Overflowing Gratitude

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-first of June, 2022, in the twelfth week of Ordinary Time. It is the Summer Solstice, the official beginning of Summer, the day with the most daylight hours.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,476

There was no Rangers game, yesterday, so they stayed at 31-35 for the season. They are in a virtual tie for second place, with a percentage difference of .001 between the Angels and the Rangers. The Rangers play the Phillies in Arlington tonight at 7:05 CDT.

The Red Sox beat the Tigers, 5-2, improving their record to 37-31. They have overtaken Tampa and are now in third place in the AL East, 13.5 out of first, and back in a Wild Card spot, having bumped Tampa out. They play the Tigers again, today.

The Yankees still have the best record (50-17), and the best run differential (+145). The Athletics have the worst record, at 23-45. The Nationals have the worst run differential, at -109. The Rangers are at -4, and the Red Sox are at +50. The Milwaukee Brewers have the longest current win streak, at four games, and the Reds still have the longest losing streak, also at four games.

After all the qualifying rounds and match play, the top five bowlers in the PWBA U.S. Women’s Open are: 5. Erin McCarthy, from Elkhorn, Nebraska; 4. Shayna Ng, from Singapore; 3. Shannon O’Keefe, from Shiloh, Illinois; 2. Jordan Richard, from Maumee, Ohio; 1. Danielle McEwan, from Stony Point, NY. The final is airing tonight at 6:00 PM CDT. Since I will be at work during that time, I have set the program to record.

Since it is Tuesday, I will be at the library, working my shelving shift, from 4:15-8:15 tonight. This is my “heavy” week, so I’ll be working eight hours tomorrow, Thursday, and Saturday, as well.


Lord our God, we thank you that you have revealed your glory in your Son Jesus Christ. We thank you that today we can still see and feel the glorious grace which streams out from Jesus Christ in his victory over the world, the powerful help which benefits all those who find faith. Grant that a further glory may be revealed, faith dwelling in the hearts of all people, faith that can conquer all the need and suffering on earth, faith that is the power to look to you, to become inwardly quiet in you, and to hope in you at all times. Then your help will come quickly, more quickly than we can imagine. It will come on us unawares, for the Savior has said, “See, I shall come quickly.” We want to hope and believe and trust till the end. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
(John 17:24 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the amazing love shared among the Holy Trinity and how that love is passed on to us
2. for the glorious grace, streaming out from Jesus Christ in His victory over the world; may all need and suffering on earth be conquered!
3. for the grateful heart that God has cultivated within me
4. for the amazing, sometimes overwhelming presence of God, always with me, always surrounding me
5. for the sweet, sweet love of my wife of almost 37 years
6. for times of worship together, when we practice the truth that God is both center and circumference in our lives

The word for today, in Pray a Word a Day, is gratitude.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy

As you are aware (if you’re not, I don’t know what to tell you), gratitude is something that I am really big on. My devotions, every day, begin with a list of things for which I am grateful. I started doing this in November, at least two years ago, as a response to all the people who only display gratitude during the “Thanksgiving” month. At that point, I purposed to show gratitude 365 days a year.

As I have previously stated here and elsewhere, I don’t put this list in public to seem more spiritual than anyone else. Goodness knows, I’m as much a sinner as the next person. At least. It is, however, to inspire; to show people that, no matter how difficult things get or how bad things look, there should always be something we can be thankful for. Somedays, it is simple things, like coffee, grapes, and cantaloupe. Other days, the list is more complex and deep, more thoughtful.

Some days, I struggle to come up with five things. That’s on me, of course. Other days, it is all I can do to stop at seven or eight. Actually, I think seven is the longest list I have published.

Gratitude, while it may not be “everything,” is certainly important. And, while we know (or at least I hope we know; we should know) that we can never pay God back for the great things He has done for us (nor does He expect or desire us to), we can express our gratitude, and we can most certainly (which He does expect, even demand) pay it forward!

Thank You, Father, for gratitude. That might sound weird to some people. I’m grateful for gratitude. But what I am truly grateful for is that YOu have cultivated this heart of gratitude within me. You have shown me how important it is to be thankful. Verse after verse of Your Word tells me this. So help me continue to be grateful every day, displaying this gratitude for all to see, to inspire them to also be grateful, even if it’s just for the next breath of air. And, yes, I’m grateful for that, too, because the next breath is not promised me. What is promised is Your amazing presence in my life, and I am certainly grateful for that, too!

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
(Matthew 19:6 NIV)

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
(Psalms 37:4 NLT)

I would unequivocally state that C and I are most definitely “one flesh.” We are like two parts of one unit. And, while I might joke that she is my “better half” (we’re supposed to do that, right?), I don’t believe that there is a “better half” between us. We are as equal as it is possible for two people to be, in this marriage. And when we met, even though she had a boyfriend, it was obvious that there was something special between us.

God joined us together almost 37 years ago, and, in spite of a few stupid things on my part, we remain together today, as committed and in love as ever. When she is away from me, I feel like half a person. And I think we do a pretty good job of living by a verse that gets mistakenly separated from many peoples’ favorite verses to quote about marriage.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Ephesians 5:21 NIV)

People, especially men and preachers (that should tell you something), love to quote verse 22. But I’m a firm believe that, since all verses and other divisions of these letters are “man-made,” verse 21 is supposed to be part of that paragraph and supersedes verse 22. And, yes, I will fight you on that. I believe that our marriage is quite a good example of mutual submission.

Father, I am so very grateful for C and the relationship that we have. We fit together so well, and much of that has come through growth over these years, growth that You have provided and nurtured. I thank You that You worked in both our hearts to grow us closer and closer together, and that You kept us together all these years. I pray that we might be an inspiration to other marriages.

“The more I am persuaded of the importance of seeking God’s will for oneself, the more skeptical I become about the possibility of saying what is his will for others. That is the source of all kinds of intolerance and abuse. People who claim to know what is God’s will try to impose it upon others with the arrogance which comes from the conviction that they are the repositories of divine truth. I avoid that at all costs. I can never know what is God’s will for someone else.” ~ Paul Tournier

(From Spiritual Classics by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Father, may I never be guilty of displaying this kind of “intolerance and abuse” toward others, and forgive me for times past when I have been guilty of it. Help me to display love and acceptance toward people, not condoning sinful behavior, but also not condemning, as that is Your job, not mine.

According to French philosopher Jacque Maritain, what our modern world needs most is “New fire, the essential renewal . . . an inner renewal. . . . It consists of a change of attitude, or a displacement of values that takes place in the deepest recesses of the soul, and has to do, first of all and essentially, not with any way of acting or externally behaving . . . but with a way of seeing them before God, and a way of loving them better.”

According to Eugene H. Peterson, we participate in this “when we choose to worship with the people of God, . . . As we sing and pray, give and listen.”

“The act of worship builds our inner foundations and nurtures the eternal relationships we practice all the hours and days of the week.”

(From On Living Well by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, You are, indeed, as Peterson says, both “center and circumference” in our lives. You are the middle, You are the exterior, You are the internal. You are everything. And when we worship You together, we participate in this belief, because our attention must be focused on something/someone other. Not simply someone other than ourselves, but someone/something that is other from what we are. We need this worship, Father, and we need, desperately, this outward focus on You. Society is proving this more and more as time goes by.

Lord, our culture is way too self-focused. Even when we may not be self-centered (focusing entirely on the self), we still tend to be human-focused, and not taking the time to focus or center on You, the Almighty God and Creator of the universe. Change our values, Father, and help us to see and love others before You, in a better and more compassionate way.

Even so, come soon, 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.


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