Good morning!! Today is Friday, December 21, 2012. Four more days to Christmas, and five days to Cancun!
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen two such opposite “holidays” offered. Today is both “Humbug Day,” and “National Look At the Bright Side Day.” Alrighty, then…
On this date:
In 1620, the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.
In 1913, the first crossword puzzle was published in the New York World. It was designed by Arthur Wynne.
In 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered.
In 1968, Apollo 8 launched, and its crew became the first humans to ever leave Earth’s gravity.
In 1974, this song hit #1
It was Harry Chapin’s only #1 song.
Today’s birthdays include Thomas Becket (Archbishop of Canterbury), 1118, Roger Williams (English theologian), 1603, Calico Jack Rackham (English pirate), 1682, Benjamin Disraeli (U.K. Prime Minister), 1804, Werner von Trapp (“The hills are alive,” etc.), 1915, Paul Winchell (ventriloquist and the voice of “Tigger” in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh films), 1922, Phil Donahue, 1935, Jane Fonda, 1937, Frank Zappa, 1940, Jack Nance (actor), 1943, Carl Wilson (Beach Boys), 1946, Samuel L. Jackson, 1948, Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks), 1950, Chris Evert (tennis), 1954, Tom Henke (baseball pitcher), 1957, Andy Dick (actor), 1965, Kiefer Sutherland, 1966.
Just for fun, here’s a Frank Zappa clip.
Christi and I watched White Christmas last night. It’s my most favorite Christmas movie of all time. I still cry at the end, when all the soldiers show up for the general’s party. And then it snows. Gotta love happy endings.
Christi surprised me at work yesterday. I was in the break room, about to get some more ice in my Sonic cup, so I could pour my Crystal Light over it, when I saw a woman walk by the window, and I said, “That looks like my wife!” But she was going the wrong direction, away from the front door. I watched and saw her go to the passenger side of a red Hyundai Elantra, just like hers. Then, she started back up the sidewalk, and, lo, and behold, she was carrying a Chik Fil-A cup!! I got so excited, I ran to the front door to meet her. She had brought me a peppermint chocolate chip milkshake!! You see, I’ve been wanting one of those ever since they started showing up on their signs, but had not had an opportunity to try one. It was quite delicious, too. Many thanks to my beautiful wife!
She’s “working” from home, today. 😀 Yeah. I don’t think she has any meeting scheduled at all today. And the company is closed all next week. Monday evening, we will celebrate Christmas with Christi’s family, as is our Christmas Eve tradition, and then Tuesday morning, after we have our little Christmas at home (along with Rachel and Justin), we will head to Mineral Wells to have Christmas lunch with my parents. Wednesday morning, if the Lord says so, too, we will get up and drive to Christi’s work place and get on a shuttle bus to the airport (it’s free and so is the parking), where we will board a plane for our first ever trip out of the country, to Cancun. I’m a little concerned…it’s supposed to be 26 degrees Wednesday morning, with 40% chance of rain on Christmas. But the high on Christmas is supposed to be 52, and Wednesday should be 43. Our flight is scheduled to leave at 11-something am, so we should be fine. It should be around 81 n Cancun that day. 😀
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! (Psalm 65:4)
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20)
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. (Psalm 62:5-12)
Father, I am satisfied with your goodness and holiness. You, alone, are my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken. I pray for a glimpse of your face this morning, that I might look to you and your glory for my strength throughout this day.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 11:10-16.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
12 He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them.
15 And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals.
16 And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.
This root of Jesse is traced back to verse 1, where a shoot comes from the “stump of Jesse.” Jesse was David’s father, and the house of David was in shambles. But there was, at least a root, a stump left, and out of that came Jesus Christ, the “root of Jesse,” from the lineage of David. All of the exiled people of Israel will, once again, be assembled. There seems to be a miracle indicated in verses 15 and 16, one that rivals the crossing of the Red Sea.
Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Experience or Revelation.” The scripture reference is 1 Corinthians 2:12. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
“Reality is Redemption, not my experience of Redemption; but Redemption has no meaning for me until it speaks the language of my conscious life.” When I was “born again,” the Holy Spirit took me out of myself and my personal, private experiences, and identified me with Jesus Christ. If I had simply been left with those experiences, they were not produced by Redemption. This all sounds kind of wordy and confusing, but I promise you, it eventually makes sense. My experiences are not the ground of Reality. The proof that they are produced by Redemption is that I don’t consider them to be my ground, my foundation. My foundation is the Reality that produced those experiences. “My experiences are not worth anything unless they keep me at the Source, Jesus Christ.”
If I try to “dam up the Holy Spirit,” so that I only have subjective experiences, he will break out and take me back to Jesus. “Never nourish an experience which has not God as its Source and faith in God as its result.” This is very important! No matter what kind of vision I may have had, if I do that, my experience is “anti-Christian.” Is Jesus Christ the Lord of my experience, or do I try to be? More importantly, is there any experience that is dearer to me than He? At some point, my confession must be that I do not care what I experience, “I am sure of Him.”
“Faith that is sure of itself is not faith; faith that is sure of God is the only faith there is.” I tell you three times, I am not sure of myself at all. But “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12) I am sure of Jesus Christ, and I am sure of Redemption. My experience does not matter. My eyes will be on Christ.
Father, I pray with all my being that your Spirit keep my eyes on Jesus Christ and not on my experience. There is much that I have experienced in my 54 years on this earth. If I were to base my entire believe system on those experiences, I’m not sure what I would believe. And that is where so many of your children fall short; we place too much emphasis on those experiences and not enough on you, the One who provided them. It always comes back to Jesus and his Redemptive work on the Cross. I have been identified with Jesus Christ, and my experiences have been born out of that identification. May they always work together to keep at the source of my life, which is Jesus. My faith is not in faith. My faith is not sure of itself. In fact, my faith is very much unsure of itself. However, my faith in you, Lord, is, at this point in my life, pretty much unshakable. Not perfect, no. Never will be until I see you in your glory. But you have brought me to a place where my faith is in you and you alone. No matter what I experience in this life, I am sure of you.
I pray for this day. May I have a smooth day at work today, the last one before vacation. I pray for the days that I will not be there, that things run smoothly in my absence. I continue to pray for Phillip as he recovers from shoulder surgery. I also lift up Valerie, our pastor’s wife, as she, hopefully, is recovering from her pneumonia. I pray that Christi might have a nice, relaxing day today. As we head toward our vacation, I pray that you keep us safe and well, and that we continue to look to you for everything. I pray that this vacation trip be an opportunity to experience you in a new setting, finding ways to worship you as we explore new places. I pray for a glimpse of your glory in the jungles of Mexico.
Jesus trumps experience every time. I must stay at the source and allow that source to interpret all experience, not the other way around.
Grace and peace, friends.