coffee maker. At around 7:00 PM, he let us know that the trailer had been found. It had been dropped behind a Chicken Express, about a half mile from the YMCA. It seems the would-be thieves could not manage to cut through the heavy-duty locks on the back of the trailer, so they ditched it. I’m not sure what we plan to do with it, at this point. Our pastor’s initial reaction blesses me, though. Upon learning that the trailer had been stolen, he said, “I’ve been saying for a while now that all we need is the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the Table, and each other. Nothing can steal those things from us.”

Mike Minor and the Texas Rangers shut out Mike Trout and the rest of the LA Angels last night, 5-0. Minor pitched the complete game and only gave up three hits. I am stunned. Cabrera and Gallo both hit home runs in the game. The Rangers are now 9-7, in third place in the AL West. They will play again tonight at 7:05 PM, weather permitting. The weather folks are threatening us with storms this evening. Lance Lynn will take the mound for Texas.

The Boston Red Sox were shut out in New York, 8-0, as Chris Sale took his fourth loss for the season. Not much else to say about it. The Sox aren’t hitting, at least not very often, and the pitching is not there. And it’s mostly the same team that won over 100 games last season, along with the World Series. Oh, well. They are now 6-12, back in fifth place in the AL East. They have another game in NY this evening at 5:35 PM CDT. Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for the Sox.

The Tampa Bay Rays are currently the best team in baseball. I’m taking a minute to process this fact. They are also the only team in the AL East with a winning record. The Miami Marlins are holding down the worst spot at the moment, at 4-14.

And I have a question for other bloggers who might read this. Are you all getting followed and liked by a bunch of mortgage blogs?? I have at least six of them that are liking almost every post. Seriously.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

Psalm 23:1-3

Today I am grateful:
1. For coffee
2. For over-the-counter cold medication
3. For the hope of resurrection Sunday
4. The power of the Cross
5. For the grace of God to help me carry the cross

“O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his back to
the smiters and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace
to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full
assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same
thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Wednesday in Holy Week)

(From The Root of the Righteous, A.W. Tozer)

Today’s reading is “The Cross Is A Radical Thing.”

“The cross of Christ is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men.”

The Roman cross was one of, if not the, most terrible, tortuous methods of execution ever devised by the minds of men. It always won; it won by killing all of its opponents and silencing them forever. Jesus Christ was placed on the cross, alive, and six hours later, they took him down, completely dead. Of course, he was not silenced forever, as we know.

After that Sunday morning, when he arose from the dead, his apostles went out to preach the gospel message, and they preached the cross. “And wherever they went into the wide world they carried the cross, and the same revolutionary power went with them.” This message of the cross changed Saul of Tarsus from a persecutor and killer of Christians to a believer “and an apostle of faith.”

When did the cross lose it’s power? “When it was changed from a thing of death to a thing of beauty. When men made of it a symbol, hung it around their necks as an ornament or made its outline before their faces as a magic sign to ward off evil, then it became at best a weak emblem, at worst a positive fetish. As such it is revered today by millions who know absolutely nothing about its power.”

What the true cross does is destroy one established pattern and establish another. “It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace.”

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said this: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Just as the cross ended Jesus’s human life, it brings our “first life” to an end. “It destroys the old patter, the Adam pattern, in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins.”

This is the essence of Christianity. But, “A shallow ans worldly leadership would modify the cross to please the entertainment-mad saintlings who will have their fun even within the very sanctuary; but to do so is to court spiritual disaster and risk the anger of the Lamb turned Lion.”

We must be willing to follow in the steps of Jesus and “endure the cross and despise its same for the joy that is set before us.”

Father, help me to carry my cross today. Help me to endure it, not alter it, not change its message. I pray for the Church today, that it would stop muddying the waters with all of the flashy lights and entertainment-styled “worship.” Change our hearts, O God. Give us, once again, the power of the Cross of Christ.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Grace and peace, friends.

People Depend On Prayer

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”~~Marcel Prous

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is bookaholic, which means, as you might expect, ” A habitual and prolific reader; a compulsive book buyer.” I would certainly qualify as a bookaholic. There’s bonus word today, from, a much lesser-known word. Florilegium means “a collection of literary pieces; anthology.” As a bookaholic, I possess a number of florileiums. Would that be “florilegia?”

Why all of this talk about books? Because today is World Book Day, that’s why!!

I wound up having to work late, last night, until just after 5:30. Christi had a meeting of ladies to go to at 7:00, so we didn’t see each other until after that. They are trying to start up a few small accountability/confession groups. We ate dinner in “shifts.” I fixed the pool equipment (just needed to replace a vinyl connector), hung up some laundry, and played Fallout.

Speaking of Fallout, I seem to be in good company. Christi found this video of one of our favorite actors, Christian Kane, talking about playing Fallout. He also mentions James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who also played the game.

Today is Thursday, a day I also like to call “pre-Friday.” It will also be the first night of the week we don’t have something going on.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Psalm 32:1-5

Most of us know this. If we try to hold onto our sin, hiding it inside, it begins to “fester and poison our whole system.” There is only one who can do anything about sin, and that is God. “Confession is the act that brings sin out into the open and lets God take care of it.”

“As I confess my sins to you, merciful Father, help me to be honest and thorough–not holding back, not denying, not making excuses–and so may I know the glad blessing that comes with forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

In today’s reading, Edward Grinnan writes of his first day at Guideposts, some 29 years ago. As he sat arranging his desk, at 9:45 AM, a bell went off. It was Monday morning. A colleague stopped by to explain that it was time for “Prayer Fellowship.” It was voluntary, but his colleague suggested he come, since it was his first day.

Edward went into a conference room, where a number of staff people sat around “a long brown table heaped with letters that contained prayers.” People were digging through letters, occasionally closing their eyes to pray. Some were being read out loud. There were the usual large requests for “world peace and an end to hunger.” But there were also smaller, more personal requests, like asking for a car to be reliable, or for a husband to be inspired to shave his beard. It didn’t take long for Edward to realize, “people depend on prayer.”

Guideposts has moved several times during that 29 years, but that long brown table still goes with them, and they still meet every Monday morning at 9:45 to pray. The get requests from letters, still, but many requests come their OurPrayer Web site and the Guideposts Facebook page.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6
pray without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17

I think I may try to join them every Monday morning at 9:45. Not physically, of course. I can’t go to Manhattan every Monday morning. But I can certainly set an alarm to remind me to pray at that time.

Prayer is important. Many people have a kind of basic, underlying feeling that this is true. But it is more important than most of us realize. We need it for ourselves, we need it for each other. As the statement above says, “people depend on prayer.” I have committed to not letting those people down. I have set up a prayer page on Facebook, as well. It’s called “Pray Where You Are.”. I would love to see more people praying together via this page. Feel free to leave a prayer request there. It will be prayed over, I promise.

Father, keep teaching me to pray. Give me the discipline and inspiration to “pray without ceasing,” and to possibly join in with the Guideposts group every Monday morning. I won’t necessarily know what they are praying about, but I can still pray with them. I pray for all Christians to understand the necessity of prayer, both individually, but more importantly, together. I pray that you would help us as a church to pin down a good time for a regular prayer gathering.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.