In My Right Hand

Today is Thursday, the 30th of March, 2023, in the fifth week of Lent.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,758

Today is Opening Day for baseball. The Texas Rangers play at 3:05 PM CDT, against the Philadelphia Phillies. Jacob deGrom will take the mound for Texas. There are a few of us, at least, who believe it should be Martin Perez, but deGrom was the big-money acquisition in the off season.

The Boston Red Sox start their season in division, against the Baltimore Orioles. They play at 2:10 PM, EDT. Corey Kluber will start for Boston.

Tomorrow is the last day of March, and this coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of what we call Holy Week. It will be a busy week for me.

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 649 4/6*


This morning, I have an appointment at the eye doctor at 10:00, so I’d best get moving. It’s not far away, so I won’t need to leave too early. I’m overdue for this exam, as I should be having one every year. I’m not sure I had one last year.


Great peace have those who love your law; 
nothing can make them stumble.
(Psalms 119:165 NRSV)
We give thanks to you, 
heavenly Father,
through Jesus Christ your dear Son,
that you have protected us through the night
from all danger and harm.
We ask you to preserve and keep us,
this day also,
from all sin and evil,
that in all our thoughts, words, and deeds
we may serve and please you.
Into your hands we commend our bodies
and souls and all that is ours.
Let your holy angels have charge of us,
that the wicked one have no power over us.

Daily Prayer from

Lord God, we thank you for having revealed yourself on this earth in the midst of sin, need, and oppression. We thank you that we can have joy in all you have done both before and since the coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior in everything. To you be praise and thanks. Our hearts leap up with joy in you and in your deeds. Grant that we may be faithful to the end, victorious in all things through your Spirit, who helps and blesses us on our way. Grant your help to all who call to you and who long to rejoice in you. Amen.

Our soul waits for the LORD; 
he is our help and shield. 
Our heart is glad in him, 
because we trust in his holy name. 
Let your steadfast love, O LORD,
 be upon us, even as we hope in you.
(Psalms 33:20-22 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that our Father has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ
  • for the peace that comes to us from meditating on the Word of God
  • that God gives us life
  • that Jesus Christ controls the cosmos
  • for my senses, eyes to see, ears to hear, tongue to taste, nose to smell, and the ability to touch and feel

Teach me your way, O LORD, 
that I may walk in your truth; 
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
(Psalms 86:11 NRSV)
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, 
of your deeds of salvation all day long, 
though their number is past my knowledge.
(Psalms 71:15 NRSV)
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, 
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; 
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, 
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
(Psalms 147:10-11 NRSV)

And Ezra said: “You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.”
(Nehemiah 9:6 NRSV)

In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.
(Revelation 1:16 NRSV)

According to Eugene H. Peterson, something held in the right hand means that it is ready to use. (Unless one is left-handed, of course.) The soldier who has a sword in his right hand is ready to fight. The shepherd holds his staff in his right hand is ready to work. Likewise the builder with a hammer in his right hand.

Now, we know from further reading in Revelation, that these seven stars that Jesus held in His right hand represented the seven churches that would be addressed in the following chapters. But it is not beyond reason, I think, to consider that Jesus does, in fact, hold the cosmos in His right hand. Jesus controls the universe; He controls everything.

What do we hold in our right hands? What do we possess that we are ready to use?

Today, I hold prayer in my right hand. Not literally, of course. Now I’m speaking figuratively. But I am ready to pray. In fact, I have already prayed. One of the first things that I do, before I start typing all of this stuff, is to pray for things that 1) are in my prayer book, 2) have been posted on my daily Facebook prayer post, 3) have been sent to me in private messages, and 4) have appeared in my email inbox from the church where I am on the prayer team.

I do not say these things to boast in my own ability. I have been called “Prayer Warrior” by some. I don’t see myself as a prayer warrior. I don’t see my prayers as being life-changing or earth-shattering. I always hope they are effective. But if they are, it is not because of my power, because I have none. It is because the God to whom I am praying has the power. It is He who holds the worlds in His hands; it is He who controls the cosmos; and it is He who is able to do far and above all that we could ask or imagine.

I hold prayer in my “right hand,” and I am ready to use it, whenever called upon.

I am also trying to keep a strong grip on love in my right hand. That is, at times, more challenging than prayer. But I believe in love, and I believe, strongly, that we all need to do a better job of it.

What do you have in your right hand?

Father, I thank You for calling me to the work of prayer. I also thank You for convicting me, way back, of the need for love and how badly we need a “love revolution” in this world. Help me to be faithful in both, to pray “without ceasing,” and to love You with all of my being, and to love my fellow humans as myself.

Keep my “right hand” strong, and keep me every willing to use whatever tools that You have given me, to the furtherance of Your Kingdom. And may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Almighty God, 
you know that we have no power 
in ourselves to help ourselves: 
Keep me both outwardly in my body 
and inwardly in my soul, 
that I may be defended from all adversities 
which may happen to the body, 
and from all evil thoughts 
which may assault and hurt the soul; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, 
for ever and ever. 
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

On the Dividing of Sacred and Secular

Today is Wednesday, the 29th of March, 2023, in the fifth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ dwell within your soul today and overcome every anxiety and struggle in your life.

Day 23,757

Today is R’s birthday! (Our oldest daughter, who lives in Indianapolis)

Tomorrow is Opening Day! The Rangers open their season at home against the Phillies.

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 648 4/6*


We have ice! The icemaker works, and everything is back in the refrigerator! The only things we lost were some frozen things that were pretty far out of date, anyway. So all is well.

There isn’t much else to talk about this morning. It’s my week to work Wednesday and Saturday, so I need to get going so I will be at the library on time.


Seven times a day I praise you 
for your righteous ordinances.
(Psalms 119:164 NRSV)
We give thanks to you, 
heavenly Father,
through Jesus Christ your dear Son,
that you have protected us through the night
from all danger and harm.
We ask you to preserve and keep us,
this day also,
from all sin and evil,
that in all our thoughts, words, and deeds
we may serve and please you.
Into your hands we commend our bodies
and souls and all that is ours.
Let your holy angels have charge of us,
that the wicked one have no power over us.

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, dear Father in heaven, we turn our hearts to you, for you know all our need. We turn to you, for you are ready with your help when we are at our wit’s end. You have paths we can follow joyfully because we have a Lord who rules and who reigns over us to make us glad. May we praise your name at all times. May your help be always before our eyes so that we can be your true children, to the glory of your name on earth. Amen.

Those who love me, I will deliver; 
I will protect those who know my name. 
When they call to me, I will answer them;
 I will be with them in trouble, 
I will rescue them and honor them. 
With long life I will satisfy them, 
and show them my salvation.
(Psalms 91:14-16 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for my morning coffee and cats
  • for life and love
  • for music that soothes the soul
  • for beauty that can be found in every moment
  • that all of life is sacred

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
(John 10:10 NRSV)

Dear Lord, please help me to see the beauty in every moment and to appreciate the blessings that surround me. Help me to cultivate a sense of gratitude and contentment that will enable me to fully embrace and love my life.
(Guideposts Lenten Prayer for today)

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; 
I will praise him in the midst of the throng. 
For he stands at the right hand of the needy, 
to save them from those who would condemn them to death.
(Psalms 109:30-31 NRSV)
O send out your light and your truth; 
let them lead me; 
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. 
Then I will go to the altar of God, 
to God my exceeding joy; 
and I will praise you with the harp, 
O God, my God.
(Psalms 43:3-4 NRSV)

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:27 NRSV)

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
(Romans 10:17 NRSV)

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
(John 15:11 NRSV)

“Separating life into distinct categories of ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ damages, sometimes irreparably, any attempt to live a whole and satisfying life, a coherent life with meaning and purpose, a life lived to the glory of God.” (Eugene H. Peterson, The Invitation: A Simple Guide to the Bible)

Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:23-24 NRSV)

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:17 NRSV)

For many years, now, I have believed that it is wrong to divide, or to compartmentalize, life into “sacred” and “secular.” Peterson agrees and says that it does damage to “any attempt to live a whole and satisfying life.” And I believe that God agrees, as well, based on these verses in Colossians.

If we attempt to split our lives into sacred and secular, then how could it be said that we “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus?”

We want to have these nice, tidy boxes containing different parts of our lives. Over here is the “church” box. And then, across the room, we have the “work” box. When we split them like that, we don’t have to act the same way at work as we do at church. Somewhere in between is the “home” box, where we have to somehow even act differently than the other two.

Do you see the ridiculousness of this? Surely you can.

All of life is sacred for those of us who are Christ-followers. And I am only speaking, of course, of this. I am not attempting to speak for non-believers, even though I believe that all of their lives are sacred, as well, even though they do not acknowledge it.

When I work, it should be done as though I am working for the Lord, not the City of Hurst. Yes, I must obey the City of Hurst’s policies and procedures, specifically those of the library. But I can still consider that I am doing all of these things in the name of Jesus.

When I am at home, I must treat my family as sacred, as well. Their lives are sacred, and Jesus Christ stands between me and them, at all times. No, I do not always succeed, especially when my adult autistic daughter frustrates me. I lose my temper. She loses hers. We yell at each other. This is not godly at all. Later, we repent and apologize to each other. But this could be prevented if I maintain this sacred attitude at all times.

It’s easy to live this way at church, usually. I mean, that’s why we go there (or at least why we should be there . . . that’s a topic for a different day), to worship God and to show our love and devotion to Him.

Maybe the hardest place to keep life sacred? The highway. If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, you find that driving is one of the most difficult times to maintain an attitude of sacredness. But it is possible.

Rather than having several boxes of life scattered around the house, there should only be one box. One box for my life, labeled “sacred.” There is no “secular” box, because all of my life is to be lived in the name of Jesus Christ, “giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

One more word from Peterson on this subject:

"Joy, separated from its roots in God and pursued apart from the community of faith, becomes mere sensation. It is as easy to separate experiences of joy from God as it is to separate experiences of suffering from God. If the result of the latter is bitterness, the result of the former is boredom."
(Five Smooth Stones, quoted in God's Message for Each Day)

Father, I am grateful, this morning, for joy. I am also grateful that You are teaching me to not attempt to pursue joy outside of You and the community of faith. I am so grateful for this community of faith, Father. I love the saints, and I love worshiping with them. Thank You for this idea of not trying to separate sacred and secular. In fact, “secular,” for the life of the saint, should not even exist. My entire life is sacred, and I cannot afford to try to split it into various boxes for home, work, play, and church.

All things come from You and we owe all things to You, and this includes every moment of every day of my life. I praise You for this life that You have given me, Father. Yes, there have been struggles, but as I look around me, they are miniscule in comparison to many. I have also seen people with more joy than myself, and I do not begrudge this or complain about it. I have just enough joy for me and my circumstances. May I approach each day, on its own merit, with that amount of joy in front of me. Let me not worry about tomorrow or the next day, and let me not fret about what has gone before, as yesterday is eternally gone.

Help me to do all things in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, today. All I have is this moment, so let me strive to live this moment in You.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Almighty God, 
you know that we have no power 
in ourselves to help ourselves: 
Keep me both outwardly in my body 
and inwardly in my soul, 
that I may be defended from all adversities 
which may happen to the body, 
and from all evil thoughts 
which may assault and hurt the soul; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, 
for ever and ever. 
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Be Still and Know

Today is Tuesday, the 28th of March, 2023, in the fifth week of Lent.

May your day be filled with peace, today.

Day 23,756

Two days until Opening Day of baseball season!

Tomorrow is R’s birthday!

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 647 3/6*


Yesterday’s word was “guano.” That’s right. Bat poop.

The refrigerator adventure is nearing an end, hopefully. After I finished yesterday’s blog, one of my Facebook friends suggested using an ice chest or cooler for the perishables. As it turns out, we have two of those things in the garage! I’m not sure why I didn’t think about that already, but I went out and found them, and headed up to Kroger to buy a few bags of ice. All of the milk, eggs, lunchmeat, and a few other items went in those coolers, along with about 2 1/3 bags of ice. I put the remaining ice in the closed freezer in the unplugged fridge.

Once again, I will ask this question, as I have never gotten an answer for it. Why does “fridge” have a “d” in it when “refrigerator” does not??

Anyway, as of last night, after dinner, both ice chests still had ice, but I went ahead and put the rest of the ice in them. It was still frozen, as the unplugged freezer was still pretty cold. I didn’t have to keep it open, like we did the refrigerator doors. We also have a stand-alone freezer, and that’s where all the frozen goods that I wanted to save wound up.

This morning, there is still ice in the coolers, and C had some cereal with milk and said the milk was fine. I just plugged the refrigerator back in. It is 78 degrees in the refrigerated part and 48 in the freezer. Supposedly, after about five hours, it should be safe to put things back in there. It may be at least 24 hours, though, before we get any ice from the new icemaker.

That pretty much consumed my day, yesterday. I was able to get in some trombone practice, and did a few loads of laundry. I was finally able to get some reading done, but struggled to concentrate on what I was reading. Which is, by the way, a book called The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith. Robert Galbraith is actually J.K Rowling.

We finished watching And Then There Were None, last night. It was pretty good. There were a couple of actors that we recognized from other things, the most notable being Sam Neill from Jurassic Park. There was also Charles Dance, who I knew I recognized, and then discovered that he was Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones. And then Toby Stephens, who we had seen in the British detective series, Vexed.

Today, I suppose I will be heading out to Subway for our usual Tuesday lunch/dinner. C is working from home because she has to go to the office tomorrow. I’ll try to play the trombone some more, this afternoon, and hopefully, before I leave for my four-hour shift at the library tonight, I will refill the refrigerator.


I hate and abhor falsehood, 
but I love your law.
(Psalms 119:163 NRSV)
We give thanks to you, 
heavenly Father,
through Jesus Christ your dear Son,
that you have protected us through the night
from all danger and harm.
We ask you to preserve and keep us,
this day also,
from all sin and evil,
that in all our thoughts, words, and deeds
we may serve and please you.
Into your hands we commend our bodies
and souls and all that is ours.
Let your holy angels have charge of us,
that the wicked one have no power over us.

Daily Prayer from

Lord God, we thank you that you have given us atonement, an atonement that delivers us from all evil, from all that is temporal and perishable, and that allows us even now to live in eternity. Grant that many people become aware of the greatness and freeing power of the redemption you have offered us. May a people be born to you, serving you with light in their hearts as they look to the future coming of Jesus Christ. Be with us, strengthen us, and protect us from all the deception on earth. For we want to be your children and nothing else; with our whole hearts we want to look always to you. Amen.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1 John 2:1-2 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for this great salvation, this great atonement that delivers us from all evil, and gives us eternal life
  • for our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
  • for the Word of God
  • for the importance and impact of prayer in our lives
  • for everything the Lord has done for me

"Be still, and know that I am God! 
I am exalted among the nations, 
I am exalted in the earth."
(Psalms 46:10 NRSV)

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.
(Luke 6:12 NRSV)

Come and hear, all you who fear God, 
and I will tell what he has done for me.
(Psalms 66:16 NRSV)
Your statutes have been my songs 
wherever I make my home.
(Psalms 119:54 NRSV)
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; 
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
(Psalms 51:7 NRSV)
Hear my cry, O God; 
listen to my prayer.
 From the end of the earth I call to you,
 when my heart is faint. 

Lead me to the rock 
that is higher than I; 
for you are my refuge, 
a strong tower against the enemy. 

Let me abide in your tent forever, 
find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God, have heard my vows; 
you have given me the heritage of 
those who fear your name.
(Psalms 61:1-5 NRSV)
Thank GOD! 
Pray to him by name! 
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
(Psalms 105:1 MSG)

When I read Psalm 46:10, I see the practice of contemplation. “Be still and know.” Posture is not important, here. It could be standing or sitting or laying down or kneeling. The emphasis is on non-movement. “Be still.” And in that stillness, we are called to do nothing more than “know.” “Know that I am God.”

Have you ever tried that, experimented with contemplation? Some people are vehemently opposed to contemplation. Personally, I believe it is because they are afraid of it. You know the saying that we fear things we do not know. But it is simply doing nothing but thinking about God; knowing that He is God.

And it is most definitely not as easy as it may sound. I have tried it, and I confess that my mind wanders like the neighborhood cat that visits our back yard, daily. Like any other “discipline,” we must practice this and train our minds to do it.

I’ve picked up the trombone again, and started playing in the church orchestra. My lips are like stiff cardboard. I can play the notes, and they don’t sound bad, sometimes, but I’m nowhere near the quality of player I was in my college and seminary years. If I keep at it, keep practicing, perhaps I will be.

The same is true for any of the spiritual disciplines. One cannot simply jump in and do them perfectly.

Prayer is a similar thing. Anyone can pray, at any time, and prayer is much more simple than some folks want to make it. But there are “levels” of prayer, if you will. For example, Luke tells us that Jesus went out and prayed all night, right before He called His twelve apprentices. All night. Have you ever tried to pray all night?

I have not. And I confess that I have trouble praying for fifteen or twenty minutes. The praying is not the hard part. As Anne Lamott tells us, prayer can be as simple as three words: “Help! Thanks! Wow!”

Prayer and contemplation and meditation all go hand in hand. They are part of the “inward” group of spiritual disciplines.

The inward disciplines help prepare us to do things like Psalm 66:16 tells us. In this passage, the psalmist invites all who can hear to come and hear the great things the Lord has done for him. That is one of the things that I try to accomplish in this blog. Besides reading Scripture and praying, I am, in some way, attempting to show the world how awesome God is and how He has blessed me.

Truly, I love His “Law,” His Word, both written and living (Christ). I pray to Him to wash me clean, I celebrate His Word in song and poetry and praise, I pray for His guidance, that He would keep me on His path and “lead me to the Rock that is higher than I,” that I might abide in His tent forever.

And the last quoted Scripture returns to the thought of praising Him and inviting all to see/hear what He has done.

But, for me, it begins with “Be still and know that I am God.” I may not be very good at contemplation, yet, but it is still those moments that fuel everything else.

Father, I pray that You will help me grow into the disciplines that fuel my life. As I practice contemplation, prayer, and meditation, may I get better, may my mind be stayed on You and stop wandering to whatever topic might interest me that day. Frankly, it’s amazing what ancient memories can pop up when I’m trying to “be still and know” that You are God. So help me train my mind and my heart in this discipline.

I pray for the boldness to always be willing to tell everyone the wonderful things that You have done for me. More than just trying to “evangelize” everyone, this is simply testifying to the awesomeness of Your infinite grace, mercy, and love for us.

Thank You for drawing me and all of us into this “large generosity,” as Peterson calls it, “where everyone is getting an receiving, offering and praising.” Thank You for drawing us into the place, the “country” were we are being loved and loving one another. Thank You for loving us as You do, with an everlasting, steadfast love.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Almighty God, 
you know that we have no power 
in ourselves to help ourselves: 
Keep me both outwardly in my body 
and inwardly in my soul, 
that I may be defended from all adversities 
which may happen to the body, 
and from all evil thoughts 
which may assault and hurt the soul; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, 
for ever and ever. 
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Grace and peace, friends.

We Need to be Together

Today is Monday, the 27th of March, 2023, in the fifth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today and every day!

Day 23,755

Three days until Opening Day of baseball season!

It is also two days until R’s birthday!

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 646 5/6*


Yesterday was a good day. We had a lovely worship service, and I think the choir sang pretty well. The song we sang was an arrangement of “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” using the original hymn tune Ebenezer, along with some additional arrangement. It was quite beautiful. The message was about the different reactions to Jesus, specifically surrounding the anointing of his feet with the costly perfume in John 12.

The orchestra and brass ensemble rehearsal afterward went well. I didn’t get home until after 1:00 PM, and we ordered food from a local Italian restaurant. We wound up having lunch at around 3:00 PM.

During lunch, we watched a couple episodes of a miniseries, And Then There Were None, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. It is quite good. It is an Acorn presentation, but is not available to stream without buying or renting it, so I checked it out from the library where I work.

This morning, a man is here repairing our ice maker, which quit working a while back. It’s going okay, except that he just informed me that we must leave the refrigerator doors open for 24 hours in order for the silicon seal to set, and I can’t plug it back in. They didn’t tell us that when we called service, so we are totally unprepared for that.

Oh, well. And it’s not a good week for that to happen, as I have to work Wednesday, this week. At least the meals I’m planning for Wednesday and Thursday won’t be affected by this.

I’m also glad I’ve already done the devotional for today, because I’m not exactly in a great mood right now. Hahaha!!


I rejoice at your word 
like one who finds great spoil.
(Psalms 119:162 NRSV)

What a beautiful verse! Indeed, one who loves the Word of God sees it as great treasure, opening it again and again to find new treasures in it every time.

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, from whom great promises are given for all humankind and especially for your people, we gather in your presence. We rejoice before you, for your promise is sure and your works will be revealed to the glory of your name. Grant us steadfast faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. Grant us faith to hold firm, and in spite of all evil to trust that you are ruling and will set everything right. Lord our God, our Father, we cry to you. As the deer pants for refreshing water, so in our time our souls cry out to you, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as in heaven.” Amen.

For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.
(2 Corinthians 1:20-22 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the color purple
  • for my morning coffee
  • for the community of saints, the Body of Christ
  • for the strength of the Lord, which we must seek continually
  • for the “Yes” of God’s promises

Seek the LORD and his strength, 
seek his presence continually.
(1 Chronicles 16:11 NRSV)
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, 
but to your name give glory, 
for the sake of your steadfast love 
and your faithfulness.
(Psalms 115:1 NRSV)
O LORD, I am your servant; 
I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. 
You have loosed my bonds. 
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice 
and call on the name of the LORD. 
I will pay my vows to the LORD 
in the presence of all his people, 
in the courts of the house of the LORD, 
in your midst, O Jerusalem. 
Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 116:16-19 NRSV)

‘Love others as well as you love yourself.'”
(Matthew 22:39 MSG)

So today is not so much about the command to love as it is about the “others.” It is about how we need to be in community. And this is interesting, because just last night, the topic came up, concerning people who make excuses for not attending church worship, things like saying that they can worship God on the golf course.

Here is what Eugene H. Peterson has to say about this:

"The Bible knows nothing of a religion defined by what a person does inwardly in the privacy of thought or feeling, or apart from others on lonely retreat. When Jesus was asked what the great commandment was, he said, 'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' Then immediately, before anyone could go off and make a private religion out of it ('I come to the garden alone'), riveted it to another: 'There is a second to set alongside it: "Love others as well as you love yourself."'"
(A Long Obedience, quoted in God's Message for Each Day)

I read that book, back in 1997, but remember nothing at all about it. One of these days, I’m going to go back and read some of these Peterson books that I read, previously.

Here’s the point, today, though. Jesus never intended for Christianity to be a private religion. Times of solitude are necessary, sure. Jesus, Himself, went out to lonely places to pray. But we need the community of saints. We need to be together. The second of these two commands requires us to be in relationship with others. If we spend all our time “in the garden,” we can’t love others. Because love requires action directed toward the other. If we are not engaging with the other, then we cannot be loving them.

The lonely retreats, the times in the garden are fine. We just can’t live there.

Father, in heaven, I pray that Your name be glorified in all the earth. I pray that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I give You praise for the strength which You give Your people, especially when we are gathered together in community. I thank You for the “table of grace,” as our pastors call it, each Sunday morning, where we kneel together to receive the body and blood of Christ.

Help us to obey the commands of Jesus, Lord, as we engage with one another. Remind us that we must engage with each other, in order to love one another. Remind us that, while times of solitude and retreat are good and even, perhaps, necessary, from time to time, we must come back from them and engage in relationship with one another.

Strengthen Your body on this earth, Father. Make us one in You, in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Center

Today is Sunday, the 26th of March, 2023, in the fifth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ be with you today.

Day 23,754

Four more days until Opening Day of baseball season.

My World score for today:

Wordle 645 5/6*


We didn’t do a lot yesterday. Well, I didn’t do a lot. C did a lot of housecleaning. She has this “disease” where she can’t just sit around all day, and do nothing. So the kitchen and bathrooms got cleaned.

I didn’t sit around all day, just probably most of it. Mid-afternoon, I ventured out and picked up our grocery order at Kroger (we couldn’t get a delivery until after 5:00 PM, and I didn’t want them that late. I needed to get out, anyway, because the pharmacy had a script that I needed to pick up. And, of course, we needed Sonic drinks.

Then I finished my reading for our Mere Christianity group for tonight, and cooked burgers for the family for dinner. I got the shock of my life (that may be a slight exaggeration) when C told me that it was the best burger she had ever had. I suspect she was delusional from all that hard work she did.

This morning, the choir is singing at the late service, so I need to be at the church by 10:40. Afterward, I must stay for orchestra rehearsal, followed by a brief ensemble rehearsal for the Easter Sunday music.

That’s about it, as far as I know.


Princes persecute me without cause, 
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
(Psalms 119:161 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you with all our hearts that you have given us your living promise. We thank you that again and again our faith can receive a clearer vision through this promise. For you have promised that at last the greatest day of all will come, will conquer the whole world, and bring salvation to all people to the glory of your name as Father throughout all nations. Strengthen us in every way, especially when we are in need and distress. Strengthen the sick and those who are tempted. May they wait in expectation for fulfillment of the promise, and may they see help come. May your name, Lord God, be honored among us. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the patience of God, and that He desires all to come to repentance
  • for the living promises of God, through which our faith can receive a clearer vision
  • for the splendor and beauty of God, and of His works
  • for the Eucharist, the Communion, the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ
  • that God is my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; 
all those who practice it have a good understanding. 
His praise endures forever.
(Psalms 111:10 NRSV)
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, 
who alone does wondrous things. 
Blessed be his glorious name forever; 
may his glory fill the whole earth. 
Amen and Amen.
(Psalms 72:18-19 NRSV)

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
(Matthew 26:26-29 NRSV)

In you, O LORD, I take refuge; 
let me never be put to shame. 
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; 
incline your ear to me and save me. 
Be to me a rock of refuge, 
a strong fortress, to save me, 
for you are my rock and my fortress. 
Rescue me, O my God, 
from the hand of the wicked, 
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
 For you, O Lord, are my hope, 
my trust, O LORD, from my youth. 
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
 it was you who took me from my mother's womb. 
My praise is continually of you.
(Psalms 71:1-6 NRSV)
The LORD is good to all, 
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
(Psalms 145:9 NRSV)
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, 
and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.
(Psalms 145:21 NRSV)
Splendor and beauty mark his craft; 
His generosity never gives out. 
His miracles are his memorial— 
This GOD of Grace, 
this GOD of Love.
(Psalms 111:3-4 MSG)

“This GOD of Grace, this GOD of Love.” Long have I loved Eugene Peterson’s paraphrases of the Psalms. While I love all of God’s Word, the Psalms have long been my favorite out of all 66 “books.” I have said many times that I do not think it a coincidence that they are in the exact center of our Bible. In fact, I have seen reports that say the exact center is found in Psalm 118:8. And what a verse that is, especially in this day and age. (I am including verse 9 in my quote, because they go together.)

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in mortals. 
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
(Psalms 118:8-9 NRSV)

As we constantly come in contact with other mortals (sadly, it cannot be avoided), we also come in contact with people who have more power than we. That’s not hard for me, as I have very little “power.” And we find, too, that many of those people will abuse that power, that authority, that they have over us.

Sometimes, we allow people to have power over us, when, in reality, they do not. Those are the ones most likely to abuse that power. Because of this, we also learn to put up defenses; we build walls.

Then we find ourselves face to face with God, the ultimate power, the ultimate authority, as well as the ultimate mystery. “How will he treat us? Will he punish us, destroy us, take away our freedoms? Based on our experience, any of that is certainly possible, maybe even probable. That’s why we need so much reassurance. ‘Relax. It’s going to be all right.'” (Eugene H. Peterson, Leap Over A Wall, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)

Look again, at Psalm 145:9.

The LORD is good to all, 
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
(Psalms 145:9 NRSV)

Here it is from The Message.

GOD is good to one and all; 
everything he does is suffused with grace.
(Psalms 145:9 MSG)

Both versions (as well as all the others that I looked at) agree. God is good to ALL.

Sadly, as I was growing up, I was given this vision of a God who sat on His throne, mad at the world, just waiting for us to “mess up” so He could smite us. Even sadlier (I confess surprise . . . I really didn’t think that was a word, but, apparently, it is), there are many Christ-followers today who still present that message. The first words out of their mouths on many social media platforms is “Repent or you’re going to HELL!”

I’ve written before on my opinions about that method of “evangelism.” That doesn’t come across at all as “good news.”

That is not the proper vision of our Father in heaven, whose mercies are new every morning. “Mercies!” Not wrath, not anger. Look again at 2 Peter 3:9!

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 NRSV)

Does that sound like God is waiting, eagerly, to smite someone?


“This GOD of grace, this GOD of love.” Yesterday’s blog. “God Is Love.” He is not angry with us, any more. Christ has received that anger. The generosity of this God “never gives out.” Great is His faithfulness, even in the face of our great unfaithfulness.

Don’t put your trust in mortals. Put your trust in God. The center of the Bible.

Father, I thank You for the Psalms, and the impact they have had on my life, over the past few decades. I thank You for the center of our Bible, which, even though the arrangement of those books may not be “inspired” (or maybe it is?), we find Psalm 118:8 as the center of Your Word, encouraging us to trust in You, rather than in any mortals. You alone have the gift of Life, Father, and that Life is not only in Jesus Christ, it IS Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Help us, Father, to convey this message in a more positive way to a hurting, dying world; a world that is dead set on trusting mortals. But You, Lord, are a God of grace, and a God of love, exercising almost infinite patience as we stumble around in the dark, looking for our way. Help us to find that Way and stay in it, Father.

Teach me Your Way, that I may walk in Your Truth; unite my heart to fear Your Name.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

"Almighty God,
you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves.
Keep me both outwardly in my body
and inwardly in my soul,
that I may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts 
which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you 
and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Grace and peace, friends.

God Is Love

Today is Saturday, the 25th of March, 2023, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ overcome all of your struggles today!

Day 23,753

Fifteen days until Resurrection Sunday.

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 644 3/6*


Yesterday was a pretty good day. It wasn’t real busy in the computer center, until the last hour or so, when I suddenly encountered a couple of questions that I couldn’t figure out. One patron had some issues with the bullet points in his resume not lining up correctly. I knew there was a trick that I had seen someone do before, but, for the life of me, couldn’t remember how to get there (we’re talking MS Word, here). I tried several things, and finally gave up and got the tech librarian who sits in the back office of the computer center. She, of course, was able to fix it, and I remembered what it was that she had done the last time this came up.

Then another patron was trying to paste something across a Word document that had Excel-like cells in it. It was some kind of form, and she was trying to paste something across all the cells. I couldn’t figure that one out, either, and went and got the librarian again (feeling somewhat awkward for having to bother her again, but I don’t think she minded). In this case, the solution was to create a “snip” of the thing she wanted to paste, making it an image. But there was more to it. We had to then edit the image so it would appear in front of the text, which allowed us to move it up into the location she wanted.

After work, while we ate our Chicken Ranch Crockpot Soup, we watched the last two episodes of Daisy Jones and the Six. That was such a wonderful show! I think they did a most excellent job of it. Sure, they changed a few things, but who doesn’t, right? And the things that they changed didn’t have an impact on the final product. I will say that all three of us, I think, were crying a the end. So if you’re going to watch it, have tissues nearby.

Today is wide open. I have nothing on my agenda, other than a little trombone playing. And some reading. I’m going to order groceries as soon as I finish this. I learned that the Texas Pinball Festival is this weekend, but it’s all the way up in Frisco, and I don’t want to go that far just to play pinball.


The sum of your word is truth; 
and every one of your righteous ordinances 
endures forever.
(Psalms 119:160 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, merciful God and almighty Father in heaven, we beseech you, look upon us as your children. For in spite of everything, all of us are allowed to be your children and to praise you for all the good you are doing and for all you still want to do for us. Hear our prayer as we come to you with particular concerns, asking for your will to be done in us, for everything to be carried out according to your good purpose, that we may be joyful even in hard and serious times and may hold fast to what you have promised. Amen.

As a father has compassion for his children, 
so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him. 
For he knows how we were made; 
he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalms 103:13-14 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that the Lord remembers that we are dust, and has compassion on us
  • that I have been allowed to be a child of God
  • for all the good that God has done for us, and all that He still wants to do
  • that God always desires to have mercy
  • for the beauty of Creation
  • that God is love

"This is rest; 
give rest to the weary; 
and this is repose"
(Isaiah 28:12 NRSV)
Ah Lord GOD!
 It is you who made the heavens and the earth 
by your great power and by your outstretched arm! 
Nothing is too hard for you.
(Jeremiah 32:17 NRSV)
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

[Uzziah] did what was right in the sight of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.
(2 Chronicles 26:4-5 NRSV)

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
(Hebrews 11:3 NRSV)

We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.
(1 John 4:16 MSG)

“God is love.” That may be the first snippet of a Bible verse that I ever learned or memorized. Oh, sure, John 3:16 is right up there, too, probably the most well-known Bible verse out there (with the possible exception of Psalm 23).

But when children are memorizing Bible verses, the shorter, the better. Three words. “God is love.” Three words that hold more truth than all of the doctoral dissertations ever written.

Not only does love come from God, He is love. And since God is love, John tells us, if we abide in that love, “take up permanent residence in a life of love,” we abide in God, and God (love) abides in us.

The frightening aspect of all of this is that there are an awful lot of people out there, claiming to be Christ-followers, who are most definitely not abiding in love.

But you know what? They are not my problem. They are not my concern. I am my problem; I am my concern. I can only control how I live. And it is up to me to abide in love.

Anyone who has read this blog for a minute knows that this is my intent, my goal in life, in recent years. It is the subject that I inevitably keep coming back to. Or, perhaps, that the Holy Spirit keeps leading me back to.

And, while it may not appear that the conglomeration of Scriptures appearing in today’s entry have anything in common, I might disagree with that. Let’s look at them.

In Isaiah, God tells us that in Him is rest and repose. When we dwell in Him, in His love, as John might tell us, we find rest for our weary souls. Jesus told us this, too. Walk in my “easy yoke,” He told us, and you will find rest. When we abide in love, we abide in God, and we find rest.

We see words like “compassion” and “mercy” in today’s verses. This are closely associated with love. And we take comfort in knowing that, because He loves us, He remembers that we are dust. I love that verse. It is not an excuse for my sin. But it reminds me that God is not surprised or shocked by my sin, and, while it is not excusable, it is not the proverbial end of the world, either.

Nor is He angry at me. I believe I have finally, after all these years, been able to accept that as truth. Does God get angry at sin? Most certainly. Does He get angry at us, His children, who have received the salvation of the Cross of Christ? I don’t believe so.

There’s a fifty dollar word for what Christ did for us on the Cross. “Propitiation.” I once heard someone teach that the simplified definition of that word is that it means “God is not angry with us anymore.”

The wrath of God was poured out on Jesus Christ on the Cross. If Jesus Christ took that wrath in our place, then how on earth would it be redirected at us, later??

I’ve strayed from my original topic. God is love. This is truth. In some ways, it is the only truth we need. Maybe that is why it is the first Bible verse I remember memorizing.

God is love. If I make my permanent residence this life of love, then I am successfully living in God, and God in me. Maybe this is why Jesus said that loving God and loving people are the two basic commands that sum up the entire law and prophets.

"Love is the free act supreme. It directs our best intentions and our best abilities to the other. It marshals our best energies into companionship and friendship with a person whom God has singled out for love. The act is not controlled by feelings or circumstances, by prejudices or customs. We are free to love the person who is presented as an enemy, the person who is designated as insignificant, the person who apparently has nothing of interest or worth to me, the person who insists on making himself unpleasant to me.
"It is a great freedom to love. It means the freedom to be myself, uniquely, totally, and affirmatively with this other."
(Eugene H. Peterson, Traveling Light, quoted in God's Message for Each Day)

Yes, God, You are love, the very embodiment of love. Help me, Lord, to continue to grow in this love, to be able to love that person who “insists on making himself unpleasant to me.” I’ve said before, that I don’t really have any “enemies,” per se. But that doesn’t excuse me to not love people who annoy me. Forgive me for the times that I have not been bothered to show love to people like that. Lower my annoyance factor; help me to allow the Holy Spirit to have more sway over my life, my feelings, my emotions, and my will.

I pray for all who call themselves after the name of Jesus, Lord. I pray for love to emanate from them. Dispel their anger and hatred, Father. Help them to make their permanent residence in love, in You, that they may abide in You and You in them. Let this be true for all of us who claim to follow Your Son.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
(1 John 4:19 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

Love Like That

Today is Friday, the 24th of March, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,752

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 643 3/6*


Well, my doctor visit, yesterday didn’t go so well. My blood pressure was even higher than it was the previous visit, which makes no sense at all. When I checked it at home, yesterday morning, it was 137/88, which is a bit elevated, but then, at the doctor’s office, it came up 168/97! The doctor checked it, himself, when he came in, and it was 158, and I can’t remember the bottom number. He then checked it using my meter, which I had brought with me, at his request from the last visit, and it checked 148, and once again, I don’t remember the bottom number. Better, but still quite a bit higher than yesterday morning.

I can’t help but wonder if anxiety caused by being made to wait almost thirty minutes past my appointment time had anything to do with it.

The rest of the day was mostly okay. I finally got the trombone out and played for a little while, taking a look at the Easter Sunday music. Then we got S to her Club Metro event. C and I had breakfast for dinner at IHOP in Southlake, which was quite good, and quite empty (strange). Then we went over to the EVO Entertainment place, which has movies, bowling, and games. We just looked around at the games, after buying a tub of popcorn because I wanted some popcorn. The games are cool looking, but ridiculously expensive. They have giant Space Invaders and PacMan games, but they cost $2 a game! No thank you. After that, we went to the nearest Sonic and got some drinks before heading back to where S was, to wait for them to finish. She had a great time playing kickball. She scored a run and made a putout!

Since it’s Friday, I will be working, today, from 9:15-6:15 in the computer center at the library.


Consider how I love your precepts; 
preserve my life according to your steadfast love.
(Psalms 119:159 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Dear Father in heaven, in quietness we come to you and ask you for your Spirit. We ask this especially for the time of waiting still required of us as we hope and strive for light to come into all hearts, for light to shine where there is so much death. We must not despair of our inner life even when life around us rages as if it would suck us down into its whirlpool with no way out. But you will guard us. Watch over us, we pray, also in hours of temptation, so that we may remain under your care. Watch over us so that we have hope and joy in you, assured that your goal for us all is true life from above, a life of resurrection. Amen.

For there is still a vision for the appointed time; 
it speaks of the end, and does not lie. 
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
 it will surely come, it will not delay.
(Habakkuk 2:3 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the peace that comes from trusting God, even as life rages around us
  • that God’s goal and desire for each of us is life from above, a life of resurrection
  • that the Lord has saved me and given me life
  • for the love of God in our lives, extravagant, not cautious
  • that we can learn that life of love by keeping company with Him

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
(Isaiah 26:3 NRSV)
Come and hear, all you who fear God, 
and I will tell what he has done for me.
(Psalms 66:16 NRSV)
Wondrously show your steadfast love, 
O savior of those who seek refuge 
from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Guard me as the apple of the eye; 
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
(Psalms 17:7-8 NRSV)
I thank you that you have answered me 
and have become my salvation.
(Psalms 118:21 NRSV)

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6 NRSV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG)

These last two verses from Ephesians sum up my thinking, this morning. “Mostly what God does is love you.” That is a truth that we need to contemplate more.

We think we are going to find answers to life in many different things, but the truth is God is the only place to find those answers. “Keep company with him and learn a life of love.” How profound that is! And it is the only way to learn this life of love! “Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant.”

Unlike us humans, Jesus didn’t love us in order to gets something from us. There is nothing we could have given Him that He didn’t already have. He loved to give.

And then that final three words.




Father, help us to love like that.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Never Give Up Hope

Today is Thursday, the 23rd of March, 2023, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,751

My Wordle score for today:

Wordle 642 3/6*


Yesterday was an interesting day, with some pretty weird ups and downs. S’s therapist appointment went well, and choir practice last night was fun. There were some moment during the rest of the day that had a pretty drastic effect on my state of mind. I’m better, this morning, though, after a decent night’s sleep. I have been struggling with motivation to do some things that need to be done. For example, I really need to unpack the trombone and play some, today, to start looking at Easter music that I will be playing. We have rehearsal this Sunday, and next Sunday (Palm Sunday), as well. On Easter Sunday, I will be playing in both services and not singing with the choir, as there is a brass quartet part to go along with the Easter anthem.

I also really need to start getting some exercise in. It doesn’t need to be a lot, and it doesn’t need to be strenuous. I just need to do it.

The one thing I don’t need more motivation for is reading. I’m doing okay with that. I’ve read 26 books, so far this year, and will definitely make 27 or 28 before the end of March. I’m on a pace to read over 100 books this year, and I have never done that before! At least not since I have been keeping my reading log. Retirement and working part time at a library have had a definite positive impact on my reading habits. That and being friends with a bunch of librarians. Hah!

Today, I have a doctor appointment at 11:15, to follow up on my blood pressure, which has been elevated the last couple times I have been there. I’ve checked it at home every day this week, and the seven-day average is 138/90, which is a tad high. It’s not as high as it was last time in the office. I’m also supposed to take my meter with me, to compare it with the reading they get in the office.

Over all, my health is fine. I just have some minor issues that could become major issues if I don’t get them under control. Hence the need for some exercise.

We should be able to get S to her Club Metro event tonight. The pending thunderstorms seem to have shifted to after midnight tonight, so that shouldn’t affect this week’s plan. They are going to play kickball tonight, which S loves. They were supposed to go to the video arcade for the rescheduled even from last week, but they can’t get the bus that they need to take them tonight.


I look at the faithless with disgust,
 because they do not keep your commands.
(Psalms 119:158 NRSV)

This is one of those verses that I struggle with, because I don’t believe we should look upon anyone “with disgust.” It is interesting to see the different translations of this verse. The ESV is exactly the same as the NRSV. But the KJV translates the word “grieved,” instead of “with disgust.”

I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; 
because they kept not thy word.
(Psalms 119:158 KJV)

I am frequently sad when I see people ignoring God’s Word, or showing disdain for it. But I try very hard to not view anyone with disgust or contempt. I admit that I do not always succeed.

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, protect us in your Spirit. Strengthen our hearts especially when we often have to bear suffering, that we may be steadfast in hope and may again and again experience a day of salvation. Protect us in every way. Accept our praise and thanks, and let our hearts rejoice in what you have already done for us. We want to discern your ways more and more so that we may please you as your servants. Amen.

Thus says the LORD: 
In a time of favor I have answered you, 
on a day of salvation I have helped you; 
I have kept you and given you as a covenant 
to the people, to establish the land, 
to apportion the desolate heritages;
(Isaiah 49:8 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for my health; may I have the motivation to improve and maintain it
  • for my love of reading, and for parents who nurtured that
  • for cinnamon-flavored coffee; and all other things cinnamon
  • that, with God in our lives, we are never alone; we never have to face any struggle on our own
  • for hope; never give up hope

Have you not known? Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; 
his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, 
and strengthens the powerless. 
Even youths will faint and be weary,
 and the young will fall exhausted;
 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
 they shall run and not be weary, 
they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31 NRSV)
It is central in the biblical tradition that God’s love for his people should not be forgotten. It should remain with us in the present. When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices, when we do not see any exits, then we can find salvation in a remembered love, a love that is not simply a wistful recollection of a bygone past, but a living force that sustains us in the present. Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives.
(Henri Nouwen Daily Meditation)
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:21-23 NRSV)

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, 
for I wait for you.
(Psalms 25:21 NRSV)
Do not fret because of the wicked; 
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
 for they will soon fade like the grass,
 and wither like the green herb. 
Trust in the LORD, and do good; 
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. 
Take delight in the LORD, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him, and he will act. 
He will make your vindication shine like the light, 
and the justice of your cause like the noonday. 
Be still before the LORD, 
and wait patiently for him; 
do not fret over those who prosper in their way, 
over those who carry out evil devices.
(Psalms 37:1-7 NRSV)

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians.
(2 Chronicles 16:12 NRSV)

This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
(2 Chronicles 20:17 NRSV)

From there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul.
(Deuteronomy 4:29 NRSV)

Hope. What is hope? It has several definitions.

The first definition provided by Webster is, “to cherish a desire with anticipation to want something to happen or be true.” But that sounds more like “wishful thinking,” does it not? And that is not the kind of hope I am referring to, here.

A little further down the list, it says, “to expect with confidence.” And archaic definition is said to be “trust.”

I rather like Wikipedia’s take on it. “Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.”

Biblical hope is never really defined, as such, but we can glean its meaning from its context. For example, in the Lamentations passage up there, probably the most well-known passage from that book, the thing that gives the author hope is that he has called to mind the steadfast love (“chesed“) of the Lord and that it never ceases. Contemplating the mercies of God, that they never cease, and are “new every morning,” gives the author “hope.” He is able “to expect with confidence.” He has “an optimistic state of mind.”

And if you look at the verses preceding the quoted passage, you will see that this man is in the midst of some pretty depressing circumstances.

my soul is bereft of peace; 
I have forgotten what happiness is; 
so I say, "Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the LORD." 
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! 
My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
(Lamentations 3:17-20 NRSV)

In spite of all of this, when he remembers the steadfast love and mercy of God, he has hope.

Similar in nature to hope, we see this idea of “waiting” for the Lord. The word for “hope” in Lamentations is “yachal,” which can also be translated “to wait.” However, the word for “wait upon” in that famous passage from Isaiah 40, is “qavah,” which has several possible translations, one of which is, “to expect.” One of the definitions of “hope” was “to expect with confidence.”

So you can see the interrelatedness of “hope” and “wait upon.”

We have so many promised outcomes if we wait upon the Lord, or hope in Him.

We will have our strength renewed
We will "mount up with wings like eagles"
We will run and not be weary
We will walk and not faint
We will enjoy security
We will take delight in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our heart
He will act on our behalf
He will be with us and fight for us; we do not have to fight our own battles
We will seek Him and find Him

In a tragic turn of events, King Asa turned from the Lord. You can read about it in II Chronicles, but in chapter 16, we are told that, even in his diseased state, Asa did not seek the Lord. Asa gave up hope, and he suffered for that.

I might add that some could take II Chronicles 16:12 as an admonition against seeking the help of doctors. It is my opinion that such folks are missing the point, entirely. The issue was not that he sought the help of doctors. It is that he did not seek the help of God.

But I digress.

Today’s lesson is this. Never give up hope. As long as we have hope, we have possibility; we have potential. For what? For life! For healing! For blessing! For whatever we desire (assuming that those desires are colored by our delight of the Lord and not simply selfish)!

Yesterday, we received the shocking news that Texas Rangers radio broadcaster Eric Nadel will not be in the broadcast booth at the beginning of this season. In a brave move, he let us all know that he is struggling with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. He is seeking treatment, and he has hope. The implication is that he fully expects to return to his duties, at some point.

I do not know Eric Nadel’s spiritual condition. But the point is that he is not giving up. He is not quitting. He is seeking what he needs to seek to get better.

We all need the help of the Lord “to get better,” regardless of our condition. I need it. I struggled, yesterday. I have struggled much worse, in the past. There was this one time when I did, in fact, come very close to giving up hope. But my God would not allow me to do that. He fought that battle for me, while I stood and watched.

We get into this bad way of thinking where we believe we have to fight our battles. “God helps those who help themselves,” we think.

I’m going to risk offending someone, here, and simply say that is one of the stupidest statements I have ever heard. It is not in the Bible, anywhere. It is not even implied in Scripture. God helps us who cannot help themselves. One of my favorite definitions of “grace” is “God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

Don’t give up hope, and don’t try to fight that battle alone. Hope in the Lord; wait upon Him, and you will mount up with wings like eagles. He will not abandon you.

Our Father, in heaven, we thank You for hope. I praise You for the truth that You are there, always; that You will fight our battles for us, if we only hope in You, wait upon You, and allow You to help us.

Thank You for helping me. Thank You for getting me through my difficult times, yesterday. Thank You that You are always there, and that You have promised to never leave or forsake us. I will continue to hope in You, to wait upon You. Hopefully, by the power of Your Spirit, I will also not try to fight these battles alone. Keep that in front of me, Father. Help me to contemplate this, always. Help me to seek You with my whole heart, that I might find You. Help me to delight in You, that I might be given the desires of my heart.

Help me to be still before You, and wait patiently. Patiently is the key word in that sentence.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

Eyes Wide Open

Today is Wednesday, the 22nd of March, 2023, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ find you and dwell within you, today!

Day 23,750

It looks like the weather has finally decided to settle into spring. Which is, I suppose, appropriate, as spring just officially started two days ago. The average high over the next ten days is 73.8, which is fine. There are three days in there where it edges over 80, which I’m not a fan of (I’m warm-natured, so I like it a little cooler, but not, you know, freezing). The thunderstorms that were predicted for tomorrow have shifted until late tomorrow night, and into early Friday morning. This is good, because it shouldn’t have an effect on S’s Club Metro event, this time.

I have to take S to her therapist appointment at 10:00, so I’d best get moving.

Oh, and congratulations to Japan on winning the World Baseball Classic. They really are the “World Champions.” Ironically, Shohei Otahni struck out Mike Trout to win the game and the championship.


Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, 
yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
(Psalms 119:157 NRSV)

As always, I struggle to identify with verses like this, because I don’t have “persecutors.” I do have an adversary, though, but he is not human. And I wish I could truthfully say that I don’t swerve from God’s decrees, but sadly, I do that daily.

Daily Prayer from

Dear Father in heaven, grant that we may come to you as your children. Grant that we may come to your Spirit, that something of trust and perseverance may be born in us for our life on earth. May we always be loyal and full of hope, working and striving not only for what is earthly, but for the tasks that have been laid on us for your kingdom and its righteousness. Let new light shine out among us again and again. Let many understand when your voice is speaking to them, so that they may gain courage. Let your voice be heard so that the great gospel that makes us your children may be proclaimed to people of all circles. Amen.

He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
(Ephesians 1:5-6 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for new light from God that shines on us again and again, giving us illumination and strength for the tasks we have been given
  • for the gospel of Jesus Christ, that the Kingdom of God is here, now, available for anyone to walk in
  • that the Lord satisfies the hungry and thirsty with good things (Psalm 107)
  • for the benefits of the Lord – He forgives all my iniquity; He heals my diseases; He redeems my life from the Pit; He crowns me with steadfast love and mercy; He satisfies me with good, and renews my youth like the eagle’s (Psalm 103)
  • for times when the Lord shows us something different or unusual (think Moses and the burning bush); may we be faithful to notice and observe

Let my cry come before you, O LORD;
 give me understanding according to your word. 
Let my supplication come before you; 
deliver me according to your promise.
(Psalms 119:169-170 NRSV)
With my whole heart I seek you; 
do not let me stray from your commandments.
(Psalms 119:10 NRSV)

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”
(Exodus 3:1-3 NRSV)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, 
and all that is within me, 
bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, 
and do not forget all his benefits— 
who forgives all your iniquity, 
who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the Pit, 
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good as long as you live 
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
(Psalms 103:1-5 NRSV)
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind. 
For he satisfies the thirsty, 
and the hungry he fills with good things.
(Psalms 107:8-9 NRSV)

What if Moses hadn’t been paying attention that day? What if he didn’t see that bush, or decided that he didn’t need to “turn aside and look at this great sight?”

In truth, such questions are somewhat meaningless, because he did, and if he hadn’t, well, God would have sent someone else. It would have had no effect on God’s plan, whatsoever.

But it most definitely would have had an impact on Moses’s life.

How often does God put something like that in front of us? I’ve never seen a bush on fire but not consumed, mind you, but there have been many times that God has placed something different or unusual in my path. Some days I notice, other days I don’t. Some days I might not even be aware that the “burning bush” was even there. Those days are sad, but not as sad as the days when I do see something and don’t react to it.

Yesterday was a day when God did place something in front of me. And thanks to my wife, I recognized it. They always say that two heads are better than one. I recognized it, looked at it, heeded it, and did something about it. Everyone involved received a blessing, including me.

No, I’m not going to tell you what it was.

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 6:1 NRSV)

The simple lesson, here, today, is to keep your eyes wide open. Be alert (the world needs more “lerts”), because you never know when God might do something like that. If you miss it, it doesn’t hurt God or His plan, but it affects you.

Father, I thank You for these “burning bush” moments that You sometimes put in our way. Help us to keep our eyes open to such instances. They won’t all be earth-shattering, but I am confident that they will be life-changing, if not for us, at least for someone else.

You are always working around us, Father. Help us to be observant and take note of what You are doing, in case we have an opportunity to join You in the work. May Your Holy Spirit keep us from walking around blindly, oblivious to our surroundings. Yes, it can be hard work to be that observant all the time. But You are our source of strength for that “hard work,” and Your strength is infinite.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

Overflowing with Thanksgiving

Today is Tuesday, the 21st of March, 2023, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,749

Yesterday seemed to get away from me. After discovering that an unauthorized purchase had been made on my Amazon Prime Video account, I spent at least an hour changing the password and resetting various devices around the house. As a result, I didn’t even get to my devotional until almost noon. I still managed to get a good bit accomplished, though. So it wasn’t a total bust.

We had our traditional Monday evening dinner of Rotel Chili, and watched Season Two Episode Thirteen of Buffy, “Surprise.” It ends with one of the biggest cliffhangers ever, which we will continue next week. In case you don’t know, we are watching the episodes one week at a time, along with Ash and Aleyna from The Rewatcher podcast.

This morning is going much better. Since it is Tuesday, I will head out to Subway around lunchtime, to pick up lunch/dinner for the family. I will head to work around 4:00 this afternoon, and work until 8:15, doing shelving or whatever else needs doing at the library. This is my “slow” week, and my only other day to work this week is Friday.

Tomorrow morning, I take S for a therapy session, and then Thursday morning, I have a doctor appointment, as they are continuing to monitor my blood pressure. I have a feeling they will wind up increasing my meds some more. We shall see, though. Also Thursday, S is supposed to have a Club Metro event, the one that got cancelled last Thursday. But forecasts are showing more possibilities of thunderstorms on Thursday, which would be the third Thursday in a row on which it stormed.

What is up with Thursday??

Oh, and I will be going to choir practice on Wednesday evening. Forgot about that. Easter is fast-approaching, and we have a lot of music to prepare, as we are singing a cantata on Good Friday evening, and another piece on Easter Sunday, plus the orchestra is playing on Easter Sunday morning. There is a small orchestra for the cantata, but I will not be playing in that one.

Okay. On to the devotional.


Great is your mercy, O LORD; 
give me life according to your justice.
(Psalms 119:156 NRSV)
This is the day that the LORD has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalms 118:24 NRSV)

Lord our God, we look to your Holy Spirit. Unite us with your Spirit, we pray. May we be children of your Spirit, ruled throughout our lives by your Spirit. There is so much else around us wanting to teach us and claiming to represent the truth, and we are full of fear unless help comes from your Spirit alone. Your Spirit comes to us as helper and comforter, who helps us find the way to go. Hear us, your children, whom you want to lead and whose Savior you want to be through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

until a spirit from on high is poured out on us, 
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, 
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. 
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, 
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 
The effect of righteousness will be peace, 
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
(Isaiah 32:15-17 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the effects and results of the righteousness of God, which are peace, quietness, and trust forever
  • for the Holy Spirit, our helper and our teacher
  • for the many, many conveniences in our lives
  • for the love of God, infinite and faithful, never changing
  • for the peace of God, that can rule in our hearts, if we will but allow it

Human Being, by Daryl Madden

What is the value
Of a human being?
With Gods view of seeing

Does one deserve
To be loved, more?
All beyond measure
Each God does adore

Needy and broken
Covered by grace
Within God’s kingdom
Each has a place

Come now beloved
Gods’ Word to proclaim
Love Your Lord God
And each soul the same

I intended to share this poem yesterday, because it went along so well with the pastor’s message on Zaccheus. Please visit Daryl’s site at the link provided, to read more of his wonderful inspirational poetry.

For God is the king of all the earth; 
sing praises with a psalm. 
God is king over the nations; 
God sits on his holy throne.
(Psalms 47:7-8 NRSV)
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, 
and rescues them from all their troubles. 
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, 
and saves the crushed in spirit. 
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, 
but the LORD rescues them from them all. 
He keeps all their bones; 
not one of them will be broken.
(Psalms 34:17-20 NRSV)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
(Colossians 2:6-7 NRSV)

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 
his steadfast love endures forever!
(Psalms 118:1 NRSV)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
(Colossians 3:15 NRSV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.
(Hebrews 12:28-29 NRSV)

Our God, as the psalmist said, is “King of all the earth;” “King over the nations.” He reigns over all creation.

And our God loves us with an everlasting, never-ending, never-changing love. There is nothing that I can do to decrease God’s love for me; there is nothing that I can do to increase God’s love for me. Therefore, any “good works” or “good deeds” that I do are simply because it is my nature to do them. Not my original, human nature, but the nature that I receive from Christ, via the Holy Spirit.

How amazing is it that God loves us like this? In response to this love, we should fall on our faces in awe and reverence, rather than proudly parading it in front of others. And, in response to this love, we should be more than eager to obey the biblical commands to “give thanks.”

We are commanded, multiple times, to give thanks. We are told to be “abounding in thanksgiving.” One translation had that as “overflowing with thanksgiving.” We are to do this as we continue to live our lives in Christ. In another place, Paul exhorts us to let God’s peace rule in our hearts; and be thankful. And the writer of Hebrews tells us that, since we are receiving a “kingdom that cannot be shaken,” we should give thanks, and in this thankfulness, we “offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.”

Father, I cannot thank you enough. Five points of gratitude each day (some days six or more) doesn’t even scratch the surface of my gratitude to You for everything. And it is too easy to say, “Thank You for everything!” While that is not a false statement, it is so much more fulfilling to list things. The real question is, why do I have to think so hard, some days? My thankfulness should be overflowing, and I should have to work hard to stop at five. The list should go on and on and on.

I’m thankful for paper and pen; I’m thankful for air; I’m thankful for grass and flowers and trees; I’m thankful for cats and dogs, horses and zebras and giraffes; I’m thankful for my family; I’m thankful for my job at the library; I’m thankful for books; I’m thankful for this computer and the technology that we have in the 21st century to be able to post a blog entry “out there” for anyone in any part of the world to be able to see, thereby proclaiming Your glory and my thankfulness and Your steadfast love and mercy to all the world!

Most of all I am thankful for You and for how You have made Yourself accessible to us. All praise and glory to You, our Father in heaven! May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Thank You for Your love and the truth that it will never fade away or end.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.