Today is Monday, May 14, 2018. Day 21,977.
Six days until Pentecost Sunday.
“It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.” ~ Robert Anton Wilson (The Quotations Page)
The word for today is lollapalooza, a slang noun which means, “an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.”
We had a nice day yesterday, not doing much of anything, once we got home from our worship gathering. The gathering went well, and we had a good crowd, including some previous members that we had not seen in at least a couple years. Our pastor gave a good message, which was not about mothers, but about how we feel guilt in our modern society. It was mostly about the difference between feeling “guilty” for not reading my Bible in the morning, as is my habit, versus feeling guilty because I have more than enough food in my refrigerator while people quite close to me might not have enough to feed their children today. It was a tough sermon, and I will probably listen to it again on the podcast, when it becomes available. Instead of our usual blessing, at the end of the gathering (which is the one I sometimes paste in at the end of this blog), our pastor wrote a special one, which, in my opinion, did an excellent job of covering all of the women in all of the various phases of motherhood, including women who have never had any biological children. It had me in tears at the end.
After we got home and unloaded my keyboard and stuff, I headed to Kroger to pick up our Click List order. That was the last time anyone left the house, yesterday. C rested in the bedroom, watching TV, while I played video games, until it was time to cook potatoes and steaks, which I did for us between 2:30 and 4:00. Over all, I would say it was a great and restful day.
The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays again, 5-3, taking the series. The Yankees, however, beat the Athletics again, so they are still tied for first place in the AL East and best in MLB, with records of 28-12. The Sox take on the Athletics tonight, which always seems to be a tough series.
The Rangers lost to the Astros, again, 6-1, making their record 16-26, now ten games out in the AL West. They appear to have the day off, and will be traveling to Seattle to play the Mariners.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!
The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this:
that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever;
but you, O LORD, are on high forever.
For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered.
But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil.
My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
(From The Finishing Touch, Charles Swindoll)
His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
Today, Charles Swindoll reminds us that God is present in the whirlwinds and storms of life. This is a much-needed truth in today’s world. If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, mostly every day there is some kind of disruption in life that could be at least categorized as a whirlwind. Many times, they are strong enough to be considered a “storm.” But God is always there. Swindoll offers up more than just this somewhat obscure text in Nahum.
. . . all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:35
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
. . . for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice.
Moses in Deuteronomy 4:30
Says Swindoll, “Life is filled with God-appointed storms.” There are two things in which we can take comfort. “First, we all experience them. Second, we all need them.”
Take a moment to process that while your brain rejects the notion that you “need” storms in your life.
Storms and whirlwinds accomplish at least two things in our lives. One is that, if we have strayed from the path, they guide us back to God. The other is that they “smooth us and humble us and force us to submit to the role He has chosen for us.”
Swindoll then offers the example of William Cowper (1731-1800). After passing through a great crisis in his life, he decided to end it all. He took poison. The attempt to take his life failed. Later, he hired a coach, traveled to the Thames River, with the notion of throwing himself off of the bridge, but he was “strangely restrained.” The next day he tried falling on a knife. The blade broke. He tried to hang himself, but was found, unconscious, but still alive. Eventually, he found a Bible, read the book of Romans, “and was gloriously saved.”
Cowper later wrote these famous words:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Go back to that verse in Nahum. “His way is in the whirlwind and storm.” Remember that today, when the whirlwind, or even the storm approaches. Knowing this, we can face the storms without fear, understanding that God is present, and will guide us through them.
Father, thank you for the storms in my life, and what you have taught me through them. Perhaps I have not yet learned what I should have from some of them. Therefore, teach me patience and humility in all that comes about. You are present in all things. Teach me faith (trust), death to self, and love. Then show me how to live in total dependence upon Christ and contentment with whatever I have in you.
Even so, 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.