Today is Monday, the first of November, 2021.
May the peace of God reign in your hearts today.
Six days until Daylight Saving Time ends
Welcome to November! I’m sad that October is over, but fall carries on. And the tree in our front yard is still green.
We had a wonderful time, last night, at our friend’s house. Her chili, as always, was delicious, but the fellowship was deliciouser. It was truly refreshing to get to see some faces that we have not seen in many a moon. There were a few hugs, as well. We got to meet her new grandchild, finally, too. Most everyone sat out on the driveway, in a big circle, for most of the time. It was joyous!
As the new day moves along, and the new month begins, I have a few things to get done today. Some may get pushed into tomorrow, and maybe some even to Wednesday or Thursday. I’m washing the bedclothes, this morning, and will get the floors swept later today (that task will be a regular Monday thing, now that my schedule has settled down, some). The yard needs mowing, but I need to get an attachment for the lawn mower before I do that. C likes to mow the yard, but she has not had enough recovery time to do that, yet.
There are other things that I need to do, some straightening and putting away, perhaps cleaning out some things and “de-cluttering” a little. But this is my week where I only work two days and only four hours on one of those (tomorrow). So there is literally no hurry on any of these things.
As soon as I get done with this, I will be heading to a grocery store to get a few things. I think I’ve previously mentioned that I am planning to “normalize” trips to the store on Mondays and Thursdays, and avoid the big grocery runs on Saturdays and Sundays.
We plan to go to FBC Mineral Wells, this coming Sunday morning for their first worship service back in their remodeled sanctuary. S is really looking forward to this.
Oh. The Astros won last night, so the World Series will continue in Houston tomorrow night. The Braves lead the series 3-2.
I think I’m also planning to have lunch with C on Thursday. We briefly discussed that yesterday. I haven’t gotten to do that in a long time. Sadly, the place we used to go get a Japanese lunch closed a few years ago. We’ll have to figure something else out.
Today is Scented Candle Day. Perhaps I will light one, later.
The word for today is columbarium, “a sepulchral vault or other structure with recesses in the walls to receive the ashes of the dead.” That’s probably because today is also All Saints Day.
Today’s quote is from Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, and Austrian novelist. “We don’t believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.”
Birthdays on November 1:
Stephen Crane, American author (Red Badge of Courage), 1871-1900 John W. Peterson, American songwriter (Night of Miracles, Love Transcending, Hallelujah! What A Savior!), 1921-2006 Gordon R. Dickson, Canadian-American science fiction author, 1923-2001 Gary Player, South African pro golfer, 1935 (86) Marcia Wallace, American actress (Carol on the Bob Newhart Show), 1942-2013 Richard "Kinky" Friedman, American singer/songwriter, novelist, and politician, 1944 (77) Jim Steinman, American songwriter and producer (Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart"), 1947-2021 Dan Peek, American pop vocalist and guitarist, (America), 1950-2011 Lyle Lovett, American singer/songwriter (Joshua Judges Ruth, Pontiac), 1957 (64) Fernando Valenzuela, Mexican HoF MLB pitcher (Dodgers), 1960 (61) Rick Allen, British one-armed drummer (Def Leppard), 1963 (58) Matt Chapman, American cartoonist and voice actor (Homestar Runner), 1976 (45) Coco Crisp, American baseball player (2007 Boston Red Sox), 1979 (42)
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, is the Word of God. (Hebrews 4)
Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright,
in the congregation.
(Psalms 111:1 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that You have given me a thankful heart 2. that You have led me to make my gratitude public, "in the company of the upright" 3. that Your hands made me, formed me, and gave me understanding 4. for the encouragement found in Scripture to enjoy life (reading Ecclesiastes right now) 5. that You have provided me with a life that is enjoyable 6. for music, color, beauty, and all the senses
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – DAY TWO
For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.
(Psalms 48:14 NLT)
As I pause to prepare myself for these meditations, I consider what our God is like, giving thanks to Him for His nature and His attributes. He is loving and kind, patient and forgiving; He shows compassion on His people, remembering that we are dust.
Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.
May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.
(Psalms 119:73-80 NIV)
I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
What is crooked cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.
I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
(Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I leisurely read these passages again, I search for words or ideas that stir within me. I linger over them and give them full attention, praying these thoughts to God, and resting in His presence.
The acknowledgment that we are made and formed by God’s hands, and then given the gift of understanding, that we may learn His commands, is a great beginning. I truly believe that we cannot even begin to learn His commands unless He first grants us this gift of understanding. The knowledge that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made,” found in Psalm 139, at least for me, results in great humility. I suppose it could cause some to go the wrong direction and become arrogant about it. But I see every day, every breath of life, as a gift from the God who made me, formed me, and gave me understanding.
The Teacher took on a pretty daunting task when he decided to “explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens.” I mean, who has that kind of time on their hands, right? But, if these were, in fact written by Solomon, then I guess, as King, he had the time. He continues, though, in his assessment that it is all meaningless, “a chasing after the wind.” And, truthfully, most of the activities of humanity are, indeed, the equivalent of chasing after the wind.
But look! At one point, he even decided that applying one’s self to the “understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly,” even those are “a chasing after the wind.” And then he nails closed the coffin with these words, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”
Again, I don’t think we can overstate the problems with reading only chunks of Ecclesiastes like this. If we stopped here, we would think that this Teacher decided to never do anything at all, because everything is chasing after the wind.
But you know what? Sometimes, chasing after the wind is a jolly good time! And any serious reader of the Bible knows that (I haven’t looked ahead to see if we will read this particular part of the book) the old Dairy Queen mantra was borrowed from the writings in Ecclesiastes, as the Teacher eventually comes to the conclusion that the best thing we can do is “Eat, drink, and be merry.”
One of the big lessons that we can learn from the writings of the Teacher is that there is a danger of getting too serious about things. And I agree. While I am serious about reading Scripture and gaining intimacy with my Father in heaven, I also recognize the need to simply have a good time and enjoy life. There’s nothing wrong with seeking wisdom and knowledge (as long as we don’t make it habit to seek those things on Facebook or Twitter). But the writer of Ecclesiastes makes a strong point when he says that much sorrow comes along with much wisdom, and knowledge produces grief.
Therefore, I will balance my pursuit of wisdom and knowledge with frivolous, time-wasting pursuits of fun and entertainment. As well as times of productive work. That is necessary, too.
Father, I praise You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; that Your hands have made me, formed me, continue to form me, and given me both the understanding and the desire to learn Your commands and more about You. I pray that these desires will only increase as I get older and, hopefully, wiser. However, I do pray, based on the reading in Ecclesiastes, that I do not take too seriously the desire to acquire wisdom and knowledge. Both are important, but let me enjoy life along the way, as well. You know . . . may I never forget, while in these pursuits, to “stop and smell the roses.” “And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high” (Psalm 119:80 The Message).
And while I’m at it, I praise You for music, color, beauty, and all the senses with which I am able to take in the wonder and complexity of creation.
"Great God, without You any search to find meaning is futile, any quest to name the reason for living a dead end. Turn me today to Jesus, who is the Word that speaks purpose into life under the sun, the wisdom at the center that gives significance to my days. In His name I pray, amen."
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
(Matthew 5:10 NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
(Hebrews 12:1 NIV)
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength
he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
(Ephesians 1:15-21 NIV)
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
(Psalms 91:1-4 ESV)
As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among the young men.
With great delight I sat in his shadow,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
(Song of Solomon 2:3-4 ESV)
In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious,
and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.
And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy,
everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,
when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.
Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day,
and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night;
for over all the glory there will be a canopy.
There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat,
and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
(Isaiah 4:2-6 ESV)
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!
Lord, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us.
Grace and peace, friends.