It’s All About You, Jesus

Good morning. Today is Saturday, April 6, 2013. Made it through another week.

Today is going to be a busy day. We have our usual stuff like grocery shopping, Tessie (our Corgi) has a follow-up appointment at the vet, I’m going to see Jurassic Park 3D with Rachel and Justin, and I think I’m taking someone to see Josh Wilson, Colton Dixon, and Third Day tonight. I’m not quite positive about that last one. It’s complicated. You would have to live with someone with autism to understand.

Update: We are not going to the concert. I am currently trying to give away the tickets on Facebook.

Tomorrow, after church, Stephanie is going to go with some church friends to see their horses (that got rained out last time), and Christi and I are travelling to Mineral Wells to celebrate my mother’s birthday, which is Monday.


Today is Plan Your Epitaph Day. “Confusion will be my epitaph.”


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1199, the great Richard the Lion-Heart died of complications from an arrow wound received while laying siege to a seemingly insignificant castle in the tiny village of Chalus, “twenty miles south-west of Limoges.” It seems a farmer had found a buried treasure of gold coins, and Richard “declared he would have it as his right, since he was overlord of the Limousin.” On March 25, Richard carelessly approached the small castle, with only a shield to defend himself. A crossbow bolt struck him in the shoulder. It penetrated deep, “and was at last recovered only by the excruciating torment of laying open the flesh.” The castle was taken, even without Richard leading, and the youth who shot the bolt was captured. Richard, knowing he would soon die from the wound, summoned the youth and questioned why he wished him injury. The youth replied, “Because you killed my father and brother. Do with me as you want. I have no regrets for the vengeance I have taken.” Richard replied, “Go forth in peace. I forgive you my death and will exact no revenge.” The King died twelve days later, on this date, at the age of 41. “Ignoring Richard’s forgiveness, his army captains had the young man flayed alive and hanged.”


Today’s birthday is Lowell Thomas, born on this date in 1892. Thomas was a writer, broadcaster, and traveler, possibly most known for making Laurence of Arabia famous. Why would I pick this person’s birthday for today? Because one of my fondest memories is sitting around the breakfast table on weekday mornings, listening to KFJZ on the big old-fashioned radio in our dining room. KFJZ was an AM radio station (1270), that played top forty music (which was much better in those days, believe me), along with regular broadcasts by Lowell Thomas and the TSN radio network (Texas State Network news), hosted by Porter Randall. My memory may be a bit fuzzy, as we are talking about more than 40 years ago. Lowell Thomas died in 1981.

Honorable mentions to Andre Previn, 1929; Merle Haggard, 1937; and Candace Cameron Bure, 1976 (that one’s for Stephanie).


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! Psalm 108:5

Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning, as I look into your Word. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.


Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Worshiping with Our Hearts.” The scripture reading is Isaiah 29:13-14.

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

This is a rather sobering passage. Who of us has not sat in a worship service with our minds far away from the place where we are sitting? We think about what’s for lunch; we think about that problem that we are experiencing, either at work or at home; we thing about the physical issue that we are experiencing; we even think about how our favorite sports team is going to perform that afternoon; or, heaven forbid, we think about sin. Perhaps we even pray a familiar prayer “with our lips but not our heart.” We have all heard it said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” Familiarity can be a beautiful thing, too, but we must guard against it becoming commonplace. There is nothing commonplace about our relationship with our heavenly Father. We must guard against getting into a rut with our habit of worship. Habits . . . they can be good, even great; or they can be disastrous.

I’m challenged to attend my worship service, this week, with great expectation of meeting and worshiping God to the best of my ability. What does this mean? Some suggestions are offered. Arrive early to quietly sit and prepare yourself. Take some time to give thanks for the many gifts given by God. Pray for the worship leaders, the pastor/preacher, the church leadership. Pick a few people out of the congregation and pray that they may experience God’s presence. Actively think about what it means to be in “God’s house of worship.” Focus on the words of the songs that are sung. Sing them directly to God. Listen for God in the scriptures that are read and the words that are preached. Even take some time, upon returning home, to reflect on what was heard and what you feel.

Worship is serious business, and, all too often, we approach it in a rather aloof fashion. If our hearts are not in it, it’s not worship, it’s only “lip-service.”


Father, as I approach worship this week, let it truly be all about you. When I set foot into the school auditorium tomorrow morning at 715, may I immediately begin to seek your presence, even through the tedious acts of setting up the drum set, the stage, the keyboard and other things.

It’s all about you, Jesus.

When we practice the songs that will be played during the worship set in the morning, let my thoughts be more about you, whom we praise and glorify, than the technique of my playing or the accuracy of my notes (although, I pray that my playing is accurate).

It’s all about you, Jesus.

When we take time between practice and the worship service, may I spend that time reflecting on you and your mercies in my life, rather than playing games on my iPhone.

It’s all about you, Jesus.

During the worship time, let me sing and play with abandon, giving my all to you, focusing my entire being on worshiping you, who, alone are worthy of my worship and praise. When the pastor is preaching, may I listen intently to the words he says, looking for your instruction for me, looking for what you desire for me to do in my life.

It’s all about you, Jesus.

After worship, when we have to tear everything down and put it away, so they can serve lunch to the students on Monday, let my thoughts reflect, not on who gets in my way or why the drum case won’t roll correctly, but on what you have spoken to me during the morning.

It’s all about you, Jesus.

. . .

Overtaken By Glory

Today is Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

Oh, dear. The Hallmark “Ultimate Holiday Site” has closed! Whatever shall I do?? They have, thoughtfully, suggested a few other links that might help. I’m trying THIS ONE. It lists today as National Frozen Food Day. I’m all over that one. I participate in that every weekday, as my standard lunch at work is a frozen Lean Cuisine meal. So crank up that microwave and take part in National Frozen Food Day. Or don’t crank up the microwave and enjoy a Salisbury steak Popsicle.

Ew.


Last night’s lifehouse meeting was bittersweet. Due to a rather new ministry that the church is beginning, which involves another incarnation of the small group, our lifehouse will cease and desist as of next Tuesday night. At this point in time, Christi and I will not be participating in the new thing (unless an agreement can be made for an earlier start time…the current starting time seems to be at 9pm…ridiculous, if you ask me), and we are sad that our lifehouse is disbanding. But change happens, and can be a good thing, even though bittersweet. Our leader used the word “bittersweet” last night, and my mind immediately went here:

And with technology being what it is, these days, within a minute (literally), I had the song playing on my iPhone. Anyway, we will be having a bit of a celebration next Tuesday night, a final party, as it were.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1204, Richard the Lion-Heart’s massive fortress, Chateau Gaillard, was finally over come by the French, under the command of King Philip Augustus of France. Chateau gaillard Originally, the fortress had “seventeen massive towers, walls eight feet thick and a moat 45 feet deep,” and was virtually impenetrable. Philip was so determined to take the fortress that he is said to have stated, “I should take it if it were made of steel,” to which Richard replied, “I should hold it were it made of butter.” Unfortunately, Richard died, and the fortress was inherited by his cowardly brother John. At that point, Philip made his move, but was still unable to get into the fortress. For six months, the French camped outside the fortress, “suffering the daily jeers from the defenders.” (I have to confess that, upon reading this, my mind was drawn to a silly place…)

Of course, in that clip, the countries are reversed…the French are in the castle and the English are outside. Anyway, after a direct attack on the walls proved unsuccessful, Philip sent a small group through the latrines (EW?) who lowered the drawbridge that led into the main keep. Using their “massive siege machinery, the French hammered a breach in the last remaining walls, compelling the English garrison to surrender on this day in 1204.” The fall of this fortress marked the beginning of the end for the Angevin Empire.


Today’s birthday is Lou Costello, born on this date in 1906. Lou, of course was half of the famous comedy team of Abbott and Costello. And of course, since we are on the verge of baseball season, we have to see what is probably their most famous routine.

Lou passed away three days shy of his birthday in 1959.
Honorable mention goes to the guitar great Wes Montgomery, born on this date in 1925.

Wes passed away in 1968.


Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. Psalm 98:1-2
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

Father, I pray that you give me a glimpse of your face this morning as I meditate on your Word. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.


Today, I’m reading Isaiah 30:18.

18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

I don’t think this verse needs any commentary. Just take heart in the truth of the last phrase!


Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Transformed into the Image of Jesus Christ.” The scripture reading is 2 Corinthians 3:18.

18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

“When we rest in the splendor of God revealed by Christ, we find ourselves changed by it.” We gradually grow toward the divine glory as it overtakes us and consumes us. Our pastor calls this “the one-percent grade.” We should always be moving forward, growing gradually in Christ Jesus, ever becoming more like him. We do not accomplish this on our own, of course, but are aided by the power of the Holy Spirit. “We are transformed into his likeness, becoming splendid and glorious, to the glory of God.”

Herein is the point of this discipline we call study–“to be changed, overtaken by God as revealed in Christ.” If you’re like me, and I’m sure you are sometimes, you aren’t feeling very “divine,” “splendid,” or “glorious.” Perhaps this prayer, quoted from the book, will help. Lord God, with all the mistakes I make on a daily basis, sometimes I feel so far from becoming Christlike. Grant me patience with the gradual process of transformation and help me to place myself in your hands without hesitation, that you may mold me into your likeness. In your name I pray. Amen.


Indeed, Father, most days, I feel far from splendid! Most days, I don’t feel like I’m being transformed at all. But this is not about feeling. This is not about appearances. This is about the truth that you, through the blood of Christ Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are transforming me gradually, into the likeness of Jesus Christ. I have faith to believe this, in spite of my daily mistakes and shortcomings. I thank you for the times when I do see the transformation taking place. May those times give me even more faith and hope to know that you are working on me at all times, even when I don’t see or feel it. May I truly rest in your splendor, and may I truly be changed as your glory overtakes me. May I also recognize the blessings of waiting on you as you show mercy to me and my family.

I pray for this day today. I ask for healing for Christi, relief from her pain. I pray that we have a smooth and productive work day today. I pray that, as I pray through my private prayers later, I would have minimal distractions and not be sidetracked by my own thoughts and desires, but that I would pray your heart for all that I pray for. I pray that you would draw Stephanie closer to you today and inspire her to meditate on your word.


Imagine being overtaken by God’s glory as we are transformed into the image of Christ. Imagine the glory…

Grace and peace, friends.

“Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.”

*wink, wink, nudge, nudge*