“If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because he wants you to discover his plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 19, 2014.

Today is Daiquiri Day. I will confess that I love an occasional strawberry daiquiri. Or peach.

Things have improved, perhaps even drastically, at Christi’s job. She had a good talk with the top people for the customer (at least the top people at her site), and it sounds like they really worked some things out. Wednesday afternoon, she was ready to completely give up. But the really good thing that came from the conversation was that the customer seems to be very happy with her and the work she is doing. So that’s good news.

We have our worship service and prayer time this evening, starting at 4:45. After that, I believe Christi (and maybe Stephanie) will be going out for a ladies’ night out.

Both the Red Sox and Rangers won their first game back from the All Star break. The Sox gained a game in their division, and are now only 8.5 games out, while the Rangers continue to be 21 out, since Oakland won again.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1799 that twenty-eight year old Pierre-Francois Bouchard, while rebuilding Fort Julien in Egypt, came across a stone that had Greek inscriptions, as well as two different forms of ancient Egyptian. We know this stone as the Rosetta Stone. Yes, it’s a real thing, not just an over-priced software package.

Today’s birthdays include Jared Padalecki, Brian May, Anthony Edwards, Lizzie Borden, Vikki Carr, Allen Collins, Ilie Nastasie, Samuel Colt, and Bernie Leadon. Brian May is the guitar player for Queen. He turns 67 years old today. Here is a clip of him playing “God Save the Queen” atop Buckingham Palace.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:15-17
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!
Psalm 79:9
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!Psalm 72:18-19
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalm 103:2
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.
Psalm 90:2-7

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name.
May your kingdom come, and your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Abandoned To His Will.” Actually that’s yesterday’s reading. Whenever I miss a day, I have two to choose from, and I think yesterday’s is slightly better than today’s. It’s also brief, so I will quote it in its entirety.

“Concretely, abandonment to the will of God consists of finding his purpose for you in all the people, events, and circumstances you encounter. If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because he wants you to discover his plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up. The response of trust is ‘Thank you, Jesus,’ even if it is said through clenched teeth.”

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Father, help me to be abandoned to your will. I believe that, in several instances, you have, indeed, torn up my “beautiful game plan” and driven me into the valley, that I might look up to your beautiful face and discover your plan for my life. I’m still a little fuzzy on that plan, sometimes, even at 56 years old, but I’m trying to keep my eyes looking at you to determine which way to go. The last few years have been very interesting. I pray that you keep me on the path, and am open to you sending me whichever way you want to.

I pray for this day. Christi has gone out to get groceries for her mother. I pray that she will get this done safely. I pray that you continue to work in her job situation, and praise you for the progress that has been made. I pray for our church prayer time and worship time this evening, that both will be honoring and glorifying to you. I pray that you make your presence known this evening, in a new and fresh way for us. May your glory fill the room where we worship.

Your grace is sufficient.

I pray that we can all discover God’s beautiful plan for us, even if it takes us into the valley.

Grace and peace, friends.

I Don’t Always Obey, But When I Do, It’s Because…

It’s Thursday morning, July 19, 2012. Today is “National Daiquiri Day.” Make mine strawberry, please. Or peach. Today is also “National Flitch Day.” I know…I’ve never heard of it either. Apparently, this stems from a tradition of giving a “flitch” to a newly married couple that makes it through their first year. What is a “flitch?” It’s an amount of bacon equaling half a pig. It seems to be an English tradition, dating back to as early as 1104. Ron Swanson would like this. He would probably marry someone new every two years just to take advantage of this tradition.

On this date in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was found. It held the key to solving “the riddle of hieroglyphics.” On this date in 1879, Doc Holliday shot Mike Gordon, who was shooting up Holliday’s saloon in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Gordon died the next day. This was Holliday’s first killing.

Not much to report about yesterday. It was a pretty average day in our life, so I’ll get right to the devotional.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of your face today. May your Spirit give me the inspiration I need to get through this day. Just enough grace for today.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 49. There is some great wisdom in this psalm, written by the “sons of Korah.”
Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surround me,
those who trust in their wealth and boast of the the abundance of their riches?
Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever and never see the pit.

Indeed, why should I fear? Why should I fear, and why should I envy? This psalmist doesn’t mention envy, but I do…there is equally no reason to envy those who boast in their wealth. And the reason is given in verses 7-9. All the wealth in the world will not keep you out of the grave! You cannot ransom your own life. However, this psalmist has confidence that comes forth in verse 15. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Another message I get from this psalm is that there is nothing I can do to ransom my own life, but God will take care of that. My life is in his hands, and he has ransomed “my soul from the power of Sheol.”

Finally, in verse 20, he closes with this: Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish. No matter how rich, a man without the wisdom of God is no better than a beast.

My Utmost For His Highest

You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. John 13:13 (The KJV renders “Teacher” as “Master”)

Today’s reading continues on a theme from yesterday, that Jesus “never insists on having authority; He never says – Thou shalt.” However, when his redemption becomes real in me, “I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me.” I see that he is worthy, and it is “only the unworthy in me that refuses to bow down to the worthy.” And believe me, there is plenty of “unworthy” in me! Chambers brings an interesting idea into this, today. He says that God uses people who are a little bit more holy than we are to reveal what is unworthy in us, “until we get under the domination of the Lord Himself, and then the whole attitude of the life is one of obedience to Him.”
We go back to yesterday’s title and the question at the end. Why do I obey? The reason I give is the revelation of how I have grown in grace. Jesus didn’t order people around, like a taskmaster. Yet they obeyed him…because he obviously had authority. We don’t see Jesus face to face; we don’t get the same sense of his otherworldly authority. Nevertheless, it is there.
Chambers throws another loop in here. “Obedience is only possible between equals; it is the relationship between father and son, not between master and servant.” I get what he is saying, although I’m not sure I agree with the semantics. Jesus obeyed the Father because he was the Son, not in order to become the Son. When I obey Jesus, it is because I am his “brother,” not to become his brother. There is a fine line here, but it is significant. I don’t obey in order to become holy. I obey because I have already been made holy.
I stumble, however, over this idea of equality. I do not consider myself equal with Jesus, even though, by merit of the redemption, I have been made his “brother.” On the other hand, in terms of righteousness, his righteousness has been imputed to me, therefore, in that light, we are equal, because we both have the righteousness of Christ. And I’m not traveling one more inch down this path…it’s too confusing. Suffice it to say that, when I obey, my obedience is because I have already been made holy by the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Father, I thank you for the work that you have done in my life, by the power of the Spirit, and by the blood of Jesus. It staggers me to think that I could be equal with Christ. I can’t get my head around that one. However, I do know, and have finally believed that, yes, I am holy because of what you have done in my life. You have erased my sin, cast it into the deepest parts of the ocean, as far as the east is from the west. You have forgiven me, even though I continue to sin. You have made me a “saint.” Therefore, when I obey the words of Christ, it is not out of compulsion, guilt, or a sense of duty. It is because the thing that is worthy and holy within me recognizes that which is worthy in him, and I willingly submit to his authority, which is, ultimately, your authority. I pray that, as I hopefully grow in grace, I will grow also in obedience, especially as I progress down this path of intercession. I know I’ve been throwing that word around a lot lately, but this is where I believe you want me. I struggle with my worthiness; I really do. Sometimes when I pray, I don’t feel worthy to be praying. I don’t feel fit for this task. But I do it anyway, because I believe it is where you want me. May my prayers be effective, Father, and may I be faithful to pray for the lives which you have brought to me in this task. May I never take this lightly or flippantly.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi will have a good day today at her work, and me at mine. May our work day be stress-free today. I pray for Stephanie’s day today, here at home, that she might find time to think upon you and perhaps read your words and pray a bit.

I thank you for some answered prayer that I am seeing.

I ask, now, for focus and clarity as I go into my private prayers. I pray that your Spirit will reach into the depths of my heart and clean out that which is unworthy.

Your grace is sufficient.

While I am unable to grasp the full meaning of today’s reading, I know this. God has, by the power of Jesus, made me holy. And this makes me worthy to obey.

Grace and peace, friends.