Today is Monday, the thirtieth of August, 2021.
Peace be with you!
Seven days until Labor Day
Today will be my first Monday at the library. How is Monday different than the other days? I guess I’ll find out. I know one thing that will be different. I believe that somewhere around 10:30, story time happens for all the children that come. That won’t necessarily affect me, since I will likely still be working in circulation. Unless all those children decide they want to check out books when it’s over.
I work from 9:15-6:15 today, opening to closing. Actually, the library doesn’t open until 10:00, but we show up early to get everything prepared. The biggest task for Monday morning (I’m not sure since I haven’t worked one, yet) will probably be unloading the outside book drop, all of the books that were returned between closing Saturday and this morning.
I do like how they work the schedule in circulation, though. Working an eight-hour shift doesn’t mean sitting at the front desk all day. We rotate from there to other tasks, such as processing new patron hold requests, clearing the inside book drop, and other things.
I didn’t sleep well at all last night. I felt anxiety, probably for the first time since my new job started. I don’t think the anxiety was about the job, as I still consider it to be the best job I’ve ever had. More likely, it all revolves around everything going on this week, the biggest thing being C’s back surgery on Thursday. There is also the uncertainty of not knowing which day she will be released from the surgery center, and we won’t know that until they see how she is progressing.
I’ve also put on a few pounds since retirement started. Not a huge amount, but enough that my new pants were tight last Wednesday, which scared me a little bit. So part of my anxiety may have been about that. But the good news is that I am about three or four pounds down from last Monday morning, And I’m about two pounds down from last Wednesday.
Anxiety is foolish, it’s true. Worry does no good, whatsoever. In fact, it only does the opposite of good. But it is what it is. And it is difficult to overcome. The thing to remember about everything that is going on this week is, “this, too, shall pass.”
Today is Grief Awareness Day. For those of us who grieve, and honestly, that should be most people, we find that the saying that “time heals all wounds” is a lie. Some of those wounds will never heal. If you have lost a loved one, a parent, or even worse, a child (I say that’s worse, because children should never pass before their parents), or, perhaps, a sibling or best friend, you know that the grief can hit you, without warning, on any day, during any circumstance. During my life, I’ve lost all of my grandparents, my father, and a best friend. I miss my grandparents, but the worst grief, of course, is for my dad. But then there’s the grief that will creep up out of nowhere for that friend who took his own life back in 1975.
People who suffer grief do not need clever, pithy sayings. Nor do they need advice. What they need is someone to simply be there for them, give them a hug when the grief strikes, or just listen to them talk about the memories they have with that person (or even a beloved pet, perhaps).
The word for today is nostrum, a noun, meaning, “a scheme, theory, device, etc., especially one to remedy social or political ills; panacea.” “The party was pushing the nostrum of corporate tax reduction, as if that would undo decades of industrial job loss.” It seems that that is the second definition, the first being, “a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine.”
Today’s quote is from Eric Hoffer (American moral and social philosopher): “It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.” I believe he has a good point, there.
I’m changing the way I “celebrate” birthdays. It takes too long the way I’ve been doing it, so I’m only going to highlight one or two (maybe three or four) that I’m actually quite familiar with or fond of. The link remains the same every day, as I get my information from On This Day. Remember that the link will give you the birthdays on whatever day you happen to be clicking on it, not necessarily the date I am looking at.
Author Mary Shelley (Frankenstein): 1797-1851 Actress Joan Blondell: 1906-1979 (my second grade teacher may or may not have been related to her) Ted Williams, possibly the greatest hitter to have ever played baseball: 1918-2002 Ernie Ball (guitar strings): 1930-2004
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Sacred Soaking, by Daryl Madden (My desire every morning)
Graced within Your Presence Such mysteries we find In the sacred soaking Of Your light divine Heaven flows within us Of permeating prayer For every breath we draw Is of holy air One of contemplation Love within so freeing And in this becoming We’re a blessed being In this transformation Of gifting to prepare To go into this world With His Word to share
I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good. For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies.
(Psalms 54:6-7 NLT)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the holy air that is in my lungs, for every breath that I draw comes from You 2. that You will get us through this week 3. that with You (and only You) we can be victorious over our enemies (which are spiritual, not human) 4. for Your help in teaching me to love You and love people 5. for Jesus; for everything He is, everything He provides, and everything He teaches; may I follow Him with all my heart 6. that You hear our voices when we cry out to You
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK FIFTEEN – DAY TWO
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
(Psalms 57:9-10 NLT)
The house is quiet, the room peaceful. I contemplate Your help in life, as You rescue me from troubles and help me to triumph over my “enemies.” I remember that my enemies are not flesh and blood, but things like apathy, anger, lust, and envy.
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lily of the Covenant.” A miktam of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger. But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.
Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us and no longer go out with our armies? Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.
(Psalms 60:1-4, 10-12 NIV)
“‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.
“‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.
“‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
“‘I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.'”
(Leviticus 26:1-5,11-13 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
“Read again, perhaps out loud . . . how has God’s Word moved you? Ponder and meditate what has connected with your heart or mind . . . pray to God what it is that has moved you today . . . turn your thoughts to God and quietly enjoy being with Him.”
In spite of the circumstances, it is the banner of God “unfurled against the bow” that gives us hope and confidence. Even if we are in a situation where we feel like God has not gone out with us, or has rejected us . . . even in the most hopeless of situations, we recognize that “human help is worthless!” We have the utmost confidence that “with God we will gain the victory.”
Once again, I declare that my “enemies” are not flesh and blood. This is a mistake that is being made all over our nation, right now. Brothers and sisters in Christ, fighting with one another, as if they are each other’s enemies! God have mercy. “Human help is worthless!” We must stop depending on humans to help us. Only God can provide the victory, because our enemies are spiritual and require spiritual intervention.
The rewards of following God’s commands in the Leviticus passage are magnificent. Rain will fall; crops will be plentiful; His people will have their fill to eat and live in safety. Even better, He says, “I will put my dwelling place among you . . . I will walk among you and be your God.”
And what are His commands, today? Some may insist that nothing has changed and that we are to follow the Big Ten. But we must remember . . . Jesus summarized those with two commands.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)
Love God; love people.
He did add that third one, a little later, specifically to His disciples.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 NIV)
Father, I look at my own life and see that I don’t do a great job obeying these commands. I feel like I do better than I used to do, but still, there is much room for improvement, especially in that part about loving people. And that quote from that philosopher up there is spot on. It is much easier to “love humanity” than it is to love my neighbor. Because loving my neighbor requires me to get down and dirty with him. It requires real interaction, and with someone I might not otherwise get along with. Help me to remember that these commands are not negotiable, and that my opinions about things are not part of the job description. I ask You, Father, to give me true love for all people, those closest to me, and those farthest away from me; those I like, and those I don’t like so much. And as for my brothers and sisters in Christ, help me to love them deeply they way You have loved us, sacrificially and selflessly.
"Generous God, I sometimes don't know how to handle the rewards You offer. Dare me to believe that like a parent moved by the loving obedience of a child, You give rewards out of delight in a life changed by grace. And like a child, help me to simply open my hands and receive Your goodness. Amen."
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
(Psalms 116:1 NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
(Romans 12:1 NIV)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT)
Thank You, God, for hearing my cry for mercy. Teach me to offer myself as a “living sacrifice,” that I might be holy and pleasing to You. Help me to imitate You, today, and to live a life filled with love, following the example of Jesus.
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!
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
Grace and peace, friends.