Going In Early Again

There won’t be a devotional blog in the morning, as I will going in to work at 7:00 AM.

I will return on Saturday morning. Until then,

Grace and peace, friends.

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Love One Another

Good morning. It is pre-Friday, March 26, 2015. 11 days until Opening Day!!!!!!!

Today’s word of the day is more of a phrase than a word. It is good-enough Morgan It is a noun, meaning, “An issue or talking point used to influence voters temporarily, typically in the period preceding an election.” Well. Isn’t that interesting? Someone at the OED must be paying attention to the fact that people are starting to throw in for the 2016 Presidential race.

Today is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day! Just go ahead and celebrate whatever you feel like celebrating today! You want to celebrate 2:00? Go ahead! Right now, I believe I’ll celebrate coffee! *slurp* Ahhhh . . .

I don’t have a lot to write about today. Things are going pretty well around here. There hasn’t been much mama-drama for Christi, lately. There is some good news, though, that I just remembered. I got a message from my Dad, yesterday, that my mother went to her local doctor for her follow-up from the surgery. He said, “She is doing well and can resume all normal activities.” That is wonderful news!

Christi has Huddle this evening, and they will be meeting a house that is further away, as the normal host’s husband is the one who has recently undergone gall bladder surgery, and is still not recovering well. Not sure what’s going on there. So it looks like she will be going straight from work, which leaves Stephanie and me on our own, this evening. I’m guessing I already know what’s for dinner. :-)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

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

Psalm 24:7-10

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Giver of a New Command.”

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:31-35
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

John 15:11-17

The fact that Jesus repeated the command to “love one another” so many times compels us to recognize that there is a critical need for us to obey this command. Jesus had loved these men for three years. It was now time for them to begin to love one another in the same way. They were still, at this point, more concerned about who was going to be the greatest. (See Luke 22:24.)

Jesus, though, “saw love as the critical element in the future relationships of the disciples and all believers to come.” Without love, this mission would have failed. “Without love, they could not achieve the unity that would speak to the world about Jesus.”

Look at the early Christians. They loved each other, both emotionally and practically, as they shared feasts together and possessions, as well. They prayed together and worshiped together. “they injected into the callousness of Greece and Rome the tenderness and sacrifice that immediately stamped them as different people.”

The word love, itself, overwhelms us in Scripture. There are so many dimensions of it: “God’s love, Christ’s love, our love for God and his Son, our love for one another, and our love for our neighbors and our enemies.” This love that Christ commands us to is more than just friendship, it transcends friendship. What was the condition? “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” In order to achieve this, we must steep our minds and hearts in Scripture. “We must be fueled by a high-calorie diet of stores about Jesus.” We must preach the Gospel to ourselves on a daily basis.

While it is true that Jesus’s sacrifice for us ultimately satisfies, if we only love each other “reluctantly and with limits, the utter totality of Christ’s love rebukes us immediately.” If we love as he loves, there will be no limits on who or how we love.

This is not mere human affection; “he called for a radically new kind of love by which his followers respect, trust, sacrifice for, and empower one another.” It would become a test by which our faith is validated. We are called by the rest of the New Testament to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

Father, I confess a lack of love. I confess that I have not loved my brothers and sisters without limits. I claim to love them, yet I speak ill of them, at times. My Lord, this ought not be! I pray for love. I pray that you give me a spirit of love for my brothers and sisters; love without limits, love without conditions. May I come as close to agape as is humanly possible! Teach me to love; show me how. May your Church succeed in demonstrating this unique kind of love to all of her members.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe and smooth passage to work. I pray for our work day, that it will go smoothly, without stress. I pray for Stephanie today, that you would show your great love to her and give her hope and peace in her life. I give you thanks that my mother’s follow-up went well, and that she is free to resume normal activities. May you bless my parents richly today. Also, I pray that you would grant Rachel and Justin peace and whatever else they need for this day. Give us this day our daily bread.

Your grace is sufficient.

As we go out to our day, may we all remember to love one another just as Christ loved us.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Satisfaction

Good morning. It is Wednesday, March 25, 2015. 12 days until Opening Day!!

Today’s word of the day is mither. This is a verb, meaning, “To smother, muffle up; to encumber, burden.” It can also mean, “To bother, pester, worry, irritate,” or, “To ramble, be delirious; to ‘go on’; to complain, make a fuss, whine.”

Today is Tolkien Reading Day. Why March 25th? Apparently, that is the date that Sauron fell. At any rate, it is a day to celebrate reading Tolkien. Reading, mind you. Not watching movies. NOT the same thing. Not at all. Not even close, usually. Okay, I’ll stop mithering about that.

Yesterday seem to have flown by. It’s pretty much a blur. One interesting thing from yesterday, that I do remember. I had the “pleasure” of performing my work in front of a group of people, some of which were representatives of our client. One of them was the “head honcho” at our facility. The “Big Cheese,” if you will. Oddly enough, I wasn’t nervous at all. It could have been tense, had I drawn a more difficult box to open and process, but the one that came up was pretty easy. I explained my process as they followed along in the work instructions. The whole idea was an audit, as they were making sure that we are following our process. That’s a big deal, it seems. Anyway, after I was done, they all said I did a great job. So that was my good feeling for the day.

Huddle last night went well. We had a couple guys out, but there was some meaningful conversation, especially toward the end.

Today is Hump Day. Let’s get this week over with!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

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

Psalm 24:7-10

(From Solid Joys)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35

Today’s reading is “Forever Satisfied.”

When we believe in Jesus, we are, in effect eating and drinking from him and who he is. Our “soul-thirst” is satisfied, and we will never thirst again.

“He is the end of our quest for satisfaction.”

If we trust Jesus the way we are intended to, his presence and promise satisfies us to the point that we are no longer enticed by the “alluring pleasures of sin.” Romans 6:14 says, For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Faith in Christ “nullifies the power of sin and enables obedience.”

John 4:14 is similar to our focal verse: . . . but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Our faith is a kind of drinking “that satisfies the deepest longings of the soul.”

John 7:37-38 is also similar, with the same message: 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.'”

So Jesus, for us, is an “inexhaustible fountain of satisfying life.” Verse 39 of the last passage tells us that this endless supply is made possible by the indwelling of the Spirit, “whom those who believed in him were to receive.

Father, I thank you for this endless supply of satisfaction through Christ. I thank you for the Spirit within us that brings about that endless supply of living water. I praise you, that, when we fully trust in Jesus, our thirst is completely satisfied in him, quenching any other thirst that might lead us astray. Forgive me for the times when I allow other thirsts to surface, and follow after anything other than Jesus to satisfy them. Keep me satisfied in Jesus.

I pray for this day, that we might have safe passage to work and back. I pray for anything that Christi might have coming up today, that would challenge her or create anxiety. May your grace fill her up. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your love to her and give her a glimpse of your plan for her life. I pray for my parents, that my mothers eye will continue to heal, and that they are doing okay with everything. I also lift up Rachel and Justin to you, asking that you would provide for them their deepest need for this day. Draw our family closer to you, Father.

Jesus is the source of living water, and is ultimately the satisfaction for any thirst that our soul might have. When we come to him and drink, not only will we be satisfied, but we will become fountains of living water, ourselves.

Grace and peace, friends.

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“I Am With You to Deliver You”

Good morning. It is Tuesday post-Monday, March 24, 2015. 13 days until Opening Day!!

Today’s word of the day is gammock. This is a noun, meaning “A piece of fun; a game, a jest; a frolic. Freq. in pl.: antics, ‘tricks’.” It can also mean, “As mass noun: fun, sport; foolery.”

Today is Chocolate Covered Raisins Day. While I am not overly fond of raisins, I love chocolate, and am of the opinion that it makes just about everything better. Except for maybe Jello. I haven’t tried chocolate covered Jello.

Yesterday wasn’t bad, for a Monday. The day went by really fast, for me. Christi had a late meeting, and didn’t start home until around 6:00 PM. I cooked chili for dinner, and we got caught up with Secrets and Lies. As of right now, we think the wife did it. :-D

Tonight, I have the Huddle meeting, which I have missed for three consecutive weeks. Wait . . . one of those, we didn’t meet, for Spring Break. So I’ve missed two consecutive meetings. It will be good to meet with my brothers again.

Not much else going on, so, now that the gammock is done, I will get to the serious stuff. See what I did there? :-D

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

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

Psalm 24:7-9

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

(From Solid Joys)

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 1:8

Today’s reading is “Ministry and the Fear of Man.”

The sermon that this reading was taken from was directed more toward young people, but the message of the reading applies to all who would be involved in any kind of ministry.

“A great obstacle to serving the Lord, especially among the young, is the fear of rejection and opposition.” Yes, this is true. I confess that I am sometimes afraid to share the Gospel or to minister to people. I don’t know how they are going to react or respond. Several times, I have asked a person at work if there was something I could pray about for them. One time, I even asked a Sonic carhop. I have gotten mixed answers, but no one has ever seemed angry. Usually, the reaction is surprise, at first, and then gratitude, even if nothing is requested. But I still fear the response of men. As I get older, that fear declines, but it is still there. “The fear of man is a great hindrance to ministry.”

So, God tells us that we should not be afraid, because he is with us and will deliver us. “God’s presence and approval is more valuable than all the accolades of men.” He will deliver us. We will triumph; we will be more than conquerors, in Christ Jesus.

. . . for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5-6
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Right before the initial verse for today’s reading, in Jeremiah 1:7, God tells Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’.” Here are some reasons why God would say this, and these reasons are good for any of us, no matter what our age.

  • “Because your life is rooted in the unshakable, sovereign purposes of God. You have been chosen and consecrated and formed and appointed for a great purpose.”
  • “Because God’s authority, not your own, is behind your going and your speaking.”
  • “And because God himself will be with you to deliver you in all your trials.”

Father, I need to learn this in my life, that my life is rooted in your unshakable, sovereign purpose. I know this, my brain knows it, yet my heart forgets, and I experience fear and anxiety over silly things. I need to remember that I have been chosen and consecrated and formed and appointed for whatever purpose you have for me, whether it be great or small. Are there truly any “small” purposes in your Kingdom? I need to remember that it is your authority, not mine, that is behind everything that you you have called me to do. And, most importantly, I need to remember that you will be with me and you WILL deliver me!

I pray for this day, that we would have safe and smooth passage to work and back. I pray for Christi’s work day, that she will be able to accomplish that which you have set aside for her. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her, and show her the purpose you have for her life. I pray for my work day, that it will go smoothly, and that I can get caught up with the work that I have to do.

I pray for my parents, that you would continue my mother’s healing and recovery. I pray for healing for my father, that you would restore his muscle strength. May you keep them safe in their home, and give them your peace over everything. I pray for Rachel and Justin, that you would open the doors for Rachel to achieve her career goals, and that you would give them whatever they need for this day.

I pray for our Huddle group that meets tonight. May you draw us closer together, as brothers, even as you draw us closer to you. Teach us how to be and make disciples.

Your grace is sufficient.

These words are very encouraging, and we would do well to remember them. God will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us, to deliver us.

Grace and peace, friends.

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The Grain of Wheat

Good morning. It is Monday, March 23, 2015. 14 days until Opening Day! I might also add that I have purchased tickets for two games in May when the Red Sox are in town!

Today’s word of the day is marquisotte. You might be surprised to find that this is a verb, meaning “To shave or trim (the beard) with exaggerated fastidiousness; of a person: to have the beard so trimmed.”

Today is Puppy Day. How doesn’t love a puppy? If you feel so inclined, go ahead . . . adopt one today. You know you want to.

Yesterday turned out to be kind of strange. We didn’t really do much of anything until around 7:00 PM, when I got up to go get the groceries, and Christi went outside to mow the yard. We watched a bit of TV, including the latest SNL episode, and several of the new show, Secrets and Lies. We like S & L, but the main guy in it, Ben Crawford, is quite the idiot. Every time he turns around, he’s doing something that makes him look more and more guilty.

This morning, it’s back to work for the first full week, for me, since the first ice storm in February! Seriously, between days off due to ice and snow, and birthday vacation, and my mother’s eye surgery, it’s been almost a month since I’ve worked a full week. I have a feeling it’s going to be a loooooong week!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

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

Psalm 24:3-6

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, the Grain of Wheat.”

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

John 12:20-29

This is an interesting passage, and I confess that I have not read it quite as closely as this reading calls me to. It begins with a group of Greeks asking to see Jesus. We don’t know why, but we can assume, I think, that they had converted to Judaism, because they were in Jerusalem to “worship at the feast.” They had come to observe Passover. The stories of all of Jesus’s miracles must have reached them. At any rate, they wanted to see Jesus.

From the rest of the passage, we can also assume that this never happened! Jesus’s response is both puzzling and troublesome. He begins his reply with an agricultural lesson that most of them probably already knew. The grain of the wheat must be put in the earth and die before it can bear fruit. But Jesus does something different, and perhaps unexpected, with this idea. He casts against the backdrop of what is about to happen to him. The hour of his glorification is at hand. His heart is troubled; the cross beckons. Jesus is the grain of wheat! He says that the key to eternal life is losing one’s life in this world. His focus is not on “his immediate acceptance by the Greeks and the accolades of the crowds but on Golgotha.”

He states that this is the purpose for which he has come to this hour. His death is necessary “for the production of a bountiful crop.” Jesus then called upon God to glorify God’s name. To validate what he had just said, a voice thundered from heaven, and said, I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.

So Jesus’s response to the Greeks, who had requested to see Jesus, was, “Look at that dying kernel of wheat. Look at this man telling you to lose your life. Look at this man agonizing over his imminent crucifixion.”

We have no idea what the Greeks thought of this. They are not mentioned again. But we have our own instructions from this passage. If anyone serves me, he must follow me, said Jesus. “We must be like that grain of wheat and lose our lives for Jesus’s sake.” In this, we learn “the profound lesson of Christian discipleship. Only death to self leads to life everlasting. Only death to self links us inextricably with Jesus and his mission.”

Our world, our culture, beckons us to preserve and protect our lives, “to pamper and indulge ourselves, to clamor for the best things in life.” The lesson from the grain of wheat, and all other seeds, reveals the key “to real success and prosperity, here, now, and forever.”

Father, I pray that you help me to lose my life. I go through periods of time that it seems like I am doing okay at that, and then I begin to try to take some of it back. I pray for your Spirit’s help to lay my life down at the foot of the cross and keep from picking it up again. Help me to follow Jesus and be a true disciple, and help me to show others how to do the same.

I pray for this day, that you would give Christi and me safe travel to work and back home again. I pray for a good work day for both of us. I pray that my work load will not be overly heavy after missing three days last week. I pray that Christi’s new hire will be catching on to her responsibilities quickly, and be a great help to Christi in their work environment. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her, and that she would focus on your Word some, today.

Thank you that my mother’s recovery is going well, and that her eyesight is getting better each day. I pray for that to continue, and that you would keep them safe in their home. May you also give Rachel and Justin whatever they need most for this day. May your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Your grace is sufficient.

Take the lesson from the grain of wheat. Even Jesus did not seek the accolades of the crowd, but kept his face set toward his purpose, the cross. May we, his disciples, truly follow him and lose our lives for his sake.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Clean Hands and A Pure Heart

Good afternoon. It is Sunday, march 22, 2015. 15 more days until Opening Day!!

Today’s word of the day is emportment. This is a noun, meaning, “A spell of anger or strong feeling; a fit of passion. Also as a mass noun: anger, fury.” Pretty strong word, there.

Today is Goof Off Day. I like to think that of every Sunday, at least for now, as long as we are having our worship gatherings on Saturday evening. We are trying to figure out a way to move back to Sundays, but that will take a while, until we can find a suitable location.

We had, in my opinion, a very nice prayer gathering yesterday. There were more people there, than usual, and we had some precious time sharing prayer requests with one another. I have come to believe that that portion of the prayer gathering is the most important; the time when we pray for one another, specifically. Sure it is nice to pray general prayers for the church at large, and we should be doing that. But the more intimate action of praying specifically for each other is much more meaningful, and I believe it builds relationship within the body. It seems that, each week, I feel a stronger and stronger bond with my brothers and sisters.

After our worship gathering, we went through the drive-thru of Taco Bell for dinner. I tried one of their new “quesarittos,” and it was only okay. I probably won’t try that again. I’m a big fan of their chalupas and beef burritos, so I will probably just stick with those. Unless they bring back the triple steak stack, or whatever that was called. That thing was scrumptious!! Christi and I watched a couple of episodes of The Blacklist, then she went to bed. I stayed up and watched the last two episodes of The Walking Dead. Then we slept until almost 11:00 this morning! Wow. That’s why I didn’t begin this until after noon.

Not sure what we will do today. Hopefully, there will be goofing off! :-)

It was on this date in 1621 that the Plymouth pilgrims signed a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe. A year later, to the day, Algonquian Indians killed 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, in what would be known as The Jamestown Massacre.

Today’s birthdays include Chico Marx (Marx Brothers), Louis L’Amour (author), Karl Malden (actor), Werner Klemperer (actor, Hogan’s Heroes), Marcel Marceau (mime), Stephen Sondheim (composer/lyricist), William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), M. Emmett Walsh (actor), Roger Whittaker (singer), Jeremy Clyde (Chad & Jeremy), George Benson (jazz musician), James Patterson (author), Andrew Lloyd Weber (composer), Bob Costas (sports commentator), Matthew Modine (actor), Elvis Stojko (ice skater), Reese Witherspoon (actress), Kellie Shangygne Williams (actress, Family Matters), Juan Uribe (baseball player), and Justin Masterson (baseball player).

William Shatner is an actor who is indisputably most famous for his role as Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise on classic Star Trek. Here is a fan-made clip that I thought was fun.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.

Psalm 24:3-4

(From Heart Aflame)

For several days, Heart Aflame has been going verse-by-verse through Psalm 24. Today’s reading focuses on verse 4, quoted above. I included verse 3 because verse 4 begins the answer to the question given in verse 3. Note that David includes the idea of clean hands and pure heart together. “True purity, no doubt, has its seat in the heart, but it manifests its fruits in the works of the hands.” So the pure heart is joined to the purity of the whole life. We would think it ridiculous if a man boasted of having a pure heart, while not showing this with the fruit of his hands.

On the other hand, we also know that “good works” mean nothing, if they do not come from a pure heart. Purity of heart must precede outward fruit. Just because David mentions the “clean hands” before the “pure heart,” does not mean that the hands come before the heart. We sometimes mention effects before the cause, simply because the effect is the thing that is more well known. We can see the acts of clean hands. They are visible. The motivations behind the acts are not visible, but must precede the act.

It is noted that David says nothing about faith in God, at this point. Calvin points out that men seldom act so uprightly before their fellow man, unless they be “endued with the true fear of God so as to walk circumspectly before him.” “David very justly forms his estimate of the piety of men towards God by the character of their conduct towards their fellow-men.”

Father, I thank you that you have placed within my heart that fear of you that causes me to walk in integrity, not only before you, but before my brothers and sisters, as well. I thank you that my heart will not allow me to mistreat my fellow man, and should an occasion occur where I violate that principal, I am immediately struck down with a great guilt of conscience and seek immediate forgiveness, if at all possible. Is my heart pure? Only insomuch as it is cleansed by Christ, for it is still the heart of a wretched sinner, in the flesh. I do not consider that my heart will be utterly pure until this mortal coil is shed, and I stand before you in all of Christ’s glory, prepared to enter into the place that he has prepared for me. I praise you, that, in spite of my continued sin, when you look at me, you feel only love. That is almost more than I can fathom, my Father!

I pray for the remainder of this day. May you grant us safe travel wherever we go, and whatever we do, this afternoon. May our time together be pleasant, and may we bond as a family, today, also growing closer to you. I pray for my mother, that you continue hastening her recovery, and that you would bring healing to both her and my father. May you keep them safe in their home, providing whatever they need for life. I pray for Rachel and Justin, that you would provide them with whatever they need for this day.

May your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Clean hands and a pure heart; these are necessary to “ascend the hill of the Lord.” I cannot obtain either in my own power. Jesus Christ has provided the means of obtaining a pure heart, thereby having clean hands.

ascending-the-hill

Grace and peace, friends.

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All Things, Graciously

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 21:2015. 16 more days until Opening Day!

Today’s word of the day is ringy. This is an adjective, meaning, “Irritable; ‘ornery’; angry.”

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. As a parent of a child with Autism, I can empathize with those with Down Syndrome. This day raises awareness of those with Down Syndrome and their caregivers. Just as those with higher-functioning Autism, people with Down Syndrome can be productive members of society, if just given the chance.

I am safely back home, again, comfortably typing in my study. It was a good week, though. I had a very nice time with my parents, and driving my mother back and forth to Fort Worth was, actually, quite pleasant. I thank God for that. I can’t recall a single tense moment in the entire time I was there.

Yesterday, my mother and I went out for a drive, stopping at a local book store, their bank, and a very curious store downtown. Unfortunately, I bought books at the books store. Christi is never happy when that happens. We already have more books than we have room for. Anyway, while we were out, I took a couple of pictures. The first is the infamous Baker Hotel.

The Baker Hotel

The Baker Hotel

Then, after driving around a bit more, and getting some “go juice,” we stopped by the house where we lived until I was about five years old. In fact, we were moving from that house to the house where my parents currently live, on 11/23/63. If you don’t recognize the date, just “google” it.
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It looked somewhat better than this when we lived there.

We got back, had a late lunch (Mama made hot dogs and tater tots), and I packed up and headed back to Fort Worth. Even my drive home, which corresponded with rush hour, wasn’t too bad. The traffic didn’t build up until I got close to five miles from home. It was definitely nice to walk into our home. Christi got home not too long afterward, and we ordered some Italian food for dinner, settled in, and watched a few TV shows.

Today should be a typical Saturday, except that Christi won’t have to buy groceries for her folks, because they are still at the rehab facility. We have our Anchor prayer gathering this afternoon, followed by our worship gathering, all beginning at 4:45 PM. We are The Exchange.

It was on this date in 1989 that Sports Illustrated released reports that connected Pete Rose, legendary baseball player, to gambling on baseball. After a subsequent investigation, Rose was banned from baseball, indefinitely, by then commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti. This decision was so hard on him that it may have contributed to the heart attack that killed him, only eight days after he had rendered the decision to ban Rose. There have been movements ever since to reinstate him so that he could at least have his deserved place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I, personally, agree that he should be in the Hall of Fame. So what if he gambled? That, in no way, affected his performance on the field as one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Today’s birthdays include Johann Sebastian Bach (composer), Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (composer), Forrest Mars, Sr. (candymaker), Julio Gallo (winemaker), Timothy Dalton (actor), Ray Dorset (Mungo Jerry), Eddie Money (musician), Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Gary Oldman (actor), Sabrina Le Beauf (actress), Robert Sweet (Stryper drummer), Rosie O’Donnell (actress), Matthew Broderick (actor), and Vanessa Branch (the Orbit Gum girl).

Ray Dorset is the guy with the huge sideburns that was the lead singer for Mungo Jerry, and almost one-hit-wonder from the early seventies. He was born on this date in 1946, making him 69 today. Here is their biggest (and perhaps only) hit, “In the Summertime.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

A Psalm of David.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?

Psalm 24:1-3

(From Solid Joys)

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

Today’s reading is “God’s Best Promise.”

John Piper calls Romans 8:32, “The most far-reaching promise of God’s future grace,” and says it is the most precious verse in the Bible to him. One reason for this is the all-encompassing nature of the verse. “There never has been, and never will be, a circumstance in my life where this promise is irrelevant,” says Piper. I believe I can agree with that statement.

There are certainly other broad, sweeping promises in Scripture. Psalm 84:11, for example, says, For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 says, So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

But there is a “foundation and guarantee” in Romans 8:32 “that is so strong and so solid and so secure that there is absolutely no possibility that the promise could ever be broken.” The verse is “an ever-present strength in times of great turmoil. Whatever else gives way, whatever else disappoints, whatever else fails, this all-encompassing promise of future grace can never fail.” I love that last sentence!

“Whatever else gives way, whatever else disappoints, whatever else fails, this all-encompassing promise of future grace can never fail.”

The “logic of heaven” tells us that, since God did not spare his own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, “then God will most surely give all things to those for whom he gave his Son!” Wonderful words of encouragement, indeed!

Father, i thank you for the wonderful promise of Romans 8:32. I also thank you for the “logic” that makes it so special. We all need this reminder, every day, that, since you didn’t hold back even your only Son for us, then you would certainly, along with him, give us “all things.” We must not become too focused on the “all things,” though, but, rather, be focused on you, who is the giver of all things. Let us never be more concerned with the gifts than with the Giver. May this promise, and others like it, be in the forefront of our minds every day, in every circumstance that we face. May the Holy Spirit bring it to our minds especially when we are facing unpleasant circumstances.

I pray for the remainder of this day. May our errands go smoothly, and may we have a moving time with you, this evening, as we gather for prayer and worship with our brothers and sisters. I pray that my mother’s recover will be quick, and that things will continue to be okay with them. Protect them in their home, that they might not have any accidents. I pray that they will be able to get by as Mama recovers from her surgery. I thank you for a wonderful visit with them this week. I also pray for Rachel and Justin, that you would give them whatever they need for this day. Help Rachel get her career plans lined out as she wants them.

Your grace is sufficient.

The all-encompassing promises of God, such as the one in Romans 8:32, can be of great benefit to us, especially when we are in less than ideal circumstances. May the Holy Spirit remind us of them!

romans 8 32

Grace and peace, friends.

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