Going Out Without Knowing

“Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely.”~~Oswald Chambers

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”~~John Dewey

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is redintegrate. In spite of appearance, this word has nothing to do with the color red. It’s a verb, meaning, “to make whole again; restore to a perfect state; renew; reestablish.” Apparently, this is the opposite of “disintegrate.”

Today is Science Fiction Day. January 2 was chosen for the date of Science Fiction Day because it is also the birthday of Isaac Asimov, who was one of the premier Science Fiction authors.

We didn’t eat black-eyed peas, yesterday. I just thought I would get that out there right off the bat. I actually don’t remember the last time I had black-eyed peas, on New Year’s Day or otherwise. No one else in my household like peas, so I rarely eat them. I don’t mind black-eyed peas, but I prefer crowder peas. They have always been my favorite. Do not ask my why they are called “crowder” peas. I have no idea. I do, however, have fond memories of shelling peas in the carport at my Grandmother and Grandaddy’s house.

We didn’t do much of anything yesterday. In fact, the only time anyone left the house was when Christi went out to her car to get the ID number on her XM radio, because her free trial wasn’t working in her new car. While she was out, she decided to go get us drinks at Sonic. We had Rotel dip and chips for lunch, watched an episode of Criminal Minds, then Christi went to the extra bedroom to paint while I played Fallout 4.

Oh, right. Then we all left the house to go eat dinner at IHOP. I forgot about that. After that, we watched several more episodes of Criminal Minds, then I played the game some more.

Christi just left to go use the Groupon for a hot stone massage that I got her for Christmas. We’ll probably go get groceries for her step-dad and mom after that. I don’t think there is anything else planned for today.

On this date in 1962, the folk group The Weavers were banned from an appearance on The Jack Parr Show after refusing to sign a political loyalty oath. The Weavers, founded by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, were responsible for a resurgence of American folk music, and could allegedly be responsible for the careers of people like Bob Dylan, The Kingston Trio, and Peter, Paul and Mary. You can read more about it in this article.

Today’s birthdays include:

1909–Barry Goldwater, American politician
1920–Isaac Asimov, American author
1936–Roger Miller, American singer
1963–David Cone, American baseball player
1968–Cuba Gooding, Jr., American actor
1975–Dax Shepard, American actor
1975–Doug Robb, American singer, Hoobastank
1976–Paz Vega, Spanish actress
1983–Kate Bosworth, American actress

Doug Robb is the lead singer for the rock group Hoobastank. He turns 41 today. Here is their 2003 hit, “The Reason.”

Tex Ritter, Alan Hale, Jr., Randy California, and Anne Francis are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

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.

Psalm 2

Yesterday’s Psalm 1 could be considered a “laser concentration on the individual,” while today’s Psalm 2 could be a “wide-angle lens on humanity.” While God deals with each of us on a personal level, he also has ways that deal with “nations, rulers, kings, and governments.”

“‘O God of earth and alter, bow down and hear our cry; our earthly rulers falter, our people drift and die; the walls of gold entomb us, the swords of scorn divide; take not Thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.’ Amen” (“O God of Earth and Alter,” by G.K. Chesterton)

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Will You Go Out without Knowing?”

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

Anyone who has gone out in this way knows that “there is no logical statement when anyone asks what you are doing.” That is a difficulty, sometimes, in Christian work . . . you really don’t always know what you are going to be doing.

When I was in seminary, many young people came from other states to get a theology, music, or education degree. So many of them declared, even when they were just beginning, that they were certain that God would send them right back where they came from, upon receiving their degree. I wonder how many of them actually realized those aspirations. I know that God doesn’t always work in the way that we think he will.

“Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely.” Maintaining this attitude keeps us in a state of “perpetual wonder,” as we don’t know what God will do next. But we also must realize how difficult this is, especially if one’s lift is entrenched in religious tradition and habit. We get too comfortable with what we think we know about God, which makes it terribly difficult to “revise your attitude towards God.” (See above statement about young seminary students.)

We might even consider each day’s beginning to be a new “going out,” as we never know what the day will bring. Do we ask God what he is going to do? More than likely, he will not tell us. More than likely, rather than revealing what he is going to do, he will reveal who he is. And wouldn’t that be better, anyway? Wouldn’t we rather know who God is, than what he’s going to do? If we “go out” with this attitude, we will not be surprised at anything that God does.

“You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.”

Father, teach me to “go out” in this way. You have, over the years, taught me to not depend on traditions and past experiences, but I still need that extra push to go out in complete faith, not knowing what you will do next. May this be a year that I step out in faith to serve you.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 23-24

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

My Entrance To Salvation

Good morning. It is (I almost said Monday!) Friday, January 2, 2015. 94 days until Opening Day.

Today’s Word of the Day is “musette:” 1.a. “Any of various kinds of small bagpipes; esp. a bellows-blown bagpipe of exquisite design, popular at the French court in the 17th and early 18th centuries.” b. “A type of small oboe without a reed-cap, originally developed from the chanter of a musette played without its bagpipe.” 2. “A pastoral piece of music typically having a drone in the bass part imitating the sound of the bagpipe; a dance performed to such music.” 3. “An organ stop consisting of reed pipes with conical resonators, used in French organs of the 17th and 18th centuries.” 4. “Chiefly U.S. A type of lightweight knapsack used esp. by soldiers and cyclists. More fully musette bag.”

Today is Science Fiction Day. That is very cool! I am grateful to my father for introducing me to the Science Fiction genre when I was a young boy. I was reading Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and others at a pretty young age, as I recall. I have since branched out into fantasy and horror, as well, but still love a good science fiction book or movie.

Yesterday, we did as close to nothing all day as is possible, I think. We did finally watch The Polar Express, while we ate our “brunch.” It was a pretty good movie; very interesting. It was pretty intense at times, especially during the train ride.

Christi is fortunate to be off work today, but I have to go in. I’m not expecting a lot of work, though. I do hope we have enough to keep us busy until time to get off. While I would rather be home than at work, I’ve already lost close to four hours on this pay period. I guess I won’t complain if I get to come home early, though. 😀


(From Heart Aflame)

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1:3-6

The happiness of the one who follows God is not just some “evanescent and empty gladness.” Rather, the blessing of God keeps us in a “prosperous condition.” As children of God, we will “constantly flourish. They are always watered with the secret influences of divine grace, so that whatever may happen to them is conducive to their salvation.” While those who are “ungodly” might appear to have some fruit, in the end, their “fruit” will be blown away by the wind. It is possible that the Psalmist is warning us against the common possibility of envying the wicked and their apparent prosperity.

(From Knowing Jesus)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Matthew 1:1-17
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Luke 3:23-38

The title of today’s reading is “Jesus, the Son of Abraham and David.” The journey begins with the genealogy. Matthew begins his account with one, and Luke includes one after the birth story. Genealogies don’t excite a lot of people these days. My father has been steadily looking into the genealogy of both sides of our family for a long time, and this has gotten me interested in them, as well.

The people who initially read the writings of Matthew and Luke were looking for something more, however, than just family trees. They were asking important questions as the news about this Jesus began to spread around the known world. “Who was he? Where did he come from? What were his credentials?” The earliest followers of Jesus, as well as the initial hearers of the Gospel, were Jewish. It was important for the Gospel writers to establish the line of Jesus back to David and Abraham.

There are some interesting additions in Matthew’s genealogy. He mentions Rahab, the harlot, who rescued the Hebrew spies, subsequently saving her and her family during the destruction of Jericho. He mentions Ruth, the Gentile from Moab. He also sort of off-handedly mentions David’s sins by referring to him as the father of Solomon, “by the wife of Uriah.” These genealogies “show how God orchestrated events in the lives of people who were the ancestors of Jesus. . . . Jesus is one of us . . .”

“Thank you, Father, for showing me the humanity of Jesus in such an honest way. Thank you for substantiating his claim to be your promised Messiah, the son of David, and my Lord and Savior.”

Today’s reading from Solid Joys is “What Jesus Did to Death.”

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27-28

“The death of Jesus bears sins. This is the very heart of Christianity and the heart of the gospel and the heart of God’s great work of redemption in the world. When Christ died he bore sins. He took sins not his own. He suffered for sins that others had done, so that they could be free from sins.”

That is the answer to the greatest problem of life, whether we realize that this is the greatest problem of our lives or not. We can get right with God, even though we are sinners, still. Jesus Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many.”

What does this say about my own death? “My death is no longer a punishment for sin.” It cannot be, can it? For Christ has taken away that punishment! So why must I die? “Because God wills that death remain in the world, even among his own children, as an abiding testimony to the extreme horror of sin. In our dying we still manifest the external effects of sin in the world.” But now, because of Christ, this death is not a demonstration of God’s wrath against me, for “there is, therefore, now, no condemnation.” Death is my entrance into salvation.

Father, while I do not, most certainly, look forward to death (neither mine, nor my loved ones’), I do look forward to that “entrance to salvation.” I long for the day when I will meet my Savior face to face. In fact, the only real connection that I still have in this life is family. There is nothing in this life that I would miss if I were called home today. However, I know that it would be a hardship to some, if I were not here. For that reason, alone, I pray for this life to carry on. That sounds a lot more overly pious than I mean for it to. I also realize that I have absolutely nothing to say about how long I am on the earth. I am confident that I will be here until my work is done. I just pray that you make this “work” evident, and that you empower me by grace and the Holy Spirit to faithfully do that work.

I thank you for the work of Christ, that bore my sins, along with the sins of many, that we might not have to face your wrath and condemnation. I thank you for the words of the Psalmist, words that assure me that the apparent prosperity of the wicked will not be permanent, and that my own “prosperity,” brought on by your grace and mercy in my life, will be eternal! Thank you for those assurances, Father.

Now, as I go forward into this day of work, I pray for safe travel to and from the job. I pray for a smooth day at work, and I pray that I will be able to faithfully love you, follow Christ, and share the Kingdom. May my countenance and attitude show your grace today, in all circumstances. I pray that Christi will enjoy her day off work, and I pray that you will show Stephanie your steadfast love and mercy today.

What do you see death as? Punishment? Or the portal to a better place, a place of eternal life and salvation?

Grace and peace, friends.

A Vessel of Compassion

“Jesus resonated with the depths of human sorrow. He became lost with the lost, hungry with the hungry, and thirsty with the thirsty.”

Good morning. It is Thursday, January 2, 2014. Today, we must trudge back to work. The good thing is, we only have two days to work this week.

I still don’t have a new calendar for my study.

Tough choice for the holiday today. There are five to choose from, and while “Happy Mew Year Day for Cats Day” has to be the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard of (Totes McGoats Adorbs), I believe I will have to go with “Science Fiction Day.” I’ve been a Science Fiction fan for as long as I can remember, having been lovingly introduced to the genre by my father, when I was but a lad. I don’t remember the first SF book that I read, but there is a good chance that one of the first few was by the man whose birthday prompts the naming of this “holiday.” You see, today is the birthday of one of the Grand Masters of the genre, Isaac Asimov. So, how about, after wishing your cat Happy Mew Year’s Day, pick up an old Science Fiction paperback. You know. . . one of those with the really cool covers that they don’t make any more.

On this date in 1971, 66 soccer fans were killed in a stamped in Glasgow, Scotland. The home team had scored a late goal in the game, and as all the spectators were trying to leave at the same time, on the same stairway. This was at least the fifth disaster at this stadium, and the fourth involving the same stairway. It was the worst soccer disaster in Scottish history.

Today’s birthdays are Barry Goldwater, politician, 1909 (his birthday was incorrectly listed yesterday), Isaac Asimov, author, 1920, Dabney Coleman, actor, 1932, Roger Miller, singer, 1936, in Fort Worth, TX, Calvin Hill, football player, 1947, Tia Carrere, actress, 1967, Cuba Gooding, Jr., actor, 1968, Dax Shepard, actor, 1975, and Paz Vega, actress, 1976.

Roger Miller was a quirky country singer, well known for his cute, funny songs, as well as some serious ones. Among his sillier songs was this one, “Do Wacka Do.” Miller passed away in 1992 (the same year as Isaac Asimov).


(From The Divine Hours)

Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 86:1-2 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.

Psalm 90:1-2 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 85:9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.

Today, in Reflections for Ragamuffins the reading is called “The Incarnation of Compassion.” Matthew 15:32 says this:

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

We know from the Biblical record that Jesus performed many, many physical healings during his time on Earth. This demonstrates just a hint of the anguish in his heart for the condition of “wounded humanity.” “Jesus resonated with the depths of human sorrow. He became lost with the lost, hungry with the hungry, and thirsty with the thirsty.”

This remains true today. Jesus is “the incarnation of the compassion of the Father.” A quote from Meister Eckhart, a fifteenth-century mystic, says, “You may call God love, you may call God goodness, but the best name for God is compassion.” We call Jesus Christ Emmanuel, God with us. In saying this, we believe that “the greatest lover in history knows what hurts us. Jesus reveals a God who is not indifferent to human agony, a god who fully embraces the human condition and plunges into the thick of our human struggle.”

Father, help me to know this compassion. As I learn from you, as you teach me your ways, may I know this compassion into the very depths of my being. And I do not ask this simply so that I may experience the wonderful feeling of knowing how much you love me. That is only part of the reason. I won’t lie, I love to feel your love. However, I also have a strong desire in my heart to demonstrate that same compassion to others, to be a channel of your everlasting, unconditional love. I find this to be an extreme challenge, as I catch myself being judgmental toward people for various reasons. I pray you take that piece away from me; chisel it away until I find no more judging within myself, but only compassion for the very ones for whom you also have compassion. May your Spirit prompt me whenever I begin to be judgmental. Prompt me, then change me. Mold me, chisel me until there’s nothing left that doesn’t look like you. Make me a vessel of compassion.

Keep us safe today, as we go back to work. May our work day be smooth, and may we face any challenges with your grace surrounding us. Make us aware of your presence throughout this day. Teach Stephanie your way today, and give her understanding.

May your will be done in our lives, just as you have decreed.

May we see the compassion of Jesus in our lives today, and then turn and show that same compassion to someone else.

Grace and peace, friends.