Priesthood of Believers

Today is Thursday, February 28, 2019. Last day of February.

Day 22,267

14 days until our next Glen Rose weekend!!!

Quote of the Day

Try as you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.”
Victor Hugo, French author, 1802-1885
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Petrichor ~ a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground.

It was cold and gross outside, last night, so we stayed in. C picked up Freebirds for dinner, and we watched two episodes of the Netflix series, The Innocent Man, based on a John Grisham non-fiction book about a couple of murders in Ada, Oklahoma. So far, it is very interesting.

Today, C is staying after work because they are offering coaching help for bowlers going to the Open Championship in May. I wrote about that, yesterday, as I am going to go with her, this year, and spend a few nights in Las Vegas.

Last night, I booked a couple of tickets for a fun event coming up toward the end of March. The Fort Worth Symphony is going to be presenting Jurassic Park, the movie, with the orchestra performing the soundtrack for the movie, LIVE! One of my top five favorite movies of all time, with a live symphony orchestra!! How much better can that get?? C is not a fan of Jurassic Park, so I have invited our pastor to attend with me.

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

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. 
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11-12

Today I am grateful:
1. For another day of life.
2. For coffee (this morning I am drinking Cake Boss Chocolate Cannoli.
3. For a pastor who teaches truth.
4. That God is guiding me into more spiritual activity.
5. That there is forgiveness in Christ.

O God and Father of all,
whom the whole heavens adore:
Let the whole earth also worship you,
all nations obey you,
all tongues confess and bless you,
and men and women everywhere
  love you and serve you in peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “A Primer in the Priesthood of Believers,” by Eugene Peterson.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

Peterson cites David as “the premier biblical instance of what’s sometimes called ‘the priesthood of all believers.'” Martin Luther spoke much of this concept during the Reformation, as he worked to make Christianity accessible to all people, but it wasn’t original with him. As we look at Scripture, we see a variety of “offices” — “prophet, priest, wise person, elder, apostle, deacon, bishop, and so on” — but through the history of the church, and in the Bible, the “emphasis is on the people.” Here’s the important thing: “All the offices/jobs are servant positions for assisting and encouraging men and women to be the people of God and not merely a crowd of religious consumers. These servants are set among the people to counter the downward-slipping inertia by which people tend to congeal into a sodden, undifferentiated mush.” Healthy Christian communities consist of people who are not “demeaned and dispirited into being followers and consumers.” That’s what cults do. A real Christian community empowers its people as the servants in the so-called “offices” serve them!

What is my role and your role in this priesthood of all believers?

Father, show me my role in this. Let me not be guilty of “consumer Christianity.” I am grateful for a pastor who is teaching this, who doesn’t want to create a cult with himself as the leader. Let us be Your people, equipped for the work of ministry!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria!!

Prayer Changes Me

Today is Sunday, August 28, 2016. 47 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.” – Victor Hugo

Word of the Day

Kith – acquaintances, friends, neighbors, or the like; persons living in the same general locality and forming a more or less cohesive group.

Today is Pony Express Day. This day celebrates the mail delivery system of the late 1800s. Sadly, it only existed for eighteen months, from April 3, 1860 to October of 1861. It was a very dangerous occupation.

We had a wonderful day with R & J yesterday. After they arrived, we gave J his birthday gifts, and then decided where to have lunch. We wound up going to one of our regular places, Hoffbrau. As usual, it was quite delicious. Afterward, we came home and had cake that C made for J’s birthday. It was chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Yum!! Very Yum!!

We watched some videos on Youtube, then they left around 5:30. R was tired, and had agreed to work a 12 hour shift at the hospital today, so she needed to get some rest. Things are going well for her, though, and that makes us very happy. J is also very happy at his work place, so that is also very good.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering this morning. We worship with The Exchange Church. We meet at 10:15 at the Northpark YMCA at 9100 N. Beach St., Fort Worth, TX.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.
Psalm 107:10-16

Sometimes, we get into situations that appear to be hopeless. Some of those situations are due to our own actions, while others are due to actions of others, totally outside of our control. Either way, there is no way out. “And then God rescues us: from Egypt, from Babylon, from Calvary, from sin, from death.”

“Shatter the doors of bronze that shut me up in guilt, O God; cut the bars of iron that lock me into doubt. Release me into the free land of the forgiven; lead me into the open spaces of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

What’s the Good of Prayer?

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

Prayer is not a normal part of the normal man’s life. Do we believe that a man will suffer if he does not pray? It is not necessarily so. However, what will suffer is the life of the Son of God in a believer, “which is nourished not by food, but by prayer.” We can either starve that life or feed that life, and one of the most important ways to feed it is through prayer.

“Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament.” We tend to see prayer as a means of getting things from God. We might deny that, but, if we’re honest, we have to admit it. Most people only pray when they need something from God. Maybe they’ve come to the “end of their rope,” exhausted all other possible solutions to a problem. So, finally, they pray. And then what do they say? “It’s in God’s hands now!” When was it not in God’s hands? The Bible sees prayer as a way to get God. When we pray, that is what we should be after.

Certainly it is not wrong to ask God for things. Jesus told us to. “Ask, and God will do.” Again, though, most of us tend to wait until we are at our wits’ end. “Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits’ end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.”

Does prayer change things? Not so much as it changes me. When I pray, faithfully, it changes the way I look at things.

Father, I still need you to help me pray correctly. I’m still not even sure what that means. Teach me the ways of Jesus in prayer. I know the “Model Prayer.” I’ve had it memorized for years. I even pray it verbatim sometimes, trying not to just be saying “vain repetitions.” But I still need your Spirit to mold me into the kind of pray-er that you desire me to be. Prayer has changed me. And I have recently seen some answered prayers that have shaken my world. I praise you for those. Keep working in me to change me.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

Don’t Put Self-Interest on the Throne

“When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.” – Victor Hugo
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is waybread, “Chiefly in fantasy fiction (after J. R. R. Tolkien’s use): a kind of sustaining food made for eating before or during a long journey, typically in the form of flat bread or wafers.”

Today is Drawing Day. I don’t know about that. I don’t draw well, at all. I got musical talent from my parents (and the Lord, of course), but I did not get my father’s drawing talent.

It’s Monday again, which means band practice tonight.

The Red Sox pulled out a 10-9 victory over the Astros yesterday afternoon. After a serious pounding on Thursday (11-1), the Astros fought back hard in the rest of the games in the series, winning only one of them. The Orioles lost yesterday, so the Sox are back in that “virtual tie,” seven percentage points behind the O’s. Meanwhile, the Rangers pulled out a 7-6 victory over the Boo Jays in a game which included an ugly brawl during the eighth inning. Rougned Odor got in one seriously good punch, though, smacking Joey Bats squarely in the jaw, sending his glasses and helmet flying. Of course, I cannot condone this type of behavior, but someone has needed to do that to that punk for a long time. Oh, look! There’s already a video on You Tube!

And there’s already a t-shirt!

Anyway, the Rangers won and Seattle lost another game to the Angels, so the Rangers are back in first place, a half game up! Unfortunately, they now travel to the west coast to play the A’s, so I won’t know until tomorrow morning if they won, because I don’t stay up that late on weekdays.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
that you may strike your feet in their blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

Psalm 68:21-23

God’s deliverance of Israel included a miracle at the Red Sea, as well as victory over “warlike giants.” He is more than an expert at delivering his people from “formidable dangers.” And the Bible is filled with memories of the salvation of God, fueling our faith.

“Father, stock my mind with the remembrances of your victories, your resurrection ways among your people, that when I encounter danger or difficulty I may confidently trust your power to save me in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“The Habit of Wealth”

. . .partakers of the divine nature, . . .
2 Peter 1:4

“We are made partakers of the Divine nature through the promises, then we have to ‘manipulate’ the Divine nature in our human nature by habits, and the first habit to form is the habit of realizing the provision God has made.” It is a terrible mistake (and lie) to say that we cannot afford to do whatever it is that God is calling us to do. This is not referring to a “name it/claim it,” health and prosperity “gospel,” either. It is simply calling us to have faith in the provision that God has given us and to have faith in the promises of Scripture that God will act on our behalf. “He will tax the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will obey Him.”

The danger is to give way to self-pity and “indulge in the habit of misery.” When we allow this to happen, we “banish God’s riches from our own lives and hinder others from entering into His provision.” When we indulge in self-pity, we put “self-interest upon the throne.” So what if circumstances are hard? It may not be “Scriptural,” but it’s true; we were never promised a “rose garden.” Because, as another popular song put it, “every rose has its thorn.”

Father, increase my faith in your provision. Help me develop the habits that Chambers has spoken of in the past few days, most especially that one about enjoying the disagreeable. I still need to work on that. But I also need to work on the habit of realizing how great your provision is in my life. Help me to walk in your Kingdom, strengthening the habits of spiritual formation, that I might draw others into your Kingdom, as well.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Grace and peace, friends.

Walk In the Light of the Vision

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”~~Victor Hugo
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is “psittacism,” which means “mechanical, repetitive, and meaningless speech.”

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is “psittacism,” which means “mechanical, repetitive, and meaningless speech.”

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is “psittacism,” which means “mechanical, repetitive, and meaningless speech.”

Today is Middle Name Pride Day. Celebrate that middle name! For many of us, it is a name handed down from grandparents and/or other relatives. Mine is Wayne. My granddaddy’s was Wayne. If I’m not mistaken, my uncle’s is also Wayne.

It’s Friday!! Tomorrow, we get to go back to Glen Rose! It’s been a whole year, since we had that vacation trip to Mexico last October. We have missed our little slice of heaven on earth.

I don’t have much else to write about this morning, so on to the devotional.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.

Psalm 34:4-6

Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we sometimes attempt to hide from God when we think he will disapprove of us, because of something we have or have not done. The Psalmist knows a different experience. He knows that God cares about our needs and will hear our cries to him. Therefore, he writes, “Those who look to him are radiant.”

“Blessed be your name, O God. You never disappoint me; you hear every cry; you satisfy every need; you banish my fears. In Jesus Christ you are in all and have become all to me. Hallelujah! Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, (Acts 26:19)

Today’s reading is “Vision.”

“If we lose the vision, we alone are responsible, and the way we lose the vision is by spiritual leakage.” I love this sentence. We must take our beliefs about God into the practical issues of the day. To be obedient to the “heavenly vision,” we must give “our utmost for God’s highest.” The true test is not in the times of prayer and devotion. Sure, I do this devotional thing every morning, and then I pray most of the way to work. But what happens in the “sixty seconds of every minute, and the sixty minutes of every hour,” for the rest of the day? That is where it really matters, and that is where I struggle the most.

Sometimes, “we get so practical that we forget the vision.” This is a major danger for the Christian worker, getting caught up in the mundane workings of a thing, and completely forgetting God’s hand in it. The work becomes an idol. “It is at the peril of our soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical work and miss the fulfilment [sic] of the vision.”

We must let our feet walk in “in the light of the vision.”

Father, I have experienced this many times. I have failed to let my feet walk in the light of your vision. I pray against that, that you would keep the vision, if there is one, at the front of my mind and heart. Do I currently have a vision? Perhaps I’m struggling with that, right now, as well. Though it tarry, I will wait for it. Show me your ways, that I may find favor with you, Father.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Treasure the Glory of God

“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”~~Victor Hugo
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is kinesics, “a systematic study of the relationship between nonlinguistic body motions (as blushes, shrugs, or eye movement) and communication.” Otherwise known as the study of body language.

Today is Card Playing Day, a day that falls a few days after Christmas, with the idea that people just need some time to unwind by doing something like playing cards.

We wound up not going to church yesterday morning. I know. The horror! But there were circumstances. For one, I wasn’t feeling great. And because I wasn’t feeling great, my emotional state was kind of off. When we got to my mother’s house, we discussed it, and finally decided to just stay home. She didn’t mind at all, because it gave us that much more time to just sit around and visit. It also got us to The Mesquite Pit before the church lunch crowds. 🙂 We had a nice lunch there, and then finally got to get some hot chocolate at Jitterbeans. We had a lovely time there. I had the Aztec Spice hot chocolate again, as did Justin. Christi and Mama both had the Ghirardelli hot chocolate, Stephanie had the Ghirardelli white hot chocolate, and Rachel had a cup of hot apple cider. We sat and visited for a while, there, as well as visiting with the owners of the coffee shop/video store. Good times.

We went back to the house, where I sat down to complete some unpleasant business. After talking to my mother, we had decided, before Thanksgiving, that it would be best to simply deactivate my father’s Facebook page and email account. So I did that, yesterday afternoon. It was difficult. It was one of those things that just felt, well, final. We also got my mother’s Amazon account updated to her new email address that I had set up for her, and I showed her how to get some books for her Kindle. I also got her hooked up with one of the many free/discount ebook sites that I use.

We got back home at around, oh, I don’t know, maybe 6:00-ish? It might have been earlier. I’m really not sure. We got the suitcases unpacked, after which I finally sat down to start playing my new Fallout 4 game on the PS4 I got for Christmas. While I was playing, Christi went to get groceries for her mother and step-dad. That turned out to be a very unpleasant experience, as her mother is back on the drugs, and had, once again, managed to drain her step-dad’s bank account. He wasn’t aware of it (at least he says he wasn’t), but what happens is that Christ gets to the checkout line and his debit card doesn’t work, so she winds up having to pay for all the groceries out of our account. She was furious. At this point, we aren’t sure what the result of this will be.

We are both on PTO (Paid Time Off) for the next three days, then we will go back to work on Thursday for one day, and have New Year’s Day off.

On this date in:

1065–Westminster Abbey was consecrated
1612–Galileo first observed Neptune, but mistakenly categorized it as a star
1832–John C. Calhoun became the first U.S. Vice President to resign
1836–Spain recognized the independence of Mexico
1846–Iowa became the 29th U.S. State. “Oh, there’s nothing quite like the way an Iowa person treats you, if he treats you, which he may not do at all.”
1895–Wilhelm Rontgen published a paper outlining his discovery of what will eventually be known as X-rays
1895–The Lumiere brothers debuted their first cinema
1912–The first city streetcars operated in San Francisco
1945–The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance
1973–The Endangered Species Act was passed in the U.S.
2000–Montgomery Wards went out of business after 128 years

Today’s birthdays include:

1856–Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the U.S.
1902–Mortimer Adler, American philosopher
1915–Pops Staples, American musician, The Staple Singers
1922–Stan Lee, American comic book writer
1934–Dame Maggie Smith, British actress
1946–Edgar Winter, American musician
1950–Alex Chilton, American musician, The Box Tops
1954–Denzel Washington, American actor
1958–Twila Paris, American singer
1970–Elaine Hendrix, American actress
1973–Seth Meyers, American actor
1978–John Legend, American musician
1979–Noomi Rapace, Swedish actress
1980–Vanessa Ferlito, American actress, CSI: NY
1981–Sienna Miller, British actress
1990–David Archuleta, American singer

Dame Maggie Smith is a British actress who has been around a while. Well, 81 years, to be exact! She might be best known as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. It is my opinion that she gets the best lines of anyone in that show. Here are some examples of those lines.

Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith, Freddie King, Dennis Wilson, William Demarest, Sam Peckinpah, Sal Maglie, William L. Shirer, and Jerry Orbach are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Glory is the Goal.”

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:2

“Seeing the glory of God is our ultimate hope.” There are many Scriptures that bear this out. The above quoted text is one of them. Jude 24 tells us that God will present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.

in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
Romans 9:23
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:12
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:13

Jesus is the ultimate representation of the glory of God. Hebrews 1:3 says, He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Jesus, in John 17:24, says, Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Seeing and sharing in God’s glory is our ultimate hope through the gospel of Christ.” This is a hope that we truly know and treasure, and this kind of hope has a “decisive effect on our present values and choices and actions.”

We should study this glory, get to know this glory through studying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, we should treasure the glory of God above all things.

We should also know our own souls and know what seduces them away from this glory; why we treasure “glories” that are not God’s glory.

Father, I pray that I would know and treasure your glory above all things, in the coming year, and for the remainder of my life. Help me to know myself, to know what kinds of things draw me away from your glory, that which I should treasure and prize above all other things.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.