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.

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“Open Their Hearts”

Good morning. It is Thursday (pre-Friday?), June 18, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is caparison. While it appears that I have misspelled “comparison,” I have not. Caparison is a noun, meaning, “an ornamental covering for a horse,” “decorative trappings and harness,” or, in non-horse-related things, “rich clothing : adornment.”

Today is International Picnic Day, yet another “holiday” that really should not fall on a work day! Sorry, but I won’t have time for a picnic today.

It was pointed out to me that I called the tropical storm by the wrong name yesterday. It’s Bill, not Jim. Bill, Jim, Bob, Jim-Bob, Joe-Bob-George, whatever. 😀 I could swear I heard someone call that storm Jim, at some point. But it’s Bill. At least what is left of it is Bill. It appears to be past us, now, as there is a mere 10% chance of rain today. But it pretty much rained all day yesterday. It definitely rained on me for the entire thirty mile trip to work.

Christi had Huddle tonight, and I am planning to try to scan some photos into the computer while she is gone. If I have time, I might get in some practice, as well. I’m planning to go to a community band rehearsal next Monday. I’m still working out how I’m going to get there, though. I’m supposed to be there by 6:45 for warm-up, and it begins at 7:00. It’s in Southlake, though, which is roughly half-way between work and home. I may just have to go straight from work, find something to eat, and just go to rehearsal in my work clothes. If I do that, I will carry an extra pair of shoes, though. Don’t really want to go to band rehearsal in my steel-toed shoes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Psalm 73:18-24

(From Solid Joys)

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
Romans 10:1

Today’s reading is “How to Plead for Unbelievers.”

In the verse from Romans 10, Paul is praying for Israel to be converted. He is praying for the salvation of his own people.

We can take covenant promises from Scripture and pray that God would bring them to pass in the lives of our family and friends, and on people all around the world. For example:

  • “God, take out of their flesh the heart of stone and give them a new heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19).”
  • “Circumcise their heart so that they love you (Deuteronomy 30:6)!”
  • “Father, put your Spirit within them and cause them to walk in your statutes (Ezekiel 36:27).”
  • “Grant them repentance and a knowledge of the truth that they may escape from the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:25–26).”
  • “Open their hearts so that they believe the gospel (Acts 16:14)!”

These are just a few examples. I’m sure we can find more on our own, during our times of reading, study, and reflection. Here is a key point, though. “When we believe in the sovereignty of God — in the right and power of God to elect and then bring hardened sinners to faith and salvation — then we will be able to pray with no inconsistency, and with great biblical promises for the conversion of the lost.” We must believe that God can do what we ask him to do. It doesn’t always mean he will, but we must believe that he can. He is sovereign over all things. And this kind of praying brings honor to him, as it “ascribes to him the right and honor to be the free and sovereign God that he is in election and salvation.”

Father, teach me to pray for unbelievers. This is one of my most difficult areas of prayer. Thank you for showing me this handful of Scriptures that are applicable in this situation. I pray that you might show me more. As I pray, each day, bring to mind someone that I can pray these things for, as there are plenty of people I know who need your grace in their lives. Make us more faithful in prayer, as we live our lives. Help us to, as Paul told us, “Pray without ceasing.” Let every breath be a prayer, Lord.

I pray for this day, that our passage to work might be safe and smooth. I pray for Christi’s day, that it might be free from drama, just as yesterday was. I pray that, in your sovereign grace, you would do whatever necessary to bring that about. I pray for her Huddle group that meets this evening, and I will pray for them again, later today. May you bind them closer together, and draw their hearts together as one, that they might all consider each other to be more important than themselves. I pray for your great love and mercy to surround Stephanie, Rachel, and Justin today, as they do whatever they need to do. I also pray that you continue to hold up my mother. We look forward to our visit on Sunday.

I pray for Sheridan, Lord, who has been diagnosed with pneumonia. I also pray for little Sadie, and Andrew, who are also sick. May you bring healing to our church family, Lord.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we be faithful in praying for our family and friends who need the grace of God in their lives. Pray for him to change hearts and invade spirits with his grace.

Grace and peace, friends.