Merry Christmas!

It’s Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Today is “Johnny Appleseed Day.” As noted yesterday, “Yom Kippur” began at sundown yesterday and goes through nightfall tonight. What’s the difference between “sundown” and “nightfall?” Anyway, I believe that there is some significance to Yom Kippur that is not widely held. You see, I believe that there is a strong possibility that Jesus was born on Yom Kippur. I did not come up with this theory, I heard it somewhere else, not even sure I can remember where or when. Most people readily accept the probability that Jesus was not born anywhere close to December 25. It’s a widely known fact that there was a festival on that day that celebrated the return of the sun after the shortest day of the year. Much speculation (and that’s really all we can do) has placed his birth in late September/early October. Yom Kippur is one of those holidays that comes on a different day each year, like Easter. In late September/early October. How cool would it be if Jesus, the one who provided atonement for mankind, was born on the “Day of Atonement?” For a further bonus, if you count backwards from Yom Kippur, 40 weeks, the human gestation period, in the case of this year, you get December 21. So, it’s entirely possible, that by celebrating on December 25, we just might be celebrating the “immaculate conception.” Hmmm? Just food for thought on this Wednesday morning.

On this date in 1580, Francis Drake became the first British navigator to circumnavigate the earth.
On this date in 1957, West Side Story, composed by Leonard Bernstein, opened on Broadway.
On this date in 1969, The Brady Bunch premiered. It was the story of a lovely lady who was living with three very lovely girls…
On this date in 1888, T.S. Eliot was born.
On this date in 2008, Paul Newman died. I completely forgot that he was dead. Wow.
On this date in 1820, Daniel Boone died. I did not forget that he was dead.
And on this date in 1971, Jim Palmer won his 20th game of the season, pitching for the Baltimore Orioles (who, by the way, are in the running for the American League east division championship this year). This made the 1971 Orioles the first team since the 1920 White Sox to have four 20 game winners.

Not much to report from yesterday. It was a pretty normal day. Other than Christi continues to hurt pretty badly. Last night, her hip was hurting so bad she could hardly walk. It’s better this morning, she says. We think it may have something to do with the way she is sitting at work. She pretty much stays in the same meeting room all day, so there’s not much movement.

Our lifehouse meeting last night was good. We talked for a bit on how we feel God has worked in our lives over the past year. It’s kind of a yearly thing, as we just started our meetings back up a couple weeks ago. Next week we’re off, then we start looking at a DVD series by Francis Chan.

The Rangers lost to the A’s last night in the 10th inning. They are back to only 4 games ahead of the A’s with 8 games remaining. The Angels are only 2 games behind the A’s. In the National League, the Atlanta Braves clinched at least a wild card spot, which makes four teams in the NL that have clinched playoff spots. As of today, there are still NO teams in the AL that have clinched a spot. I can’t stand this. Talk about an exciting finish. So, technically, there’s still a chance that the Evil Empire might not even make the playoffs. I can dream, right?

Father, I pray that you will show me a glimpse of you this morning as I look into your word and meditate on your precepts.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 118. This is a Psalm of thanksgiving.

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

When we recognize that the Lord is on our side (not the side of any “cause,” mind you, but he is for the redeemed), we have nothing to fear.
5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

We see that the Lord is more trustworthy than men.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
16 the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!”

Included in this psalm is the verse Jesus quoted about being the cornerstone, as well as a verse that is quoted by any number of preachers almost every Sunday morning.
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Also included in this psalm is the cry of the people as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

And it closes out the same way it opens.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 118 made me think of this old Michael W Smith song.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “The Unblameable Attitude.” The verse is Matthew 5:23, which says, So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you… In the middle of these readings that have the word “Go” in them, we get this one. This verse was also included in the reading from two days ago.

What is being spoken of here is sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We are not being told to rack our brains before giving our offering, to see if there’s anything in our memory that must be taken care of. If I’m about to give my offering, whatever it may be, and the Spirit reminds me about some unfinished business with a brother, then I need to be sensitive to that reminder and go take care of it.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t mention the other person. “You go.” Once again, we get to the point about our “rights.” “The stamp of the saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.” Also note that the idea is that my brother has something against me, not the other way around. In other words…if I have offended a brother and not made reconciliation, I must make an attempt to rectify this before making my offering. It doesn’t have to be a successful attempt, although, if he is truly a brother, he must accept my efforts to make things right.

The chain of obedience is clear. I’m making a sacrificial offering; the Spirit reminds me; I go and humbly make reconciliation; I return to make my “glad, simple, unhindered, offering” of my gift to God. Attitude is everything in this. I cannot afford to be begrudging in this. If God leads me in this way, I must go humbly and willingly, with no complaint. This is “The Unblameable Attitude.”

Father, as I get ready to head into this day, I first thank you that your steadfast love endures forever. I praise you that you are on the side of the redeemed. Not MY side. No. And truly, you are on YOUR side. But you do great wonders for the redeemed, for which Christ has died. As I ponder the fact that there is truly nothing man can do to me that will permanently harm me, I praise your name. I will not fear. That is a bold statement, considering that I probably will, at some point, fear. But it is a truth that, as one of your redeemed, there is truly nothing that should cause me to fear. I will take refuge in you, Lord. You are my strength and my song and you are my salvation.

May I have the “unblameable attitude” spoken of in today’s reading. If you remind me, by your Spirit, that there is someone who has something against me, give me the courage to take care of it. Don’t let me be distracted, however, by trying to drum up old memories of relationships from the past. Simply let me be sensitive to the promptings of your Spirit.

I pray for this day. I continue to pray for relief for Christi from her pain. i pray that her day will go smoothly, and that there will be no stress at her work place today. I pray that her hip will continue to feel better today. I also continue praying that the injection tomorrow will accomplish what it is supposed to. I pray for my work day today. May our work go smoothly and without issue today. Reveal something of yourself to all of us during this day. May we stay focused and in an attitude of prayer as we work today. I also pray that Stephanie will have a good day today. Draw her attention to you and to your word during this day.

Give me faith and focus as I go into my private prayer time. May you hear my cry today as I call out to you.

Your grace is sufficient.

Today’s topic is not an easy one. It requires faithfulness and humility. It requires that we surrender our rights. But a true saint can do this, with the help of God’s Spirit.

Grace and peace, friends. Oh…and “Merry Christmas!” 🙂