Worship God

Today is Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Day 21,719. Six days until the Labor Day holiday!

Temple Grandin, who is 70 today, said, “Autism is a neurological disorder. It’s not caused by bad parenting. It’s caused by, you know, abnormal development in the brain. The emotional circuits in the brain are abnormal. And there also are differences in the white matter, which is the brain’s computer cables that hook up the different brain departments.”
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Coalesce ~ “to grow together; to unite into a whole; to unite for a common end; join forces.”

Today is According to Hoyle Day. Edmond Hoyle was best known for his books on rules for a variety of card games. My parents had one of his books, when I was growing up, and I used to love to read through it. Hoyle died on this date in 1769.

There isn’t much going on around here, right now, but even if there was, it would pale in comparison to what is going on in southeast Texas. I haven’t mentioned it, yet, but Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on, I believe, Thursday or Friday night. Rockport and other coastal towns got hit pretty hard, but Houston is suffering the brunt of what is now a tropical storm, and seems to be pretty much camped out over Harris County, dumping billions of gallons of water on it. And it doesn’t look like Harvey will be leaving the area until at least Thursday of this week. My family and I are okay, as we live in the DFW Metroplex, which is about 250 miles north of there. We’ve gotten a little rain and some cloudy days, that’s pretty much it. But it’s still raining in Houston, and much of the city is underwater, in some places so high that trucks are underwater. If you are the praying type, you might want to send up a prayer for the rain to stop. There are a number of brave volunteers who are sacrificing to go out and help rescue people who are stranded in their homes. The death toll from the storm is between seven and fifteen, depending on which news you look at. In my opinion, that’s pretty miraculous that it’s that low. Any number is too high, of course.

And while all this is going on, I have Facebook friends who can’t seem to care about anything but whether some stupid football players stand up for the National Anthem. I just don’t understand some people.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Psalm 95:1
Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Psalm 144:5
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Psalm 71:23
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 89:1
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
John 10:17-18
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 
from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.

Psalm 17:7-9

(From Living the Message)

The Twenty-four Elders and the Four Animals fell to their knees and worshiped God on his Throne, praising, Amen! Yes! Hallelujah!
Revelation 19:4 (The Message)

John spends a lot of time, in this last book of the Bible, describing scenes of worship in heaven. It might lead one to believe that worship is kind of important. I have believed, for decades, that it is the most important thing we, as followers of Christ, can do. Some believe evangelism is most important; others believe making disciples is more important (no, they are not the same thing). However, as Jesus gave the most important command as loving God with all of our being (heart, soul, mind, and strength), I believe with all my heart that this embodies worship. This helps us keep our focus on what is right in this life. If we are worshiping God, everything else that we should be doing will fall into place.

Father, help me to worship you more. I have, it seems, rather fallen out of this practice. Not that I don’t worship you, but the passion seems to be missing. I implore you, please restore the passion of worship that I once had in my life. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Show me the path, make it clear to me, and then help me to keep my feet on it.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Fasting for Solidarity

“The discipline of fasting can be a means of creating solidarity among people who are separated from one another.”

Good morning. Today is pre-Friday, August 29, 2013. Hard to believe September begins Sunday.

Today is “More Herbs, Less Salt Day.” I’ve already been doing that ever since my blood pressure started getting high. Wait. My blood pressure is not “getting high.” Never mind.


Christi’s thing went very well yesterday. In fact, she said that it couldn’t have gone better. That is so exciting. Exactly what I was praying for.

Yesterday evening, Stephanie wanted me to watch “Parenthood” with her. So we watched the pilot episode on Netflix. It was pretty good, I think. There were several tearful moments, in the first episode, one of which is when one of the main couples learns that their son, Max, has high-functioning Autism (possibly Asperger’s). No wonder Stephanie likes this show! Anyway, Christi was not there to watch with us, but we will introduce her to it later, maybe this weekend.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1842, “the Chinese and British signed the Treaty of Nanking, which not only ended a war but also ceded Hong Kong Island to Great Britain.” Since that treaty was signed, “Hong Kong has represented the ultimate in unfettered trade and tax-free wheeling and dealing that made its businessmen rich.” The foundation of this thriving economy was. . . opium. It seems that the Treaty of Nanking was the thing that finished the first Opium War, fought between China and Britain over the rights to trade opium in Hong Kong. China fought it because they didn’t think it was fair that England was illegally trading opium in Hong Kong. It was the illegal part that bothered them, it was the massive profits that England was getting from it. According to this article, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.


Today’s birthday is Temple Grandin, born on this date in 1947, in Massachusetts. Grandin may be the most famous Autistic person in the world, overcoming the disability to engineer may improvements in the area of animal treatment on farms and in slaughterhouses. She authored a book called Thinking in Pictures, trying to describe how the autistic mind works.

Honorable mentions go to Michael Jackson, 1958-2009, Ingrid Bergman, 1915-1982, Isabel Sanford, 1917-2004, Charlie Bird Parker, 1920-1955, Elliott Gould, 75, Rebecca De Mornay, 54, John Locke, 1632-1704, and Richard Attenborough, 90.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:2-4
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. Psalm 18:46
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
Psalm 104:31-32

Father, teach me your ways that I may walk in your truth. May I declare your glory among the nations as I go about my daily life. You are, indeed, great, and greatly to be praised. May you be my rock and my fortress, all the days of my life.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Fasting in Solidarity.” The scripture reading is Esther 4:7-8, 10-11a, 12-16a.

. . . and Mordecai told [Hamach] all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people.
Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death. . .”
And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king.”

During this crisis, in response to Mordecai, Esther proclaims a fast for all of the Jews in Susa and states that she and her “young women” will do the same. “The discipline of fasting can be a means of creating solidarity among people who are separated from one another.” It also reminds us that “spirituality cannot be divorced from physical, embodied experience.” This is important, as some want to completely separate the spiritual from the physical. As Esther prepares to confront the king (knowing full well that it could cost her life), she knows that her entire community is with her “in spirit and in body.”

It is very encouraging to know that we have solidarity in certain times and circumstances. To have an entire church fasting over a decision that needs to be made would be a great encouragement, I believe, not only to the pastors and leadership, but to the people as well.


Father, I thank you for teachings on this discipline, and pray that, any time I take part in it, that I might stop for a moment to think about and pray for people who are fasting together, for various reasons. May we experience, as your Church, more solidarity in the circumstances of our lives, as we learn more about community and faith. May we learn to be the Church as you intended it to be.

I pray for this day today. I pray that Christi and I will have a good work day. She has a lot to get done for meetings tomorrow, plus Steph has a followup visit to the oral surgeon tomorrow morning. I pray that Christi can get everything done that needs to be done. I pray for Stephanie’s continued healing and pray that her progress is good.


Next time you engage in a fast, if you do so, consider praying for people in the world who are “fasting” because they don’t have enough food.

Grace and peace, friends.