Actions Speak Louder than Words

Today is Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in the ninth week of ordinary time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,727

32 days until July 4th

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
(Psalms 135:1, 3, 5 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. The grace You have lavished upon us
  2. That You can sustain a heart of joy, even in these dark times
  3. That the heavens declare Your righteousness
  4. That You give us the power, ability, and willingness to forgive
  5. For the desire to live a life of humility and sacrificial service

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
(Psalms 90:14 ESV)

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah.
(Psalms 50:2, 6 ESV)

Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
(Psalms 108:2 ESV)

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
(John 14:11-14 ESV)

After Israel left Egypt, the clan of Jacob left those barbarians behind; Judah became holy land for him, Israel the place of holy rule. Sea took one look and ran the other way; River Jordan turned around and ran off. The mountains turned playful and skipped like rams, the hills frolicked like spring lambs. What’s wrong with you, Sea, that you ran away? and you, River Jordan, that you turned and ran off? And mountains, why did you skip like rams? and you, hills, frolic like spring lambs? Tremble, Earth! You’re in the Lord’s presence! in the presence of Jacob’s God. He turned the rock into a pool of cool water, turned flint into fresh spring water.
(Psalms 114:1-8 MSG)

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Holy Father, creator and sustaining wisdom of all that is, both in heaven and on earth, take from me those thoughts, actions and objects that are hurtful. Give me instead those things that are profitable for me and all who seek rightly to praise you. I ask this grace in the company of all believers and through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is, with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”

(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
(Luke 1:76-80 ESV)

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
(Luke 23:34 ESV)


And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
(Jonah 4:10-11 ESV)

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
(Proverbs 17:22 ESV)

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

What are the things that I fret and care so much about?
What are the things that really matter?
How much distance is there between the two?


For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards.
(Psalms 69:7-12 NIV)

“David is being scorned for his zealous devotion to God.” He is laughed at when he prays. Is his world much different than ours? “Even when Christianity was taken for granted by Western society, the most devoted believers were silently laughed at.”

“The world does not understand the Gospel of grace, in which holy living is the result of humble, grateful joy, not a way to earn heaven.” Frankly, I’m not even sure most of the Church understands this. I believe that a majority of people look at faith and Christianity as the way to get to heaven when you die, and nothing more.

“The world therefore sees all righteous living as self-righteousness and bigotry.” Based on 2 Timothy 3:12, we should not be surprised at this.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
(2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV)

“We should . . . undermine this false narrative by living lives of humility, forgiveness, and sacrificial service to others.” I read this as saying that we are not going to win the world over by arguing (trust me, I’ve tried), but by the way we live. As they (whoever they are) say, “Actions speak louder than words.”

“Lord, you have said that anyone who lives a godly life will be persecuted. Don’t let me be so cowardly that I never take any heat for my faith. But don’t let me actually fall into the self-righteousness and hypocrisy that merits disdain. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)


Father, these are good words today. Help me to live a life of humility and sacrifice in serving others, making my faith evident, but not self-righteous and hypocritical. May I live a life worthy of my calling in Jesus Christ. Help me to care about the things that really matter and not fret about trivial things that do not. And help me to forgive those who sin against me.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to live.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Happiness, Sadness, Joy

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 ESV)

Today is Monday, June 1, 2020, in the ninth week of ordinary time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,726

33 days until July 4th

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
(Psalms 95:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For a new week, full of opportunities to display God’s love and serve Him
  2. For a great time of worship, Scripture, prayer, and fellowship yesterday
  3. That Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  4. That You know me; I am overwhelmed with this knowledge today
  5. That our final outcome is always joy

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
(Psalms 84:8 ESV)

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.
(Psalms 18:46, 49 ESV)

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
(Psalms 57:7 ESV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 ESV)

Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalms 118:19-24 ESV)

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom the world rejoices,
Who from our mothers' arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.
(Martin Rinkart)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Holy Father, creator and sustaining wisdom of all that is, both in heaven and on earth, take from me those thoughts, actions and objects that are hurtful. Give me instead those things that are profitable for me and all who seek rightly to praise you. I ask this grace in the company of all believers and through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is, with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”

(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David.
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 have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah. For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.
(Psalms 61:1-8 ESV)


But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
(Psalms 139:1-4 ESV)

Judge not, that you be not judged.
(Matthew 7:1 ESV)


For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of David.
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you. Lord, the LORD Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me.
(Psalms 69:1-6 NIV)

The writer of this psalm has been “deeply wounded by slander” and “false accusation.” As is the case many times, with us, false accusation can lead to “self-accusation.” Especially if you are, as I am, well aware of your sins.

But this writer appears to be more concerned with the reputation of the whole body than his personal reputation. He prays that other believers will not be put to shame because of his actions.

“The more holy we are, the more our heart is bound up with others and with God and so the more we feel the sadness of the world.” It seems that being Godly makes us more happy and more sad, all at the same time.

But the final outcome is always joy!

“Lord, when people fall into trouble, I see myself afraid to get involved lest I be swallowed by their grief. But when you loved me you got eternally involved, and it cost you infinite grief. Strengthen me with your grace so that I can be available and open to the needs of others around me. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)


Father, I praise You that the final outcome is always joy! No matter what circumstances we are going through at the time, we can always count on joy to be in our hearts, if we are truly walking with You and depending on You for everything. Help me to know this joy today, in whatever comes my way. And, like the psalmist, I pray that Your Church will not ever be disgraced by my actions.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to know Your joy.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(Ephesians 1:16-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Let God Work

Today is Sunday, May 31, 2020, in the ninth week of ordinary time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,725

Today is Pentecost Sunday, celebrating the day the Holy Spirit came down on the believers in the second chapter of Acts.

34 days until July 4th

Yesterday was a nice day. C fulfilled her need to accomplish things by working in the yard a good part of the afternoon, after trying a different grocery store and still failing to find any Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke Zero. There was one box of Sprite Zero. This is reaching critical state, here. At this point, I can’t find any reason for this lack of product.

Did I mention we’ve started watching Space Force on Netflix? It’s a new comedy series, created, I think, by the folks who brought us The Office. Steve Carrell stars as the nation’s newest Four-Star General, pegged to head up this new Space Force. John Malkovich also stars as the lead scientist. It also features Lisa Kudrow as the General’s wife, Ben Schwartz (remember Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation?), and Jimmy Yang (Jian Yang from Silicon Valley). Three episodes in, we are enjoying it immensely. It’s like Michael Scott became a general!

This morning, we are getting ready for our first worship gathering since March. I’m slightly on the fence about this, but willing to go ahead with it, especially since we are so small in number. We shouldn’t have any issue staying comfortable apart, but I may not be able to resist giving some hugs.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
(Psalms 95:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. To be able to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, in person
  2. That Your Word is perfect, sure, right, and pure (Psalm 19)
  3. That it is You that works in me, both to will and to work for Your good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)
  4. That Jesus Christ is working me, gradually changing me to be like Him
  5. For showing me Your love

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
(Psalms 80:1-3 ESV)

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
(Psalms 92:1-2 ESV)

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
(Psalms 119:36-37 ESV)

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:5-6 ESV)

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
(Psalms 19:7-11 ESV)

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Holy Father, creator and sustaining wisdom of all that is, both in heaven and on earth, take from me those thoughts, actions and objects that are hurtful. Give me instead those things that are profitable for me and all who seek rightly to praise you. I ask this grace in the company of all believers and through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is, with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”

(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
(Philippians 2:12-18 ESV)

“C.S. Lewis said that growth is much more than reading what Christ said and carrying it out. He explained, ‘A real Person, Christ, . . . is doing things to you . . . gradually turning you permanently into . . . a new little Christ, a being which . . . shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.'” (The quote comes from Mere Christianity.)

God is actively in this process in us today. “Sit at the feet of Jesus and take in what He has to say. Pray.”

. . . keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
(Jude 1:21 ESV)

We might ask, “Shouldn’t we hunger and thirst after righteousness?” Yes, but picture a child who has seen something high on a shelf that she really wants, her “eyes glittering with desire.” Her father, who sees and acknowledges that desire, and senses that this thing will not be harmful, reaches up and brings that thing down to her.

“The work is God’s; the joy is ours. Easy does it. We shall get there some day.”

(David H. Roper, Our Daily Bread)


Father, thank You that You are doing the work in me. Yes, there are things that I must do, not the least of which is desire and hunger for righteousness. But even You can create that within me! So I pray that You increase my hunger and thirst for righteousness, all the while bringing that gift down off of the shelf that is too high for me to reach. Thank You, Father!

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to allow You to work in us.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Deep and Wide

Today is Saturday, May 30, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,724

35 days until July 4

Let’s see . . . C’s doctor called yesterday and told her what she had already learned from the lab report that she received. No Diverticulitis, only Diverticulosis. Strangely, there was no further instruction. So C persisted a little bit, and the lady who called said she would talk to the doctor.

Luna (cat) continues to get bolder and wander around the house. She seems fearless, jumping from surfaces at least ten times her height. Seriously . . . can you imagine jumping off of a two-story apartment roof, landing on your feet, and scurrying away?

Neither can I.

I took this picture last night. Luna loves this fuzzy brown blanket (it’s no wonder . . . these things feel amazing) and falls asleep on it. Tessie (dog) fell asleep right next to her.

Luna really blends in, but those little spots of white are her paw and . . . well, I’m not really sure. Heh. Anyway, that’s her.

We have our WW virtual meeting in about 45 minutes. I’m not sure what’s happening after today. The last communication we had from WW about meetings was that the virtual meetings would continue until May 30. That’s today. Hopefully, we will find out something today. I’m not in a hurry to mingle with other people, yet, other than our small church gathering, which will be happening tomorrow. I’m more comfortable being around those people, perhaps because I know them better. Anyway, I expect to post another two pounds or so loss for this week, based on my initial weight after getting up, this morning. I haven’t done my “official” weigh-in, yet. To date, I have lost 40 pounds since we started WW, at the first of February.

C did the grocery shopping yesterday afternoon, so we don’t have to do that today. However, the store had absolutely none of our preferred soft drink choices (Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper, Cherry Coke Zero, and Sprite Zero). That’s the second weekend in a row that this was the case. So one of us may visit a different store today to see if we can find those.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

Attention, all! See the marvels of GOD! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
(Psalms 46:8 MSG)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the weekend, to rest up for another work week
  2. That You make life enjoyable
  3. That You care for us
  4. That You are a stronghold in the day of trouble
  5. That You are GOOD!

O LORD, . . . answer us when we call.
(Psalms 20:9 ESV)

Strong God, I’m watching you do it, I can always count on you.
(Psalms 59:9 MSG)

GOD’s plan for the world stands up, all his designs are made to last.
(Psalms 33:11 MSG)

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
(John 14:23-26 ESV)

You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah. Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips— for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?” But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision. O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
(Psalms 59:5-9 ESV)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(Kyrie)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
(Ecclesiastes 2:17-25 ESV)

“Without God as our center, life’s pleasures and sorrows lead only to disillusionment.” (Sheridan Voysey, Our Daily Bread)


Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
(Psalms 34:8 ESV)

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
(Nahum 1:7 ESV)

Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
(Philippians 4:5-7 MSG)

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” What a wonderful statement, perhaps even a promise. I don’t see it so much as a promise, though, as simply a statement of fact! It is an indisputable fact that God cares for you.

There are so many of these facts in the Bible. Things that we might call promises, but are so much more than that. If we can truly “taste and see that the LORD is good,” we just might be able to live in the light of these facts. Take the one from Nahum (how many of us have read anything from Nahum in the last year or so?), that says, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.”

Belief. That’s what it takes. And, my friends, I struggle with that daily. “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” I tend to cry out that phrase daily.

As Paul suggests, we should not be anxious, but, instead, pray. Take those anxieties to Him. As Peterson paraphrased, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Paul prays this for us, in Ephesians:

I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength— that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19 MSG)


Father, help me to taste and see that You are good. Help me to believe that You are perfectly good, the embodiment of the very idea of “good.” You are a stronghold in the day of trouble, and You do care for us! I pray, along with Paul, that all of us who call the name of Jesus will live in this and understand “the extravagant dimensions” of His love! Help us to know the breadth, the length, the depth, and the height of Your love for us in Christ Jesus!

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to not be anxious.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

I Want to Know You

Today is Friday, May 29, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,723

36 days until July 4th

There’s not a lot to report, this morning. Unfortunately, the “free” lunch at work today is going to be pizza. I won’t be partaking, as one slice of pepperoni pizza is a whopping ten WW points! My typical lunch, at work, is around four points. And normally more food than a single slice of pizza. I have been able to adapt the sandwiches with chips, and they are pretty filling. But a couple slices of pizza for twenty points? No thank you. I’m grateful for the company-provided lunches, so don’t misunderstand. My health journey is more important, though.

Also? Tomorrow is my weigh-in day for WW. If they were providing pizza on, say, Wednesday, it might be a different story. Hahaha!

As of yet, we have no plans for the weekend, other than our usual grocery shopping. We are, as previously stated, planning to meet together for our worship time, Sunday. We are really looking forward to that. Except for, you know, having to put on real pants. I’m not looking forward to that part.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
(Psalms 135:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You are my God, and that You hear my prayers
  2. That, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10)
  3. For the gift of the Holy Spirit, celebrated this coming Sunday
  4. That You know the number of the stars, and all of their names (Psalm 147)
  5. That You, Creator of the universe, desire intimacy with mankind! O, what is man, that You are mindful of us?

I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
(Psalms 140:6 ESV)

For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
(Psalms 97:9 ESV)

Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done.
(Psalms 64:9 ESV)

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
(John 20:19-23 ESV)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
(Psalms 147:1-12 ESV)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.”

(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” Thus says the LORD: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 31:33-37 ESV)

Jeremiah considers “the immensity of God as Creator and Sustainer of the earth and beyond.” Here, the Creator of the universe is promising that all mankind will know Him intimately. The beautiful words in verse 34 promise forgiveness and that our sins will be remembered no more.

“We’ll never finish exploring the immeasurable vastness of the heavens and depths of the earth’s foundations. But we can stand in awe at the complexity of the universe and trust the maker of the moon–and everything else.”

(Xochitl Dixon, Our Daily Bread)

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name, in all the earth!” What are we that You are mindful of us?? Yet, You are, and You declare that we will know You, intimately! I fall on my knees in awe and amazement of You and Your words and works. I want to know You, Lord. I want to see Your face and hear Your voice. I want to know You.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to know You!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Reflect His Loving Heart

Today is Thursday, May 28, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you.

Day 22,722

37 days until July 4th.

C already got the lab report from her CT scan yesterday. The good news that it ruled out the worst case scenario. The not-so-good news is that it really didn’t tell us anything new. However, the doctor has not contacted her, yet, so he may have more information. It is still saying that she has diverticulosis. But it has, apparently, not progressed into diverticulitis, yet. We’ll see what the doctor has to say, probably today or tomorrow.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
(Psalms 96:2-4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the good news from C’s CT scan, yesterday
  2. For Your abundant mercy (Psalm 69:16)
  3. For Your commands to generosity, and the promised rewards
  4. For Pentecost
  5. For timely words of wisdom, provided by Your Spirit

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
(Psalms 69:16 ESV)

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation—
(Psalms 18:46 ESV)

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
(Psalms 104:31-32 ESV)

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
(Acts 2:1-3 ESV)

The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For 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 33:13-22 ESV)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
(Luke 6:32-38 ESV)

“We don’t give to get things; we give because God delights in our generosity. Our love for others reflects His loving heart toward us.”
(Remi Oyedele, Our Daily Bread)


To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
(Proverbs 15:23 ESV)

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
(Proverbs 3:27 ESV)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
(Romans 12:15 ESV)

“Father, give me the words that others need to hear.”
(Pam Kidd, Daily Guideposts 2020)

There’s a lot of talk about doing good in these verses (both this set and the ones from Our Daily Bread).

Jesus frequently repeats His commands to love our enemies and to do good to those who “hate” us. This speaks volumes to my heart, especially in today’s political climate in the USA. Indeed, it is difficult to show love to someone who so hatefully proclaims their opinion in social media, especially when that someone claims to be a Christ-follower.

But if you are truly following Christ, your message would not be one of hate, would it? Also but, as I’ve said before, if you hate the haters, you’re also a hater.

So I pray. I pray for Christ to inhabit my words and my thoughts, via the Holy Spirit. I pray for the Holy Trinity to be active in my life and deeds. There’s at least one particular person at work that I struggle to love. I need to overcome that, and the only way to do so is through Christ. I am a Christ-follower. Therefore, I must love my “enemies.”

It is not an option.

It is not negotiable.


Father, I still need Your help. As if there will ever be a time when I do not need Your help. So the word “still” shouldn’t be in that first sentence. I need Your help. Sometimes, that is all I know how to pray.

HELP! Help me! “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” God, help me to love the unlovable. Help me to do good to all people, even to those who might hate me. Help me (and thank You) be more generous with my resources. Also, direct me, show me, where to share those resources.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us praise as we petition.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

He Sets the Lonely in Families

God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
(Psalms 68:6 NIV)

Today is Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,721

38 days until July 4 (the next U.S. holiday)

C has a doctor appointment, this morning, to get CT scan on her stomach, as we continue to try to diagnose her digestive issues. She was already diagnosed with diverticulosis. The doctor has opined that it may have turned into diverticulitis. He has also stated that, depending on what this scan reveals, he may order a colonoscopy. Naturally, we are concerned with what might be found in these tests.

Luna (cat) continues to embed herself in our hearts. Yesterday, she fell asleep on a soft blanket, right next to Rocky (also cat). She seems to have taken to him as her protector, and he apparently doesn’t mind one bit.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
(Psalms 96:9 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the life that You have blessed us with, and Your presence in this life
  2. That You place the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6)
  3. For the example of the Holy Trinity, the perfect example of a loving relationship
  4. For what Your Church has meant to me, all of my life
  5. For Your great love that never fails

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
(Psalms 67:1 ESV)

Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
(Psalms 119:164 ESV)

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
(Psalms 25:8 ESV)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
(John 7:37-39 ESV)

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 117:1-2 ESV)

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)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
(Psalms 68:1-6 NIV)

Sometimes, it is said that, in this world, the strong eat the weak. We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “Only the strong survive.” Well, verse 5 shows us how God feels about the weak and defenseless. And this is not the only place in Scripture we see this. The New Testament also has allusions to the thought that God cares for the widows and orphans, the poor and the needy.

Because God cares for them, “we should be famous for sacrificially loving the poor and marginalized. This reflects the Gospel itself, for God does not call people to earn salvation by strength. He came in weakness to die for us, to save only those who admit their spiritual helplessness.”

We also thrive in a family. Therefore, the Church of God is a “family” for those without earthly families. Again, while it is more than just these, the widows and orphans are perfect examples. We are united by the “life blood” of the Holy Spirit. In God’s family, we all have fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, even children. “God sets the lonely in families.”

But note the warning at the end. “The rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

“Lord, I praise you that you created us in your image–to live well only in deep, loving relationships. Thank you for your great gift of the church, your family. Help me make my church not merely a club or association but a band of brothers and sisters, especially for those who are otherwise alone. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

I might add, here, that the perfect example of this type of family relationship is the Holy Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in the perfect relationship, an example of perfect love for all of us.


Father, I praise You for Your family. Thank You for the example of the Holy Trinity. Help us to love each other the way You, the Son, and the Spirit love one another. Thank You for putting the lonely in families. There have been times in my past when the Church was all I had, beside my parents. I’m also grateful for the loving earthly family You placed me in. What a blessing, as I realize that there are many who do not have such a family.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to love as the Trinity loves.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.