Today is Sunday, the third of July, 2022, in the fourteenth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ be in your heart today.
Yesterday was a busy day. We traveled back to Mineral Wells, to Mama’s house, and did some more, um, not exactly “cleaning,” but we went through some drawers and things and identified some things that could be thrown out and some things that probably need to be shredded. We’re getting closer to the time when we will need a trailer or truck to move a few big items, and then we can plan the estate sale. We were tired when we got home, but it was a good day.
I cooked my “signature” burgers for dinner. For some reason, S really, really likes my burgers. That’s pretty much all that happened.
The Texas Rangers beat the Mets, yesterday, 7-3, so they are tied for this series. The rubber game will be this afternoon. The Rangers are 37-39 for the season, still in second place in the AL West, now a game ahead of Seattle. The Angels have dropped to fourth place. I don’t hear anyone complaining about that. The Rangers are still 12.5 out of first, though, and still four games out of the Wild Card.
The Red Sox lost another game to the Cubs, 3-1. They are 43-35 for the season, and that loss dropped them back into third place in the AL East, a half game behind Toronto. They are 14.5 out of first place, and currently have the second Wild Card spot. As it stands, right now, the AL East still has all three of the Wild Card spots. MLB is ignoring my complaint.
Until further notice, the Yankees have the best MLB record and run differential. I refuse to type that any more. The Athletics still have the worst record, at 26-54. I will type that all day. Unfortunately, the Houston Astros have the longest current win streak, at five games. The Reds and Orioles are tied with the longest losing streak, at four games. The Athletics also have the worst run differential, having been outscored by 115 runs. However, the Nationals and Pirates are both at -114. The Rangers are at +16, and the Red Sox are at +57.
Our house church is not meeting, this morning, due to too many people being on vacations and/or cruises (I’m not jealous at all)(actually I’m not . . . I hope they are having wonderful times . . . I’m retired, working at the library; how could I be jealous of anyone??).
We’re not sure what we are doing for lunch today. We recently (a couple days ago) started doing the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) thing again, so we may give Applebee’s another try. They have some pretty healthy options, while our favorite BBQ place doesn’t really. That’s a shame, because I really like the people at that place.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for the work you are doing. We thank you for working through people of all kinds and of all vocations and through the many hearts that know your goodness. We thank you for the great work led by the Lord Jesus, who will overcome the world with patience and with gentleness. He will overcome the world, opening the door wide for all, including the poorest of the poor, to come to you, their Father in heaven. Grant that with the light we have been given we may remain firm and true. Do not let us come into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:4-6 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that He who began a good work in us will complete it 2. that Jesus has overcome the world, and has opened wide the doors to the Kingdom of God 3. that I need never feel lost because Jesus is always with me 4. that the name of Jesus makes the darkness tremble and silences fear 5. that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
(Mark 12:17 ESV)
Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”
(Mark 12:24 ESV)
Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is bewildered. This should be interesting.
“I weren’t never lost, but I was bewildered a time or two.” ~ Daniel Boone
Okay. First of all, that quote is highly suspect. I can’t verify that exact quote anywhere, but I see a couple that are similar, but with much better grammar.
There’s this one, from Goodreads: “I’ve never been lost, but I was mighty turned around for three days once.”
Then there’s this one from BrainyQuote: “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
So apparently, Boone did say something similar to the quote used by the Guideposts folks.
Believe it or not, the word “bewildered” actually appears in Scripture, at least in the NLT, two times.
The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.
[Shorter Ending of Mark]
Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
(Mark 16:8 NLT)
When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
(Acts 2:6 NLT)
It also appears in Acts 2:6 in the ESV, but in Mark, the word is translated as “astonishment.”
The Greek word in Mark is ekstasis, which, as it turns out, can be translated either as “bewildered,” or “amazement,” or “astonishment.” However, the Acts 2 passage uses a different Greek word, sugcheo, which is translated “confounded” in KJV. The NLT and ESV are the only major translations in which the word “bewildered” is found. Not that that is at all relevant to today’s point.
Which is that, in Christ, we might get confused, we might get bewildered, or confounded, but we are never “lost.”
There are several important verses to remember when we feel that way.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20 NLT)
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
(John 14:16 NLT)
Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 NLT)
And one of my very favorites:
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 NIV)
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 NIV)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
(1 John 4:18 NLT)
More verses to assuage our bewilderment. More promises from our Father and our Savior.
"Peace, bring it all to peace The storm's surrounding me Let it break at Your Name. "Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble . . ."
We will experience confusion in our lives. There will be times of bewilderment. God never promises that we will not experience these things. He will not keep “bad” things from happening to us. He did not even keep “bad” things from happening to Himself!!
But what He will do is deliver us from the bewilderment, the confusion, the confoundment. (Is that even a word??)
And as simple as it may sound, sometimes all we need is the name of Jesus. His name cannot be overcome. His name silences fear. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lost (yes, I do feel lost, sometimes), all I need do is say the name . . .
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 NLT)
Most popular translations use the word “all” in this verse: “I can do all things . . .” Whichever word we read, there is a sense of maturity in the statement that Paul makes, here. It’s almost in passing, and it’s easy to miss. I say that, but people love to quote that verse. Yet, they frequently quote it out of context, just as they do Philippians 4:19.
What is the context of verse 13?
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
(Philippians 4:10-14 NIV)
We foolishly believe that, by changing who we are, or changing our circumstances, that we can become content. This was briefly referenced, last week, when talking about how much is enough.
If I can just get one more guitar. If I only had a few more thousand dollars in my bank account. If I could get a different job. If I could move away from this state, or even this country.
All of these thoughts are immature, in their nature. “There is a great deal we can do nothing about: weather, other people’s emotions and attitudes, and economic conditions. But there is one way we can do much: offer up the centers of our lives in acts of love and faith, risking our beings in relationship with God.”
When we do this, and couple it with Paul’s attitude, “That becomes an all that suffuses life with contented strength.”
(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)
Father, Your presence is amazing. I love being able to live and walk in the confidence that You are here/near all the time, and that You/Jesus will never forsake me. I know that I sometimes take this for granted and do not remind myself of this truth frequently enough. And sometimes I do allow myself to feel lost, bewildered, or confused/confounded. At those times, Your Holy Spirit reminds me of the truth. I am never alone; I am no longer lost, and will never be again. There is no need for bewilderment; there is no need for me to react the way I frequently do when silly things happen, when technology refuses to work properly. Help me to remember that these are all “footstool” problems, and have no eternal bearing whatsoever on my life, either here on this earth, or in eternity when I reach Home.
I praise You for Your promises of deliverance and Your presence. I praise You for Your promises of peace. Help me to embrace this peace and walk in it every day. Yes, the world appears to be burning, but we, as Your children, can walk in the fire the way the three Hebrew children did in Daniel, as long as that fourth “person” is walking beside us.
Jesus, may I say Your name a lot, each day, or at least think it, especially when I get confused or feel lost. Your name is powerful; Your name is beautiful; Your name is wonderful; and Your name makes the darkness tremble.
And yes, I can do all things through You.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.