Watching the Paint Dry

Today is Friday, June 16, 2017. Day 21,645.

“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.” ~ Harold Wilson
The Quotations Page

Today’s word of the day is “yips,” a noun meaning, “a state of nervous tension affecting an athlete (such as a golfer) in the performance of a crucial action.”

Today is Fudge Day. I’m going to have to see if I can come up with some of that. I could not help but notice that all of today’s “holidays” begin with “F.” Fresh Veggies Day, Fudge Day, and Flip-flops Day. And it’s Friday. Coincidence? I think not!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I believe R&J are coming over, and we’re going to Hoffbrau for lunch. This will be our Father’s Day celebration, and we’ll probably play some games after lunch. Then Sunday, the actual day for Father’s Day, C, S, and I will just chill at the house, after our worship gathering.

We watched the first episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu last night. I’m about three-fourths of the way through the book and have really enjoyed it. But the TV show has skipped ahead in some places, so I don’t want to watch any more until I’m done with the book. For example, at the very end of episode one, the main character tells us her real name. I don’t know that yet, and I’m 76% through with the book!! They should have warned us about potential spoilers!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:5
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Psalm 106:47
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85:10
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:9-13
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

(From Practice Resurrection)

At the end of the portion that I read yesterday, Eugene Peterson coins a term for what he is talking about. “Theological aesthetics.” The reason for this is that he has grouped three things together in this process; Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Most people in the American church are all about truth. A large number also try to included goodness. But beauty seems to consistently get left behind. “We delegate Beauty to flower arrangements and interior decorators,” says Peterson. Plato called these three things “universals,” and insisted that they are all “organically connected.” Says Peterson, “Truth divorced from Beauty becomes abstract and bloodless. Goodness divorced from Beauty becomes loveless and graceless.” Hence his term, “theological aesthetics.”

he has spent most of his adult life protesting the marginalization of these things in the American church. He has not exactly been ignored, but still has not had much success. He seems to get treated with condescension. He gets told by pastors that they can’t make it with an agenda like this. “People won’t put up with it.” Recently, he was told by a pastor “who has made an art form of pole vaulting from church to church” that he was wasting his time because there was no challenge to this, and that “it was about as exciting as standing around watching paint dry.”

Says Peterson, “I suggested to him that most of our ancestors in both Israel and church have spent most of their time watching the paint dry, that the persevering, patient, unhurried work of growing up in Christ has occupied the center of the church’s life for centuries, and that this American marginalization is, well, American. He dismissed me. He needed, he said, a challenge. I took it from his tone and manner that a challenge was by definition something that could be met and accomplished in forty days. That’s all the time, after all, that it took Jesus.”

And therein lies one of the biggest issues in the American church today. We’re in a hurry. We feel like we have to be accomplishing things that are quick, visible, and noticeable. We want results, and we want them now. Concentrating on new converts instead of spiritual growth gives that sense of accomplishment. This also hearkens to one of Dallas Willard’s key statements: “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

Perhaps we could all do with a little more watching the paint dry.

Father, help me to continue to mover more toward this unhurried point of view, of “watching the paint dry,” when it comes to spiritual formation. There’s no hurry. Why would there be a need for hurry? While it may not be true that “slow and steady wins the race” (“slow” never won any “race”), it is true that steadiness and consistency produce great results in pretty much anything. Help me to be steady and consistent in my spiritual formation. May my walk with you be steadfast and unhurried, but straight and true. Teach me your ways that I may walk in your truth.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 
Psalm 19:14

Grace and peace, friends.

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Thank You For My Father

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” – Lucille Ball
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is MacGuffin, which means, “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.”

Today is Fudge Day. This should be a national holiday! You know, so we can all go to Buc-ee’s and get some fudge!

There’s seriously nothing going on, right now. Life is humming along, pretty normally. We are planning to go see my mother Saturday, and then R & J will be coming over on Sunday for Father’s Day.

The Southlake Community Band has a concert appearance coming up on July 3, Sunday evening. We will be playing at the annual Stars & Stripes event According to the schedule, the Swing Band will play at 6, and the concert band will play at 8:15, followed by the fireworks at 9:30.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.

They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name!
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalm 80:8-19

The people of God are not delicate flowers, “withered in a day by a merciless sun,” or trampled by a “careless boot.” We are the branches of a vine, “tough, tenacious, planted by God,” in spite of any persecution and/or judgment brought on by the world. And we are “brought to final fruition in Jesus,” when he said, “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5).

“Enter my present trouble, God of strength and compassion. Protect me from despair and from faintheartedness. Encourage me with hope. Make me strong in Christ, ‘the one at your right hand’ (Psalm 80:17). Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1

Carol Knapp writes of taking her mother and a neighbor (called Bubbles) to share a meal with their friend Marybeth. Marybeth lived in an assisted living community. Bubbles was ninety, and suffered from macular degeneration. Marybeth was one hundred, and shared the same affliction. During the meal, Marybeth asked Bubbles, “Do you ever get surprises when you eat?” You see, they often couldn’t quite tell what was on their plate.

During the conversation, however, Marybeth said something that profoundly struck Carol. Marybeth, having mostly lost her sight, and being widowed twice, said, “You can never be grateful enough until it’s gone.”

We always try to be deliberate in our thanksgiving, remembering our blessings and thanking God for them, “to appreciate and savor them.” But Marybeth opened Carol’s eyes that day to a piece of gratitude that she had not considered . . . grief. “Far from distancing me from God or showing a lack of faith, grief is a deep expression of thanksgiving for something or someone I am missing.”

When we grieve, we acknowledge the good that God has given us.

A year later, both Marybeth and Bubbles are gone. Carol and her mother miss them both. But they express their gratitude through their grief.

With Father’s Day coming up, this reading strikes a chord in me. While the grief is not quite as heavy as it was, there are still moments of profound sadness, as well as moments where reality doesn’t quite set in. I’m still grieving, though, having lost my father 14 months ago. And in my grief, I thank my God for the years that I had with him, and all that I learned from him.

Daddy and Me--Autumn 1961 back porch

Heavenly Father, I thank you for my earthly father. I miss him, as do my mother, wife, and kids. Not to mention all the friends that he had in his life. In that missing, in that grief, we thank you profoundly and deeply. Help us to be more thankful for things and people that we still have in our lives.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Mountain Spring

Good morning. It is Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is technophobia. This is a noun, meaning, “abnormal fear of or anxiety about the effects of advanced technology.”

Today is . . . hmm . . . let me see. Fudge Day or Fresh Veggies Day?

Today is Fudge Day. We’re not talking about “fudging” the numbers on your taxes, either. We’re talking gooey, chocolatey, deliciousness that is fudge! “The origins of Fudge Day are unknown,” but who cares???

Not much going on around here, this week, which is a good thing. My work day was pretty uneventful, which is always good. Sadly, Christi had more drama at hers. There really seems to be an issue between a couple of people there, and it is not going to be easily resolved.

Tonight, I have my Huddle meeting, and Christi has her after-work bowling league.

I’m continuing my search for a local-ish community band to join forces with, but it looks like most of them take the summer off. So I’ll just have to carve out some time and space to keep my chops moving, in the meantime.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!
May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!
May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!
The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Psalm 72:7-20

(From Solid Joys)

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
2 Corinthians 5:9

Today’s reading is “Serve God with Your Thirst.”

Consider the Pharisees, who spent their entire lives trying to please God, but all the while, were doing things that were abominations to him. Some might object, saying that this isn’t possible. Surely God would not reject someone who was earnestly trying to please him. The error in that thinking is that we tend to base our convictions about what would please God on our own idea of what he is like. “That is precisely why we must begin with the character of God.”

John Piper describes God as a “mountain spring,” as opposed to a “watering trough.” Consider the difference. A mountain spring is “self-replenishing,” constantly overflowing, supplying others with cool, fresh water. The watering trough must constantly be refilled by the sweat and labor of men.

In order to “glorify the worth of a watering trough,” we must work to keep it filled. However, the best way to glorify the mountain spring is to get down on your hands and knees and partake of its sweet, refreshing goodness, “drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you’ve found.”

What will please God? My thirst. As a desperate sinner, I must cling to this truth. God is not pleased or glorified when I work to try to accomplish something based on what I think he is like. He is pleased and glorified when I bring my thirst to him and am satisfied. Again, Piper’s most famous statement: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

“God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace.”

Father, help me remember this as I go about my day today. Help me to constantly come to your fountain with my desperate thirst. Help me to be satisfied only in you, and in nothing else.

I pray for this day. May we have safe passage to and from work today. I pray for Christi’s day, that the drama would abate for a time, at least, so that things can be accomplished. I pray for her bowling time, this evening, that it would not create or cause more pain for her. I pray for my work day and for my Huddle group time tonight. May you be glorified in both. Show your great love to Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama, as they go about their day today. May you lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one today.

I lift up little Sheridan to you, that her fever, coughing, and stomach discomfort would be healed.

Your grace is sufficient.

God is a mountain spring, full of his grace and mercy, from which we may freely drink, any time we are thirsty. May we bring our thirst to him and be satisfied.

Satisfied

Grace and peace, friends.