Am I Listening?

“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.”~~Rupert Brooke
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is groggery. A groggery is “a slightly disreputable barroom.” Best stay away from those, right?

Today is Radio Day, a day formed in 2011, to celebrate the importance of radio communication, which, in some parts of the world, still remains the primary means of information and communication.

I didn’t get up until 9:30, this morning, hence the late-ish blog entry.

I worked about an hour late, yesterday, as did Christi, so we wound up having a late dinner. We called out for Asian food at our usual place, and had it delivered. We watched a few TV shows, then Christi went to bed, and I stayed up, as is my custom, to play Fallout 4. After a couple of hours, I noticed I was having a hard time staying awake, so I went on to bed, as well. It’s been a touch week. We’re all hoping for some better weeks ahead. And, of course, we are praying and hoping for some good news next week.

We got our taxes filed today, finally. We’re getting a small amount back, this year. I don’t know what else will be going on today. Christi is still coughing quite bit, from whatever ailment she has had this week, so I don’t know if we’ll get to the grocery store today, or not. The manager of our Kroger store, who is also our pastor’s dad, is in the hospital with double pneumonia! He’s doing better, I hear, but will remain in the hospital, at least through today.

I’m rambling a bit, so I should probably get on to other things.

On this date in 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to face heresy charges. You see, he believed that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Scandalous! You can read the story at History.com.

Today’s birthdays include:

1599–Pope Alexander VII
1885–Bess Truman, First Lady
1891–Grant Wood, American painter
1919–Tennessee Ernie Ford, American musician
1923–Chuck Yeager, American pilot
1933–Kim Novak, American actress
1934–George Segal, American actor
1938–Oliver Reed, English actor
1942–Peter Tork, American musician, The Monkees
1942–Carol Lynley, American actress
1944–Jerry Springer, American TV host
1944–Stockard Channing, American actress
1950–Peter Gabriel, English musician
1951–David Naughton, American actor/singer, “I’m A Pepper”
1961–Henry Rollins, American musician
1976–Feist, Canadian singer/songwriter

Peter Tork is an American musician and actor, most famously known as the bass player for The Monkees. He is 74 years old today. Here is my favorite song by The Monkees.

Catherine Howard, Cotton Mather, Richard Wagner, David Janssen, Waylon Jennings, Dick Weber, and Nelson Briles are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Psalm 25:6-10

“God likes our sins even less than our neighbors do. But he treats them far differently.” Isn’t that the truth? We humans tend to judge, reject, and condemn people for being flawed (as we all are), but God “instructs” us, he “leads” us, and he “teaches us. “Our sins are an occasion not for harsh rejection, but for loving reconciliation.”

“I confess my sins to you, O Lord, confident that you will not reject this sinner, but find new ways to share your forgiveness and steadfast love, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “The Devotion of Hearing.”

And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:10

Just because I have listened to one thing God says to me is not a guarantee that I will listen to all that he says. I tend to be obtuse toward many things that God tries to speak to me, and this is one way that I demonstrate disrespect toward him. Most of us would shudder to think that we had disobeyed the voice of Jesus at any point. But the thing that hinders me from hearing is that I am frequently too focused on other things. “It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear him.” May we have more of the attitude of little Samuel, who, upon hearing the voice of God (after Eli set him straight about who it was that was calling him), eagerly proclaimed, “Speak, for your servant hears!”

May we hear God’s voice today!

Father, I confess that I don’t always listen to you. Even when I am supposed to be concentrating on these devotions, my mind and heart are drawn away by other things, from finances to entertainment. May I be more focused on you, that my life may be more consistent and stable. I have confidence that you hear me; may I cause you to have confidence that I hear you, as well.

I pray, still, for our friend and brother, Greg, that you might clear out his lungs and heal him.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Birthdays, Deaths, History, Holidays, My Utmost For His Highest, Praying With the Psalms, Psalms, Quotes, Word of the Day | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Don’t Love God

“Never put a sock in a toaster.”~~Eddie Izzard
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is broomball, “A team game similar to ice hockey and played on ice, but in which the players wear shoes or boots rather than ice skates and use (specially designed) brooms in attempting to push a ball into their opponents’ goal.” I have always wanted to play broomball, but, thus far, have not had an opportunity.

Today is Lost Penny Day. Not so much about actual lost pennies, this day is set aside to encourage people to gather up all of their loose change and donate it to the charity of their choice. Even “lost pennies” add up.

Let me tell you, it is good to be home. It is almost good to be getting up to go to work. I said, “almost.” I’m really tired after this week’s activities, but that’s not a complaint. My mother was feeling much better yesterday, and getting around pretty well when we left to come home. We had a nice afternoon with Rachel and Justin, having a late lunch with them. I also drove around town and took some pictures mostly of places that used to be something else when I was living in Mineral Wells. You can see the photos, if you so desire, on my Facebook page. I have set it to “public” so everyone should be able to see it. Oh, and if you’re wondering about all the pictures in the flower shop, I had stopped in to get something for Valentine’s Day. Plus the assistant at my mother’s surgeon’s office is the mother of the owner of the shop. Plus it’s allegedly haunted.

It’s Friday, so my “back to work” will only be for one day, and I’ll have the weekend to rest up for next week, which will, hopefully, be a week without bad news. I don’t think I’ve had one of those, yet, in 2016.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:1-5

If you really think about it, the concept of “trial and error” is really a pretty “poor strategy for learning how to live.” We have the “way of faith” shown to us with bright, shining “precedents and examples . . . that can save us both the embarrassment of being foolish and the pain of making mistakes.” Yet, we still manage to do both.

“O God, even as Abraham ‘set out, not knowing where he was going’ and arrived at the land of promise by your guidance, so I would make my way believing in your promises and guided by your commandments, looking to Jesus, the ‘pioneer and perfecter’ of my faith (Hebrews 11:8, 12:2). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Must I Listen?”

. . . and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
Exodus 20:19

“We do not consciously disobey God, we simply do not heed Him.” We have the commands of God right in front of us, but we consistently fail to heed them, “not because of wilful disobedience but because we do not love and respect Him.” We certainly don’t want to hear that, do we? “But of course I love and respect God!!” What does Jesus say in John 14:15? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” When we come to the realization that, based on the words of Jesus, it is possible that we truly don’t love God, we become “covered with shame and humiliation.”

The words of the Children of Israel in Exodus 20:19 are tragic. “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” “We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only.” Here’s how it works: If God speaks, we know that “either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him.” But when his servants speak, we can say, “Well, that’s just the voice of a man, and it’s his human thoughts. It might be God’s truth, but I really don’t have to do it, because it’s only a man telling me.”

The delight of hearing God, when once we do, “is tempered with shame in having been so long not hearing Him.”

Father, open my ears and my heart, that I might hear your voice. Mold my heart that I might love and respect you by doing that which you command me to do.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Holidays, My Utmost For His Highest, Praying With the Psalms, Psalms, Quotes, Word of the Day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

You Are Good, You Are Good, When There’s Nothing Good in Me

“Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.”~~Henry Fielding
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is interstitial, which means “pertaining to, situated in, or forming small or narrow spaces or intervals between things or parts.”

Today is Get Out Your Guitar Day. Hmm . . . perhaps someone is trying to tell me something.

Well, it’s Thursday morning, and my mother is up, looking good, and feeling good! She says there is very little pain, and, so far, has only taken one of the hydrocodone/Tylenol pills they prescribed. Stephanie and I will be heading back to Fort Worth sometime this afternoon/evening. My mother thinks she will be okay to be alone tonight, but Christi is on “standby,” ready to come out this evening, if necessary.

One of Mama’s good friends brought us breakfast this morning! That was very kind. Rachel and Justin are coming out later, as well, to visit for a little bit. We’ll probably have lunch with them.

I don’t know much else.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah.

Psalm 24:7-10

Whenever Christians gather to seek the Lord’s face, to worship him together, we are, in a sense, lifting up those gates, “that the King of glory may come in.” “The church at worship, with heads lifted up in expectation, is at the summit of earth’s fullness.”

“Almighty God, when I next assemble with fellow Christians in worship, grant that I may not be so taken with my own plans and anxieties that I miss the proclamation of your presence at the gates and your entrance into our midst as the King of Glory. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

The LORD is my strength and my song . . .
Exodus 15:2

Today’s writer, Elizabeth Sherrill, tells the tale of an ancient saint at Whitby Abbey, in North Yorkshire, named Caedmon. The Abbey was the first Christian settlement in the area, founded by Saint Hilda, in 657. However, it is not Saint Hilda that fascinates Elizabeth, it is a “humble cowherd who labored on the abbey’s farm.”

Caedmon could not read or write, but this was not unusual for most people. In those days, it was normally only the monks and nuns who could do so. The sole source of entertainment for the farm workers was usually the evening singing contest. Caedmon, however, was terrified of the contest, and the thought of the harp that was passed around each evening. He would go hide among the cows during the contest.

One night, as he lay among the animals, a “bright figure appeared in the dark stable.” It said, “Sing to me!” Caedmon protested, stating that he could not sing, and he was hiding so they wouldn’t ask him to.

Sing, Caedmon. Sing about creation!

And out of his mouth “poured a glorious poem in praise of God the Creator.”

He awoke, thinking that this was merely a dream. However, he vividly remembered every word of the poem/song. He immediately rushed out and began sharing it with the other farmhands and the farm manager, who took him to Abbess Hilda. She was so taken by the beauty of this harm hand’s song that she began having monks translate Scripture passages for him, which he turned into eloquent songs. “For the rest of his life, the first-known English-language poet lived at the abbey, creating hymns that carried the good news across the land.”

Here is a modern translation of Caedmon’s original hymn:

“Now [we] must honour the guardian of heaven,
the might of the architect, and his purpose,
the work of the father of glory[b]
as he, the eternal lord, established the beginning of wonders;
he first created for the children of men[c]
heaven as a roof, the holy creator
Then the guardian of mankind,
the eternal lord, afterwards appointed the middle earth,
the lands for men,[d] the Lord almighty.” (via Wikipedia)

“For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.”
2 Samuel 22:50

So you might wonder what the title of today’s entry has to do with any of this. As I struggle through the emotions of the last several weeks, I feel so undeserving of God’s goodness. I feel like such an unfaithful servant. Therefore, the beginning lines of “Forever Reign” have been especially meaningful to me, just as the MercyMe anthem, “Flawless.” I recognize the goodness of the Lord, and I recognize my extreme unworthiness. I won’t try to compete with Paul to be “chief of sinners.” However, I am well aware of my shortcomings, as I try to serve the Lord. At the same time, I am learning to give up this whole idea of trying to serve him, to allow his grace to flow over, into, and through me, recognizing that, while I will not be perfect in this life, nevertheless, his cross has, indeed, made me “Flawless.” Because he is good when there is nothing good in me, which is always. Even my “good works,” my “righteousness” is as filthy rags in comparison to the great grace that Christ has demonstrated on the cross. I will never be worthy. But I am flawless because he has made me thus.

Father, I thank you for the gift of grace. I thank you for the cross. I thank you that you are always good. And I thank you for the gift of music and singing. May I not forsake the gifts you have given me. I pray that you might bring me opportunities to refine and use those gifts once again.

I pray for our pastor’s dad, Greg. We pray that you would bring healing to his body, Lord!

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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The Power of Imagination

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”~~Berthold Auerbach
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is gruntle. Truthfully, I did not know that there was such a word, but I guess it is logical, as it is the opposite of “disgruntle.” It means, “to put in a good humor.”

Today is Umbrella Day. I dare say, however, that we shall not need any of those contraptions today. The forecast is 74 degrees and sunny. On February 10. A week from today, the high is projected to be 83.

Well, we are in Mineral Wells. Stephanie and I, that is. Christi is going to work this morning, but not feeling very well. My mother is having day surgery this morning, and we are supposed to be at the hospital by 8:30. We had a pleasant drive over, last night. I slept fairly well until someone decided to call my mother’s phone at 4:00 this morning. She said no one was there. But I really didn’t get back to sleep after that, at least not soundly.

Not much else to say, this morning, so I’ll get on with the devotional.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.

Psalm 24:3-6

We have confidence born out of the good creation that God has given us, which leads us to “live as loved creatures.” The inner life of our hearts and the outer life of our hands are a response to the trustworthiness of God.

“‘Redeemer, come! I open wide my heart to Thee;
here, Lord, abide. Let me Thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in me reveal.’ (Georg Weissel, ‘Life Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates,’ translated by Catherine Winkworth). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Is Your Imagination of God Starved?”

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?
Isaiah 40:26

The people to whom Isaiah was speaking had “starved their imagination” by focusing on idols, images of false gods. Isaiah made them look up; he made them begin to use their imaginations properly. “If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature.” My pastor loves to look up, especially at night. When Christi and I go to Glen Rose, I love to look at the sky at night, out in the country, away from the light pollution. When I do that, I am drawn to the words of David: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

“The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity.” What are my idols? Myself? My work (I can definitely say no to that one)? My experience of salvation? Yes, even that can be an idol! When this happens, when my imagination is starved, I must not look back at any experience; I must look at God and God alone!

“One of the reasons of stultification in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God. We have to learn how to be broken bread and poured-out wine on the line of intercession more than on the line of personal contact. Imagination is the power God gives a saint to posit himself out of himself into relationships he was never in.”

Father, draw me out of myself, into relationship with you. Restore the power of my imagination by causing me to look up! I pray for this day’s surgeries that are happening. May all go smoothly and recovery be quick. Your grace is sufficient, may your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Holidays, My Utmost For His Highest, Praying With the Psalms, Psalms, Quotes, Word of the Day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Good and Faithful Servant

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”~~Henry David Thoreau
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is razzmatazz, which means, “Showy, ostentatious; glamorous, stylish; dazzling.”

Besides being Fat Tuesday, today is Read in the Bathtub Day. Disclaimer: We do not recommend practicing this with a Kindle. Or a library book, either. You should only read in the bathtub with your own books. How relaxing, though . . .

As already mentioned, today, apparently, is that dubious day of excess, Fat Tuesday. You see, Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. So people gorge themselves on Fat Tuesday (also the culmination of Mardi Gras), before they commit to giving something up for the next forty days for Lent. I really don’t practice either one.

Tonight, after work, Stephanie and I will be heading back out to Mineral Wells for a couple of nights. My mother’s surgery is around 9:00 to 9:30 tomorrow morning (she is supposed to be at the hospital by 8:30, which is why we are heading over there tonight). We will stay with her another night to make sure she is feeling okay. It’s supposed to be relatively quick and easy with little recovery time. Most reports say that people can go back to work the next day. My mother doesn’t plan to do that. :-)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Psalm 24:1-2

God created and designed this place where we live. In doing so, he provided “a place in which he can share his will and his love.” Our world is “the perfect environment for experiencing God’s redemption.” That seems strange to say, doesn’t it? But you just have to look at the right places to understand that, and there are plenty of “right places” left to look at.

“God restore my perspective so that I will see you as Creator and Owner and myself as steward and servant, caring for your property in a faithful and reverent way. I want to hear your words of commendation, ‘good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:21,23). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Are You Exhausted Spiritually?”

To be exhausted is to be drained of our “vital forces.” “Spiritual exhaustion never comes through sin but only through service, and whether or not you are exhausted will depend upon where you get your supplies.” When we encounter others who need “feeding,” we must be their nourishment until they learn to feed on God for themselves. This will cause us to be drained. However, if we are careful to get our supply from the Lord, we will become “utterly exhausted.”

If we become totally exhausted, we need to check the beginnings of our service. “Where did you start the service from? From your own sympathy or from the basis of the Redemption of Jesus Christ?” We need to always be returning to the foundation of our affections and the source of our power.

Father, help me to continuously go back to the source. I tend to forget and find myself getting drained, not because I have served so well, but because I stop drawing my strength from you, my source, and then I get frustrated with people. Teach me you way, constantly. Always cause me to look back to you for my strength and power. help me to live a life that will receive the best reward I can think of, you telling me that I have been a “good and faithful servant.”

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Holidays, My Utmost For His Highest, Praying With the Psalms, Psalms, Quotes, Word of the Day | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

One With Jesus

“This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”~~Oscar Wilde
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is sagacity, which means “acuteness of mental discernment and soundness of judgment.”

Today is Kite Flying Day I’m not quite sure why that’s in February. It seems it should be in the spring, sometime. Although we do have a wind advisory for today, it is only going to be 58 for the high. A tad chilly for flying kits, in my opinion.

Some may have noticed that there was no blog yesterday. We were in Mineral Wells, staying at a hotel, and I didn’t take my laptop with me, this time. I wasn’t sure how much time we would have, since we had planned to get up, have breakfast, check out, and then go to my mother’s to pick her up and take her to church. All of those things happened, but not quite the way we had planned. The one variable was breakfast. We stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites, in Mineral Wells, which is a good $40 more expensive than the Best Western, right next door. We had had a couple of issues with the Best Western, but let me tell you, the Comfort Inn is most definitely NOT worth $40 more than the Best Western. We had a puny, cramped room (now granted, the very nice girl at the desk offered to give us a different room, but by that time, we already had everything unpacked, plugged in, and so on. The most disappointing thing was the complimentary breakfast. We went down there to check it out, and there was one small heated serving thing with a pan of sausage links and two pans of something that I can only refer to as “egg disks.” These were obviously pre-packaged, frozen, and possibly not even real eggs. Who knows? Again, not worth paying $40 more than the hotel next door. We went to Braum’s and brought it back to the hotel. We will not be going back to that hotel.

I have actually had someone tell me that the best hotel in town is the Days Inn. I swore them off the last time we went to Florida, but maybe they’re better in Texas. I don’t know.

We had a nice time, though, visiting with my mother. Rachel and Justin came and had lunch with us on Saturday, after which we stopped at Jitterbeans for hot chocolate and other drinks. The church service at First Baptist was very nice, with some beautiful music led by Mel Kincaid, their worship leader. It was nice to get to see and chat with some old friends, as well.

It’s Monday again, though, so back to work. For two days. Then I’m going back to Mineral Wells, as my mother is having some surgery on Wednesday. I’ll be there Wednesday and Thursday (maybe Tuesday night, too, depending on the time of surgery Wednesday morning). I think Stephanie is going with me. This time, we’ll be staying at the house, since it’s just me and not Christi. My mother only has a full sized bed in the spare room, which is a bit crowded for both of us.

Oh, and the Broncos won the Superb Owl Game.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23

We get a dual vision of God in this Psalm. First, he is a good shepherd, looking after us in both good and bad times. Second, he is a “generous host who invites us to live in his house, enjoying its elegance and security.”

“O God, I accept you as my Shepherd: help me to trust your provisions and follow your leading. I believe you are my Host: help me to relax in your protection and recognize the signs of your presence, in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Instantaneous and Insistent Sanctification.”

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Do we know what we are asking for when we pray to be sanctified? It is possible that we take the term too lightly. “It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view.” As believers, God has separated us for something, but are we truly prepared for him to do all that he has separated us for?

“Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us.” I frequently pray for the life of Christ to be fully formed in me that he might live the life through and in me. I also believe that the Beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount, are really the characteristics of the life of Christ that we should desire to be found in us.

Father, I pray for this life to be formed in me. I am tired of the struggles with the interests of things on earth. I desire for those to be narrowed. I do pray for sanctification, the way you want to do it. I pray for the life of Christ to be formed in me, that he might live through me. Make me what you want me to be. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Posted in Devotions, Holidays, My Utmost For His Highest, Prayer, Praying With the Psalms, Psalms, Quotes, Word of the Day | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Destruction of Affinities

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”~~Earnest Hemingway
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is psychedelicatessen, which is, “A shop selling psychedelic articles. Now chiefly in extended use with reference to music and art.” Sounds like my kind of place. Groovy, man.

Today is Take Your Child To the Library Day. You see, there’s this magical place, full of these things called “books.” Yeah, they have a few computer terminals. But books. And more books. Every kind imaginable. Please, oh, please, take your child to the library. And if you don’t have a child, take your own darned self to the library!

The library was just about my favorite place in the whole world, when I was growing up. I could lose myself in there. It was upstairs in the old Mineral Wells City Hall building. The floors were creaky wood floors, and the smell . . . oh, man, that smell!! I can close my eyes and almost smell it right now. Old books. What a beautiful aroma! The two librarians were pretty magical, themselves. There was always something special about them. Sigh. How I miss that library.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I got off work pretty close to the usual time, and got a little good news earlier in the day. I’m not going to share any of this story here until I know that it’s okay with the other person involved. But it made the day much better.

We’ll be leaving for Mineral Wells in a little while, to spend the night and go to church with Mama. We haven’t done that in a while, and Stephanie is pretty excited about that. I think Rachel and Just will meet us for lunch today, as well. Good times.

I have a serious prayer request for those of you who pray. We have some friends, a couple who live in San Antonio. Adam and Stephanie Green. She was Stephanie Foote many years ago, when we went to First Church Watauga, and was active in the children’s ministry there, so our kids know them, as well. She is experiencing some serious health issues, right now, apparently centering around her throat/esophagus area. So serious that she is currently in ICU for the third time in the past couple of weeks, if I understand correctly. Please pray for healing for her and peace for her husband and children.

On this date, in 1998, a rental car carrying Austrian Johann Holzel was struck by a bus in the Dominican Republic, where he was vacationing. Most of you probably don’t have a clue who that was. But if I call him “Falco,” you might know. In Austria, he was a superstar, releasing the original recording of “Der Kommisar” in 1982. His recording of that song barely made a dent in the U.S., but four years later, when he released “Rock Me Amadeus,” it shot to number one on the Billboard charts. Not only was he the first Austrian to hit number one on the U.S. charts, but he was also the first to score a number one hit on the American pop charts by a male rap artist! That’s right, boys and girls. ” . . . it wasn’t Doug E. Fresh or Kool Moe Dee or Kurtis Blow or Run-D.M.C. but an Austrian in a powdered wig who first brought hip hop—of a sort—to the top of the pops.” You can read the rest of the article, if you so desire, at History.com.

Today’s birthdays include:

1665–Anne of Great Britain, Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland
1695–Nicolaus II Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician
1756–Aaron Burr, 3rd Vice President of the United States
1895–Babe Ruth, American baseball player
1911–Ronald Reagan, American actor and President
1912–Eva Braun, Hitler’s wife
1913–Mary Leakey, British anthropologist
1917–Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian actress
1922–Patrich Macnee, British actor
1931–Rip Torn, American actor
1940–Tom Brokaw, American news anchor
1941–Gigi Perreau, American actress
1943–Gayle Hunnicutt, American actress, born in Fort Worth, Texas
1945–Bob Marley, Jamaican musician
1950–Natalie Cole, American singer
1962–Axl Rose, American singer, Guns N’ Roses
1966–Rick Astley, British singer
1976–Kim Zmeskal, American gymnast
1988–Allison Holker, American dancer, married to tWitch

So, today is Rick Astley’s birthday, the teen pop star of the eighties, who gave us “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Someone with way too much time on their hands has given us this gem. It doesn’t work 100%, but it’s still fun, and quite unexpected.

Vince Guaraldi, Hugo Montenegro, Danny Thomas, Arthur Ashe, Carl Wilson, Falco, Frankie Laine, and Lew Burdette are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

Psalm 22:12-21

We cannot even begin to imagine what Jesus experience on the cross; the hostility and the pain. But the cruelty of the crucifixion is what resulted in the magnificence of the resurrection. “The worst that men could do became the occasion for the unbelievable best that God can do.”

“On the cross, Lord Jesus, you gathered all the hostility and suffering of the world (all my hostility and suffering) and made of it a mighty act of salvation and deliverance. Praise your great name! Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “Are You Ready to Be Offered?”

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
2 Timothy 4:6

The readiness to be offered is “a transaction of the will, not of sentiment.” I need to tell God that I am ready to be offered, “then let the consequences be what they may.” And when God puts me through the crisis, it will be in private; no man will be able to help me go through it.

Being offered means going through the fire, “burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does.” This is frightening, is it not? Is this why so many of us hold back, in our will?

“Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.”

Father, I want to be able to tell you that I am ready to be offered, to go through this burning and purification, destroying every affection within me that is not for you. I want to, but it scares me, if I’m being honest. Move me with your Spirit. Take away those affections, that my total life might be about you and your glory.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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