Today is Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Day 21,845.
86 days until Opening Day.
Roger Miller, born on this date in 1936 (died 1992), said, “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is accentuate, a verb, meaning, “accent, emphasize,” or, “intensify.” As in “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”
Back to work today. It feels as if I didn’t get a holiday at all. Oh, wait. I didn’t, did I, since I had to work Saturday and Sunday. Oh, well. Plus, I’m going to constantly be forgetting what day it is, all week.
It’s 22 degrees as we wake up, this morning, and will only get up to around 28. I realize that there may be some of my readers who would go out and play ball with short sleeves in temps like that. But to us North Texans, it’s COLD! 😀
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(From The Business of Heaven)
The First Job Each Morning
“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.
“We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ he meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder – in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” (Mere Christianity)
I recall Dallas Willard saying that he, upon waking up each morning, would not get out of bed before praying through either the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23. Lewis is right, though. At present, I’m doing nothing remotely similar to that. It’s a habit I need to develop.
(From The Finishing Touch)
A Diet That Works
Normally one of the first things that people do, at the beginning of a new year, is start a diet, “attacking the age-old battle of the bulge.” And a lot of those diets are fad diets. But a real diet that works isn’t “fad or fun; it’s tough!”
Should we not be more concerned, however, with “spiritual fitness?” Says Swindoll, “I know of now Scripture that teaches we’ll be weighed in before entering heaven.”
In speaking of a “spiritual game plan,” he mentions Psalm 119:1-16.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
There are three things that are emphasized in these verses. First is God’s blessing, bestowed upon those who keep his Word. Second is the authority of that Word (in fact, all 176 verses of Psalm 119 speak of God’s Word, in one form or another). Third is “the necessity of God’s presence.”
Verse 9 poses a question: “How can a young man keep his way pure?” Or, hopefully, an old man, as well. The answer is in the next seven verses. “If you’re looking for a diet that really works, you’ve found it!”
“Seek the Lord on a regular basis (v. 10). Pursue Him daily. Keep him involved in the everyday stuff. Include Him in your decisions, plans, your fun times, your struggles. The key is consistency.
“Treasure His truth in your heart (v. 11). Commit verses of Scripture to memory. A heart full of treasure leaves little room for trash.
“Openly tell others of Him (v. 13). Something wonderful happens when we open our own lips and speak to others about how our God has changed our lives. Make this the year you make your faith known.
“Rejoice and delight in God’s workings (vv. 14, 16). Smile more. Let your delight shine. Laughter has numerous therapeutic benefits.
“Spend more of your free moments meditating on His principles (v. 15) Think about them. Weave them into your driving time, your workouts, while waiting for an appointment, before going to sleep.
Give God your full respect (vv. 15-16). Don’t hold back. Trust completely. Make this the year you dare to live by faith. When uncertain, hold His precepts in highest regard.”
So let’s forget about the fad diets and take a serious look at this “Psalm 119 diet.” I may not lose twenty pounds, but I will develop some serious “spiritual muscle.” After all, when we stand before God at the end of the race, the question won’t be, “How much did you lose?”
Father, thank you for Psalm 119. I pray that I take these words to heart today, as well as the words of C.S. Lewis, regarding how to start my morning, each day. May your Spirit remind me, tomorrow morning, to stop and pray before I get out of bed. And may my last thoughts before falling asleep tonight be of your Word.
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.