Good morning. Today is Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Christi’s visit to the doctor yesterday went very well. The doctor is very excited about her progress. This doctor is very excited about her work and is obviously in exactly the right field. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone who enjoys their work as much as Sara Suttle. Seriously, if you live within an hour or two of this podiatrist, and you have foot problems, it would be worth your trip to visit this doctor.
In other news, we finally signed the papers on our home refinancing!!
It will fund on next Tuesday, and our home mortgage and pool loan will finally be combined into one loan payment. Plus we are saving somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 a month on payments. That’s the best part.
Still no sign of Cali. Sigh.
Today is Buy A Musical Instrument Day.
Christi, can I buy a new guitar???
I kid. I don’t need any musical instruments. I bet she never though she would hear me say that!
I swear I will get back on schedule with history and birthdays, soon.
Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared. Psalm 76:11
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. Psalm 119:169-170
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. Psalm 54:6
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103
Father, I sincerely pray that you would give me understanding according to your word, this morning. Your words truly are sweet in my mouth, sweeter than honey.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Boasting in Jesus Christ.” The scripture reading is Philippians 3:3-8a.
For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
Again, we are faced with the truth that our life as Christians is not about “confidence in the flesh.” It is about boasting only in Christ Jesus. Just look at Paul’s resume; very impressive, eh? “But when Paul stood face-to-face with the risen Christ, his resume did nothing for him.” The only thing that matters now is knowing Jesus. “Spiritual formation is learning to recognize and abandon those things that must be counted as losses in light of our encounter with Christ.” The resulting attitude is what helps us effectively pray for others to be successful (to get back to what this segment of readings is about). I am challenged to ponder the difference between boasting in the flesh and boasting in Christ. While the answer should be obvious, it still helps to think about this and examine my life in light of the two different concepts. I have in mind a specific individual for whom I should be praying to be successful. I need to act on this thought. He shall remain nameless as far as this blog is concerned. Nevertheless, the Spirit has just placed him on my heart and I will immediately begin praying for him to be successful.
Today, in the 19 Mercies, by Brennan Manning, we come to the next section, entitled “Serve.” Mercy number 12 is called “The freedom of serving.” When we think of Christ returning in glory, what image comes to mind? The white horse? The valiant conqueror? What image does Luke present in one of Jesus’s talks? Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. (Luke 12:37) This is an “unprecedented and scandalous reversal of the world’s values.” This triumphant Messiah returns to serve! And in doing so shows us “the way to joyful freedom in serving:
* in sovereign liberty to prefer to be the servant, rather than the lord of the household;
* to merrily taunt the gods of power, prestige, honor, and recognition;
* to refuse to take oneself seriously, and for that matter, to refuse to take seriously anyone else who takes themselves seriously;
* to be captivated with joy and wonder at the vision and lifestyle of Jesus, servant of God . . .
This is genuine discipleship; compassion and selflessness. But note, it is not “watery-eyed sentimentality!” “Compassion is a spirituality of meat, not milk; of love, not masochism; of justice, not philanthropy. It requires maturity, a big heart, a willingness to risk, and imagination.” The kingdom lifestyle consists of activities that are little-noticed, and, at best, scorned.
This quote is huge. “Personally, my friend, I would rather be numbered among the ragged few who learn joyful service from Jesus than among the legalizers, moralizers, and hairsplitters who build monuments of religious correctness . . . then cannot see over them to a child of God in need.”
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
“People are hungry for God.
People are hunger for love. Are you aware of that?
Do you know that? Do you see that?
Do you have eyes to see?
Quite often we look but we don’t see.
We are all passing through this world.
We need to open our eyes and see.”
Father, open my eyes. Help me to see the need around me. But also help me be aware of the needs that I am able to help with and the ones about which I can do nothing. Help me to know the difference. But help me most of all to see the hunger for love in this world, and then let me be a channel of the crazy, overwhelming, steadfast love of God to the people that I come in contact with every single day! It is so incredible to me how these unrelated readings mesh together every day! As I pray for the success of others, taking no confidence in the flesh, and boasting only in Christ Jesus, it helps me see the overwhelming need for the love of God in today’s world. That is the major need in our society. More money can’t fix that; more food can’t fix that; more tolerance can’t fix that. Only God’s people being God’s people in this world can fix that. And until we stop being “legalizers, moralizers, and hairsplitters who build monuments of religious correctness,” this just simply is not going to happen. Father God, have mercy on our souls!
I pray for this day. Continue giving Christi restful recovery, and healing her foot. Thank you for the progress so far. May she have a good day today, as she begins to work from home. I pray that you help Stephanie as she deals with our kitty being missing. Show her your steadfast love, that crazy, overwhelming love. Help her lose herself in your words. And I pray for a good day at my work. Give me the grace to let anxiety and stress roll right off of me. Help me to care most about the things that matter most.
I pray that the person you made me think of a few minutes ago will be successful in everything he does. Show your love to him, also.
Thank you for Bridget’s new baby.
I pray for hope, peace, comfort, and restoration for everyone affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma.
I pray you find yourself captivated by joy today.
Grace and peace, friends.