No Man Knows the Hour Or the Day

Today is Friday, May 11, 2018. Day 21,974.

Two days until Mother’s Day!

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” ~ G.K. Chesterton (The Quotations Page)

The word for today is otiose, an adjective which means, “producing no useful fruit.” Also, “being at leisure,” or, “lacking use or effort.”

I’m a little later than usual, this morning, because, as previously mentioned, we are off work today. C has been preparing for her colonoscopy, which will be . . . well, I’m not sure exactly when. I just know I’m supposed to have her at the facility by 9:00 this morning. Beyond that, I’m kind of clueless. We are hoping for unremarkable results. I’m not sure what we will eat afterwards, but I know she will be quite hungry.

I could have used an entire bottle of Tums last night, as I stayed up and watched the whole game between the Red Sox and Yankees. Finally, the Red Sox won a game, beating them 5-4, in a game marked by a rain delay of close to an hour. Up to the rain delay, the Sox were leading 4-0. E-Rod came back in and pitched the fifth inning so he would be eligible for the win, but sadly, the bullpen once again made sure that he would not get credit for that. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Heath Hembree gave up three runs, and then Joe Kelly gave up the tying run on a wild pitch. Fortunately, our hero, J.D. Martinez popped a solo home run in the top of the eighth, and that was, as they say, “all she wrote.” Kimbrel got the save, as he struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth. It was most definitely a nail-biter. I’m sad for Eduardo Rodriguez, though, as he pitched brilliantly for five innings, except for one bit of trouble before the rain delay. But he only gave up one hit and no runs.

This puts the Red Sox and Yankees back into a tie for the AL East, as well as best record in MLB.

Tonight, the Sox play in Toronto. The Rangers, who had a night off after winning a series against the Tigers, play in Houston.

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

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. 
Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? 
Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations, 
with which your enemies mock, O LORD, with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed. 
Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

Psalm 89:46-52

Even after all of the negative passages in this Psalm, the writer finishes with “Blessed by the LORD forever!” Even when things seem as bad as they could get, true children of the Lord remember; they will not forsake their love for God.

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
Predictions of the Second Coming

“Many people find it difficult to believe in this great event without trying to guess its date, or even without accepting as a certainty the date that any quack or hysteric offers them.”

We know that Paul even had to deal with such folly, as he wrote in 2 Thessalonians, Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (2:1-2) Lewis cites one William Miller, who, in 1843, apparently made a prediction down to the “very minute” as to when the Lord would return. “Thousands waited for the Lord at midnight on March 21, and went home to a late breakfast on the 22nd followed by the jeers of a drunkard.”

Lewis admonishes us that we should not speak to people about the Second Coming “without emphasizing again and again the utter impossibility of prediction. We must try to show them that that impossibility is an essential part of the doctrine. If you do not believe Our Lord’s words, why do you believe in His return at all? And if you do believe them must you not put away from you, utterly and forever, any hope of dating that return? His teaching on the subject quite clearly consisted of three propositions: (1) That He will certainly return; (2) That we cannot possibly find out when; (3) And that therefore we must always be ready for Him.”

Jesus said, in Luke 12:40, You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. There are similar passages elsewhere in the Gospels. Lewis is right. If we believe the words of Jesus, why on earth would we waste time trying to figure out when he is returning?

Father, thank you for the promise of the return of Jesus, and for all that it means for those of us who follow him and his words. Forgive us for the stupidity of trying to figure out when that’s going to happen. While it is certainly okay to watch the “signs of the times,” help us to not become obsessed with them. Remind us, too, Father, that “the day of the Lord,” will not be a happy day for this planet. Mostly, help us to simply follow Christ and his teachings as we interact with the world around us.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Holiness and Love Fueled By Faith

Good morning. It is Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

Today’s word of the day is otiose. Pronounced, either OH-shee-ohs, or OH-tee-ohs, it is an adjective, meaning, “being at leisure; idle; indolent,” “ineffective or futile,” or, “superfluous or useless.” I didn’t feel at all otiose, last night.

Today is Let It Go Day. Wow. How appropriate could this be? There are definitely some things in my life that I need to let go.

Last night was amazing. I found the school with over an hour to spare, so I went to Wendy’s for some dinner. I arrived back at the school at about 6:30, and after waiting in the wrong parking lot for a few minutes, found where everyone was. I was welcomed very warmly by the Southlake Community Band. There were four other trombone players there, last night, and I was greeted at the door with, “We need trombones!” So I felt welcome, right off the bat. The rehearsal was fun, even though I was sight-reading everything. It sounds like there are some decent musicians in the group. The music was fairly challenging, even including an arrangement of Bernstein’s “Mambo,” from West Side Story. I’m pretty sure it was assumed that I would play in the upcoming concert, which is on July 3, Friday. I’m really pretty excited about this.

In reference to “Let It Go Day,” above, I have been feeling some deep regrets, in recent weeks, regarding my choices to let music fall by the wayside. It’s time to let those regrets go and move forward, forging ahead with whatever opportunities I can drum up. Of course, I don’t play drums . . . 😀

Today is Tuesday, so it’s Huddle night for me. That is one challenge of joining this band. It will be two nights in a row away from home, and then Christi has her Huddle on Thursday night. But we feel it is worth it to get me back into playing music again.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah.
You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah.
Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 77

(From Solid Joys)

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.
Romans 4:20

Today’s reading is “Faith Honors Him Whom It Trusts.”

Piper continues on the same theme of faith in future grace (these readings are actually excerpts from his book Future Grace). While god is definitely glorified when we pursue holiness and love, this pursuit is truly only glorifying when it “is empowered by faith in his promises.”

“And the God who revealed himself most fully in Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sins and raised for our justification (Romans 4:25), is most glorified when we embrace his promises with joyful firmness because they are bought by the blood of his Son.”

We can certainly perform great religious feats. But when we act in humbleness, due to our great feebleness and past failures, and when we trust him for this “future grace,” we do more for God’s glory, and actually accomplish more in his name.

“He is glorified when the power to be holy comes from humble faith in future grace.”

The title of this reading is taken from a quote by Martin Luther. “Faith . . . honors him whom it trusts with the most reverent and highest regard since it considers him truthful and trustworthy.” We must learn to live for God’s honor. We do this by trusting in his promises, “living by faith in future grace,” and battling our unbelief in this faith.

Father, in the words of the father in the Gospel accounts, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” Help me to glorify you by exercising my faith in your future grace. Help me to believe more fully in the promises that you have made; that you will do what you say you will do. This is crucial to faith; this is crucial to our lives as believers. How can we honor and glorify you without this faith? We can only muck about, doing a feeble job of something that needs the fullness of your grace as its power. Empower me, empower your Church with this faith.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe travel to and from work. I lift up a prayer for everyone who is being adversely affected by the high water around Grapevine. May Christi’s day be a good day and not affected by drama and stress. I pray for your grace and mercy to rain down on Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and my mother. I pray that our Huddle gathering tonight will be a good one.

Your grace is sufficient.

Once again, our efforts at holiness and love must be fueled by faith in the promises of God.

Grace and peace, friends.