Today is Sunday, the eighteenth of April, 2021, the third Sunday of Easter.
Peace be with you!
32 days until our Glen Rose weekend.
I wound up working four hours, yesterday morning, so that wasn’t too bad. I got some good things accomplished, some tasks that I have been putting off for a while, as they were not priority tasks. My manager expressed great gratitude for my coming to work, which was nice. I also received a compliment on the cleanliness and orderliness of my work area. The supervisor told me that I was probably the only person he has not had to have a “5S” conversation with. That was a good feeling.
What is “5S,” you ask? Well, if you work anywhere, especially in a company that has nationwide or worldwide locations, you probably already know this. But it is a system of organization that insists that all workstations look as much the same as possible, and, as you might guess each of the five points begins with S. It’s like an alliterative sermon, only with five points instead of three. And no poem or quote at the beginning and end.
- Sort – go through everything that is at your workstation and evaluate what needs to be there and what doesn’t. Anything that is not needed to complete the task at hand should be removed
- Set in Order (this used to be “straighten,” but someone decided, at some point that this point should have three words while all the others have only one) – this is different from “sort,” in that, in this state, one is identifying the storage location for each item at the workstation. We want to make sure each tool that we use has an identifiable place. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” This also involves a lot of labels. Everything at my desk is labeled. Or, at least, the place where it belongs.
- Shine (this used to be “sanitize”) – clean the place, and keep it clean. I have seen some posters that use the word “sweep” for this one, which is, in my opinion, too specific. I kind of like “shine” best. You want your workplace to shine.
- Standardize – this is where you get into every workstation (that performs the same operation) looking identical. What I don’t like about this one is that it does not allow for any personal items at the workstation. This means people cannot have family pictures at their desk, even though they are the only ones using it. Each of our workstations has a photo above it. “Does the area look like this?”
- Sustain – this point is obvious. Keep it up, going forward. Which, if you are doing, gets easier over time, because you don’t have to spend as much time on the other four points.
I have mixed feelings about 5S. I certainly recognize the value of a clean and organized workplace. However, the “standardize” feature creates a very impersonal feel and makes employees feel more like numbers or tools than people. It goes along with calling people “resources.” I don’t like that. We are not “resources.” We are human beings, and we are not all identical, as our workstations are supposed to be.
I also believe that hyper-focusing on 5S wastes time that could be used in productivity. If I am required to stop “working” at a certain time every day, in order to practice 5S, that is time when I could be completing at least one more task. May more more than one.
So there you have it. Whether you wanted it or not. If you are still reading, I applaud you (and thank you, because I’ll get to the “good stuff” soon.
The Texas Rangers lost another game to the Baltimore Orioles, last night, 6-1. Texas scored first, in the bottom of the fourth inning, but, once again, the bullpen was unable to hold that small lead. Joely Rodriguez (0-1) only gave up two of those six runs, but it was enough to get tagged for the loss. Here’s a thought. What if every pitcher in the bullpen got tagged with a loss every time that happened? The single run, I believe, was scored by Nate Lowe. I also notice that Willie Calhoun played as DH and went two for four. That makes me happy.
The Rangers remain in the cellar in the AL West, with a 6-9 record, three games behind the first place LA Angels. Next game will be today at 1:35 CDT, with Kyle Gibson (2-0) taking the mound for Texas.
The Boston Red Sox came from behind to beat the Other Sox 7-4. They scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Adam Ottavino (2-1) got the win. The Sox remain alone at the top of the AL East, with a 10-4 record, 3.5 games ahead of the second place Orioles. And Rays. And Blue Jays. Yes, there is a three-way tie for second place. And the Yankees take up the rear, five games out.
The Soxes will play again this afternoon, at 4:10 CDT, with Martin Perez (sigh) (0-0) taking the mound for Boston.
The LA Dodgers continue to dominate the MLB, with an eight-game winning streak (thanks to a spectacular catch by the Mookster last night), and a 13-2 record. Boston is 2.5 games behind them. Oddly, the Reds of Cincinnati are third over all. It’s still early. Hahaha! The Colorado Rockies finally won a game, but are still at the bottom, with the Arizona Diamondbacks barely ahead of them.
We have our worship gathering of The Church that Meets at Brandon and Kristin’s this morning at 10:15. We will be picking up with Psalm 23, this morning, to which I am looking forward. Even though it is probably the most popular and most read Psalm, there is so much in there to unpack. I’m looking forward to the discussion.
After church, we will, most likely order lunch from Applebee’s, and pick it up on the way home. We plan to have steaks this evening, cooked with the sous vide cooker.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Awaken, by Daryl Madden
A gift everyday To find we’re alive When we awake And open our eyes Up out of bed The kitchen we find With a cup of coffee We awaken our mind Time to clean up With a shower begin With soap and hot water We awaken our skin We’re ready to go The world now to face But we forgot This thought to embrace A time to pause And give up control With intentional purpose To awaken the soul To soak in the sunrise Or dwell in the Word A prayer of the stilling The Spirit be heard
As I commented on Daryl’s WordPress page, I am never ready “the world now to face,” until I have accomplished the last two stanzas, which is why I’m sitting in front of this computer today and every day.
“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign.”
(Revelation 11:17 NLT)
Today, I am grateful:
- for the love of friends and family
- for the beautiful weather expected today
- for books and my love of reading
- for the Resurrection and the Life
- for Your great Name
- for the peace that is given us by Jesus
- for the fullness of joy in Your presence, and the “pleasures forevermore” at Your right hand
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)
I pause, briefly, to meditate on the resurrection and the life.
A psalm of Asaph.
O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
They have left the dead bodies of your servants
as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead.
We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
of scorn and derision to those around us.
How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever?
How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
(Psalms 79:1-5 NIV)
Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.
(Psalms 79:9 NIV)
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:50-57 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I quietly enjoy being with God, this morning, I look again at these passages, seeking the direction of the Holy Spirit. Are there words or phrases that resonate with my spirit, this morning? What does God wish to say to me? What does the Spirit wish to speak into my life, this morning?
The psalms around Psalm 79 seem to have a consistent theme. I was reading Psalm 78 earlier . . . verse 41 seems to summarize . . . “Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.” (NIV) This is reminiscent of the book of Judges, where, again and again, it is stated, “The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
The events being described in Psalm 79 are consequences of their rebellion. But Asaph is crying out to God, not so much because the people are suffering, but because the Name of the Lord is being defiled. “Your holy temple;” “your servants,” “your own people.”
Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
(Psalms 79:9 NIV)
The psalmist’s main concern is the glory of the Name of God.
We don’t seem to care as much for the glory of His name, these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m right in the middle of the group, as well. How many of our prayers are for the sake of His name and the glory of His name?
People who know me on Facebook are well familiar with my daily “What can I pray for you today” post. I can’t remember one single request asking for anything for the sake of His name, or for the glory of His name. Most of them are for travel safety or something like that. Someone in the family is having surgery. Weight loss, health concerns. A lot of times they are quite vague.
Don’t misunderstand . . . there is absolutely nothing wrong with such prayer requests. In fact, I believe that, as long as we are bringing our thoughts/prayers/needs to the throne, God does not judge our prayer requests. I’m not judging them, either. That would be wrong.
I’m simply pointing out that we seldom pray, or ask for prayer, for anything for the sake of His great Name, which is what Asaph does in Psalm 79. At the risk of sounding boastful, I will say that there are times when I will tag my prayer for someone else with a phrase such as “for the glory of Your Name.” I don’t do that lightly, when I do. It’s not “vain repetition.” I mean it.
I guess, though, that I chalk it all up to our self-centered culture. Even when we pray, We tend to be self-centered. And take a look at the most popular worship songs. They are full of “I” and “me,” rather than “us” or “we,” and a lot less than “You.”
I strongly believe that we have allowed our culture to influence us too much, in this area. I believe that we need to step back and reevaluate our mindset. Maybe we need to consider why we want God to heal us (or a family member); maybe we need to consider why we want that travel safety. If our reason is not “for the sake of Your name,” then what is it?
Father, I confess that I am also guilty of this. I need Your help. First, help me not to judge the prayer requests of others. They are offered (I trust) in sincerity, even when they are vague. Help us to be more vulnerable in our prayers. Help us to seek the glory of Your great Name, first and foremost. Even the most basic prayers can be glorious, if, in our hearts, the motivation is for the sake of Your great Name. Remind, me, please, when I pray, that this should be my motivation, even if it wasn’t the motivation for the person’s request. “Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name.”
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.
Incarnate God, this body you've given me - good and beautiful as it is - bleeds, breaks down, and eventually will betray me. Thank you God, for the deep hope that one day, by the power of Christ, I will walk on strong limbs, listen to the sound of glory, see true blue skies, think clearly, dance unfettered and free, and kneel before you lost in wonder and worship. Thank you that my future is not some ethereal existence but is truly human resurrected life. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 57)
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
(Ephesians 6:24 NIV)
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me.
(Psalms 55:4 NIV)
Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.
How quickly I would escape—far from this wild storm of hatred.
(Psalms 55:5-8 NLT)
“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
(Luke 12:4-7 NLT)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.”
(John 14:27-28 NLT)
This Tuesday, the twentieth of April, will be the sixth anniversary of my father’s passing from this life to the next. How ironic (and fitting) that today’s reading from Daily Guideposts 2021 features Amy Eddings writing about the three year anniversary of her own father’s passing.
I realized, a couple days ago, that this time was, once again, upon us. I do think about death, probably quite a bit. But it’s not an obsession with death. It’s more curiosity; more like wonder. Sure, there is an element of fear, because none of us knows what it’s like. Only those who have experienced it know, and they aren’t telling us.
I don’t think I fear death. It’s more the cause of it that scares me. Like most people, I don’t like pain. I can’t even begin to imagine the terror that filled the hearts of the handful of people who died in that horrific chain-reaction car crash on the I-35 Express lane, back in February. Trapped in twisted metal in below-freezing conditions. That’s the kind of thing that causes the fear, not death, itself.
My father, I assume, died peacefully. He probably fell asleep. I wonder if he even noticed the transition. Dallas Willard once said that he thinks that some people will be walking so closely with Jesus that, when they pass, they won’t even notice. Willard’s last words, it is said, with his face pointed toward the wall of his room, were, “Thank you.”
Jesus gives us peace. Peace that we cannot find in the world. Peace that we cannot find in our self-centered culture. “So,” He says, “Don’t be troubled or afraid.” There it is again. “Fear not.” Over and over and over and over . . .
So, for the sake of His great Name, I will not fear. For the glory of the Name of the Lord, I will live in peace. For His honor, I will pray for whatever anyone asks of me (unless it’s political . . . sorry, I don’t pray politics, because there’s a pretty good chance that I don’t agree with your politics, and there’s an even greater chance that God doesn’t, either).
Father, thank You for the peace that Jesus gives us. Thank You for the resurrection and the life, and that, someday, we will join You, wherever “heaven” is. I long for Home, Lord. Day by day, I grow more weary of this place, this culture, and the extreme selfishness that comes with it. I cringe when I find myself drawn in to that same self-centeredness. Forgive me when I practice that mindset. Teach me to love the way You have loved, with every ounce of my being. Teach me to approach all people without judging. Teach me Your path, Lord, and I thank You for the fullness of joy that I feel in Your presence, and the “pleasures forevermore” at Your right hand.
Lord, give us deeper fellowship with our risen Savior. Give us, today, spiritual renewal and refreshment in whatever environment we find ourselves.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; heal our nation, and heal our world. We pray for this pandemic to end. We pray for racial injustice to end. We pray for a love revolution.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.