Today is December 29, 2019. The fifth day of Christmas. Peace be with you!
Three days until New Year’s Day, 2020!
Today is Tick Tock Day. “Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock… This is the sound of the year, and indeed your life, slowly slipping away. Every moment not spent living life to the fullest is another moment that is gone forever, impossible to reclaim. Tick Tock Day reminds you that the year is almost at an end, and there are things still left to be doing, and in fact only two days left to do them in. Don’t let the year end with regret! Get out there and beat the Tick Tock!”
Personally, I prefer not to worry about the Tick Tock. After all, I have nothing that absolutely has to get done before January 1, 2020. And, I’m trying to live by Dallas Willard’s encouragement to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” That also eliminates the tyranny of the Tick Tock.
C took down Christmas, yesterday. That sounds rather extreme, doesn’t it? It really just means that all of the decorations are down. She did all of this while I was at the leadership meeting, and while I was finishing up my daily blog. All of the inside decorations, the tree, and the outside decorations are all put away until the weekend after Thanksgiving of 2020.
Sadly, she is not feeling well, this morning. It sounds to me like she has come down with the sinus-bronchitis “crud.” She doesn’t think she feels feverish, so she doesn’t think it’s flu. We certainly hope not. It remains to be seen if she will make it to our church meeting this morning.
Speaking of church meeting, The Exchange Church is “scattered” this morning, as we meet in different homes to devote ourselves to “the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) Each group begins at 10:15. The three homes are at 4760 Baytree Dr (76137), 7117 Payte Ln (76182), and 4033 Jackie Lee St (76180). All are in Fort Worth (or suburbs, thereof). If you’re reading this and in the area, you are welcome and invited to join us.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
Today I am grateful:
1. For another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. For the mild non-winter-like weather we are having.
3. For the steadfast love of the Lord, that reaches to the heavens (Psalm 36.5).
4. That I can learn to be like Jesus by watching him and listening to him daily.
5. For the unceasing presence of the Trinity in my life.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee?
Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”
So there was a division among the people over him.
Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18.1-3, 30-31
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.
“Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that I, who have been born again and made your child by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through my Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
(From Faith That Matters)
An Essential Condition, by Dallas Willard
And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
“If I am to be someone’s apprentice, there is one absolutely essential condition. I must be with that person.” That seems rather simple, doesn’t it? If you are going to learn how to be an electrician, you have to study with an electrician. Oh, sure, there are classes, probably, but any craftsman, before he or she can be “released” into the world to do their craft, must be an apprentice.
Obviously, when Levi, later known as Matthew, began following Jesus, Jesus was physically on the earth. And Levi, along with eleven other men, followed Jesus for several years. They learned from him by being with him.
“If I am Jesus’ disciple that means I am with him to learn from him how to be like him.” How do we learn from our teachers? How did we learn how to do math? How did we learn how to read? How did we learn another language? By watching and listening to our teachers. So, we learn how to be like Jesus by watching him and listening to him.
“And provision has been made for us to be with Jesus, as one person to another, in our daily life. But it is also necessary that we have a practical–though not a metaphysical or even a theological–understanding of this arrangement in order to carry on our side of the apprenticeship relation.”
Jesus is not physically here, now. But the Holy Spirit is, as well as the Scriptures, handed down to us from people who were with him on a daily basis. Through those Scriptures, we are able to “watch and listen” to Jesus as he lived on the earth. If I am to be considered a follower of Jesus, this is an essential condition. I must “be with him” daily.
It is also helpful to remember Acts 4:13. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Can anyone recognize that I have been with Jesus?
Father, I pray that you would remind me, daily, of the presence of you, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in Trinitarian reality. Teach me to be like Jesus. Help me to watch him and listen to him daily. May 2020 be a year of unprecedented growth for me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13.14
Grace and peace, friends.