Refuge

It’s Monday again. Monday, May 15, 2017. Six days until the family reunion.

Quote of the Day

“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz

Word of the Day

Luddite ~ someone who is opposed or resistant to new technologies or technological change.

Today is Chocolate Chip Day. Seriously, do I even need to say anything else about it?

No breaks for the weary band players, yet. We’re back at rehearsals tonight, preparing for our next gig, which will be on July 3, for the Southlake Stars & Stripes event. Then, after that, we’ll get a month off. This year, July 3 is on a Monday, so I have taken the day off from work in order to avoid hassles of getting to the Southlake Town Square early enough to get a parking place.

As already mentioned, this coming weekend will be our “family reunion” in east Texas. I’ll be picking up my mother Friday after work, bringing her back home with me, where she will spend Friday night. Saturday morning, we will load up and head to east Texas (Henderson area) to my uncle’s house (my mother’s twin brother). My cousins will, hopefully, all be there, so the “four Js” will be together again! Maybe even some of their kids, as well. One of them is smoking a brisket for us. Yum! We’ll come back home on Sunday, but C and I have Monday off, too.

Then we get the following Monday off for Memorial Day, and the following Saturday, we will take to the skies to travel to Oregon, where we will spend a week at Rockaway Beach. We are looking forward to some rest and relaxation in the Pacific Northwest, as well as some beautiful scenery. It looks like we will even be in the vicinity of Astoria on “Goonies Day.” Look it up.

The Texas Rangers have won six games in a row, boosting them into second place in the AL Worst West. I think it’s premature to get all excited about this development, though, as two consecutive wins of those six were on walk-off home runs, and the starting pitcher only won one of those six. Still, a “W” is a “W,” no matter how it happens. They are still under .500, though, and 7.5 games out of first place, behind the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox are one game above .500, still in third place, 4 games out of first.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scripture references are English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Psalm 103:1-2
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Psalm 16:1-2
I love you, O LORD, my strength. 
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 

Psalm 18:1-2
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

Father, as I go out into this new work day, may your Spirit go with me, before me, behind me, and beside me. May I find myself walking with you, in your Kingdom, consistently today. When I am tempted to be angry or frustrated, give me the presence of mind to think first, to visualize Jesus standing between me and whatever circumstance or person that is frustrating me. May I take refuge in you today; may you be “my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
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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Dwelling

Good morning. It is Wednesday morning, May 15, 2013. I’ve been up over an hour this morning, as I got up with Christi at 415. She is at the surgery center with Rachel. I will be leaving early to stop by there on the way to work, probably arriving there right about the end of the surgery. I’m struggling with guilt over not being there.


Today is National Chocolate Chip Day. It’s also Police Officer’s Memorial Day. So say a prayer for those officers of the law who have fallen in the line of duty. Then have a chocolate chip cookie. Or just a handful of chocolate chips, if you’d rather. Mmmm . . . chocolate!


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
In 1682, Tsar Fedor of Russia died, leaving two male heirs that were both under age. There was also a daughter named Sophia, and his second wife, Natalya. As the two women struggled for power, Sophia conspired with the Streltsy, “Russia’s only permanent armed force,” encouraging them to take charge. On this date, thousands of Streltsy surrounded the Kremlin, literally tearing to pieces two government officials, right in front of the two sons, Peter and his half-brother.” For six months, the Streltsy revolted, out of control, until Sophia had power. “By November the Streltsy revolt was over, but young Peter was never to forget it.” He waited 16 years, and by 1698, he had become the Tsar of Russia. The Streltsy attempted another rebellion, but Peter had an army and quickly broke it. However, Peter, still remembering what had happened all those years ago, was not satisfied with simply affirming his power. He ordered all 1750 prisoners to be tortured, having them “flogged, roasted, burned with timbers and subject to the strappado.” This “strappado,” was “a torture by which the victim is tied to a rope, made to fall from a height almost to the ground and then stopped with a sudden jerk.”

Now we know where bungee jumping came from!!

Peter only showed “mercy” to the younger Streltsy, slitting their noses, cutting off their ears and sending them to exile. “Not surprisingly, there were no more revolts against Tsar Peter, known to history as Peter the Great.”


Today’s birthday is L. Frank Baum, born on this date in 1856. Baum is best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. What I didn’t realize until a few years ago was that there are quite a few other Oz books, along with a series of “Aunt Jane’s Nieces” books, among many others.

Honorable mentions go to Abraham Zapruder, 1905, James Mason, 1909, Brian Eno, 1948, Mike Oldfield, 1953, George Brett, 1953, John Smolz, 1967, Josh Beckett, 1980, and Justin Morneau, 1981.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. Psalm 86:4
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! Psalm 119:10

Ah, Lord, would that I were seeking you with my whole heart. But, alas, I fear that my heart is still divided. Therefore, I still pray for you to teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name! Teach me something this morning, Lord.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “The Shelter of the Most High.” The scripture reading is Psalm 91:1-2.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

When we live in the shelter of God, or make him our dwelling place (see verse 9 of the same Psalm), we show a deep, intimate trust in him. “For us to dwell in God as a refuge differs sharply from merely scampering into shelter when trouble strikes.” I want to take a minute to read that last line again.

“For us to dwell in God as a refuge differs sharply from merely scampering into shelter when trouble strikes.”

Did you ever, as a child, attempt to stay in the shadow of one of your parents, while walking with them? Or even better, were you ever so in love with your parents that you desired no public recognition and were simply satisfied to be in their presence? I can identify with both of those questions. I realize that there are many people out there who had bad parental experiences, and cannot. “Abiding in someone’s shadow means letting that person be the recipient of all glory and attention.” Are we able to maintain that kind of relationship with God? Can we live in such a way as to allow all of our “good works,” done in secrecy, to reflect glory to God?


Looking at the 19 Mercies again, this morning, I’ve gotten to number 7, “Through Jesus we know Abba.” The question is asked, “Who is the God of your imagination?” Is he the “invisible honorary president of outer space?” Is he like a cosmic customs officer who searches through your “moral suitcase?” Is he “an omnipotent thug who invades to rob you of peace and joy?” These are common human projections on God. They are ideas that we imposed upon him, using our “impoverished understanding” of God. The true God is seen in the person of Jesus. He came to make God audible and visible to us. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father, said Jesus. (John 14:9) When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he began with the words, “Our Father.” They had never heard such a concept before. This was revolutionary. Jesus called God “Abba.” “The Father.” Or, “O Father.” While it seems to be a bit of a myth that the word means “Daddy,” there is still an intimacy in the meaning of the word, while maintaining the dignity of “Father.” We, through our relationship with Christ, have that same intimacy with the Creator of the universe, by which we may call him “Abba.” He is truly my “Father.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. John 14:6-11

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Naught is all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought by day and by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word;
I ever with the, thou with me, Lord.
~~Eight Century Irish Prayer


Abba, Father, I lift up my hands to you this morning, holding my heart up to you, that it may be one in loving and cherishing you. Thank you sending Jesus to show us your face, to show us your true nature, that nature of love for us. Thank you for the possibility of this intimacy with you, intimacy that was known only by a few before Jesus came to open the doors of heaven for us. I have come to you through him, and, in doing so, have insured that I will spend eternity in your presence. You are truly my Father, and I will worship and adore you for all eternity. I pray that I may dwell in your presence, though, for the remainder of my days on this earth. Let my dwelling in you be a permanent refuge, not just a convenient place for me to “scamper into shelter when trouble strikes.” May I love and live the words of Psalm 91. I ask you, Holy Spirit, to remind me to read that Psalm repeatedly during this day.

Father, I pray for this day, diligently praying for Christi, who is about to go into surgery. I pray that you give the doctor steady hands, a sharp mind, and clear vision to see exactly what needs to be done to fix Christi’s foot. May the surgery go smoothly and her recovery be quick and sure. Help Stephanie and me to be the best servants we can be during Christi’s time of recovery. Thank you for a daughter who is willing to get up so early to take her to the surgery center. I thank you that I have a job to go to, even if it is keeping me from fully attending to Christi during this time.

Give Stephanie a sense of your steadfast love as she prays your promises to you today.


May we all dwell in the shadow of the Almighty today, experiencing “Abba” as our shelter and refuge.

Be thou my vision . . .

Grace and peace, friends.