Today is Wednesday, the twenty-ninth of September, 2021.
May the peace of God reign in your heart today!
Thirteen days until our 36th wedding anniversary (y’all pray for me! I need a gift idea, stat!)
It’s hard to believe there’s only one more day in September. I’m quite happy about that, though. Not that I have any dislike for September (I’m not a fan of Greenday, though). I mean, it’s not like it’s February or anything. But I love October. It’s by far my favorite month of the year, and not just because it’s the month I got married in. As my new friend at the library has said several times, October should be everyone’s favorite month.
Yesterday was a good day (as pretty much all of them have been). I did get some validation from one of the assistant librarians who said that I handled the situation Monday evening very well. My four hours of shelving were quite uneventful, as they normally would be. I really like that I’m dividing my time between three different departments at the library. For one thing, it gives me diversity of activities. And for another, it gets me more educated about more facets of the library. And since, while shelving, I will frequently get into the children’s (or “Youth” as they call it there) section, I am even getting some knowledge about that section, as well. I always figure that the more you know, the more valuable you are.
The time in the computer center was quiet, for the most part. We had to assist a few people who needed to print things, and there was one patron who had trouble getting the PC attachment to read his USB drive. I say “we” because, as has been the case thus far, a veteran aide was in there with me. That’s the “new friend” referenced above. Beginning this Friday I will be the only part timer in the computer center for the whole day. Of course, the manager will be in there with me on Friday. We are thinking it will probably be kind of slow, this first Friday. Partially because it is the first Friday open since pre-pandemic days, and there is a chance of rain/thunderstorms on Friday, as well.
Today, I work from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, in shelving. I like shelving. While it is the most physically demanding portion of my responsibilities (lots of bending and stretching . . . you would be amazed at the number of books that get checked out from the top or bottom shelves! Also more walking, as you can imagine), it is very quiet and I am normally alone, which I also like. Just imagine . . . alone with all those books! Needless to say, my TBR (To Be Read) list on Goodreads is growing by leaps and bounds. Yesterday, I just kind of looked around and thought, “I want to read ALL the books. All of them.” Which is, of course, silly. There are many of them that I have no interest in whatsoever.
Except for the fact that they are books.
C is feeling a little better this morning. I don’t remember if I wrote anything about that yesterday, but she had a rough night Monday night and was feeling pretty awful all day, yesterday. We think she overdid on Monday when she went out for her walk. Too far and too fast, probably. Bless her heart, she things she is Superwoman. And while my opinion of her probably equates with that, she is not, in fact, immortal or invincible. She am woman, and she am strong, but she am not invicible.
Bonus points if you got that.
Today is World Heart Day. Be educated about heart disease. But also spread the “hearts” (love).
The word for today is cordial, an adjective that means what this world needs a lot more of, these days, “courteous and gracious.”
Today’s quote is from Kin Hubbard, an American journalist: “The hardest thing is to take less when you can get more.”
Significant birthdays on September 29:
Pompey the Great, Roman political and military leader, 106-48 BC Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author (Don Quixote), 1547-1616 Enrico Fermi, Italian-American nuclear physicist, 1901-1954 Gene Autry, American cowboy singer, 1907-1998 Bum Phillips, American football coach (Houston Oilers), 1923-2013 Stan Berenstain, American children's author (some books about some bears), 1923-2005 Jerry Lee Lewis, American rock and roll piano player and singer (Great Balls of Fire), 1935 (86) Tommy Boyce, American songwriter (Last Train to Clarksville, The Monkees), 1939-1994 Jean-Luc Ponty, French jazz-fusion electric violinist, 1942 (79) Madeline Kahn, American actress (Young Frankenstein), 1942-1999 Mark Farner, American musician (Grand Funk Railroad), 1948 (73) Steve Busby, American MLB pitcher (KC Royals) and play by play broadcaster (Texas Rangers), 1949 (71)
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Power of Spirit. Live I an empowered life? O, Wild Goose, chase me! (Inspired by a blog by Carolyn Arends)
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
(1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the unpredictable, disruptive power of the Holy Spirit in our lives; may we avail ourselves more readily to You 2. for Your Word that has come to us through the writers of Scripture; not the "word of men," but Your Word, at work in us 3. that You have given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1) 4. for songs sung to the tune of Your glory, to the rhythms of Your praise 5. for power of Your "arm" and "right hand"
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK NINETEEN – DAY FOUR
All together now—applause for God!
Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise.
(Psalms 66:1-2 MSG)
During this quiet time, I pause to reflect on the Holy Spirit, supplier of all the power I need to live this life. Why do I lack? I have all that I need. If I lack, it is because I do not seek it (the power); I do not allow it to fill me. Fill me, Lord Jesus!
Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.
They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.
For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.
Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
(Psalms 89:13-18 NIV)
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”
Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
(1 Samuel 18:1-9 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I read these passages again, I look for ways in which Your Spirit has moved me, through Your Word. I ask Your Spirit to guide my meditations and prayers.
There is nothing negative in today’s passage from Psalms. The power comes from the “arm” of God, from His “right hand.” These are, of course, anthropomorphisms, as God is fully Spirit and has no arms and hands. But we find, in Scripture, that God even uses such terms about Himself, as we would not be able to even begin to comprehend Him otherwise.
Verse 14 paints a beautiful picture. The foundations of the throne of God are righteousness and justice. Therefore, they should also be the foundation of our lives. They should be the foundation of any earthly government. What goes before Him, or proceeds out of Him are love and faithfulness.
This, to me, is beautiful. One might think that, from a foundation of righteousness and justice, legalism and strictness might come forth; worked out in acts of violent authoritarianism. But this is not the case. Out of the foundation of righteousness and justice flow love and faithfulness.
And those who are walking in the light of these things, in the light of the presence of God, are blessed; they rejoice in His name “all day long,” and celebrate His righteousness.
Have you ever known anyone like this? I have. At least one person comes to mind, and I’m sure that if I sat and pondered it a while, some others might as well. Another one just popped up. The first one is our favorite teacher from R’s days at Glenview Christian School, Julie Brancadora. C and I have both agreed, numerous times, that we have never known anyone who exhibited the Spirit of God the way she does. Another that I thought of was a favorite Sunday School teacher from my childhood days. Miss Juanita, we called her. My memory is fuzzy, of course, but from what I remember, she lived and walked in the Spirit of Jesus.
My heart’s desire is to be like this. I don’t want to imitate Julie or Miss Juanita, though. I want to imitate Christ. People like them inspire me, but to imitate them would not be proper. I do realize Paul does encourage people to imitate him, just as he imitates Christ, so I guess that’s okay. But I would rather imitate Jesus directly, and let the other humans simply be my inspiration. Perhaps I am also simply wrestling with semantics.
This, I believe, also goes back to the question of power that is raised in my Haiku at the beginning. Do I live an empowered life? The little book of Second Peter tells us that we have everything we need.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
(2 Peter 1:3 NIV)
When I fail to live an empowered life, I am without excuse. Plain and simple. This is not a beat-down. It is just simple fact. I don’t feel shame for this. Remember, shame is bad. Guilt is okay, because I am guilty. As Brené Brown has said, guilt says “I did a bad thing,” where shame says, “I’m a bad person.” While this is not Scripture, I believe that Scripture validates it. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Shame holds us back while guilt should drive us forward. We acknowledge our guilt, accept God’s forgiveness, and move forward. If we focus on shame, we wallow in it.
But I digress. Back to the idea of the empowered life. In the blog entry that I linked underneath my Haiku, Carolyn Arends cites another writer who compares the Holy Spirit to a “wild goose” rather than a dove. I don’t find this to be irreverent at all. I realize that the Holy Spirit is represented by a dove a couple of times in the Bible. But I also like that people like Rich Mullins referred to God’s love as a “reckless, raging fury.” There is also the bit from C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia where it said of Aslan that he is not safe.
“Is he—quite safe?” I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion” – Susan “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” – Mrs. Beaver “Then he isn’t safe?” – Lucy “Safe? . . . Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King I tell you.” – Mr. Beaver
And, once again, I quote my alternative Christian music hero, Terry Scott Taylor, from Daniel Amos’s Darn Floor, Big Bite, “You are beautiful, a terrible, terrible sight.”
The power of God cannot be harnessed or controlled. He cannot be manipulated. We foolish humans think that we can manipulate Him with our formulaic prayers. We think we can say “In Jesus’s name” at the end of a prayer and that it will magically be answered, regardless of what kind of lives we lead. There are volumes of books written that mislead people into thinking that saying just the right words in just the right order will cause God to act in just the way we want Him to.
But here’s the thing. While that power cannot be manipulated or controlled, it can be assimilated. It can be worked in our own lives. If we surrender to it. You see, the correct perspective is surrender not control. If I surrender to the Lord of Light, and walk in the light of His presence, the power controls ME. I cannot control the power, but I can allow it to control me. And, as Carolyn opined in her blog, that is where we fall short. We like “predictability and control. The Holy Spirit – the member of the Trinity most associated with spiritual empowerment – tends to be unpredictable and disruptive.” Not chaotic, mind you. There is a difference between disruption and chaos.
She also points out that we feel safer talking about this power, rather than “plugging into the current.”
Father, help me to plug into the current of the power of Your Holy Spirit. I acknowledge the truth of Scripture that tells me that I have everything I need for “life and godliness.” Therefore, I do not need to be seeking anything outside of You. I simply need to be who You have created me to be, and surrender to the control of Your Spirit. But I don’t like to do that. Like Carolyn, I like predictability and control. Help me to surrender that control, because I cannot control You; I cannot manipulate You; please forgive me for the times when I try that. Words are important, true. But words are wind, too. What is more important is the heart, the motivation, behind the words. If I say one thing, but my heart says another, then I am not in agreement, even with myself, much less with You! My heart’s desire is to live a life that walks in the light of Your presence, rejoicing in Your name all day long, and celebrating Your righteousness!
I pray, this morning, Lord, for all of the governments and leaders in this world. May Your Holy Spirit surround them and cause them to look to You for guidance; may they follow Your will.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
(Matthew 5:5 MSG)
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
(Romans 12:15 ESV)
“The pain of our experiences can hold so much power over our lives. But the incredible power of human connection is undeniable, if we are willing to give it away and receive.”
(Karen Valentin, Daily Guideposts 2021)
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
(1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 ESV)
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!
(2 Timothy 2:8-9 ESV) (emphasis mine)
“Nothing can stop the one who walks fully in the will of God. Be that person and break every chain and obstacle to the contrary.”
(Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries)
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Nothing can stop one who walks fully in God's will; break every chain.
Grace and peace, friends.