Today is March 13, 2013. Christi and I are officially on vacation for three days!! Woot!
Today is Ear Muff Day. Apparently, they were invented on this day in 1877. Well, it is 46 degrees right now, with a projected high of 68. I shan’t be needing any ear muffs today.
We had a wonderful time with our lifehouse last night, as it was our last meeting (at least as an official lifehouse). We had barbecue, two kinds of cake (Christi made a birthday cake for me, more on that in a minute), and talked about everything from food to music to TV to movies. As far as I could tell a smashing time was had by all. We are all moving on to other spiritual “adventures,” still with The Exchange, but in a different type of group. We will be starting up a new, more discipleship-intensive, group called “Huddle” in a short time. Lucky us, we still have the same leader! (Who, I hear has recently joined WordPress, and I will link you up as soon as I know where he is.)
After lifehouse, Stephanie and I decided to go work out! Yes, we went to the gym at 10pm last night. We both worked hard on the elliptical, Steph for 45 minutes (her longest workout yet) and 521 calories, and me for 50 minutes and 668 calories. I’m really glad for those last two calories. 😀
Today, there’s no telling what we will do. It is, after all, my birthday. The best part of it will be that I get to spend it with Christi and Stephanie, doing whatever we choose to do. We just might get a pedicure. Yes. I said, “Pedicure.” One thing that I did arrange for Monday night, for my own birthday present, was three tickets for the Red Sox/Rangers game on May 4, in a luxury suite at Rangers Ballpark!! It includes a chicken fajita buffet, as well!
The first thing I will do, though, as soon as I’m done with this (and open my birthday presents), is head over to my work place for my weekly weigh-in for the Biggest Loser contest. As of this morning, I’m 4.4 pounds down from last week’s weigh-in. Also, notice, I’m weighing in before all the celebrating! I may have to fast the first three days of next week…
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1958, I was born. But 53 years before that, in 1905, Mata Hari made her first stage appearance as an exotic dancer. Her assumed name was “a Malay term for the Sun, literally meaning ‘eye of the day.'” Her real name was Margaretha Zella, born and raised in the Netherlands, but later moved to Java with a “mean and dissolute husband whose beatings and philanderings eventually drove her to divorce.” She returned home, almost 30, but was unable to find another husband or a suitable job, so she moved to Paris. She invented this “mysterious new identity,” and claimed to be from India. She also claimed to be the daughter of a temple dancer, raised in the “service of the god Shiva.” As she aged, she “earned her keep more as a demi-mondaine than as a dancer.” That means a woman supported by a wealthy lover. She “found dozens of rich partners, including celebrities such as a Rothschild baron and Giacomo Puccini. At this time, on the eve of the First World War, she also began her career as a spy.” The details are murky at best, but there is speculation that, at one point, she was a double agent for both the French and the Germans. In late 1916, the French intercepted a coded message and became convinced that she was a double agent. They quickly brought her to trial and “convicted her in a travesty of justice that was held ‘in camera’ and during which the defence could not cross-examine witnesses.” She was quickly found guilty and sentenced to death. On October 15, 1917, a little more than 12 years after her opening stage dance, she would be led to the courtyard of the Parisian prison at Vincennes. She is alleged to have said to the attending nun, “Do not be afraid, sister. I know how to die.” “Refusing a blindfold, she faced the twelve riflemen confronting her and blew them a kiss before the fusillade ended her life.”
Today’s birthday is…ME! In departure from my normal routine, I shall name many others with whom I share this birthday. Not all of them, though. That would be too many, and I’ve never heard of at least half of them. So here we go. Sharing my birthday of March 13 are: Pope Innocent XII (1615), L. Ron Hubbard (really??) (1911), Al Jaffee, of Mad Magazine fame (1921), Neil Sedaka (1939), William H. Macy (1950), Fred Berry, “Rerun” in What’s Happening (1951), Dana Delaney (1956) Linda Robson, an English actress, is the only one listed in the same year (1958), Kathy Hilton, yes, those Hiltons (1959), Adam Clayton, bassist for U2 (1960), Will Clark, baseball player (1964), Annabeth Gish, actress (1971), Johan Santana, baseball pitcher (1979). That seems to be all that I recognize readily. Out of all of those, I think I’m most happy to share a birthday with Al Jaffee, William H. Macy, and Dana Delaney. I’m least happy about having to share my birthday with L. Ron Hubbard. He is, after all, responsible for the fake religion that has sucked in hundreds of Hollywood celebrities, Scientology.
But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay! Psalm 70:5
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. Psalm 71:5-6
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning; something that I may take with me throughout this day, looking to you for everything I need.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 32:9-20.
9 Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.
10 In little more than a year you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come.
11 Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist.
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine,
13 for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers, yes, for all the joyous houses in the exultant city.
14 For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks;
15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
19 And it will hail when the forest falls down, and the city will be utterly laid low.
20 Happy are you who sow beside all waters, who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.
There is a warning in this passage against becoming complacent, followed by the blessings that come from a land dwelling in righteousness. Those blessings are peace, quietness and trust forever.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Teach Me to Do Your Will.” The scripture reading is Psalm 143:1-2, 10.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Note the phrase, “no one living is righteous before you.” The psalmist does recognize God’s people as righteous, but their righteousness is completely “overwhelmed by the sense of God’s holiness. Spiritual maturity holds the two at once–genuine faithfulness, on the one hand, and a vision of God’s ummatched holiness, on the other.” Regardless of how righteous, faithful, or holy, we might think we are, “no one is completely righteous before God.” So, as this psalm leads us, we confess, we show sorrow, and then we ask for help from our Father to make good on our commitments. I am challenged to make those last couple of phrases in today’s passage, personal, praying them to God in my own life.
Lord God, reading your word only reminds me of how far I am from being righteous. I make the wrong choices; I put myself and my desires before the needs of others and before what you want for my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistakes, Lord. Please forgive me and continue teaching me to do your will. Amen.~~quoted from the book.
Father, I do, indeed, recognize that no one is completely righteous before you. I have sinned many times in my life, and will, no doubt, continue to fail. When I do, prompt me immediately by your Spirit, and then help me to live according to your Word, abiding by the precepts and learning to do your will. Teach me to do your will…let your Spirit lead me on level ground. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth! Unite my heart to fear your name!
I pray for this day of celebration. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it is just another day. It has taken the 364 before it to make me a year older. Today, I am only a day older than yesterday. But it is our custom to attach great importance to the anniversary of our birth. Perhaps my mother should get the gifts… Bless our time together on this day, Father. May your will be done in our lives, and may we glorify you in all that we do. I pray for the rest of our weekend, as well, that it will be restful and rejuvenating.
I also lift up a prayer for our friend, Josh Copeland, who is in Nicaragua on a mission trip. Keep Josh and the others that he is with safe through this, and may they have great success in their mission to bring Christ to other people.
None of us is truly righteous before God. Let us recognize this, and then entreat him to assist us in living according to his ways.
Grace and peace, friends.