The Impossible Dream

Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

Today is Bookmobile Day!! I didn’t even know such a day existed!! I love the idea of a bookmobile, although I have never actually seen one. The thought of a van bringing books to my house is . . . is . . . I can’t even come up with a word to describe the joy it would bring me! :-D


My orientation sessions for the new job should be this morning and tomorrow. They couldn’t get the online classes to load on my profile yesterday, so I still don’t have access to their system. But I should be able to do some of those this afternoon. I’m ready to get my hands on some stuff and get some work done!

Christi got a call from another recruiter yesterday afternoon, this one, I believe, from Accenture. They were interested in placing her in a job. At Dex Media. How funny is that? She explained to them that this was where she got laid off, but they want to submit her resume, anyway. We decided, why not? It’s work, and if it works out, it would be income. It’s a six month contract position, so she could still continue looking for another job during this time.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!
Psalm 106:48
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:7
Let them know that this is your hand; you, O LORD, have done it!
Psalm 109:27
Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
Psalm 68:28
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Psalm 93:3-6

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.


He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Psalm 147:4-5
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:6-7


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “His Greatest Power.”

“The power and wisdom of God is singularly manifested in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Are we surprised that, from the greatest act of our Savior’s love, came the greatest power of God? We do not imitate a “dead hero!” This is the great mystery: we live in Christ and he lives in us through the Holy Spirit! We are empowered, through this Spirit, to “lead a new life where sin has no place.” Biblical scholar John McKenzie says, “How often are Christians unwilling to believe that they have been transformed and that the impossible has become possible?”

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the
will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2


Father, this is a great mystery, indeed, and I do believe it! Why, then, do I seem to lack power so often? I pray for the transformation that has already taken place to grab hold of me and affect my life, that I might consistently lead this “new life where sin has no place!” I cannot ask you to transform me, because that has already taken place. I died with Christ on the cross, have been resurrected in him, and have been glorified in him. Yet I wait, in this feeble jar of clay, for these things to physically take place. Oh, the joy that the thought of our resurrection brings me. As we get closer to the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, I pray that you would drive this truth deeper into my spirit, that I might truly “get it.”

I pray for this day today. May my drive to work and home be safe and smooth. Help me pin down a routine and a good route to work. I pray for Christi today. I am so thankful that her back is still feeling good. I pray that this continue. I also pray that she might get a job soon, at least get some income coming in, even if it might not be the permanent position she will land in. Give her grace and purpose, as she struggles with identity. Help us all find our identity in you, not in the things we do. I pray, as always, for Stephanie to have wisdom and understanding in her life.

Your grace is sufficient.

I also lift up Summer and her horse (it’s not really hers, but you know), that the colt might be born today. She is really stressing out over this.


May the power of the resurrected Lord be yours today.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Grace

Good morning. It is post-Monday, April 15, 2015. Oh-oh, it’s tax day, isn’t it? We did ours months ago.

Today is Library Workers Day! I think that is awesome. We’re not just talking about librarians, although they are certainly part of that (I think they might have their own day). This is about all of those people who work at the library, some of which just might be volunteers, that keep everything running and flowing smoothly. If you get a chance, show them some appreciation today.


Yesterday went very well, I think. I couldn’t do much, other than watch the lady who was training me. The process is not difficult, but there are lots of little twists and turns that can happen, depending on what is being received. I was able to jump in and help unload a couple of trucks (no worries, I never had to lift anything that weighed more than ten pounds). Who knows what today will bring? I have to watch some training videos, and the orientation sessions have been pushed to tomorrow and Thursday.

Christi’s phone interview with Etherios went well, and they are recommending that she move forward to the next step. After a while, that isn’t so exciting, because we’ve heard this before.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

Psalm 47:5-8
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Psalm 119:147
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!

Psalm 36:5-10


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Greatest Sin.”

The poet, Paul Claudel, said that “the greatest sin is to lose the sense of sin.” Can we really know Christ crucified and not have a “lively sense of the horror of sin?” We delude ourselves when we believe that sin is nothing more than “an aberration or a lack of maturity;” when we believe that people, while they might be sinful, are not “sinners;” and when we believe that all of this obsession with power, security, and pleasure is the fault of “oppressive social structures and personality hang-ups.” We are not simply victims of circumstance. “The Passion nails these lies, illusions, and rationalizations to the cross of truth.”

And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the LORD will lay low his pompous pride together
with the skill of his hands.

Isaiah 25:11


Father, as the day grows closer, when we will celebrate the Resurrection, I pray that we remember the cause of our problems. We are sinners, not victims. All of us have sinned. We are not simply guilty of having personality disorders, and it is not the fault of any world system. We are, from the very heart of our being, sinners, bent on disobeying you. The only measure of grace we have received comes from the Cross. I lift you up and praise you for this, and for drawing me to faith in that Cross and my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I pray for this day. Again, I pray for safe travel to and from work. I pray that Christi will have a good day, and that, perhaps, something might break open in her job search. I also pray for Stephanie to be safe in your hands today.

Your grace is sufficient.


I agree with the poet. When we have lost our sense of sin, it is a tragic day. Yes, we are redeemed; yes, we are forgiven, saved by grace. But we must remember whence we came. Glory to God!

Grace and peace, friends.

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Marvelous Light

Here we go. It is Monday morning, April 14, 2014. Up and getting ready for the new job. I’ve got about forty minutes to get this done, so I have to stay focused.

Today is Look Up At the Sky Day. I have a friend who loves to do that. I’ll have to make sure he knows.


Stephanie and I had a marvelous time at the game yesterday. It rained a bit after we got there, but we had brought umbrellas, thanks to Christi’s suggestion. But shortly after the Rangers took the field, the rain stopped, and, by the end of the game, the sun even came out. To make it even better, the Rangers won the game, 1-0. It was a very close game. The Mercy Me concert after the game was great! Bart and company are not only entertaining, but they even led us in worship a bit, as well. It was an uplifting experience. I’m glad we got to go.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:48
O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!
Psalm 71:12
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 71:17
Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.

Psalm 5:1-7

“Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established
the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn
in this fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what
they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”


Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Joyful Heart.”

“Thanksgiving is the song of the saved sinner.” When we are immersed in the awareness of God’s merciful love, brought to us most visibly through the Cross of Calvary, our lives become filled with “humble, joyful thanksgiving.” I have been called, by no merit of my own, out of darkness into marvelous light! For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). “The cross is a confrontation with the overwhelming goodness of God and the mystery of his love.” How delighted God is when we sing to him, and our song should be, “It is right to give him thanks and praise!”

Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them,
and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored,
and they shall not be small.

Jeremiah 30:19


Father, you have, indeed, brought me out of the darkness, into the marvelous light! The problem is, my flesh keeps drifting back toward that darkness! Each time it does, you gently (sometimes, not so much) draw me (push me, shove me, drag me) back to the light, where your Spirit graciously restores my fellowship with you. Your grace is amazing, and it truly is right for me to give you thanks and praise. I fear I do not do that enough. How beautiful it was, though, yesterday afternoon, to be standing in the middle of a ballpark, raising my hands in praise to you, as we worshiped along with Mercy Me. That is such a unique and uplifting experience. I thank you for that opportunity, and that things like that are still possible. My morning drive-time prayers have become so precious to me, but not precious enough that I don’t still get distracted along the way. Sure, I have to pay attention to driving, but that is not typically what distracts me. Thoughts come out of left field (why don’t thoughts ever come out of right field?) and draw me away from what is important. I pray that you keep me focused on what is important. May my heart be joyful today, as I go about on my way.

I pray for Christi today. She has a phone interview with another company. Etherios, or something like that. I pray that it goes well, and that she finds favor with people who have control over hiring, not just with this company, but with any company. We need for her to get a job soon. At least we seem to think that. You know better than we do, and I keep saying that because I believe it. We are not panicking, yet. Our hope is in you. Her back still feels good, and we praise you for that, as well. I also pray for Stephanie, who has been doing better in a lot of areas, lately. May you continuously draw her heart toward yours and give her wisdom and understanding. For me, I pray for a good first day at work, and may my drive go smoothly, this morning.

I pray for the family of Marty Hernandez, Father. I pray that you would be especially close to them during these days. Wrap them in your arms of comfort and give them hope for their future.

Your grace is sufficient.


I pray that you all have joyful hearts today, and that you would run into the marvelous light.

Grace and peace, friends.

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The Power of the Cross

Good morning. It is Sunday, April 13, 2014. It is Palm Sunday, the traditional observation of the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, and the people spread palm branches across the path in front of him.

Today is also Scrabble Day. We probably won’t have time to play Scrabble today, but if we did, Christi would win. She always wins.


Yesterday was fun. After I finished my morning devotional, we hurried to the grocery store and did our shopping. After getting home and getting everything put away, we headed out the door to the Keller Crawfish Krawl (thank goodness, they elected to not spell “Crawfish” with a K). We quickly found the stage where the Neon Lights Band would be playing. We walked around and looked at the vendors, which took about five to ten minutes. They only use one street for one block for this event. Then I noticed Barry up on the stage getting set up with his trombone. So I walked round to that side of the stage and talked to him. He was very surprised, to say the least. We have not seen each other since high school, which will be 40 years in 2016. We had a nice chat, but he had to get busy. Christi and I wound up sitting right next to some others with the band, one of which was Barry’s wife, Cindy, who then got on the stage and sang some vocals with them. She sings BGVs and lead, as well, on some of the songs they do. Basically, they are a cover band, with keys, guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, sax, and trombone, along with a male and female lead vocalist. The keyboard player also sings vocals. The were quite good, especially at the Chicago songs, because the keyboard player has the Bobby Lamm voice, while the lead guy had the Peter Cetera voice. It was good fun. I hope I can figure out a way to keep up with Barry a little more, as he doesn’t appear to be on Facebook.

After leaving the Crawfish Krawl, we stopped at Bottlecap Alley Icehouse Grill on Main Street in Keller, for lunch. Their burgers are so much better than Red Robin’s, it’s not even funny. Everything that I’ve had at Bottlecap Alley has been delicious!

Then it was time for church (had a chance to lay down and rest for a few minutes). Church went well, but attendance was down just a bit. After church, I participated in my first Pastoral Assist Team meeting, which seems to always be held at Rosa’s Cafe, in Watauga. Their food is okay, a step up from Taco Cabana, I guess. It’s no El Fenix or Fogata’s, that’s for sure. And not a whole lot less expensive, either. Actually, they’re kind of pricey for a place where you order at a counter and pick up your own food. Anyway, the meeting was interesting, and rather lengthy. But we hashed out some important things, I think, with only a slight amount of disagreement. I see quickly who I line up with more on this team, but that will forever remain a private thing. :-D

In all, yesterday was a pretty good day. Now, if we can just manage to get a baseball game in today, it will be a great day, too. Steph and I have tickets to the Rangers game, where Mercy Me is scheduled to play a postgame concert. Christi is going to a ladies’ gathering, where they will be having lots of desserts. I kept asking if I could go if I wore a dress. I don’t think that was well-received.


Our hearts are heavy this morning, as we learned yesterday evening of the passing of our friend and brother, Marty Hernandez, who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer back in January. How quickly it moved! I guess we had no idea that his time was this short, yet we knew that he was not long for this earth. We admire the faith and strength of his dear wife, who posted these words to let us know of his passing: “My precious sweet man is seeing Jesus face to face….walking the streets of GOLD and free from that broken earthly body.” What beautiful faith is exhibited in those words!! Please pray for Lesia, as well as for their sons, Scott and Brett.


Okay, so, beginning tomorrow, there will be a pretty drastic change to this blog, at least for the weekdays. As I’ve stated before, I am going to have to leave the house at least thirty minutes earlier than previously, but I’m only going to get up fifteen minutes earlier (I really, really don’t want to get up a 5:00am). So the history and birthday trivia, and probably even the daily recaps of boring personal stuff, are probably all going to go by the wayside, unless I decide to do that stuff at the end of the day. And I might even move those to my other blog, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit. I’ll figure all that out as I go.


(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1742 that Handel’s Messiah was first performed, at the Fishamble Street Musick Hall, in Dublin. That would be Dublin, Ireland, not Texas.


Today’s featured birthday is Don Adams, born on this date in 1923. Adams was most famous for his role in the TV show Get Smart, as well as his voice characterization for Inspector Gadget. He passed away in 2005.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:15
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30

“O God, you make me glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious
resurrection of your Son my Lord: Give me this day such blessing through
my worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “One’s Life Commitment.”

Jesus held firmly to his commitment, his role as Messiah, in spite of the “loneliness and desolation” that threatened him. We participate in his Passion when we share in his suffering and death, the results of “remaining steadfast to [our] own commitment.” There are dark powers “(security, sensation, and power)” that attempt to seduce us, try to get us to turn back from our commitments. They want to get us to renounce our obedience to Christ. “The cross confronts the Christian with the cost of discipleship, reminds him there is no cheap Pentecost, and carries within it the living power to enable him to endure the inevitable humiliations, rejections, sacrifices, and loneliness that the journey to higher Christian consciousness imposes.”

Therefore, my beloved brothers,
be steadfast,
immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58


Father, I pray for the strength to hold fast to my commitment as a disciple of Jesus Christ, as servant who willingly does his duty for you. May the power of the cross enable me to endure the obstacles that will come my way. May the power of the resurrection give me the grace to see the future that is in store for me, rather than focusing on what is going on now. Wait. May the power of the resurrection give me the grace and strength to live through what is going on now, in hopes of that glorious resurrection that I, too, will participate in, at the last day. May my commitment to you be seen in the way that I live my life each day. The Cross and the Resurrection are the bulwarks of my faith. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.

I pray for this day. I pray that the ladies’ gathering will go well, and that they will have a great time of fellowship and fun. I pray that Stephanie and I will be able to have a good time at the Rangers’ game today, and enjoy a concert by Mercy Me at the end. I pray that no one will receive any harm/damage from bad storms today.

Prepare us for next weekend, as we move toward the day that we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. May our spirits be meditating on the life of Christ, his Cross, and his Resurrection, as the day approaches. May we find strength in those events that can empower us to live our lives for your glory.

I pray with a heavy heart for Lesia, Scott, and Brett Hernandez, as they have temporarily lost husband and father. But they have the joy of believing that he is, indeed, seeing Jesus face to face. Lesia’s faith and strength through all of this has been an inspiration to us. Please rain down on them with the comfort of your Holy Spirit!

Your grace is sufficient.


May our commitment to him remain strong, in spite of loneliness, desolation, humiliation, rejection, and all other obstacles. His grace will carry us. His cross will empower us. His resurrection will free us.

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Birthdays, Devotions, History, Prayer, Reflections for Ragamuffins, The Divine Hours | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Who Is Jesus to Me?

Good morning. It is Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Today is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! I wonder if Lee’s Grilled Cheese knows about this!! Now here is a grammatical question. Is a sentence that begins with “I wonder if . . .” a question? I don’t think so. I believe it is a statement. It sounds like a question, but it isn’t.


Wow, was yesterday busy!! So busy, in fact, that my UP band told me that I walked 19,263 steps!! That is 240% of my daily goal of 8000 steps! The reason for this is that we spent the day cleaning out the building that our account is vacating. CEVA won’t be retaining the lease on that building any more, so we are having to completely move everything out. We have until the end of the month, but there are several of us who are moving on to new places as soon as Monday. I threw out old files, a ton of hanging files, and miscellaneous stuff. We cleaned out every drawer we could find, and all of the offices around the perimeter of the large, main area. Then, I had to drive to Carrollton to meet up with the site manager for the new place I’ll be working Monday. He drove me up to McKinney, where Raytheon’s main facility is, took me to lunch (we had Cane’s chicken strips), then I got my new badge for the new job. He took me on a brief tour around the Raytheon facility, which is huge! He said around 4000 people work there! He drove me back to Carrollton, and then I drove back to Grapevine, where I finished the day by unplugging all but one of the office computers and staging them in an area all together. We left one up, because there will still be three people working there for a week or so, and they will need access to the system.

After I got home, Christi and I went to Northeast Mall to the movie theater, where we watched 50 to 1, a new movie about a racehorse named “Mine That Bird.” It’s a true story of a huge Kentucky Derby upset. Why would we go see this movie? Because Christian Kane is in it. He has a major part as the owner of Mine That Bird. There were some very good moments in this movie, and, overall, it was a lot of fun. It’s far from the best movie I have ever seen, but it was very entertaining. One cool thing is that the jockey in the movie was the real jockey that rode Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Calvin Borel. Here is the actual footage from the original broadcast of the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and this footage was used in the movie.

After the movie, we went to Red Robin for dinner. It was one of the most disappointing restaurant experiences I have ever had. We ordered one of their new “gourmet burgers,” even though it was $13.49. It in no way resembled a burger that should cost that much. I couldn’t taste the bacon on it at all, the meat was bland and over cooked (we asked for medium, and it was, at the very least, medium well, and I tasted a few burnt places). The meat patty, itself was small. The sauce tasted pretty good, and the steak fries were okay. We complained to the manager, who took one of the burgers off the ticket. I doubt we will go back there. Dairy Queen has better burgers for a lot less cost. Nevertheless, we still had a marvelous time for the evening, one of our first true “dates” in a long time.


(Source: History.com)

It was on this date in 1633 that Galileo Galilei was put on trial for heresy by chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, who had been appointed by Pope Urban VIII. His heresy? Believing that the Earth revolves around the Sun. On June 22, the following edict was handed down: “We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo… have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.” In addition, they said, “We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took the Church 300 years to finally figure out that he was right.


Today’s featured birthday is John Kay, born Joachim Krauledat, in Tilsit, East Prussia, on this date in 1944. John Kay was lead singer and founder of the rock group Steppenwolf, one of my favorite groups of the sixties and early seventies. Here is their song, “Monster,” the title track of the 1969 album.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
Psalm 46:8
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
Psalm 59:9
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalm 103:13

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.


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 73:28
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Who Is He?”

“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked this of multiple people in the New Testament. This question might well be put to each of this in the modern age. What is your answer? Who is Jesus to you? “Describe the Christ that you have personally encountered on the grounds of your own self.”

I have encountered Christ as Savior. I have encountered him as brother. He has been a friend to me through the darkest of times, and he has held me up when I feared that he had abandoned me. He is loyal and faithful, even when I am not. He is my strength. I almost typed, “He is everything to me.” But I cannot type that, because it is not true. But that is my goal, that is my desire. I’m getting closer and closer to being able to say that.

But I can only say these things because I have developed an intimacy of sorts with Christ. “Only a superficial stereotyped answer can be forthcoming if we have not developed a personal relationship with Jesus.” An answer, perhaps, such as, “He is everything to me.” “we can only repeat and reproduce pious turns of speech that others have spoken or wave a catechism under children’s noses if we have not gained some partial insight, some small perception, of the inexhaustible richness of the mystery of who is Jesus Christ.”

This may sound harsh, but after reading it, I looked back at my answers. Some of them look like those repeated “pious turns of speech that others have spoken.” Yet I know in my heart that I have been developing this intimacy for the past couple of years. Who is Jesus to me? He is the love of my life. He is the one that I want to follow and pattern my life after. He is the one I want to imitate. And he is the one with which I cannot wait to spend eternity.

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:3


Father, may these words strike a chord in my soul today as I ponder who Jesus is to me. I don’t want to be guilty of turning those pious phrases that get to be so cliche that everyone says them. I also don’t want my perception of who Jesus is to be based entirely on that which is experiential. There is a mystical element of this intimacy that many want to deny, because they fear the onset of Eastern mysticism. Nevertheless, it is impossible to deny the mystical element of Christ in me, the hope of glory. There is not other way that the Spirit can be inhabiting my own spirit, except through mystical, spiritual means. My entire basis of intimacy with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and you, the Father, is mystical in nature. It is a mystery that I will not fully understand until I reach my final destination and come face to face with you in eternity. In the meantime, while I live on this earth, let my perception of who Jesus is to me be colored by truth, by the Gospel, and by the Holy Spirit.

I pray for this day, as we go about our errands and activities. I pray for a good afternoon, and then for a good prayer time and worship service this evening. I pray that Stephanie will have a good time today, as she goes and looks at the horses with Summer. I also pray that the fifty percent chance of rain that is forecast tomorrow could hold off until after the Rangers game and concert, so that Stephanie can enjoy her afternoon and not be disappointed.

Your grace is sufficient.


Who do you say that he is?

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Birthdays, Devotions, History, Prayer, Reflections for Ragamuffins, The Divine Hours | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Broken and Spilled Out

Good morning! It is Friday, April 11, 2014.

Today is Barbershop Quartet Day. How fun! I never got to sing in one, but I enjoy listening to them. My favorite one is probably the accidental barbershop quartet from The Music Man.


Christi is still feeling better, so that’s good. Nothing else has come up in the job search, though. She’s supposed to have an interview with an other company, though. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the company or when the interview is. I know that they have something to do with Salesforce, though, so it’s all in the same are that she has been working in already.

I’m going up to McKinney today, to get my new badge for the Raytheon account. I’m pretty excited about this. Yesterday morning, we got the rest of the client’s material loaded up on the last trailers.

Empty warehouse

Empty warehouse


For the second time in a year, this end of the warehouse is completely empty. This time, the rest is, as well, except for the racking, which is being torn down today. It’s kind of sad, but I’ve already pretty much moved on and am ready for the next step. I don’t know if I mentioned or not, but my manager is also going to the Carrollton location, as well as one of our forklift drivers, so there will be some familiar faces there. There are stricter rules at the new place, though, as it is a government contract. In all honesty, I have had it pretty easy, for the last three years or so.

Neither one of my favorite baseball teams is doing very well, right now. Boston lost to the Evil Empire last night, 4-1, and their record is 4-6. The Rangers didn’t play. They play the Astros this weekend, who are also 4-6, while the Rangers are 4-5. Prince Fielder is still batting under .200, even though he managed to have a three-hit night against Boston this week. Hoping that the weather forecast is wrong for Sunday, because Stephanie and I have tickets for the game Sunday afternoon.


(Source: History.com)

On this date in 1961, Bob Dylan played his first major gig in New York City, at Gerde’s, which was “probably the most important folk-music venue in New York City at the time.”


There are several birthdays today, a few significant baseball players. We have Bret Saberhagen, a retired pitcher, who pitched for the Boston Red Sox for part of his career (1997-1999, 2001). We have Mark Teixeira, Stephanie’s hero, who played for the Texas Rangers for a few years, but now wears the dreaded pinstripes. But we also have Trot Nixon, born on this date in 1974. Trot was part of the 2004 World Series championship Boston Red Sox team. He played right field for the Sox.

Happy birthday, Trot!!


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you.

Psalm 147:12-13
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
Psalm 140:6
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
Psalm 97:9
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast;
who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants;
who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings,
Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan,
and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.

Psalm 135:6-14

“O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread:
Open the eyes of my faith, that I may behold him in all his redeeming work;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”


The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2
For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
Psalm 18:28


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Reckless Love.”

Mary Magdalene’s focus throughout the passion week was not her own suffering, but the “suffering Christ, ‘who loved her and delivered himself up for her.’” The words of Galatians 2:20 are not allegory. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. “The love of Jesus Christ on the cross was a burning reality for Magdalene, and her life is utterly incomprehensible except in terms of it.” If you were to approach her to speak of “the Christian life, charismatic spirituality, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you speak of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross or you do not speak at all.”

Talk of mysticism or speaking in tongues would only be a burden; she has just a single question, “Do you know him?” “In the realm of Christian discipleship it is conceivable that the Church has never had a greater lover of Jesus Christ than Mary Magdalene.” This may very well be true.

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many,
are forgiven—-for she loved much.
But he who is forgiven little, loves little.

Luke 7:47


Father, how shall I respond in the face of such reckless love? The “love” that I have had for my savior over the years pales in comparison. Can I call myself a disciple in the shadow of such an example? I pray that my love for Jesus might be even a fraction as reckless as that of Mary. As I listen to the song that I have posted below, I have a lump in my throat. My love for you is so imperfect. I am still so very selfish. Your Spirit is bringing me along, that is true. But I have so far to go. I pray that my love for Jesus will increase, that my love for self will decrease. My life is yours, it is not mine. My mission is yours, it is not mine. Whatever you have for me to do, I should be willing to do it without grumbling or wishing that I had something else to do. May I be “broken and spilled out” for you!

I pray for this day. I pray for traveling safety, as I will be out and about quite a bit today. I pray that the badge process will go smoothly. I pray for Christi, that she might get something positive today in the job search. Money is not that tight, yet, but her health benefits run out in a month, and we will have to make a decision about that, if she doesn’t have a new job yet. We are continuing to trust you on this. I pray, as always for Stephanie, that you would give her wisdom and understanding, and show her the path for her life. I pray that her health kick will stay on target. We all need that, as a matter of fact.

I thank you that Randon’s mother seems to be improving, and continue to pray for her to recover from her illness.

Your grace is sufficient.


The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation.
Psalm 18:46

Grace and peace, friends

Posted in Birthdays, Devotions, History, Prayer, Reflections for Ragamuffins, The Divine Hours | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Integrity

Good morning. It is pre-Friday (why can’t it be real Friday??), April 10, 2014.

Today is Sibling Day. If you have one (or more) of those, today is the day to honor that relationship. It’s funny that this falls only two days after the birthday of two very special siblings in my life. Oh, they aren’t my siblings, but they are my mother and uncle, who happen to be twins. I, myself, have no siblings. Yes, I am an only. We have a couple of siblings in our family. Rachel and Stephanie. They don’t always get along, but Stephanie thinks Rachel hung the moon. And I’m pretty sure that Rachel would defend her sister mightily in spite of how annoying she finds her at other times. I love both of you very much.


Christi is feeling so much better! She got out and did stuff yesterday, and I could just hear in her voice on the phone how much better she was feeling! I just hope this lasts a while. She even went out and got me some steel-toed shoes yesterday! I was hesitant about that, because shoes are difficult to buy without trying on. But it looks like this pair is going to work. They are dark brown, slip-ons, and they are very comfortable, especially on the bottom. We also had lunch together (with her ex-work associate, Josh) at El Fenix in Grapevine. That was fun.

Yesterday was an interesting day at work. We have almost everything moved out of our warehouse now. In fact, we would have had all of the client’s material out, had we not run out of trailers to put them in. They are supposed to bring us a couple more this morning, so we can finish that job. By the end of this day, there will be no more elevator parts in our building. Well . . . except for the part in the actual elevator in our building. Which is haunted. Or possessed. Or just won’t work right. I also got an important email from my new site manager, outlining how next week is going to look. I like how he is doing this. It’s all very organized. It’s official, though. I start at the new location at 8:00am Monday. I’m supposed to go get my new badge on Friday (tomorrow), and then there will be some orientation on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now comes the tricky part for me and this blog. I have to be at work in Carrollton by 8:00am. That means that I probably should leave the house no later than 7:00. I’m currently getting up at 5:45. As I type this line, it is already 6:36. That means that, by this point, I would have just over twenty minutes left to finish this, get my shower, get dressed and out the door. What this means is a couple of things. First, I am definitely going to have to get up a little earlier, at least. Maybe 5:30, maybe earlier, depending on what I want to do with this blog. What I’m really thinking is that all of the peripheral (NOT “periphreal”) stuff is going to have to go by the wayside, at least on Monday-Friday. While I’m aware that this might affect my massive readership (I had a whopping seventeen visitors yesterday!), I have to remind myself of the original purpose for my blogging. It was not necessarily for others to read. It was simply an outlet for my devotionals that would be stored somewhere other than on my own computer. So, in all honesty, even if only one person was reading, I would still be writing this.

All that being said, I really enjoy all of that “peripheral” stuff, as well. I may find a way to do a second entry later in the day for that, perhaps in the evening. Who knows. I’m just alerting my less-than-twenty regular readers that “The Times, They Are A-Changing.” :-)


(Source: Christian History Institute)

The first complete, public performance of Brahms’ Requiem occurred on this date in 1868. It happened to be on Good Friday, that year. The performance was at the cathedral of Bremen, and it is said that the listeners were overwhelmed. Brahms took his text from the German Lutheran Bible, and focused on “consoling the living,” so the work was “surprisingly upbeat.”



TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 125:1-2
Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
Psalm 119:27
Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.

Psalm 119:49-50
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
John 14:1

“Look down, O Lord, I pray, on all of us, Your Family
for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed
and to be delivered into the hands of wicked men,
and to suffer the torment of the Cross. Amen.”


For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14

Good Friday is a week from tomorrow. While I don’t truly believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday (the math doesn’t add up, but that’s a topic for a different conversation), nevertheless, that is the day that we focus specifically on the Cross of Christ. May we begin to prepare our hearts for the observance of this, a true “Holy Day.”


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Life of Integrity.”

Jesus announced that “he had not come to call the virtuous, but the sinners. Then he proceeded to break bread with a notorious public sinner, Zacchaeus.”

“Jesus reinforced his words with deeds.” He “walked the talk.” He “put his money where his mouth was.” You get the picture. Also . . . he was most definitely not intimidated by figures of authority. After all, he was the authority! He was not bothered in the least by the peoples’ complaints that he was going into the house of a “sinner.” The point is, “Jesus broke the law of traditions when the love of persons demanded it.” There’s a “Twitter” moment if there ever was one. :-) But this kind of activity even had an impact on his enemies. Because of it, they had to admit that he was a man of integrity, a man of honesty. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. (Mark 12:14a) Of course, this was leading to a trap in the rest of the verse. But the truth is, “A life of integrity has prophetic clout even with cynics.”

“Yes, indeed, this man was truly a Rabbi unlike any other in Palestine. He may never have studied under a great teacher, he had no degree. He was a layman, an uneducated Galilean peasant, but his Word thundered with authority; he was the Great Rabbi because his being and his doing, like his humanity and his divinity, were one.”

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,
so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do.
For they preach, but do not practice.

Matthew 23:1-3


Father, one of my lifelong goals, along with being more like Jesus, is to live this kind of life, where my words and my deeds align. I am not always successful, I confess this. But as you teach me and your Spirit leads me, and as the life of Christ is continuously formed in me, I am finding this to be easier. May I never be afraid to break tradition when “the love of persons” demands it. Give me a love for others that is staggering. May I listen to the words that thundered with authority. Put those words in my heart every single day as I go about my life. I want to be more like Jesus.

I pray for this day. I give you thanks and praise for Christi feeling better, and I pray that it continues to be so. I pray for safe travel to and from work today. I pray that Christi will have more progress on the job search. Help us to make wise decisions regarding health insurance, should she not have something by the time her current coverage runs out. I pray for Stephanie, that she will continue to be motivated in her life. She is doing so good right now, it is a blessing. May your life shine down on us with your blessings today.

Your grace is sufficient.


May all who call the name of Jesus live with integrity and honesty. And may we consider the act of loving others to be more important than holding to religious traditions.

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Devotions, History, Prayer, Reflections for Ragamuffins, The Divine Hours | Tagged , , | 2 Comments