Good morning. It is Saturday, November 24, 2012. I’m actually at work. Shh…don’t tell anybody. Today is “Tie One On Day.” Before you rush off and get that fifth of vodka, let me explain that this is, apparently, referring to aprons, specifically of the kitchen kind. According to the Hallmark Ultimate Holiday app, this is “about the apron and all it symbolizes: home, family, mothering, and yummy meals.” So “tie one on,” and bake a loaf of bread. Or a pie. Or something.
On this date in 1835, the Texas Rangers were formed. Not the baseball team.
Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species on this date in 1859. Some people call this “Evolution Day.”
On this date in 1952, the FBI Crime Lab officially opened.
The “Storm of the Century” occurred on this date in 1950. It paralyzed the northeastern U.S. and the Appalachians, with winds up to 100mph and subzero temperatures. Pickens, West Virginia received 57 inches of snow. It is reported that 323 people died in the storm.
On this date in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby in the Dallas Police Department headquarters.
On this date in 1968, Wilt Chamberlain got 55 rebounds in a single game, setting an NBA record.
On this date in 1971, a hijacker known as D.B. Cooper parachuted from a plane with $200,000 in ransom money. He was never found.
On this date in 1973, Ringo Starr had a #1 solo hit with “Photograph.”
Today’s birthdays include Zachary Taylor (12th President), 1784, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French painter), 1864, Scott Joplin (composer), 1868, Dale Carnegie, 1888, William F. Buckley, Jr. (writer), 1925, Pete Best (original drummer for The Beatles), 1941, Lee Michaels (musician), 1945, Spider Robinson (S.F. author), 1948, Denise Crosby (actress), 1957, Katherine Heigl (actress), 1978, Becca Barlow (Barlow Girl), 1979.
Yesterday was a nice day of mostly relaxing. Sadly, Rachel and Justin had to leave a bit early, as Rachel was not feeling well. Hopefully, she is feeling better today. We still had a nice time, and were able to get a good bit of our Christmas decorating done last night. Some of the lights for the tree did not work, though, so we will have to go out and get some new ones sometime today. We also didn’t get the outside lights up yet. We will try to do that this afternoon, hopefully. That kind of depends on how long I have to monitor our deliveries.
Father, I pray that you give me some vision of you this morning, as I look into your word. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 2:20-22. Isaiah continues his description of “that day.”
20 In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats,
21 to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.
22 Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?
In yesterday’s passage, I noted that people will attempt to flee from the “terror of the LORD” by running to caves in the rocks and holes in the ground. Today, it is added that, in order to do so, they will have to cast off the false gods and idols that they constructed for themselves to worship. These will do them no good, now. Actually, they never did. Verse 22 speaks volumes to the culture of our world today. “Stop regarding man! Of what account is he?” We live in a culture that celebrates and worships people. Even in the “Christian subculture” we tend to do that. I’ve probably been guilty of exalting people like Jonathan Edwards and John Piper higher than I should. They are just men, “in whose nostrils is breath.” While it is true that they have some great wisdom and knowledge to impart, they are still just men, and we should not regard them too highly. Martin Luther cringed at the idea that a group of Christians should name themselves after him!
In our culture, however, we raise people to the highest heights of celebrity, and, should they happen to espouse an opinion about something, we fall all over ourselves to get in line with them, as though they have suddenly become experts in the matter. This is nothing short of idolatry. Even though we have not physically constructed an image from wood or stone, we have built an idol in our hearts if we fall into the trap of regarding people higher than we ought.
Today’s reading from My Utmost For His Highest is called “Direction of Aspiration.” The scripture reference is Psalm 123:2, which says, Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God till he has mercy upon us.
“This verse is a description of entire reliance upon God.” We start experiencing what Chambers calls “spiritual leakage” when we stop lifting our eyes to the Lord. And this leakage doesn’t come from trouble on the outside so much as it comes from our imagination. We begin to think we are reaching too high, that we need to start behaving more like an “ordinary humble person.” At this point, we fail to realize that “no effort can be too high.” We cannot afford to allow anything to come between us and God.
I’ve been reading In Touch magazine, lately, usually during a mid-day break at work. Today’s weekend reading has the simple title, “Seek the Lord.” The scripture reference is Psalm 27:4-8. Verse 4 says, One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire [meditate] in his temple. Verse 8 says, You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, O LORD, do I seek.”
The kind of relationship that delights in intimate fellowship with God doesn’t happen accidentally. It has to be intentional, and it has to be practiced consistently. “Intimacy with Him is not something that can be achieved in an inspiring weekend conference, nor can it be accomplished by reading a chapter or two in the Bible and praying for ten minutes a day.” It is a lifetime commitment, day by day, year by year, decade by decade.
I am not satisfied having a shallow relationship with the Lord. I want to always be going deeper. This requires time and effort, and, honestly, some days I do much better than others. As Chambers stated above, “no effort can be too high.” There is a balance, of course, in living the humble life, following him in the “mundaneness” of life, while at the same time reaching for the heights of intimacy with him.
Father, I pray that I will never stop seeking your face. While I realize that this is largely up to me, I rely also on the inspiration of your Spirit that resides me, both to empower me and to enable me. I will seek your face for as long as I live. I will never give up this journey; I will never forsake this path. I’m sure I will waver, from time to time, and I’m sure I will chase something down a side trail, at times, as well. But I have confidence and faith that you will always bring me back to the path, seeking your face. My eyes will continue to look to you for the mercy that you give me, for the grace that you give me, every day.
I pray for the rest of this day. I thank you that things are going well so far, for work. I pray that this will continue. I pray for some good rest this evening, as well as some fruitful practice time as I prepare for playing in the worship service again tomorrow. I am also grateful for being asked to play again.
Thank you, Father, for a wonderful Thanksgiving day/weekend. It has been a very rewarding time, spent with family and resting, giving thanks to you for the many blessings that we have received. May we continue to be thankful throughout the entire year.
You cannot reach too high. It is possible to think too highly of ourselves. But our efforts to reach God cannot go too high. As he has said, You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Grace and peace, friends.