Today is Wednesday, September 7, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!
Yesterday’s temperature reached 93, at around 3:00 PM, which is a tad higher than expected. It was still fairly warm when we left the library, shortly after 8:00 PM, but not so hard to breathe. We did not get any rain, yesterday. Today’s high is also expected to be 93. The record high for today’s date was in 2012, at 103. It is still showing that we got .88 inch of rain over the last 72 hours.
I’m off work today, as I am every other Wednesday. I will work tomorrow, 8 hours in the computer center, but I will also work 8 hours in the computer center on Friday, this week, as my schedule change is effective on Friday. Going forward, I will not be working Thursdays anymore (after tomorrow).
I have an appointment at a dermatologist, this afternoon, to check on getting a couple of cysts removed from my head. They are right on top of my head, and there is no hair there, so they are quite obvious. So I’m going to try to get them removed. It shouldn’t be an issue, as I have had this done in the past. The only question is if one of them is too large for them to do it, in which case, they will likely refer me to a plastic surgeon, which has also happened one time in the past, when I had a very large cyst right at the top of my forehead.
For dinner, tonight, I am planning to make Beef Enchilada Pasta Skillet, from my favorite cooking website, Emily Bites.
The Texas Rangers broke their losing streak, last night, winning a rare one-run game against the Astros, 4-3. This makes them 59-76 for the season, but they remain in fourth place in the AL West, a half game behind the Angels. They are eliminated from any shot at the division, but still have a slim (very slim) chance at a Wild Card spot. Their WCE# is 12, with 27 games remaining in the season.
The Red Sox fell further behind by losing to the Rays 8-4. They are now 67-70 for the season, and, even though they are 15 games out of first place, are, miraculously, not mathematically eliminated. Their E# is 12. They are nine games out of a Wild Card spot, and their WCE# is 18. They have 25 games left.
There is now a tie for the lead in the NL East division, between Atlanta and the Mets. No one has clinched a division or playoff berth, just yet.
The Dodgers won, making their MLB leading record 93-42. With 27 games remaining, they still have a slim, but unlikely chance, to beat the win record. The Nationals lost, keeping them at the bottom with 48-88. To make matters worse for them, the Pirates won. But the A’s lost, and are now only two games ahead of the Nats. At this point, being the worst is anyone’s game. The Dodgers, of course, are not guaranteed to wind up the best, but the next team is 6.5 games behind them.
The Braves have the best current win streak (which is why they are now tied for first place), at six straight games. The Marlins now have the longest losing streak, at eight games. The Dodgers improved their leading run differential to +294, and the Pirates and Nationals are now tied for the worst, with -203. The Rangers have -11, and the Red Sox are down to -45.
My hopes of having a team in the playoffs grow slimmer with each passing day. As previously mentioned, I’m pulling for the Orioles to get one of those Wild Card spots away from either Toronto or Tampa. I’m also pulling for Cleveland, who is currently leading the AL Central. Why Cleveland? Because Terry Francona, that’s why Cleveland! I really, really wish Texas could lure him away from Cleveland.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord our God, remind us again and again of what you have done in our hearts and lives to make us certain of the resurrection. Help us to live in this certainty and to hold fast to everything good and great which you bring into our lives. Grant us the assurance that we are gaining ground in the battle for the redemption of those who are still in darkness and in the shadow of death. May we find joy in what we have here and now. Give us patience in our struggles. Give us hope for all that has gone wrong, because even what is in darkness is still in your hands. In the end everything must be brought to the light so that all humankind may glorify your great name. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
(1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- for all things good and great that God brings into our lives
- that, in spite of what we might see around us, God is working His plan, and it will come to pass
- for the inheritance that is kept for us in heaven
- for memories
- that Jesus, because of His sacrifice, and He did not hold onto His life in this world, has made intercession for sinners
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
(John 12:25-26 ESV)
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. (Psalms 77:11-14 ESV)
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
(Philippians 1:3 ESV)
The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
(Proverbs 10:7 ESV)
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:12 ESV)
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life,” said Jesus. But He also said that we are to love our neighbor as ourself. How do I do that if I’m supposed to hate my life?
I believe there is a difference between “hating” my “life in this world,” and hating myself. We are never told to hate ourselves. The Greek word that is translated “life” in John 12:25 is psuche or psyche, which can also be translated as “breath” or “spirit.”
So this is not talking about wishing we would die, that our physical life would cease to be. Rather, it is speaking of the way in which we engage in this life, in this world. I believe it is a call to be somewhat detached from this life, almost aloof. Not to be careless, mind you, or irresponsible, because being careless and irresponsible can have negative impact on other people.
For a long time, now, I have had this mindset of, and this is also biblical, what can man do to me? It’s kind of like saying, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Certainly, there are things in this life that I enjoy. I like reading my books; I like playing my games; I like listening to and playing music. But I am less and less attached to those things (you might not know that if you see how much time I spend in front of the PS4), as I long more and more for Home.
And this longing for Home is not a wish to die, either. I have no interest in dying. There are people around me with whom I enjoy spending time. There are people around me who depend on me for things. I don’t desire to leave them just yet.
But I have less and less regard for my “life in this world.”
Jesus, according to that passage in Isaiah 53, had little regard for His life in this world. He “poured out His soul to death.” In doing so, He “bore the sin of many,” and made intercession for all sinners.
That word “intercession” gets thrown around a lot, usually in regard to prayer. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray. However, that is not the meaning of “intercession” in Isaiah 53:12.
“Intercede,” simply means, “intervene on behalf of another.” That can take many forms. In Isaiah 53:12, Jesus intervened on our behalf by giving up His life.
And in Philippians 2, we see a similar message about Jesus.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:8 ESV)
Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who “hated” His “life in this world.” He did not hate Himself. But He did not love His life to the point of trying to preserve it. And look at the results.
One result is the salvation of sinners. But another result is this:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)
The one who wished to exalt himself in this life has all the reward he is going to get. If someone does acts of charity simply to be recognized by men, that will be the extent of his reward.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
(Matthew 6:2 ESV)
That is an example of loving a life in this world.
Jesus’s “power in intercession was established by His sacrifice; intercession claims what the sacrifice has already won.” (Andrew Murray)
So if we feel like we don’t have the power to pray or don’t know how, perhaps we need to examine how much we love our lives in this world. How much do we complain about things that don’t go our way? I struggle so much with this, personally. The more I understand these truths, the less that is an issue, but it still an issue. I’m dealing with something along those lines, right now, but God is helping me to understand; He is helping me to “hate” my “life in this world.”
I don’t hate myself, and I won’t do that. No worries there. I mean, sure, sometimes I don’t like myself very much, especially when I get unrealistically angry over something petty. But in general, I try to look at myself the way God looks at me (as best as I can tell), which is through the perspective of Jesus Christ, who died for me and interceded for my sin and placed His righteousness upon me.
Father, I praise You for Jesus Christ, Your Son, who has interceded for all sinners by not loving His life and by being obedient to the point of death. I acknowledge that You have exalted Him, because of this, and have given Him the name that is above every name. I humbly and willingly bow to His name and confess with my tongue (and my fingertips) that Jesus is Lord!
I praise You for His intercession on our behalf, and for the righteousness that He has placed upon us. I have no righteousness of my own, no inherent goodness. I do not hate myself, but, according to Your Word, have a healthy hatred of my life in this world, that I might, then, keep it for eternal life in Your presence, after the resurrection.
Help me to do this more and more; help me to not love my life in this world, to set aside my desires that are not in line with Your desires. Help me to not express anger over petty things, things that do not matter, things that are only “footstool” problems. Help me to learn these things and not just repeat the same things over and over.
I am grateful for all the saints, Father, and the relationships that we have with them. I am thankful for the ones who went before us, that we might learn from them. And I am thankful for the ones that will come after us, and hope that we might do something of value that they would learn from us.
All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.