CUTG #7 – Psalm 119:1-8

I came down with a fever yesterday afternoon and have had it ever since. Slept very fitfully last night. Something going on in my chest — might be the flu I guess, but I hope not. My stomach is also queasy but that might be because I don’t eat normally when I have a fever.

I’m supposed to get up at 4 in the morning and go to work. Hopefully sleep tonight and the quickening Spirit will give me strength. I’m out of paid time off until January 1 and if I miss any work I won’t get paid for it.

Because I’ve been sick, I haven’t accomplished much this weekend. I figured out how to use PowerPoint to make a video and recorded some thoughts on the first stanza of Psalm 119. I did that this morning while my sons were playing quietly and while my fever was in brief recession, but I still felt like I had a foggy mind.

I watched some videos on YouTube and watched the first season of a crime drama called Longmire on Netflix. It’s sort of a western detective show. It reminds me of another show I liked when I was a kid: Magnum P.I.

Advertisements

He is like a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap

My alarm didn’t go off this morning and I ended up being late and not having time to read, except for a few verses of Psalm 119. I awoke from strange dreams around 5. I was dreaming about visiting my old workplace in Salisbury, Maryland. There were very few people I recognized in the dream. Some of the worst years of my life were spent in that place.

Today I didn’t have a very strenuous day, though, because I had worked ahead for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was glad to get home early from the destitution of the money-craven wilderness. It finally dawned on me several weeks ago that I don’t like going anywhere: I don’t like leaving my house, except to go to church. And even that is sometimes a struggle. There’s just nothing I want out there. And I hate thinking about what I should wear and combing my hair and things like that.

When I got home from work, I tried to take a short nap but ended up watching a documentary with eyewitness accounts about the days of John F Kennedy’s assassination. After that, I ate some pecan pie and wrote a letter to a Christian acquaintance. I went for a jog after dark. It is very balmy for November, about 70 degrees today and sunny. I hope it stays this way; I hate freezing cold weather.

Tomorrow will be the ten-year anniversary of my natural father’s release from the bonds of this earth. My brother and I were talking this past weekend about how we miss our father sometimes, because so much has happened in our lives that he was not here to witness, particularly his grandchildren. I still have a lot of questions about my father’s life and death, but I don’t feel the need to bother God about them. My father throughout his life was consumed with feelings of shame and not feeling loved or good enough. It made me angry when I was younger because he was so consumed with his own hurt and pain there wasn’t much he could offer anyone else, including his children. His growth was stilted in the skin and bone of this earthly shell: he could not get past his childhood woundings.

I forgive my father and mother for their shortcomings. I have personal experience of what it is like to ignore the needs of wife and children to follow lies and fantasies and heartsick pining for the vain empty comforts of earth. I know what it is to be deceived — really upside down, inside out, cracked, broke, trod down deceived, trying to wipe pig waste off the scraps of this world and get something fulfilling out of it. Only the mercy of God lifted me from the depths of mire. The kindness of God led me to repentance.

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. – from Malachi 3

 

Aural Psynapse

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. It is mostly a day when people eat and drink too much and watch parades and football, and not at all a day of thankfulness to God. Still, I am thankful to God for life and the opportunity to know Him, every day. We went to prayer last night at the church since I was off from work today.

I haven’t accomplished much today, though I did take a run on Holden Beach. It is 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Just gorgeous. I took the recyclable trash to the dump and did a load of laundry. I do all my own laundry because I noticed awhile ago that when Sikki did my wash all my t-shirts came back with big long girl hairs in them. There are three girls in this household. One thing that can really ruin your day is hair in your underwear, tickling you here and there, making itself known. So I started washing my laundry separate from everyone else’s.

I spoke with Keith on the phone this morning for a while. He caught a cold while he was visiting us, but he said he still felt refreshed by their visit here. I enjoy being with people of like-minded heart and spirit.

Today I also took a couple minutes to learn how to use PowerPoint to make a video. I needed to figure that out for future use in my YouTube channel. It is easier than I thought and I look forward to doing some work with Psalm 119.

I am feeling tired now. The new puppy was up howling at the moon (which is full) at 2 o’clock this morning: he is still very skittish and afraid of me, though he will sit with me when I lie on the couch. I might take a nap to recharge before meeting the rest of the day. Every tick of the clock harbingers my soon-coming arrival before the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Know the Lord

It is a Wednesday afternoon, and I finished work early because of the Thanksgiving holiday. My mother and Keith, my brother and his children went with us to church last Sunday morning. My brother is gifted with music: any instrument he has set his mind to learn, he has learned. I am jealous sometimes because I know I appreciate music more than most people — even most musicians — and yet I never learned to play an instrument or express myself musically other than with singing.

I called Pastor Bobby and arranged for my brother Joel to share his gift on Sunday morning. Pastor and I talked for about 40 minutes. I didn’t tell him that I was discouraged; Sikki had collided with my sister-in-law’s vehicle earlier that morning, which would cost us, plenty. But Pastor apparently was also discouraged at the time that I phoned, because he emailed me the next morning and thanked me for calling, that he had been encouraged, that the timing had been perfect, etc.

The Lord is a God of Knowledge.

So we went to church together on Sunday morning. My brother shared a couple songs and the response of the people was obvious in worship. Joel phoned yesterday to say how encouraged he had been by the experience; not just of sharing his gifting with the fellowship, but by hearing from six other people who shared during the meeting. American evangelicalism has failed because its form and style does not encourage the functioning of the entire body.

I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. – Revelation 3:1

My brother told me he was struck by the realization of how much he needs to hear what God is doing in others and receive ministry from other believers. He is not connected to a church right now and has no idea where to go in his current living situation. He said he misses fellowship.

It is an impossibility that a functioning, vibrant Christian can be separated from the rest of the Body of Christ. But it can be difficult to find a group of believers that allow time and space for the messiness of real community to operate and function. The Sin of Uzzah dominates the church of my time.

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. – 1 Chronicles 13:10

The people of God must stir up the gifts within them, and not hide their lights under a bushel. Here is a sample of my brother’s music. He sang on Sunday using only an acoustic guitar that he borrowed from Keith. I prefer the acoustic version.

In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me

It is a breezy, rainy Thursday here in coastal Carolina, but it is warm. We have the air conditioning on because it is like 75 degrees and humid. I am off from work today until Monday because my mother is coming to visit. About two hours after I spoke with her last night she phoned and said she is feeling much better. God is faithful, a God of knowledge.

This morning I feel grumpy. I’ve had several phone calls from the guy filling in for me today; it seems like time off can never be a complete disconnect from the workplace. Plus, Sikki and I had to go to the landfill with an old couch and some other stuff first thing, in the rain. My “get up and go” got up and went this morning. I was annoyed with her at the landfill because I felt like she didn’t listen to what I was saying about something. Now she is cleaning our house like crazy, in this very room, and I still feel grumpy. If the end of the world were proclaimed effective tomorrow morning, I think my wife would spend her entire last night on earth cleaning the house.

Such is married life. On the way to the dump I praised God for this day, and for her, and for our family and all the opportunities that one day represents in this life. My family is en route at the present moment.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

Eternity Now

I woke up at 2:57 this morning. I decided to stay up since I would’ve only had one more hour of sleep before the alarm went off. I read in 2 Corinthians and Psalms before heading out for a jog. They put up a bunch of Christmas lights on Ocean Boulevard West, which makes it a little easier to see the road in places where I normally have very limited visibility, so I parked further away from the water tower and went a bit further distance-wise. My legs are a little sore at the knees and ankles, but I have gained some weight since the issue with my lungs arose. It takes persistence and discipline to remain active.

I eat too much. I drink too much. Cue Dave Matthews.

I sold a lot of cases today because next week is Thanksgiving and there are several beverage sales to support the most gluttonous day of the year. A woman asked me this week whether I like my job. I just told her I have been with the company for nearly ten years; she seemed satisfied by that. It’s a way for me to pay bills and feed my children, lady, it’s not my life. It’s not who I am.

The Firefly Music Festival released its lineup for June. Sikki and I went to the first Firefly four years ago. Andre and Daniell paid our way, and we had a great time. The next year we took Beck with us too. We didn’t go last year due to strained finances, but there are a lot of bands this year I would like to see, or to see again. I desired to go to the first festival because Death Cab for Cutie was playing and I really wanted to see them. They’ll be there again this year. For two years I wore out their albums Plans and Transatlanticism, which are still their best albums in my opinion. During our evening meal we talked about the possibility and expense of going to Firefly in June.

Firefly-2016-Official-Lineup-768x1024.jpg

My wife is extremely practical, which is something I really like and admire about her. She is the type of person to note that for the cost of a week in Dover at a music festival we could take two vacations elsewhere. There was a time when I was younger when I would fight with her over things like that, or force my will on the situation. I don’t want to be that way anymore. There are things I enjoy (like music festivals) but I won’t try to twist her arm (or the Lord’s arm) to make something happen. But I really, really want to go…ha ha.

My mother phoned this evening. She and Keith and my brother and his children are supposed to be coming tomorrow to stay for the weekend. But she sounded very sick. She has had ongoing health problems for the past couple of years. My brother will come one way or the other, and I am believing God that He will allow my mother to visit with her sons and grandchildren for a short while. We never know when our time on earth is about to end, or when it will be the last time we look into the faces of those we love.

Eventually I will look into the face of my Creator. I live in eternity now.