Today is Saturday (right?), the ninth of October, 2021.
Peace be with you!
Only three days until our 36th wedding anniversary!
I had another great day at the library, yesterday. I helped one patron with her employment application website, although “helped” may be stretching it. We were both confused when she left, as the site said she had submitted an application, but nothing was showing up when she clicked to review it. It was too close to closing to keep going, though. I had never used the particular site she was on, so I didn’t know much about it.
We have a regular patron who seems to be helping people with things like citizenship applications and what-not. I initially thought he was some kind of legal counsel, but the other librarians said no, that he is a pastor who is helping people with things, and doesn’t get any money from them. That’s pretty cool.
Then I helped several people with printing needs, from resumes to pay stubs. The young woman who printed her resume seemed somewhat desperate. That made me sad.
We had our homemade pizza with cauliflower crust for dinner last night. That’s always good. C and I watched one of the new episodes of Leverage: Redemption, via Prime Video. It’s featured on IMDB TV, but is available through Prime.
I got my first Interlibrary Loan, yesterday. It’s a collection of stories by one of the SF Grand Masters, Jack Williamson, called Spider Island, and includes a story called “The Blue Spot,” which was published in 1935. I have been unable to find that story, and the collection, even though published in 2002, is out of print and very hard to find. At least hard to find for less than $100, which I’m not willing to pay for a book. I just want to read it, not collect it. So one of my new friends at the Hurst Library found it for me. At the TCU Library, of all places! I was quite surprised at that. I have a couple weeks to get it finished, so I will get right on it as soon as I finish the book on the Hamilton musical. I’m about a third of the way through that one.
Today, C and I are going ahead with our plan to drive up to Oklahoma, to Winstar Casino. Between us, we have $100 of bonus play and $50 of meal vouchers, so that should be a good time. Tomorrow, we may go to a craft fair at the Hurst Conference Center. That, of course, depends on how C feels after going to Winstar today.
My next library shift is Tuesday evening 4:15-8:15, in shelving.
Oh! I almost forgot. Baseball! The big news (at least for me) is the Red Sox trouncing the Rays, 14-6. It started of with a bang (and the Sox being down 5-2 after one inning), and never let up. Home runs galore, on both sides. One thing for sure, Chris Sale is not up to snuff. Don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he never had control of that game. So the teams will head to Fenway for game three tomorrow, series tied 1-1.
The Astros beat the Other Sox, 9-4, to take a 2-0 lead in that series. Their next game will be in Chicago, tomorrow. The Brewers beat the Braves 2-1, to take 1-0 lead in that series, which will continue in Milwaukee today. And the Giants shut out the Dodgers 4-0, to also take a 1-0 lead in their series, which will also continue in San Francisco today. If I’m pulling for a NL team, it’s the Brewers. I have no reason to like the Braves, and plenty of reasons to not like LA or SF. And, frankly, if the Red Sox lose their series to the Rays, I’m out for the season, because I don’t want any of those AL teams to win.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Letting Soul, by Daryl Madden
Soaking of the morning Of senses here to fill To be fully present Letting the soul still Psalm of song in silence Caress of a soft breeze Fragrance to awaken Setting soul at ease Blessed within the light A drifting of above Receiving sacred gifts To shower soul in love Heart of preparation Aware and fully here So grateful is our being To offer soul in prayer
With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:41 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for Twisted Pine Highlander Grogg coffee 2. for Heman and Jeduthun and "the rest of those chosen," who had one job, to give thanks to the LORD 3. for the call on my life to have a heart of gratitude and live a life of kindness (pray for me, because I don't always succeed in those tasks) 4. that I'm a whole lot better and a whole lot worse than what you think I am 5. that salvation is purely of grace, totally worked by the right hand and holy arm of God
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY – DAY SEVEN
He loves righteousness and justice. The earth is full of the loving kindness of Yahweh.
(Psalms 33:5 WEB)
As I pause for quiet reflection I wonder if the earth is really full of His loving kindness. I suppose it depends upon your perspective. You have to look beyond its inhabitants to see it.
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
(Psalms 98:1-6 NIV)
“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!
He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me,
who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me.
Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.
“He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”
(2 Samuel 22:47-51 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
Another quiet pause of reflection. What is the Holy Spirit saying to me, this morning?
In Psalm 98, another “orphan psalm” (it has a title, but no author), I take note of the line that says, “his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” As well as the next line, that says that He has made His salvation known, and that His righteousness has been revealed to the nations.
Paul the Apostle testifies to this truth in the first chapter of Romans.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(Romans 1:20-21 NIV)
Who has worked salvation? God. Not man. Again, in Ephesians, Paul testifies to this truth.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)
My salvation is in the hands of God and God alone. It has never been, nor will it ever be, in MY hands, nor is it in the hands of any other human being.
When I was an adolescent, there was a common myth being taught in “witnessing training” classes, that if I failed in my responsibility to “witness” to person X, person X might die and go to hell, so I’d better do my duty.
With all due respect to whomever respect is due, that’s a crock of you know what.
For one thing, we should never, EVER use guilt and/or shame to induce people to witness to others. There is no place for manipulation in the kingdom of God. And you can’t “manipulate” someone into the kingdom, anyway.
For another thing, why would anyone believe that God would leave our salvation in the hands of imperfect, totally fallible, humans?? If your salvation, your “ticket” for that “train” is in my hands, you’d better run, my friend. Because I’m a sinner, just like you. Probably worse than you. I’m reminded of a great line from one of my favorite Christian bands, The Choir. It’s in this song, “What You Think I Am.”
I'm a dedicated minister, And a downright sinister man; I'm a whole lot better And a whole lot worse Than what you think I am.
This has become my all time favorite song by The Choir, because I see myself in it. There’s a meme I’ve seen circulating on Facebook lately. It says something like “Everyone has chapters that they don’t want read out loud.” Yes, sir. That’s me.
I'm a good Samaritan, And a very, very bad man; I'm a whole lot better And a whole lot worse Than what you think I am.
And it is the right hand and holy arm of the Lord Almighty that has worked His salvation in me. In me, in you, in everyone who enjoys the great salvation of our God. I had nothing to do with it.
“But you accepted it!” some might object. “You had a choice!”
Even that ability to choose and accept was a gift from God. My salvation is not of works, lest I should boast. That’s a very important idea in that Galatians verse. Like Paul, the only thing I have to boast about is the grace and power of our God. The only thing, as Horatius Bonar said, that I can bring to God, is my sin, because I have nothing else that I can call my own.
I might preach kindness and love to you, and then turn around and judge you because of something you do or say. Hear me well . . . I despise that about myself, and am constantly on my knees (at least figuratively), asking the Father to grant me repentance and give me more kindness and compassion toward my neighbors and my brothers and sisters.
When I enter my eternal inheritance, my reward, it will not be because of anything I have done. It will be solely because of what Christ has done on the Cross, which was the right hand and holy arm of the Lord God Almighty, working His salvation and revealing His righteousness to the world.
I kind of went down a rabbit hole, there. But I was looking for what the Spirit was saying to me, and that line stood out immediately. What follows the full realization that salvation is of God, and God alone, is the verses that tell me to shout to the Lord, for joy, and burst into jubilant song. And why wouldn’t I?? What glorious truth! In spite of myself, God has saved me!
In the words of John Newton:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see!
And in the words of Isaac Watts:
Alas! and did my savior bleed, And did my Sov'reign die? Would He devote that sacred head For such a worm as I?
Well-meaning folks would later change “such a worm” to “sinners such as I.” I have long rejected that change. I am, and have been for many years, quite comfortable in recognizing my “worminess.” But glory, glory, Ralph Hudson came along later and added:
At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away (rolled away). It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!
Yes, it’s true. I’m a whole lot better and a whole lot worse than you think I am. I’m a good Samaritan, and a very, very bad man. But Jesus saved me, thanks to the right hand and strong holy arm of God, and because of His grace, no thanks to me, no “work” on my part, my eternal inheritance is secured. And it was secured “At the cross,” not on that day when I was nine years old and walked down the aisle of Calvary Baptist Church in Mineral Wells, Texas. That was just icing on the cake, my friends. The “cake” was already mine.
So I will sing along with David when he writes:
"The LORD lives, and blessed be my Rock, and exalted be my God, the Rock of my salvation, the God who gave me vengeance and brought down peoples under me, who brought me out from my enemies; You exalted me above those who rose against me; You delivered me from men of violence. For this I will praise You, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to Your Name."
Most blessed Savior and Lord, I thank You and praise You for saving me. The work was done thousands of years ago on the Cross; work done by You; nothing was required of me, other than to give what You had given me and believe in Your work. The grace was all Yours; the work was all Yours; everything a gift from You, that I would have nothing about which to boast. Thank You, Jesus, for Your grace and mercy and compassion. Now work this salvation out in me, through Your Holy Spirit, as I grow in You, daily. Teach me the compassion that You showed to all people, that I might display Your love in this world, today. Take away the part of me; chisel it out; that part that judges others, that part that makes me a “very, very bad man.” Leave in me only the “good” parts, that goodness that comes only from You, Lord.
I pray for Your Church, that we would, collectively, work for the common good of all people while sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that “deep care, bold love, and rich community” would be experienced in Her. And I pray, specifically, for teachers, schools, students, and administrators during this difficult times.
"Father in heaven, worship makes a missionary of me. I worship You, great God, and long for Your goodness to be known in all the earth, for all people to know Your glory. Send me so that Your Name is honored and praised everywhere, a life or praise for Your renown. Amen."
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 WEB)
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.
(Romans 15:14 ESV)
If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
(1 Corinthians 8:2-3 ESV)
I love that last verse. It really produces humility. If you think you know something, you don’t know anything. “You know nothing, Jon Snow!”
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!
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace. (Agnus Dei)
Grace and peace, friends.