Abundant Life Here and Now

Today is Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Day 21,971.

Five days until Mother’s Day!

It’s the birthday of Harry S Truman (1884-1972), who said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” BrainyQuote

The word for today is infomania, a noun which means, “an obsessive need to constantly check emails, social media websites, online news, etc.” It also refers to “the effects of this obsession, especially a decline in the ability to concentrate.” I fear I am afflicted with infomania.

We did not go to the Y last night. I think we decided before we left, yesterday morning. We were both tired from the various events of the previous week, C from her trip and lack of sleep Friday night, and me from being up late for the baseball game Saturday night. We both feel much better this morning, after a good night’s rest.

The Red Sox had the day off, yesterday, in preparation for a series in New York with the Yankees, which begins tonight. This has potential for being a brutal series. Fortunately for the Sox, the Yankees were also off, yesterday, so nothing changed in the standings. The Sox still have a one game lead over the Yankees in the AL East and in the over all MLB standings. That will change tonight, one way or another.

The Rangers managed to beat the Tigers, last night, after a back and forth game that finally ended 7-6. The Rangers are 14-23, 8.5 games behind the Astros and five games behind the A’s who are in fourth place. They play Detroit again, tonight.

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

Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 
I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, 
so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. 
The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. 
I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. 
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 
I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. 
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ 
And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. 
My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. 
I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.

Psalm 89:19-29

Every day, I get an email from biblegateway.com with a C.S. Lewis excerpt. I thought today’s excerpt, from Mere Christianity, was a good one. “I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Everyone there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people’s eyes can see further than mine.”

I believe this is true. If we are truly focused on the one who gives us all things, we are not knowingly thinking about doing good things. I like the reference to the mirror. We should be filled with “goodness” as a mirror is filled with light. “They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source.” I love that. I want to spend more time looking at Jesus than I do thinking about doing good things.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

This verse is at the top of today’s Daily Guideposts reading. However, I’m going in a totally different direction with it. When Jesus said these words, he was, I believe, referring to the quality of life that we can have now. This will, I believe, be made more clear by other passages that will be shared shortly.

Abundant life is not something that we have to wait for until we die. I used to believe that. I used to believe that the kingdom of God (or heaven) was something that I would not know fully until I have “passed on” from this life. I no longer believe this. I believe that it is something into which we can enter now. Jesus came to earth and began declaring that the kingdom of heaven was here. He urged people to pay attention to it, to seek it. This was the “gospel.” Over and over, he mentions the “gospel,” or “good news” of the “kingdom of God.”

Abundant life does not mean that we can get everything we want. People who teach this are deceiving multitudes. But that makes sense, because we, as humans, are greedy. It’s easy to believe that God wants me to have that new house or that new car or that raise or that lottery. But all of these things are material and temporary. In Matthew 6, Jesus makes it clear.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:31-34

Earlier, Jesus said, in verse 25, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Seek his kingdom, along with its righteousness, and God will provide everything you need.

This is abundant life. This is life that we enter into as soon as we begin walking with Jesus. Believe in his words; believe the things he did and said. Truly believe. This is the hard part. It’s easy to believe in Jesus. It is much more difficult to believe Jesus. And, yes, there is a huge difference.

After all these years, I’m still struggling to believe him. But he is drawing me closer.

Father, thank you for the promise of abundant life! Thank you for Jesus, and the invitation to walk with him. Thank you for your kingdom, in which I am walking now, not later. I believe; help my unbelief!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 
Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. 
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. 
  Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 
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

Grace and peace, friends.

The Miracle of Church

“The Holy Spirit descended into the womb of Mary in the Galilean village of Nazareth. Thirty of so years later the same Holy Spirit descended into the collective spiritual womb of men and women, which included Mary, who had been followers of Jesus. It happened as they were at worship on the Jewish feast of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem. The first conception gave us Jesus; the second conception gave us church.”

Today is Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Day 21,657. Six days until our July 4 holiday!

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” ~ E. B. White
BrainyQuote

Bonus quote!
“All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.” ~ Harry S Truman, Letter to his sister, Nov. 14, 1947
The Quotations Page

Today’s word of the day is interdigitate. It is a verb, meaning, “to interlock, as or like the fingers of both hands.” I didn’t know there was a word for that!

Today is Happy Heart Hugs Day. I’m all about the hugs. I’m a hugger. If you’re a hugger, this is your day!

I feel much better this morning than I did yesterday. In fact, by bed time last night, I was feeling 100% better. Who knows what was wrong? I may have actually had a touch of something the night before. But I seem to be fine this morning.

It’s bowling d+9*-kl (Um . . . Rocky the cat just jumped on the keyboard). What I was trying to type before I was so felinely interrupted was, it’s bowling night! I’m always excited about bowling night. Sometimes, after it’s over, I’m not so excited. But I’ve been doing pretty good in this league, for someone who hasn’t bowled consistently in close to 30 years. My average should be around 163, or so, tonight.

The Red Sox are back in first place! The Rangers are in second place, but 12.5 behind the Astros, who have won an incredible 52 games already. The only other team that has won over 50 games is the Dodgers.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Psalm 31:23
To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Psalm 28:1
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:13
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Psalm 25:20
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 80:17-19

(From Practice Resurrection)

As Eugene Peterson set out on his search for “church,” he didn’t begin with Ephesians, but it is where he wound up. He began with the book of Acts, “in which the term ‘church’ occurs twenty-four times.” Ephesus is mentioned for the first time in Acts.

One thing that Peterson noticed was the parallel between the birth of Jesus and the birth of the church. I confess that I had never noticed this, but Peterson brings it to light in a marvelous way that only he can do. But there is a great parallel between Luke 1-2 and Acts 1-2. Of course, they were written by the same author, weren’t they?

But God brought our Savior into the world in somewhat “unkingly” circumstances. He could have come to the world and solved all of the hunger troubles. He could have come with a loud, spectacular entrance and filled all the amphitheaters and “hippodromes.” He could have performed circus-like miracle shows. He could have overthrown the Roman government. But he didn’t do any of those things.

Jesus came, by a miracle, “in the form of a helpless infant born in poverty in a dangerous place with neither understanding nor support from the political, religious, or cultural surroundings.”

Our “salvation community” came into the world in much the same way. It was, in fact, miraculous, but under much the same circumstances as the birth of Jesus. While the story in Acts seems somewhat outrageous, that is only if you were in the same room. From the outside, things carried on just as usual, with governments, religious leaders, and culture being largely oblivious to what was happening.

Both of these things happened by what Charles Williams called the Descent of the Dove. “The Holy Spirit descended into the womb of Mary in the Galilean village of Nazareth. Thirty of so years later the same Holy Spirit descended into the collective spiritual womb of men and women, which included Mary, who had been followers of Jesus. It happened as they were at worship on the Jewish feast of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem. The first conception gave us Jesus; the second conception gave us church.”

Father, thank you for the “miracle of church.” I thank you that you chose to send your Holy Spirit, not once, but twice. Once to save us, and the second time, to unite us in Trinitarian Community. I pray for the advancement of that community as the Church. I pray for unity within a body of believers that is, in some cases, intensely divided. Make us one in Christ and in the Holy Spirit, as we seek to walk in your kingdom.
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.

The Hazard of Faith

Today is Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Intense feeling too often obscures the truth.” – Harry S Truman

Word of the Day

Talisman – anything whose presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions.

Today is Celebration of Life Day, a day set aside to show appreciation to our children and grandchildren. Take some time to appreciate what special people your children and grandchildren have become.

Definitely not much to write about on a personal level, this morning. C continues to struggle with her bronchial asthma. She did rest quite a bit, yesterday, though. I have a PAT (Pastoral Assist Team) meeting after church today. Most people know how I feel about meetings.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering this morning. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach St., in Fort Worth. The gathering begins at 10:15 AM.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Psalm 111:1

. . . that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth. Psalm 83:18

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. Psalm 71:14

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

“Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”~~The Divine Hours

(From Living the Message)

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 10:38-39

“What is hazardous in my life is my work as a Christian. Every day I put faith on the line. I have never seen God. In a world where nearly everything can be weighed, explained, quantified, subjected to psychological analysis and scientific control I persist in making the center of my life a God whom no eye has seen, nor ear heard, whose will no one can probe. That’s a risk.”

Jesus, there are many day that I don’t deserve you. There are many days that I don’t pick up my cross and carry it for you. There are many days that my first concern is me. I confess and ask your forgiveness for these days. Help me to find myself in you every day. Help me to go out and put faith on the line every day, wherever my feet and your will take me. I have never seen you, either, yet I believe in you. I am willing to be thought a fool for the sake of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.