Today is Saturday, the 7th of January, 2023, in the second week of Christmas.

I pray that the peace of Christ will enfold you, today.

Day 23,676

There are 46 days until the beginning of Lent.

As this year progresses, I intend to find that this daily blog contains more Scripture and prayer and less “talk.” We’ll see how that goes.


May my heart be blameless in your statutes, 
so that I may not be put to shame.
(Psalms 119:80 NRSV)

A preacher friend and I shared a little joke, yesterday, around a serious prayer request. Yesterday’s “Wordle” was “belie,” a word that I don’t think I have ever used. This preacher, who also plays every day, put a prayer request on my daily Facebook post. “Pray that my behavior doesn’t belie my devotion to Christ.” After saying, “I saw what you did there,” I asked him to pray the same for me. This morning, I added the above verse to my response.

By the way, “belie” means, “(of an appearance) fail to give a true notion or impression of (something); disguise or contradict.”

Dear Father in heaven, accept us as your children, whose lives are under your protection and who turn to you for strength. In the midst of all the struggles and temptations in this world keep us certain of your love and goodness. Grant that we may help your name to be honored on earth and your salvation to spread over all the world. May we help that the hope you have given us brings light and strength for our own lives and for all whom you love in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Daily Prayer from

Arise, shine, for your light has come, 
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 
See, darkness covers the earth 
and thick darkness is over the peoples, 
but the LORD rises upon you 
and his glory appears over you. 
Nations will come to your light, 
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 
Isaiah 60:1–3, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the light that has come; for the glory of the Lord that rises upon us
  2. for the Word of God, that so strongly influences my prayer life
  3. for the abundant goodness of God
  4. for promises of answered prayer; how much better it is when we agree on what we are praying for
  5. for the motivation of God’s Holy Spirit, which eliminates selfishness

O sing to the LORD a new song;
 sing to the LORD, all the earth.
(Psalms 96:1 NRSV)
With my whole heart I cry; 
answer me, O LORD. 
I will keep your statutes.
(Psalms 119:145 NRSV)

Father, I would pray for this to be true. I cannot truthfully claim that I cry out to You with a “whole heart,” but it is my desire to do so.

Glory to You, Lord God of our fathers;
You are worthy of praise;
glory to You.
Glory to You for the radiance of Your holy Name;
we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever.
Glory to You in the splendor of Your temple;
on the throne of Your majesty, glory to You.
Glory to You, seated between the Cherubim;
we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever.
Glory to You, beholding the depths;
in the high vault of heaven, glory to You.
Glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever.
Righteousness will go before him, 
and will make a path for his steps.
(Psalms 85:13 NRSV)
Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 
(John 6:32-33, 51 NRSV)

Father, give me this day my daily bread.

O how abundant is your goodness 
that you have laid up for those who fear you, 
and accomplished for those who take refuge in you,
 in the sight of everyone!
 In the shelter of your presence 
you hide them from human plots; 
you hold them safe under your shelter 
from contentious tongues. 
Blessed be the LORD, 
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me 
when I was beset as a city under siege.
(Psalms 31:19-21 NRSV)

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

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.

"O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Divine Hours -The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20 NRSV)

If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
(John 14:14 NRSV)

All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
(Acts 1:14 NRSV)

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.
(Galatians 5:16 MSG)

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”
(Genesis 32:22-30 NRSV)

People are more important than property. Forgiveness is more important than property. Forgiveness is better than revenge. Worshiping God is more important than impressing our neighbors.

These are the “values” that we need to be building as we follow Christ. These are values that go along with Jesus’s two commands. They give us direction and purpose.

Father, I praise You for Your Word, which both inspires me and convicts me, daily. I thank You for the way in which it leads me into prayer, each day. I also thank You for giving me both mind and spirit to comprehend what Your Spirit is telling me, through Your Word.

I pray that, more and more, we, Your children, would find ourselves in agreement in matters of prayer, that we would have more effective prayers. Help us to assist in bringing about Your kingdom on earth, as we pray that Your will be done, and Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give me a unified heart, that I might cry out to You and give praise to You with a whole heart. Help me to walk with You like Enoch walked with You. Your Spirit is reminding me of this man, multiple times a day. Yes, I realize that Jesus is my ultimate goal and example, but I can’t get away from the very brief bit about Enoch in Genesis.

Finally, I ask that You would guide us toward a complete lack of selfishness, that we might consider people more important than property, as well as more important than getting our way. May we consider, as Paul tells us, all other people to be more significant than ourselves. May we be less concerned with keeping up with or impressing our neighbors than we are with loving our neighbors. And help us, dear Lord, to forgive. Let us never have thoughts of revenge, and remember that Your Word tells us that vengeance belongs to You.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Collect for Daily Devotions)

Grace and peace, friends.

True Freedom

Today is Tuesday, August 30, 2022, in the 22nd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul!

Day 23,546

It is the last day of August. No it’s not. That’s tomorrow. Oops.

Princess’s (guinea pig) eye is much better! The vet said that there is basically just a scar there, now, which may take some time to go away. She recommended putting the ointment in the eye for another week, but we don’t have to go back and re-check.

Yesterday, we hit a high of 93. The forecast was for 95. The record high for that date, from 2011, was 104. I’m glad we aren’t breaking those records! Today’s high is forecast to be 89, and as of right now, the highest temp over the next ten days is 90. There appears to be much chance of rain and/or thunderstorms over the next ten days, with the highest chance of rain being tomorrow. Even after last Monday’s monsoons, we could still use some rain.


Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for moving our hearts so that we may know we are your children. Even in the midst of turmoil and evil, fear and pain, you bring us happiness; we can know that you are holding us with your right hand and will finally deliver us from all evil. Let your Spirit be at work everywhere. Give us patience when time is needed in our own hearts and in the hearts of all people, who also belong to you. Continue to strengthen us so that even the heaviest burden does not crush us and we may exult in hope because you right every wrong, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:27-28 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that my eternal destiny is secure; I cannot be snatched out of God’s hand
  2. that, because of God’s strength in us, even the heaviest burden will not crush us
  3. for forgiveness; it is the great work of love among us who love poorly (Henri Nouwen)
  4. that the Truth (which is Jesus and no one or nothing else) sets us free
  5. for the miracle that is life

"Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family."
(Henri Nouwen)

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.”
(John 8:42 ESV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; 
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness. 
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." 
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:22-25 ESV)

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
(Matthew 9:37-38 ESV)

There’s a lot of talk about freedom, these days. Having lived in the USA all my life, it has been impressed upon me that this is the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” But what is real, true freedom?

Jesus talked about freedom, and he related it to truth. He said something that has been quoted many, many times. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There are many people who have grabbed onto that statement.

However, I fear that many people are missing a key component of that “truth.” There was a condition that we tend to miss when we quote John 8:32. And that condition is seen in John 8:31. “If you abide in my word . . .”

To “abide” means to “live” or to “dwell.” The KJV uses “continue” to translate the Greek “meno,” which can also mean “to stay.”

There is so much to be unpacked, here, that I probably don’t have the time or space to do it. I’m sure entire books have been written on this. But there is one thing of which I am convinced. Very few of the people who are shouting the most loudly about “freedom” are abiding in the words of Jesus.

There seems to be some confusion about what “freedom” really means. In Jesus’s teachings, it does not mean the right to do whatever you please. And the way that I know that those people aren’t abiding in the words of Jesus is that they are not doing what Jesus commanded. They are not loving; not only not loving their neighbors, but most of them aren’t even loving “one another.” Essentially, we, as Western human beings, are mostly loving ourselves. We have a “me” problem.

Another result of abiding in the words of Jesus is that we will know the truth. The Greek word, there, is “aletheia,” which literally means “truth” or “verity.” And the same word is used when Jesus proclaims that He is the truth in John 14:6.

Jesus is the Truth. So, if we dwell, live, stay in His words, we will know Him, and He will set us free. And I think that the freedom of which Jesus speaks is more of a “freedom to” than a “freedom from.” Of course, Jesus sets us free from sin. But He also sets us free to serve.

When we experience the true freedom of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we learn how to deny ourselves. We are free from selfishness and self-centeredness, and free to spend ourselves and our resources doing the things that Jesus commanded us to do. We are free to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, release people from slavery and oppression, care for the sick and the refugees and the widows and the orphans, and so on.

And we are free to love extravagantly, not unlike the woman who dumped a vial of perfume worth a year’s salary on Jesus’s feet.

Father, help me to truly abide in the words of Jesus, that I might be free to do the things that He has commanded us to do. I pray for the freedom to step outside of myself and my comfort zone, that I might serve others. Show me new ways to do this, as I continue to suss out the meaning of retirement life.

I pray for all of Your people in this world, in this land, that You might show us how to truly be free. Teach us to love sacrificially, like the woman who anointed Jesus. Teach us to care more about others than we care about ourselves. Teach us to care for “the least of these,” and, in doing so, care for Jesus, Himself, as He taught us.

Thank You for Your mercies that never end, for Your steadfast love that is fresh and new, eternally, every day. It never runs out; it is always new. Help us to abide in this, that we might know Jesus, and, in knowing Him, know You. May we experience, as much as we can handle it, the fullness of You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Collect for Daily Devotions)

Grace and peace, friends.

Wandering About

Today is the twenty-ninth of June, 2022, in the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Day 23,484

We are still getting a slight break from the heat, as the high today is only supposed to be 93. There’s a slight chance of rain on Sunday, but from July 4, until the end of the ten-day forecast, the temps are back over 100.

I can’t find any updates on the “Dempsey Fire” in Palo Pinto County since Monday, but at that point, it had burned almost 12,000 acres and was only 27% contained. We need rain badly.

Mama and I spent three hours at the dentist, yesterday morning. She’s getting that tooth capped, and all seems to be well. The dentist is not 100% sure that it will work, long-term, but he said he was doing what he would want done, so we trust that. Hopefully, this will be fine. The permanent cap will be there in a few weeks.

The Texas Rangers have done well against the KC Royas, as they should. Monday night’s game was iffy for a while, but they wound up winning 10-4. Last night, they won 8-3, so they have won the series, regardless of what happens in this afternoon’s game. They are back within one game of .500, at 36-37, still in second place in the AL West. Ten games out of first, four games out of the Wild Card.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have lost two games in row to the Blue Jays, and have been bumped into third place in the AL East. They are only a half game behind the Jays, at 42-33, and still have the second Wild Card spot. They will play the Blue Jays again today.

The Yankees still have the best MLB record, at 55-20 (they are eight games ahead of the next team). The Athletics continue to hold down the basement, at 25-51. The Yankees, Brewers, and Nationals all have three-game winning streaks, and the Pittsburgh Pirates own the current longest losing streak, at five games. The Yankees also have the best run differential, having scored 149 more runs than their collective opponents. The Athletics currently hold the worst, having been outscored by their opponents by 112 runs. The Rangers have outscored their opponents by 14 runs, and the Red Sox have outscored theirs by 59 runs.

Today is a rather lazy day (I hope). The lawn guy is coming today, and I have a grocery order being delivered. We may have to take a guinea pig to the vet this week, but if that has to happen, I think it will be Friday, my next day off after today.

I had a good night at the library, last night, and wound up checking out about six DVDs and a book. I think that’s the most I have gotten at one time. And not all of the DVDs are for me. I got a couple of Good Witch movies for C and Mama, as well as the first season of a British comedy called The Dectectorists, which looks like fun. Then I got Deadpool 2, American Graffiti, and The Abandoned. The book is called The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, recommended by one of our librarians because I liked Daisy Jones & the Six.

I’ll start my devotional as soon as I get another cup of coffee.


Lord God, we glorify your name. How we wish our voices could ring out over all the world, telling of the great things you have done for us, praising you that we can come to you in Jesus Christ, that we can worship, honor, and thank you for all your goodness! Safeguard all your children so that they hold to faith and remain true to the message of the gospel. May we thank and praise you for all you have done this day and for your working in the hearts of many people who are still unknown to us. Your Spirit rules and calls people, to bring them to you, the Father in heaven. Watch over us and continue to bless us. Help us who belong to your people, and protect us through the night. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
But I will sing of your strength,
 in the morning I will sing of your love; 
for you are my fortress,
 my refuge in times of trouble. 
You are my strength, I sing praise to you; 
you, God, are my fortress, 
my God on whom I can rely.
(Psalms 59:16-17 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the strength and love of my God, who is my fortress and refuge in times of trouble
2. that we can come to Him in Jesus, and worship, honor, and thank Him for all His goodness
3. that, even when I wander from His path, the Lord is always with me, and always draws me back to Him
4. that, thought I am breakable, He will not allow me to be crushed, and He will not abandon me
5. for freedom in Christ

The word for today, from Pray a Word a Day, is wander.

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
take my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for Thy courts above."
(Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, by Robert Robinson, 1758)

By definition, wandering isn’t necessarily bad or wrong. It simply means “walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way.” In fact, the word “wander” is frequently used with the word “aimlessly.”

I don’t remember if I wandered much, as a child. I know that, as I grew older, and was allowed to ride my bicycle all over town, I wandered quite a bit. I liked exploring the town.

C and I like to wander when we visit new places. Sometimes we wander, but not aimlessly, when we find a trail that we haven’t walked on. We aren’t sure where we are going, but we are following a trail.

Spiritually, however, wandering is never good. It is never good to wander through the spiritual life aimlessly. And I do tend to do that. Sometimes, I wander dangerously far from the path of righteousness. But God is faithful. When I wander, He never leaves me. In fact, even when I have wandered away from His path, He is always right beside me. It’s not His fault I’m not paying attention to His presence. He hasn’t gone anywhere.

And He is faithful to draw me back. Oh, sure, He will indulge me for a season. “Go ahead, have your ‘fun’,” He seems to say. But there will come a time when He will say “enough!” And that time may be somewhat unpleasant for me. I can say this from experience. But the end result will be safety.

Father, I pray that You keep me from wandering. And, when I do wander, I pray that You will always draw me safely back to You. I also pray that, when I do wander, You will protect me from my own foolishness. Thank You for Your presence, always with me, always watching out for me.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
(Romans 7:18 NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Romans 7:18 is one of the reasons for my wandering. As long as I continue in this moral coil, this will be a struggle. As Paul says elsewhere, this keeps us humble, too.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NIV)

The glory of God in a “jar of clay.” We are not unbreakable. But He will not allow us to be crushed, nor will He abandon us. And, as long as we stay in that “easy yoke” with Jesus, our burden will be light.

Thank You, Father, that You will never abandon us or allow us to be crushed. Please protect this “jar of clay,” and make Your glory shine through the mud.

Eugene H. Peterson writes about freedom, but it is not any freedom that any country or government can provide or control.

“In all nations, there are people who live out a freedom that is both different and better than that claimed by their fellow citizens, whether capitalist or communist or anything in between. These people call themselves Christians.”

Unfortunately, the word “Christian” is getting some bad press in the U.S., these days, and there are some who call themselves by that name that are depending much more on that “freedom” that they get from the government than that which they get from Christ. The true Christian is free in Christ and needs no government to tell him otherwise. Notice that Peterson says, ” all nations . . . whether capitalist or communist or anything in between.”

Christians are free in Christ, regardless of the political system. Oh, sure, they may have to meet underground to worship. But physical freedom is much different than spiritual freedom.

"The Word that Christ speaks to us sets us free; the praise we offer develops freedom; the prayers we offer make freedom possible for others.
"As people faithful in worship and attentive to God's Word, we will witness to that freedom. We will be free, but not with the world's freedom. We will be Christians."

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I thank You for true freedom, freedom that we have in Christ. I praise You that this freedom cannot be taken away by any man, system, or government. It is truly in Christ, and it is protected by You. I praise You that no man can snatch me out of Your hands. My body is not indestructible, but my spirit is. All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, prayer for Compline)

Grace and peace, friend.

God’s Grace Connects with Our Groping Faith

Today is Sunday, the twenty-ninth of May, 2022, the seventh Sunday of Easter.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,453

I had a really great day at work, yesterday. It was fairly busy, which is nice, because it makes the day go by faster. As is usually the case (not always, though), it got a little busier, closer to closing time, and we wound up having a family checking out books right at 6:00 PM. We don’t mind, though . . . that’s why we are there, right?

C finished her bowling and arrived safely in Indianapolis, at R’s house, yesterday evening. Today, they are planning to visit the cat cafe that we went to last year. Good times. C is aware that we don’t need any more cats. I hope.

The Texas Rangers won big, yesterday, behind a grand salami by Marcus Simien, which happened to be his first home run as a Ranger! Finally! Final score was 11-4, over the struggling Athletics. Taylor Hearn, the starter, gained his third win of the season. The Rangers remain in third place in the AL West, but gained another game on the Astros, who have lost two in a row. They are still 3.5 out in the Wild Card race, though. They play the Athletics again today, to close out the series, at 3:05 CDT. They are 22-23, only one game below .500.

The Boston Red Sox split a double header with the Orioles, winning the first game 5-3 and losing the second 4-2. The Red Sox are now 22-25, still in fourth place in the AL East, 11 games out of first, and 4.5 out of the Wild Card race. They will play Baltimore again today.

The Yankees (33-14) lost a game, but continue to have the best MLB record. The Reds (16-30) and Nationals (17-31) are in a virtual tie for the worst record, with only .006 percentage points between them. The Blue Jays, Rangers, and Reds all have four-game winning streaks. The Rangers are on the verge of a sweep, if they can win today. The LA Angels have a four-game losing streak, the current longest. I am not unhappy about that at all. The Dodgers continue to be way ahead of everyone in run differential at +117. The Pirates continue to be way below everyone, at -82. The Rangers are green!! They have a +7 run differential. The Red Sox, after splitting that double header by the exact same number of runs, remain at +17.

The PWBA Twin Cities Open tournament has finished all qualifying rounds, and the finals will be at 4:00 PM, this afternoon, on CBS Sports Network. The top five bowlers are 1. Missy Parkin (San Clemente, CA) 2. Danielle McEwan (Stony Point, NY) 3. Bryanna Cote (Tucson, AZ) 4. Shannon O’Keefe (Belleville, IL) 5. Dasha Kovalova (Ukraine) Dasha is the reigning champion for this tournament, so I’m glad she made the finals. Kelly Kulick bowled the only 300, so far, but just missed the cut for qualifying round 4. She still made cash, though, as did Diana Zavjalova, from Latvia, and Daria Payak, from Poland. Stefanie Johnson, from McKinney, TX, was in the top 12, but didn’t make the finals. Clara Guerrero, from Columbia, who was last week’s top seed, placed sixth. Jen Higgins and Verity Crawley, two of my other favorites, did not cash in this tournament.


O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
(Collect for Seventh Sunday of Easter, The Book of Common Prayer)
Lord our God, we thank you for allowing us to experience your power. We thank you that we need not be occupied with material things only. We thank you that your Spirit comes to our aid again and again. Grant that we may continue to have your help, and let many hearts find what a grace it is that in spirit we may walk in heaven even during this transitory life with all its foolish ways. We may say with complete assurance that everything tormenting and burdening will pass by. It passes by, and we go joyfully and confidently toward your kingdom, which continually gains in power. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:4-6 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the abundant riches of God's mercy and grace
2. for the constant help and power of God that enables me to not be concerned about material things
3. that God, through my practice of spiritual disciplines, prepares me for whatever may come in my life
4. for my journey of faith, and the fact that, at 64 years old, my faith in God is stronger than ever
5. for "eternal intersections" where God's grace connects with our groping faith
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, 
whose sin is put out of sight! 
Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, 
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
(Psalms 32:1-2 NLT)

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
(Romans 4:20-21 NLT)

Today’s word for prayer is “prepare.”

“Preparation time is never wasted time.” ~ Anonymous

That “Anonymous” person sure said a lot of wise things.

Any time we have an important undertaking ahead of us, whether it be a vacation trip, or some kind of work project, we prepare. We bring suitcases into the house the night before and start packing (our cats promptly position themselves on the suitcases, thereby making packing much more challenging). My wife makes lists of things to make sure we don’t forget. If I’m cooking a recipe, I like to make sure I have all the ingredients measured out before I start.

We prepare. And, as the quote above says, that is not wasted time. It ensures that there are no hitches as the event gets under way. Or at least increases that probability. I suppose there is no way to completely ensure that nothing will interrupt the process.

But there is another thought around the word “prepare.” Consider Psalm 23:5.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
(Psalms 23:5 NLT)

The word “prepare” generally means “make ready.” That can mean a number of things depending on the context. We’ve covered the idea of preparing things ahead of time, but it can also mean the act of, say, cooking. When we prepare a meal, we are actually cooking it, making it ready for consumption.

God prepares a banquet for us, right in front of our enemies. But guess what . . . I love Dallas Willard’s perspective on this. We do not hoard this banquet. We share it. Yes, with our enemies! We invite them to share in our blessings.

God also prepares me for whatever is coming next. As I practice disciplines (and I’m still not very good at that, mind you), He prepares me for the events of the day, of the week. If I am walking in His kingdom, I am prepared for anything that might happen, and nothing takes me by surprise. It is certain that nothing takes Him by surprised, because He is all-knowing, and already knows what is coming.

God prepares me, defends me, and will make straight paths for me.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

One other thought I just had. Jesus is clear that I’m not supposed to worry over what may happen tomorrow. If I am to succeed in that (and I frequently do not), I have to trust in His preparations for me. I have to not lean on my own understanding (or lack thereof, more likely) and trust that He is making my paths straight.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
(2 Timothy 1:5 NIV)

I really like today’s reading from Daily Guideposts 2022. Penney Schwab is the writer. She speaks of her heritage of faith, but makes the statement that she cannot point to the exact day or hour when she first began trusting in Christ. I can identify with this statement.

It is popular to be able to declare the exact hour that one “became a Christian.” For many people it is the repetition of a quite unbiblical phenomenon known as “the sinner’s prayer.” Believe me when I say that no such thing exists in God’s Word.

I can’t say when my journey of faith began, because I have loved Jesus for longer than I can remember. I do know that, at the age of nine, I walked down the aisle of Calvary Baptist Church, in Mineral Wells, Texas, and professed to be a believer in Christ (that was how one “joined the church,” also). But was that when I was “saved?” I don’t know. I had been going to Sunday School and memorizing Scripture and singing hymns and songs of praise for years before that event.

Later in my life, some well-meaning “evangelist” convinced me that, because I couldn’t remember saying the “right words” (again, I am confident that Scripture knows of no such “right words”), that I wasn’t really saved. So I got baptized again. I told people that I had really gotten “saved” that time.

I look back on those days with a small amount of embarrassment, but “it is what it is,” as “they” say. When we are in college, we tend to be somewhat gullible. Some folks never stop being gullible.

But I can share the kind of heritage that Ms. Schwab shares in this reading. I come from a long line of Christian people. I don’t know much about my great-grandparents, but I know that my grandparents were followers of Christ. Every time we went to visit them (both sides of the family) we went to church on Sunday mornings. On my mother’s side, it was always Crim’s Chapel Baptist Church, out in the country, near Henderson, TX. I always felt loved when I was there.

I remember on those Sunday mornings, after the service was over, it seemed like people gathered outside and talked for at least an hour, before finally dispersing to their homes and Sunday lunches. It probably wasn’t as long as it seemed to a young boy.

On my father’s side, it was either Pirtle Methodist Church, in Pirtle, TX (look it up), or whatever small Texas town that my step-grandfather happened to be ministering in at the time. Buffalo, Lovelady, Grapeland, Clute (that one was tough . . . down on the Gulf of Mexico, a looooong way from Minerals Wells), Edgewood, and maybe some I’ve forgotten.

I always loved going to church with my grandparents.

There has never (and I say that in all seriousity) NEVER been a time in my life when I questioned my faith in God. There have been a few times when I questioned my salvation, but God always came through with a resounding “yes!” at those times.

The most memorable came in 1984. I had recently become divorced (several days before Christmas in 1983), and was taking some time in the summer to get away from things. I spent a week (maybe two, I can’t remember) at my grandmother’s house, outside of Henderson, and my grandmama’s house in Pirtle. One day, I was walking around in front of my grandmother’s house, where there used to be a swing set. Me and my cousins spent a lot of time out there. I was struggling, dealing with the emotions of what had been happening in my life.

In desperation, I cried out, “God, am I really Your child?”

Almost forty years later, and I’m getting chill bumps just remembering what happened next.

I swear to you, God reached down and HUGGED ME! I have never felt anything quite like it. It was the most incredible experience I have ever had in my entire life.

For anyone who foolishly declares that God does not exist . . . I can’t prove it. But I know you are wrong.

Today, I am 64 years old, just like in that Beatles song. My faith is stronger than ever. There are always questions, and, these days, I’m questioning more things than ever. But my salvation and faith in God are not part of those questions. I know that God loves me, and I know that there is absolutely nothing I can do to either decrease OR increase that love.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
(Proverbs 22:6 NIV)

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1:11-14 NIV)

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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)

“God comes to us; we come to God; the meeting is salvation.”

It’s because of statements like this that I believe that salvation, rather than something that has a definitive moment, is more of a lifelong process. One popular writer (I can’t remember who, so this isn’t exactly a quote) said that we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.

This “meeting” of which Eugene Peterson speaks is not a single event. “We celebrate this meeting in our acts of worship.” In these times of worship, we find that “God’s coming and our coming result in real meeting, not simply an appearance of it.”

I’m quoting more because I simply cannot adequately paraphrase Peterson’s exquisite wordsmithing.

“Worship heightens our awareness so that we can become conscious of the eternal intersections that take place in our hearts when God’s grace connects with our groping faith.

“Worship intensifies joy as the Word of God is spoken clearly and the voices of praise are harmonized in being and coordinated in affirmation.”

I had a meeting with God, that day in 1984. God came, I came, and we met together. And make no mistake. Even though I’m the one who asked the question, I in no way believe that I initiated that meeting. That was one of many “eternal intersections” where God’s grace connected with my groping faith in a powerful way.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Where do I even begin, Father? I am moved, this morning, beyond words. Yet I have somehow managed to type a plethora of them. I am still grateful for that “meeting” we had, back in 1984. It was truly a life-altering event, that I still remember quite vividly. In fact, I still have the Blue Jay feather that I found on the ground immediately following that meeting. It is a marker, a reminder of that time, as if I needed one.

These “eternal intersections” of which Peterson speaks are incredible, Father. If we were to truly examine our lives, we would find that there have been countless numbers of those intersections where Your grace connected with our groping faith. And if anyone says that their faith is never groping, I’m calling them liars. Or maybe their faith is in the wrong place. My faith, while strong in You, is week in me. I have little faith in my ability to stay connected. But that’s why it is faith, in the first place, right? My faith isn’t supposed to be in me, it is in You. The questions come from within me, and are about me and my place, not about You.

I mean, there will always be questions about You, because, until I get to meet You “in person,” there will be things that I do not comprehend about You.

I am grateful for the heritage of faith that I share in my family. I pray that I have done an adequate job of passing it along. I fear, at times, that I have failed, but that is not in my hands, is it? I do know that I am fully convinced, as Abraham was, that You are completely and utterly faithful to do that which You have promised. You will do what You say You will do. I praise You for that.

I also praise You for preparing me, daily, for life. I don’t always walk in that preparation, I confess. You make my paths straight, but it’s I who walk crookedly. Sometimes I must appear spiritually “drunk,” I must stumble around so badly. But praise to You for always bringing me back to that straight path. You show me the way, Father, and I know that in Your presence there is joy forevermore, and pleasures everlasting. Thank You, Lord.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Faith cannot be acquired by a decision of the will: it is a gift from God. Yet it can be given to everyone who seeks it. As Jesus says, “Seek, and ye shall find.” What counts here is trust. Faith is not dependent on reason – on theories, theological systems, or other intellectual explanations. It is belief, precisely in the absence of these things. Mary had reason enough to doubt the angel who came to her from God, but instead she believed – “Here am I, a handmaiden of the Lord” – and received the Word in her heart. It can be that simple!
(J. Heinrich Arnold, Daily Dig from

Grace and peace, friends.

Have Mercy

Today is Sunday, the twenty-second of May, 2022, the sixth Sunday of Easter.

May the peace of Christ surround you today.

Day 23,446 (the number of days since I was born)


Lord our God, Almighty Father in heaven, we stand before you as your children, whom you want to protect through the need of our time, through all sin and death. We praise you for giving us so much peace in an age full of trouble, and for granting us the assurance of your help. Even when we suffer, we do not want to remain in the darkness of suffering but want to rise up to praise and glorify you. For your kingdom is coming; it is already at hand. Your kingdom comforts and helps us and points the way for the whole world, that your will may be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
"O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Sixth Sunday of Easter)

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.
(Psalms 22:22 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the peace of God, that passes all understanding, through the most difficult of times
2. for the love of God, that also passes all comprehension
3. for the great mercy of God, that is beyond comprehension, mercy in which Christ paid the price for our sin and redemption
4. for the Word made flesh, which is restoring all things
5. for the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control; may all of these be visible in all of God's children

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
(Psalms 51:10-12 NLT)

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
(Psalms 51:15-17 NLT)

It occurred to me, last night . . . I’m sure that I am not the only one who has experienced this, but my mother loves me. My mother loves me with a love that is deeper than life itself.

God loves me more. God loves you more.

I want you to just think about that for a minute and try to digest it.

I was wondering if today’s prayer word would be “maybe.”

But it’s not . . . it is “merciful,” which is much better than “maybe.” Jesus tells His listeners, in the Sermon on the Mount,

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
(Matthew 5:7 NIV)

The reading for today briefly traces the etymology of the word. It was first used in the thirteenth century, and comes from the Latin for “price paid,” or “wages.” It also comes from the same word as French for “thank you,” which is merci. It also shares the same root as “merchandise.”

I find this interesting, especially in light of the way we use the word. When thinking of the mercy of Jesus, we see that He did, in fact, pay a price for our sin. He purchased us (merchandise?) with His blood, and set us free from sin, for which we joyfully say, “merci.”

Father, I cannot adequately thank You for the mercy that You have shown us, as Your people, and me, individually. I look back at my life and see so much mercy that I am astonished. It began before I was born, of course, and has continued, and goes forward through the rest of my life and eternity. I cannot even really comprehend the scope of it. But I am grateful, and will at least try to thank You, even though my gratitude falls short.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

When the perishable is lost in the imperishable, the mortal lost in the immortal, this saying will come true: "Death is swallowed up in victory" "O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
(1 Corinthians 15:54 Phillips)

Eugene Peterson tells us that “the world gives us a bad education” by turning words around backward, mispronouncing them, distorting them, and so on. “Live spelled backward is evil. Evil captured the headlines in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, and it captures them still. But it is the live Jesus who has captured history–and captures us.”

The elements of life can be used against their intended purpose. The letters of the alphabet “can be used to confuse, to lie, and to destroy. They are reversed and perverted by cruelty and mockery, sin and death.”

But “in the silence of the tomb,” all of these things are “rearranged and made straight.” As Jesus is raised from the dead, the Word is “spelled right before us.” In the passage of 1 Corinthians 15, “Paul contrasts resurrection with vanity, fullness with emptiness, reality with illusion, live with evil. All his superlatives are understatements. Jesus breaks the spell of the reversed, backward spoken word.”

For years, now, I have loved the way Peterson puts words together. I have never read anyone quite like him. At times, he gets dense (not anywhere nearly as dense as Willard), but his “wordsmithing” is still beautiful. This reading is no different.

We find, in Jesus, the ultimate of “fixing” everything. It’s not all fixed, yet, that is easy to see. But one day, it will be . . . everything will be set right, and we will rejoice. I have confidence that it is not going to quite look like anything that any of us are imagining. In fact, I’m to the point where I’m really trying not to imagine it. I’m just waiting . . . and fully expect to be utterly awestruck and full of the most joy that I could ever dream of.

Father, I praise You for the work of Jesus in rearranging and making things straight, in spelling the “Word” right, after the world has spent so much time using things against their intended purposes. I pray for Your Church, that we might get it right. It’s so easy to get it wrong . . . especially these days. We are scattered, like sheep with no shepherd. We need to be following our True Shepherd, Father, so make His voice clear to us, that we might follow Him and not any humans, no matter how well-meaning they may be. I suspect that some of them aren’t as “well-meaning” as we would like to think.

My heart’s desire is to know the Word, Father, to know Him inside and out, that He might be my life and my existence, my desire and my purpose in this life. Help me to walk in Your Kingdom and stay on the path of righteousness. And help me to, as Jesus commands, love You with all my heart, love my neighbor as myself, and love other brothers and sisters the way that Jesus has loved us.

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit. All praise to the Holy Trinity.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“Lord, Lord!”

Today is Sunday, the fifteenth of May, 2022, the fifth Sunday of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,439

It was a pleasant day at the library, yesterday. Saturdays are typically a little different, perhaps a bit more laid-back. There aren’t as many people there, throughout the library, unless we have any programs going on, which we did not, yesterday. So we had only three of us in circulation, and there was one Youth librarian, as well as two people in the Computer center, one Adult Service librarian, and one Tech Services librarian. That was it. It never got terrible busy, although I had the privilege of issuing a handful of new library cards, as well as replacing at least one that had been lost. I also had a nice conversation about music with a patron at the end of the day.

The Texas Rangers lost in a big way (even bigger than the night before, unfortunately) as the Red Sox beat them 11-3. Boston scored first, with one run in the top of the first, which Texas quickly answered in the bottom to tie the game 1-1. But then Boston scored four in the top of the second, and the Rangers didn’t answer again until the bottom of the seventh. Glenn Otto got the loss in the game. The Rangers are now 13-19, tied for last place in the AL West, with the Athletics. The Red Sox improved to 13-20, still in last place in the AL East, only a half game behind Baltimore. The two teams will play again, this afternoon, at 1:35 CDT.

I’ve also been following the PWBA, as their season has just kicked off with a tournament in Rockford, IL. The qualifications are over, and the finals will be this afternoon at 5:00 PM. The top five bowlers are Liz Kuhlkin, Breanna Clemmer (who was actually leading most of the week), Kelly Kulick, Shannon O’Keefe, and Stefanie Johnson, who hails from McKinney, TX. Just missing the cut was one of my favorites, Verity Crawley, from England, and another favorite, Birgit (apparently pronounced “beer-hit”) Noreiks, from Germany. I have several favorites, also being a fan of Shannon, who placed fourth, and Dasha Kovalova, from Ukraine, who placed ninth. Liz Johnson, one of the more famous veterans of the game, placed tenth. Several others that I follow, Daria Pajak, Diana Zavjalova, and Jen Higgins, failed to make the top twelve cut.

I might be heading to a church service, this morning, as our group will not be meeting. I’ll need to get moving if I plan to do that.


Father in heaven, may we recognize and acknowledge that you are God. You have made us, and not we ourselves, to be your people and the sheep of your pasture. Baptize us with the truth we need throughout our lives. Give us the gift to discern who we are and what we should become. Free our eyes from all deception so that we can no longer delude ourselves with short-lived, earthly things. Clear our eyes to see what is eternal in and around us. Make us children, true children, who awake to exult and rejoice in what is childlike and who give thanks to you, O God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
 Worship the LORD with gladness.
 Come before him, singing with joy. 
Acknowledge that the LORD is God! 
He made us, and we are his. 
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
 Give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the LORD is good. 
His unfailing love continues forever, 
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
(Psalms 100:1-5 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I belong to God, part of His people, the sheep of His pasture
2. for the relief that comes in knowing God's forgiveness, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; may we extend that same relief to others
3. that people will know I am a disciple of Christ by the way I love, not by the "causes" I support (or don't support)
4. for my five senses, with which I can experience the fullness of the salvation experience and the Gospel message
5. for the way God continues to show me truth through His Word

Today’s prayer word is “relief.” There’s a word that most of us could probably get behind. Who doesn’t like relief? I can remember when “relief” was spelled “R-O-L-A-I-D-S.”

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
(Psalms 32:1-2 NLT)

Here are the same verses from The Living Bible:

What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.

What a relief, indeed, to know that our sins and guilt are forgiven. It’s even better than this Psalm indicates, because, in Christ, our sins are erased, rather than just covered, as though they have never happened.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, I thank You for the relief of forgiveness. I praise You for grace and mercy, and the shed blood of Jesus Christ that has cleansed us from all sinfulness. Even though I still fall short, daily, I have the relief of knowing that I am in good standing with You because of Christ. Help me to walk in that, free from sin in my daily life.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
(Matthew 7:21 NLT)

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
(James 2:17 NLT)

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
(1 John 3:18 NLT)

We have a lot of words that we use to describe our relationship with Jesus. Besides “Savior,” we also call Him Brother and Friend. While those two words indicate a more casual relationship (and not incorrectly, based on the relationship He had with His disciples), we must not forget that He is also our Lord. And just calling Him “Lord” isn’t enough, as the Matthew passage indicates. We must, as He said, do the will of God.

Does this mean our salvation is by works? This gets confused a lot. My take on this is that, of course, our salvation is by grace through faith. We have done nothing to earn it, and can do nothing to increase or decrease it. But, as “they” say, “the proof is in the pudding.”

How did Jesus say people would know we are His disciples? By the way we love one another.

Yep. Here we are again, pounding that “love” thing. But I tell you three times, I can’t help it! Because that is truly what the whole thing seems to be about! Jesus says that only people who do the will of God will be getting into the “Kingdom of Heaven.” This does not mean that by doing God’s will we earn entry into Heaven. This means that, if we are people who have access to Heaven, we will do God’s will. There’s a difference.

What is God’s will? It is not the “Ten Commandments” that we have to be concerned about. That is not the purpose of the Law, is it? God’s will, all of the law and the prophets, according to Jesus, Himself, is summed up in two commands. Two.

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 
A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 NLT)

It can’t be any plainer to me.

So, it is safe to assume that if one is not successfully keeping those two commands, one does not have access to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

Father, please help us to get this. This world, and more especially, this nation, is in desperate need of people to live out this truth. We are in desperate need of people who are willing to set aside their bigotry, surrender their so-called “rights” and love their neighbors as themselves. We seem to think we’ve got the God-loving part down, but we seem to be going about it all wrong. We seem to think that by trying to work harder to get people to hate us that we are fulfilling Your commands. Jesus did say that the world would hate us, but He most certainly didn’t tell us to try to make that happen. We seem to celebrate when we make people angry and claim that we are fulfilling Jesus’s words when we do that.

It simply baffles me, Father, and I don’t know how we arrived at this place. All I can do is continue to spread this Gospel of love, here, and I believe that this, and the ministry of prayer, is what You have called me to do. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m willing to admit that I might be. I don’t think I am. And I would much rather err on the side of love than on the side of hatred.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ involves all the senses, according to Eugene Peterson. “Every physical sense we possess is brought into play to receive and express the new life.” This, I confess, is not something that I have considered.

“The God who created rocks, trees, torsos, and tongues and became flesh in Jesus Christ recovers and redeems our five senses in the practice of faith, love, and hope.”

There is, of course, a lot that we cannot sense. “We cannot see God, we cannot handle the Spirit, and we cannot hear the angels.” However, there is some great bit of what Peterson calls “sensuality” (how often we see that word in the context of spiritual things??) in the life of faith. “Baptismal waters, Eucharistic bread and wine, and anointing oil.” One psalmist told us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Jesus, Himself, spent a great deal of time “touching and being touched, speaking and listening, seeing and being seen.” While He did forgive sins (one of His main purposes for being here), He also “restored sight and speech and hearing and recovered the use of arms and legs so that men and women could live the faith in their hearts as well as with their bodies.”

I love this next sentence. “Senses dulled by sin are sharpened in holiness.” Jesus’s physical body, as He walked on earth, was how the “life of God was experienced and expressed in revelation to us; our bodies are also the means by which the life of God is experienced and expressed in faith.”

We are not believers that all material things are evil and only spiritual things are good. That is heresy, dealt with in early centuries of the history of Christianity. Jesus taught using the senses, speaking of the taste of salt, and the “phenomenon of light.”

“We become more physical, not less, as we become and mature as Christians. Our physical capacities and the exercise of our senses make it possible for us and for those around us to experience God, who revealed himself in the flesh of Jesus.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I thank You for my senses. I am grateful that I have all of mine, with minimal diminishing. I thank You that I can taste salt, and thereby understand what Jesus teaches when He uses that example. I am grateful that I can see light, which also enables me to see colors in creation. In that, I can understand what it means to be the “light of the world.” I am even more thankful for hearing (perhaps my favorite of the senses), because I can hear worship and praise of You being expressed. I am thankful for the sense of smell, in part because it enhances the sense of taste, but also because I can enjoy the scents of nature, like the freshness of rain. And I am thankful for the sense of touch, which is so very important in the human life, as Jesus also illustrated in His willingness to touch even the most “unclean” of persons.

I pray that all of my senses will be used to glorify You in this life, and that they will also help me to experience the fullness of my salvation, as I long for and look forward to the day when I am Home.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

"Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Fifth Sunday of Easter)

Grace and peace, friends.

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place

Today is Friday, the sixth of May, 2022, in the third week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,430

I had a fine day at the library, yesterday. There were a couple of challenging patrons, but I always have help from at least one other manager or librarian during my time, there, and they were graciously helpful. As usual, I learned more about my job while I was there, and it is always good to learn new things, so that I can help the next person better.

The Rangers didn’t play yesterday, but the Red Sox did, and lost tremendously to the LA Angels, by the score of 8-0. The sad thing is, Boston’s starter, threw five shutout innings! It was the bullpen, once again, that blew the game and gave up 8 runs. The Sox are now 10-16 for the season, tied with Baltimore for last place. They begin a series with the Other Sox (11-13) tonight, in Boston.

The Rangers begin their series in NYC, against the Evil Empire tonight. Game time is . . . oops. No they don’t. Tonight’s game has already been postponed, and a double header is planned for Sunday. So there you go.

Those Yankees still hold the best record in MLB, at 18-7, but are only a half game ahead of Milwaukee’s Brewers and the Mets. The Reds have now lost nine consecutive games and are 3-22. There remain five teams who have yet to win ten games. The aforementioned Reds, the Washington Nationals, the Detroit Tigers, the KC Royals, and the Chicago Cubs.


"Remember, O Lord, what you have wrought in us and not what we deserve; and, as you have called us to your service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer)

I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
(Psalms 34:1-5 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for blue skies and mild weather, today
2. for all things that are lovely, and for the loveliness of the Name of the Lord
3. that God will show me the right path to follow; that His Spirit will lead me forward on firm footing
4. that God is rooting out all false gods from my life, any idols that may be in His place in my heart
5. for the hope that you will see these things and be inspired to practice your own gratitude

Today’s prayer word is “lovely.”

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
(Philippians 4:8 NLT)

We have the ability to choose what we allow our minds to dwell on. One of my favorite Dallas Willard quotes is in regard to this. “The ultimate freedom we have as individuals is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon and think about.”

The casual observer might be forced to think that the majority of US citizens are choosing to dwell upon the most negative things possible. Paul gives us this admonition in Philippians, a most wonderful encouragement, to think about, to dwell upon, whatever is “lovely.”

What are some things that are “lovely?”

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. Interlude
(Psalms 84:1-4 NLT)

The dwelling place of the Lord is lovely. Now, we know that when the descendants of Korah wrote this psalm, they were speaking of a physical building. But we now think of the “dwelling place” of the Lord as the human soul. Therefore, I must believe that the soul of a human being is “lovely.” Believe me, that is extremely difficult, sometimes, especially when confronted with a human being who seems to have no soul.

The name(s) of the Lord is “lovely.”

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.
(Psalms 135:3 NLT)

There is a song that I like, called “Tremble.” It’s all about the wonder and beauty of the name of Jesus. The bridge says this:

Your name is a light that the shadows can't deny
Your name cannot be overcome
Your name is alive forever lifted high
Your name cannot be overcome

The name of Jesus is lovely, indeed, and most worthy of the attention of our minds.

This is the value of meditation and contemplation, the classic disciplines. By practicing these disciplines (and there is a difference between the two), we train our minds to do exactly what Paul encourages us to do in Philippians 4:8, to think upon things that are “lovely.”

And what Dallas Willard said is true. As human beings, we have the unique ability to control what we allow our minds to dwell on. The problem is, we simply fail to do that, most of the time. Just because a thought pops into our head, doesn’t mean it has to stay there, right?

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, help me, today, to dwell upon what is lovely. If a negative thought comes into my brain, help me to push it right on through, dwelling on the loveliness of Your name or Your dwelling place. May I look upon every human being as lovely in Your sight, because You created all of us in Your image. I pray that all of Your people would do the same, and treat others with dignity and respect, even if they don’t agree about things. Your Name is lovely. The Name of Jesus chases shadows away and will not be overcome. Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble! Hallelujah!

Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.
(Psalms 25:4 NLT)

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
(Psalms 143:10 NLT)

As I reflect on the things that are lovely, meditating on and contemplating the name and characteristics of the Holy Trinity, then the Spirit of God can “lead me forward on a firm footing.” The Lord can “show me the right path,” and “point out the road for me to follow.” But this takes work on my part. Yes, I can pray for God to do these things, and He does answer prayer, but it’s not just automatic. I have to do the work required to learn these things. I must practice the disciplines in order to train my mind to think about the things that are pure and lovely.

Father, I praise You that You will point out the path, show me the road, and help me keep my feet on that path. But I ask You to help me practice the disciplines that will enable me to hear You when You guide me. Help me to learn how to pay attention. When I have trained my mind, heart, and soul to listen to You and focus on Your loveliness, then fear has no place in my life. Regardless of the circumstances that I see in the world around me, I will have no fear if I am simply focusing on the right things. So help me to focus on the right things. Help me practice those disciplines.

"Father, I want to know Thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus' name, Amen."
(From The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer)

Eugene Peterson expresses a wonderful sentiment in a reading called “Do It Yourself.” He relates a personal story, in which he attended a concert by Pete Seeger (I’m not at all jealous)(yes, I am, that was sarcasm), where Seeger played the banjo and sang folk songs. Peterson was inspired by Seeger’s banjo playing, to the point that he went and bought a second-hand banjo and found some used instructions books and tried to learn how to play, himself.

Here’s the thing. As much as he enjoyed the concert, and likely would have enjoyed another, the “distinctive thing in that experience was not that I wanted to go back and here Pete Seeger sing again but that I wanted to do it myself.”

And then, as he has a way of doing, Peterson applies this to the teaching and preaching of the Gospel. “That is what pastors should want to take place when they teach and preach the Scriptures–not to have people become dependent on them but to have people become eager to get the Bible in their own hands and become competent in reading it.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this way of thinking. Sadly, however, when I observe the world around me, I see a veritable plethora of people who have not, in fact, studied the Scriptures, themselves, but, rather, are spouting nonsense that they have heard from other people, who may or may not have studied Scripture, or have studied it wrongly.

I have several goals with this blog. One is simply nothing more than to have a record of my daily devotions. Years ago, I decided that keeping them online would take up a lot less space than writing them in notebooks, and would be quicker, as well. I can type a lot faster than I can write. But another goal (as well as a corresponding goal for my Facebook posts and TikTok posts) is to inspire people to 1) read and study the Scriptures themselves, and 2) practice daily gratitude.

Don’t read what I say and just believe it (or not believe it, for that matter). Be like the Berean Christians in Acts who “searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” And, for heaven’s sake, don’t just believe something because a pastor said it from a pulpit.

But more than anything, I want to inspire you to be grateful. I want to inspire you to think about things that are “lovely.” I want to inspire you to love God and love people, to take part in a Love Revolution.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I pray that people will see this blog, read it, and then take it upon themselves to think about things that are pure and lovely, to love You and to love each other, and then to practice their own gratitude. I pray that people would see Your loveliness reflected in the way I live, not the ugliness of the world around me. Help me to reflect Your love and mercy and grace, rather than everything negative in the world.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Keep Calm and Rest in the Lord

Today is Thursday, the fifth of May, 2022, in the third week of Easter.

May the peace of Christ find you today!

Day 23,429

It seems like a lot happened yesterday. The yard people came, there was a grocery trip (I forgot a major component of what I was planning to cook for dinner last night, so that plan was delayed until Friday), and quite a few packages were delivered. All of that, along with a piece of mail being misdelivered next door, resulted in our doorbell ringing more times in one day than it has in a long time.

The Texas Rangers have a four-game win streak after beating the Phillies 2-1, last night, in ten innings. It was quite a game. We didn’t watch the whole game, but tuned in right as the Phillies home run in the bottom of the sixth inning was being overturned because of fan interference. Martin Perez, for the second straight outing, pitched deep into the game, giving up no runs. Yet, his record remains 0-2. Something is very wrong with the way MLB decides on pitching wins and losses.

So the Rangers are now 10-14 for the season, joining the ranks of teams that have won at least ten games, and they are no longer in last place! Yes, indeed, the Athletics lost again, extending their losing streak to six games, so the Rangers are ahead of them by .017 percentage points and a half game. They have a rare second day off, today, before facing the Evil Empire in NYC, tomorrow night. NY lost a game, yesterday, so hopefully, we can help them lose some more.

I’m not sure I want to talk about the Red Sox. They went into the tenth inning tied 4-4 with the Angels. But Matt Barnes could only get two outs in the tenth, and they gave up SIX runs in the top of the tenth. They wound up losing 10-5. Ugh. So they are now 10-15 for the season, and still in fourth place, but only one game ahead of Baltimore. They have one more game against the Angels tonight.

The Yankees (18-7) continue to hold the best record in MLB, followed closely by the Dodgers (16-7). There are five teams who have yet to lose ten games. The Cincinnati Reds have now lost eight consecutive games and are 3-21 for the season. There are six teams that have not yet won ten games.

This being Thursday, I am working from 11:15 to 8:15, this evening, in the Computer Center. I’m hoping for a relatively stress-free day. I do hope for some activity, though, so it won’t seem draggy.


"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Collect for Daily Devotions)

Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me.
(Psalms 116:7 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. to wake up and spend time with God
2. for the encouragement and opportunities to be still before the Lord and know that He is God
3. for Psalm 121 and Psalm 23
4. that God is good and a strong refuge in time of trouble
5. for the desire to seek truth and not speak unless I know something is true

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”
(Acts 16:25-31 NLT)

After Ehud’s death, the Israelites again did evil in the LORD’s sight. So the LORD turned them over to King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-haggoyim.
(Judges 4:1-2 NLT)

But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died. When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. She said, “Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he followed her into the tent and found Sisera lying there dead, with the tent peg through his temple.
(Judges 4:21-22 NLT)

“Most blessed among women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. 
May she be blessed above all women who live in tents. 
Sisera asked for water, and she gave him milk. 
In a bowl fit for nobles, she brought him yogurt. 
Then with her left hand she reached for a tent peg, 
and with her right hand for the workman’s hammer. 
She struck Sisera with the hammer, crushing his head. 
With a shattering blow, she pierced his temples. 
He sank, he fell, he lay still at her feet. 
And where he sank, there he died. 
(Judges 5:24-27 NLT)
“LORD, may all your enemies die like Sisera! 
But may those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!” 
Then there was peace in the land for forty years. 
(Judges 5:31 NLT)

Jael is one of my Bible heroes. Judges 4 and 5 are the only places she is mentioned.

And I can’t help but wonder, in that Acts passage, how many of us would have hung around after that earthquake had released us from our bonds?

Today’s prayer word is “stillness.”

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
(Psalms 46:10 NLT)

While the content of today’s reading in the book is rather silly and convoluted, the sentiment is not. When we can’t make sense of our lives, or things aren’t quite going the way we think they should be, we humans tend to start going into all kinds of gyrations to figure things out.

Stillness is not our “go-to” solution. We tend to get frenzied in activities, trying to figure things out.

But there are numerous passages in Scripture that encourage us to simply be still and wait before the Lord. And while that will not always result in us understanding exactly what is happening or why, it should, at least most of the time, result in peace. Because one thing that being still before God does is calm our own soul with His steadfast love and mercy.

“Be still and know . . .” Rest in Him.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
(Psalms 37:7 NLT)

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
(Exodus 14:13-14 NLT)

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 
He lets me rest in green meadows; 
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
 He renews my strength. 
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. 
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. 
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. 
My cup overflows with blessings. 
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, 
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 NLT)

Thank You, O my Father, for giving me the ability to be still each morning. These last couple of weeks have been better, because I have made myself avoid other distractions, at least for the most part, until I am finished with my devotions. This helps me to exercise the discipline of stillness. Your Spirit, through this, gives me rest, and helps me to “be still and know” that You are God, and to know that I am blessed in You. This helps me to not worry about anything. Not that I have much to worry about, anyway, but You know how we are. Everything could be totally awesome, and we manufacture things to worry about.

I pray for stillness in all of Your people, Father. May we all learn how to be still before You, so that we may discern Your peace in all matters. I pray for unity among Your Church, Lord. This is my desperate plea.

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? 
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! 
He will not let you stumble; 
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
 The LORD himself watches over you! 
The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. 
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. 
The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. 
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, 
both now and forever.
(Psalms 121:1-8 NLT)

The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. But he will sweep away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He will pursue his foes into the darkness of night.
(Nahum 1:7-8 NLT)

You are my peace, Father. You are my refuge, and You are my help. I pray Psalm 121 over my family, this morning, Father, as You are the One who watches over all of us, and You do not slumber nor do You sleep. Thank You for keeping us from harm and watching over our lives, as we come and go, both now and forever. You are Good, Father, indeed, a strong refuge. I pray that You continue to be close to us, and I believe that You will, because I believe that You are faithful to do the things that You say You will do.

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
(James 3:5-6 NLT)

“Not long after we learn to speak the English language coherently, we realize that a surprising number of apparently grown-up people persist in using it to speak gibberish. Words are used with total disregard for their meanings. Sentences are constructed that are out of touch with reality. Speeches are made, sermons preached, books written, and television talks given that on examination turn out to be mainly nonsense.”

This seems to be true for all subjects and topics under the sun, but religion seems “to get more than its fair share of this babble.” “Lies and blasphemies, ignorance and gossip, and malice and hypocrisy permeate discourse on God, sin, and salvation with dismaying regularity.” And all it takes, apparently, is the appearance that one knows what one is talking about for others to take one seriously.

“Truth is at risk in the world. If we think the wrong things about God, we are disoriented in reality.” And there certainly does not seem to be any shortage of people thinking wrong things about God.

Make no mistake, the first century was no better. This is part of the reason for James’s letter, appearing late in the New Testament. James points out the dangers of the tongue (and, if he were present today, I assume that he would include the fingertips on a keyboard, as well), and the need to be careful how we speak. “If we do it badly, we do great damage.”

Sadly, in today’s world, and in the far-reaching morass that is social media, there are many people who cannot be bothered with sussing out truth. They (we?) latch onto something that fits in with their preconceived opinions, and run with it, never stopping to find out if it is really true. I mean, if it’s my opinion, it must be true, right?


Just yesterday, I found out that something I had thought was true was not true. And I accepted the correction after proof was provided. It’s all good. I hopefully didn’t make an idiot out of myself. I am not afraid, or resistant, to admit that I am wrong. And, when I am thinking that I might share something on social media, I generally attempt to find out if it is true, first.

“We need all the help we can get to learn the truth so that we will not be taken in by those who are false to the truth.” And one thing that I do know that is true . . . there are people out there who are intentionally spreading lies.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, this gives me even more cause to be still. For, in order to fully know the truth about matters, it is necessary to close one’s lips, cease the movement of one’s tongue, and learn truth. If we cannot be still enough for one moment, in order to learn the truth about things, we are utterly deserving of any consequences that come from this. Our society is hurtling down a destructive path, right now, with total disregard for truth. Misinformation is flying out of peoples’ tongues and fingertips faster than ever, in the twenty-first century. Of course, You have the benefit of already knowing how all of this will end. Frankly, I don’t know if I want to be around to see it.

I do enjoy life, though, Father. It is usually pleasant. However, I always look forward to being Home, and for all of this strife, division, worry, and unrest to be over for all eternity. Sometimes, it seems impossible that all of the people who call themselves Christian will be able to live in unity for all eternity. I mean, I confess fully, there are people that I cannot imagine spending eternity with, because I can’t stand to be around them on earth. But this is something I have to deal with. This is something that either will be fixed before we leave this plane, or it will be fixed immediately upon our arrival in the next. I actually take some comfort in thinking that it really isn’t my job to “fix it,” but Yours. However, I do have to allow You to work in me, in order to fix things on my end.

Honestly, I feel like I’m rambling, now, but I also think that rambling in prayer is perfectly fine. I will wrap it all up by asking You to help me, again, to be still and know, not only that You are God, but to also know the truth about matters. And if I cannot know the truth, then help me to simply keep my mouth shut about it. And may all Your enemies did like Sisera!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Irish Blessing)

Grace and peace, friends.

Open Heart; Open Hands

Today is Wednesday, the fourth of May, 2022, in the third week of Easter. May the fourth be with you.

More importantly, peace be with you.

Day 23,428

I had a good evening at the library, last night. There were no carts left for me to shelve, so I began working on a project for one of the Adult Services librarians. This involved pulling books from the New Bookshelf. Our “new books” have red dots on the spine label, and the number of the month that they were acquired is written on them. So I pulled any books that were marked from last December or earlier. These were all placed on carts, which wound up back in that librarian’s work area. (This area is affectionately known as “The Pit.” It’s like a large cubicle at the back of the library, shared by four of the most wonderful people I know.)

I was able to peel off the red dots from all the books on one of the carts, so that was also helpful. The librarian will get the rest of them done, and then all of those books will wind up in our regular stacks, later this week.

My “To Be Read” list increased by at least twenty books while I was doing this. Hahaha!

The Texas Rangers pulled off a good win against the Phillies last night (is there such a thing as a “bad” win?), 6-4. The Rangers did score first again, but fell behind just as quickly when the Phillies scored three in the bottom of the first. The Rangers came back, though, tying the game in the top of the fourth (on a solo home run by new dad Jonah Heim), and then going ahead in the top of the sixth. Brock Burke (3-0) got the win in relief.

The Rangers are now 9-14 for the season (this is their second three-game win streak, by the way), and are still in last place in the AL West. However, they are only a half game behind the struggling Athletics, who have lost five consecutive games. The Rangers and Phillies will play the last game of this series tonight, at 5:45 CDT (in Philadelphia).

The Boston Red Sox shut out the LA Angels, last night, 4-0, behind a strong start by Michael Wacha (3-0). The Sox are 10-14 for the season, still in fourth place in the AL East. They are eight games behind the Evil Empire, who has won eleven consecutive games. The Sox will play the Angels again tonight, at 7:10 EDT.

The Yankees continue to hold the best MLB record, but only one game ahead of the Mets, who have lost two more than the Yanks. The sad Cincinnati Reds have now lost seven straight games and only won three for the year. They are the first team to lose 20 games, this season. The Rangers have improved a little, and are tied for sixth worst in MLB, and the Sox are tied at eighth from the bottom.

There are almost 140 games left, so there is still a lot of season left.

I’m off work today, and plan to get in some serious reading, today, and maybe a little music, as well. Hopefully, our lawn guy will be able to get the lawn mowed before the afternoon storms roll in.


"Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, 'Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you:' Regard not our sins, but the faith of Your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly City, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Daily Devotions)

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
(James 3:17-18 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for this new day, with new opportunities; may I make heavenly choices, rather than selfish choices
2. for the fruit of the Spirit; may it be evident in me today
3. for the ability to be honest and transparent, and, therefore, vulnerable
4. for a generous spirit; may all followers of Christ share all things, as opportunities arise
5. for the testimonies of saints that inspire me to live a better life

On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.
(Acts 16:13-15 NLT)

The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the LORD.
(Judges 2:11-12 NLT)

The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight. They forgot about the LORD their God, and they served the images of Baal and the Asherah poles.
(Judges 3:7 NLT)

Once again the Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight, and the LORD gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel because of their evil.
(Judges 3:12 NLT)

Today’s prayer word is “honesty.” That’s a word that brings fear into the hearts of some men.

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” ~ Mother Teresa

I believe that this is a valuable admonition. I like to think that I’m an honest person; most of the time. I know that I’m pretty transparent, as my wife constantly reminds me that my feelings are written all over my face, even when I don’t express them verbally. It’s like I exude this aura that screams out that I don’t like something.

I don’t know if it’s true that “honesty is the best policy.” At least not always. There are definitely times when we should keep our feelings and opinions to ourselves. Especially when those opinions would create more division than already exists. I have lots of opinions about things. I lean away from sharing them here, because, as you already know if you are a faithful reader, my opinions about things are not in my job description. In the long run, in the big picture, they simply don’t matter.

Where you will see me being honest is in my imperfections; my humanity; my shortcomings. Because everyone needs to know that I don’t think I’m superman. Far from it. My understanding of things is very limited. While I like to think I’m a relatively intelligent person, I am also well aware that I don’t know it all. As is true for all of us, the amount of stuff that I don’t know is exponentially greater than what I do know. So, in areas like this, I choose to be honest and transparent, which, yes, make me vulnerable, and that’s okay.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, help me to make the right choices daily, when it comes to honesty and transparency. I believe that vulnerability is akin to meekness and eliminates any chance of being arrogant. I don’t want to be seen as arrogant, so help me to be more vulnerable and humble. I know how dangerous it is to pray for humility. It’s kind of like praying for patience. It always brings a testing, almost as if You say, “Okay, you asked for it, here it is!” Be that as it may, I’m still praying for those characteristics to be evident in my life. But I also pray for the ability to keep my mouth shut when my opinion is not needed or helpful.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

Daily Guideposts writer Carol Knapp points out that this verse is not so much a “to-do” list to be checked off, but more of a way of living. It is not as if I should get out of bed every morning and think, “Okay, today I have to love someone; I have to be joyful; I have to display peace; I must exhibit patience,” and so on.

Rather, Paul is simply stating a fact, here. If we are in Christ, we have “nailed the passions and desires” of our “sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there” (Galatians 5:24). And, if we are, therefore, living by the Spirit, this fruit will be evident in our lives. In addition, if you look carefully, you will see that this mirrors the characteristics of our Savior.

One other thing that Ms. Knapp said that I like. One of her daily priorities is to ask herself, “Did I benefit someone today?” I like this thought, although I might word it differently. Did I help someone today? Did I make someone feel better today? Did I leave something positive with them? Twice, recently, I have simply thanked restaurant employees for being there. You might be surprised at how much difference something that simple can make.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
(John 15:5, 8 NLT)

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
(Romans 14:17-19 NLT)

(From Daily Guideposts 2022)

Father, I pray that the fruit of the Spirit would be evident in me, today. As I do whatever I do, today, go wherever I go, may my countenance reflect the characteristics of Jesus Christ, and may I spread love all around. I also pray that I might find an opportunity to truly help someone today, even in a small, simple way.

As we attempt to work out these things, this “fruit,” we sometimes fall into a bad habit of trying to keep God to ourselves. But we cannot do that. “He is not a private acquisition.” God is a generous God. Only a fool would not know this, because all you have to do is look around you to see how generous God is. I mean, look at all He has given us!

And, if we are truly related to Him, truly His children, “we participate in the sharing. We join in the giving.” This truth speaks volumes, when we stop and consider the people who are not sharing and giving, who hoard God’s blessings and refuse to share because they deem the needy to be unworthy or even unclean. (My honesty is showing.)

“The Christian is not a person who hides in a bunker but a person who explores all reality. When Christians keep to themselves what they ought to generously give, they deny the spirit and command of their Lord.”

Dorothy Day once wrote, “I did not see anyone taking off his coat and giving it to the poor. I didn’t see anyone having a banquet and calling in the lame, the halt, and the blind . . . I wanted, though I did not know it then, a synthesis. I wanted life and I wanted the abundant life. I wanted it for others too.”

Dorothy found this life, became a Christian. “She went on to become one of the most effect apostles to the poor and oppressed that America has seen. She did it as an act of faith, through prayer and in love. She experienced the gift. In response, she gave. Will we?”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

I pray, Lord, that I will never be found to be one who hoards Your blessings. You have created a generous heart within me, over time. You have chiseled away the tendency to look at things and consider them “mine.” You have blessed us with plenty, with an abundance, and given us the willingness to share this abundant life with others. I pray that this may grow even more. May we glorify You through our generosity and sharing.

I pray even more so that Your Church would live in the same way. I pray for Your intervention in the hearts of those who claim to follow Christ but hold on to everything with a tight fist, instead of an open hand. May You soften the hearts of those who would love country more than people.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Abiding in Christ

Today is Sunday, the first of May, 2022, in the third week of Easter.

May the peace of Christ find you today.

Day 23,425

It seems as though it has been a really busy week. Between working four days (three of those consecutive) and then going to Mineral Wells on Friday, there has been a lot going on. I am grateful to have a day, today, where (hopefully) nothing is expected other than going to our house church.

C and Mama got a lot accomplished, yesterday, I think, while I was “working” at the library. It was pretty dead at the library, yesterday, so not a lot of actual work was involved. I’m not sure if the pretty weather kept people away or what.

The Texas Rangers managed another win, yesterday, beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1. And the starting pitcher got the win! Dane Dunning finally got a win. The Rangers are now 7-14 for the season, in last place in the AL West, 6.5 games out. The LA Angels are currently in first place, at 14-8. The Rangers and Braves will play again, this afternoon, at 1:35 CDT, with Taylor Hearne still seeking his first win.

The Boston Red Sox blew a one run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, last night, and lost in the tenth, 2-1. This behind seven innings of stellar pitching by Nathan Eovaldi. The Sox are looking a lot like the Rangers, this season. That’s distressing. They are 9-13 for the season (having played one more game than the Rangers), and are in fourth place in the AL East, thanks to Baltimore being worse. Those two teams will play again, this afternoon, at 1:05 EDT, in Baltimore.

The NY Yankees have sneaked into the top position in MLB, with a 15-6 record. They are a half game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers and the cross-town rival Mets, who both have 15-7 records. The LA Dodgers have fallen to fifth overall. The Cincinnati Reds (3-18) continue their losing streak (now at five games), to hold down the worst spot in MLB. The Washington Nationals are next, at 7-16, followed by the Orioles and Rangers, both at 7-14. The Reds have a run differential of -56. This means that their opponents have outscored them, over the span of 21 games, by 56 runs. In comparison, the Rangers only have a -10 run differential.


"O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Third Sunday of Easter)

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.
(Acts 2:42-44 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the opportunity to gather with other saints, this morning, to devote ourselves to the reading of Scripture, the fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers 
2. for the life that I have had so far
3. for the hope that I have in God, and that I am calling out His name
4. for the boldness, and the ability to live out the truth and words of Christ, that comes from being associated with Him
5. for a day of rest

Today’s prayer word is “longevity.” I have to confess, I’m scratching my head over this one. I’m not sure what they are getting at, so let me get on with the reading.

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
(Proverbs 3:1-2 NIV)

Verses like these are dangerous, because people tend to key in on the wrong things. The focus becomes material, the word “prosperity” is highlighted, and suddenly, there is a group of people proclaiming that if you memorize Proverbs, you’ll get rich.

If you think I’m joking, think again. I have heard things just as outlandish as that.

The writer of today’s reading, Susanna, speaks of an Italian village that has over three hundred centenarians (that’s people over one hundred years old, in case you don’t know that word). As I searched to try to get validation of that statistic (yes, I’m a “fact-checker”), I found that there seems to be more than one such Italian village.

Scientists believe the key to such longevity is a combination of genes, lifestyle, and diet. Just yesterday, I saw a report that the oldest person on the planet is a French nun who enjoys wine and chocolate. Seriously, she is 118 years old and has a glass of wine every day.

Longevity is, indeed, a mystery. It does seem that the average European life is a bit longer than the average American life, though. It also seems that there is quite a bit less stress over there than over here. The USA is an incredibly stressful place to live.

But here’s the thing. Susanna mentions this, and I firmly believe it, as well. “God already knows how many days I have on this earth. My longevity is anchored in Him. Following His loving commands, centering my life in His words of hope, brings peace and long life. Abiding in Him is good for body and soul.”

I already feel like I’ve had a good, long, life. And I’m only 64 years old. That French nun has lived 54 more years than I. I can’t even fathom living another 50 years. But if I do, I pray that it will be in continued abiding.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, I don’t pray for more longevity. I am not asking for 50 more years of life. However, what I do ask is that, for all the years that I have left here, be it one or be it 50, that I spend those days abiding in You and following Your commands. Help me to center my life in Your words of hope, that I might display the love that You have for all people, in everything that I do and say. I am grateful for the life that I have had, so far. My lot has fallen in pleasant places.

The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!
(Psalms 16:6 NLT)

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.
(Jeremiah 33:3 NLT)

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
(1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT)

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
(1 John 4:7-12 NLT)

Father, I praise You that You have caused me to be one who calls out Your name. I know that the songs that I have sung have not been sung in vain, and that the thirst in my soul, that thirst for Home, will one day be permanently quenched.

I pray for the promise that You gave Jeremiah, that, if I call out to You, You will reveal remarkable and wonderful things. I’m not asking You to tell me the future. Rather, I’m asking You to reveal wonderful things about Yourself to me. Honestly, I’m not terrible concerned with the future, other than the certainty that I will one day live in eternity, worshiping You with all the saints. I just want to know You and know You more.

“Our association with Jesus will teach us, as it taught Peter and John, the deepest truths about ourselves and the highest truths about God. We need not be theologians or experienced in the ways of the world or longtime church members or leaders of the community or overly intelligent. We need only to be with Jesus–to associate with him in prayer and imitation. And as we do, people will wonder at our boldness as we live out in words and actions the truth of humanity and God as it is seen in Jesus Christ.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, this little reading fits hand-in-hand with my previous prayer. Because that is my desire, to live life in association with Jesus Christ, being taught the deepest truths about myself and the highest truths about You. I’ve attempted to be a theologian, at times, and found that it only produces a sort of arrogance that is dry and not nearly as deep as it pretends. I’ve been a “leader” in churches, and found this experience to leave something to be desired, as well. I have no more aspirations to be a “leader.” I want to be a follower, a simple follower of Christ, that I can live out His truth in words and actions as I walk through this world in Your kingdom.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:13 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.