Pharisee vs. Child

“If we continue to focus solely on the sinner/saint duality in our person and conduct, while ignoring the raging opposition between the Pharisee and the child, spiritual growth will come to an abrupt standstill.”~~Brennan Manning

Good afternoon. It is Sunday, November 9, 2014. Welcome to the weekend edition.

Today is World Freedom Day. It was designated in 2001 by George W. Bush to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunion of loved ones who had been separated for decades the Iron Curtain.

As I mentioned Friday, I had to work yesterday, as it was my “scheduled” Saturday. These days, we can’t through a Saturday without five for six people there, so it’s kind of pointless to have one person “scheduled” to work it. All of us have complained that it’s not fair for one person to be forced to take a day off during the week to avoid overtime on the Saturday, when five other people come in for support and all get overtime pay. At any rate, it was my last scheduled Saturday for the year, because I had switched my December 20 date with another guy so I could go to the doctor last Monday without having to use a PTO day. So, in this case, the policy worked out in my favor. I got my new medication yesterday, by the way. He has prescribed “atorvastatin” for me, which is generic for Lipitor. Interesting thing, though. I got a message from my father, who was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis a number of years ago, and he advised me to let my doctor know about his condition, as there are theories out there that statin drugs might trigger Myositis, and it may or may not be hereditary. I’m not worried yet, but there is reported evidence that statins do cause muscle damage. After doing a little research on my own, I believe that what my dad has is sporadic IBM, which is not hereditary. Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy usually presents earlier, in the young adult years. Nevertheless, there may be increased susceptibility to IBM, based on genetic composition. So I will go ahead and let my doctor know about this.

Enough about that stuff. I got sidetracked. I was talking writing about work, wasn’t I? Well, it was a pretty tough day, yesterday. There was a decent amount of receiving to do, left from Friday, but there was a huge amount of “make ready” that needed to be done, and every time I went over to get some, by the time I got the cart finished, the QC people had already filled up what I emptied, and then some. There were four others there, besides me, and, at the end of the day, there were still three of us there. We didn’t get finished until about 4:45, which was ten hours from the time I got to work. I didn’t get home until after 6:00, so I missed church and the Pastoral Assist Team meeting last night. And I was exhausted, as well.

Today, we are going over to some old friends’ for lunch. A few people we used to go to church with back in the South Haltom/Wings of Freedom days are getting together. Hopefully, we will share some good memories and get caught up with people. Unfortunately, we are already having drama about whether Stephanie goes with us. Always somethin’.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1793, William Carey landed “in Calcutta, India, to begin his missionary career.”

Today’s birthdays include Nikki Blonsky, Lou Ferrigno, Carl Sagan, Hedy Lamar, Mary Travers, Tom Fogerty, Adam Dunn, Bob Gibson, Spiro Agnew, Susan Tedeschi, Gail Borden, Dmitry Ivanovsky, Sargent Shriver, Thomas Ferebee, Dorothy Dandridge, and Whitey Herzog.

Several good ones, today. Mary Travers, of course, was the “Mary” in the trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary. (Interesting note: I looked to see if there should be commas in their name. Two albums had one comma, “Peter, Paul and Mary,” and two had no commas, “Peter Paul and Mary.” I decided to use the Oxford comma in mine. 🙂 ) Here is their song, “Stewball.” Mary passed in 2009.

Tom Fogerty was a guitarist in Credence Clearwater Revival. He passed in 1990. Here is their song “Bad Moon Rising.”

Finally, Susan Tedeschi is a blues guitar player/singer and is married to Derek Trucks, nephew of Butch Trucks, who is a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Susan and Derek formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and here is a live recording of their song, “Bound for Glory.” Derek is the lead guitar player. Susan sings.


(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:1-5
God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
Psalm 67:7
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah.
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.

Psalm 3:3-5
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works,
Psalm 104:31
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
Job 19:25-27
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Psalm 73:25-28
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy
the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life:
Grant that, having this hope, I may purify myself as he is pure;
that, when he comes again with power and great glory,
I may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Pharisee Within.”

“The Pharisee who pardons himself is condemned. The tax collector who condemns himself is acquitted. To deny the Pharisee within is lethal.” Why does this one insist on looking to outside sources for peace and happiness?

Brennan writes of a man who stood at a prayer meeting he was attending, and said, “I just want to thank God that I have nothing to repent of today.” Brennan says, “His wife groaned. What he meant was that he had not embezzled, blasphemed, fornicated, or fractured any of the Ten Commandments.” While it might be true that he had “distanced himself from idolatry, drunkenness, sexual irresponsibility, and similar things,” he had yet to break through to inner freedom.

“If we continue to focus solely on the sinner/saint duality in our person and conduct, while ignoring the raging opposition between the Pharisee and the child, spiritual growth will come to an abrupt standstill.”

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 John 3:2-3

Father, I pray, first of all, that I might be able to truly pray the words of Psalm 73:25-28. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” Sadly, I am still falling short of that ideal. There are too many things on this earth that I still desire, and I am constantly frustrated that I don’t have enough time for all of them. I thank you that I still manage to find time for you every day. But I pray that these times will become more meaningful and less hurried, as I find myself having to do some days. May my focus during these times be sharp, and may the things that I see you telling me each day stay with me throughout the days and beyond, affecting changes in my life that only you can do. I pray, secondly, that you would make me so very aware of the Pharisee within me, and deal with that way of thinking with your Spirit. I believe that you have accomplished a measure of inner freedom within me, as I become more like “the child” and less like “the Pharisee.” Yet, there is still much room for improvement, as I constantly find myself judging people unfairly, which shows that I, for some insane reason, think I am better than them. I am NOT better than ANYONE!! I pray that you help me realize that 24/7, so that I will stop this insane judging of others, especially those who are my brothers and sisters in Christ! You are my freedom, you give me my strength. May I depend on this each day.

I pray for the rest of this day. I pray that Stephanie will feel better, as she is experiencing her monthly cramps. I pray for relief for her. I pray that Christi and I will have a good time in fellowship with old friends. May our time together be peaceful, fruitful, and loving. May your grace fill our afternoon. Then may our evening be filled with good rest as we prepare for the week of work that is ahead.

I pray a special prayer for Alicia, today, who is remember her mother’s birthday. She misses her mother dearly, Lord, and I pray that you would fill her life with your peace and comfort and that someone would be alongside her today, to help her bear the terrible sadness. She needs some positive things in her life, Lord, and I pray that you would fill her with your blessing!

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all do battle with that Pharisee within us and allow the “child” to prevail, that we might experience true inner freedom in Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.

“Your Life In Me, My Life For You”

Good morning! It’s Friday! November 9, 2012. Today is “National Young Reader’s Day.” I like this one. Encourage a young person to read today. I’m not defining “young,” either. To my parents, I’m still young.

On this date in 1620, pilgrims on board the Mayflower sighted land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Missionary William Carey reached the Hooghly River in India on this date in 1793.
On this date in 1888, Jack the Ripper killed his last known victim, Mary Jane Kelly.
Theodore Roosevelt made the first trip outside the country for an active President on this date in 1906, visiting the Panama Canal to inspect progress.
On this date in 1921, Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect.
On this date in 1938, in an even that foreshadowed the Holocaust, Nazis launched “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” in which thousands of Jewish businesses were damaged, about 100 Jews were killed, and around 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
On this date in 1967, the first edition of Rolling Stone magazine was published. I think it was about music, back then.
On this date in 1985, Garry Kasparov because the youngest world chess champion at the age of 22.
On this date in 1989, East Germany opened the Berlin Wall.
Capital punishment was completely abolished in the UK on this date in 1998.
On this date in 2004, author Stieg Larsson died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50. He had just turned in the manuscripts for his “Millennium Trilogy,” which would go on to become bestsellers. He wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

Today’s birthdays include Hedy Lamarr, 1914, Sargent Shriver, 1915, Spirow Agnew, 1918, Whitey Herzog (baseball player and manager), 1931, Carl Sagan, 1934, Bob Gibson (baseball player), 1935, Mary Travers (Peter, Paul, and Mary), 1936, Tom Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), 1941, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), 1951, Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), 1973, Adam Dunn (baseball player), 1979.

Christi is working from home, today, so she’s still asleep. I had my alarm set for 6am, but woke up shortly after 5am. Perhaps God has something special to say to me this morning.
We all got to the gym last night, and Steph had her first session with yet another trainer. But we had to switch, this time, since we moved back to the regular Sport facility. It went pretty well. Since we were on Thursday, her next session would have been scheduled for Thanksgiving, so she is having it next week instead. The trainer tried to get us to switch to once a week instead of every other week, but we explained to him our motive for these sessions, which is simply to keep Stephanie interested in going to the gym. We may still think on it some, though.

Father, I pray that you would teach me something today. Yesterday, you reminded me of the necessity of maintaining your “temple” within me. Keep me moving in that direction this morning. Or, whichever direction you want to point me. I am the clay. You are the potter.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 141. In this psalm, David prays that his prayers would be heard.

1 A Psalm of David. O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

We see prayer being compared with a sacrifice in these verses. And, in a sense, when we lift up our hands to our Father, either in prayer or praise, we are sacrificing something, we are offering ourselves up to him. We hope that our prayer to God is sweet to him.

3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!

A much needed prayer for anyone, I suspect! I know I need a constant watch “over the door of my lips!” And I certainly need the Lord’s help in keeping my heart from being inclined to evil, for it surely has an evil bent. If left alone, my heart would truly be wicked.

5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
6 When their judges are thrown over the cliff, then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7 As when one plows and breaks up the earth, so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

I understand the idea in verse 5, that I might be disciplined by another believer, if necessary. It is kindness, “it is oil for my head.” We need accountability among ourselves. I confess that I don’t quite understand verses 6-7.

8 But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.

I, along with David, pray that my eyes will always be toward God, and that I will seek refuge in him. May I not fall into the trap that the wicked have laid for me. In fact, let them fall into their own traps, David prays!

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Sacramental Service.” Chambers begins with Colossians 1:24, which says, Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

The idea, here, is that the “Christian worker…be so identified with his Lord and the reality of His Redemption that He can continually bring His creating life through him.” I do not impose my personality on anyone else (heaven forbid!), rather, the presence of Jesus should be coming through the elements of my life. When I speak the truth of God’s word, my “words are made sacramental,” and God, through the power of his redemption, uses them to create something new in another’s life. But what we speak is important. If we simply speak of the “effects of Redemption in human life instead of the revelation regarding Jesus, the result in those who listen is not new birth, but refined spiritual culture.” I need to be “in such living sympathy with God” that when I speak his truth, he is able to create something in someone else that only he can create. My obedience…my speaking of his truth, brings about God’s creation in another life.

If we only notice the wonderful personality of someone, if we are fascinated with a man, if we laud his insight, what good is that? The gospel has no chance to get through. The “line of attraction” cannot be the “line of appeal.” We should not seek to attract by personality, or, if we take this to the level of the church body, we should not attempt to attract with “atmosphere.” We must be identified with the “personality” of Jesus Christ so that the appeal is on the line of what he can do. “The danger is to glory in men; Jesus says we are to lift Him up.”

Father, I praise you this morning for being here with me. Thank you that you hear our prayers. I pray, like David, that my prayers to you, my devotion to you, rises up to you like sweet incense. I pray that you would set a guard over my lips today. Let me say nothing that would dishonor you. I go even further than my lips. Guard my heart and mind as well. May no wicked thought occur to me today. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you today!

I sense the seriousness of today’s reading, Lord. May I never try to attract someone to you through my personality. I chuckle at that thought, actually, but sometimes we fall prey to that notion, thinking that we have to prepare eloquent speeches and techno-savvy performances to attract people to you. But the truth is, Lord, that you are infinitely beautiful! You are more attractive than anything ever created, for you are the Creator! I insist that any effort, any human effort, on our part to make you more attractive, actually has the opposite effect! May we, may I, simply rely on the resurrection life within us to shine forth as we speak your words of truth, which will then become life in someone else’s soul as you create something that only you can create. I am not able to create life in another soul. I might be able to “create” a warm, fuzzy feeling in someone, but that does not help them, eternally. It might make them feel better for a few minutes. Jesus, live through me. “Your life in me, my life for you, this is the Great Exchange…” Use me today to help someone find your peace.

I pray for this day. Christi has her doctor appointment this morning. I pray that it will reveal something that can help her get rid of the pain completely. I thank you that it’s better. But we pray for total relief/healing from this pain. I pray for her peace as she works the rest of the day from home. I pray that she will accomplish whatever needs to be done today. I pray that we will have a good weekend as we celebrate her upcoming birthday. May it be restful and relaxing. I pray for my work day today, that it will go smoothly, as the rest of the week has, for the most part. Should issues arise, I pray that your Spirit will dominate me, that I might display your peace through all things. I pray that your life will flow through me, displaying your characteristics in all circumstances. I pray for Stephanie today, that you might draw her closer to you, giving her purpose for her life.

It is not our personality, insight, or great wisdom that should attract people to Christ. It is Christ in us that should attract people to Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.