Who Am I?

“It is a courageous determination to make unpopular decisions that are expressive of the truth of who we are–not of who we think we should be or whom someone else wants us to be.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Thursday, November 27, 2014. Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Is it true that men and women experience the same amount/intensity of emotion, but that women are just more honest about it? I’m pretty honest about mine.

Besides being Thanksgiving Day, today is also Pins and Needles Day. Rather than celebrating that weird feeling you get when your various limbs fall asleep, this is to commemorate the opening of a “pro-labor Broadway play called Pins and Needles in 1937.”

As I said, above, it is Thanksgiving Day, and the beginning of a much-needed four day weekend. Last night, I stayed at work until 6:00 PM, helping to get the work finished for the long weekend. I was concerned that my drive home was going to be really rough, as I know that Wednesday night is a very heavy traveling night, but I actually got home quicker than usual, so that part of the day was fine. I stopped at Taco Casa on the way home and picked up dinner for us. You know, health food. 😀 Right after I got home, I whipped up a Dump Cake and tossed it in the oven for an hour, for part of our desert today. We watched a few TV shows, and then it was time for bed, at least for me. I was pretty tired. Before falling asleep, I finished a book I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks, called 999. You can check out my review of it at my other blog.

This morning, the pumpkin pie is in the oven (I’m in charge of dessert), the pecan pie is thawed out (I didn’t make either one of these, some woman named “Marie” made them), and the eggs are boiling. Soon the smells of Thanksgiving will be wafting throughout the house. Along with the vanilla wax that is melting for additional scents. Family should start arriving between 12:00 and 1:00 PM. We are expecting Carol and Don (Christi’s mother and step-dad), Karen, John, and Gracie (Christi’s sister, her significant other, and his daughter), Jennifer (Christi’s niece), and Rachel and Justin, our oldest daughter and son-in-law. The lunch will include ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, and whatever other people might bring. Of course, Stephanie will be here, as well, but she lives here.

Tomorrow, we will be driving to Mineral Wells to have another Thanksgiving lunch with my parents. Rachel and Justin will be accompanying us to this lunch, as well, so that will be a pleasant time.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1942 that guitar legend Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington. He grew up playing guitar, influenced by blues legends such as Muddy Waters. In 1966, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was created, and their first single, “Hey Joe” went to number 6 on the British charts. The band “became an instant sensation.” They made their first U.S. appearance at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967. The band broke up in 1969, after which Jimi made his famous appearance at Woodstock, closing the show with his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Hendrix joined “The 27 Club” in 1970, dying from a drug overdose.

Here is The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing “Foxy Lady” at the Miami Pop Festival in 1968.

Today’s other birthdays include Bruce Lee, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Jaleel White, James Avery (the actor, not the jewelry creator), Robin Givens, Williams Fichtner, Eddie Rabbitt, Curtis Armstrong, Michael Vartan, Buffalo Bob Smith, Anders Celsius, L Sprague de Camp, Barbara Anderson, and Dave Winthrop.


(From The Divine Hours)

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.

Psalm 81:1-4
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
Psalm 71:15
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
Psalm 147:7
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Matthew 6:25-30
You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 65:9-13
Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me, I pray, a faithful steward of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.
Matthew 15:29-31

Do we, today, wonder at the mighty works of Christ? Or are we so jaded that we seldom notice?

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Standing Alone.”

“The poverty of uniqueness is the call of Jesus to stand
utterly alone when the only alternative is to cut a deal
at the price of one’s integrity. It is a lonely yes to the
whispers of our true self, a clinging to our core identity when
companionship and community support are withheld. It is a
courageous determination to make unpopular decisions that
are expressive of the truth of who we are–not of who we think
we should be or whom someone else wants us to be. It is trusting
enough in Jesus to make mistakes and believing enough that his
life will still pulse within us. it is the unarticulated, gut-
wrenching yielding of our true self to the poverty of our own
unique, mysterious personality.

“In a word, standing on our own two feet is often a heroic
act of love.”

Often, I find that it would only detract from the original words of Brennan if I try to paraphrase them. This was one of those cases. I am especially moved by this sentence: It is a courageous determination to make unpopular decisions that are expressive of the truth of who we are–not of who we think we should be or whom someone else wants us to be. While it is not my goal to “make unpopular decisions,” it is most definitely my goal to be who I am, not who I think I should be, and even more so, not who someone else things I should be. Who I am is who God made me to be, and that is where I want to be. This idea validates a few recent decisions I have made.

O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;

Psalm 15:1-2

Father, help me to stay true to who you made me. At the same time, help me to distance myself from the sin that so easily entangles, and run with endurance the race that is set before me. My race. Not someone else’s race; not the race I think I should be running; but my race. Help me to constantly look to Jesus for strength and purpose. I pray that the life of Christ would be fully formed in me, that it might be him living my life in me, rather than me living. Let the life that I now live be lived by faith in Christ, daily. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Strengthen my ability to trust in you with my whole heart. Teach me the poverty of my own unique, mysterious personality.

I pray for this day. I pray for peace during the day’s events. I pray for the ability to “play nice” this afternoon. Help me to make everyone who is here feel welcome in our home. I pray that our house would be a place of peace, compassion, refuge, and healing. May your grace and mercy fill this place as we gather for Thanksgiving lunch today. May your Gospel shine forth through us as we host our family. Help us to love you, follow Christ, and share your kingdom.

It is always good to take inventory and see . . . am I being myself, or am I trying too hard to be what someone else (or even I) think I should be?

Grace and peace, friends.

Who Am I?

“How difficult it is to be honest–to accept that I am unacceptable, to renounce self-justification, to give up my preposterous pretending that my paltry prayers, spiritual insights, knowledge of Scripture, and blustering successes in ministry have made me pleasing to God.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Wednesday, September 3, 2014.

Yesterday afternoon, our SAP program went down, which caused us to not be able to do any goods receipts during the last 90 minutes of work. As a result of that, I need to go in early this morning, so I’ve got to hurry to get whatever devotional I can get done in the next fifteen minutes or so. Therefore, there will be none of my normal introductory stuff.

I will, however, take a few seconds to let you know that today is Welsh Rarebit Day.


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

(From The Divine Hours)

My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Psalm 145:21
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.
Agnus Dei
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalm 36:5
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.

Psalm 145:1

Today’s Gospel reading

It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Matthew 5:31-32

In this passage, Jesus tackles the Jewish law that allowed divorce for just about any reason imaginable. Basically, if a Hebrew man of that time decided he was tired of his wife, he could make up something to divorce her over. Jesus reinstated the sanctity of marriage in this passage, allowing only the sin of “sexual immorality” as an acceptable reason for divorce. There is a lot more that could be discussed in this passage, but I simply don’t have time this morning. Let it just be said that the sanctity of marriage is important to God.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Knowing Who We Are.”

Brennan quotes one of the Beatitudes from the NEB: “Blessed are those who know that they are poor.” It is important that we know who we are. “How difficult it is to be honest–to accept that I am unacceptable, to renounce self-justification, to give up my preposterous pretending that my paltry prayers, spiritual insights, knowledge of Scripture, and blustering successes in ministry have made me pleasing to God.” I have no beauty that “enamors me in his eyes. I am lovable because he loves me. Period.” It is a very liberating experience to move from this “darkness of self-delusion” to the light of the truth of God. The only thing that makes me beautiful in the eyes of God is the fact that he chose me and covered me with the blood of Christ.

Beloved, let us love one another,
for love is from God,
and whoever loves has been born of God
and knows God.

1 John 4:7

Father, I thank you for the truth stated above. Help me to know this on a daily basis. There are times when I do pretty good with this, yet there are other times when I get all puffed up with Biblical knowledge and piety and all that stuff. Yes, I pray every day. Yes, I read my Bible and “devote” ever day. But nothing of those things makes you love me more! There is nothing I can do to make you love me more! You love me because you love me, not because I have done anything “love-worthy.” Keep that right in front of my eyes and heart, Father, and make me appreciate your grace!

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi’s job keep going as well as it has started. I pray that our drive to work and home will be safe. I pray that our SAP system will be working when I get there. I also ask that Stephanie will experience your great and overwhelming love today. Let her know how much you love her.

I pray for Robert’s friend Carl, who is in a medically induced coma after a motorcycle accident. I pray that you would heal and spare his life, Lord.

Your grace is sufficient.

Who are you? Who am I? These are things we need to understand as we relate to our Father.

Grace and peace, friends.