Today is Saturday, the twelfth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ be with you, today.
Today’s header image is by Paul Militaru, from Romania. Please check out his lovely photography at the link provided.
Sometimes, I look at the year and shake my head in disbelief. 2022. I remember, as a child, trying to calculate how old I would be at the turn of the century, in 2001. And yes, the new century/millennium started in 2001, not 2000. I’m not even going to argue with you about it. You’re just wrong. Anyway . . . and now, it’s 21 years beyond that.
We were preparing our tax return, the other day, and C needed to know when my driver’s license expires. 2030. What?? Geez.
I think about the technological advances I’ve seen in my lifetime. I consider that today’s youth/teens have never known anything but primarily digital music, or streaming television. Then I think about the advances my parents’ generation has seen.
I remember the first handheld calculators (there was a factory in my home town, by the way). I remember when cassettes and 8-tracks became big, then when CDs obliterated vinyl. By the way, vinyl has been outselling CDs in recent years . . . it’s made a comeback, because people have realized that it actually sounds better than digital music.
But here’s the thing. I’m not stuck in the past. I have embraced the new technology, as much as I can. I confess that I never quite figured out “SnapChat.” But I have ventured into TikTok territory. You can find me here, if you want. I get mildly amused, and a little sad at all the Facebook posts I see from my generation; you know the ones. There’s a picture, perhaps, of an old-school car dimmer switch, on the floorboard, and the question says, “Who remembers these??” And a bunch of my contemporaries all jump on and say, “ME!!” What I take away from this is that they feel a sense of superiority about it.
Enough of that. It’s 2022. Wow. You have heard it said, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I have learned that the second two thirds of that sentence are unnecessary. Time flies. Period.
It was, as usual, a great day at the library, yesterday. Someone brought donuts. Some of them were heart-shaped. Yes, because, as I have just realized, Valentine’s Day is Monday! C and I don’t even really acknowledge Valentine’s Day. It’s not really a thing for us. We don’t buy cards or flowers or candy. Well, we buy candy, but not just for that day. We’ve been buying way too much candy, these days. I will say, though, that we have enjoyed the temporary availability of chocolate covered cherries.
Today, S and I have appointments at the eye doctor. It was supposed to be S and C, but C has some kind of bronchitis or something, and doesn’t feel up to going, so we switched the appointment to me. I’m due for a checkup, anyway, so I’ll do it today. That’s at 12:20.
The rest of the day is wide open. I have a small grocery order scheduled to be delivered between 2 and 4 this afternoon. I’ll likely cook burgers for S and me, tonight. C has already said she doesn’t want one.
It’s colder today. The A/C was on, yesterday, because the temp was supposed to reach 77 degrees (and probably did), but today, the high is, like, 47 or something. So the heat is back on, this morning.
That’s all I got. Oh, wait. The Super Bowl is Sunday. I hope the Bengals win. The only reason I have for that is that I heard their quarterback loves to play chess and has an autographed copy of The Queen’s Gambit. I couldn’t tell you his name, at the moment, if my life depended on it.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
A Genuine Prayer, by Daryl Madden
Oh Lord, my need As day begins In helping me Be genuine My mask, remove My soul, reveal Oh Lord let me Be truly real And with my friends Our heart to share Be vulnerable And fully here Oh, let me live As You see me A human of Humility Whose joy is found With greater view A life of grace Through love of You!
Please check out more of Daryl’s wonderful poetry at the link provided.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:18-21 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the challenge presented in those verses above 2. for the reminder that everything I think, say, or feel, and everyone I meet, has to do with God 3. for the promises of healing (but not always the way we think or desire) 4. that, through all the years and experiences of my life, "I still believe" 5. that God doesn't change like our weather
The prayer word for the day is “heal.” Here is a word that typically only has one meaning. The scripture reference may not seem to have anything directly to do with healing, but let’s take a look at it.
“‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
(Matthew 22:32 NIV)
The writer of today’s reading cites three different instances where he knows of someone who was miraculously healed. He names “Cheryl,” “Tim,” and “Deb.” Then he goes on to say that, sometimes, he prays to the God of “Cheryl, Tim, and Deb.”
Jesus’s point in that statement (He was responding to a trick question by the Sadducees) was that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not dead, but eternally alive. And not only alive, but physically and spiritually healed from anything that might have afflicted them, while on earth.
I prayed for my dad’s healing for years. He was afflicted with a rare muscular disease called Inclusion Body Myositis, in the Muscular Dystrophy family. He passed away from this disease on April 12, 2015, almost seven years ago. Was my prayer not answered? My prayer was answered, I will confidently say. It was not answered in the way I preferred, because I’m a selfish human. But it was answered in the best way. Yes, I miss my dad. But I believe, confidently, that he is 100% healed. I don’t know what heaven will look like, as we only have glimpses. But I believe that my dad’s muscles are strong and healthy in his “glorified” body, so he has been healed.
Sometimes, people are healed on earth. I also am a firm believer that I will be on this earth until God doesn’t need me to be here, any more. As long as there is a job for me to do, here, I will remain. When that time is over, He will bring me Home.
In the meantime, I will pray for peoples’ healing. Just because my dad wasn’t “healed” in the way I wanted, doesn’t mean that I don’t continue to believe in God’s ability to heal people. In the words of Michael Been and The Call, “I Still Believe.”
"But I still believe I still believe Through the pain And the grief Through the lies Through the storms Through the cries And through the wars Oh, I still believe"
(From Pray a Word a Day)
In Symphony of Salvation, Eugene H. Peterson addresses something that I have struggled mightily with. In the chapter on Zephaniah, entitled “Seek God’s Right Ways,” he talks about how some of us tend to look for a “religion that will give us access to God without having to bother with people. We want to go to God for comfort and inspiration when we’re fed up with the men and women and children around us.”
That hits me right between the eyes. You see, I don’t like “people.” And that dislike has gotten even more severe in the last few years. Between the political division and the pandemic (much of which produced even more political division), I am simply fed up with “people.” But Peterson pointedly reminds me that this is not right. I can’t be that way. I mean, how can I obey Jesus’s command to “love one another” if I can’t stand the people I’m supposed to love??
I love this one statement that Peterson makes. “Everything you do or think or feel has to do with God. Every person you meet has to do with God.” This doesn’t mean that every conversation has to include something about God. But what it does mean is that my mind and spirit need to be in tune with this fact and consider that every person that I come in contact with . . . okay . . . how to frame this. I remember Dallas Willard saying something once. I can’t remember the exact quote or even where it was, but he said something to the effect that we need to treat every person as though Jesus is standing between us.
So if I meet someone while I’m at the eye doctor today, and have any kind of interaction, whether positive or negative, I need to act as though Jesus Christ is standing between us; He is in the midst; He is paying attention to the interaction, which means He is listening to what I say about that person or to that person; He is even hearing what I’m thinking about that person!
So if that doesn’t chill your bones, I don’t know what will.
Sounds like I need some “healing,” huh?
Never-changing God, I’m so fickle. I admit it, I confess it. Sometimes, I’m a hypocrite, too. I admit that, as well. I preach love for one another, but then I don’t want to have anything to do with people, in general, because, as Peterson has observed, I just don’t like people very much. They annoy me, they frustrate me, and I don’t understand why they think the way they do.
Heal me, O Lord! I know I’m not right about everything. I may not be right about much of anything. But I do know one thing that I’m right about, and that is that I’m supposed to love You with every ounce of my being, love my neighbor as myself, and love my brothers and sisters the way Christ has loved us. So help me do that.
Take that annoyance and remind me that You are present between me and those other people, all the time. That everything I think about them (even if I don’t speak words) goes through You, because You are aware of it all. Before I think something, let Your Spirit stop me and remind me that the person of which I am thinking is created in Your image, and might just be one of Your children, as well. Remind me that there is always something about their lives that I don’t know, don’t even have a clue about. Release me from judgmentalness! Just chisel that fault out of me. Cleanse my heart and heal me.
I’m grateful for all You do in my life, and pray that this will continue. Just keep teaching me Your ways, that I may walk in Your truth, and in Your kingdom. May my feet be guided down the path of righteousness, true righteousness of faith, based on the words and actions of Jesus, not on some man’s legalistic interpretation of Your Word.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.