It is Monday morning, the twenty-fifth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!
25 days until S turns 29!
As the world-wide (seemingly) heat wave continues, we reached 102 in our area, yesterday, for the 29th day of 100+ temps and the ninth consecutive. I have had communication from a blogger in Romania that says it is reaching 42 degrees Celsius in the shade, there. The average temperature for yesterday is high 96, low 73. Yesterday’s low was 81. The record was 104/65. We are still looking at the possibility of two days below 100, this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. There is as much as 35% chance of rain on Saturday, perhaps overnight Friday night. It has now been 51 days with no rain in our area.
C is working from home today, as she has a morning doctor appointment. It is always nice to have her at home. I’m off all day, as I am always off on Mondays, which is also nice.
The Texas Rangers won a game, yesterday, in spite of the bullpen’s efforts to lose it. They were ahead 11-1, at one point. But Garrett Richards gave up four runs in the eighth inning, only managing to get one out, and Brett Martin gave up three in the ninth. Miraculously, Martin Perez managed to get the win. The Rangers are now 43-51 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, twenty games out of first, and seven out of the Wild Card race. They are currently seven games behind Seattle, and they begin a series in that city tonight.
The Red Sox got swept by the Blue Jays. I’m not sure what’s going on, there, but the Sox are now 48-48. Baltimore lost, so they were spared dropping into last place. They are in fourth place, 17.5 out of first, and three games out of the Wild Card race. They begin a series with Cleveland tonight, in Boston.
The Nationals continue to hold the worst record, at 32-65. They did manage to win a game, though. The LA Dodgers still have the longest current win streak, now at eight consecutive games. The Red Sox are the proud owners of the longest current losing streak, at five games. At least they are the best at something. The Nationals also still have the worst run differential, at -162. The Rangers improved to +7, and the Sox dropped to -12.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Dear Father in heaven, Creator of what is good, beautiful, and full of joy so that all may work in harmony with you, we thank you for all the good that comes to us. May we be your children, joined together to serve you. May our life bring joy to others, and may we do good without ceasing through your great, strong love, which moves us, strengthens us, and helps us every day, however hard life may be. May your name be praised throughout the world. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for all that is good and beautiful in the world; Lord, help me focus on these things rather than what is bad and ugly 2. for Mondays off 3. for the amazing things that God has done for us 4. for gravity, because without it, I would fly off into space and die 5. for the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-30 ESV)
I used to believe (and I think this still may be taught in some places) that this passage meant that you’d better not have any “unconfessed sin” in your life when you take the Supper. That is not what this means. This passage is about unity in the Body of Christ, and these four verses must be interpreted in context. A note in the Bible I am reading says “Because some of the believers in Corinth were celebrating the Supper in a way that destroyed the unity it represents, God had brought judgment upon the community.”
Today’s word, in Pray A Word A Day, is “amazing.”
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!
(Psalms 126:3 NLT)
Amazing. How many times do you use that word in a day? I, just like the writer of today’s reading, probably need to confess that I overuse that word. I’ve lost track of how many books I have given a five-star Goodreads rating, this year. Five stars means “it was amazing.” Yesterday, C and I saw a musical show and it was “amazing.”
Sometimes I think I should stop using that word so much, because the “amazing” things that God does for us cannot be compared with Irving’s Main Stage production of “Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Maybe we need “tenses” of amazing. “Amazinger.” “Amazingest.”
The things that God does for us are the amazingest.
I woke up this morning. C woke up this morning. Mama woke up this morning. S woke up this morning. I have been able to hear music this morning. I can see colors today. Gravity is keeping me from flying off into space. There is air for me to breathe.
Many of God’s amazing works are overlooked daily, aren’t they? That’s one of the reasons that I started my daily gratitude list. And it’s also one of the reasons that, some days, you might see me being grateful for waking up, or for cats, or for coffee, or for air to breathe.
I think this is a good place for this poem.
Beautiful Things, by Daryl Madden
Blessed are they Who see beautiful things For its God that they See everywhere Blessed are they Who give beautiful things For its God’s gift of love That they share Blessed are they Who pray beautiful things For its God’s way of Making things clear Blessed are they For they’re beautiful things For its God’s Presence They’re bringing here
Please check out more of Daryl’s poems at the link provided above.
And when I read that poem, I thought of this song.
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 NIV)
This doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be a strict order to everything. The word translated “fitting” in the NIV is translated “decently” in the KJV, and is from a Greek word (euschemonos) that literally means “decently, honestly.” Huh. KJV got it right, eh? This lends itself to attitude, not structure.
Now the context for all of this is a lengthy discourse on spiritual gifts, which I won’t get into today. And I rather like Eugene Peterson’s take on it.
Be courteous and considerate in everything.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 MSG)
I mean that really sums it up, doesn’t it? “EVERYTHING.”
Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country) on praying the prayer of St. Francis:
“So majestic is this conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. The world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves. Life is no longer nasty, mean, brutish, and short, but becomes that time that one needs to make it less nasty and mean, not only for others, but indeed also for oneself.”
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:7 ESV)
Andrew Murray, in Power in Prayer, says that “Prayer is both one of the means and one of the fruits of our union with Christ.” And, rather than seeing prayer as a means of getting what we want, we should see prayer as “one of the primary channels of influence by which, through us as workers together with God, the blessings of Christ’s redemption are dispensed to the world.”
And the reason for answering prayer, according to Jesus in John 14:13, is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Seriously, this is what everything should be about for us; bringing glory to God. What a life-changing difference it would be if we could all adapt that mindset.
Father, help me to think about prayer the same way Andrew Murray does, here, as well as the way Jesus thought about it, as a way to glorify You, and as a fruit of the union that I have with Christ. And, as I consider the prayer of St. Francis, may my mind be focused on making the world “less nasty and mean,” at least as much as I can in my own little “kingdom.”
And, in doing this, or as a means of facilitating this, help me to obey the words of Paul when he said to “be courteous and considerate in everything.”
Help me to see the beautiful and good things in the world, rather than the mean, nasty, and ugly things. This takes work, because I have, over the years, been trained by our society to see the worst. Lately, it seems that the “church” is taking over that responsibility. Help us to crawl out of that pit, Lord.
You have truly done amazing things for us, and I am beyond grateful for them. Help me to remember these things every day, especially when my mind and heart begin to drift over into the negative things.
Even so, please come soon, Lord Jesus!
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (The Prayer of St. Francis)
Grace and peace, friends.