Stop Whining!

Today is Sunday, the seventh of March, 2021, the third Sunday of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,005

28 days until Resurrection Sunday

We had a nice day, yesterday. My results at WW were that I stayed exactly the same as the previous week. No worries, there. Maintaining is better than gaining, and I did post an almost five pound loss the previous week. I’m also not on the verge of a mini-goal, so I’m not sweating this. C was a fraction of a pound (.2) over her goal weight, which is fantastic. That was her fourth week of maintenance . . . only two more to go, and if she stays within that two-pound range (plus or minus) she will obtain lifetime membership!

We picked up our grocery order right after our WW Workshop (with the obligatory stop for Sonic drinks, of course). I had received notification of substitutions, via text message and had responded to those. What I did not see, though, was a number of items that they claimed they were out of. No green grapes, no bananas (!!), and a few other things. C likes to go out and run around on Saturday afternoons, anyway, so she went and picked up at least some of the items, and found a few other goodies, as well. She also took advantage of the nice weather and walked for a little while, at a park.

We had our left-over Pecan Crusted Chicken for lunch, and each of us had our own accessories (I suppose I should call those “sides”). Later, in the evening, I cooked burgers for S and me. I use the leanest beef I can get, mix in a variety of seasonings, and bake them in the oven. I don’t put bread on mine, so the burgers (two patties) and one slice of regular sharp cheddar cheese cost from seven to nine WW points. I also cooked some frozen crinkle cut fries in the air fryer, for an additional four points. I sprinkled several different seasonings on them, and they were delicious.

We have our church Zoom gathering, this morning at 10:15. We will be starting, today, with Psalm 10, and probably get through three or four chapters. I expect that some might encourage meeting in person next weekend, after the governor’s lifting of all pandemic restrictions. I’m not sure I’m ready for that, unless people will continue to wear masks. I realize that I went to an in-person church last Sunday, but all restrictions were still in place, and people stayed distant. We will see how it goes.

After church, I am sure we will order Applebee’s for lunch. The rest of the day will be spent resting, preparing for the work week ahead. I’m going to try to get PTO for Thursday and Friday, so we can have a couple extra days off for my birthday.

Enough of that. On with the devotional. Right after I get a second cup of coffee.


Another poem, today, by Daryl Madden, called “Really To.”

To gaze, to dwell, to draw deep
Really just to be
To hear, to taste, to feel now
This moment to be free

To soak, to breath, to savor
Really to receive
Presence that’s abundant
This moment to believe

To give, to yield, surrender
Really to let go
Freedom in releasing
This moment of the flow

To meld, to bind, embracing
Really to be here
Love within of knowing
This moment is a prayer

I really love the first line of this one, and it’s pretty much why I’m here, every morning. “To gaze, to dwell, to draw deep . . .”

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
(Psalms 62:5-6 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • For what promises to be a beautiful day outside, today
  • For the opportunity, this morning, to dwell in Your Word with other believers
  • For the faithful leaders and ministers You have placed in the midst of Your people
  • For the words of the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the One who died and was raised again
  • For the strength and hope and eternity that those words bring to our lives

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Third Sunday in Lent


And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 NIV)

Take a moment to meditate on the holiness of the Lord.


A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
(Psalms 30:1-5 NIV)


The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?”
But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
The LORD answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”
(Exodus 17:1-7 NIV)


Moses was God’s faithful and chosen leader for the people of Israel. In today’s passage, though, not long after escaping the slavery of Egypt, the people quarrel with and complain against Moses.

We haven’t changed much in several thousand years. I have been attending Southern Baptist churches my whole life (so far), and time after time, I have watched (and, sadly, I confess, even participated) as congregations seemingly do nothing but whine, moan, criticize, and complain to their pastor/leadership. The music is too modern. The music is too old. The music is too loud. The sermon is too long. There’s not enough evangelism in the sermon. There’s not enough hellfire and brimstone in the sermon. There’s too much hellfire and brimstone in the sermon. We don’t like this. We don’t like that. We can’t agree on what color the carpet should be. We can’t agree on pews vs. chairs. The pews are too hard. The pews are too soft.

You know I could go on and on and on, right?

May God have mercy on us. How He managed to not destroy the stiff-necked people of Israel is beyond me. Although, I know that He is faithful to His covenants, and that, perhaps, is the sole thing that saved their wretched necks. That and the constant intercession of Moses. Even Moses snapped a few times, demanding an answer from God as to why He had saddled him with these ridiculous whiners.

I confess. I’m a complainer. And I’ve done more than my fair share of it in the past. But I have also become convicted that there is no room for complaining in the character of a child of God. There are legitimate reasons to point out things that are wrong, for sure. But when I say “complain,” I’m referring to a specific kind of critical nature, and you all know, I bet, what I mean.

We owe respect and submission to the leaders that God has placed in our midst (I’m referring only to Church life in this). If the leader proves himself to be not worthy of either, that’s a different story, but that unworthiness had better come from something heretical or unbiblical that has happened, not just because we didn’t like the way he preached last Sunday.

Moses was doing his best to obey God and lead the Israelites, but it was never enough for them. May we not be guilty of the same, in our churches today.

Father, I thank You for faithful leaders/pastors/priests/ ministers in Your Church today. I pray for Christian fellowships all over the world, this morning, that they would unite in support of their leaders, submitting to what their leaders believe to be the plan of God through His revealed Word. May we stop the incessant whining and moaning, and believe in YOU! May we have faith to believe that You know what You are doing! May we be fully persuaded that You have the power to fulfill all of Your great and precious promises, given in Your Word.

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

"Patient God,
even on this journey of faith,
where I experience your presence and provision,
I grumble,
and turn away from you.
may I know the embrace of your grace
more than the grip of sin,
and may my complaints be turned to praise.
In Christ's name,
(Canon of Dort 5.1)


Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
(Psalms 32:1-2 NIV)

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
(Matthew 25:40 NLT)

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
(Romans 12:13 NLT)

Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.”
(Revelation 2:10-11 NLT)

There is a distinct promise at the end of this letter to the Church at Smyrna. And, as we continue on through these letters, it will be noted that each promise is unique to the church being addressed.

To Smyrna is promised “the crown of life.” And then, “Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.”

There are two Greek words for “crown.” The first one has to do with what is worn by a king or queen, and the second is a prize “given to an athlete after winning a race or an honor bestowed on someone by the community for valorous service.” As expected, it is the second word that is used here.

When we are a participant in suffering, we are, in a sense, competing “in a contest for faith.” We are not, rest assured, calling suffering a “game,” for it is most certainly not. But when we come through this “contest” with the praise of God on our lips, we are “crowned with the prize of life.”

What is meant by “second death,” according to Peterson, is “the death that separates us from God.” We all must meet the first death (unless we happen to still be alive when Christ returns, I suppose), and the first death cannot separate us from the love of Christ. Those who keep their faith through suffering will never suffer that separation, either. We may suffer separation from “health, from friends, from children, and from this beautiful world, but we will never be separated from God.”

The words of the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the one who was dead and is now alive, gave strength and hope to people such as Polycarp and the “suffering Christians of Smyrna. And they have the power to give strength and eternity to our lives too.”

(From This Hallelujah Banquet, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I praise You for the faithful and true words of the First and the Last, He who died and was raised again. May His words give us strength; may His words give us hope; may His words bring down eternity into the lives of Your people, the Church. All glory to You, Lord!

I pray, this morning, for increased and more intense fellowship with the crucified and risen Christ, my Savior. I pray for ongoing spiritual renewal and refreshment.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
(Revelation 22:13 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.