What Jesus Said

Today is Saturday, March 30, 2019.

Day 22,297

Twenty-fifth day of Lent

40 days until our Vegas trip.

Quote of the Day

“I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.”
Bruce Grocott, British politician, 1940-
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Nadir ~ the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair. (Dictionary.com)

It’s Saturday morning, and C has left for the women’s “If” gathering. They are meeting at another member’s home, where they will watch live streams (I think they are live) of conference speakers, and then spend some time discussing the topic(s). This will, presumably, last all day.

I’ll be going to pick up the groceries between 12:00 and 1:00 PM, at which time I will also grab lunch for S and me. And Sonic drinks, of course. Oh, and I’m supposed to drop C’s books off at the library. Hopefully, I don’t forget that part.

The Rangers didn’t play last night, but the Sox did. Since they are in Seattle (west coast), the game did not start until 9:00-ish CDT. Needless to say, I did not stay up for it. When I went to sleep, the Sox were down 6-2. I woke up this morning to discover, much to my delight, that Mitch Moreland hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to put the Sox ahead 7-6. They held on to win the game. So the Sox are now 1-1 going into tonight’s game. The Rangers play the Cubs at 7:05 PM, with Yu Darvish facing off against Edinson Volquez. I can’t believe the Rangers have Volquez again. And that he’s starting. The Sox will play at 8:10 PM with Eduardo Rodriguez facing Mike Leake.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30

Today I am grateful:
1. That C is able to attend the women’s gathering today.
2. That even though she is still experiencing some pain from her accident, she is getting gradually better. Last night, we talked about how close she came to being seriously injured.
3. That I may get to lead four songs in tomorrow’s worship. I’m not, however, grateful that Terry’s voice is failing him. We are certainly praying that he will get better.
4. That Jesus knows what is best for us.
5. That he is teaching me how to do what he said.

It is not ourselves that we proclaim; we proclaim Christ
Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus’ sake.
For the same God who said, “Out of darkness let light
shine,” has caused his light to shine within us, to give the
light of revelation–the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(The Book of Common Prayer, 2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Do You Do What Jesus Said Is Best?” by Dallas Willard

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
Luke 6:46

“Plainly, in the eyes of Jesus, there is no good reason for not doing what he said to do, for he only tells us to do what is best.” Willard goes on to suggest that we try to imagine ourselves standing in front of Jesus, trying to explain why we didn’t do what he said to do. That scenario is almost amusing to me. Yet, I am constantly failing to do what Jesus says to do. “He has made a way for us into an easy and happy obedience–really, into personal fulfillment. And that way is apprenticeship to him. It is Christian ‘discipleship.’ His gospel is a gospel for life and Christian discipleship.”

The message of Matthew 4:17 is this: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” I love the way Dallas translates this. “Rethink your life . . .” That is what “repent” means. “Rethink your life in the light of the fact that the kingdom of the heavens is now open to all.” This message “presents the resources needed to live human life as we all automatically sense it should be and naturally leads one to become his student or apprentice in kingdom living.”

If I were standing in front of Jesus and he asked me the question in Luke 6:46, I honestly do not think I would have an answer. It’s kind of like when my mother would ask me that terrible question after I had misbehaved as a child, “Why??” Oh, how I hated that question!!! All I could do was stand there and stammer, “I don’t know.” Of course, that answer wasn’t the truth, was it? (For the record, I am not in any way criticizing my mother. It’s more of a reflection of the way we humans simply are.) Typically, the answer would be, “Because I wanted to,” or, “because I thought my way would be better.” And I can see Jesus simply laughing at the very idea that we would think our way would be better than his.

Dallas has said something more than once that would shock people, but I believe it’s true. He has told people, that if they can find a better way to do something than the way Jesus said, they should do it, and that Jesus would agree. He said that with total confidence, because Dallas Willard was confident that there is no better way than the way Jesus said!

I do see my life in Christ as an apprenticeship. I’m not always real good at doing what Jesus said is best, though. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I’ve still got a long way to go. But his grace is drawing me closer all the time. And when I fail, I regroup, rethink (repent), and keep on keeping on. Our pastor’s email signature is “Keep on.” I love that.

Today, I challenge us to consider what Jesus says is best, and act upon it.

Father, help me to be more serious about the things Jesus taught. Remind me to study them, to think upon them, to contemplate them, and to act upon them. Remind me that Jesus was the smartest person who ever walked on the earth, and that he knows what is best, for me, and for everyone else.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Luke 6:46-49

Grace and peace, friends!

Surrender

“We are all hypocrites. We cannot see ourselves or judge ourselves the way we see and judge others.” ― José Emilio Pacheco, Battles in the Desert & Other Stories
(Goodreads)

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is nadir, which means, “the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the zenith and vertically downward from the observer,” or, “the lowest point.”

Today is Meteor Watch Day. If the conditions are right, look at the stars tonight. You never know what you might see.

It looks like July is coming in with a vengeance. The projected high for Sunday is 101, followed by six more days of 100+ (that’s as far as the forecast goes), with 104 on Saturday, the ninth.

Ugh.

Both the Rangers and Red Sox lost last night. The Rangers blew a great lead on the Evil Ones, and lost in the bottom of the ninth, 9-7. They gave up six runs in the bottom of the ninth. Just one game, though. They are still well ahead of the second place team. The Sox got shut out by the Rays. The Rays!! The last place team in the East, they are 2-8 in their last ten, and both of those two are the Red Sox! Tonight, they play the Halos, who are even worse than the Rays. I’m very afraid.

Not really . . . it’s just baseball. That’s the way baseball go, you know.

We’re having a pot luck lunch at work today. The company is providing hot dogs and buns. I’m bringing a dump cake.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust.
You have breached all his walls; you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
All who pass by plunder him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice.
You have also turned back the edge of his sword, and you have not made him stand in battle.
You have made his splendor to cease and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with shame. Selah.
How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.

Psalm 89:38-48

“Trust in God is tested by tremors of judgment. No covenant precludes such experience, and no faith is exempt from such testing. The marvel of the gospel is that faith emerges from such troubles with stronger song and firmer trust.”

Even when we fail the testing, like I did Monday night, when we acknowledge that failure, trust and faith are strengthened.

“Take the incidents in my life, dear God, that I interpret as your rejection and disapproval, and show me how they are consistent with your covenant love, used by your Spirit for my salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Perhaps another way of saying this is that events that we perceive to be “rejection and disapproval” are not that at all. They are testings designed to make us grow stronger.

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Do It Now

Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.
Matthew 5:25

While this verse tends to be primarily about paying what is owed, there is a deeper principle at work. “Am I insisting on my rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?” The fact that we work so hard to insist that we are right indicates that there is some point of disobedience in our lives. This all goes back to the question of whether we are willing to surrender our rights for the sake of the Gospel.

Father, I pray that you keep working in my life on this point. There seems to have been progress, but I still fall back into the natural human habits of trying to defend my own rights. I pray that I would seek you and your kingdom above all else. Direct me toward a life of simplicity.

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.