Good morning. Today is, um, Friday. Yeah, that’s it. Friday, July 5, 2013. We had a great day yesterday. After discovering that my external hard drive was, in fact, okay (I’m still not sure what happened, but I unplugged it from my main pc and took it into the living room to plug it into the laptop, where it worked fine; when I brought it back in here to the study, it worked okay), I finished up yesterday’s blog and ran up to Best Buy where I bought a new WD My Book 2 TB hard drive. I’m still in the process of figuring out the software on that one, so nothing has been moved over yet. But I’ve left the old one on, just in case. While I was going to Best Buy, Rachel and Justin arrived. We had already decided that Christi would just cook the steaks in the oven and boil the corn, instead of cooking out on the grill. I was only gone for about 30 minutes, as it didn’t take long to decide which drive to get. Lunch was delicious. Christi did a spectacular job on all of it. While we ate lunch (and a while after), we watched a “Twilight Zone” marathon on the Sy-Fy channel (I still pronounce that “siffy” in protest of that horrible re-branding of the network). Then we played a game of 42 (dominoes) and ate some cheesecake. After R & J left, Christi and I watched this week’s episode of “Major Crimes,” after which she, Stephanie, and I went to Braum’s to get some ice cream. We watched one more TV show and then went to bed. We didn’t try to go see fireworks. Too late for us. They don’t start unto close to 10pm around here. And, fortunately, there weren’t a lot of “private” fireworks displays going on around here, so Tessie didn’t bark a lot after we went to bed.
Today is (ahem) Bikini Day, so named in recognition of the invention of the bikini by Parisian fashion designer Louis Reard in 1946. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. 😀
I’m sorry, but time has run short today, and I have no time left for history and birthday trivia.
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:16-17
Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. Psalm 50:3
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Psalm 25:11
Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! Psalm 109:26
Father, I pray that, as I look into your words this morning, you will reveal yourself to me, by the power of your Holy Spirit.
Today’s, in A Year With God, I’m beginning a new section on the discipline of Solitude. Solitude is defined as “The creation of an open, empty space in our lives by purposefully abstaining from interaction with other human beings, so that, freed from competing loyalties, we can be found by God.” We see in the Gospels that Jesus’s public ministry was mixed with periods of solitude, when he left the crowds, either completely alone or with his disciples, so that he could spend time in prayer. “These times of solitude appeared to nourish Jesus for those times when he was in the public eye.” The very beginning of his ministry was preceded by 40 days of solitude in the desert, immediately after his baptism.
This is not about “becoming a hermit or misanthrope.” (A misanthrope is one who hates or mistrusts all people.) Times of solitude can enhance not only our relationship with God, but with others as well. And solitude is not loneliness in that we are completely and utterly alone. It is intended to be time spent solely with God. It seems like something that should be completely natural, but it is a difficult thing in our culture. We have to work to create this space. In Mark 6:31 Jesus said, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Rest; abide; it is what we need to do more of.
Today’s reading is called “Withdrawing to a Deserted Place.” The scripture reading is Luke 5:15-16.
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
The ten-day challenge is to do exactly what Jesus did each day. “Withdraw to a place where you can be alone with God and use that time to pray.” It is suggested that it is most valuable to have these times immediately before or after times when we have to be around many others. If necessary, work to create that time. The amount of time is not so important, as much as achieving that solitude with God, “even if all you can manage is a solitary cup of coffee in the morning or a few moments of prayer in your car before your drive to work.” These times will nourish and refresh us. I already spend a few moments in the middle of my work day in a solitary place. Typically, I shut myself in an unused office for five or ten minutes during my first break time of the day. During that time, I pray through the “Midday Office” of The Divine Hours, and then pray for the ten people that God has placed atop my Facebook friend list. It tends to be a very sweet time each day, and helps me stay focused on abiding in him throughout the day.
Here is a suggested “Celtic Daily Prayer” to begin with:
Here am I, Lord,
I’ve come to do your will.
Here am I, Lord,
in your presence I’m still.
Father, may I find refreshment and sustaining power in times of solitude today. Even now, I sit alone in my study, tying out this prayer to you. May you use these times in my life to keep me focused on you, to teach me more about how to abide in you as I reflect on your awesome power and the promises that you have given us regarding our lives with you and in you. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Create in me a clean heart and renew my spirit. Teach me the value of solitude.
I pray for this day. I pray for Christi to have a good work day today, and that her foot will continue to heal as it has. It seems to be getting better all the time, and we are most thankful for this. I pray for Stephanie to have a good day today, and that she will find rest and nourishment in your word, searching for your promises. I pray that you would show her how to live in those promises. Finally, I ask for a good work day for me, as I continue to learn new things. Give me a sharp mind and help me focus on the task at hand throughout the day, that I might learn these new responsibilities and have them firmly in my grasp.
Find some time to get alone today. Seek the wisdom of God and his nourishment before or after you have to deal with people.
Grace and peace, friends.