Today is Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Today is Galveston Day!!!!
“Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, The Quotations Page
The word of the day is axilla, “the armpit.” I hope there’s a town named “Axilla” somewhere.
I’ve been working on this post for over an hour already. I keep getting distracted by packing. Because today is the day we leave for Galveston!!! We are so excited for this trip. Galveston is one of our favorite places on the planet, and certainly either our first or second place favorite place in Texas. The other is Glen Rose. I think I have to say Galveston wins, but only because it has an ocean next to it. If Glen Rose had an ocean . . . we’d all be in trouble, that’s what, because it’s in the middle of Texas! Anyway.
Two things for sure that we plan to do while in Galveston. Thursday night, C and I have booked a ghost tour with Dash Beardsley. We have already done two of their tours, and they have been great fun. Then, one unspecified day, at our leisure, we plan on doing one of these Island Treasure Hunts. These are cool “adventures” that are guided by clues and instructions that you get from your smart phone or other device. We’ve done similar things in Fort Worth and Austin, and had great fun.
Of course, we also plan on some shopping around The Strand, and most definitely visiting the candy shop where they make the salt water taffy on the premises. I highly anticipate, however, that the most enjoyed activity (both quantity and quality) will be sitting on the deck or the beach, watching and listening to the ocean waves. I just relaxed some more thinking about that.
We leave this morning and won’t be coming back until next Sunday evening. Eight nights! Then we are taking Monday off from work, as well, to recuperate from all that driving on Sunday.
Let’s see. There was a lot of baseball yesterday, and some of it was a bit more exciting than I wanted it to be. By “exciting,” I mean “gut-wrenching stressful.”
The Dodgers blanked the Braves again, 3-0, to take a 2-0 lead in that series. The Braves have yet to score against them.
The Brewers blanked the Rockies, 4-0, to take a 2-0 lead in that series.
The Astros beat the Indians, 7-2, and lead their series 1-0.
Then there was that Red Sox/Yankees game. Of course, that was the one to which I was referring when I said “gut-wrenching stressful.” The Sox started out scoring early, to take a 5-0 lead. Then Alex Cora took Chris Sale out of the game, and it all started falling apart. The bullpen seemed almost totally incapable of throwing strikes. The first bullpen pitcher didn’t even get out of the last inning that Sale started. Two runs were scored in the sixth, both credited to Sale, then one more in the seventh. It was 5-3, going into the top of the ninth. Cora had brought Kimbrel, the closer, in with one out left in the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Judge was up first, and he promptly crushed an opposite-field homer to right field to make the score 5-4. That was it, though, as Kimbrel did his job for the rest of the ninth. The Sox won 5-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Today, the Sox play the Yankees in Fenway at 7:15 CT, and the Indians play the Astros in Houston at 3:37 CT. The NL is off today, as they are traveling to the other city for tomorrow’s games. Likewise, the AL will be off tomorrow.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
(From Where Your Treasure Is), Eugene H. Peterson
The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
As we continue considering the rule of God, it is worth noting that, as we affirm this rule, this reign, this sovereignty of God, “the frequent and disrupting experiences of ‘unrule’ must also be prayed through.” Note the threefold “floods” of verse 3 in the Psalm.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
When floods come, the foundation of the earth remains steady and firm. But nothing else does. The torrents of raging, flooding water can wash away anything. In the great hurricane of 1900, in Galveston, the wind did great damage. But just as damaging was the amount of water that raged through the city as the wind drove the ocean waves (along with torrential rains) into the city. The floods washed away entire houses; they even moved an entire railroad trestle. “The firmament continues, orderly and dependable, but everything between heaven and earth is swept unceremoniously into catastrophe.”
The solid ground, the firm foundation, never gets any headlines. It is the floods that get all the attention. “Dry is our natural state and we take it for granted; wet is an alien state and we panic.”
The flood is also “a master metaphor for anarchy.” We don’t like being told what to do, do we? I think that is true of just about anyone. However, “we fear even more a society in which everyone does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Government is a response to the floods. “If there were no floods there would be no government. Because of anarchy, government is required. If everyone and everything existed in harmonious tranquility, government would be as questionable as the vermiform appendix.”
But then, take note of verse 4.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty!
The three floods are matched by the might of the Lord on high!
“The anarchical floods are matched by the sovereign Lord. Three times the floods lift up their voice; three times the Lord’s might proves sovereign. These paired triplets resonate through the biblical memory. The devil’s three testings of Jesus are met and defeated by three sovereign words (Mt. 4:1-11). Peter’s three denials are matched by three affirmations of love (Jn. 21:15-19). Paul’s three protestations against his ‘thorn’ are matched by the tripple reassurance, ‘my grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Cor. 12:8-9). Luke gives three renderings of Paul’s conversion, countering his thrice-reported terrorist activities in the early church.”
It is important to note that, “in all these events, God’s sovereignty is not merely asserted, it is experienced.” (Emphasis mine) Furthermore, the truth must be asserted that, “if God is not sovereign, I do, in fact, live in chaos.”
Now, consider all of these things in comparison with the baptism of Jesus. There is a continuity between the floodwaters out of which Noah was saved for mankind to experience a new beginning, and the baptismal waters into which Jesus went and then emerged “for our salvation and established a new covenant.” The Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus might be compared to the dove that delivered evidence to Noah that the waters had receded and new life had been found. “Messiah emerges from the death-dealing abyss and rules over the chaos. ‘Mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!'”
So how does all of this enter into our lives and history? This is seen in the final verse, again, three lines.
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, forevermore.
The decrees are sure and trustworthy. “The waves are subdued by decrees.” They are not countered by more violence. . . . The means by which God’s rule is put into effect is word not muscle, decrees not armies, creative speech not coercive act.” Many would have us meet the world’s violence with violence of our own. This verse tells us differently.
In the second line, “holiness befits your house,” there is that interesting little word “befits.” Peterson says it is a weak translation of a Hebrew word “na’wah.” It means “makes lovely, adorns becomingly.” He says it is “used more frequently in the Song of Solomon than in any other book of the Bible.”
We don’t expect images of loveliness from the concept of rule. Love song lyrics, sure. But not discussions of sovereignty. But God “does not set aside the robes of holy love when he exercises his rule in the mud of human history.”
Finally, we see the line, “O LORD, forevermore.” This affirms the rule of God throughout ordinary time. “This is not God’s rule eternal in the heavens apart from human history but God’s rule working itself out through the calendar. Prayer is not a patient wait for the rule to come into effect at the end of history, it is a patient participation in present rule.” Once again, as Dallas Willard has asserted, the Kingdom of God is here NOW, not something we are waiting to enter when we die.
And, perhaps most importantly, “it does not depend on public acknowledgment.” That, my friends, is huge. God is sovereign whether the atheists acknowledge it or not. “Whether men and women know it or or not, they are now living under God’s rule. Some live in rebellion that can be either defiant or ignorant. Some live in an obedience that can be either reluctant or devout. But not one lives apart from it. It is the premise of our existence.” There is not time when this is not true. There is not one day (Sunday) when God is allowed to rule, and six days when we humans take control of things. “Neither ignorance nor indifference diminishes God’s rule. Day after day “the LORD reigns.”
“Now,” says Peterson, “the symmetry is complete: three lines of anarchic violence countered by three lines of the Lord’s mightier rule, expounded in three lines of the way the rule is administered.”
This is why prayer is seen as “subversive activity.” Think about it. When we pray along the lines of Psalm 93, we are involved in “a more or less open act of defiance against any claim of ultimacy by the current regime.” Our prayers drag the egotism of politics out into the open and begin to do something about it.
“God rules. Prayer develops in us an awareness of God’s rule: his intentions, his ways, his strategies, his commands.” “Patriotism,” on the other hand, “is often only bloated egotism.” That is a huge statement, and I have felt that way about patriotism for a long time. There is no biblical call for Christians to be “patriots.” Yes, we are to be good citizens, but that simply means obeying the laws and looking out for the good of the people around us. “Every natural tie of family and race, every willed commitment to person and nation is finally subordinated to the rule of God.”
I realize this was a bit lengthy, but it finished the discussion of chapter four.
Father, help us to pray rightly, in light of Your rule and Your reign. Help us to correctly acknowledge Your rule over our lives, our history, our future, and our nation and world. You are God; You are sovereign; You are in control; You reign supreme. And to that end I will pray.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
Grace and peace, friends.