Keep On Running

Today is Saturday, October 21, 2017. Day 21,772.

Ten days until C’s knee replacement surgery.

Carrie Fisher, who was born on this date in 1956 (died in the celebrity massacre of 2016), said, “I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know. It was something I always did.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com is ducky, which means, “fine; excellent; wonderful.” But, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think I have every heard this word used in any sense other than sarcasm. “Well, that’s just ducky!”

Today is <em>Reptile Awareness Day. You know, just in case you weren’t aware that reptiles exist?

I haven’t had time for personal update, much, this week. I’ve been trying to make sure that I have adequate time for my devotions, each morning, which is the more important part of the day. But there hasn’t been much going on, anyway.

Except for the part where someone got hold of my social security number somehow, and started opening credit card accounts. Yes, sir, I have been Identity Thefted! I may have mentioned a little over a week ago (can’t remember) that someone had gotten into my AT&T mobile account, stored a credit card with a Wisconsin address and PAID almost $1000 toward our account. We still can’t figure that one out. I changed my password and deleted the credit card. As far as I can tell, there has been no further activity there.

The next day, I received a strange call on my cell phone. I didn’t answer, because I didn’t recognize the number, but it showed being from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Yes! Another Wisconsin thing. Turns out, it was a number from the Kohl’s corporate headquarters. They left a message, too, with a call back number (different from the originating number). So, I called the other number. I had a strange conversation with a woman, who said that the message had been an investigator. But she couldn’t tell me anything about why, and started asking for personal information. So, I ended that call, as I didn’t feel comfortable giving that out.

About a week later, we received several disturbing things in the mail. There were two letters from Kohl’s. One stating that I had shoplifted some merchandise from a store in Fresno and was responsible to reimburse them $350. The other one was that a credit card had been opened in my name, but some of the information on the application was not verifiable, so they were wanting to verify if it was me.

We first called the number on the letter about shoplifting. Again, we had a very strange conversation with a woman who didn’t seem to know anything at all about the situation. All she would say is that if we filed an ID theft report and forward that to them, it would clear it up. When we asked to speak to a manager, she said there weren’t any. At Kohl’s corporate office. No managers. We ended that call, and tried the other number about the credit card. We got slightly better results, there, but it was still not handled well.

That same day, we also received a credit card from Target and a credit card from WalMart, neither of which I applied for. I immediately called the numbers on the backs of both cards. The guy I spoke with at Target was extremely helpful (I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure he was also in the United States, which I’m 99% sure the Kohl’s people were NOT), and informed me that the fraudulent people had, in fact, used the $500 temporary limit, but that I would not be responsible for any of it. He said the card would be turned off immediately, and that I would receive a form in a few days that I need to complete and send back. The WalMart people were just as helpful and professional as Target. They did, however, forward me to someone with the bank that backed the card. There had been no usage on that one, but it was also turned off immediately.

I called our local police department to report ID theft. They took down information for a report, but since nothing happened in our city, they couldn’t file an official identity theft report. I get that. But at least they have the data.

I also filed a report with the Federal Trade Commission. That seems to be the most important thing to do. And I emailed that report to Kohl’s on Friday. In addition, I put a fraud alert on all three credit reporting companies. I’m seriously considering putting a credit freeze on all three of them today. That will cost me a little bit, but it would, no doubt, be worth it.

Oddly enough, after most of these phone calls, and after dinner was ready, we sat down to eat, and decided to watch last Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” with John Oliver. After spending a few minutes going over some recent news reports, John Oliver settled into the week’s story. The Equifax security breach. I swear I am not making this up!!

We got the Kohl’s credit card in the mail, yesterday.

In other news, the Dodgers made quick work of the Cubs, beating them in the NLCS 4-1. At least the Cubs won a game. The Yankees, after falling behind 2-0 in Houston, proceeded to win three consecutive games in NY to go ahead 3-2 in the ALCS. But last night, back in Houston, the Astros put it to the Yankees, beating them 7-1. The final game of that series is tonight at 7:00 CDT. The World Series begins Tuesday night.

I have also learned that today is the 62nd anniversary of the birth of Rich Mullins, who died in 1997. Here is a video of his song, “The Color Green.”

I also just became aware that today is also Keith Green’s birthday. He was born in 1953, while Mullins was born in 1955. Green died in 1982. Here is his song, “O Lord, You’re Beautiful.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Psalm 84:8
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 57:7-11
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
John 10:14-17
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:3-5

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:1

In today’s reading, Julie Garmon writes, again, about her daughter, Katie, whose divorce was final in April (unspecified year). In August of the same year, she had “double hernia repair surgery.” Katie planned to run a half-marathon in October, only six weeks after the surgery.

Julie was skeptical regarding the health safety of running so soon. But Katie insisted that it was something she needed to do.

At 7:55 AM on the day of the race, Katie texted her mother “Say a prayer that I finish strong.” Julie texted Isaiah 40:31 back to her. They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Later, another text came. “Pray. Mile 8. This is hard.” Julie texted back, “Praying. I love you!”

Then came, “Mile 10. Can barely move my legs. Pain in my side. Keep praying.” Julie really wanted to say, “Just quit!” But she wrote, “I’m praying. Text me when you finish!”

Then, a little after 10:00 AM, came the photo of Katie crossing the finish line! She called Julie and said, “Thanks for praying, Mom. When I wasn’t sure if I could keep going, I knew you and God wouldn’t let me quit.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve want to just quit this race, to lay everything down and just live however I want to. I have watched numerous friends fall along the wayside, as the years have gone by. One in particular, with whom I went to high school and grew up in Sunday School, is pretty much an atheist, now. Another dear friend, while I think he still believes, won’t set foot in a church.

How have I held on? There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a super-Christian with super faith. I’ve had sin in my life that would make some of you run and hide. There are only a couple of explanations as to how I have endured some of the circumstances that have come my way. One is the grace of God, because he chose me and will not let me go. The other is the same thing that kept Katie going in the story above. My parents praying. And, most certainly, grandparents, too, when they were still on this earth.

Not only have I stayed the course (not perfectly, again, please, please understand that . . . I strayed off of said course plenty of times), but I am discovering new things about God, faith, and this life in the Kingdom every single day! And I’m almost sixty years old! God is so good, so beautiful, and so loving!

So, pray for your children, and keep running the race set before you, knowing that, if you “wait for the LORD,” your strength will be renewed.

Father, thank you for all that you have done for me and my family. Thank you for praying parents and grandparents. Thank you that you remind me to pray for my own children. I pray that you always draw them closer to you. And thank you for continuing to teach me new things so that my faith doesn’t grow stale.

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.

Advertisements

Here

Today is Thursday, October 12, 2017. Day 21,763. Today is the 32nd anniversary of our wedding!

Luciano Pavarotti, who was born on this date in 1935 (died 2007), said, “If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is interdigitate, which means, “to become interlocked like the fingers of folded hands.”

Today is Pulled Pork Day. I haven’t had breakfast and I’m hungry, so that’s probably why this one caught my attention. Plus the other choices are boring.

Well, the unthinkable has happened. The Yankees beat the Indians in the ALDS. The wild card is going to face the Astros in the ALCS and the team with the best record in the AL has been eliminated. That’s no surprise, though, as it happens frequently. So I guess it’s not so “unthinkable” after all, is it? But it changes my allegiance for the ALCS, and I will be throwing all my cheers Houston-ward. Sorry, Cayman Thorn. And seriously, if it winds up being the Dodgers (who swept their NLDS) and the Yankees AGAIN (they’ve met ELEVEN times in the World Series), I probably won’t even check the scores. You know what? I take that back. I will suck it up and root for the Yankees. Yes, I will. So there.

After I finish this blog and C finished painting, we will head to the grocery store to pick up some food for S so she won’t starve over the long weekend. Then we will head out to Glen Rose, to Paluxy River Bed Cabins, where we will spend three wonderful nights “away from it all.” I can already feel the stress falling off of my shoulders.

Today marks, as previously mentioned, the 32nd anniversary of our wedding. C admits that she barely remembers that day, as she spent the night before in the hospital, suffering from endometriosis, a quite painful condition. She was released in time, though, and the wedding went on. She has since put up with me for those 32 years, saying that they are “thirty of the best years” of her life. We don’t talk about those other two. While I won’t call our love/relationship “unique,” because that word means that there is only one of something and nothing else like it, I do believe that our marriage is special. We have operated for all 32 years under the belief that we are equals in this partnership. Neither one of us assumes authority over the other one, and most decisions are made together. There are times when one of us will defer to the other for a decision. Haha. Truthfully, there are many times when neither one of us wants to make the decision! But we have grown comfortable together, over the years, kind of like wearing your favorite jacket that always feels just right. Not to compare marriage to a jacket, but I sincerely believe that anyone who has been married for this long (or even twenty years) knows exactly what I mean. The love I have for my wife is so deep that it grips my very soul. To try to remove it would rip my soul out of my being. To help celebrate, I offer this song, which has become one of our favorite song in recent years, and we might even consider it “our song.”

The words to this song fit our experience so vividly, it’s weird. It did all begin with the “touch of a hand.” More like a finger. And C’s legs are always a problem for her, specifically knees. In fact, she is having knee replacement on October 31, to get the second knee done. Perhaps, after that, her legs will both work just fine. People do fall in love in mysterious ways. And, “me, I fall in love with you every single day.”

Okay. Enough mushy stuff.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

The Call to Prayer
Let us bless the LORD from this time forth for evermore. Hallelujah!
Adapted from Psalm 115:108
The Request for Presence
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
Psalm 86:16
The Greeting
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
Psalm 32:7
The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 
Psalm 54:4
A Reading
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22
The Morning Psalm
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. 
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! 
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalm 80:1-3
The Gloria
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.
The Lord’s Prayer
Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us-
may your will be done here on earth in
just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge,
and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours-forever-
which is just the way we want it!
(Paraphrased by Dallas Willard)
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon your church the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.†
The Concluding Prayer of the Church
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
Luke 24:38

In today’s reading, Erika Bentsen writes about her experiences in cattle ranching. I normally don’t care for the readings she writes because she feels the need to write about rupturing a disc in her back in every. single. reading. But there’s a lesson in this one that I believe I needed to hear.

As a result of this ruptured disc, she can’t work in cattle ranching the way she once could. She currently does work on a ranch, but was experiencing doubts about her usefulness. Raising cattle had been her life. “Now what?” she asks.

Right as she was having those thoughts a neighbor called about a heifer that was calving, and she needed help/advice. Erika immediately asked how long the heifer had been in labor. The answer, twelve hours, was too long for the calf. Unsure if either could be saved, she rushed to her neighbor’s corral. The calf was still alive, but the cow’s pelvis was malformed. She immediately told the neighbor to call the vet, that they would have to do a C-section on the cow.

The vet arrived in time. Both calf and cow were saved. The neighbor’s words, “If you hadn’t been here, those two wouldn’t be here.”

Here–right where my back problem left me, where there’s less stress, more love, more peace, and more opportunity to help others with the skills I’ve learned.”

Here is where we are. Here is, most likely, where we belong.

I have had a love/hate relationship with my job for several years now. I’m frequently unhappy with management, and have, occasionally, sent out resumes, searching for a new job, closer to home. I drive sixty-plus miles a day, round trip, and am on the road for over two hours a day. Some days, it’s exhausting. The job, itself, isn’t difficult, but it can be quite stressful, at times. But it is where God has me, for now, and I need to be content with that. He has me here for a reason, and, until I accomplish whatever reason that is, I will stay. It’s the right thing to do.

Father, thank you for Erika’s words, today. And even though I have to drive so far, and deal with management that is frustrating, at times (who doesn’t, right?), I commit to you that I will remain here until you move me elsewhere. In the meantime, help me to fulfill your purpose in this job, around these people. Help me to be a light in the darkness, not part of the darkness, itself. Help me to show the atheist that you exist and that you love him. Help me to lead the one who has strayed back to your heart. And help me to do my work fully engaged, not constantly thinking about when my next break or lunch or end of day is.
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.

God Is Near. God Is Able. God Is Good.

Today is Saturday, September 30, 2017. Day 21,751. Last day of September. 12 days until our 32nd anniversary.

Buddy Rich, who was born on this date in 1917 (died 1987), said “You only get better by playing.”
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Songuary ~ “Interpretation of dreams; (also) a book in which dreams are interpreted.”

Today is Hot Mulled Cider Day. That sounds delicious. I may have to try that this fall.

Time is running short. That sounds silly on a Saturday, but C’s company picnic begins at 10:00, and she signed me up for the Cornhole tournament, which starts at 11:00. So I have to go a little quicker this morning. I won’t use the word “hurry,” because I’m trying to, as Dallas Willard encourages, ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life. I do, however, need to stay focused and not let things like Facebook and email distract me.

The Red Sox lost yet another game to Houston, last night, this time only 3-2, at least. But the Yankees won, reducing the lead to two games. The magic number remains one, with two games left. I have this horrible feeling that it’s all coming down to Sunday night. If they tied for the division, I’m not sure, at this point, who would get the title. Apparently, there would be a one game playoff in New York. Ugh. So, c’mon Red Sox, and . . . no. I simply cannot root for the Boo Jays. It’s all on the Red Sox. They have to win. Oh, and by the way, Cleveland has a chance to finish up with the best record in MLB. That would make me very happy.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:3
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Psalm 119:18
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalm 57:9-10
Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!
Psalm 106:3
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” 
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Revelation 22:10-15
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. 
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. 
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

Psalm 33:6-11

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 10:29

Katie Ganshert writes of the time when their new adopted daughter from the Congo finally arrived at their home. The parenting was a challenge, especially, as she said, “Parenting a toddler who has been through significant trauma, doesn’t know the meaning of trust, and can’t understand English.”

But that was only the tip of the iceberg. They soon discovered that their new daughter, Salima, had special needs. Katie felt ill-equipped to handle this new challenge, and quickly began to feel as though she were drowning.

Then she just happened to open her Bible to Matthew 10:29, quoted above. “It was like a whisper to my heart. The same God Who sees every sparrow is the same God Who brought my daughter home and the same God Who will equip me to parent her through the tough times. He is the God of the miraculous and the God of the everyday and the God of the unseen.

“He sees. He cares. he knows, even when nobody else can.”

Or, to put it like our pastor did, one Sunday morning: “God is near. God is able. God is good.”

Father, in all circumstances, help me to see the truth of these words. You are near. You are able. And most of all, most importantly of all, you are good.
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.

Pray NOW, Not Later!

“‘You can write and read about prayer, but sooner or later you need to pray.'”

Today is Sunday, September 3, 2017. Day 21,724. One day until Labor Day!

Quote of the Day

“When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.” ~ Norm Crosby
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Vociferous ~ “marked by or given to vehement insistent outcry”

Today is Pet Rock Day. Is that even still a thing?

I had no trouble at all getting groceries, yesterday. The shelves were full, and the store was not crowded any more than usual on a Saturday afternoon. If anything, it was less crowded. I saw our Kroger manager while I was in there, though, and he said, “Pray for me,” as he is working today. I guess they are expecting large crowds today, in preparation for tomorrow’s holiday. Our Kroger manager is our pastor’s step-father, by the way.

I also filled up with gas at the same Kroger store, and the only wait time was the time it took to drive around the pumps and pick a car to wait behind. There were no lines, but there was a car at each pump. By the time I had picked a car, the one in front of it left, so I didn’t even have to wait there. The price was $2.59, but with Kroger fuel points, I paid $2.39.

The Rangers and Red Sox both lost. So the Sox are back to a 4.5 lead over the Yankees in the AL East, with their last regular season contest happening tonight. The Rangers are 15 out, back in fourth place, and four games out of the second wild card spot. The Cleveland Indians have quietly won ten games in a row! The Dodgers have lost two in a row. It’s like they have totally relaxed, or something.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship at The Exchange Church, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street in Fort Worth, TX.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Psalm 111:1
that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 83:18
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. 
Psalm 71:14
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Psalm 118:22
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17:24-26
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.
The Gloria
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.
The Lord’s Prayer
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in my heart the love of your Name; increase in me true religion; nourish me with all goodness; and bring forth in me the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
Ephesians 6:18

Melody Bonette Swang writes of a time when she texted her daughter, Misty, “asking her to pray for a friend at a job interview.”

What she received back surprised her. Instead of the normal “Sure!” she got this back: “‘Lord God, I lift him up to you this morning. You are the God of our past, present and future. If it is Your will, make this job happen. But, ultimately, I pray that Your will be done. Cover him with confidence and peace as we pray with abundant expectation. Amen.”

She sent back a thanks, as well as expressing her pleasant surprise at the response. Mary explained that she tried to pray immediately and send people the pray whenever they asked for prayer.

This is a good habit to get into. We have a prayer team at our church, of which I am the leader. We use a text-based app called “GroupMe” to send prayer requests back and forth, and many times, most of us will just respond with “Praying!” or something like that. What if we all immediately dropped what we were doing, no matter how “important” it might be, and prayed.

Melody includes a quote that she once read: “‘You can write and read about prayer, but sooner or later you need to pray.'”

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2
pray without ceasing,
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Father, may I take this lesson to heart today. First, help me, by your Spirit to do a better job of praying without ceasing. And then, whenever someone asks for prayer, instead of promising to pray at a future time (many times forgetting later), prompt me to pray NOW. I have read a lot about prayer, and written a bit about prayer in this daily blog. Help me to do better at actually praying.
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.

PS. If you read this and need prayer, please let me know in the comments. Not only will I pray, I will pass it along to our team of faithful prayer partners.

Only Believe

Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Day 21,712.

Quote of the Day

“It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham (That’s pretty much every day, right?)

Word of the Day

Comstockery ~ “overzealous moral censorship of the fine arts and literature, often mistaking outspokenly honest works for salacious ones.”

Today is Eat A Peach Day. So, here is a song from the Allman Brothers Band album, Eat A Peach. As far as I know, there is no studio recording of this song.

Our Keurig died this morning. This is a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. Okay, maybe not, but it’s still bad. I’ve ordered a new one, but it won’t be here until Thursday.

Not a whole lot to talk about, this morning. The Red Sox lost to Terry Francona and company, in the bottom of the ninth, last night, 5-4. Yankees were off, so the Sox lost a half game in the standings, and are 4.5 up in the AL East.

The Rangers beat the Angels, knocking the Angels out of the second wild card spot. However, the Rangers are still two games out, now behind the Twins. The current wild card standings are as follows: 1. New York, 2. Minnesota, 3. Los Angeles Angels, 4. Seattle, 5. Kansas City, and 6. Texas Rangers. I stop listing there because I don’t care about the rest of them. That’s a lot of teams in the running, and there are only two games between the Twins and the Rangers.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24
O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! 
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Psalm 141:1-2
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. 
Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. 
Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. 
Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. 
Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.

Psalm 69:13-17

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

Erin MacPherson writes of a time when she looked out the window to see her “daredevil toddler” balanced on the top beam of a swingset, holding a watering can in one hand and a trowel in the other. She successfully resisted the urge to scream, knowing that this would startle him and cause him to fall. Instead, she took a deep breath and walked out, calmly urging him to climb down into her arms.

His response? “Don’t worry, Mommy. I’m holding the can and rake very tight.”

Her mind went here: “Oh, of course! As long as you are holding tightly to the gardening tools, then carry on.”

The point is, this child somehow found safety in things that gave him no protection at all. How often are we guilty of this? What do we hold onto in our own lives, thinking it will give us safety and/or protection, when our only true source of safety is God?

Just something to ponder for the rest of this day.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 37:4-6
But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Mark 5:36

Father, help me to only hold on only to that which will protect me most, which is, of course, you.
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.

Small Things with Great Love

Today is Sunday, July 30, 2017. Day 21,689. 20 days until S’s birthday!!

Our Night of Worship was amazing last night! They just seem to be getting better and better. We added another singer, a friend/relative of the hosts. She was great, and the songs that she led were awesome, as well.

This morning, in our worship gathering, we will be singing these songs.

Our worship gathering begins at 10:15, at the Northpark YMCA, 9100 N Beach St, in Fort Worth, TX. I will be leading Good Good Father, this morning.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:7-9
Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Psalm 144:5
. . . that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:13
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise?
Psalm 106:2
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! 
Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98:7-9
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.
The Gloria
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, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon all your faithful people your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
James 4:10

Gail Thorell Schilling writes of a friend that she hasn’t seen in a number of years. Although she hasn’t physically seen her in a while, she has a mental image of a scene. Gail is rehearsing music with their liturgical folk group, and her friend is sitting on the carpeted altar area, singing harmony with the group while mending a rip in the carpet with a needle and thread. The rip is not large enough to even be visible from where the congregation sits, but her friend knows it’s there and knows that it will, eventually, become large enough to possibly even trip someone.

When complimented on her work, she shrugs and says, “Oh, it just needed doing.”

“No one asked her; she simply saw a modest need and filled it.”

Mother Teresa was aware that “service shines through small tasks.” Acknowledging that most of us will never do “big things,” we can certainly do “small things with great love.” Every church has people who do the small things, things that many members may never even notice. “Yet the cumulative effect of so much loving effort makes our world a sweeter place.”

What small things can we do today?

“Father thank You for the blessings of those who quietly tend to the small things. They teach me love.” (Gail Thorell Schilling)

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Luke 16:10

Father, teach us to do the small things with great love. Let the task be less relevant than the love we pour into it. Teach us that we matter less than we think we do, and that the community of saints is more important than our individual wants. Teach us to love.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

One last word, from The Message . . .
Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
1 Peter 2:11-12

Grace and peace, friends.

Abiding

“He’s not some aloof God wishing me good luck from afar; He is a loving Father. If I’m on my knees in prayer, if I’m studying His Word and begging Him to guide my steps, if I’m staying close to His side, He isn’t going to let me get lost. I’m becoming more convinced of that when my heart’s desire seeks His.”

Today is Saturday, July 15, 2017. Day 21,674.

“When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.” ~ Yogi Berra
BrainyQuote

The word of the day is uptalk. It’s a noun. You know it well, I’m sure. It’s that annoying pitch rise that some people do at the end of every. Single. Sentence. “A rise in pitch at the end usually of a declarative sentence, especially if habitual: often represented in writing by a question mark as in Hi, I’m here to read the meter?” I found a You Tube clip of Connie Chung talking about it, way back in 1994.

Today is Gummi Worm Day. I especially like the sour ones. “Brite Crawlers,” I think they call them.

Yesterday was a busy day. I wound up working an hour over time, just to try to get somewhat caught up. I’m still behind, but will hopefully be able to get caught up on Monday.

I did manage to get some mac and cheese, yesterday! C stopped at Slim Chickens on the way home, and picked up some dinner. S and I had mac and cheese for our side dish. Slim Chickens has really good mac and cheese!

To start off the second half, the Rangers beat the Royals 5-3 in KC. They are still 16.5 games out, but along in second place. The Red Sox came back in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Yankees 5-4. This dropped the Bronx Bombers into third place, while the Rays moved into second. The Sox are 3.5 games up, in first place. Here is a video recap of the crazy ninth inning, in which the Sox scored two runs without even getting a hit out of the infield.
http://m.mlb.com/news/article/242168424/red-sox-walk-off-against-chapman-yankees/?topicId=27118122&partnerId=ed-11711041-1004818173

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Psalm 107:8-9
Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. 
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Psalm 5:1-3
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
Psalm 8:2
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.
Psalm 119:141
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 
and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:1-4
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.

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:4-5

These two verses in Psalms have been close to my heart, recently. In today’s Guideposts reading, Katie Ganshert tells of a shopping adventure.

“It happened so fast, I barely had time to panic. One second, my son was lagging behind me and a friend, hiding down various aisles as he goofed around. The next, he was gone.”

She had just managed to call his name a second time when the intercom came alive. “Ms. Ganshert, please come to the cash registers. Ms. Ganshert, please come to the cash registers.”

When she got to the front, there was her son, next to a cashier, tears in his eyes. He ran and hugged her and said, “I got lost!”

“‘Brogan,’ I said, hugging him back. ‘I told you that you have to stay by Mommy’s side. As long as you’re by my side, I promise you will never ever get lost.'”

As she spoke those words, Katie remembered a decision that she had been struggling with. She was afraid of stepping outside of God’s plans for her family’s life.

“He’s not some aloof God wishing me good luck from afar; He is a loving Father. If I’m on my knees in prayer, if I’m studying His Word and begging Him to guide my steps, if I’m staying close to His side, He isn’t going to let me get lost. I’m becoming more convinced of that when my heart’s desire seeks His.”

These are true statements. And these statements are what the Spiritual Disciplines are all about. If we walk with Jesus, walking in the Kingdom, sharing the “easy yoke” with him, there’s no way we will lose our way. We must abide in him.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Psalm 27:8
“I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.”
Isaiah 45:19

Father, I thank you for these truths, that you will never forsake us. Help me to walk in your ways. Make me to know your ways; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me.
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.