“He Remembers That We Are Dust”

Today is Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Three more days until our family reunion.

Quote of the Day

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld

Word of the Day

Zugzwang ~ a situation in which a player is limited to moves that cost pieces or have a damaging positional effect. This word was featured heavily in season eight of Criminal Minds. It literally means “compulsion to move,” and represents a situation where you have to move, even though you would rather not.

Today is World Baking Day, so get out there and bake stuff. Cookies, pies, cakes, casseroles, whatever. Send the cookies and pies to me.

As usual, on Wednesday, there’s not much going on around, to speak of. We are waiting for the weekend, for our trip to east Texas to visit uncle and cousins (and brother for my mother). Our vacation to Oregon looms ever closer. Seventeen days, to be exact.

The Rangers continue their winning streak, which is now at seven games. But listen, folks. They simply aren’t playing anyone that’s any good, right now. Their current series is against the Phillies, who are 14-22 on the season. However, a win is a win, right? And the Rangers are finally at .500. They are in a tie for second place, eight games out.

The Red Sox beat the Cardinals last night, and the Cardinals have a better record, so that’s good. The Sox remain in third place in the AL East, four games out.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scripture references are ESV, unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared.
Psalm 76:11
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! 
Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.

Psalm 119:169-170
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
Psalm 54:6
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. 
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103:13-14

Bill Giovannetti writes of frustrations with a beloved pet. We all know the sound, at least all of us who have pets. That disgusting sound that means the cat or dog is about to barf. Bill had one occasion when his dog, Lacy, did so on the nicest rug in the house, rather than on the nearby tile floor. His impatience grew as he cleaned up and wondered, “Why this rug? why not the tile floor? What’s she gotten into to upset her stomach?”

Later, as he read Psalm 103, he was convicted with the knowledge that God cleans up after us without griping or complaining at us. “My Father knows how weak I am. He understands my limitations. His patience knows no bounds.”

I have had similar experiences, not so much with pets as with a daughter. There are plenty of frustrating times with an autistic child, as many parents know. But many, also, are the times when I hug my head in shame after getting angry with our daughter, realizing that I tend to act the same way toward my Father in heaven. It’s a sobering realization, I assure you.

“Gracious Father, no matter how many times I mess up, You never sigh, never frown, never chide. You make all things new, over and over again. Thank you.” ~ Bill Giovannetti

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Revelation 21:5-7

Father, keep me ever mindful of the grace you have shown me in my life, through all of my mess-ups and failures, through all of my outright rebellion. Help me to show the same grace to everyone with whom I come in contact, in family, in work, in life. Your grace is sufficient.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

More Blessed To Give

Today is Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

Once again, I find myself in the position of having to buy go juice on the way to work, this morning. So I must move on. Not hurrying . . . just making the best use of the shorter amount of time.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:4
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:18

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Acts 20:35

Rick Hamlin writes about a homeless man named Franklin, who sits on a milk carton on the street, a block down from the subway exit that Rick uses every day. Over time, Rick has learned bits and pieces of information about Franklin. Franklin is estranged from his son, who battles an addiction of some kind; his wife died a few years ago; he likes to go to worship at a nearby church and goes to another one for showers and meals.

Franklin flies a cardboard sign that says “God bless you” and has a cup out for donations. He doesn’t really do anything to solicit, though, because “he’s too absorbed in a small, well-thumbed copy of the New Testament and Psalms.” Rick likes talking to Franklin “because he reads carefully and loves God, which I find hard to imagine considering the life he leads.”

One morning, Franklin asked Rick about the passage that says it is more blessed to give than to receive. “I think it’s in Acts,” Franklin guessed.

Rick wasn’t sure and said he would look it up when he got to his office. Franklin was right. It is Acts 20:35 (see above), and Rick told him that the next time he saw him.

Sometimes Rick gives Franklin things: money, food, things to read. One time Rick gave him a backpack full of food, gloves, a parka and a blanket. The next day, most of the stuff was gone. When Rick asked Franklin what happened to them, Franklin just said, “Gave it to a friend.”

“I was surprised but only for a moment,” Rick said. “After all, wasn’t it Franklin who reminded me where to find Jesus’s words about giving?”

“Lord, let me be the cheerful giver You know I can be.” ~ Rick Hamlin

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Father, why is it that, at times, the most generous people are the ones that have the least? Is it because they don’t cling to what they have? It also seems like the people who have the most are the stingiest. I pray that I will not be like that, my Lord. Let me taste and see that you are good, and that you are all that I need. I have a lot of stuff. I used to cling to that stuff. Not so much, now. I pray, though, that you make me even more generous with what I have. Most of all, I pray that you help me give away the most important thing, the Gospel of Jesus. The Kingdom of heaven is near. Help me to walk in that kingdom.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Whose Time Is It, Anyway?

Today is Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, you heavenly hosts;
praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

(Traditional Doxology)
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4
Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is,
and by your will they were created and have their being.

(A Song to the Lamb)
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.

Psalm 24:1-6
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2

Today, I’m combining the thoughts from two readings, Living the Message and Daily Guideposts 2017, because they have similar messages.

In Living the Message, Eugene H. Peterson says, “Busyness is an illness of spirit, a rush from one thing to another because there is no ballast of vocational integrity and no confidence in the primacy of grace. In order for there to be conversation and prayer that do the pastoral work of meeting the intimacy needs among people, there must be a wide margin of quiet leisure that defies the functional, technological, dehumanizing definitions that are imposed upon people by others in the community.” He then quotes Psalm 131:2 from The Message: I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.

Along a similar line, Daily Guideposts begins with James 4:14-15: You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.” (The Message) Then Katie Ganshert writes about picking her son up after school. As he climbs into their van, he asked, “Mom, can we go play at the park?” She responds with an affirmative, but then adds, “But first we have some errands to run.” Her son’s “entire demeanor did a 180-degree turn.” He hates errands. He ended his argument with, “You’re wasting my time!”

This caused Katie to stop and think about her day. She had her plans, her schedule, but it kept getting interrupted by other people and things. She says, “Each time I responded like my son–with a whiny heart.”

It is easy for us to forget that our time, just like everything else in our lives, if we are “believers,” belongs to God, not to ourselves. We can surely begin each day with our own agenda, and then whine every time it gets interrupted. Or we can begin the day acknowledging that the day, the hours, the minutes, belong to our Father. How does he want us to use them?

This, of course, immediately reminded me of something that Dallas Willard (yes, I know I mention him a lot) said to John Ortberg one day. “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Being busy is not necessarily bad. Always being in a hurry is always bad. Ortberg later wrote, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”

Katie Ganshert ends her reading with this prayer: “Lord, thank you for every second You give us here. Each one is evidence of Your grace. Help me to be a good and faithful steward of my time.”

Father, I echo this prayer with my own. I am grateful for every second that you give me. Teach me to walk in your ways in all of those seconds and minutes. Teach me to live my life by your agenda, by your schedule. This does not mean that I can’t make plans. It just means that, when I do, I need to stay aware that you might have different plans, and that’s okay. I need to live my life in such a way that I prefer your plans to my own plans, all the time.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

Grace and peace, friends.

The Crow

Today is Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ~ Aldous Huxley

Word of the Day

Dinkum ~ Australian; genuine; authentic.

Today is Hug A Plumber Day. I think I’ll pass, thank you. But you go ahead if you want to.

I’m continuing to feel better, still taking the medications that I got on Saturday. Band practice went well, last night, and I was able to play as well as can be expected, after missing the past week’s rehearsal.

Our concert will be Saturday afternoon at 5:30, if weather allows. There is about an 80% chance of rain for most of the day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 
  Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! 
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

Psalm 47:5-8
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
Psalm 50:2
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
John 13:20
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13:3-6
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.

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

. . . he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:19B

Karen Barber writes, in today’s reading, about going out for a morning walk, and telling God how unstable her life felt, because of her son’s depression. “I need some solid ground to stand on.”

As she walked, she heard the “caw” of a crow. She looked up to see a crow sitting precariously on a small branch, that looked as though it would break under the weight of the bird. Yet the crow seemed completely unconcerned.

That’s when she thought of Habakkuk 3:19. The KJV says, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. A “hind” is a female deer, which can maneuver with extreme dexterity in treacherous rocky terrains. Of course, Karen was looking at a crow, so she adapted the verse. The crow was “perfectly comfortable in such a risky place.” If the branch did break, the crow could simply fly away.

When she got home from her walk, she looked up the verse. The beginning of verse 19 says, “GOD, the Lord, is my strength.” There is the solid ground we all need to stand on.

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Exodus 15:2
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:11

Father, you are, indeed, my strength and my song. If I only allow it, you make my feet to stand firm on the most treacherous of terrains. If my faith would allow it, I will not be afraid, no matter what the world may throw at me. I simply need to live and walk in the words and steps of my Savior. Help me to seek your strength today. Help me to consider all that Jesus taught and live by his words today.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Chocolate and Bunnies

Today is Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Eleven days until Easter.

Quote of the Day

“You know, you can’t please all the people all the time… and last night, all those people were at my show.” ~ Mitch Hedberg
I miss this guy. 😦

Word of the Day

Pantophobia ~ Originally: hydrophobia (rabies) (obs.). Later: a condition characterized by groundless or irrational fears; fear of everything; generalized anxiety. I was really hoping this would be the fear of pants.

Today is Day of Hope, a day set aside to remember the “hidden statistics” of abuse and neglect that millions of children, worldwide, suffer every day.

Last night, Joey Gallo crushed another 440+ foot home run, this time to the upper home run porch at Rangers Ballpark. Sadly, they still fell one run shy of the Indians, losing 4-3 in Martin Perez’s 2017 debut. He fell behind early in the game, giving up three runs in the first two innings. They have one more game with the Indians in this series, tonight at 7:05. Cole Hamels will take the mound tonight for the Rangers. The Red Sox continue their series with the Pirates tonight at Fenway Park, with Chris Sale making his Red Sox debut.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 
Psa 85:9  Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.

Psalm 85:8-9
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4
. . . that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 83:18
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.

Psalm 24:1-6

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

The Lord has risen indeed . . .
Luke 24:34

Roberta Messner writes of meeting a new cashier at the cafeteria in the hospital. “When I asked if Easter was a special holiday for her, she looked at me, perplexed, and told me, ‘No, honey, my children are all grown.'”

Her office mate, Julius, reacted sadly to that tale. He came from Nigeria. He loves America, but he noted that, in Nigeria, Easter was very different. Materialism was not a thing there, so they didn’t focus on “bunnies and chocolate.” Instead, at 4:00 AM on Easter morning, people would begin to gather at the parsonage, where they would move on to the next house, singing resurrection songs. They went from house to house, gathering more people, until, at 8:00 AM, they were at the church, where they would praise God, “nonstop, until two or three in the afternoon.”

“We were filled with such joy, we never tired,” Julius said.

How different are we. Who among us has not been guilty of looking at the order of service to see how many songs we had to get through, or texting people during the sermon? Or maybe even complaining because we “don’t like that song very much.”

May we approach this coming Easter with the kind of joy that Julius and his people experienced in Nigeria.

Father, teach us the true meaning of events like Easter. Help us to not get caught up in the materialism of chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs and Easter Egg hunts. Help us to truly celebrate the resurrection of our Savior.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Coffee Mug and Prayer Journal

Today is Saturday, April 1, 2017. April Fool’s Day. TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL OPENING DAY!!!

Quote of the Day

“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

Word of the Day

Plisky ~ a mischievous trick; practical joke; prank. Found primarily in northern Ireland, Scotland, and northern England.

Today is Sourdough Bread Day. I certainly enjoy sourdough bread! “If there’s one thing any sandwich connoisseur knows, it’s that there are few sandwiches that aren’t made better by the addition of sourdough bread.” Yes! I agree! My favorite breakfast sandwich, for example, is Jack in the Box’s “Loaded Breakfast Sandwich,” which is made on sourdough toast.

So it’s Saturday, and here it is almost noon. I got distracted earlier, trying to print and sort music for tonight’s Night of Worship and tomorrow’s worship gathering. I got frustrated by key signature ambiguity, though, and decided to set that aside and finish my devotional time. The Night of Worship will be tonight at 6:00 PM. We will be at the host’s home by 3:00 PM today for set up and rehearsal. I may be taking both my guitar and my keyboard. I’m still vacillating on that.

There’s not much else happening this weekend, which I prefer on weekends with NoW. We thought R & J might come over tomorrow for birthday celebration, but they are going to meet up with us at Mama’s house, next Saturday, which is her birthday! So we will celebrate two birthdays together.

The Rangers shut out the Royals, 3-0, in an exhibition game, last night in Arlington. They play another game today at 1:05.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.
(Agnus Dei)
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the Glory of God the Father.
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
Psalm 31:5
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! 
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! 
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. 
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. 
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. 
I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. 
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. 
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

Psalm 71:1-9

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Julie Garmon continues in a series of readings called “Beauty From Ashes,” regarding helping her daughter through a divorce. The new checking account was opened, a grocery list was made. “What happens next, Mom?” asked Katie.

They decided to head to the store and tackle the shopping list. Katie reminisced about times when they had prayed and read the Bible together. She purposed to begin every day in that way, and headed for the stationery area. When Julie asked what she was looking for, Katie replied, “A prayer journal.” She found one she liked, and said, “Now I need a coffee mug.”
“Don’t you want a set of dishes?” (She had left her dishes behind in her haste to get things done quickly.)
“Nope, I only want one mug, and my prayer journal. That’s all I need.”

How often do we find ourselves chasing after “stuff” that we don’t need? Just this morning, I find myself fighting urges to buy new musical instruments. I’ve been playing a lot more, lately, both guitar and keys (as well as trombone). But I don’t need a new instrument. I have everything I need. Sure, a shiny new red keyboard would be fabulous! But I don’t need it.

Katie found what she needed. She had, for all intents and purposes, lost everything. When God is all we have, he is all we need.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. 

Psalm 46:1-2
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:3

Father, you have brought me from a place in my life where I obsessed over stuff. I still have a lot of stuff, but it’s not as important to me as it used to be. I don’t long for things that I don’t have any more. But have I really reached a place where I can say “All I have in you is more than enough?” I fear not. I want to be at that place. My heart’s desire is to be able to say that. You are enough. You are more than enough. “You are my reward, worth living for.” I love you Lord. May I worship you tonight with a passion that I have never felt.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

We Need Each Other

Today is Sunday, March 19, 2017. Fifteen days until Opening Day!

Sunday morning, and I don’t have time for quotes and words and such.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 96:9
Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Psalm 90:13
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;
Psalm 65:5
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:11
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. 
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 
For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. 
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 
For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 
Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:4-102

“O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring us again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy . . .
Psalm 126:2

Daniel Schantz writes of a time when he volunteered to help collate pages, at his church, for a devotional book to go to the bindery. As he was on his way to the church, he wondered, “Why did I ever volunteer for this job?”

About a dozen people were there for the job. Daniel saw the boxes of pages and cringed. It brought back not so good memories of his teaching days. But then people started chatting. “My husband thinks shopping for radial tires is a vacation. We shopped twelve different stores, then sat in a stinky garage forever while they installed them.”

People started telling jokes. “How many church members does it take to change a lightbulb? Ten. One to change it and nine to say how much better they liked the old bulb.” Then someone started singing “Blessed Be the Name,” and everyone joined in.

Before he knew it, they were finished. He realized that he actually had fun. Why? Because of the social element involved. Reminiscent of of the old time quilting parties and barn raisings, when people work together to do a job, it goes quicker and seems like less work. Daniel began thinking about other ways in which he could add this social element to his life.

“Lord Help me not to be so independent but to let others in.” (Daniel Schantz)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

Father, I need this reminder. I need it often. I know it’s no secret to you that I don’t like being around people. I have never enjoyed people in groups, especially. One on one, it’s not so bad, but even that depends on who the other “one” is. But I also realize that, as a community of faith, we need each other. I also know that, this past Thursday evening, having dinner with the others in our “Missional Gathering” was a blast. We had a lot of fun. So I can enjoy people, when the common basis for our being together is you. So keep reminding me of how much I and we need each other. I cannot do this life alone. No matter how much I think I want to.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.