Thy Will Be Done

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”~~Charles Chaplin

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is janky, “of poor quality, bad; untrustworthy, suspicious.”

Today is Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day. What is that thing that you can do that no one else can do? I can wiggle my ears, but a lot of people can do that. I can’t roll my tongue, can’t touch my tongue to my nose.

WordPress has changed the format of the new post page again, and I have to say that I’m not crazy about it, right up front. All of my editing features are gone! In order to quickly put in a link, or make the text italicized or bold, I have to switch to the “Visual” tab, which doesn’t allow me as much control over what I’m typing. I hope they read this, because here’s one vote to go back to the way it was before. This is not easier. I also can’t see my comments on the initial page for the site. I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Right about the time they change it again . . .

Christi wasn’t feeling well last night, so we didn’t go work out. In fact, she went straight to bed after we got home from work. I stayed up, ate a can of tuna and got caught up enough on The Walking Dead that I now know what happened to Glenn. Pretty incredible (and by incredible, I mean that literally), if you ask me, which you didn’t so, that’s all I’m going to say about that. Christi says she is feeling much better this morning. November has not been kind to my family at all, historically. Rachel and Stephanie have already been sick this month, Christi was down yesterday. So far, I’m okay, but we shall see.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Yesterday, I was writing about how we need to pray for what we desire, but at the same time, be open for God to do something different. Tim Keller cites J.I. Packer as he gives us some ways to work this out, practically.

One thing that Packer says we should do is, “we should lay before God, as part of our prayer, the reasons why we think that what we ask for is the best thing.” This might strike some of us as rather bold, but if you think about it, if we have to argue our point with God, it makes us think about it. Many older Christian writers talk about this very thing. It is “theological reasoning,” not assuming that we know better than God, but telling God why we believe that what we are asking for is the best thing, based on what we know about God’s desires. And there is the catch – you must be familiar with God’s desires in order for this to work.

Packer also says that, when we make our needs and desires known to God, we should tell him “that if he wills something different [than what we are asking] we know it will be better and it is that (rather than the best we could think of) that we really want him to do.” So not only are we okay with God doing something different than what we pray, if it truly is better, then we want him to do it that way! This kind of praying reshapes our hearts. If we cannot truly pray that way, then we have an issue of what Augustine would call “disordered loves.” This should trigger some serious self-examination.

But if we can truly pray in that way, it will calm our hearts, allowing us to “leave our concerns with God, knowing that he will hear them and act on them when and as is best.”

“In short, God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything he knew.”

This, in essence, is the truest way to pray, “Thy will be done.”

Father, as I pray to you, I frequently pray from a list of desires and prayer requests, many of which are given or suggested by other people. May I always pray with a willingness and understanding that you might have a better way of resolving things than how I am praying. You are God, you are sovereign, and all things are in your hands. I am merely human, finite, with extremely limited understanding of things. I bow to you and your infinite knowledge, accepting that whatever happens is due to your sovereignty and infinite knowledge. May my prayers always reflect this truth.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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How Do We Ask?

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”~~Mahatma Gandhi

Today’s word of the day, from, is splendiferous, “splendid; magnificent; fine.” It’s going to be a splendiferous day!

Today is Fibonacci Day. Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa), is the guy who came up with the sequence of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous, two. 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,44, and so on.

Yesterday was another great day! We had a great worship service, yesterday morning. Our pastor, Jacob Seay, preached an incredible message on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. After church, we took my mother to Cheddar’s for lunch, then I drove her back to Mineral Wells, while Christi stayed home and started preparing our dishes for the church’s Thanksgiving feast, which was at 5:30 last night. The drive was very nice. We had some great times with Mama, and will be seeing her again this Thursday, for Thanksgiving. We plan to spend a couple of nights in Mineral Wells, and return on Saturday.

It’s Monday, again, but it’s a short week. Wednesday could be rough, though, as we will have to get everything finished before we can leave. But we four days off afterward. I’m trying not to thank about next Monday, though. UPS doesn’t take off Friday, so we’ll get a double whammy of freight for receiving next Monday.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

I read, yesterday, about the “practical mystery” of the fact that, even though God is sovereign, and in total control of all things, he seems to allow our prayers to have some effect on the world. In light of these truths, how should we pray; how should we ask of God?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives us some insight into this. In answer to question 98, “What is prayer?” the catechism says this: “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.”

We are certainly to ask God to grant our desires. We should not be timid about that (one of my bigger issues in prayer). We only need to look at the Psalms to see a myriad examples of this. But, our desires can be disordered, for a number of reasons, and could be “perfectly well-intentioned though mistaken.” We might think a particular prayer request would be for the best, but if God were to grant it, we might realize later that we were terribly wrong. This is why the catechism includes the part about being “agreeable to his will.” Unfortunately, we don’t always know what these things are. This is why, according to Keller, “We pray for those things as we can best envision them and with a new open-mindedness, a willingness for God to do something different.”

Father, enable me to pray in this way, knowing that my request could very well be flawed, and that you know a better way. Help me to be open-minded to a different outcome than that which I believe I desire. As I pray, may I always be able to honestly end with, “Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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In Some Sense

“The unfed mind devours itself.”~~Gore Vidal

Today’s word of the day, from, is gratulation, “a feeling of joy,” or, “the expression of joy.” This makes perfect sense, especially when considering our popular word, “congratulations.” The suffix “con-” meaning “with,” makes the word mean, literally, “with a feeling of joy,” or “with an expression of joy.” So when I tell someone “congratulations,” it means that I am feeling joy for them for whatever they have accomplished or received.

Today is Go For A Ride Day. We’re not just talking about bicycles here. Get out into the world, take a trip. Go for a ride. I’ll be doing that, later today, as I take my mother back to Mineral Wells. I’m sure it will be a thoroughly enjoyable ride. It will be sunny and cool, perhaps even a bit beyond cool, so I’m sure the windows will remain up.

The concert went, as far as I can tell, fabulously, yesterday evening. My mother (and Christi, too) enjoyed it immensely. They both were quite vocal, afterward, about how good we were, especially the trombones. :-D I had a blast playing all of the Christmas tunes that we played. We will be performing more Christmas music on December 12, as the band performs at the grand opening of The Marq Southlake.

After the concert, we went straight to Martha’s Mexican Restaurant for dinner, after which we went home, talked for about an hour and then went to bed a little early. We’re up this morning, getting ready for church. If you’re in the area, we invite you to join us at 10:15, at The Exchange, meeting at the Northpark YMCA, 9100 N. Beach, Fort Worth, TX, 76244.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

As I continue looking at Tim Keller’s chapter on petition, I’ve come to a section called “The Power of Prayer.” The Bible is replete with promises about prayer, even in “the affairs of history.” In the book of James, in the New Testament, the brother of Jesus reminds us that Elijah, “a man with a nature like ours,” prayed and caused the rain to go away. Then he prayed it back, in a little over two years. All of this was to confront an evil king. In James 5:16, he says, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. I think the KJV may say, “fervent and effectual.” John Calvin says this about what James teaches on prayer:

It was a notable event for God to put heaven, in some sense, under the control of Elijah’s prayers, to be obedient to his requests. By his prayers, Elijah kept heaven shut for two years and a half. Then he opened it, and made it suddenly pour with great rain, from which we may see the miraculous power of prayer.

Note Calvin’s use of the phrase “in some sense.” We know that, in the ultimate sense, God is in control of everything. We could not possibly, in prayer, take control away from God. “However, it is part of God’s goodness and appointment that he allows the world to be susceptible to our prayers.” This is one of the most “practical mysteries of the Bible.”

In Nehemiah, when the Jews were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, they learned that they were going to be attacked by their enemies. What did they do? The prayed. But then they posted a guard, too. When King Hezekiah was dying, he prayed to God. God heard his prayer, but then, when Isaiah went to tell him, he was instructed to prepare a dressing for the infection.

Our prayers matter; and God is sovereign and infallible. Both things are true at the same time. if we believed only in God’s sovereignty, and that our actions meant nothing, we would fall into “discouraged passivity.” Yet if we believed the opposite to be true, and that our prayers controlled even God’s plans, we would fall into “paralyzing fear.” But both are true, which gives us great incentive.

God allows for the world to be “in some sense” affected by our prayers.

Father, may these truths be evident to me in my prayer life, knowing that you are ultimately in control of all things, yet you allow my prayers to, “in some sense,” affect my world.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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Thank You

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”~~Mark Twain

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is fulsome. Here is a word with several meanings, some of which seem almost contradictory. 1. “characterized by abundance : copious,” “generous in amount, extent, or spirit.” 2. “aesthetically, morally, or generally offensive.” 3. “exceeding the bounds of good taste : overdone.” 4. “excessively complimentary or flattering : effusive.”

Today is World Hello Day. Be friendly. Greet people. Hello.

I had a decent work day yesterday, and was able to leave on time. We had a nice trip over to Mineral Wells, picked up my mother, and got back right about 9:00 PM. We sat down and watched an episode of Major Crimes while chatting, and finally went to bed around 11:30 or so. It was a great evening.

Today is busy, but it will be fun, hopefully. The weather looks like it will cooperate with the Christmas Tree Lighting in Southlake. If you’re in the area, it will be at the Southlake Town Center on 1709. The band will be playing right in front of the City Hall building. Santa will set up in the Pagoda close to the road. The actually lighting of the tree is scheduled for 6:30. The band plays at 4:30, followed by some school choirs. It should be great!

After the festivities, we plan to go to Martha’s for dinner. Since Mama didn’t get to go to Fogata’s, we’ll take her to the next best place.

I don’t usually talk about high school football, but last night, my alma mater, Mineral Wells Rams, won the area championship for the first time in the school’s history. The Rams beat Pampa 41-20. They will play Brownwood next, which will certainly be a challenge. Brownwood is one of those teams that is always good.

On this date in 164 BC, Judas Maccabaeus restored the Temple in Jerusalem, marking a date that is commemorated each year by the festival of Hanukkah. On this date in 1789, North Carolina became the 12th U.S. State. In 1877, Thomas Edison announced the invention of a device that could record and play sounds. He called it a “phonograph.” In spite of the digital age, you can still buy record players to this day. In fact, you can even get one that uses a laser instead of a stylus. You can get one of these here for the low price of $9000 to $19,000! In 1905, Einstein published the paper that revealed the relationship between energy and mass, leading to what is probably the most famous equation in history, E=mc2 (I don’t know how to make a superscript in this medium, so it doesn’t look right). In 1920, 31 people were killed in Dublin in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” 1953, the Piltdown Man is revealed to be a hoax. 1980, fire breaks out in the MGM Grand in Nevada, killing 87 people and injuring more than 650.

Today’s birthdays include Voltaire (French philosopher), Stan Musial (American baseball player), Christopher Tolkien (British author), Joseph Campanella (American actor), Marlo Thomas (American actress), Dr. John (American musician), Harold Ramis (American actor/director), Goldie Hawn (American actress), Steven Curtis Chapman (American CCM musician), Bjork (Icelandic musician), Troy Aikman (American football player turned bad announcer), Ken Griffey, Jr. (American baseball player), and Hank Blalock (American baseball player).

Dr. John is 75 years old today. He is an American musician from New Orleans, LA. Here is his song “Revolution.”

Henrey Purcell and Bill Bixby are among notable deaths today.


I think I’m in trouble. I’m supposed to be finished by now.

(From Daily Guideposts 2015)

Roberta Messner shares a story today of a friend who passed away a few months ago. Her friend, Kay, passed away giving thanks to God. According to the caregiver, the last words on her lips were, “Thank you.”

The last time she had seen Kay, Kay had remembered a time when she was at Roberta’s house and commented on admiring her purse. At this, Roberta emptied the contents of the purse and insisted that Kay take it. Kay said, “I just wanted to say thank you again, Roberta.”

After losing contact with Kay, Roberta was surprised to get a call from Kay’s brother, telling her that she had been mentioned in Kay’s will. “She wanted tob e sure I was given a picture I had once needlepointed for her and a sweet little diamond cocktail ring as well.”

Roberta had the ring mounted on a charm bracelet. Each time she looks at it, she is reminded of Kay, and has promised God that his praise will always be on her lips. She prays that the last words on her lips will be “Thank you.”

Seven times a day I praise you . . . (Psalm 119:164)
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! (1 Chronicles 16:9)
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. (Psalm 7:17)
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:7)

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done . . .”

Father, may I be faithful to give you thanks, daily. Like this writer, I would pray that the last words on my lips would be words of thanksgiving to you, the God who has given me life, who has given me so much in my life. Forgive me for taking all of this for granted and not thanking you enough. I could never thank you enough. And the thanks are not an attempt to repay you, for that would not be possible either. But I am so very grateful for this life. Teach me your way that I may walk in your truth, and that I may display your glorious kingdom to those around me. Teach me love.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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Struggling in Prayer

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”~~Abraham Lincoln

Today’s word of the day, from, is penurious, “extremely stingy; parsimonious; miserly,” “extremely poor; destitute; indigent,” or, “poorly or inadequately supplied; lacking in means or resources.” So Scrooge was penurious, but so was Bob Cratchit? Interesting.

Today is Name Your PC Day. I still haven’t done that. I’m not sure what its name is. Is it a she or a he? Who knows? I thought about calling it “Hal,” but that might not end well.

Christi had her last Huddle last night, and I got a few things accomplished around the house. Tonight, we go to Mineral Wells to pick up my mother and bring her back here for the weekend. Going to be a busy one. We have to do holiday grocery shopping tomorrow morning, the concert for the Christmas Tree lighting at 4:30, church Sunday morning, take Mama home, and then the church’s Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening. It should all be good fun, though.

Of course, I will probably have to work late tonight, but we’re kind of used to that, now.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, I begin chapter fourteen, “Struggle: Asking His Help.” This chapter tackles a third form of prayer. We have looked at upward prayer, which is praise and adoration of God. We have looked at inward prayer, which is self-examination and confession. Now we look at outward prayer, which is asking God for things for ourselves, others close to us, and for the world. David expressed this kind of prayer in Psalm 61:1-2, in a rather primal way. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. On the surface, petitionary prayer looks simple. In the words of Mr. Keller, “looks can be deceiving.”

First, we look at the book of James, where the brother of Jesus writes, You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Our petitions could actually be bad for us, especially if we see them as a way to tell God, “My will be done!” We tend to want to indulge our appetites and tell God how he should run things. This is neither pleasing to God nor helpful to us.

We can still be manipulative without being arrogant about it, though. Sometimes we get it into our heads that if we pray a certain way, God is obligated to us. If we follow certain “elaborate forms and practices,” we can get what we want from God. These prayers “do not seek God’s face, grace, and glory so much as power to get things from him.”

We can also be too timid in prayer, especially when attempting to avoid these other two errors. Here is a great quote from Keller:

Prayer is not merely a way to get inward peace–it is also a way to look outward and participate with God in his work in the world.

Theologian Donald Bloesh said, “‘Prayer is not simply petition, but strenuous petition. It is . . . active pleading with God. It consists not merely in reflection on the promises of God but in taking hold of these promises.'” Paul asked the Roman Christians to “strive” with him in prayer. I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf. (Romans 15:30) In Ephesians 6:12, Paul says, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. How do we “wrestle” against “cosmic powers?” In prayer.

I have caught myself falling into the trap of thinking that if I pray the right words, God will answer. I frequently stop myself in the middle of prayers and rethink what I am saying. I have also been guilty of spending most of my petitionary time praying for others, and never asking anything for myself. I believe this is equally erroneous. It is almost a false humility, thinking that God is too busy to worry with me, but will answer my prayers for others. Or maybe I think my own petitions are too trivial.

“It is quite natural in prayer to ask wrongly or not at all. We must learn to ask, and to ask rightly.”

Father, teach me, as I continue to study this book, to “ask rightly.” Teach me to pray. That is my ultimate goal as I read this book, and then continue on to others. Teach me to pray. I want to knock on the doors of heaven with confidence, but not arrogance; with humility, but not timidity. I want to participate in the work that you are doing in the world, with strenuous petition.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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Jesus and Macbeth

“Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.”~~Albert Einstein

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is ruly, “obedient, orderly.” Now be honest with me. How many of you knew that “ruly” was a word? I mean, it makes sense, doesn’t it? We always talk of people, especially children, being “unruly,” so “ruly” would be the opposite, wouldn’t it? But my browser spell-checker doesn’t know it’s a word, either, so don’t feel bad.

Today is World Toilet Day. No, really. I’m serious. Did you know that, on a global scale, one out of every three people does not have access to a toilet? That’s approximately 2.5 billion people. Needless to say, that makes for some pretty drastic sanitation issues in some parts of the world. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to “celebrate” this particular “holiday,” though.

My doctor appointment went pretty well, yesterday evening. I like the new PA they have there, Amber Mayes. She seemed very “real” and easy to talk to. She told me stuff that I had never heard before, about weight loss and hormones. She listened quite openly about my possibly irrational fear of taking statin drugs for cholesterol. You see, I have read that there is possible evidence that statins, such as Simvastatin and Atorvastatin, damage muscle tissue, and might even trigger Inclusion Body Myositis, which is, of course, the disease that killed my father. Ms. Mayes said that she would read up on that. In the meantime, she is okay with me not taking it, as long as I am trying to do something about it in more natural ways, with more healthy eating and exercise. Other than that, all they did was poke around on my feet to make sure I’m not losing any feeling sensations in my feet. Everything was good, there.

Today, we have our “pot luck” lunch at work, for which I am taking a dump cake. Christi has her final Huddle meeting tonight, and I will be doing some last minute house cleaning, laundry folding, and, if time allows, practicing for Saturday’s band concert. Tomorrow evening, after work, we will be driving to Mineral Wells to pick up my mother. She will be spending the weekend with us, going to the Christmas Tree lighting on Saturday, and church with us on Sunday morning.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

In the final section of the chapter on intimacy and finding the grace of God, Timothy Keller takes us to Macbeth. But first, he reminds us of Jesus’s first official miracle. You know, when he turned the water into wine at the wedding celebration in Cana. What is significant is that he used large stone jars for the water. And those large stone jars were the ones that were used for rites of purification, according to Jewish law. These rites communicated a crucial truth to the people; that none of us is what we ought to be. We all know shame; we all know guilt; and we all know that something must be done to cleanse us from the “dirt and stain of sin” before we can enter into the presence of God. When Jesus put his wine in those jars, he was telling us that he could do that for us.

Even those of us who have never read or seen Macbeth are familiar with Lady Macbeth’s scene where she has gone a bit mad and keeps seeing blood on her hands. You see, she helped her husband murder a couple of people, and the shame has driven her to madness. “Out, damned spot! . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” Nothing she can do can remove the stain of blood on her hand. Just like Lady Macbeth, we humans know we are stained. But “beating ourselves up and doing good works can’t eradicate it.” “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!”

But God (again, two of my favorite words in all of Scripture) . . . But God has sacrificed Jesus Christ on the cross, that we might be able to have the spot and stain of sin removed, because we cannot remove them ourselves. “That’s why we must stop trying to cleanse ourselves through self-punishment, or to get a sense of cleanliness by living in denial about our sin.” Rather, we go in prayer, looking to the work of Christ on the cross, repenting of and forsaking our sin.

Father, help me to see the truth in this, to know that Jesus has done enough to cleanse me, and that I need not keep trying to cleanse myself. Even after all of these years of being a believer, I still fall into that trap of trying to appease you through “good works.” I know, in my heart, that this is impossible. Jesus truly has paid it all, and all I must do is live in that reality, repenting of sin and forsaking it. Help me do that, through your Holy Spirit.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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Prayers for Pride, Coldness, and Anxiety

“If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.”~~François Mauriac

Today’s word of the day, from, is slugabed, “a lazy person who stays in bed long after the usual time for arising.” It’s what I wish I could be, this morning.

Today is Occult Day. It’s pretty much the only choice I had. I probably wouldn’t have chosen that one. But there it is. I, myself, will not be engaging in any occultic activities, today. No palm-reading for me, thank you very much.

Yesterday evening, I stopped by out worship leader’s house and let his wife take my picture for the church’s new web site, launching soon. Here’s how it came out.

Thaaaaaat's me!!

Thaaaaaat’s me!!

Then I went to the gym, by myself, while Christi stayed home and cooked a couple of dump cakes (one for her to take to work today, and one for me to take tomorrow), and some vegetable beef soup, which was delicious!

This morning, I’m going in early again, so I can get to a doctor appointment at 5:15 PM, for my med refills. So I need to hurry up and move along.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

As he closes out the section on self-examination and repentance, Tim Keller offers up these sample prayers of repentance for “pride, for coldness and a lack of love, and for anxiety and mistrustfulness.”

O Lord, I fall into pride, but on the cross you made yourself of no reputation and gave up all your power and glory – for me! The more I thank you and rejoice that you did that, the less I need to worry about my own honor and reputation, about whether people are approving of me or not.
O Lord, I fall into coldness and irritability, but in the garden just before you died, you were so gentle and affirming of us even when we went to sleep on you. On the cross you were giving yourself for people who abandoned you or mocked you. The more I thank and rejoice that you did that for me, the more it melts away my hardness and makes me able to be patient and attentive to people around me.
O Lord, I fall into anxiety and fearfulness, but you faced the most astonishing dangers for me. You were torn to pieces, so bravely, for me, so I could be utterly loved and eternally safe in you. If you were courageous for me facing those overwhelming cosmic evils, I know you are with me now. Therefore, I can be steady as I face my problems.

Father, help me to echo those prayers, or at least something like them, every day. Help me to remember that Jesus died and rose again on the third day, that I might not have to fall into pride, coldness, or anxiety.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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