Who Do You Trust?

“There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is mugwump. We may be seeing the resurgence of this word, from the presidential campaign of 1884, as it means, “a person who is unable to make up his or her mind on an issue, especially in politics; a person who is neutral on a controversial issue.” And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Today is Web Designer Day. If you know one, show them some love today, for making the Internet a nice place to be. Hey, it was either that or Macaroon Day.

Today is Tuesday that feels like Monday. We didn’t do much of anything, yesterday. I went on a grocery run, picked up some drinks and ordered pizza for lunch/dinner. We watched several episodes of Criminal Minds, and I played Fallout 4 (I got the Far Harbor expansion) for a few hours.

The Red Sox beat the O’s in a very important game, 7-2. this not only put them two games up but also gives them the best record in the AL, followed closely by the Texas Rangers, who beat the Indians 9-2. Seattle also won, so the Rangers remain a half game up on them. This is shaping up to be a fun season. I commented to my good friend who is the quintessential Texas Rangers fan, that it would be great fun to see a Red Sox/Rangers ALCS this year. If, by “fun,” you mean watching the game curled up in a fetal position, rocking back and forth. I kid, I kid. To my friend’s continued dismay, I would most certainly root for the Red Sox, but would be somewhat satisfied either way.

I’m going to a new doctor’s office, this afternoon. It’s time to get meds refilled. Nothing else wrong, as far as I know, other than my right knee which has been causing pain for a long time, now. C has been going to this new one, which is not far from where she works, and is about halfway home for me. So I’m going to try them today. We got out of sorts with our old doctor’s office when they stopped taking adult Medicaid, which forced us to find a new doctor for Stephanie. That was a difficult process, which is a topic for another day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!
May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!
May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!
The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Psalm 72:15-20

There is a strong conclusion to these prayers with the double amen at the end. “Amen is the Hebrew word for ‘yes,’ a yes that comes to its richest meaning in an affirmative response to God. We say yes to the God who says yes to us in Jesus Christ.”

“‘Praise ye the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him! All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him! Let the Amen sound from his people again: gladly for aye we adore Him’ (Joachim Neander, ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,’ translated by Catherine Winkworth). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

God First

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
John 2:24-25

Jesus trusted no man, but at the same time, he was not suspicious, nor was he ever in despair about men, “because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for any man.” If I trust in people first, I will end up in despair, I will become bitter and cynical, “because I have insisted on man being what no man could ever be – absolutely right.”

“Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else.”

Father, I pray for this to be true in me. This is such a good word for the political climate during this election, when so many of your children seem to be putting so much hope in men. It breaks my heart to see this. Where is their trust in you? I want to be able to say that I trust you implicitly, but there are still times when I am suspicious of people, and act in a cynical way toward them. I pray that you draw that out of me and replace it with the completeness of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, putting my trust in you completely and primarily.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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

A Step in the Dark

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. – Alphonse Karr
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is doughty, which means, “steadfastly courageous and resolute; valiant.”

Today is Mint Julep Day, and yet another year has gone by without me having one of those. Someday . . .

Today, of course, is also Memorial Day, which is the day of the year set aside to remember and honor all servicemen who lost their lives in the service of our country.

We were going to have R & J come over today, but C is not feeling well, a bit worse than yesterday evening, so we’re just going to rest at home today. I’ll probably go to the grocery store after I finish up here, then bring some lunch home for us all. Other than that, there are no plans.

The Red Sox beat Toronto 5-3 yesterday, keeping their one game lead over the O’s. The Sox and O’s begin a series together today, which is possibly the most important series of the season, thus far. The Rangers beat the Pirates 6-2, while the Twins beat Seattle. Right. The Twins beat the Mariners. Every dog has his day, right? Well, this dog’s day helped the Rangers, because they are now in first place, a half game up on Seattle. The Rangers begin a series with the Indians today.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.

Psalm 72:8-14

When we pray the words from the prayer model that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we are “looking for and participating in the complete establishment of what is only hinted at in human government.” All government and authority will be, finally, in Jesus Christ.

“‘Blessing and honor and glory and power, wisdom and riches and strength evermore, give ye to Him who our battle hath won, whose are the Kingdom, the crown, and the throne’ (Horatius Bonar, ‘Blessing and Honor’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“Yes–But . . .!”

“I will follow you, Lord, but . . .”
Luke 9:61

Once again, Chambers deals with that thing we so lovingly call “common sense.” What do we do when God tells us to do something that “is an enormous test” to our common sense? Do we hang back? Do we jump on it? Until we come to the place where we “abandon resolutely,” we will turn back every time. “Yes, I will obey God if He will let me use my common sense, but don’t ask me to take a step in the dark.”

If I am going to do anything worthwhile, there are times when I must take a leap and take serious risks, and this is true in the spiritual domain, as well. “Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense and leap into what He says, and immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense.” His demands and statements may seem insane, but if we “bring them to the bar of faith,” we will be awestruck and find them to be the words of God.

Dallas Willard says that the thing we need to do is to begin to put into practice the words of Jesus Christ, and find them to be true.

Father, bring me to that place where I can abandon all that does not fit into the words of Jesus. Teach me your ways, that I may know you more, and find favor in your sight. Let me walk in your kingdom and be one who brings your kingdom a little closer on earth.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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

Bear One Another’s Burdens

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is improvident, which means, “Lacking or not exercising foresight; having little regard for the future; heedless of potential consequences or outcomes; reckless. Also: characterized by recklessness or a lack of foresight.” Kind of sounds like the “reckless abandonment” that Oswald Chambers keeps talking about.

Today is Paper Clip Day. You know what the French call paper clips? Trombones! So I’m calling this Trombone Day!

Today is Sunday, and we’re getting ready for church. It’s going slow, so far. S has already gotten up and said she doesn’t feel good. C is still coughing quite a bit. I’m okay, just sleepy.

We went to Scarborough Renaissance Festival, yesterday, and it was quite warm. We stayed about 4 hours, but managed to do everything that we went for. One of those things was to see Cale the Juggler, our favorite performer at the Festival. I got my obligatory Scottish Egg (or Scotch Egg, I’m not sure which is correct, and there are signs with both at the Festival), along with some mediocre pizza and some awesome onion rings. S got her hair braided, and we all got henna “tattoos.” Only mine didn’t turn out so good. Oh, well.

Our worship gathering is at 10:15, this morning. The Exchange meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach St., Fort Worth, TX.

The Rangers beat the Pirates in Yu Darvish’s return, yesterday. The final score was 5-2. Seattle lost, so the Rangers narrowed their gap to only .5 game. The Red Sox closer blew another game, yesterday, and they lost to the Boo Jays 10-9, in the bottom of the ninth inning. Baltimore also lost, so the Sox remain a game up. They are, however, on a three-game losing streak.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!
May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

Psalm 72:1-7

This is a prayer of intercession for the king, for the ruler. It “is clearsighted in its perception of what is essential in government; justice for the poor, defense for the weak, deliverance for the needy.” It would serve us well as a basis as our prayers for our own government. Instead of making derogatory comments about government members that we don’t like, we ought to be praying prayers like this for them.

“O God, rule the nations of the earth: ‘May righteousness flourish, and peace abound’ among the peoples. Use those in positions of power to nurture justice and accomplish peace, in the name of Jesus (Psalm 72:7). Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Ginger Rue tells the story of when she revealed to her church that her marriage was ending. Her minister advised her, “Let the church pray for you.” Her response was not surprising, nor unexpected. “I’m too ashamed.”

She was afraid, as anyone would be, of what the congregation would think, “especially the older couples like the Boyds.” She had spent years admiring “their solid, abiding love for each other.” She wondered how she would be able to look them in the eye, worried that they would be thinking, “This generation just doesn’t honor the covenant of marriage. She should have tried harder.”

However, she followed through and asked the church for prayer the following Sunday. “After the service was over, I saw Mr. Boyd standing a few feet away. He looked me right in the eyes and made his way toward me. Before I knew it, he had enveloped me in a bear hug. He began sobbing as though my pain were his own.” At that moment, Ginger felt the weight of the world lifted from her shoulders. Mr. Boyd told her, “We will pray for you every single day.”

This is what we need, Church. This is how important prayer is. I have been reminded, once again, that prayer is serious business. That thought struck me hard, last Thursday morning. Prayer is serious business.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Romans 15:1
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14

Father, this reading reminds me of a time when my local church held me up, over 30 years ago. What a blessing it is to be able to throw caution to the wind, and ask our brothers and sisters for prayer. This is what the Church should be about, and this is one of the main reasons we need to pray so diligently for one another. Help us to realize how important it is to share one another’s burdens. Dallas Willard talks about the “easy yoke.” It can’t be easy if we try to bear it all by ourselves. We must share it, first with Jesus, then with the rest of the body.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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An Accumulation of Praise

“Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.” – Satchel Paige
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is psychrophobia, which means “Fear or hatred of cold, esp. of cold water.”

Today is Hamburger Day. I might just have me one of those today!

I’m a little pressed for time, this morning. We are planning to leave for Scarborough Faire around noon. So I won’t spend a lot of time, here. Both the Red Sox and the Rangers lost, last night, the Sox to the Boo Jays, 7-5, in a back-and-forth contest. The Rangers lost badly to the Pirates, 9-1, in Cole Hamels’s first loss of the season. Both series continue today, with the much anticipated return of Yu Darvish in Arlington.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.

Psalm 71:17-24

“A long life accumulates material for praise.” I like that. And mine certainly has. So, maybe it hasn’t been truly a long life, yet. In fact, it seems to have gone by rather quickly, thus far. And, God willing, there are still a good number of years left. But it has certainly accumulated material for praise! And this accumulation can most certainly “be turned to the composition of convincing songs of praise.”

“As the days and years add up in me, O Lord, help me to grow in gratitude. As I grow older, give me a good memory for your acts of guidance and deliverance and a ready tongue for witness and praise. Amen.”

Father, as my life continues, may the accumulated material for praise continue to grow. I could type for the rest of the day, and not run out of things to praise you for, over the course of my 58 years. May your Spirit continue to remind me of how much I have to praise you for, and may that praise run over into other areas of my life. Help me to be more open to continuing this journey with friends. I don’t need to be so alone all the time. Help me to love people more.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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The Power of the Ascended Christ

“Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.” – Garrison Keillor
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is fard. It’s a verb, meaning “to apply cosmetics to (the face).” “Nay, but,” said Macbriar, “ye handle this matter too tenderly; nor will my conscience permit me to fard or daub over the causes of divine wrath.” (Sir Walter Scott, Old Mortality, 1816)

Today is Sun Screen Day. I, for one, know how important sun screen is. I really love the beach, especially the ocean beaches, but must cover myself in sun screen to enjoy them. Today, however, at least in our area, we have thunderstorms, and I won’t be spending much time outside.

Alas, the streak is over. Jackie Bradley, Jr. went 0-4 last night. I blame whoever decided to move him to the leadoff spot in the batting order. Have people not learned? If it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it! Oh, well. The Sox also lost the game to the Rockies, which means they lost the series as well. However, Baltimore also lost, so the Sox remain two games up in first place. And Xander Bogaerts got a hit, so if I’m not mistaken, he sits on a 19 game hitting streak. Tonight, they play the Boo Jays in Toronto. Maybe Dustin Pedroia will punch the Punk. I think that should be a thing, now. Every team has to punch Bautista in the face. New rule. The Rangers had the day off, yesterday, and begin a series with the Pirates tonight.

It’s Friday! I think we are planning to go to Scarborough Faire tomorrow, as we have a wedding to attend on Sunday, and it’s supposed to rain all day on Monday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.
I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.
For my enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together
and say, “God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him.”
O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!
May my accusers be put to shame and consumed; with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt.
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.

Psalm 71:1-16

As we approach “old age,” there are many unique needs. We fear that, as our strength fails us and our usefulness diminishes, that life will lose meaning. “But God does not love us for what we can do for him, or for our usefulness to society, but for what we are.”

“Almighty God, help me to find the meaning of my life, not in the size of my paycheck nor in the list of things that I can accomplish, but in the eternal purposes you have set for me in Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.”

I believe a lot of us could stand to pray that prayer!

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Life That Lives

But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
Luke 24:49

The disciples had to wait until Pentecost because Jesus had yet to be glorified. As soon as he was glorified, he sent the Holy Spirit. There is a parenthetical statement in John 7:39; 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. This is not true for us, because the Holy Spirit has been sent.

The Holy Spirit was definitely at work before Pentecost, but he, himself, was not dwelling with us, yet. “Immediately Our Lord was glorified in Ascension, the Holy Spirit came into this world, and He has been here ever since.” The receiving of the Holy Spirit should be the constant mindset of the believer. From this, we receive “quickening life from the ascended Lord.”

At this point, Chambers makes a great statement, that I believe is commonly overlooked in our age. “It is not the baptism of the Holy Ghost which changes men, but the power of the ascended Christ coming into men’s lives by the Holy Ghost that changes them.” It is not an experience apart from that of Jesus Christ, “it is the evidence of the ascended Christ.” You see, the Holy Spirit never tries to bring attention to himself. He always points toward Jesus Christ. He is also here, now! The kingdom of God is not something that we dream about in eternity. It is here, now, available for us to walk in today!

Father, make me constantly aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, especially as he points me toward Jesus Christ and the power that this brings to my life. Help me to walk in your kingdom today, not dream about living in it after this life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Do We Expect God to Answer Prayer?

“Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is zoogenic, which means, “produced or caused by animals.”

Today is Blueberry Cheesecake Day. I don’t know that I’ve ever had blueberry cheesecake. I’ve had strawberry cheesecake. I’ve had blueberry pancakes. Great. Now I’m hungry.

We had a very nice prayer gathering last night. There were five of us (seven if you count a couple of children, but I don’t think they prayed with us . . . you never know for sure, though, do you?), including our pastor, who shared a few words about prayer with us. We prayed for each other for a little while, which is always how we begin, and then we prayed over a prayer topic that I had written down. It was a very sweet time.

The Red Sox and Rangers both had really good games yesterday. The Sox beat the Rockies 10-3. Jackie Bradley, Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29, while Xander Bogaerts increased his hitting streak to 18 (I wasn’t even aware that he was streaking until yesterday). The Orioles lost again, so the Sox are now two games up, in first place! The Rangers and Angels had an afternoon slugfest. As the bottom of the second began, the Halos were up 4-1, but the Rangers tied it in that inning. The Rangers went up 7-4 in the bottom of the third, and were never behind again. Final score, 15-9. Sadly, the Mariners won, yet again, so the Rangers remain in second 1.5 out. Yu Darvish makes his return to the Ballpark on Saturday, against the Pirates.

Today is Thursday, pre-Friday. We have a long weekend coming up. It’s been a long time since New Year’s Day. I would still like to have a chat with the person who arranged all of the holidays in the last half of the year.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!”
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

Psalm 70

“Prayer breaks through the lethargies of spirit that would put off eternal things until eternity.” When we truly pray, there is urgency; things are important here and now. Our relationship with our Father is important now.

“Come Lord Jesus! I want to know the fullness of your salvation now. I give myself completely to your love. I want my entire mind and my whole will at your disposal today. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, to my waiting spirit. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Think as Jesus Taught

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

How do we think about prayer? The answer to this depends on the conceptions we have about it in our minds. “if we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly.” Our blood never stops flowing; our breathing doesn’t stop (as long as we live), we don’t have to be conscious of it, and we don’t have to make it happen. “Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life.”

Consider also the fact that “Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer.” He just didn’t. “He had the boundless certainty that prayer is always answered.” Yes, we say, but he was Jesus. He is God. Of course he has certainty, and of course all of his prayers get answered. But who do we have holding us up? With whom do we walk, hopefully every day?? Jesus!!

“God answers prayer in the best way, not sometimes, but every time, although the immediate manifestations of the answer in the domain in which we want it may not always follow.” We also want to water down what Jesus says and make it mean something “in accordance with common sense.” If you’ve been following these, you know what Chambers thinks about “common sense.” He also says, “If it were only common sense, it was not worthwhile for Him to say it.” Jesus gave us supernatural revelation about prayer. It’s time for me to begin living in this.

Father, I pray for this type of thinking to dominate my mind, when it comes to prayer. I pray that my walk with Jesus, my walk in the kingdom would become so serious to the point that prayer would be like breathing, like the beating of my heart, that it would just happen, all day long, without me even having to think about it. Teach me to pray without ceasing.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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Waive Your Rights

“Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.” ― Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is hypnagogic, which means, “of or relating to drowsiness,” or, “inducing drowsiness.” I’m in a hypnagogic state this morning.

Today is Towel Day. And yes, it is a tribute to Douglas Adams. Don’t forget your towel.

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
I am about to reveal the order of the top four finalists in The Voice. I am somewhat disappointed in how they finished, as my favorite came in fourth place.

4. Laith Al-Saadi
3. Hannah Huston
2. Adam Wakefield
1. Alisan Porter

In fact, my two favorites came in fourth and third. I wasn’t exactly unhappy with the results, though, as I have though Alisan Porter was pretty amazing, most of the way through. Adam Wakefield was a bit of a “sleeper,” though, kind of quietly rising to the top of the field each week with his soulful country style. We haven’t watched Monday night’s performance episode, yet, and we have our bi-monthly prayer gathering tonight, so we weren’t going to be able to watch tonight. For that reason (and it’s almost impossible not to find out, these days), we decided to stay up and watch it last night. Which is why I’m in a hypnagogic state this morning.

It’s Wednesday. Only Wednesday. The good news is that we have a long weekend coming up. The not so good news is it looks like it’s going to rain all day on Memorial Day, which is the day we had planned to go to Scarborough Faire. Saturday looks nice, though, so we may go then.

The Red Sox beat the Rockies 8-3 last night, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. extended his hitting streak to 28. Baltimore lost, so the Red Sox are in first place! The Rangers beat the Halos 4-1. Unfortunately, Seattle also won, so the Rangers remain 1.5 behind the Mariners.

One other thing. Today would have been my parents’ wedding anniversary. 59 years. My mother has been struggling a bit the last couple of days. If you’re the praying type, would you please say a prayer for her? I talked with her last night, and she said that, for some reason, this year is harder than last year. Perhaps it was that last year, the shock of his passing was still fresh. May God bring his comfort to you today and hold you in his loving arms.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah, and people shall dwell there and possess it;
the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Psalm 69:30-36

“The great songs of praise are sung by those who have known the intensity of pain, the desperation of doubt, and the abyss of rejection.” To people like these, the love and salvation of God are seen as resurrection and rescue.

“I praise you, merciful Father, that you have not led me in a way bound by grim duty and joyless servitude, but in one that, though it traverses ‘the valley of the shadow,’ always leads to ‘the house of the Lord’ (Psalm 23:4, 6). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Test of Self-Interest

Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.
Genesis 13:9

Abraham is talking to Lot in this verse, allowing him to choose which direction they should go when they split up. He rightfully could have chosen the most luxurious of the places, but allowed Lot to choose first. Many choices and prospects will come our way in the life of faith, and some of them would be ours by right, “but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God choose for you.”

There is a lot of clamoring about rights, these days, especially in the camp of “religious liberty,” which, oddly enough, is something that the Bible never guarantees us. In fact, if people would actually read the book, they would take note that it guarantees quite the opposite. Nevertheless, there is a large group of “Christians” who are insisting that politicians uphold their religious liberties and “rights.”

However, there is a “discipline by means of which the natural is transformed into the spiritual by obedience to the voice of God,” and that involves waiving our rights and letting God choose our path. “Whenever right is made the guidance in the life it will blunt the spiritual insight.” The greatest enemy in our lives is not sin, but the “good.”

“The good is always the enemy of the best.”

Father, I all too often fall into the trap of insisting on what is mine by right. I pray for the inspiration and guidance of your Spirit to press me to waive my rights and let you choose what is best for me instead of what is simply “right” or “good.”

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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