For God Alone My Soul Waits in Silence

Today is Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Day 21,922. First day of Spring (11:15 CDT).

NINE days until Opening Day!

12 days until Resurrection Sunday!

It’s the birthday of Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian poet (1828-1906). He said, “A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” (BrainyQuote)

The word for today is pullulate, a verb which means, “to breed, produce, or create rapidly.”

Band practice went well, I think. We are doing a concert of mostly marches, although some are not exactly traditional marches. The next concert is at Southlake’s Art in the Square event, and we will be playing on Saturday, April 28. Not sure of the time, yet. Then we will have a concert on May 19, after which I will break until rehearsals start back up after Summer.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. 
How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah. 
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. 
Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 
Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. 
Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work. 

Psalm 62

Another one of my favorites (I have a lot of “favorite” Psalms). “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” Waiting in silence, now there’s a difficult task! But God alone is my “rock and my salvation, my fortress.” If this is true for us, we will “not be greatly shaken.” And I have found this to be true. I might be “shaken” for a moment, but God brings me back to the center, to the foundation. And how David equates those of “low estate” and “high estate,” “they are together lighter than a breath.” Make no mistake, brothers and sisters, if we put our trust in people, they will fail us. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

“All things are possible for one who believes.”

Father, I love this Psalm. I pray that you will lead me farther down this path where I can wait for you in silence, where I can trust in you at all times. Let me never set my heart on riches, fame, power, or anything like that. I pray my heart will be set on you, and that your Holy Spirit will show me how to let my light shine before men. Thank you for being my rock and my salvation and my fortress. I shall not be greatly shaken.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.


Lay Up These Words

Today is Monday, March 19, 2018. Back to work. Day 21,921.

TEN days until Opening Day!

13 days until Resurrection Sunday!

It’s the birthday of Wyatt Earp (1848-1929). He said, “Fast if fine, but accuracy is everything.” (BrainyQuote)

The word for today is dornick, a noun which means, “a small stone that is easy to throw.”

As mentioned above, I’m returning to work today, after my week long hiatus. It’s been a nice week, although somewhat strange, as C was working for half of it. But we got the pool heater working again, and I was able to get to the doctor for my med refills. I’m supposed to go back in six months for a followup. My A1C is still high, but it’s better than last time.

Band practice resumes tonight, and we only have four weeks until our next concert, which is the annual Southlake Art in the Square event. I’ll play that one, but I’ll sit out the July 3 concert. I decided that I would stick by what I said last year, and not play that event again. It’s too hot, anyway, and after what the Town Square did to us last year, I don’t feel like walking that far, carrying all my gear.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David.
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 
for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 
Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah. 
For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 
Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! 
May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! 
So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.

Psalm 61

What a beautiful prayer in the first five verses of this Psalm. “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer,” and so on. Who among us has not had a faint heart? The best thing to do when my heart is faint is so cry out to God, and ask him to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2018)

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

In today’s reading, Logan Eliasen shares a time when he was taking his mother to go shopping. She was waiting for him on the “sunporch,” with her Bible propped open on her lap. This Bible, he describes, “had only half a cover. The margins overflowed with her looping handwriting. The text was highlighted and underlined and highlighted again.” Here’s a saint who took her Bible with her everywhere; doctor’s offices, soccer practices, swimming pool. “She didn’t want to waste a second,” says Eliasen.

What would we look like if we all had that same motivation for God’s word? How many of us have used our Bible so much that half of the cover is gone? I’d probably get a new Bible if that happened. But why? What does it matter if it looks new? What if I pulled out my Bible when I had a moment, instead of checking Facebook on my phone?

God commanded his people to know his commands, to learn his word, to teach it to their children and their children’s children. How can we teach people what we don’t know? I’m convicted by this reading today. Oh, sure, I read portions of Scripture every day. But I bet I look at Facebook more.

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Deuteronomy 11:18
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8

And just a quickie from Charles Swindoll’s The Finishing Touch. Obviously a baseball fan, today’s reading centered on the imminent beginning of that wonderful spring/summer thing; baseball season. What he admonishes us, though, is (hide your toes) to be kind and courteous to . . . the umpires. After all, they do have the hardest job in baseball.

I won’t go into detail as to the entire reading, but I will share the scripture at the end, which convicts me, as I have a history of yelling at umps. This passage is good for more than just how we treat umpires, too.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32

Father, I pray that you give me even more love for your word. May I look to it more than I look to Facebook or the Internet or email. May I cherish it and wear it out. And may I learn it well enough that, if called upon, I could teach it to someone younger. I also pray that the truth of Ephesians 4:29-32 would be ingrained in my heart. Teach me to be courteous and kind to all people. Even umpires.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Carrying My Cross

Today is Sunday, March 18, 2018. Day 21,920.

14 days until Resurrection Sunday.

Charley Pride, born on this date in 1938, said, “No one had ever told me that whites were supposed to sing one kind of music and blacks another – I sang what I liked in the only voice I had.” BrainyQuote

They word for today is polemology, a noun which means, “the analysis of human conflict and war, particularly international war.” A rather depressing subject, I should think.

The Night of Worship was pretty amazing, last night. We had a good crowd of people, and the sound in Brandon’s new house is great. The space is also much better (their kitchen is amazing). And I had a new toy to plan on. It arrived at the house about an hour before we were supposed to be at the NoW house.

That was the last birthday present I was referring to in yesterday’s blog post. I did something I have never done before. I ordered this keyboard, used, on the Internet, sight unseen. It was a huge leap, but we could not find one in a store anywhere to play before buying one. All the reviews for it were stellar, so we went ahead and ordered it. And it sounds amazing. My favorite thing is it has the best emulation of a Hammond B3 organ that I have ever heard.

Anyway, the Night of Worship, as I said, was amazing. The singing was, well, heavenly. The people attended really got into it, which, of course, drove us deeper into it, as well. I believe God was there, big time. Of course, he is always there, everywhere. But I believe he made his presence known last night.

We are getting ready for our Sunday worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street, in Fort Worth. The worship gathering begins at 10:15 this morning.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Shushan Eduth. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he strove with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return struck down twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us. 
You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. 
You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger. 
You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah. 
That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us! 
God has spoken in his holiness: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Vale of Succoth. 
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter. 
Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.” 
Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? 
Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies. 
Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! 
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 60

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 9:23
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:5

There are times when Jesus’s statement of truth seems more difficult than others. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I don’t believe this is a command, per se. I believe it is a simple statement of fact. What does it mean? It means, I believe, that we must be available, on a daily basis, to deny our own desires, sometimes even when they might be “good,” and follow Jesus. And, as 2 Corinthians 1:5 reminds us, that may mean walking into some form of suffering.

What it does not mean is suffering through something that we have no control over. That, in my opinion, cannot be a “cross” that we pick up. Taking up a “cross” must be something that we have a choice about. We might suffer through an illness, and we might be stronger, spiritually for it, so don’t take my words in the wrong way. I just don’t believe that an illness is “my cross to bear.” Taking up my cross might mean that I need to fast for a day. It might mean that I have to resist the temptation to gossip with other people at the office. It might mean that I need to not do something that my flesh really wants to do, even if it is not inherently sinful. There are a number of things it can mean, and it is different for different people.

Another thing it means is following Jesus, even if we are aware that things might not turn out “okay,” whatever that means. In the end, we know that everything will, in fact, be “okay.” But that may not be until we see him face to face.

The thing that makes this all possible, though, is that Jesus has never asked, and will never ask, us to do this alone. He invites us to step into his “easy yoke,” where he pulls the bulk of the load. I cannot carry my cross alone. Jesus carries it with me.

“All things are possible for one who believes.”

“I do believe! Help my unbelief!”

Father, I confess that I have not done a great job, lately, of carrying my cross and following you. However, I have felt that changing over the last few days. There are ups and downs. Some days I do better than others, and I believe I’m just like everyone else in that. Or at least most people. But I desire to be better. I desire to follow you daily, and walk with you in that easy yoke. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Make me aware of your presence every day, every hour. Show me yourself, make me decrease that you might increase.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Love Defends Me

Today is Saturday, March 17, 2018. St. Patrick’s Day. Day 21,919.

15 days until Resurrection Sunday.

Bertrand Russell (not his birthday), said, “A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.” The Quotations Page

The word for today is craic (pronounced “krak”), a noun which means, “fun and entertainment, especially good conversation and company.” Also, “mischievous fun; laughs.” The word, fittingly, as its origins in Ireland and England.

My doctor visit went well, yesterday, and, thankfully, didn’t take very long. I’ve already received most test results, which came out normal and good. The only one I’m still waiting on is the most important one, the blood sugar/glucose/A1C measurement. At my last visit, which was last May, it was over 8, which is not good. They want it definitely below 7 and closer to 6 (my memory is fuzzy, there). I’ve dropped a few pounds since my last visit, and we’ve been, for the most part, eating more healthy in 2018, so I’m confident that it will be down, just not sure how far. My last home check for my glucose level was 148, which is still a little elevated, but below 150, which is much better.

After I got home, I worked on music for tonight’s Night of Worship, then S and I went out to her favorite Mexican restaurant, Martha’s. So much for eating more healthy. 😀

As mentioned, previously, we have our monthly Night of Worship tonight, and the host has a new house. They are very excited about having the first NoW there tonight. I have to say, this family is legit when it comes to worship. As they were looking for a new house, the specifically looked for a good space for the worship gathering. They looked at a house that was right around the corner from us, but the only suitable space for NoW was upstairs. I’m glad they didn’t pick that one. I’ll gladly drive a few extra miles so as to not have to haul gear upstairs. And another thing. Their anniversary was this week. And instead of going on a weekend trip to celebrate, they are having Night of Worship. I have to say that says something about this couple.

I’m also waiting on one last “birthday present.” It is supposed to be delivered today. I’m not telling, yet, what it is. I’ll share it soon.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

All day, yesterday, that one phrase was going through my head, the one that yesterday’s blog centered around. Mark 9:23. “All things are possible for one who believes.” I can’t get that out of my head, and I suppose that is a good thing. I’m certainly not, and have never been, a “name it/claim it” Christian. I don’t see God’s promises as a blank check for me to get whatever I want. On the other hand, these words of Jesus carry weight that we, as the Church, seem to have failed to fully grasp. I hope that this phrase will be stuck in my head (and heart) for the rest of my life.

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; 
deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. 
For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O LORD, 
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Awake, come to meet me, and see! 
You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah. 
Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. 
There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips— for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?” 
But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision. 
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. 
My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. 
Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by your power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield! 
For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter, 
consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more, that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah. 
Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. 
They wander about for food and growl if they do not get their fill. 
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

Psalm 59

Saul is trying to kill David. This happened a lot. So, naturally, David prays for protection. But notice where this Psalm ends up. “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”

Those are some powerful words. And that’s what we will be doing tonight at Brandon’s house. We will be singing aloud of the steadfast love of God. Not because anyone is trying to kill us (at least I hope not), but we all have our own “enemies,” those things that would keep us from truly worshiping God and serving him; those things that would hinder our walk with Jesus. Sometimes, they are sin-related, but sometimes they are just things that happen in the life of a person. And we will sing, anyway. Because God is our fortress and our refuge. Reminds me of one of the songs I’ll be leading tonight.

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
Training the Habit of Faith

“Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off,’ you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of faith.

“The first step is to recognize that your moods change. The next step is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. we have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?” (From Mere Christianity)

This is the main reason that I do this blog every day.

Father, I thank you that you have placed within me this desire to keep my faith alive by diligently keeping your word in front of me throughout the day. For years, I have started my days with at least a small portion of Scripture reading and “religious readings,” as Lewis calls them. Then I began to read more during my morning breaks, and praying on my way to work. I confess that those drive time prayers have been lacking lately, and ask that your Spirit direct me to a better knowledge/practice of prayer. But my faith has remained, while I have watched many of my friends “drift away.” I praise you for this. Now, I pray that you continue to be my fortress and my refuge, and I will sing aloud of your steadfast love for all of my days!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

All Things Are Possible

Today is Friday, March 16, 2018. Day 21,918.

16 days until Resurrection Sunday.

Alan Tudyk was born on this date in 1971. He said, “I had a role in ‘DodgeBall,’ where I played a pirate who played dodge ball. I’d say 80 to 90 percent of my lines were ‘Garrr’ or ‘Arghh.’ And it was all about what the quality of your ‘Grr-arr’ was.” BrainyQuote Pretty much only fans of Joss Whedon’s work will get that.

The word for today is subnivean, an adjective which means, “Existing, living, or carried out underneath snow.”

The pool heater is fixed. You’ll never guess what was wrong with it. Ants. That’s right, I said, “Ants.” I guess some got inside, under a small cover, and got onto a little board or wiring connection in there and simply shorted it out. The technician simply brushed them off and it worked. He didn’t seem surprised. He said it’s usually baby lizards. Anyway, I paid $122 to have someone come out and brush ants off of my pool heater. However, it most certainly could have been worse.

I have a doctor’s appointment at 8:30 this morning, which is why I’m already up doing this blog thingy. In fact, I got up at the same time as C, this morning. I have to go in fasting, so I’m going to be hungry. I already am. Just knowing that I can’t have any food makes me hungry. But I can have my coffee, because I drink it black.

This afternoon, I have to practice songs for tomorrow’s Night of Worship.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David.
Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? 
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth. 
The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. 
They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear, 
so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter. 
O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD! 
Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted. 
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun. 
Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away! 
The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. 
Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.”

Psalm 58

“The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.” (Verse 3) This seems to be telling us that they are born that way. I certainly don’t have any problem believing that. We’ve all met people, I’m sure, who just seem, well, evil. Evil at heart, evil by nature. While I believe in the “total depravity” doctrine, there are some who seem, by nature, to just be more “depraved” than the rest of humanity.

What this leads to, though, is a question. Is it truly okay for us to pray that God would “break the teeth in their mouths?” Is it really okay for me to pray, as in Psalm 137:9, “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock?” I will tell you, as angry as I have ever been, I have never felt comfortable praying a prayer like that. I’ve run across people who use verses like that to justify their hatred of certain people groups. But I’m pretty sure that’s not what God has in mind. But I won’t make a statement either way on the “imprecatory” Psalms. They are in there for a reason. Just don’t ask me what that reason is.

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
Mark 9:23
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
2 Kings 6:15-17

This falls in line with yesterday’s reading. Earlier, this morning, I read Deuteronomy 20, which begins like this:

“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”

When the angel Gabriel brought news to Mary that she would be bearing the Son of God in her womb, he told her, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” I can’t help but wonder what the Church would look like if we would all simply believe. Sure, we all (hopefully) believe in Jesus. But it is pretty obvious to me that we don’t all believe Jesus. There are some days that I live like I don’t believe Jesus. And I am ashamed of those days. What would my life look like if I lived like I truly believe the things Jesus said and did? One of the biggest things (I wanted to say “hugest,” but I don’t think that’s a word) is that I would stop judging people. That is one of my biggest faults. Do I believe Jesus enough to let him work in me to stop that?

“All things are possible for one who believes.”

“I do believe! Help my unbelief!”

Father, teach me to believe. “Help my unbelief!” Help me to live my life in light of Jesus’s statement that all things are possible for one who believes. I want to be “one who believes.” I want the light of Jesus to shine so brightly in me that darkness is utterly shoved away.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

“Do Not Fear, Only Believe”

Today is Thursday, March 15, 2018. The Ides of March. Day 21,917.

17 days until Resurrection Sunday.

Mark Twain (not his birthday) said, “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” The Quotations Page

The word for today is dekko, a British slang noun which means, “a look or glance.”

The pool heater technician did not show yesterday. I received a call, around 4:30 PM, saying that they had gotten behind and would not make it. My “appointment” was revised to be from 12:00 to 5:00 PM today. Not really happy about that, but what can you do? I guess I won’t be going to see A Wrinkle in Time today, after all. We shall see. I need to practice my songs for Saturday’s Night of Worship, anyway.

We finished up our Redbox movie watching last night, watching Goodbye Christoper Robin. I swear I was crying for the last thirty minutes of the movie, if not more. The story, of course, is based on the real life of A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, who is featured, along with his bear, Winnie the Pooh, in the books that are named after the famous bear. While there are some happy moments in the film, it is far from a happy film. The relationships between Milne, Christopher Robin, and his mother, are strained, at best. In fact, his mother, Daphne (played by Margot Robbie, the only person I recognized), is portrayed as a pretty horrible person.

All that being said, I truly enjoyed the movie. Maybe “enjoyed” is not the right word. I liked it. I appreciated it. It gave me a new understanding and appreciation for some of my favorite children’s stories. I’ve been a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh for decades. The problem is, the stories pretty much ruined Christopher Robin’s life. I won’t say much more about it, here. If anyone reading this is a fan of Winnie the Pooh, I recommend this movie. One interesting bit of trivia: C.R. never took one penny of the money that was earned by the sale of any Winnie the Pooh books/stories. He didn’t want it.

I’ve got two more days of vacation. I’m sure a large portion of it will be spent in front of the PS4, but perhaps some other things will be done, as well. I will definitely practice some songs on the keyboard. Perhaps I will get the trombone out today or tomorrow, and start getting some playing done for Monday’s return to band practice. We don’t have any music to practice, yet, but I’ve got tons of trombone music that I can play, not to mention daily warmups and flexibility exercises. Lip flexibility. Lips. I don’t, like, do splits while playing the trombone or anything like that.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 
He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 
My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 
They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah. 
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

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

“Do not fear, only believe.” Five words. Seven syllables. The middle line of a haiku. A central truth of the Gospel. And, for some reason, a command that we find difficult.

So often I feel like the father of the demon-possessed child who encountered Jesus. Also recorded in Mark. Interesting.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:34

“I believe; help my unbelief!” Perhaps, he might have more honestly said, “I want to believe!” Either way, that father got his prayer granted.

“Do not fear, only believe.” Five words that can change a life. My life, your life, anyone’s life.

Think about what you fear today. Financial problems. Relationship issues. Marital problems. Children problems, grown or not. Health issues. The context of Mark 5:36 is that of the synagogue ruler, Jairus, asking Jesus to come heal his daughter. Jesus is slightly delayed by the woman who sneaked up behind him and touched the hem of his garment, and was healed. When they arrive, people come and tell Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Verse 35) Jesus’s response: “Do not fear, only believe.”

The girl was dead! Would most of us have given up hope at that point?

“Do not fear, only believe.”

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

Father, what more relevant prayer could I offer up, now, than, “I believe; help my unbelief!” There are characteristics in my life that need to be changed, or even eliminated. “I believe; help my unbelief!” Jesus tells me to love and serve my brothers and sisters as you loved us. “I believe; help my unbelief!” I seem to have this idea that, someday, it will all just fall together. But my favorite author tells me different. And Jesus tells me different. I have to do. I have to act. I have to believe. “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

“When I Am Afraid, I Put My Trust In You”

Today is Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Day 21,916.

18 days until Resurrection Sunday.

Dave Barry (not his birthday), said, “Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it’s open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.” The Quotations Page

The word for today is invigilate, a verb which means, “to keep watch; especially : to supervise students at an examination.” Also, “supervise, monitor.”

We arrived back home between 1:00 and 2:00 PM, yesterday. We stopped on the way and picked up a few movies from Redbox. We watched “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,” which, while a decent movie with some excellent performances (Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell both won Oscars), had a very unsatisfying ending. And I truly do not like endings like that. When I’m watching a movie, I want it END! I want closure. All we got at the end of this one was “huh?” After that, we watched the recent remake of “Murder On the Orient Express,” which was quite enjoyable. We started watching “Mother,” with Jennifer Lawrence, but C got tired and went to bed. I finished the movie, but still am not sure what happened or what it was about. Very strange movie. I looked it up online afterward and found that it is, allegedly, about Adam and Eve and creation, along with a message about how we are mistreating the earth? If you say so. Nobody in the movie had a name. J-Law was “mother,” Javier Bardem was “him,” Ed Harris was “man,” and Michelle Pfeiffer was “woman,” and so on. I wouldn’t recommend it, really. I’m a big fan of both J-Law and Michelle Pfeiffer, but did not enjoy this movie at all.

This evening, if time allows, we plan to watch “Goodbye Christopher Robin.”

We had a marvelous weekend at Paluxy River Bed Cabins. The weather was as close to perfect as possible, I suppose. It was a bit chilly in the mornings, but absolutely beautiful the rest of the time. The highlight of this trip was the afternoon we took our canvas chairs down to the river in front of the cabin, and just sat for a few hours, reading or watching the river, which was so clear we could see fish in it. It was so very peaceful and relaxing.

As I mentioned Saturday, I elected to use PTO for the remainder of this week, as well, so I’m off today, tomorrow, and Friday. We have a technician coming this afternoon to look at our swimming pool/spa heater, which is on the fritz. Then Friday morning, I have a doctor’s appointment to get blood work for meds to be refilled. Tomorrow afternoon, I just might go see “A Wrinkle In Time,” as I re-read the book Sunday and Monday.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; 
my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. 
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? 
All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. 
They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life. 
For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God! 
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? 
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, 
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 
I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 56

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (vv. 3-4) These are a couple of favorite verses for me. They remind me of an old children’s video-tape that featured Steve Green singing little scripture songs. My best memory of this is on a “dark and stormy night,” when C was going to school for to finish her college degree. R and I were at home; S was not around yet. As the storm raged outside, R suggested we sit in the hallway with pillows and sing the song from that video that featured those two verses. “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

Father, should I ever be afraid, may I fully trust in you. When I doubt myself, help me to trust in you. When my faith falters, remind me that my trust is in you. Help me to trust fully, walking in your kingdom, in the words and steps of Jesus, my savior and my strength.
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.