Today is Wednesday, February 13, 2019.
Spring Training begins today!!!!
“Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven.”
John Lubbock, British statesman, 1834-1913
The word of the day is cacophony. It means, “harsh or discordant sound : dissonance; specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases.”
Tonight is the wedding rehearsal, at 6:00 PM. Ish. That’s the scheduled start time. However, it may be a little delayed, depending on peoples’ arrivals from work. I’m taking a half day of PTO so I don’t have to carry my keyboard gear to work with me. I’m getting gradually more confident with the music, but I will still be terribly nervous tonight and Friday night. I’m honored and excited to do this, and will be grateful when it is over. I’ve got at least one other project I need to spend some time on.
Unless you live under a rock (or in a country where it’s not a thing) you know that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the biggest day of the year for the greeting card industry. With the possible exception of Mother’s Day. Having been together for almost 34 years (35 if you count the first year of “dating”), C and I have long ago agreed that “celebrating” Valentine’s Day is somewhat foolish for us. Cards are expensive, flowers have jacked-up prices for this day, and any restaurant that we might visit will be packed to the proverbial gills. We might go out for a steak lunch on Saturday. Plus we have our semi-annual trip to Glen Rose next month.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
Today I am grateful:
1. For almost 34 years of marriage, and a love that doesn’t need cards and other acts to prove itself.
2. That the Spirit reminded me to pray through some things yesterday.
3. That God works in mysterious ways.
4. That God doesn’t always work the way we thing He should.
5. For the times that I am spurred on to obedience, no matter what I’m feeling.
Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: The Lord is his name.
(The Book of Common Prayer, Amos 5:8)
How did I do yesterday? I did manage to remember the suggestion of praying through the Ten Commandments, along with a couple other things. I made it a little more than halfway through the commandments, and may try to complete that today. I didn’t get to the Apostle’s Creed, which I may still try to work through. Finding the text online shouldn’t be difficult. I will say that it was interesting to try to pray through the commandments. It’s a good exercise, I believe, reading them and trying to discern if I have been guilty, at any point, of violating them.
(From Every Step An Arrival, Eugene H. Peterson)
Today’s reading is called “What Gets in the Way of God’s Work?”
So Naaman with his horses and chariots arrived in style and stopped at Elisha’s door. Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.”
2 Kings 5:9-10, The Message
This is a curious, and somewhat amusing, story. Naaman was a general in Aram’s army. He was afflicted with what was probably leprosy, “a grievous skin disease.” It was a captured Israelite slave girl who suggested to her “mistress” that he should go visit Elisha, the prophet of God, to be healed. This, in itself is somewhat astounding (it was yesterday’s reading, by the way, that I didn’t share here).
Naaman gets approval from his king to go to Israel, but instead of seeing the prophet, he starts with the king of Israel, who was so upset that he tore his clothes. Elisha heard about this and asked the king what he was so upset about. “Just send the guy to me,” he said. Which is where our story picks up today.
Naaman arrives at Elisha’s house. But instead of Elisha coming to the door, he sent a servant who told the general what to do.
Naaman was furious. First of all, he was insulted because Elisha didn’t come to the door himself, but only sent a servant. Didn’t Elisha know that he was a general?? Second, he was upset that he was told to go dunk himself in the muddy old Jordan river. “The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not bathe in them? I’d at least get clean,” he said in verse 12. So he stomped off in a huff.
His servants caught up with him and talked some reason into him. He finally did what Elisha told him and wound up coming out totally healed, his skin as new as a baby’s.
Eugene Peterson wonders how many of us are guilty of similar attitudes. “We recognize our need, so we go to a church or a friend or a pastor for help. But then what is offered is so beneath our dignity or diverges so wildly from our expectations that we angrily go away.” We are disappointed because we expected excitement, drama, or action, maybe even something original! “And what did we get? The same old thing, the old virtues, the grace of God, and the love of Christ.”
What do we have to lose? Only pride. What do we have to gain? “Possibly everything. The real question is, Do we want to be healed?”
So, when we pray, do we find ourselves edging into a practice of trying to “mansplain” to God how He should be helping someone with their problem? Or even worse, do we miss something that He might have done because He didn’t do it in quite the way we expected? “Can you trust God to act as he sees fit?”
Father, I thank You for this strange lesson. I pray that You help me to always be looking for how You are working, regardless of how I think it should look. And if I get instruction from You that seems below my so-called “dignity,” let me dump my “dignity” in the garbage for the greater glory of serving You.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
Soli Deo Gloria!