Detachment Is Not Disloyalty

Today is Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Ten days until Texas Rangers Spring Training games begin!

Quote of the Day

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

Word of the Day

Antithalian – opposed to fun or festivity.

Today is Gumdrop Day. “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops . . .” Cute song, but have you ever stopped to think about how much that would hurt??

Last night, I made our Italian Mac and Cheese for dinner, but I made it in the Instant Pot instead of in a frying pan. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I think it might have been even better! It definitely was no more trouble to make, and much easier to dish out after it was done.

Yesterday was a much better day, over all. My stomach felt weird all morning, but it got better. I’m still not sure what was up with that. There has been a lot of illness going around. Several families in our church have had flu or flu-like symptoms. I was wondering how we had managed to stay mostly well, so far, and then I remembered. Most of the families in our church have school-aged children. We are well past that era of our lives. So we don’t have kids bringing home germs from school every day. So, you see. Getting old has benefits. Haha!

10/47

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
Psalm 55:16-18

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. Psalm 67:1

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Psalm 31:1

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Psalm 118:22

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Luke 17:5-6

(From Living the Message)

In a tough, but rewarding reading, Eugene H. Peterson says, “The self cannot be itself if it does not grow, and for a creature made in the image of God to grow is to love.” We cannot be static. “The self cannot be preserved in amber.” As we grow, we find that we must detach ourselves from what has already been. If we are to grow into ourselves, into what God intends for us to be, we must “find a larger house to dwell in than the house where everyone coddles us and responds to our whims.” One of the best examples of this is the passage from leaving our parents’ homes to entering into the partnership of marriage.

The problem with “self-love” is that it attempts to hold on to what has been, even adding a bit more of the same. It becomes boring, because there is never anything new, no new discoveries. Self-love panics at the thought of losing what it has. “Forced into new relationships, into new situations, its first consideration is not of the new fields for love but of the appalling prospects of loss. So it clings. It holds. And it whines.”

To become mature in marriage, we must become detached to what was before. “We outlive our past over and over again.” But these periods of life will change, as well. There will become times when we are not longer spouses, no longer parents, no longer employed, no longer healthy. “There are periods of my life that are immensely valuable and enjoyable and useful but which by their very nature cannot be perpetuated.” If we try to perpetuate them, we will ruin them, and we will ruin love.

“Detachment is not disloyalty.” It is necessary for the next phase of love and growth, a “movement into a more perfect love.” Yes, we will feel loss, but the love that will come will be much better.

“Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me. 
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”
Matthew 10:36-39 (The Message)

Father, help me to always be willing to move on to the next phase of love and life, always clinging only to you in Jesus Christ.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

My Brother’s Keeper

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”~~Jimmy Dean
(Eduro)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is uniterable, which means, ” Unable to be repeated; occurring only once.”

Today is Gumdrop Day. I love a good gumdrop, but they are getting increasingly harder to find.

We had a good morning at church, yesterday. The worship was really great, and Jacob’s message, while a difficult topic, was presented brilliantly. I wonder how many of our members realize how fortunate we are to have such a good preacher at our little church. He is preaching on discipleship according to Jesus, and yesterday’s message was based in Luke 14, with the crux of it being from verse 26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” We believe, of course, that Jesus was using hyperbole to make a point, that point being that he has to come first in our lives.

After church, we went to Best Buy and bought a router. As of this coming Saturday, we are switching our internet/TV service to Charter. We will be getting three times the internet speed, as well as more TV channels, for about $40 less per month. And Charter will pay the early disconnect fee from DirecTV. It’s along story, but we finally got fed up with the runaround we were getting from AT&T and DirecTV. Prices kept going up, and they wouldn’t work with us to find more promotional prices. It’s a sad world for the consumer, these days. The companies don’t reward loyalty. They only reward people who switch to new providers. Anyway . . . we bought a router because it would be cheaper than renting one from Charter, in the long run.

After that we did our weekly grocery shopping, then watched some TV. Then Christi cleaned Stephanie’s room. That could have been a horror movie.

It’s Monday, again. My mother has her follow-up visit with the surgeon today, but I’m not sure that the pathology reports will be back in from the surgery. We will see. I also have band practice tonight, and we have less than a month until our Spring-ish concert.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.
O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.
Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.

Psalm 26

In this Psalm, David speaks of the kind of people he hangs out with; how he chooses his friends, if you will. “Choosing friends is a moral act.” David finds his friends in “the great assembly.” He walks with people who seek “to be influenced by the acts of God.”

“I know, Lord, that I neither can nor should avoid being with unbelievers–after all, your Son spent considerable time with them. All the same, I need people who will share the deep desires and rich blessings of worship. Thank you for surrounding me with such people in the church, through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

For none of us lives to himself . . .
Romans 14:7

This is another difficult reading, tackling a topic that most of us would probably just as soon not tackle. “Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible for other souls spiritually before God?”

I need to reflect on that question for a bit. In doing so, I do not believe, for a nano-second, that I am responsible for anyone else’s salvation! God, and God alone, is responsible for that. However, “if I allow any private deflection from God in my life, everyone about me suffers.” I can see the truth in this. Whenever one member of the body suffers, all members suffer. “When once you allow physical selfishness, mental slovenliness, moral obtuseness, spiritual density, everyone belonging to your crowd will suffer.” Feeling the pressure in this? As always, this is a point at which we must declare our insufficiency and proclaim that our sufficiency is in Christ alone.

We are to be witnesses to Christ. That requires us to expend every ounce of our energy on his behalf. I have yet to grasp this, fully. God did not simply save me and sanctify me to just leave me on the Earth, doing nothing. I am “to be at it for Him.” I need to be willing to be “broken bread and poured-out wine for Him.”

Again, this is difficult. The most important thing being that my attitudes, moods, words, and actions DO affect the body around me! This is something that we all need to remember and pray through.

Father, I confess that I fail in this, frequently. Too often, I think that I am just my own person. Help me to be convicted and remember that I am part of a larger body, and that when I am not functioning properly, the entire body suffers for it.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Every Step Shouts, “I Love You!”

Good morning. It is Sunday, February 15, 2015. Five days until pitchers and catchers report! 50 days until Opening Day!!

Today’s word of the day is marotte. A marotte is, “A baton carried by a fool or jester as a mock emblem of office.” It can also mean, “A pet notion, a craze.”

Today is Gumdrop Day. If all he raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops, that would hurt!!! It might also be mentioned that today is “All the Valentine’s Day Chocolate Goes On Sale for 75% Off Day!”

For the most part, yesterday was a pretty good day. Christi got pretty tired during the morning, but had a little time to rest before we went up to our worship gathering. The evening went well. I think the prayer gathering was meaningful (even though we spent about half the time with some good-natured chatting), and the worship gathering was pretty phenomenal. Our pastor is continuing his series on church membership and why it matters. Last night’s message was from Hebrews 10:19-25, one of my favorite passages about the Church. He keyed in on one phrase that is repeated several times, and that is, “Let us . . . ” It doesn’t say, “I” or “you,” it says, “us,” indicating that this is a corporate necessity. His “tweetable” moment for the evening, in my opinion was when he said that we don’t gather to receive something; rather, we gather to respond to something we have already received. Too many people are looking to the church to get something. That’s not why we gather. He also made a point that the church cannot bring you to God. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ. The church cannot accomplish that.

After the worship gathering, we had a very nice time with our friends. We decided that we would all just drive through somewhere and pick up food, then meet at their house for dinner. It was a nice time with some good conversation, much of which focused on ministry.

Today, there is nothing much planned. We might take Tessie (dog) up to Petsmart to get her nails clipped. Other than that, nothing. The PBA Tournament of Champions is on ESPN this afternoon, so we might watch that later. It is set to record on the DVR.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Zangara)

It was on this date in 1933 that Giuseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate President Franklin D Roosevelt. FDR was making a speech from the back of an open car, in Miami Florida, where Zangara lived. He was too short to see over the crowd, so he had to stand on a wobbly chair. After his first shot, people grabbed his arms. He made four more wild shots before he was subdued. Roosevelt escaped injury, but Chicago mayor Anton J Cermak, who was standing on the running board next to Roosevelt, was hit, and subsequently died from his injuries. On March 20, 1933, after waiting only ten days on Death Row, Zangara was executed in “Old Sparky,” the electric chair in Florida State Prison, Raiford, FL.

Today’s birthdays include Galileo Galilei (astronomer), Michael Praetorius (composer), Charles Lewis Tiffany (American jeweler), Susan B. Anthony (suffragist), John Barrymore (actor), Cesar Romero (actor), Kevin McCarthy (actor), Mary Jane Croft (actress), Harvey Korman (actor/comedian), Brian Holland (songwriter), Mick Avory (drummer), Jane Seymour (actress), Melissa Manchester (singer), Matt Groening (cartoonist), Matthew Ward (singer), Chris Farley (actor/comedian), Jane Child (musician), Conor Oberst (singer/songwriter), and Matt Hoopes (musician).

Harvey Korman was an actor and comedian who spent a large part of his career on the Carol Burnett Show. He was born on this date in 1927. He passed away in 2008. Some of his best work was with Tim Conway. The two of them were magnificent together. I think I’ve shared this one before, but it’s a classic. The Lunch Break.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.
Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Psalm 17:4-15

(FromSolid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Every Calvary Step Was Love.”

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 John 3:16

“The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional.”

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
John 13:1

Every step on the road to Calvary shouted, “I love you!” To feel this love for us, it helps to reflect on how deliberate it was. For example, see Jesus’s reaction after Peter cut off the ear of Malchus in the garden, as Jesus was being arrested.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
Matthew 26:52-54

Yes, we know that Jesus’s death was predicted in the Old Testament. But it brings more meaning when we observe that the very choices Jesus made, as events were leading up to his death, were made intentionally “to see to it that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.” In essence, in Matthew 26:54, Jesus was saying, “I could escape this misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

“I am not choosing to take the way out that I could take because I know the Scriptures. I know what must take place. It is my choice to fulfill all that is predicted of me in the Word of God.”

Every step screamed, “I love you!” And every step was intentional. Jesus willingly laid down his life for us.

Father, if Jesus laid down his life for us, how can we not lay down our own lives for each other? This is what John said to us in 1 John 3:16. We are to love one another as Jesus loved us. As our local body of believers continues in this series on church membership, I pray that we would all have a deeper understanding of what this church is, and how we are to love one another. I pray that you would begin it in me, Lord. Teach me how to love as Jesus loved. Teach me to have compassion on those who are more difficult to get along with (I am probably one of those people to someone else). Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. Lead me in the path of righteousness, that I might display the love of Christ to my brothers and sisters, and that it might be as intentional as the steps that Jesus took in order for Scripture to be fulfilled.

Father, take us through this day, keeping us safe in whatever we need to do today. I pray for rest, as we prepare for another week of work ahead. Teach Stephanie about your great love for her. I pray that you would make your presence known in the lives of those close to us.

Examine the choices that Jesus made; see how he loved us, and how he loves us still.
youaremyking

Grace and peace, friends.

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

“The rich in spirit devote considerable time to thinking
about what they don’t have; the poor to enjoying and
celebrating what they do have.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, February 15, 2014. We will now return to our regularly scheduled program of blogs. Pitchers and catchers report today. Opening Day is now 44 days away!

Today is Gumdrop Day! MmmHmm! If all the raindrops were lemondrops and gumdrops; oh, what a rain that would be. Yeah! It would HURT, that’s what!! I mean, can you even imagine?? There would be none of this, “Standing outside with my mouth open wide; Ah ahahah ahahah ahahah!” It would be more like, “Running for cover with my hands o’er my head! Ow owowow owowow owowow!”

But yeah. Gumdrop Day. I love gumdrops. I may see if I can find some today. I haven’t had gumdrops in a long time. I just really don’t want to see any falling out of the sky, you know. . .


So, this morning, we are heading to Austin, probably in a little over an hour. We are staying about 30-40 miles away from Austin in a little place called “Lago Vista.” It’s right in a bend around Lake Travis. You can take a look at it HERE, if you so desire. We don’t have a lot of plans, but we do plan on trying to catch the infamous bats flying out from under Congress Bridge, as well as partaking in an Austin Adventure Quest. We will probably take a stroll down the legendary 6th Street. We may stop by the “Dueling Pianos Bar.” We hear there is a great time to be had there. We will also be taking a more scenic route down to the rental property, avoiding I-35. It just so happens that this route will take us right through our favorite town in Texas, Glen Rose! So, naturally, we will stop off and have a piece of pie at the Pie Peddlers! We will also be going through a little town that I’ve never heard of before yesterday, called “Leander.” Supposedly, the cemetery used in the filming of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is there. We’ll also go through Hico and Hamilton. Hico is, unfortunately, known for still being quite racist. From what I hear, the KKK is alive an well in Hico, as evidenced by one of the “downtown” eateries, the Koffee Kup Kafe. Actually, it appears that they have now changed the name of it to the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant. But the history is still there, and is well known. Hamilton, TX claims to have a burial place of Billy the Kid. At least it’s the grave of “Brushy” Bill Roberts. Whether or not he was Billy the Kid will probably never be known. More than likely, he’s buried in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where William H. Bonney died.

There will not be a blog tomorrow or Monday. The house we are staying in does not have Wi-fi, so we will not be taking any computers. I’ll have my tablet for reading, but I don’t like typing on it. Rest assured, I will have my morning devotional and coffee. You just won’t see it here. I know. Approximately ten people will be gravely disappointed. 😀 Don’t worry. I’ll be back Tuesday morning, if the Lord says so, too.


(Source: History.com)

It was on this date in 1965 that Canada officially adopted the maple leaf flag as her national flag. This was “in accordance with a formal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II of England.” From 1870 (or thereabouts), until that time, the flag had been the Canadian Red Ensign, which was “a solid red flag with the Union Jack occupying the upper-left corner and a crest situated in the right portion of the flag.” It took roughly 40 years to come up with a new design. “Today, Canada’s red maple leaf flag is one of the most recognizable national flags in the world.”


There are 262 birthdays listed for today on HistoryOrb.com. Among those are Philipp Melanchthon, German Protestant, 1497, Galileo Galilei, astronomer/physicist, 1564, Michael Praetorius, composer, 1571, Henry Engelhard Steinway, piano maker, 1797, Susan Brownell Anthony, suffragette, 1820, John Barrymore, actor, 1882, Lillian Disney, Walt’s wife, 1899, Cesar Romero, actor, 1907, Kevin McCarthy, actor, 1914, Ian Ballantine, publisher, 1916, Harvey Korman, actor, 1927, Jane Seymour, actress, 1951, Matt Groening, cartoonist, 1954, Chris Farley, comedian, 1964, Jane Child, musician, 1967, Conor Oberst, singer/songwriter, 1980, and Matt Hoopes, musician (Relient K), 1981.

I can’t not recognize Harvey Korman’s birthday without showing a clip from the Carol Burnett show, one with him and Tim Conway. They were so good together.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 96:9
Do not remember against us our former iniquities;
let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.
Psalm 79:8
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. Psalm 130:4
…but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalm 147:11
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;
1 John 3: 18-19
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:10-12


Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Inside and Out.”

This one is worthy of quoting in its entirety.

“The rich in spirit devote considerable time to thinking
about what they don’t have; the poor to enjoying and
celebrating what they do have. In the last century the
atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzche reproached a group of
Christians with words to this effect: ‘Yuk, you make me sick!’
When their spokesman asked why, Nietzche replied, ‘Because
you redeemed don’t look like you’re redeemed!’ the rich are
often as downcast, guilt ridden, anxious, and dissatisfied as
their unbelieving neighbors. The poor cry, ‘It is right to give
him thanks and praise.'”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Father, I continue to pray that you make me poor in spirit. Help me to “look like I’m redeemed!” May I never cause an unbeliever to doubt your existence by my behavior. Forgive me for the times when I have. Help me to celebrate what I do have rather than moan about what I don’t have. I find that I pretty much have everything I need, and then some, for which I am grateful beyond measure. Keep my heart grateful and keep me always giving thanks to you for the blessings you have poured out on me.

I pray that you give us safe travel for our weekend, and give us a good, relaxing time as we get away. Keep Rachel, Justin, and Stephanie safe here at home.

Your grace is sufficient.


Let us all be more thankful for what we have, believers and unbelievers alike.

Grace and peace, friends.