Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

Today is Saturday, August 12, 2017. Day 21,702. Only SEVEN more days until S’s and J’s birthday!!!

Quote of the Day

“May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.” ~ George Carlin

Word of the Day

Sapiosexual ~ a person who finds intelligence to be a sexually attractive quality in others.

Today is Vinyl Record Day! I just got through moving a bunch of those, after our floors got finished. They’re heavy. But I still think they sound better than digital music.

As mentioned, the floor is finished, except for the trim pieces to go between tile and vinyl, and the closet thresholds. The guy is here, now, installing those. he should be completely finished by this afternoon. It looks great, and I plan to take some photos after it is all done. We moved most of the stuff back into the study last night, but there’s still a lot to organize, all over the house. I suppose it will get done sometime this weekend.

I actually got off work on time, yesterday evening! It was wonderful. I picked up dinner on the way home, and since C was already home, we got finished with that pretty early, then started moving records and stuff back into the study.

That being said, I want to acknowledge what a wonderful job my wife has done all this week. Besides doing her “normal” work, from home, she has moved books and records, cleaned things, and just done some stuff that, in my opinion, requires superpowers. So, to C, I say, I love you with all my heart, and am more grateful than I could ever express with words. Thank you for all you have done this week.

The Rangers beat the Astros last night, 6-4, to decrease their deficit to 15.5 games (still in fourth place in the AL West). They are only three games out of the second wild card spot, at this point. And, I was curious to see how the “Silver Boot” series is going this year. The Astros are currently leading it 7-4. I believe they still have eight games left, between them, two of which will happen this weekend.

The Red Sox lost to the Yankees, 5-4, after leading 4-0 for most of the game. But apparently, Reed, a relief pitcher, came in and blew the game in the eighth inning. The Red Sox still lead the AL East by 3.5 games, though. And this game is indicative of one of the things I both love and hate about baseball. There’s no time limit, no clock that can run out. It’s not over until out number 27 has been recorded. Which means that anything can happen, in any inning. I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen the Red Sox both win and lose in the eighth inning. And when they’re playing the Yankees, no lead is ever safe.

Tomorrow, R & J will be coming over after church, and we’ll take them out to eat somewhere, to celebrate J’s birthday, which happens next Saturday (same day as S’s).

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!
Psalm 106:48
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Psalm 119:18
I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 56:12-13
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
Psalm 125:1
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-20
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

Psalm 59:16-17

(From Practice Resurrection)

Eugene Peterson mentions a novelist named Walker Percy, who wrote a number of novels in his lifetime. Peterson specifically mentions six of them, The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins, Lancelot, The Second Coming, and The Thanatos Syndrome. In these books, Percy coins a phrase for a condition of humanity known as “lost in the cosmos.” The idea behind this condition is that “We don’t know who we are or where we are. We don’t know know where we came from or where we are going.” This is becoming more and more true as time marches on.

Percy began his career as a physician, with a sincere desire to “heal sick and damaged bodies.” Early on, he completely changed course and became a writer “so he could tend to the healing of souls, using nouns and verbs to cure what ails us.” Also a Christian, “His diagnosis of the spiritual ‘lostness’ of his American brothers and sisters was intended to wake us up to our desperate condition and set up a few signposts for finding our way home.”

Paul the Apostle, writer of Ephesians, as gave a similar diagnosis to the human condition. And in that letter to the Ephesians, Paul gives witness to the ways in which God is working in the cosmos in which we are lost.

One of the “contributing factors” to our lostness, says Peterson, “is the rampant secularizing debasement of language into depersonalized facts, with a corresponding evisceration of imagination into cardboard cutouts of roles and functions.” The person “you” gets debased to an “it,” while imagination is “crowded to the sidelines by numbers.” You can feel Peterson’s passion bleeding through those statements.

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 1:3-14.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Just for kicks, let’s look at Peterson’s The Message version of the same passage.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. 
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. 
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. 
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

We’ve already noted that, in the original Greek text, this is all one sentence. N.T. Wright calls this passage, “one of the most splendidly Jewish passages of praise and prayer in the New Testament . . . a prayer of blessing to the one God for his mighty acts in creation and redemption.” Peterson says, “This single sentence–201 nouns and verbs, adverbs and adjectives, prepositions and conjunctions cascading off Paul’s pen!–comprises an extravagant pageantry: the central action of the cosmos, God at work in comprehensive salvation ways, on parade. We are no longer lost. We can find our way home.”

Father, keep showing me this freedom, and help me to believe it to the depths of my soul. As I continue reading this and other works, along with your words, especially the words and acts of Jesus in the Gospels, draw my soul deeper and closer to you. Show me the deep truths of your Spirit and help me to walk in the easy yoke of Jesus, in your Kingdom, as your will is done on earth as in heaven. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.
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.