Being Light

Today is Sunday, June 18, 2017. Day 21,647. Father’s Day.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ― Mark Twain
Goodreads

Today’s word of the day is whizzo, an adjective meaning, absolutely first-rate; superb; excellent. It is British slang.

Today is International Panic Day. So today, go ahead. Do panic. Don’t “remain calm.” Or, you could just go fishing, because it’s also Go Fishing Day. It’s also International Picnic Day, which is a little strange, because “picnic” and “panic” are alarmingly similar.

Today is Father’s Day. I wish I had more time to write about this, but since it’s Sunday, I’m pressed for time. And Windows tried to kill my computer yesterday (see yesterday’s entry), and I was planning on writing a bit about that yesterday. Anyway, if my math is correct, and it frequently is not, this is my third Father’s Day without a father. While it is true that the initial pain has subsided somewhat, there is still a great emptiness there. Not just today. Today is just a day. The emptiness is every day. when you “lose” a loved one, if I may be so bold as to state this, the emptiness will always be there. There will always be things that you shared with that person, that you can no longer share with him or her. The radio is a constant reminder, because I will come across a song and think, “My dad would love this song.” I’ll see something about a movie and remember how much he loved that movie. We heard “All Night Long,” by Lionel Richie, while we were in Oregon, and I remembered that it was my dad’s very favorite music video. This memories will never fade. At least I certainly hope that they don’t!

So, today, if you still have a father on this earth, and you have any kind of relationship with him (I understand that there are broken relationships), give him some love. If you are able, give him a big, strong, embrace (more than just a hug), and give God praise for him. And if you are a father, Happy Father’s Day to you! I hope you have a great day and are able to share it with your kids. We pretty much celebrated ours yesterday, and it was great.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:5
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you,
we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis
At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.
Psalm 75:2
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 
And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

Luke 4:16-22
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” 
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. 
You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.

Psalm 12:5-7
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love,
that through your grace each of us may proclaim your truth with boldness,
and minister your justice with compassion;
for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Living the Message)

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 
Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message)

We are supposed to be “light.” There are an awful lot of “Christians” spreading darkness on social media these days. Let’s put a stop to that, please. Let’s be light.

Father, help me to be light and not darkness. Help my life to be a life of light, mercy, and grace, showing your love to the world around me. Help me to walk in the your Kingdom and in the “easy yoke” of Jesus. Help me to walk in his words and in his steps.
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.

Don’t Think About It

“My father always used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, then you’ve had a great life.” – Lee Iacocca
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is jamboree. You don’t hear that word much, these days. It means, “a carousal; any noisy merrymaking,” or, “a large gathering, as of a political party or the teams of a sporting league, often including a program of speeches and entertainment.”

Today is Go Fishing Day. I’ve got some friends who would definitely go for that. Of course, for them, most days are Go Fishing Day. If you are the fishing sort, please check out my friend’s web site, Brando Bait.

We had a really great roast for dinner last night. Last weekend, C said that her step-dad had some steaks that he wanted to give us, so we stopped by after church to pick them up, thinking we would have steaks and baked potatoes for lunch. It turns out it was a roast, not steaks, and it was frozen. So it needed to thaw and then cook for a couple of hours. We decided to hold off on it, put it in the refrigerator to thaw, and then decided that we would cook it yesterday, after we got home from work.

So I got it out and prepared it for cooking. C stopped by a store on the way home, and picked up some potatoes to make mashed potatoes. I cooked the roast for about one hour and forty-five minutes. It was right at perfect medium-rare temperature. After letting it stand for about fifteen minutes, I cut into it. It wasn’t quite as tender as I had hoped, but the flavor? Oh, man! Very possibly the best tasting roast ever. C’s mashed potatoes, as usual, were stellar.

And well the roast should have tasted spectacular. It was from Rastelli Market. C’s step-dad said he got it from a home shopping network. She googled the place and finally found that the roast we ate (and we still have about half of it left) was $99!! I seriously hope he didn’t pay that much for it! I guess we won’t be buying one any time soon.

After I finish this blog, today, we will be going to visit my mother. Since my dad passed last year, we have been going to see her around Father’s Day. Perhaps that doesn’t make sense, but I don’t care. R & J will be hanging out with us after we get back home, then tomorrow, it will be just the three of us.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah.
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

Psalm 82

God has delegated his “judicial authority” to humans on the earth, but, as we all know, they (we?) frequently abuse it. “Judges who do not learn their jurisprudence from a just God trample the needy instead of defending them, and exploit them instead of delivering them.”

“‘Tie in a living tether the prince and priest and thrall, bind all our lives together, smite us and save us all; in ire and exultation aflame with faith, and free, lift up a living nation, a single sword to Thee’ (G.K. Chesterton, ‘O God of Earth and Altar’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Don’t Think Now, Take the Road

He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Matthew 14:29-30

When Jesus told Peter to come to him, Peter immediately got out of the boat and started walking on water. He did not think about the waves, “he simply recognized his Lord and stepped out in recognition of Him, and walked on the water.” But then he began to look at the waves and think about them. Down he went.

“We step right out on God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go.” If we are recognizing Jesus in the circumstances, we have no business worrying about how God engineered those circumstances. Regardless of the circumstances, we need to keep recognizing Jesus and maintaining our complete reliance on him.

When God has spoken, do not debate, even for a second. As soon as you do, “it is all up.” We begin to wonder and doubt; maybe it wasn’t God speaking (now, as a disclaimer, here, we definitely need to be sure that what we thought we heard God say lines up with Scripture). As soon as we hear God speak a word (assuming that we are on solid spiritual ground), we must step out in reckless abandon.

Father, help me to listen for when you speak to me. When you tell me to do something, let me not look at the surrounding circumstances and come up with a list of reasons why that won’t work. Teach me to hear your voice when you speak, and not doubt or wonder. Teach me to step out, recognizing you and believing you. I want to “walk on water” with Jesus.

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.

Mary Pondered

Good morning. Today is Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Four more days until we’re on vacation! Galveston is calling my name! The ten-day forecast has possibility of isolated t-storms on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, but I don’t care. We won’t be here, and I will still be able to see the ocean. Well . . . it’s technically the Gulf of Mexico, but I still count that as “ocean.” Just typing that made me relax a little.

I have two friends who have been out of work for a desperately long time. Both have been without jobs for over a year, one, I think, getting close to two years. I’m calling on the blogosphere to pray for them. Debbie, who lives in the same area we live in, and Mike, who lives in Indianapolis, but is willing to re-locate. He’s even gone back to school to get some different education in hopes of expanding his possibilities. Please pray for them.


Today is Sushi Day and Go Fishing Day. Haha. That kind of makes sense. But you need to go fishing first, then you can have your sushi. By the way, did you know that “sushi” is NOT raw fish? There are some who mistakenly believe that sushi must be raw fish and that if it doesn’t have raw fish in it, it’s not sushi. The sushi is actually the “vinegared rice.” It can pretty much contain anything, even just vegetables. I have grown very fond of sushi over the last few years, and have tried several different kinds. Odds are, I won’t have any today, though. Not likely to go fishing either. Oh, well.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1815, Napoleon’s career ended at the battle of Waterloo. His 72,000 strong army was defeated by “a mixed force of 68,000 British Dutch, Belgian and German troops, strongly reinforced by some 45,000 Prussians led by the 72-year-old Field Marshal Prince Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher.” That, of course, makes me think of this!

Anyway, the Allied army was commanded by none other than Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. Of Napoleon and Wellington, it was said, by Victor Hugo, “Wellington was the technician of war, Napoleon its Michelangelo.” After losing the battle, Napoleon abdicated four days later. “It must have galled him that his defeat came at the hands of the British, whom he had once derided as ‘a nation of shopkeepers.'”


Today’s birthday is Blake Shelton, born on this date in 1976. Yes, the year that I graduated high school, this 6’5″ country superstar was born. And yes, I’m choosing a country superstar as my highlighted birthday today. Everyone who knows me well knows that I’m not a big country fan. But there are a few artists that I respect and appreciate. Having watched a couple of seasons of The Voice (a singing competition that leaves American Idol in so much dust it’s not even funny), I have really grown to like Blake Shelton. The interaction between him and Adam Levine on The Voice is enough to keep me interested in the show, even if the talent wasn’t amazing. By the way, Blake is probably going to win this season, either with The Swon Brothers or Danielle Bradbery. I personally cast ten votes for Michelle Chamuel, because I see her as the underdog. Plus, she’s quirky, from the same state as the Red Sox, and . . . she’s not country. Anyway, here’s a video of Blake’s newest song, “Boys ‘Round Here.”

Honorable mentions go to E.G. Marshall, 1914, Red Adair, 1915, Lou Brock, 1939, Paul McCartney, 1942, Roger Ebert, 1942, Carol Kane, 1942, and Ray Lamontagne, 1973.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. Psalm 47:5-8
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. Psalm 119:147
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Father, I echo the words of the psalmist who asks you to give glory to your name alone. Not to us, O Lord, not to us. Your love is steadfast and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. All glory goes to you. Help me to abide in your word this morning, that I might know the truth. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Mary Pondered the Words in Her Heart.” The scripture reading is Luke 2:8-19, a very familiar passage.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” All of the events and words that related to the life of her son, Jesus, she treasured and pondered. My mind and heart cannot even fathom what Mary went through. The last glimpse we get of Mary is in Acts 1:14, where it is stated that she regularly gathered with other believers to pray. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has this to say of Mary, and of meditation: “Just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.” What a beautiful quote.


In chapter one of The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard has been talking about living “upside down” and “right-side up.” (I didn’t start writing about this in here until I was well into the chapter, but one of the things he states is that most people are living life “upside down.”) We have been invited by God to come out of the darkness and live “right-side up.” But this doesn’t make sense to many people. “Jesus came among us to show and teach the life for which we were made.” He has opened access to “the governance of God,” and has “set afoot a conspiracy of freedom in truth among human beings.” He overcame death and remains among us, to this day, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. When we study his words and believe them, we integrate our little kingdom with “the infinite rule of God.” This is “the eternal kind of life.” And it is here. Now. It is not something to be accepted now and enjoyed later. It is “something to be entered now.” (pp. 27-28)


Father, I thank you that you invited me and drew me into your kingdom. I thank you that it is present and active now, and not something that we are waiting for. I pray that you help me to enjoy this “eternal kind of life” that is present in my life now. Keep my little kingdom integrated with your kingdom, that your rule and reign might supersede mine. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory!” Yes, Lord!

May I ponder the words of scripture just as Mary pondered the events and words about Jesus that were given to her. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Guide me by your Spirit as I meditate on your words every day. Remind me to engage in meditation each day. I so easily forget. It’s not a habit yet. My heart’s desire is to be so immersed in your word that it becomes like breathing to me.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi’s foot will continue to heal. I pray that she has a good day today, and that she will be able to work out a detail that has come up. I pray for Stephanie today as she continues to look for Jesus in Colossians 1. I thank you for pastors with a heart of compassion that treat her with dignity and respect. And I pray for my day, that you help me maintain a positive attitude to get through these last four days on this account. Then I pray for one of the most relaxing vacations ever, next week.

I also pray for Debbie and Mike, that you might give them jobs. Hasn’t it been long enough? I don’t challenge you, I simply ask that question. As the psalmist and other scripture writers said, at times, “How long, O Lord? How long?” How long must these go without work? Teach them whatever you need to teach them. May their ears and hearts be open to your words.

Your grace is sufficient.


Ponder the words of God today, just as Mary pondered words about Jesus. I pray that all who read this might enter into this “eternal kind of life” that is now.

Grace and peace, friends.