The True Disciple

Today is Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Sixteen days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.” – Jimmy Buffett

Word of the Day

Eristic – “pertaining to controversy or disputation; controversial.”

Today is Ask A Stupid Question Day. Perhaps, though, you agree with the saying, “The only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask.”

It’s the fourth Wednesday in September, so we will have our Anchor prayer gathering this evening. We are considering changing how we do that, though, and, perhaps combining it with our monthly-ish Night of Worship. That might be more effective. The pastor, the Night of Worship leader, and I have all been discussing this.

The Red Sox lost to the Yankees, last night, 6-4. It had to happen, eventually. They had won eleven in a row! Unfortunately, the Boo Jays beat the Orioles, so the magic number is still 1. The Rangers had another comeback win against the Brewers, last night, 6-4. They are, once again, atop the American League. They have four more regular season games. The Red Sox have five. It’s great fun when the final weekend of the season has an impact on all the top teams.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
Psalm 54:1-2
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:17
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

(From Praying With the Psalms)

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 118:28-29

As we grow more in our knowledge of God, we have more reason to praise him and thank him. “Every discovery of goodness and love is provocation to praise.”

“Because I know your goodness, O God, I can recognize goodness in the world around me. Thank you. Because I experience your steadfast love, I can give and receive love among the people around me. Thank you. Receive all my thanksgivings in and through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

When Jesus calls a disciple, it is not about personal holiness. In fact, this is never put forth as a priority for a disciple. What is put forth is “absolute annihilation of my right to myself and identification with Himself–a relationship with Himself in which there is no other relationship.” Chambers then cites Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” This is not about salvation. It is about “unconditional identification with Jesus Christ.”

There is only one “good thing,” from the perspective of Christ; “union with Himself and nothing in between.” In order to truly be his disciple, I must renounce any claim to myself, as well as all possessions (this does not necessarily mean giving things away or selling them, simply that possessions do not own me). This does not save me. It makes me a disciple with full identification with Christ.

Are there any true disciples today?

Father, I have a true desire to be a disciple, but I fear that I am too much like this rich young ruler. Not so much that I hold on to my possessions, because they have grown to mean very little me over past years. It is more about relationships and self-seeking. I am still a very selfish person, and seem to be continuously judging people unfairly. So my prayer is that you dig deep within me and transform these things in my life. Again, this is what the disciplines are for, and I will continue to try to work those into my life. But I cannot do it without your Spirit enabling me and pressing me. Draw me into yourself, that I may walk in your kingdom and step into the easy yoke of Christ.

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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Fire On the Altar

Today is Tuesday, September 27, 2016. Seventeen days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Faith makes all things possible… love makes all things easy.” – Dwight L. Moody

Word of the Day

Haimish Slang. homey; cozy and unpretentious.

Today is Ancestor Appreciation Day. How much do you know about your ancestors? My father traced our lineage back as far as he could, but we still aren’t certain where we came from to get to the United States. It’s always fun to know who your ancestors were, where they came from, and what they did.

Yesterday was a nice, rainy, cool day. Work went fine, too. Not much else going on, other than we have been watching Fuller House on Netflix, with Stephanie. She wanted us to watch it with her, and we gladly agreed. It is silly, of course, but it has been fun. Especially funny are the occasional digs at Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, who declined to be part of the updated series.

The Rangers lost to the Brewers, last night. But, again, it really doesn’t matter, as they have clinched the AL West. The only thing they are playing for is home field advantage for the ALDS and ALCS. Since they lost, and the Red Sox didn’t play, the Red Sox currently have the best record in the AL. They begin a three game series with the Yankees tonight. Their magic number is 1, because the Yankees helped us out and beat the Boo Jays last night. Baltimore is eliminated from the division championship, but still holds one of the wild card spots.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” Psalm 70:4
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Psalm 50:2

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
Psalm 118:26-27

“All the elements in the psalm–the surprises of love, the gifts of victory, the discoveries of salvation–are assembled then marched in a parade of celebration. Worship gathers all the experiences of grace and binds them together in festal response.”

“God, make every gathering with friends in Christ a time of blessing. Create a readiness to receive from you and a faithfulness to respond to you, so that all you give in love and all we bring in praise may be fire on your altar. Amen.”

This is my prayer, as well, Father. Let our worship gatherings be true times of celebration as we proclaim your goodness and faithfulness in our midst. May our praise be fire on your alter when we gather, and when we are separate, as well. May our lives be lives of praise and celebration, even in times when we are less than happy. In all circumstances, cause us to be grateful to you.

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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Faith and Imagination

Today is Monday, September 26, 2016. Eighteen days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

Word of the Day

Tantivy – at a gallop

Today is Batman Day, which I will celebrate in honor of my son-in-law, who is a big Batman fan. Batman first appeared (according to this article) in 1939. In movies and television, there have been quite a few Batmans (“batmen?”), and probably just as many opinions as to who is the best one. I dare say that the most beloved still has to be Adam West, simply because he seems to be a very lovable person. No one really takes that short-lived TV series seriously, though, as it didn’t even seem to take itself seriously. I am of the opinion that the villains cast in those episodes have yet to be surpassed, with the possible exception of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Julie Newmar as Catwoman, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Cesar Romero as The Joker, and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler. Oh, and we mustn’t forget Roddy McDowall as The Bookworm!

It was an interesting weekend, if not somewhat tragic. We had a great time at the USBC picnic on Saturday, in spite of the periodic rain that disrupted the outdoor bowling tournament. The hot dogs served at the picnic were, I believe, the best I have ever eaten. C and I played a round of Cornhole, lost our only game in the bowling tournament (I’m not terribly unhappy about that, as the pair that were not bowling had to be at the other end, resetting the pins . . . lots of bending over), and threw softballs at the dunking tank, where we dunked C’s boss, along with a couple others. I became momentarily famous (as well as feared) as I dunked three people, one of them on my first throw.

The tragedies occurred yesterday, as news broke that a Miami Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez, was killed in a boating accident, early Sunday morning. He was 24 years old. The Miami game was cancelled for yesterday, and the pre-game ceremony planned by Tampa Bay to honor David Ortiz was cancelled at Ortiz’s request. Ortiz was seen in tears before their game began.

News also broke yesterday that golfing great Arnold Palmer passed away at the age of 87.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

(From Praying With the Psalms)

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.
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!
Psalm 118:21-25

Mankind rejects God’s gift of life, because, due to “the fall,” our minds are “death-conditioned.” But God continues to offer this gift of life, in spite of our rejection. “He comes again and uses what we have rejected to build our lives in salvation and to hold us together in eternity.”

“God, my imagination is faithless and my faith is unimaginative. How often I fail to see and use what is right before me! How often I impatiently discard the very thing you have patiently provided to help me in my need! Overcome all my impatient rejections with your patient acceptance of me in Jesus Christ! Amen.”

Father, give my faith the imagination it needs to see what you have provided and to always choose the right thing when offered a choice. I pray that you would garrison my imagination against the things that the world throws at it in attempts to distract me from faith and right choices. Take over my mind with your Spirit, while opening it to your wonders of life. “You are life, you are love, you bring light to the darkness; you give hope, you restore every heart that is broken; great are you Lord!”

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

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Discipleship Is Impossible Unless . . .

Today is Sunday, September 25, 2016. 19 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Word of the Day

Albatross – a seemingly inescapable moral or emotional burden, as of guilt or responsibility. Also, something burdensome that impedes action or progress.

Today is One Hit Wonder Day. There are so many of these, it is impossible to count them. Celebrate by finding your favorite one-hit-wonder and giving it a listen today. Or maybe even see if you can find a playlist of one-hit-wonders. I’ll give you one (not necessarily my favorite, just one I thought of).

The Rangers shut out the Athletics again, 5-0, while Houston and Seattle both lost. The Rangers are 10.5 games ahead of the second place Mariners. It really didn’t matter, though, because the Rangers clinched the AL West the night before. Now, they are just trying to maintain home field advantage for the playoffs. Except for the World Series which is ridiculously determined by the otherwise meaningless All Star Game.

The Red Sox extended their winning streak to ten games, beating the Rays 6-4, thanks to a Dustin Pedroia grand slam home run! Their magic number is now three, with seven games left. They play Tampa one more time, this afternoon. They have tomorrow off, after which they travel to New York to take on the Yankees for three games, and then home to face the Boo Jays in what could very well be a very important series. The Sox have clinched, at the very least, a playoff birth for this season. I have to confess, though, that they are scaring me a little bit with this run at the end of the season. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help thinking of the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who won something like 21 straight regular season games at the end, to win their division. Then the Red Sox swept them in the World Series.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with our brothers and sisters at The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach St., in Fort Worth. We worship at 10:15. We will be there at around 8:00 for set up and rehearsal.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

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.
Psalm 96:2-4
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

(From Praying With the Psalms)

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.
Psalm 118:19-20

“Biblical faith is characterized by a vocabulary of access and invitation–well-marked approaches to follow and wonderfully courteous invitations to accept. Faith is access to God, and discipleship is entrance into his joy.”

“I don’t want my life, Lord, to be a meandering stream, its course altered by every stone and diverted by each depression, following the path of least resistance. I want it to be a direct, undiverted flow through the wide, inviting gates that lead to your will in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41

Jesus teaches much about being disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. We have to remember that, even though there are, perhaps, thousands of people gathered and listening, Jesus was speaking to twelve of them. “The summing up of Our Lord’s teaching is that the relationship which He demands is an impossible one unless He has done a supernatural work in us.” Too often, we forget this, and we scrabble and claw to try to accomplish something in that relationship. But Jesus “demands that there be not the slightest trace of resentment even suppressed in the heart of a disciple when he meets with tyranny and injustice.” I don’t know anyone who can accomplish that without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

The teachings in the Sermon are not just an ideal that it would be nice if we could live by. “It is a statement of what will happen in my when Jesus Christ has altered my disposition and put in a disposition like His own. Jesus Christ is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount.” We must be made disciples supernaturally. Don’t be mistaken; we still have work to do. We call those the Spiritual Disciplines. These are practical, tangible things that we can practice in order to put ourselves in a position for Christ to supernaturally work within us. It is a delicate balance between the work of the Spirit and what we must practice in our own lives. But we can’t do it without Jesus starting it for us.

Father, I believe that this supernatural work was begun in me many years ago. But I have only just begun to focus on the disciplines and truly trying to be your disciple. On the one hand, so many years wasted in wandering, meandering in the path of my faith. On the other hand, lessons learned, and, hopefully, a number of years left to practice and get better at being a disciple. Only you know that, for sure. Nevertheless, I pray for the disciplines to take root in my spirit. Help me to identify which ones need the most work, in order to make me more like Jesus, that I might walk with him in his easy yoke. Teach me to abide in him and his words in me, that I might walk in the truth of his words.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant me the fullness of your grace, that I, running to obtain your promises, may become a partaker of your heavenly treasure; 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)

Grace and peace, friends.

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The Citadel of Obstinacy

Today is Saturday, September 24, 2016. The Texas Rangers have clinched the AL West! 20 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“There is nothing that is going to make people hate you more, and love you more, than telling the truth.” ― Stefan Molyneux

Word of the Day

CackleberryFacetious. a hen’s egg used for food. I shall forevermore refer to eggs as “cackleberries.”

Today is International Rabbit Day (because I have given up trying to encourage people on social media to use punctuation), so take good care of our hippity, hoppity friends today. Assume it’s duck season.

As previously noted, the Texas Rangers clinched the AL West last night. It was initially clinched when the Astros lost to the Angels, since the magic number was one. The announcers at the game were acting like they clinched because they beat the Athletics. Either way would have done it, and it’s better that they won. It was an encouraging game, as they beat the A’s 3-0, and Cole Hamels had a solid outing, after having several not-so-solid games.

The Red Sox won their ninth consecutive, beating Tampa 2-1, and lowering their magic number to four. Unfortunately, the Boo Jays beat the Yankees, so the Red Sox remain 5.5 games ahead of them. But Baltimore and Detroit also won, keeping the Wild Card race in the AL very close. What’s going on in the National League, you ask? I have no clue. I don’t follow the National League. All I know is the Cubs ran away with it this year.

We have C’s company picnic today, which is why I’m up so early on a Saturday morning. We need to be out at Grapevine Lake by 9:00 to start setting things up. The picnic starts at 10:00 and ends at 3:00 PM. That’s only five hours, so that’s not too bad. Hopefully, we’ll be home by 5:00, with plenty of time to rest up for our worship gathering tomorrow.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!”
I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
Psalm 118:15-18

There is exuberant praise in the community of God’s people. “The gospel is life-affirming and death-defeating.” Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

“Dear God, every sin that I thought was a barrier between you and me has been, by your grace, made into a bridge. You have used the very things that separate us as ways to approach me with new life. Thank you. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

We tend to look at preparation as something that is suddenly accomplished, and then we can move on. But it is more of a process that must be continuously maintained.

We also tend to have no problem sacrificing something big, especially young Christians. We are always looking for a chance to be heroic. We need to allow the Word of God to scrutinize us. Whatever the Holy Spirit is detecting “is the disposition that will never work in His service.” Only God can detect this within us. Do we have something to hide from God? What a ridiculous notion, right? But when we allow God to fully search us, and if he detects something, we need to immediately confess it. “Never discard a conviction.” We may be looking for some great thing to give up, but he may be showing us a tiny thing. Break down the walls of the “citadel of obstinacy.” We must give up our right to ourselves if we are to be disciples of Christ.

Father help me break down those walls of the “citadel of obstinacy.” Even after all this time, I still forget and insist upon my right to myself, a right that I should have given up long ago. I can’t expect you to speak to me or work with or in me if I maintain this fortress within me. While I believe in your sovereignty, I also believe that you will not invade that fortress forcefully. You will arrange events in my life, however, to “encourage” me to tear it down. Whatever the case, I want to break it down. I want to surrender my rights to myself to you, as it should be. Teach me your way, and teach me the words of Jesus, that I might walk in them and his easy yoke.

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 Disciple’s Goal

Today is FRIDAY! September 23, 2016. 21 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” – Barry LePatner

Word of the Day

Pwn – To inflict a humiliating defeat on (an opponent), esp. in an online game. Also: to gain unauthorized access to or compromise (a computer, network, etc.). Pronounced “pone,” this colloquialism likely was the result of someone mistyping in a World of Warcraft chat box, but it caught on, not unlike the popular usage of “teh,” instead of “the.”

Today is Checkers Day. This has nothing to do with the game played with red and black circular game pieces on a board of sixty-four alternating colored squares. It has to do with Richard Nixon’s famous “Checkers Speech,” made on this date in 1952. Checkers, of course, was an adorable Cocker Spaniel. As if there is any other kind of Cocker Spaniel.

It’s Friday! Let’s say it again! It’s Friday!!

The Rangers’ magic number dropped to 1 last night, and they didn’t even play! That’s because the Angels did us a favor and beat the Astros. Tonight, the Rangers are in Oakland, so the game will not start until 9:35 PM, CDT. They could very well clinch the AL West title tonight, while we are sleeping. No, I won’t be staying up to watch it. If I stay up at all, I will be playing on my PS4. But even that won’t be too late, tonight, because tomorrow is C’s company picnic, and we have to be there by 9:00 AM. We don’t usually get up until about that time on Saturday’s.

But wait. There’s more. The Red Sox completed their second consecutive four-game sweep, last night, beating the Orioles 5-3. Their magic number is now 5. The Sox also knocked the O’s out of the wild card spot, at least for now. Detroit currently holds the second WC spot, behind the Boo Jays. After looking at the schedule, I have discovered that the ALCS and NLCS will be going on while we are in Galveston. As previously noted, there is a very real possibility of a Boston/Texas ALCS. Can I get some Xanax, please?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
Psalm 27:7-9
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:5-14

What prayer produces is strength for the battle “against the powers of destruction.” We do not bow our heads in submission to the evils of this world; rather we do faithful battle with them. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

“Grant, O God, that by your Spirit I may find motive and means to speak and act in your name. I need courage to face all the skirmishes of daily living and take confidence in your promises given in Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” Luke 18:31

What is the goal of the disciple? Pure and simply, it is the Lord’s will. The beginning and end of our “Christian” lives is Jesus. It is Jesus Christ, not our ideas about what the Christian life should be. Our goal is “not to be useful, not to win the heathen.” Read that carefully. Both of those things may very well happen, but they are not our ultimate goal. Our goal is simply to do the will of the Lord.

Jesus was going to Jerusalem, and nothing detained him. He did not hurry through villages where he was persecuted, nor did he stay longer in places where he felt blessed. As we are on our way to our “Jerusalem,” God’s work will be manifest through us, people will be blessed; some will show gratitude, many will not. There will even be those who will display hatred (or, perhaps, even worse, indifference) toward us, but we should not allow any of these things to deter us from our final goal. We strive for God’s will to be done.

Father, lead me toward my Jerusalem. May I live such a life that your will becomes second nature to me. May I practice the disciplines so that whenever I am faced with choices, I do not have to agonize over what your will might be; I will know it. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth, and may that walking be done in the “easy yoke” of Christ. Show me how to celebrate life in Christ, and enjoy it to the fullest, no matter what my lot may be.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.” (From The Divine Hours)

Grace and peace, friends.

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Living in Gratitude

Today is Thursday, September 22, 2016. It’s the first day of Fall (or Autumn, if you prefer), the Autumnal Equinox. 22 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa

Word of the Day

Flavescent – turning yellow; yellowish. Interesting word. “I came along, I wrote a song for you, And all the things you do, And it was called ‘Flavescent.'” Nope. Doesn’t work.

It was a tough choice today, what with it being “Hobbit Day,” and “Ice Cream Cone Day.” But none of those can trump White Chocolate Day. Because, you know, chocolate. I’ve explained that before. If the day has “books,” “chocolate,” or “music” in it, that’s going to be the one.

Not much going on, again, around here. We have C’s company picnic this Saturday, out at Grapevine Lake. That should be fun (as well as exhausting). Then we have a Night of Worship on Saturday, the first of October. I have decided that I will not be attending my class reunion the following weekend, simply because we have so much going on every weekend around it, and we are leaving for our Galveston trip on October 14. I feel like I need a weekend in there to make sure we have everything in order for the vacation.

As noted previously, today is the official first day of Autumn, being the Autumnal Equinox, one of two days during the year that the length of day and night is exactly equal. It will be 96 degrees here, today. Welcome to Fall in Texas. Next week is looking better, though. There are a couple of days actually projected with highs in the seventies.

The Red Sox beat the Orioles again, last night, 5-1. They have won three straight with Baltimore and have one more today. The Sox have won seven straight, now, and their magic number is now 6. The Boo Jays also lost to the Mariners, yesterday afternoon, in extra innings. That helped immensely!

The Rangers couldn’t come back to beat the Angels, this time, and lost 5-4. The A’s failed to beat the Astros, and, as previously noted, the Mariners beat the Boo Jays, so the Rangers’ magic number remains at 2. The hit Oakland for another series tomorrow, their final road trip of the season. I hope they play better than they did last weekend, but I’m not terribly confident.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Psalm 118:1-4

Every event in Israel’s experience was a demonstration of the steadfast love of the Lord. When people realize this, their gatherings become expressions of gratitude. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

“‘The King of love my Shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever. . . . And so through all the length of days Thy goodness faileth never: Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise within Thy house forever’ (Henry W. Baker, ‘The King of Love My Shepherd Is’). Amen.”

Father, I pray for more gratitude. As I walk through each day, remind me of your expressions of steadfast love, in my personal life, in the life of my family, and in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And then, after I am reminded, incite gratitude within my spirit, that I might live each day being fully satisfied in you and your grace, and expressing gratitude for your love.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

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