Today is Saturday, February 23, 2019.
19 days until our next Glen Rose weekend!!!
Quote of the Day
“Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.”
H.L. Mencken, U.S. editor, 1880-1956
Word of the Day
Prodigal ~ wastefully or recklessly extravagant. Also, giving or yielding profusely; very generous; lavish. You know, when I was growing up, hearing the parable of “the prodigal son,” I always misunderstood that word. And the fact is, the word, “prodigal” is not in the Bible anywhere (paragraph headings don’t count; those aren’t “inspired”). I used to think it mean “lost” or “missing” or maybe even “rebellious.” And, as Timothy Keller pointed out, it may be God who is actually “prodigal,” for is He not extravagant in the grace and love with which he lavishes us? He is “very generous,” and He yields profusely. Just something to think about.
Yesterday was the first full Friday I have worked in several weeks. Fortunately, I only wound up working about a half hour over, getting off around 5:00 PM. I picked up Subway on the way home and C picked up our Sonic drinks. We watched a couple episodes of “The Keepers” on Netflix. I would not recommend this show for the faint of heart. It concerns the murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik in November of 1969. The corruption and sheer horror of depravity that was uncovered in that Catholic school in Baltimore is mind-boggling. “Disturbing” is not a strong enough word.
After that, I played Metro: Exodus on the PS4 for a couple hours.
Today is our first Night of Worship this year. We’re meeting at our pastor’s house tonight, instead of Brandon’s house. They are having some work done on their house, so we moved it for this month. The set list will be as follows: Word of God Speak, Great Are You Lord, Come Fall On Us, Surrounded (Fight My Battles), Lord I Need You, Oh How We Love You, Stand In Your Love, God Is So Good, I Surrender, Sails, Reckless Love, and Death Was Arrested.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah.
Today I am grateful:
1. That I didn’t have to work too late last night.
2. That the sounds of baseball have begun in Arizona and Florida.
3. For an opportunity to be in community tonight, worshiping, praying, and breaking bread together.
4. The overwhelming, never-ending, reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God.
5. For opportunities to seek and find God.
That this day may be holy, good, and peaceful, We entreat you, O Lord. That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill, We entreat you, O Lord. That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses, We entreat you, O Lord. That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world, We entreat you, O Lord. That we may depart this life in your faith and fear, and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ, We entreat you, O Lord. That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit in the communion of all your saints, entrusting one another and all our life to Christ, We entreat you, O Lord.
(The Book of Common Prayer)
(From Every Step An Arrival, Eugene H. Peterson)
Today’s reading is “Longing for God’s Freshness.”
A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God.
Psalm 42:1 (The Message)
Peterson’s words are so poetic that I dare not attempt to paraphrase them.
"A deer thirsty for water is the metaphor. What water is to the deer, God is to me. I simply must have God. And it must be the living God. Nothing stale or stagnant. The deer runs past all the mud puddles and swamps and marshes to clear, flowing streams. I don't want my God out of a bottle. I don't want what is left over from God after last week's thundershower. I want him fresh, flowing, living. What I learned in Sunday school in the third grade will not satisfy me. What I read in the Bible last week will not satisfy me. What someone told me this morning on television or radio will not quench my thirst. I want to get to the water myself. I must have God. Every natural appetite is a reminder of this thirst for God. Every thirst, every hunger, every longing for satisfaction-- it is a metaphor for the fundamental desire in our lives for God."
(The arrangement of the text is mine.)
This stirs my soul in ways I cannot even begin to describe. I have, over the course of the last week or so, been reading a book called The Cloud of Unknowing. It was written by an anonymous fourteenth century mystic. It is stretching me in ways I never thought I could be stretched, devotionally. The premise of the book is that, in contemplating God, He is all we need contemplate. In other words, during contemplative prayer, we should think of nothing, desire nothing, seek nothing, other than God, Himself, resting solely in His existence. We should entertain no other thoughts during this time. It is difficult, because our minds are not trained in this way. It is hard for me to sit still and silent for any length of time without a kabillion thoughts running through my brain, unbidden, most of them. I have to retrain my brain to reject them, that I might focus solely on God and nothing or no one else.
There are people who are uncomfortable with this kind of contemplation, and I get it. There are portions in the book that dangerously edge toward practices resembling Buddhism. But I’m not one to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Because, as Eugene Peterson has made so eloquently clear, I need God. I must have God. He is the only One who can quench my thirst.
Lamentations 3:23 says, “They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!” (The Message) “They” being God’s mercies. His mercies are new every morning. Says Peterson, “God did not go on hiatus last week or last year. He is present at the start of every day and when you to to sleep at night. Don’t rely on a dim memory of God; seek him in every moment.”
Father, this reading renders me almost speechless. I don’t know what to pray other than to ask you to help me get to You in this way. Show me the fresh, living water stream that is You. Help me to seek You in every moment, fresh. Quench my thirst, but increase my thirst for You, as well. Let my desire be for only You.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. Psalm 42:11 (The Message)
Soli Deo Gloria!