Today is Monday, the eighth day of May, 2023, in the fifth week of Easter.

May you know the peace of Christ in your life today.

Day 23,797

There are six days left until Mother’s Day.

My Wordle for today:

Wordle 688 3/6*


My streak stands at 29 days.

Our Fossil Rim tour was amazing. We saw the usual animals, but we were treated to some that are not on the driving tour. We got to see a couple of grey wolves. They wouldn’t get very close, though.

Grey wolves

We also got to see a beautiful maned wolf.

Maned Wolf

Of course, we got to feed giraffes.

I’m the one on the right

There was a young boy in our group . . . cheetahs are his favorite animal. When we got to see cheetahs, he had tears of joy, which made C and me cry, too. He said it was the best day of his life. 🥰

We are chilling, this morning, and then have to check out by 11:00. It’s been a wonderful weekend.

The Rangers beat the Angels again, last night, 16-8. Perez came out early, so Josh Sborz (1-1) got the win. They are now 20-13, in first place in the AL West, two games ahead of the Angels. 3.5 ahead of the Astros. They begin a series in Seattle tonight. Jon Gray (1-1) will start.

The Red Sox lost to the Phillies, so their winning streak is over. Tanner Houck (3-2) took the loss. They are 21-15, back in fourth place in the AL East, a half game behind Toronto. Yankees remain in last. 😎 Boston has the day off, today.


“The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭7‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Today I am grateful:

  • for this beautiful, wonderful, relaxing weekend (see photo below)
  • that God, our refuge and strength, is an ever-present help in trouble
  • for hope in the redemption of all things
  • that the Lord has taught me from my youth, and for all the beautiful people He taught me through
  • for the community of saints, around the world, haphazard as it may appear, perfect in Christ

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble…
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Psalm 46:1, 7, RSV

Lord, Almighty God of heaven and earth, grant that we may come to you as your children. For you have chosen us through the gospel, and Jesus Christ has obtained mercy for us so that in you we have a refuge in disturbed and evil times. We turn to your Word, Lord God, rejoicing that again and again the whole of Christendom is led back to your Word. Strengthen all those who serve your Word, who look to you and to the grace of Jesus Christ. Grant that everywhere we may have hope and joy in the redemption you will bring in every situation, also in our ordinary practical life. Grant that through this redemption the earth may proclaim your praise and honor your name, your kingdom may come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

“My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all day long.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71‬:‭8‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭105‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71‬:‭17‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130‬:‭1‬-‭8‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord,
that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God,
for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways,
says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55‬:‭6‬-‭9‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭3‬:‭11‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“May God, who puts all things together, makes all things whole, Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus, the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant, Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd, up and alive from the dead, Now put you together, provide you with everything you need to please him, Make us into what gives him most pleasure, by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah. All glory to Jesus forever and always! Oh, yes, yes, yes.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭18‬-‭21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I don’t feel like typing the whole devotion from Peterson, this morning, so I took a photo.

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

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. 
May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, 
on earth as in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread. 
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. 
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; 
for Yours are the kingdom and the power 
and the glory forever and ever. 

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

Father, I praise You, this morning, for all You have done in, through, and for Your people. You have not treated us as our sins deserve, but have redeemed us, making us worthy of Your calling in Jesus Christ.

Please take this haphazard, ragamuffin community of saints and spread Your love around the world. Help us to lead people to You and Your kingdom. Forgive us when we drive people away by displaying hatred and bigotry.

Thank You for teaching me, since I was a child, and continuing to teach me, now that I am old. I don’t ever want to stop learning of You.

When we don’t understand, remind us that Your thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

Have Mercy

Today is Sunday, the seventh day of May, 2023, in the fifth week of Easter. it is the fifth Sunday of Easter

Peace be with you.

Day 23,797

Only seven days until Mother’s Day!

My Wordle for today:

Wordle 687 3/6*


My streak stands at 28 days.

It was a rough night, last night. We had three sets of storms that rolled through, one of which brought hail (I don’t think it was very big), for quite a while. So I’m not well-rested, this morning.

We are up, anticipating our Fossil Rim tour this morning.

I don’t have all of my usual resources out here, but the Rangers won, 10-1, behind 8 shutout innings from Nathan Eovaldi! Sadly, our mediocre bullpen couldn’t even hold the shutout. They are now 19-3, back alone in first place, a game ahead of the Angels.

Boston best Philadelphia again, 7-4, to push their winning streak to eight games! They are 21-14, in third place in the AL East. They would be in first place in four of the other five MLB divisions.

I will say it is beautiful outside, this morning. Unfortunately, I can’t sit in the rocking chairs because the cushions are wet. 🤣


“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37‬:‭7‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Today I am grateful:

  • for the upcoming opportunity to interact with nature at Fossil Rim
  • for the sweetness of the birds singing after last night’s storms
  • for the Spirit of God, freely given to all who believe
  • for love, that covers a multitude of sins
  • that You alone, Lord, are Most High over all the earth

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭13‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you with all our hearts because we know you are holding us by your hand and leading us on all our ways, in spite of all contradiction, strife, distress, and confusion within ourselves. What are all these compared to your love, which does not let us go but watches over us and finally brings us to what is good? Release us from our many burdens. Free our spirits and our souls more and more until we can do nothing but give praise and thanks with heart, soul, and strength for all you are to us. Amen.

“Let them know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭83‬:‭18‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

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. 

“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Father, have mercy on us! Help us to be still before You, and to not fret when evil abounds.

Thank You for Your love, and for spreading it through us, covering a multitude of sins.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Saturday, the sixth day of May, in the fourth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

I’m sitting here, right now.

I’m also on my phone because I forgot my tablet. So don’t expect the level of blog you usually get from me. 🤣🤣

We had a great trip down, yesterday, and already had a piece of pie. I had Key Lime, C had Chocolate Meringue. Yum!!

Today, there is no plan at all.


“They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭12‬:‭43‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Today I am grateful:

  • for this place of beauty and peacefulness
  • for the calm in my spirit, this morning
  • for the steadfast love, better than life, itself
  • for the prayers of the Psalms, specifically, today, Psalm 119
  • that You, O Lord, have dealt well with me, Your servant

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

I heard a loud voice proclaiming from the throne: “Now at last God has his dwelling among men! He will dwell among them and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes; there shall be an end to death, and to mourning and crying and pain; for the old order has passed away!”
Revelation 21:3–4, NEB

Lord our God, we look to you and to Jesus Christ our Savior. Continually renew your grace and your power in our lives, we pray. Renew your grace and power, that we may have light even in dark and distressing times and through the Savior may overcome as we wait faithfully for your kingdom. Help us to be ready to take anything upon ourselves, to serve you with body and soul, with all we have and are. May we belong to the hosts of those who go to meet you, who wait for your coming kingdom, which will bring comfort to the world and to all people who now suffer and grieve. O Lord our God, have mercy on our times and on our world. Grant that with thanks and praise we may soon see the signs of the fulfillment of your promises. Amen.

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭29‬:‭2‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“O God, you are my God,
I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands
and call on your name.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭63‬:‭1‬-‭4‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“We have heard with our ears, O God, our ancestors have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭44‬:‭1‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭82‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful ones.
O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116‬:‭12‬-‭19‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put confidence in princes.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭118‬:‭8‬-‭9‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭25‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Father, I am so grateful for this place. The peacefulness and beauty of it are amazing. my soul is lifted to You when I sit on this deck and meditate on Your word.

All too often, Lord, my soul does cling to the dust. I trust in you, that you will revive me according to your word is the psalmist says. My refuge is in You, oh Lord. My confidence is in You. I place no confidence in human beings to rescue me or save me.

You have dealt well with me, Father. And for that, I will lift up the cup of salvation; I will pay my vows to You in the presence of the congregation, in the presence of all men I will praise You.

Thank You for Your Word, Lord. I am especially thankful this morning for Psalm 119. It is so full of beautiful prayers and meditations on Your Word. Once again, I thank You for the peace and calm of this place, and how it allows me to be refreshed and rejuvenated in spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Everything comes from him; 
Everything happens through him; 
Everything ends up in him. 
Always glory! 
Always praise! 
Yes. Yes. Yes. 
(Romans 11:36 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

Because He is God

Today is Sunday, the 19th of March, the fourth Sunday of Lent.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today.

Day 23,747

Yesterday was a fine day at the library. There were occasional busy periods, the biggest being, if I remember correctly (and I frequently do not), around 4:00 PM. And just as quickly as it began, it was over. The only program we had yesterday was the HEB Plant Swap, which started as soon as we opened (they meet outside in the park gazebo, so think they actually started early), and was over before noon. The man who heads that up said they had 41 people out there, which seems like a lot. At the end of the day, there were seven staff gathered at the back door to leave.

Today, I’ll be going to the 11:00 service at Living Word Lutheran Church in Grapevine. It’s already 9:00, so I’d best get busy. The only other thing on my schedule for today is going back to the church this evening for our Mere Christianity book discussion group.


Plead my cause and redeem me; 
give me life according to your promise.
(Psalms 119:154 NRSV)

The only “cause” that I need for God to plead for me is my inability to do anything by myself. I have no righteousness of my own, and am completely and utterly incapable of doing anything “good” without the help of the Holy Spirit in my life. But God does give me life, according to His promise, and will continue to do so, as He has promised that He will complete what He has begun in me (and all of us).

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Lord our God, we thank you that you have called us your children, a people who may serve you even in suffering and temptation. Grant that the grace of Jesus Christ may be in us so that we can be victorious over everything that life puts in our way and can withstand the distress that surrounds so many people. O Lord our God, our only refuge, to you alone can we appeal for evil to end and for the victory of Jesus Christ to break through. In that hour we shall rejoice and be glad as your people. Amen.

“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they shall be called children of the living God.”
(Romans 9:26 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • to be called a child of the living God
  • for the grace of Jesus Christ that gives us victory over whatever life puts in our way
  • that our God carries us close to His bosom like lambs
  • that God is my strength, my song, and my salvation
  • that God is God; He alone is worthy

Here is a prayer by Henri Nouwen that I found, this morning, called “A Cry for Mercy.”

"O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul.

"But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter - but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament.
"I pray that these last three weeks, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you.

"Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come, and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen

Worship the LORD in holy splendor; 
tremble before him, all the earth.
(Psalms 96:9 NRSV)
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, 
O God of our salvation; 
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth 
and of the farthest seas.
(Psalms 65:5 NRSV)
For a thousand years in your sight 
are like yesterday when it is past, 
or like a watch in the night. 

You sweep them away; 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 consumed by your anger;
 by your wrath we are overwhelmed. 
You have set our iniquities before you,
 our secret sins in the light of your countenance. 

For all our days pass away under your wrath; 
our years come to an end like a sigh. 
The days of our life are seventy years, 
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; 
even then their span is only toil and trouble; 
they are soon gone, and we fly away. 

Who considers the power of your anger? 
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. 
So teach us to count our days 
that we may gain a wise heart.
(Psalms 90:4-12 NRSV)

“And you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve him with single mind and willing heart; for the LORD searches every mind, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will abandon you forever. Take heed now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary; be strong, and act.”
(1 Chronicles 28:9-10 NRSV)

He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
(Isaiah 40:11 NRSV)

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 NRSV)

"Yes, indeed—God is my salvation. 
I trust, I won't be afraid. 
GOD—yes GOD!—is my strength and song, 
best of all, my salvation!"
(Isaiah 12:2 MSG)

There’s a quote, in my C.S. Lewis Bible, from Surprised by Joy, that is included with a reference to 1 Chronicles 28:9.

“God was to be obeyed simply because he was God . . . . That is why, though it was a terror, it was no surprise to learn that God is to be obeyed because of what He is in Himself. If you ask why we should obey God, in the last resort the answer is, ‘I am.’ To know God is to know that our obedience is due to Him. In his nature His sovereignty du jure [in fact] is revealed.”

To some people, this is akin to your parents saying, “Because I said so.” That doesn’t seem to be an acceptable tactic, these days. However, there is an infinite difference between your parents and God. He created everything. Therefore, it is His ultimate right to expect obedience from His creation.

But there is more to this. The “more” is His care for His creation. God is not some wicked taskmaster who sits in His “heaven,” ruling over His subjects with an iron scepter. Rather, He, as stated in Isaiah 40, carries His lambs close to His bosom. He leads His flock, He feeds His flock, like a shepherd.

In fact, it would be a good thing to, at this point, reflect again on Psalm 23, in light of this.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures; 
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. 
He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I fear no evil; 
for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me
 in the presence of my enemies; 
you anoint my head with oil;
 my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 
all the days of my life, 
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD 
my whole life long.
(Psalms 23:1-6 NRSV)

THIS is the God to whom we owe obedience because He is God! And even if we don’t go with that reason, the very fact that He cares for us as He does should be enough.

And what does obedience to God look like? I think I’ve made that clear in plenty of posts. All is summed up in those two commands that I keep harping on. And trust me, I harp on them because I keep failing at them just as much as anyone else. But we are to love God and we are to love one another.

That is obedience, and that is what we owe to our God, for no other reason than He is our God. He is YHWH, I AM.

Father, as I go through this day, contemplating these truths, I pray that I will be reminded of the sole reason for which You should be obeyed. There are many others that I could come up with, but the main one is that You are God. You and You alone are fit to take the throne of the universe. You and You alone are worthy of our worship and our praise. Yet we continually cast those things at other human beings, as if that would not be an insult to You.

Forgive us, Father . . . have mercy on us. Bring us back to the place where we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that You are God, that You are our shepherd, who cares so much for us, who carries us in Your bosom like weak little lambs, for such we truly are. Dispense within us, Lord, any delusions that we are strong and mighty. We are weak and frail, we are like the grass that is so easily blown away by the wind or scorched by the heat of the sun. And in our weakness, You are made strong.

I pray for our worship, this morning, Lord, that it will be acceptable to You. Let us walk into Your sanctuary in the spirit of holiness and worship You alone, You who are beautiful and a terrible, terrible sight.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

"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.
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Wednesday, the 15th of March, 2023, in the third week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ fill you today!

Beware the Ides of March, if your name is Julius.

Day 23,743

As noted, already, it is Wednesday, and it’s a working Wednesday for me, which means I have to be at the library by 9:15, which means I need to be in the shower by 8:30, which means I’d best get moving, because it is already almost 8:00. Luckily for me, there’s nothing earth shattering to report about my week or yesterday.


Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near; 
they are far from your law.
(Psalms 119:150 NRSV)

For the record, no one is persecuting me with evil (or otherwise) purpose. It’s just the next verse in Psalm 119. However, if they were, I am certain they would be far from God’s law.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Lord our God, through the Spirit grant us community with you, we pray. Help us onward again and again, and help us grow in strength to follow what is true and good. May your goodness and your grace be in our hearts to help us in all practical things. Grant that wherever we live we may have something of the power in which Jesus Christ lived and suffered, in which he died and yet lives again. May the world still learn that it has a redeemer and that it belongs to him, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for friends and family, and loved shared with them
  • for goodness and grace in our hearts to help us with all things
  • for morning coffee
  • for the beautiful weather forecast for today
  • for the Word of God that gives me strength and encouragement

He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
(Mark 4:39 NRSV)

"Be still, and know that I am God! 
I am exalted among the nations, 
I am exalted in the earth."
(Psalms 46:10 NRSV)

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:61-62 NRSV)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 
Before the mountains were brought forth, 
or ever you had formed the earth and the world, 
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 
You turn us back to dust, and say, 
"Turn back, you mortals." 
For a thousand years in your sight 
are like yesterday when it is past, 
or like a watch in the night. 
You sweep them away; 
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 consumed by your anger; 
by your wrath we are overwhelmed. 
You have set our iniquities before you, 
our secret sins in the light of your countenance. 
For all our days pass away under your wrath; 
our years come to an end like a sigh. 
The days of our life are seventy years, 
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; 
even then their span is only toil and trouble; 
they are soon gone, and we fly away. 
Who considers the power of your anger? 
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. 
So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
(Psalms 90:1-12 NRSV)

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD,
(2 Samuel 7:18 NRSV)

Jesus’s words in Luke 9 have always been chilling. What did He mean there? Are we never allowed to “look back?”

I think motive and intent are everything. I believe that it is fine to look back at where we once were to take stock on how far we have come (or not come, for that matter). Where are we in comparison to where we were ten years ago?

I also believe (and I’m no Greek expert, so I could very well be wrong) that there might be an indication of backward motion in that statement. It’s more than just looking back, but wanting to “go back” to where we were.

Lot’s wife looked back (and I think that Jesus mentions her in one similar statement) when they were hurrying away from Sodom and Gomorrah. She didn’t want to leave. She looked back with longing. And she became a pillar of salt, leaving Lot with two daughters.

A lot of my contemporaries (and from what I have seen, this is not unusual) expend a lot of energy and time looking back. Someone is always talking about “the good ol’ days.” Personally, I try to avoid that. To me, the “good ol’ days” are right now! Looking back is pointless, and, according to our Savior, sinful! If we are longing to go back to a time before, Jesus says we are not fit for the kingdom. Kingdom people should be forward facing, forward looking.

Another thing that kingdom people should be doing more of is nothing. Heh. So God says “Be still, and know that I am God.” Jesus slept during the storm, and when the disciples bothered Him, He said, “Peace! Be still.” We see in the next verse that He questioned their faith, wondering why they were afraid. I mean, He was in the boat with them! Did they really think the boat was going to sink with Jesus in it??

Then there’s that verse in 2 Samuel that I have never noticed before. David, the King, “went in and sat before the LORD.” When you sit, you are still; you stop activity. “By sitting down, David renounced royal initiative, abdicated kingly authority, got himself out of the driver’s seat and deliberately placed himself before God his King.” (Eugene H. Peterson, Leap Over a Wall, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)

When King David sat, he traded in “his plans for God’s plans.”

Father, help us to be still, and in doing so, trade in any plans we might have for Yours. When we are still, when we “sit” before You, we do what David did, and relinquish all control over our lives to You. We get out of the proverbial driver’s seat. I remember that popular phrase, “God is my co-pilot.” It was said by a well-meaning airplane pilot. But it is wrong, and still puts self in the driver’s seat. You are my pilot, Lord. I am not driving. You are. Help me to be still and know that You are God.

I also pray that You keep me looking forward. You have blessed me with a mind and heart that don’t long for days gone by. I don’t complain about the way things are, comparing them with things ten or twenty years ago, wishing we could go back to those days. I don’t want to be thirty again! My face is set toward “home,” which is in the future for all of us. Things change, and we must change with them, and adapt to them. Help Your people to do this, Lord, rather than dragging our heels. Let us not be Lot’s wife.

And may we hear the words of Jesus as He speaks “Peace! Be still!” over the storms of our lives.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

On Boasting

Today is Monday, the 13th of March, 2023, in the third week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,741

Now, this is interesting. Of course, we all know that not every year has 365 days, because Leap Years. Today is my birthday, and I am officially Medicare years old. That’s right. Today, I have to start checking the next box on most survey age group questions. Today, I am 65 years old.

And 23,741 is a prime number.

Here are the plans for the day. We are having Crumbl Cookies delivered a little after 10:00 AM. I wasn’t going to go for those (they’re really expensive, especially delivered), but they have Lucky Charms cookies this week! If you know Crumbl, they have a different menu each week, the only constant being the milk chocolate chip. This week, they have the Lucky Charms cookie, a cookies and cream cookie, a mint chocolate brownie cookie, and a sugar cookie. There is also butterscotch chip and Boston cream pie, but we aren’t getting those.

For lunch, we plan to go to Hoffbrau Steakhouse, since I have a birthday email giving me $8 off of an entree. Then we are going to a local spa for pedicures. I might get a manicure, as well. In fact, I think I will. That’s pretty much it. The pedicures are scheduled for 1:30 this afternoon, so I figure that will be it for the day. But who knows?

We had a good day, yesterday, which was almost entirely devoted to S. After the church service at FBC Mineral Wells, we were able to get into Taqueria La Estrella, our favorite restaurant in Mineral Wells, so we had lunch there. Their chips and salsa are amazing! Then we went out to the pastor’s place, out west of the Brazos River, where S got to interact with some dogs, a horse, and a donkey. Oh, and a rabbit. She has a wonderful time. And we got home relatively early, as well. We were home well before 4:00 PM, so I had the rest of the evening to just chill.

I suppose I should get on with the devotional, now.


My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
 that I may meditate on your promise.
(Psalms 119:148 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Dear Father in heaven, may our hearts find words to praise you together, to ask you with one accord that we may be brought into community with you. We come to you with our whole selves, with all that we have experienced, with all that has been given to us through your leading. For to this day you have shown us the way, guiding us through right and wrong, through the perfect and the imperfect. You have led us all to know that we belong to you. We are yours. You are working in us to bring about what you have in mind for each one of us and for the many, many who hunger and thirst for justice and truth. Be with us through your Spirit. Touch us through the hand of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior, and we hold fast to him so that we can praise you in his name. Amen.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
(Matthew 5:6 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the beginning of another year of life, and the opportunities it will bring to serve Christ; may I be faithful
  • that we, the followers of Christ, are brought into holy communion with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  • that God works in and through all of us, by the power of the Trinity, to accomplish His plans and purposes for creation
  • for this day: not because it’s my birthday, but because it is all we have; now is all we have; celebrate and give thanks for today
  • for my trials and weaknesses, in which God is seen to be strong

Thus says the LORD:
 Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, 
do not let the mighty boast in their might, 
do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; 
but let those who boast boast in this, 
that they understand and know me, 
that I am the LORD; 
I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, 
for in these things I delight, 
says the LORD.
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 NRSV)

Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD:
 though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; 
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 NRSV)
Be to me a rock of refuge, 
a strong fortress, to save me, 
for you are my rock and my fortress.
(Psalms 71:3 NRSV)
"Because the poor are despoiled, 
because the needy groan, 
I will now rise up," 
says the LORD; 
"I will place them in the safety for which they long." 

The promises of the LORD are promises that are pure, 
silver refined in a furnace on the ground, 
purified seven times.
(Psalms 12:5-6 NRSV)
Praise the LORD! 
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, 
in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 
Great are the works of the LORD, 
studied by all who delight in them.
 Full of honor and majesty is his work, 
and his righteousness endures forever.
 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; 
the LORD is gracious and merciful. 
He provides food for those who fear him; 
he is ever mindful of his covenant. 
He has shown his people the power of his works, 
in giving them the heritage of the nations. 
The works of his hands are faithful and just; 
all his precepts are trustworthy. 
They are established forever and ever, 
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
He sent redemption to his people; 
he has commanded his covenant forever. 
Holy and awesome is his name. 
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; 
all those who practice it have a good understanding. 
His praise endures forever.
(Psalms 111:1-10 NRSV)
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. 
"Almighty God,
whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit
to be tempted by Satan:
Come quickly to help us who are assaulted
by many temptations;
and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us,
let each one find you mighty to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
(Psalms 90:12 NRSV)
For everything there is a season,
 and a time for every matter under heaven: 
a time to be born, 
and a time to die; 
a time to plant, 
and a time to pluck up what is planted;
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NRSV)

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
(James 4:13-14 NRSV)

Your way, O God, is holy.
(Psalms 77:13 NRSV)

Let not wise boast in their wisdom
let not the mighty boast in their might
let not the wealthy boast in their wealth

We are a boasting people, we Americans. Westerners are proud. And not necessarily in a good way.

Personally, I’ve never boasted about having wisdom. I don’t think I’m all that wise. I’m pretty smart, I think. But I don’t know about wisdom. I’m certainly not mighty, either. I’ve never been all that strong. When I was an adolescent, I was pretty scrawny. Never could run very fast, either. My father always said that I ran too much in the same place. And I’ve never been all that wealthy, at least not by American standards. We’re doing pretty well for ourselves, these days, and by world standards (the average income, world-wide, seems to be just over 10K per year) we are probably very rich.

I’m sure I’ve boasted in things, throughout my life, though, and have made it a point to not be boastful about personal things, in recent years. According to God’s Word, there are only a couple things about which it is acceptable to boast. One is in that verse in Jeremiah. And that is that we understand and know God, who acts with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness, things in which He delights.

The other is in weakness. Paul says that he will gladly boast in his weakness, because, in his weakness, God is seen as strong.

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
(2 Corinthians 11:30 NRSV)

I find that it is a dangerous thing to start boasting that we know and understand God. There are a lot of folks out there making that boast when it’s not, apparently, really true, based on their actions and attitudes about other people. So that one is a risky boast. It puts one on thin ice, so to speak.

That being said, I do believe that, especially in recent years, I know and understand God to a degree. Who can say that they fully understand the Infinite Almighty, right? But I am learning from Him. I am constantly reading His Word and meditating on it, seeing ways that I need to change, thoughts that need to stop, attitudes that need to be adjusted, and actions that need to change.

I guess one of the biggest dangers of boasting is that it exudes self-sufficiency. It says that I don’t need anyone else.

And nothing could be further from the truth.

One other thing that I want to point out, quickly, is this idea of numbering or counting our days. It was quite some time ago that I began to take that Psalms passage literally. Hence my day number at the beginning of each day. I will confess that this is slightly “tongue-in-cheek.” Nevertheless, I see some value in it. I’ve been alive a lot of days. But today is the only one in my “possession.” I only have today. I do not have the 20,000+ days preceding it, and I don’t have tomorrow. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow. James points this out quite well.

And that’s another thing in which we tend to boast. What we’re going to do tomorrow or next month or next year. Even that silly job interview question (I loathe job interviews), “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Heck if I know. For all I know, I might be six feet under!

My opinion? It would be safer to just not boast about anything at all.

Father, I pray for us; the Church, this country, this world. We are so very proud, as a people, and we so lack humility. We boast and boast and boast, and much of our boasting is nothing more than hot air, blowing smoke. We don’t really even know what we are talking about most of the time. Give us humility, Father, and I am well aware of how painful that can be, at times. But we need it. If we must boast, let us boast in our relationship with You, but only if we can demonstrate that we understand Your steadfast love, justice, and righteousness, those things in which You delight. To a large degree, we seem to think that understanding and knowing You means that we must militantly force the rest of the population to agree with us.

Have mercy on us, Lord. I thank You for today. And certainly, I am grateful to be beginning another year of life, but I’m also simply grateful for this moment that I have. Help me to live each moment fully, to celebrate each day as it comes, not worrying about tomorrow and not fretting about yesterdays. What’s gone is gone, what is done is done, and nothing can be done about that. I only have today, and I thank You for this day.

This is a day that You have made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Worship Together

It is Sunday, the 26th of February, 2023, the first Sunday of Lent.

May the peace of Christ rain down on you, today!

Day 23,726

I have to be at the church by 8:15, this morning, which means I have less than an hour for my devotional, so I will get right to it. I do want to share a recipe that I cooked for the family for brunch, yesterday. It was another Emily Bites recipe, called Ultimate Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole, and it was delicious.


Keep my steps steady according to your promise, 
and never let iniquity have dominion over me.
(Psalms 119:133 NRSV)

This could easily be a daily prayer.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Lord God Almighty, Lord our God, our refuge for ever and ever, bless us as we gather in your presence and turn to you. May we be your children, who can simply believe and stand firm in our lives and in our calling. We thank you for giving us your grace and constant help. In your grace we can be joyful, praising and honoring you. You are our father. You never forsake us. May your name be praised by us all. May your name be praised above and in the whole world so that all people may acknowledge you and receive what they need from you. Amen.

A Song of Ascents.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
 My help comes from the LORD, 
who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 121:1-2 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the opportunity to worship with the community of saints, this morning
  • for a voice to glorify the Lord; may I be faithful to do so, this morning
  • for the grace of God, in which we can be joyful, praising and honoring Him
  • that He never forsakes us
  • for the writings of great men of faith

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, 
"You are my refuge, 
my portion in the land of the living."
(Psalms 142:5 NRSV)
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us,
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
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.
(Gloria in Excelsis)
This is the day that the LORD has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalms 118:24 NRSV)
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, 
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD: 
that he looked down from his holy height, 
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, 
to hear the groans of the prisoners, 
to set free those who were doomed to die; 
so that the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion, 
and his praise in Jerusalem, 
when peoples gather together, 
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
(Psalms 102:18-22 NRSV)
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. 
"Most loving Father,
whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things,
to fear nothing but the loss of you,
and to cast all our cares on you who cares for us:
Preserve me from faithless fears and worldly anxieties,
that no clouds of this mortal life
 may hide from me the light of this love which is immortal, 
and which you have manifested to us 
in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you, 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and for ever. 
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

O come, let us sing to the LORD; 
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; 
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 
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 the dry land, which his hands have formed. 
O come, let us worship and bow down, 
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! 
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, 
and the sheep of his hand. 
O that today you would listen to his voice!
(Psalms 95:1-7 NRSV)

A psalm of the sons of Korah. 

Applause, everyone. 
Bravo, bravissimo! 
Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!
(Psalms 47:1 MSG)

"In worship the community of God's people assemble to hear God's word spoken in scripture, sermon, and sacrament. The faith that is created by that proclaimed word develops responses of praise, obedience, and commitment.
"At no time has there ever been a biblical faith or any kind of continuing life in relation to God, apart from such common worship. By persisting in the frequent, corporate worship in which God's word is central, God's people are prevented from making up a religion out of their own private ideas of God."
(Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones, quoted in God's Message for Each Day)

This is so wonderfully written that I really cannot add anything to it. Community worship is necessary for faith to thrive. There is even a website that I used to visit frequently when I was a worship leader, called Worship Together, where one can view and download various resources for community worship.

One of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s books that I have read is called Life Together, in which he also speaks of the importance of the community of faith.

We simply cannot survive alone, and we must worship together, if at all possible.

Father, I am thankful for the ability to worship with the saints. As I take communion each Sunday, I am reminded that I am sharing the Body and Blood of Christ with myriads of saints around the world, and that we are connected in the Spirit. This gives me life and faith and hope and strength to live in this world each day.

I pray that, if there is anyone who believes that they can successfully be in relationship with You without being in community worship, that Your Spirit would convict them otherwise. We need each other, Father, in ways that we don’t even know.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Kyrie Eleison

Today is Thursday, the 23rd of February, 2023, in the season of Lent.

May the peace of Christ find you today.

Day 23,723

Last night’s Ash Wednesday service was wonderful. I think the choir anthem went well, but I will have a better idea of that when the video is posted. It was a very meaningful time for me, especially when the time for the “imposition of ashes” came. We all went to the altar, as usual, for communion, but before the bread and wine, we each got (at our own discretion, of course) the cross of ashes on our forehead.

This morning, I have a doctor appointment at 10:45, which is a follow-up to recheck my blood pressure after a month of raising my medication dosage. Hopefully that will test better, this morning. And hopefully, they won’t yell at me too much as I have had a slight weight gain since last month. But, as they say, it is what it is, right?

Tonight, S has her Club Metro event. They will be playing dodgeball tonight, after having dinner from Jersey Mike’s. We have already signed her up for March’s events, but the schedule is not out, yet. C and I will have dinner together somewhere while S has her event. We look forward to that.


The unfolding of your words gives light; 
it imparts understanding to the simple.
(Psalms 119:130 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

Lord God, we turn to you, praying that your kingdom may come. May your Jerusalem really come on earth, with all those blessed ones who are allowed to gather around Jesus Christ through forgiveness of sins and the resurrection. Come with your light into our time so that sins may be forgiven and people may find salvation. Remember those in great distress. Come with your help to those struggling with sin or death, for help can come from you alone. Nothing can help us except your fatherly love in Jesus Christ. Praised be your name! Amen.

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
(Revelation 7:9-10 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for that vision in Revelation; it brings me such joy
  • for a wonderful Ash Wednesday worship service, last night
  • for the fatherly love of God in Christ Jesus and His help which comes from Him alone
  • that God, our Father, is rich in mercy
  • for love, without which nothing I do has any value

Turn to me and be gracious to me; 
give your strength to your servant; 
save the child of your serving girl.
(Psalms 86:16 NRSV)
You are a hiding place for me; 
you preserve me from trouble; 
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. 
(Psalms 32:7 NRSV)
But surely, God is my helper; 
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
(Psalms 54:4 NRSV)
In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. 
He was in the beginning with God. 
All things came into being through him,
 and without him not one thing came into being. 
What has come into being in him was life, 
and the life was the light of all people. 
The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness did not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 NRSV)

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

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. 
May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, 
on earth as in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread. 
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. 
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; 
for Yours are the kingdom and the power 
and the glory forever and ever. 
"O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing:
Send your Holy Spirit and pour into my heart your greatest gift,
which is love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtue,
without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you.
Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and forever.
(The Divine Hours--The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”
(Exodus 34:6 NRSV)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
(Matthew 5:7 NRSV)

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 NRSV)

The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind 
to see if there are any who are wise, 
who seek after God.
(Psalms 14:2 NRSV)

Kyrie Eleison.

Lord, have mercy.

According to our senior pastor, in last night’s Ash Wednesday sermon, “mercy” is the only characteristic that the Bible says that God is “rich in.” I have not taken the time to verify this. However, I do know that the Bible specifically does say that God is rich in mercy.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us . . .
(Ephesians 2:4 NRSV)

And the “rich in mercy” phrase comes right after two of my favorite words in the whole Bible, “But God.”

The word for “mercy” in that verse is “eleos,” which means can be translated as “compassion.” This is the most common word translated “mercy” in the New Testament.

However, we read a passage from Luke, last night, that I will share with you. It is a familiar passage, one that I have quoted frequently, myself.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 NRSV)

In verse 13, the word translated “merciful” is an entirely different Greek word, “hilaskomai.” The meaning is significantly different. “To conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious:—be merciful, make reconciliation for.”

This word is only found twice in the Bible. The other location is Hebrews 2:17.

Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.
(Hebrews 2:17 NRSV)

A major theme of Lent is repentance. We focus on reflection and meditation during this time. In many cases, something is given up, in the spirit of abstinence. But the purpose for all of these things is repentance as we reflect on the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting, before being tempted by the devil.

And during this time, we cry Kyrie Eleison. Lord, have mercy.

The “Jesus prayer” is adapted from the Luke passage, from the words of the Tax collector. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And note the posture of the tax collector. He would not even look up as he prayed, and he was “beating his breast.” He was guilty. He was remorseful. He repented.

I pray that “Jesus prayer” frequently. Sometimes, multiple times a day. Sometimes I repeat it at night, when I am struggling to fall asleep.

We are not saying that one of these kinds of “mercy” is better than the other. We are simply pointing out the differences. There is another word that is sometimes translated “mercy,” and sometimes translated “steadfast love.” That word is “chesed.” That’s a Hebrew word, found in the Old Testament. It means the same thing as “eleos” in the New Testament, rooted in compassion. (There are also different forms of “eleos” in the New Testament, but this isn’t a Greek lesson.)

Kyrie Eleison.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, forgive my sins. Grant me repentance as I reflect on Jesus, His life, His sacrifice on the Cross. Grant me atonement, that I might live, and in my living, live for You alone. “Have mercy on me, God, according to Your steadfast love. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. . . . O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.”

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”

All glory to You, Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Thursday, the 29th of December, 2022, in the first week of Christmas.

It is the fifth day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ reign in your life today!

Day 23,667

Three days until 2023!


It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
(Psalms 119:71 ESV)

This is a state of mind that seems to have been, for the most part, lost in recent years. As a society, instead of stopping to try to learn anything from our experiences, we seem to be spending all our energy whining and moaning about them.

Dear Father in heaven, whose might is over all the earth, we thank you for all the love you show us. We also thank you for everything that seems hard, but which you change into help and strength. We want to thank you in life and in death, in joy and in sorrow, for you are the great and mighty God, who calls us to life again and again, who leads us to fuller life. You have given us great love in Jesus Christ, our Savior. He shall always be before our eyes and remain in our hearts. Through him we can cry out in joy, “Abba, dear Father!” Amen.

Praise the Lord. 
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
 his love endures forever. 
Psalm 106:1, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the love of the Lord, that endures forever
  2. for those things which seem hard, but God works out for our good
  3. that our Father calls us to life, again and again
  4. for the faith with which we not only begin our life in Christ, but continue to abide in Him
  5. to be clay in the hands of the Master Potter

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
 because he has anointed me 
to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
 and recovering of sight to the blind, 
to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
(Luke 4:16-21 ESV)
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, 
that the mountains might quake at your presence— 
as when fire kindles brushwood 
and the fire causes water to boil—
 to make your name known to your adversaries, 
and that the nations might tremble at your presence! 
When you did awesome things that we did not look for, 
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 
From of old no one has heard 
or perceived by the ear, 
no eye has seen a God besides you, 
who acts for those who wait for him.
(Isaiah 64:1-4 ESV)
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; 
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
 we are all the work of your hand. 
Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, 
and remember not iniquity forever. 
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
(Isaiah 64:8-9 ESV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
(1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
(Colossians 2:6-7 NRSV)

But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 NRSV)

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.
(1 John 2:24 NRSV)

“Continue.” To persist in an activity or process. To remain in existence or operation. To remain in a specified position or state.

It can also mean to recommence or resume after interruption.

All too often, the notion of faith is only used in reference to the beginning of salvation. You know, “By grace you have been saved through faith.” But that is not the end of the matter. And if we see the beginning as the end, we shortchange ourselves, and we don’t do God any favors, either.

The beginning of our walk with Christ happens through faith. But a key word in that sentence is “walk.” Walking requires movement, from one place to another. Unless one is walking for simply exercise (for example, on a treadmill), a destination is implied.

Unfortunately, for a large number of people who get “saved,” the destination is seen as heaven, that “place” we wait to go to when we die.

But there is so much more to it than that. And the modern evangelical movement has not done a good job of explaining that, because the goal has been to get as many “decisions for Christ” as possible. Notches on the proverbial belt. I can’t help but believe that this was never what Christ intended for His Church.

The Kingdom of Heaven is here. It arrived with Christ, and it continues here in His Church. We are to be walking in that Kingdom, here and now, by faith, as we continue to do the works that Jesus, Himself began.

Yes, it is by faith that we begin that walk. But it also by faith that “we are to be rooted and established in our union with Christ.” (Andrew Murray, Abiding in Christ, quoted in Power in Prayer) In that union with Christ, we are said to be “abiding.” “It is astonishing how such faith will work out all that is further implied in abiding in Christ. There is in the Christian life a great need for watchfulness and prayer, of self-denial, obedience, and diligence.” (Murray)

We are instructed, by Paul, in Colossians, to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. In Western society, all of these traits are seen as weakness. How does one clothe oneself with these things? I suppose I could get a shirt made (I bet I can buy one that already exists) that has those five words on it. And there might be some people out there who really believe that wearing a shirt with those words on it satisfies the instruction.

But I cannot physically wear compassion. How do I clothe myself with it? Through faith! Through the same faith that led me and enabled me to believe in Christ, to begin with.

The fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity (“goodness” in some translations), faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those characteristics can only exist in my life by faith!

“It is faith that continually closes its eyes to the weakness of the creature and finds its joy in the sufficiency of an almighty Savior that makes the soul strong and glad.” (Murray)

“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you,” says John. Don’t stop at the beginning. Don’t let your “salvation” be nothing more than “fire insurance.” That is a mockery to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Take that same faith, that gift from God, that no one should be able to boast, and let it take you deeper, let it propel you into abiding.


Father, I am grateful for my salvation, more grateful than words could ever express. But, in the spirit of John and Paul and Christ, I want more. I desire more. I don’t desure to just get in the door and stay put. I want to, as the group Deliriou5? once sang, “go deeper.”

Take the faith that brought me into Christ, to begin with, and help me to abide in Him, to go deeper, to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and humility. Make the fruit of the Spirit to be strong in me in all ways. help me to close my eyes to the weakness, and to that which the world believes to be weakness, and be strong in Christ.

In all things, Christ is sufficient. In my supposed weakness, He is found to be strong. Yes, I am weak. I confess it. The treasure of faith, the love of Christ and You, the Father, is housed in this jar of clay, that which You remember is only dust. But Christ is sufficient. Yes. Help me to continue.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Again, It’s All About Love

Today is Wednesday, the 9th of November, 2022, in the 32nd week of Ordinary Time.

May God’s peace be with you, today!

Day 23,617

I have not previously mentioned this, but my wife’s birthday is this coming Saturday, November 12. Unfortunately, I have to work. But we have a special event planned for Monday, and she is taking PTO on both Friday and Monday.


Open my eyes, 
that I may behold 
wondrous things 
out of your law. 
(Psalms 119:18 ESV)

Lord our God, dear Father, may we be gathered in your light. Through your Spirit strengthen our hearts to hold fast to you, for you remain our help, our counsel, our comfort throughout our life and in all eternity. Send us Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and grant that again and again we may find newness of life through him. Grant that we become attentive to him, who is risen from the dead and who will come again to complete the work he began in his life on earth. We remember your promise, O Lord God, and we remain with you. We have little strength, and through us as we are you can accomplish nothing. You alone can fulfill your promise through Jesus Christ, whom you will send to complete your works at his final coming. Amen.

(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
(2 Peter 3:13 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the promise of a new heaven and new earth, where true, Godly righteousness will dwell
  2. for the strength to hold fast to God, who, alone, is worthy of my worship and loyalty
  3. that God will finish what He has begun, in Jesus Christ
  4. for the steadfast love of God, which is to be displayed in our lives as it translates into love for Him and love for one another
  5. that there is no favoritism with God, regarding where someone comes from, or what background they come out of

To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
(Titus 1:15-16 ESV)

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 NIV)

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
(Acts 10:34-35 NIV)

Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
(1 John 2:8-11 NIV)

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6 NIV)

Father, on this date after election day, I pray for Your Church in the world and in this country. There is much division in Your Church, these days, much of it being over petty things. Some aren’t petty, true, but many are. And none of them, it seems, has much of a Scriptural basis. I pray for unity in Your body, Lord. I pray for all who claim to follow Christ to obey His commands, so vividly portrayed in the selected Scriptures for today.

I am thankful that my diverse devotional materials all seemed to focus on this, today. It is always . . . I can’t think of a word better than “cool,” when this happens. Today, it is about love, and what an appropriate day for it.

I pray, not for a political party or any governmental candidate, but I pray that all who experienced positive outcomes would be gracious “winners,” not beating their opponents over the head with it. I pray that those whose elections did not come out in their favor would also be gracious “losers.” In truth, it is only all of us who “lose” when divisions like this exist.

But there is a deeper need, Father. Because, in Your Kingdom, there is no “country.” There will be no USA in heaven! I’m not entirely sure that some people realize this. And I am quite happy that this is the truth. Because, in Your Kingdom, as Revelation tells us, there will be magnificent worship and praise, in a multitude that consists of every tribe, nation, people, and tongue.

Help us to love, Father. To first love You with all our being, and to second love each other as ourselves, and, finally, as the “new command” of Jesus told us, to love one another as Christ has loved us.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.