Love Your Enemy

Today is Tuesday, the 21st of February, 2023, the last day of the season of Epiphany. Lent begins tomorrow, with Ash Wednesday. Today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today and every day.

Day 23,721

Typical Tuesday, today. I’ll be heading to Subway for lunch and dinner for the family, and then I’ll go to work at the library at 4:15-8:15 this evening. Who knows what will happen in between? Maybe some reading, maybe some gaming. I’m currently reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix. I’ve been wanting to read some of his work, for a while, now, so I finally checked this one out. So far, it does not disappoint. I’m a little more than halfway through it.


Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts; 
I hate every false way.
(Psalms 119:128 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, remember us even though we are only a few. Protect us from all evil, from all inner harm, which threatens us every day. Let your hand be over us so that at last a great power may stream out from your church into all the world, bringing the fulfillment of your promises. We thank you for all your goodness. Watch over us, we pray. Keep us in the right spirit and purpose, and help us resist all that is wrong and harmful. Grant that we serve you and not the world. Protect us this day and every day. Amen.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.
(Ephesians 5:25-27 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for my wife, faithful partner for almost 38 years
  • for the goodness of God in all things
  • for the potential of the Church to bring the light of God into the world; strengthen us to do right, Father!
  • for the steadfast love of the Lord, and His wonderful works to humankind
  • for David’s example in 1 Samuel of not doing evil to Saul

Open my eyes, 
so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalms 119:18 NRSV)
With my whole heart I seek you; 
do not let me stray from your commandments.
(Psalms 119:10 NRSV)
Some went down to the sea in ships, 
doing business on the mighty waters; 
they saw the deeds of the LORD, 
his wondrous works in the deep. 
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, 
which lifted up the waves of the sea. 
They mounted up to heaven, 
they went down to the depths; 
their courage melted away in their calamity; 
they reeled and staggered like drunkards, 
and were at their wits' end. 
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, 
and he brought them out from their distress; 
he made the storm be still, 
and the waves of the sea were hushed. 
Then they were glad because they had quiet, 
and he brought them to their desired haven. 
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind. 
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, 
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
(Psalms 107:23-32 NRSV)
A Psalm of David. 

The LORD is my shepherd,
 I shall not want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
(Psalms 23:1-2 NRSV)

David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; when his brothers and all his father’s house heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred.
(1 Samuel 22:1-2 NRSV)

The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.'” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. Afterward David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
(1 Samuel 24:4-6 NRSV)

let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
(Hebrews 10:22 NRSV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NRSV)

See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.
(1 Thessalonians 5:15 NRSV, emphasis added)

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.
(2 Thessalonians 3:3 NRSV)

"Father God, fill me with You until there is no more room for me." 
(Erika Bentsen, Walking in Grace 2023)

Show me how you work, GOD; 
School me in your ways.
(Psalms 25:4 MSG)

Evil will be used by God to bring about good. “All things . . .” (Romans 8:28) Not just “good things.” And, besides that, human interpretation of what is “good” and “evil” is, at best, suspect.

While we should not be naive about evil (having that “head in the sand” attitude about it), we should not be intimidated by it, either. The 2 Thessalonians verse tells us that God will guard us from the evil one. We also have Jesus’s model prayer including that bit about “deliver us from evil,” and there are some who say that it should say “evil one,” and not just “evil.”

We are not to repay evil for evil. It is my opinion that there is no circumstance that bears this out as prevalently as in driving. But it displays itself in some ugly ways in our interactions in society, as well.

We have this problem of forgetting that the “newspapers are footnotes to Scripture and not the other way around.” We spend to much time engaging with our own and other peoples’ opinions about things, especially in the political arena. “We get our interpretation of politics and economics and morals from journalists when we should be getting only information.” The meaning of the world should be given us by God’s Word. Instead we allow the world to interpret God’s Word. (Quotes by Eugene H. Peterson, from Run with the Horses, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)

Look at the example of David up there. Saul was trying to kill David. All because of some song that some women sang. “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands,” is how the song went. I’ve always had a rather humorous vision of this in my head, as a few dozen women do some kind of Hebrew dance in the street (which involves a lot of bouncing and jingling), chanting this line repeatedly. It has a pretty good rhythm to it.

Saul was envious. Or maybe it was jealousy; I get those two confused a lot. At any rate, he was literally hunting David to kill him. David had hidden out in a cave with around 400 men. Saul stepped into the cave to take a leak (relieve himself). David’s men said, “Here’s your chance! Kill him!”

David crept up to him and cut off a corner of his robe. David would not lift a hand against Saul, even though Saul would have killed him on the spot! 1 Samuel 24:4-6 tells us. David even felt guilty for cutting off a piece of Saul’s robe!

Who are your enemies? Do you even really have any? I don’t. There are certainly people that I don’t like very much. But do I consider them enemies? My only real enemy is spiritual, at least at this point in my life. But this translates into how I treat someone I don’t like, as well.

There’s a library patron I don’t care for. I’m not alone in that. But if Jesus is having His way in my heart, I will treat this person with love, not hatred. I will do “good things” to him.

By the way, note that bit from Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5 where he says that we should “do good to one another and to all.” Oh, if only he had stopped before “and to all!”

There are Christ-followers (allegedly) who are “conservative Republicans” who seriously believe that all Democrats are their enemies. There are Christ-followers (allegedly) who are “liberal Democrats,” although the conservative Republicans believe this to be impossible, who seriously believe that all Republicans are their enemies.

There are white people who believe that all people of color are their enemies. There are people of color who believe that all white people are their enemies. There are even men who believe that all women are their enemies, and vise versa.

None of these beliefs are true. Not one. But guess what. Even if they were, if we are true Christ-followers, we are obligated to love those people whom we consider to be our enemy. It is not negotiable.

I really like Erika Bentsen’s prayer in today’s reading in Walking in Grace 2023. I quoted it up there. It’s a wonderful prayer. We should all pray that, every day. Lord, “fill me with You until there is no more room for me.”

I’ve still got too much of me in there.

Lord, have mercy! Father, have mercy on us, for we are foolish children, walking about casting hatred at one another over ridiculous things like politics. We consider ourselves each others’ enemies, when, in reality, our only real “enemy” is the devil. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, says Paul, but we are sure wrestling an awful lot with each other. Help us to unite, in the blood and name of Jesus Christ, and fight our common enemy, reaching out with love to the world.

Help us to not interpret Your Word by the morning headlines and editorials. Rather, help us to interpret what we see in the world by Your Word, instead. Help us to be filled with You until there is no more room for us in there. When that happens, there will only be love coming out of us, and the world will then see what a true Christ-follower is supposed to look like.

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 Monday, the 20th of February, in the season of Epiphany.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,720

Only two more days until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. I will be attending an Ash Wednesday service at Living Word Lutheran Church, where I will be singing in the choir. It will be the first Ash Wednesday service I have ever attended. Fortunately, it is my Wednesday off, so I can make it easily.

I am also scheduled to sing a solo in both the 8:45 and 11:00 services, this coming Sunday morning. I’m a little excited (and nervous) about that.

It was nice to be able to “sleep in,” this morning, as I have not been able to do that since last Thursday. And I don’t have a lot on my plate for today. Monday household chores, and a possible trip to the grocery store. I probably need to go in person, today, as there are a couple of specific things I need.

C and I had a lovely time, yesterday. After I got home from the early church service, we headed up to Oklahoma, to the Winstar casino. We do this a couple or three times a year, just for fun. We don’t take it seriously, at all. This was an unusually successful trip for us. For the first time, ever, both of us left ahead. I put $20 in the first machine I played, and that was all of my money that I spent for a couple of hours. At one point, I was up to $300. I quit with just over $100, which means I cleared $80 for the afternoon. C spent $100, but left with $101, so she cleared a dollar. But a win is a win, right??

We almost decided to quit after about ten minutes, because C had won a $172 jackpot, and I almost immediately won a $150 jackpot (we were playing the same game, side by side).

What makes it more enjoyable is that, about a year or so ago, we discovered that there is an entire section of the casino that is non-smoking. And this time, we found that they have really modified that section, as it has its own restaurant and a shop, which it didn’t have before. We didn’t eat there, though. We actually only stayed about two hours, I think.

C is working from home, today, due to some hip pain she has been experiencing. If you are of the praying sort, we would appreciate your prayers in that matter. It looks like a hip replacement is in her future, but we don’t know how far into that future.


Truly I love your commandments 
more than gold, 
more than fine gold.
(Psalms 119:127 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, we thank you that in spite of all the evil, we may look toward the good and toward a change for the better. For your love, your Spirit of love, can be with us. In spite of all that has gone wrong, we can change. Through genuine faith we can become worthy in your sight. Everything can turn to the good. The nations can become glad, rejoicing in life because you are working among them to help them change. Amen.

My child, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 
for the LORD reproves the one he loves, 
as a father the son in whom he delights.
(Proverbs 3:11-12 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the Word of the Lord, more precious than gold
  • for the fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord
  • that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord
  • that Jesus is preparing a place for me, that where He is, there I may also be
  • for music, which so adequately expresses what I am feeling

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, 
all you who wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 31:24 NRSV)

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
(Mark 12:41-44 NRSV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; 
my body also rests secure. 
For you do not give me up to Sheol, 
or let your faithful one see the Pit. 
You show me the path of life. 
In your presence there is fullness of joy; 
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:9-11 NRSV)
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
Believe in God, believe also in me.
 In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. 
If it were not so, would I have told you 
that I go to prepare a place for you? 
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
 I will come again and will take you to myself,
 so that where I am, there you may be also. 
And you know the way to the place where I am going."
(John 14:1-4 NRSV)

[Love] rejoices in the truth.
(1 Corinthians 13:6 NRSV)

Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
(Ephesians 6:14 NRSV)

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 NRSV)

“Christian joy is not an escape from sorrow,” says Eugene H. Peterson, in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (quoted in God’s Message for Each Day). We will experience pain and suffering, hardship and trials, in our lives, but they will not be able to drive out our joy.

One reason for this is that it is God who gives us this joy. We do not work it up in our own lives; it is not something that we develop or something, even, that money or fame can buy for us.

When we are joyful, we feel good about God, not about ourselves, necessarily.

Just today, I realized that the picture I have always had in my head, concerning the “poor widow” in Jesus’s story up there, walked solemnly up to the offering coffer and sadly placed her two pennies in it. There is no indication whatsoever that her countenance was sad, or lowered, during this action. None at all. We truly have no idea how she approached the altar. She very well may have been quite joyful in the presenting of this offering.

It makes more sense to think that, actually, as Jesus also taught us not to appear sad or pitiful when we fast. Rather, we are to appear as though everything is normal. In other words, we are not to attempt to draw anyone’s attention to what we are doing when we perform spiritual activities.

Joy does not depend upon circumstances. Happiness does. But one can be joyful while not being happy.

Another reason for joy is what John Piper called hope in “future grace.” We have the assurance from Jesus in John 14. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” He said. He is preparing a place for us and will return and take us to Himself, “That where I am, there you may be also.”

If we truly believe this, then there is nothing that can happen on this earth that can affect our joy. And, in the words of Dallas Willard, “This earth is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”

Father, I am grateful for joy in my life. You have provided joy, and the joy that I have received from you cannot be tainted by anything the world can do. While my happiness can ebb and flow, my joy will remain constant. Help me to remember this when I feel like it is decreasing. Remind me that my joy is based on You and Your consistency, not me and my lack of the same.

You remember that we are dust. You have forgiven all of our sin, past, present, and future. Jesus is preparing a place for us, that where He is, there we may also be. All is well, and all manner of things shall be well. Things in Your kingdom are far better then we could ever imagine.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

What Is Life?

Today is Saturday, the 18th of February, 2023, in the season of Epiphany.

It’s only four more days until Lent begins.

May the peace of Christ be with you always!

Day 23,718

I had a good day, yesterday. The computer center was fairly busy for most of the day, especially during the afternoon. There were a couple of people who needed more help than usual, but that’s what I’m there for, and it makes the day go by more quickly.

Today is my Saturday in circulation. I’m hoping it’s not quite as busy as the last Saturday I worked, which was right on the heels of the library being closed for two days because of the winter ice storm we had. The weather is mild, today, chilly, but should be a pretty, sunny day. The high is forecast to be 52 in my zip code. I don’t know of any programs that are happening today. We have Baby Time at 10:30, but I don’t see anything else.


I am your servant; 
give me understanding, 
so that I may know your decrees.
(Psalms 119:125 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, our loving Father, we thank you for all that our hearts and spirits are allowed to receive from you. We thank you for the community you give us, strengthening us to face life even through toil, struggle, and privation. Grant that your powers flow out to give us strength and courage. May we see and recognize you in your deeds ever more clearly. Do not let us faint or grow weary, no matter what we have to suffer. Grant that your Spirit may penetrate us ever more deeply to bring peace to us and those around us, and finally to bring blessing for all peoples of the earth. Amen.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; 
his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 
Even youths will faint and be weary, 
and the young will fall exhausted; 
but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
 they shall run and not be weary, 
they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that when we wait for the Lord, our strength will be renewed
  • for peace that passes all understanding
  • that God does not faint or grow weary
  • that God continuously creates clean hearts in us
  • that Jesus carried our sins to the Cross, that we might be free from sin, and free to live (1 Peter 2:24)

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind. 
For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.
(Psalms 107:8-9 NRSV)
To the leader: for the flutes. A Psalm of David. 

Give ear to my words, O LORD;
 give heed to my sighing.
(Psalms 5:1 NRSV)
Create in me a clean heart, 
O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
 Do not cast me away from your presence, 
and do not take your holy spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, 
and sustain in me a willing spirit. 
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, 
and sinners will return to you.
(Psalms 51:10-13 NRSV)
To the leader. A Song. A Psalm. 

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
 sing the glory of his name; 
give to him glorious praise. 
Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
 Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you. 
All the earth worships you; 
they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name." 


Come and see what God has done: 
he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
(Psalms 66:1-5 NRSV)

He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing.
(1 Peter 2:24 MSG)

What is life?

It is “what God gives us in Jesus: grace, healing, forgiveness, deliverance from evil, a miraculous meal, the personal presence and word of God.”

What it is not is “self-preservation, self-help, self-aggrandizement, self-importance.”

Self-what?? What does “aggrandize” mean? “Increase the power, status, or wealth of.” Or, “enhance the reputation of (someone) beyond what is justified by the facts.”

If you remember a day or so ago, I quoted Peterson as saying that we are not the main characters in our own story. Because it is not my story, it is His story.

“Life is the Jesus revealed life that becomes plain as day on the cross–the sacrificial life, the life that loves generously and extravagantly, the life that through voluntary and sacrificial death to self becomes resurrection for the world.”

Life, real life, comes when we give up ourselves and any rights, therein. When we take the word “self” out of our vocabulary (figuratively), we become free to live.

(Quotes from Eugene H. Peterson, Like Dew Your Youth, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)

Father, thank You for life. Thank You for true, real life and the freedom that comes with it. Have I really found this life? While I may not have it quite down, just yet, I believe that I have, at least, stepped into the country of life, the country of resurrection. I’m still human, so I still have selfish desires, frequently. But I am on the road to selflessness, even as slowly as I am traveling. Help me to make progress on that road; to truly be free to live.

Thank You for the grace, the healing, the forgiveness, the deliverance; thank You for that most miraculous meal, Father. But most of all, thank You for Your presence and Your Word in my life.

Help me to love generously and extravagantly; help me to become resurrection for the world through death to self. That is life.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
(Philippians 2:3 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

His Story

Today is Friday, the 17th of February, 2023, in the season of Epiphany.

May the peace and love of Christ dwell within you, and shine forth from you, today.

Day 23,717

Today is my day in the computer center. I have dinner in the crock pot, cooking. I want to be finished with this by 8:30, so no time for trivial, peripheral matters.


Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, 
and teach me your statutes.
(Psalms 119:124 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, we thank you from our hearts, from the bottom of our hearts, that you consider us worthy to work with you so that redemption may come to the world in Jesus Christ. Already today many are rejoicing in their Redeemer. They are full of hope and comfort because the end is approaching – that evening when your glory shall be revealed, when the whole world and all nations shall glorify you, O great God and Father in heaven. Come into our time, we pray. Help us, Lord our God. Day and night we look to you in the hope of beholding the time of your glory, in the hope of receiving the peace that is beyond all understanding and of finding redemption, the great redemption from heaven, through you, the God over all flesh. Amen.

A Psalm. 

O sing to the LORD a new song, 
for he has done marvelous things. 
His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. 
The LORD has made known his victory; 
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. 
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness 
to the house of Israel. 
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
(Psalms 98:1-3 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the forgiveness of sin, through Jesus Christ our Savior
  • for the “chesed” of God; steadfast love, mercy
  • for the wonderful works of God toward humankind
  • that He is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him
  • that He consoles us in our afflictions, that we might, in turn, console others (2 Corinthians 1)

For your name's sake, 
pardon my guilt, 
for it is great.
(Psalms 25:11 NRSV)
Help me, O LORD my God! 
Save me according to your steadfast love.
(Psalms 109:26 NRSV)
he sent out his word and healed them, 
and delivered them from destruction. 
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, 
for his wonderful works to humankind. 
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, 
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
(Psalms 107:20-22 NRSV)
After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the LORD. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: "O LORD of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head." 
As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, "How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine." But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time." Then Eli answered, "Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him." And she said, "Let your servant find favor in your sight." Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.
(1 Samuel 1:9-18 NRSV)
"It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him."
(1 Samuel 3:18)
O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; 
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
(Psalms 10:17 NRSV)
"I hereby command you: 
Be strong and courageous; 
do not be frightened or dismayed, 
for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
(Joshua 1:9 NRSV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NRSV)

All of us are guilty of something. Every single one of us. Last Sunday morning, during the sermon, Pastor Malinak queried the congregation. “Raise your hand if you have never sinned.” Of course, no one raised their hand. We are all guilty.

In Christ, God has forgiven our iniquities, our guilt. Our guilt is not only pardoned, it has been historically erased. Let us be grateful for the “chesed” of God; the steadfast love; the mercy of God.

Hannah experienced this mercy. But before she did, she prayed in anguish before Him. So much anguish, in fact, that the priest thought she was drunk. There’s a lesson there for us.

There is always something we do not know about another person’s struggle. When someone does something that we consider to be uncaring or mean-spirited or selfish, we have no right to judge them (I’m preaching to myself, here, as well), because we have no idea what is going on in their lives. And, more than likely, that action was not directed toward us, personally.

News flash: not everything is about me!

I read a good quote, this morning, in a book by Eugene H. Peterson. The book is a compilation of the introductions to the various books of the Bible, in The Message. This was written in his intro to 1 and 2 Samuel:

” . . . we don’t have to fit into prefabricated moral or mental or religious boxes before we are admitted into the company of God–we are taken seriously just as we are and given a place in his story, for it is, after all, his story; none of us is the leading character in the story of our life.”

That last statement is an eye-opener. “None of us is the leading character in the story of our life.”

That truth will come as a shock to a lot of people, even many Christ-followers.

It’s not about me. It’s about Him. It is His story. And no, I’m not trying to make a play on words with “history.”

Father, how freeing it is to know that this story of life is not about me. I don’t have to worry about my part in it; that is up to You. Everything is up to You. As I walk through this world today, as I encounter patrons in the library, may Your Spirit remind me that they are all going through things that I am not aware of, or do not understand. Their frustration or whatever, even if directed, momentarily, at me, is not personal.

Help me, in all things, in all situations, at all times, show kindness and compassion. Clothe me, Father, with patience, compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness. In addition, continue making me a generous person. You have blessed me that I might bless others.

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.

Cling to God

Today is Thursday, the 16th of February, 2023, in the season of Epiphany.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,716

I didn’t make it to choir practice, last night. I had planned to go, but by 6:00 PM, when the library closed, I simply didn’t feel up to it. And it may be that I don’t try that on the alternating weeks when I work at the library. It might be different if the church was closer to home. But I will be there Sunday morning, to sing with the choir, and go over my upcoming solo with the director.

S is not feeling well, this morning, so she may not go to the Club Metro event tonight. I have gotten a grocery order delivered from Kroger, already, and got stuff to make dinner tonight, just in case. I had not planned on needing to do that. In other Club Metro news, they are having an extra outing this coming Saturday, in which they are going bowling. S is quite excited about that. I’m working this Saturday, so that works out just fine, as C and I didn’t have any plans. We do have tentative plans for Sunday, since the choir is singing at the early service and I should be home before 11:00 AM.

I guess that’s about it for today. Baseball season is getting underway, as Spring Training has officially begun. Pitchers and catchers reported Monday, I believe. The Texas Rangers made some drastic (hopefully) improvements to their pitching staff during the off season.


My eyes fail from watching for your salvation, 
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
(Psalms 119:123 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Dear Father in heaven, open the door for us, we pray. Grant that we may come to you in spirit. Grant that in you we may find peace and courage for our whole lives. Lead us always by your Spirit. Help us to find your will on earth and grant us access to your heavenly powers, for alone we can do nothing. Strengthen our faith so that we can always serve you. Bless your Word in us. May our hearts be opened, for we are your children, O Lord our God, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
(1 Corinthians 2:12 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that we have the Spirit of God, that we may understand His gifts
  • for the peace and courage God gives us, that we may live our lives
  • that the Lord is good to those who wait for Him (Lamentations 3:25)
  • for the “real blessing” that comes from putting my hope in God (Psalm 146, The Message)
  • for the example of Ruth and Naomi, which shows me how I need to cling to God

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. 
Let your glory be over all the earth. 
(Psalms 57:5 NRSV)
Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,
 O Lord GOD of hosts;
 do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me, 
O God of Israel. 
(Psalms 69:6 NRSV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:38-42 NRSV)

But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die—there will I be buried. May the LORD do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.
(Ruth 1:16-18 NRSV)

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
 to the soul that seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:25 NRSV)
Don't put your life in the hands of experts 
who know nothing of life, of salvation life. 
Mere humans don't have what it takes; 
when they die, their projects die with them. 
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob, 
put your hope in GOD and know real blessing!
(Psalms 146:3-5 MSG)

There are a variety of messages in today’s Scripture readings. The first thing I notice is Jesus’s teachings on turning the other cheek. Most “Christians” would say that they believe this, in principle. But when it comes to reality, to practice, they do not. They tend to have an excuse for when they don’t want to follow this teaching. It usually goes something like that: “Well, Jesus did not expect us to be a doormat, and allow people to simply walk all over us!”


Because that’s exactly what Jesus did. Here’s what happened the night Jesus was arrested. He was beaten until His back was a mass of raw flesh. They pulled out His beard. They blindfolded Him and hit Him with their fists, and said, “Guess who hit you?” The made a crown of thorns, thorns that were likely several inches long, and beat it into His head with a club.

And Jesus let it happen. He took it in silence, never responding, never fighting back. Many of us are familiar with that song, “He could have called ten thousand angels.” Well, He could have. He had that power.

And He didn’t.

So how dare anyone say that He never intended us to let people walk all over us.

At the end of that passage was a tough command. “Give to everyone who begs from you.” That’s a tough one, isn’t it? I confess that I have not done a very good job of that one, myself. I do try to be generous, though.

The next thing I see is Ruth’s devotion to Naomi. This passage is somewhat famous, and is used a lot in weddings, as a couple declare their devotion to one another. And while I don’t have any issue with that, I see this more as an example of how we should cling to God.

The remaining passages give us encouragement in this direction, as well. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to those who seek Him. We seek, we wait, we cling, refusing to be separated from Him, and He promises us that nothing can do that; nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

And we get “real blessing” when we put our hope in God, rather than in humans. So I encourage all who read this to cling to God the way Ruth clung to Naomi. It is challenging, I can attest to that, because this world is loud and distracting. It has many attractive temptations. In some of them, there is no danger, no harm. But that is different for different people.

Cling to God like your life depends upon it. Because it does.

Father, first, I pray for the attitude to always be turning the other cheek or going the “extra mile.” May this be done in Your name, Lord, and for no other reason that Your glory in this life. I pray that I will never have a mindset of retaliation when I am wronged. And may I always be able to give to whoever begs from me, without any doubt that it is the right thing to do. Their motivation is not my concern. That is between them and You.

I also need to pray for Your help in my ongoing judgmental attitude. It crops up when I least expect it. It usually only occurs in my thoughts. At least I have gotten better about letting it come out of my mouth. But the thoughts need to stop, as well. So I pray for Your Spirit to put a stop to that, Lord.

I also ask that You would help me cling to You like Ruth clung to Naomi. My life depends on You, Father. As I have heard one of the congregants of LWLC say to one of our pastors, “I can’t live one second without Jesus.” How true this is. So let me cling to You, Lord, even if it makes me look like a fool.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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.

Grace and peace, friends.

A Great and Awesome God

Today is Wednesday, the 1st of February, 2023, in the season of Epiphany.

May the peace of Christ bless you today!

Day 23,701

Once again, my header photo is courtesy of Romanian photographer Paul Militaru. Please visit his site at the link provided and take in his magnificent photos of the land in which he lives.

It is now officially my least favorite month of the year. I have severely disliked February for almost 40 years, for a variety of reasons, none of which I will share here, today. This year, February seems to have stolen the last two days of January, at least in DFW, Texas. We continue to be in winter weather, and we are officially in an “Ice Storm Warning,” until 6:00 AM tomorrow. The library is closed again, today. They say they are going to open at 10:00 tomorrow morning, but I’m skeptical. There is a 78% chance of more stuff falling from the sky today, and it may not get above freezing until after 9:00 AM tomorrow. It doesn’t matter that much to me, because I’m not scheduled to work again until Friday, but I do care about the safety and well-being of the best group of co-workers I’ve ever worked with.

Well, that may not be 100% true. I did have a pretty awesome crew to work with when I was the loading supervisor at Tex-Pack Express. But they are definitely my best group of work associates in almost 40 years. I’m still in contact with one of them, all these years later, shoutout to Robert Warden.

C continues to work from home today. I’m not sure what her plans are for tomorrow. She may be asked to come in later, around noon or so. I’m pretty sure she won’t be trying to get out and drive at 6:15 AM.

I thought I would share the video of our church orchestra playing, this past Sunday morning. I’m the bald head trombone player on the right. You can see the top of my head over the cellist’s music stand.


Accept my offerings of praise, O LORD, 
and teach me your ordinances.
(Psalms 119:108 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, we thank you that we may be your children and may be led by your hand. Give us patience and faith, especially when our way on earth seems difficult and life is full of grief and hardship. You are light. You show us the right path. You go before us in the self-denial and patience taught us by your Word. Protect us on all our ways. May your kingdom grow among us until it can be plainly seen that you, O God, are truly with us doing your work and bringing us joy, even though what we do seems fruitless. But your work endures. In your work we rejoice, and we want to give thanks to you every day. Amen.

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that we are safe and warm; praying for all who may not be so fortunate
  • for patience and faith, “especially when our way on earth seems difficult”
  • for the love that the Father has given us, “that we should be called children of God”
  • that we have nothing to fear in any circumstance of life; our God fights for us
  • that our God listens to us: “Everything we say, every groan, every murmur, every stammering attempt at prayer: all this is listened to” (Eugene H. Peterson)

Worship the LORD in holy splendor; 
tremble before him, all the earth.
(Psalms 96:9 NRSV)
To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song. 

May God be gracious to us and bless us 
and make his face to shine upon us, 
(Psalms 67:1 NRSV)
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous ordinances.
(Psalms 119:164 NRSV)
O guard my life, and deliver me; 
do not let me be put to shame, 
for I take refuge in you. 
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, 
for I wait for you.
(Psalms 25:20-21 NRSV)

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:5-8 NRSV)

Praise the LORD, all you nations! 
Extol him, all you peoples!
 For great is his steadfast love toward us, 
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. 
Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 117:1-2 NRSV)
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)

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

"Almighty and everlasting God,
you govern all things both in heaven and on earth:
Mercifully hear the supplications of your people,
and in our time grant us your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.
(The Prayer Appointed for the Week - The Divine Hours)

Do not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.”
(Deuteronomy 3:22 NRSV)

From there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. In your distress, when all these things have happened to you in time to come, you will return to the LORD your God and heed him. Because the LORD your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them.
(Deuteronomy 4:29-31 NRSV)

So acknowledge today and take to heart that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
(Deuteronomy 4:39 NRSV)

Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children's children may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. 

Hear, O Israel: 
The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:1-9 NRSV)

Have no dread of them, for the LORD your God, who is present with you, is a great and awesome God.
(Deuteronomy 7:21 NRSV)

O sing to the LORD a new song; 
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
(Psalms 96:1 NRSV)
My foot stands on level ground; 
in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.
(Psalms 26:12 NRSV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
(Colossians 3:16 NRSV)

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
(Hebrews 13:1-2 NRSV)

“I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.”
(2 Corinthians 6:16 MSG)

Over and over again, in Moses’s long sermon series that is the book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells the people, “Do not fear them,” or some variation of that statement. The “them” for Israel was the different nations they would encounter as they entered the Promised Land.

The “them” for us is entirely different. I’m not rampaging through a new, foreign land, destroying every people in my path. My troubles pale in comparison to what the children of Israel went through. In fact, the majority of my “troubles” would fall under the category of what I have, in the past, referred to as “footstool” problems. I don’t remember where I got that . . . but I will say that I did not originate that idea.

Today, it’s the fact that the trash didn’t get picked up this week because of the winter weather we are experiencing. So it sits until next Tuesday. But at least we are allowed four extra bags that can be set out at the curb, next week. But that doesn’t help the recycling. Our recycling bin will be completely full, which will cause us to have more trash.


Last week, it was the police drama outside on my street, that caused me to not be able to park in my driveway until well after 11:00 PM.


Earlier in our lives, though, it was the challenge of raising and autistic daughter, who is now an adult who still lives with us. There were times during those years that I admit that we forgot to not be afraid of “them,” because the Lord will fight for us.

“Them” is different for everyone. But one thing is the same for all of us (and I’m speaking of Christ-followers, here). And that is the truth of Moses’s statement to Israel.

Do not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.”
(Deuteronomy 3:22 NRSV)

And then, in chapter 7, verse 21, he adds this little bit, “for the LORD your God, who is present with you, is a great and awesome God.”

This is why we can “sing a new song” (Psalm 96:1). This is why “my foot stands on level ground” (Psalm 26:12). This is why the word of Christ can dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16).

And this . . . this is why we can (and must) “let mutual love continue” (Hebrews 13:1).

It is a beautiful thing. Our God has said, and I believe Him because He said it, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

Yes. Our God is a great and awesome God! So do not fear “them,” whoever your “them” is. Have no dread of “them.” God is bigger and stronger, and He dwells with us.

To use more modern terminology, He’s got this.

Thank You, Father, that You are a great and awesome God! Praises to You for choosing to dwell with us and in us, so that we have nothing to fear, no “them” to dread. I pray for all of my brothers and sisters who seem to live in a constant state of fear over “them.” May their hearts be filled with Your love, and their eyes be opened to the truth that we have nothing to fear or dread in this world. Let us remember that, in the words of Dallas Willard, in Your kingdom, things are far better than we could ever imagine.

Let us love one another with the love with which Christ has loved us. Let us love You with all of our beings, heart, soul, mind, and strength, and in doing these two things, fulfill all of the Law and Prophets. May the Word of Christ dwell richly within us as we walk through this world. And keep our feet on level ground in You, that we might not slip or stumble.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

New Things

It is Tuesday, the 31st of January, 2023, in the season of Epiphany.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,700!

Late again, today. Here it is after 11:00 and I’m barely getting started. The ground is covered with sleet, outside, and it is currently 25 degrees. The projected high is 29. Tonight’s low is 21, and tomorrow’s high is 32 (or 31, depending on which app I look at). The “winter storm warning” now goes until noon on Thursday, February 2.

The library is closed today and tomorrow, and is scheduled to open at 10:00 on Thursday. I don’t work on Thursdays, so I will be in on Friday morning. That means I will only have 8 hours on the week, instead of 20. I am scheduled to work this coming Saturday, though, so I may need to set a reminder to go to work on Saturday. Haha!

Thursday, by the way is Groundhog Day. Of course, how it looks in DFW Texas is irrelevant to that. Punxsutawney Phil lives in Punxsutawney, PA.

I was “proactive” enough to think about ordering something to make for dinner tomorrow and Thursday (just in case I didn’t work tomorrow)(and S doesn’t have Club Metro, anyway, on Thursday), but I totally forgot to have something in mind for tonight, in case I didn’t work tonight. But I have decided, and others have agreed, to cook eggs and bacon tonight. Breakfast for dinner.

As for choir practice tomorrow night, that remains to be seen. I haven’t yet heard if it will happen, but I may not try to get there, anyway. It’s about 15 miles away, for me, and there is at least a 60% chance of more snow/sleet tomorrow.

The big question is, can we survive two days without Sonic drinks??


I am severely afflicted; 
give me life, O LORD, 
according to your word.
(Psalms 119:107 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Lord our God, we worship you, for you come to meet us everywhere and you reveal your glory on our earth. May we become worthy of you, people who can represent you with our whole being. Give us the strength to endure, even through struggles and temptations. Be merciful to us at all times through Jesus Christ our Savior. May we remain body and soul in his hands, that at last we may come to you, our Father in heaven, as your true children, reborn through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.
(Isaiah 62:1 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that God meets us everywhere
  • that I don’t have to try to get out to go to work in this weather
  • that God is constantly doing new things
  • that God is not limited by my ignorance or despair
  • that, as His disciples, we will be like Jesus, someday

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!
(Psalms 95:1-2 NRSV)
To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song. 

May God be gracious to us and bless us 
and make his face to shine upon us, 
(Psalms 67:1 NRSV)
A Song of Ascents. 

To you I lift up my eyes, 
O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 
As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, 
as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, 
so our eyes look to the LORD our God, 
until he has mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O LORD, 
have mercy upon us, 
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
(Psalms 123:1-3 NRSV)
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, 
and sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
(Psalms 7:17 NRSV)

I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
(John 14:13-14 NRSV)

Rise up, O LORD, and go to your resting place, 
you and the ark of your might. 
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, 
and let your faithful shout for joy. 
For your servant David's sake 
do not turn away the face of your anointed one. 

The LORD swore to David a sure oath
 from which he will not turn back: 
"One of the sons of your body 
I will set on your throne. 
If your sons keep my covenant 
and my decrees that I shall teach them, 
their sons also, forevermore, 
shall sit on your throne."
(Psalms 132:8-12 NRSV)
"Keep my, Lord, as the apple of your eye 
and carry me under the shadow of your wings." 
(The Divine Hours - The Small Verse)

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

"Almighty and everlasting God,
you govern all things both in heaven and on earth:
Mercifully hear the supplications of your people,
and in our time grant us your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.
(The Prayer Appointed for the Week - The Divine Hours)

A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher.
(Luke 6:40 NRSV)

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
(Proverbs 22:6 NRSV)

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
(Romans 12:4-8 NRSV)

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
(1 Peter 4:10 NRSV)

I am about to do a new thing; 
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:19 NRSV)

"The gospel message says: 'You don't live in a mechanistic world ruled by necessity; you don't live in a random world ruled by chance; you live in a world ruled by the God of Exodus and Easter. He will do things in you that neither you nor your friends would have supposed possible. He is not limited by anything you think you know about him; he is not boxed into the cramped dimensions of your ignorance or your despair. As Isaiah says, "I am about to do a new thing."'"
(Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones, quoted in God's Message for Each Day)

Let’s consider this a bit more.

God will do things in us that neither we nor our friends would think possible. The most amazing of those things is our salvation. God came to earth as a man, fully God and fully human. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and was resurrected three days later. Then He ascended into heaven, where he waits at the Father’s right hand, and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

He put part of Himself in us, His children. He clothed us in the righteousness of Christ (I believe I waxed on about that a bit, yesterday).

Because of that righteousness of Christ, we have the ability to pray to Him, and He will answer our prayers, because “the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Each one of these is a “new thing,” and God hasn’t stopped doing new things. I realize that the writer of Ecclesiastes said that there is nothing new under the sun.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 NRSV)

There are a couple of things to consider in that. One is that “The Teacher” was speaking from a perspective of almost despair. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity,” he said. The other is that, in my opinion, he is mostly speaking of human events. I could be wrong about that.

But I am surprised by the grace of God, pretty much every day. I started to say “every time I turn around,” but that would be a bit exaggerative. And the reason I consider these “new things” is because they haven’t happened before. Not to me. Every second that I live is a “new thing.” As I am typing this paragraph, it is 12:45 PM. Whatever happens to me at 12:46 PM has never happened before. And it will never happen again.

Oh, sure, I will drink water again, but I will never have that drink of water again. That’s kind of like how a river is never the same river, from minute to minute. And it will never be the same river again.

I’m probably getting philosophically absurd, here. But my point is that life with God is ever new. It never stays the same. He never stops working in our lives, and He never stops working in our world, in our “history.”

Time, as we know it, is a human construct. God is not “boxed in” to that human construct. He is not limited by our ignorance or despair, as Eugene said, up there. And how arrogant are we that we believe that our ignorance limits God? Oh, sure, we don’t call it “ignorance,” because we think we are smart. But it truly is. Most of what we think is true about God is ignorant. And God is not limited by what we think about Him.

I, for one, am very grateful for that. We would be in big trouble if what I saw a lot of people on Facebook posting about God was truth.

God is God and we are not. Therefore, we should remain humble and accept what He gives us in His infinite wisdom. And He is constantly doing something new. If we would but pay attention, keep our eyes open, keep our hearts open to His will, and maybe shut up for a minute, the blessings that we would experience would be incredible.

The last amazing, new thing that I want to focus on is from Luke 6:40, up there. While we, as disciples, will never be greater than our teacher, Jesus says that we will be like Him, when “fully qualified.” What does “fully qualified” mean? I’m not sure that will ever happen in this life, but I think it means when we have learned from Him, and have succeeded in walking in His steps, in His “easy yoke,” and when we fully reflect His image to the world.

God, our Father in Heaven, I worship and adore You. I give due reverence to Your name. I pray for Your will to be done on earth as in heaven, and for Your kingdom to be fully realized. I thank You for the new things that You are constantly doing, in our world, and in our lives. I pray for all who do not believe in You, or believe that, while You exist, You are not active in human affairs. May their hearts and minds be open to see You as You are.

Help us in our arrogance and ignorance, Father. We believe many things about You, some of which may or may not be true. I am grateful that You are not limited by anything, especially by our foolish misconceptions about You. Your plan is in place, and it will be carried out, and it will be carried out in Your perfect timing. Help us to fall in line and walk in that timing. Help us to get our of ourselves and care about someone else, for a change.

And help us to love like You love, Lord.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

The Path of Love

Today is Saturday, the 28th of January, 2023, in the season of Epiphany.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,697

It’s going to be a pretty lazy day around here, I think. After all the excitement of the week (see Thursday’s entry), and C’s work schedule being a little wacky, I’m thinking we might need a day to just chill. We might go out for lunch, in a little while, and I’ll probably cook burgers for dinner tonight. I do have some reading to do and need to play my trombone for a little while, in preparation for tomorrow’s orchestra performances at church.

I have to be at church by 8:00 AM tomorrow morning, so I’ll try to get a devotional blog in before then. I’m making no promises.


Through your precepts I get understanding; 
therefore I hate every false way.
(Psalms 119:104 NRSV)

Lord our God, we come into your presence and ask you to help us. Help us in every part of our lives, even when we do not understand. Be with us with your Spirit. Guide and lead us with your hand. Let your will be done in all things, even if we must bear suffering. Your will is for good alone and you will set everything right. Help us. Bless us through your Word, through everything we are allowed to hear from you, our God and our Father. Amen.

Daily Prayer from

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; 
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
(Psalms 32:8 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the understanding that I get from God’s Word
  • for the help that we get, in our lives, from the Lord and His Holy Spirit
  • that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose
  • for the potential of an undivided heart, that I might truly revere His name and be thankful with a whole heart
  • that true freedom comes with the ability to see all people as instances of divine love; love others as oneself is an act of true freedom

Come, behold the works of the LORD; 
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
(Psalms 46:8 NRSV)

(Note: it is interesting to me that the word translated “desolations” can also mean “wonderful thing,” yet almost every major translation says “desolations.” Curious.)

Give victory to the king, O LORD; 
answer us when we call.
(Psalms 20:9 NRSV)
O my strength, I will watch for you;
 for you, O God, are my fortress.
(Psalms 59:9 NRSV)

The LORD works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.
(Psalms 103:6 NRSV)

"But I say to you that listen, 
Love your enemies, 
do good to those who hate you, 
bless those who curse you, 
pray for those who abuse you. 
If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; 
and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 
Give to everyone who begs from you; 
and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again."
(Luke 6:27-30 NRSV, emphasis added)
Rouse yourself, come to my help and see! 
You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. 
Awake to punish all the nations; 
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. 

Each evening they come back, 
howling like dogs and prowling about the city. 
There they are, bellowing with their mouths, 
with sharp words on their lips—
for "Who," they think, "will hear us?" 
But you laugh at them, O LORD; 
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; 
(Psalms 59:4b-10a NRSV)
Lord, have mercy on us;
Christ, have mercy on us;
Lord, have mercy on us.

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

"Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Teach me your way, O LORD, 
that I may walk in your truth; 
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
(Psalms 86:11 NRSV)
Who are they that fear the LORD?
 He will teach them the way that they should choose.
(Psalms 25:12 NRSV)

I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
(3 John 1:3-4 NRSV)

For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Galatians 5:14 NRSV)

For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.
(Galatians 5:14 MSG)

“Each person is God’s person, standing before God as his child and before me as a brother or sister. ‘All men,’ wrote William Law, ‘are great instances of divine love, therefore let all men be instances of your love.’

“This person does not stand before me as an obstruction or a threat or an affront. If I cannot see the person in relation to God, then I am not free to love. I will either want to get rid of her because she is in my way, or I will want to use her in order to get my own way. Either way I lose freedom.”

(Eugene H. Peterson, Traveling Light, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)

It is always a good reminder when my “life verse” appears during my morning devotions. Psalm 86:11. A sincere prayer for God to teach me His way, that I may walk in His truth, and for my heart to be undivided, that I might truly revere His name.

In addition, as illustrated by the verse following that one, when we do manage to revere or fear His name, He will faithfully teach us the way we should choose. When I choose the wrong way, or head down the wrong path, it is because I am not listening to Him; I am not revering or fearing His name.

One of those paths is firmly shown in Peterson’s writing. The path of love. I love how, in his paraphrase of Galatians 5:14, he describes loving others as we love ourselves (following the commands of Jesus) as “an act of true freedom.”

We must recognize that each person standing before us, wherever we are, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, is also standing before God. That person you don’t agree with, whether politically or philosophically or theologically, is, as William Law said, an instance “of divine love.” Therefore, they should also be instances of our love.

When (and this is of the utmost importance) we view those other people with contempt, as seems to be the order of the day, in these times, it is impossible to view them as an instance of divine love. We have dismissed them. We believe that we are better than them and that they are less than us. All because they think about things differently than we.

This is a direct and blatant violation of Scripture, brothers and sisters.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
(Philippians 2:3 NRSV)

This utterly removes any chance of contempt in the life of a follower of Christ. If we cannot view all people as standing before God, just as we stand before God, we have failed to follow the commands of Christ.

We must do better at following the “path of love.”

Father, have mercy on us. Forgive us for our failures. Help us to get on the path of love and stay there. Help us, O Lord, to view all others as instances of divine love. Help me to see that everyone who stands before me stands before You as Your child, Your creation. They are not obstructions or obstacles to me. How could they be?? I have no right to consider myself better than them when Your Word commands me to do the opposite.

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)

Help us to regain our true freedom by loving others as we love ourselves, and considering others to be more significant than ourselves. In this way, we are free to love.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Eyes on Jesus

Today is Tuesday, the 24th of January, in the season of Epiphany.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,693

There’s a nice, slow rain falling outside, this morning, as I type this, our first rain in well over thirty days. It is currently 43 degrees outside, and that’s the highest it is expected to be today. Tonight’s low should be just below freezing. I suppose there is a slight chance of some snow, later in the day, as it gets colder. I do have to work tonight, but I’m not worried about travel conditions, as it has been unseasonable warm for the past week or so.

My cold is gradually getting better, but only after feeling slightly worse yesterday. It was a busy weekend, working Friday and Saturday, then having church activities on Sunday, but it’s a light work week for me, this week, and there is plenty of time to rest. I do need to get some trombone practice in, and hope that I will feel well enough to walk on the treadmill, maybe tomorrow.

The visit with the estate sale planner went fabulously, yesterday. It’s all arranged, but they are a little behind, so our sale won’t happen until the first weekend in May, which is fine with us. We are in no hurry, and we don’t have a timeline for selling the house, either. So they have ample time to look at everything in the house and determine pricing. He got a good look at everything, yesterday, and seemed mildly excited about doing the sale.


I understand more than the aged, 
for I keep your precepts.
(Psalms 119:100 NRSV)

Lord our God, we thank you for giving us your love, for letting us draw nearer to what is right and good. May your Spirit penetrate everywhere, overcoming what is false and helping people everywhere to understand the true nature of your justice. Guard us on all our ways. Protect us when our bodies and our lives are worn down by sickness and distress of every kind. Grant us your help according to your truth and righteousness. Amen.

Daily Prayer from

I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek me in chaos.” I the LORD speak the truth, I declare what is right.
(Isaiah 45:19 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for a great meeting with the estate sale planner yesterday
  • for safe travel to and from Mineral Wells, yesterday
  • that God does not hide from us, and is not difficult to find
  • that it is the Lord who opens my eyes and ears, that I might “behold wondrous things” in His Word, and who opens my lips that my mouth may declare His praise
  • for the promise of victory in Christ

O Lord, open my lips, 
and my mouth will declare your praise.
(Psalms 51:15 NRSV)
Open my eyes, 
so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalms 119:18 NRSV)
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, 
and I will glorify your name forever.
(Psalms 86:12 NRSV)
For who is God except the LORD? 
And who is a rock besides our God?—
(Psalms 18:31 NRSV)

“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
(Matthew 10:16-20 NRSV)

You are righteous, O LORD, 
and your judgments are right. 
You have appointed your decrees 
in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 
My zeal consumes me 
because my foes forget your words. 
Your promise is well tried, 
and your servant loves it. 
I am small and despised, 
yet I do not forget your precepts. 
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, 
and your law is the truth. 
Trouble and anguish have come upon me, 
but your commandments are my delight. 
Your decrees are righteous forever; 
give me understanding that I may live.
(Psalms 119:137-144 NRSV)
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)

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

"Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

But filled with the Holy Spirit, he [Stephen] gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
(Acts 7:55 NRSV)

To the leader. A Psalm of David. 

The heavens are telling the glory of God; 
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
(Psalms 19:1 NRSV)
He has made everything suitable for its time;
 moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, 
yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NRSV)
When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: 

"Death has been swallowed up in victory." 
"Where, O death, is your victory? 
Where, O death, is your sting?" 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NRSV)

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.
(Hebrews 12:2 MSG)

In Psalm 119, the psalmist asks God to open his eyes, that he might “behold wondrous things” in God’s Word. In this verse above, the author of Hebrews admonishes us to keep our eyes on Jesus, the One “who both began and finished this race we’re in.”

In between, we see Stephen, who, as he is dying from being stoned, looks up and sees “the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

I fully believe (and have for many years) that it is impossible to gain much wisdom and understanding from God’s Word without the help of the Holy Spirit. If God does not “open our eyes,” we aren’t going to see much of the truth of His Word.

And, if God does not open our eyes, we won’t succeed in keeping our eyes on Jesus.

It’s hard enough to do that, even with my “spiritual eyes” wide open. There is so much in this world that is distracting us from keeping our eyes on Jesus. It is a daily struggle to do this, and if we relax for even a moment, we will pay the price for it.

Hence the frequent reminders from Scripture that we need our eyes opened, and we need to fix them firmly on Jesus, who, by the way, has already finished this race we are in!

How encouraging is that??

That’s another thing we need to remember. As we fight and claw to finish this race, we need to take a step back and realize that Jesus has already done it; He is finished with the race. And He is the one who gives us the strength to do it, as well. Remember the “easy yoke?”

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

In a sense, I suppose it could be said that Jesus, who has finished the race and sits next to the Father, is also back out here running it with us. If we would but step into that yoke and follow His instruction, the burdens would drop, and we would find rest for our weary souls. Because His yoke is easy.

Open our eyes, Lord,
We want to see Jesus,
to reach out and touch Him,
and say that we love Him.
Open our ears, Lord,
and help us to listen.
Open our eyes, Lord,
we want to see Jesus.
(Robert Cull, 1976, Maranatha Music)

Father, open my eyes, that I might behold wonderful things from Your Word. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I might fear Your name. Open my lips that I might proclaim Your praises, daily. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus, who has already finished the race in which we are running.

I am so easily distracted, Lord. And, in the words of C.S. Lewis, I am far too easily pleased. Help me to stay focused on this life, and to remember, as I read yesterday, that all sin is sacrilege, no matter how small it may seem at the moment.

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

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.

“Be holy, for I . . . Am Holy

Today is Sunday, the 22nd of January, 2023, the third Sunday after Epiphany.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,691

I had a good Saturday at the library, yesterday and am close to feeling normal again. I’ll be heading up to church in a little while, and will attempt to sing with the choir, this morning in the 11:00 service. I have another orchestra rehearsal after that service, and will be going back up there at 6:30 tonight for our Mere Christianity group discussion.

Today’s header photo was taken by Romanian photographer extraordinaire, Paul Militaru. Please visit his website at the link provided to see his magnificent photos.


Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, 
for it is always with me.
(Psalms 119:98 NRSV)

Dear Father in heaven, grant us the inner quiet we need so that we may come into your presence and hear you speak, forgetting all the things that try to force themselves upon us. May we experience your true and living support. Keep our hearts glad and thankful for everything, even in grief, anxiety, and suffering. In this thankfulness we can remain with you, and Jesus Christ can help us, Jesus, whom you have given as our support and helper in all that most deeply concerns us. We entrust ourselves to you. Keep us in your Spirit. Amen.

Daily Prayer from

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the inner quiet in my spirit, that God grants, so that I might dwell in His presence and hear Him speak to me; may I be able to shove aside all distractions and listen
  • for the “easy yoke” of Jesus (Matthew 11:28ff)
  • for the prayer that begins this day, and the hope of a prayer that will end it
  • for the opportunity to worship with the saints and sing praises to God
  • for the gift of God’s Word, His “book on living” (Psalm 119:111, MSG)

This Day, by Daryl Madden

Let the sun rise today
And the sun set this day
With its blessing of light
In between

Let a prayer start this day
And a prayer, close this day
With an indwelling prayer
In between

Let love spark this day
And in love rest this day
With a sharing of love
In between

With thanks start this day
And in thanks end this day
Everything is a gift
In between

Please visit Daryl’s site at the link above, to see more of his inspirational poetry.

When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.
(Leviticus 16:20-22 NRSV)

This shall be a statute to you forever: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall deny yourselves, and shall do no work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you. For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the LORD. It is a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall deny yourselves; it is a statute forever. The priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the linen vestments, the holy vestments. He shall make atonement for the sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the people of Israel once in the year for all their sins. And Moses did as the LORD had commanded him.
(Leviticus 16:29-34 NRSV)

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
(Leviticus 19:1-2 NRSV)

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
(Leviticus 19:18 NRSV)

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:7 NRSV)

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.
(Malachi 3:10 NRSV)

I inherited your book on living;
 it's mine forever— what a gift! 
And how happy it makes me!
(Psalms 119:111 MSG)

I like that phrase that Peterson uses in The Message, “your book on living.” The NRSV words it differently, but I can certainly appreciate its translation, as well.

Your decrees are my heritage forever; 
they are the joy of my heart.
(Psalms 119:111 NRSV)

I’ve talked about Psalm 119 before, in this forum. It uses many different words to represent God’s Word, the thing we call the Bible. In this particular verse, it is “decrees.” In others, it might be “law,” or “precepts,” or “ordinances.” Sometimes it is just “word.” But Peterson’s wording, “your book on living” is wonderful, I think.

I love the Bible. I always have, as long as I can remember. I have read it through at least 17 times in my life. That has not always been cover-to-cover (which is how I’m reading the NRSV, this year). For example, last year’s reading plan had me bouncing around like a ping pong ball. But I still read the whole thing.

I’m not boasting about this. Not at all. I’m not bragging about how many times I’ve read it. I won’t brag about how much I have memorized. Probably not all that much, compared to others. I will boast, though, about the author of the book.

Yes, I know that men wrote the text, quite a few of them. But I believe and proclaim that God, via the Holy Spirit is the ultimate Author of the Bible. And I will boast about Him. I love His Word. As the psalmist says in that verse above, it is the joy of my heart. I find myself in Psalms, probably more than any other book, and I’m working my way through chapter 119, a verse at a time, right now.

The Bible truly is a “book on living.” Not that we should get all caught up in trying to live out the details in Leviticus (I talked about that, yesterday). I don’t even think we should work that hard to see that we are keeping the Ten Commandments (that is also addressed yesterday). Don’t get me wrong . . . we shouldn’t be striving to break those Ten Commandments, either. But we have further teachings from the Son of God in the New Testament.

The Old Testament Law is there to show us how we have failed, and how we are going to fail. I believe Paul gives us a pretty good illustration of that in his epistles.

And everything is summed up by (there he goes again) Jesus’s two main commands. Love God; love people. Love your neighbor as yourself. But guess what! As we see all the way back in Leviticus, that wasn’t a new “law,” was it? God gave that word to Moses in Leviticus 19! The “golden rule” was not new with Jesus. He just reminded us, strongly, that it is the way to live.

There are many in the world today who seem to have forgotten this “golden rule,” and need to be reminded. The way to live is to treat one another the way we desire to be treated. To my shame, I have not succeeded in always doing this. I have been quite mean and rude to people in my life. I’ve gotten better, especially since I have been striving to live by Jesus’s two commands in recent years.

But I still struggle with my reaction when Applebee’s gets my order wrong . . . AGAIN! But here’s the thing. When Sonic messes up my drink order, when Walmart delivers milk that is past its expiration date, when Albertson’s makes a weird substitution for something I ordered . . . all of these are what I call “footstool” problems. What that means is that they aren’t really problems at all.

May God have mercy on us when we overreact to such situations. May He teach us how to react better, more calmly, more . . . well, “holy.”

Note: As seems to be the case a lot, lately, I had no idea where this was going to wind up when I started typing. Glory to God!

Father, I am so glad that Your Word tells us that You remember that we are dust. This means that nothing we do surprises you. We might disappoint You, most certainly, but I’m not even sure how that works for You, seeing as how You know everything I am going to do before I do it. Sometimes, I wonder why You didn’t stop me if You knew I was going to do that stupid thing, or that rude thing, or that mean thing.

I love Your Word, Father, and I love You. I will always boast of You and Your great and marvelous works. I would be, and am nothing, without You. All that I have in my possession was given to me by You. Every relationship that I have in this world was given to me by You. I pray that I use the things wisely and resourcefully, being of a generous heart with all things, and I pray that I would approach all the relationships with the love of Jesus as my driving force.

Help me to love You with my whole heart, and my whole being, and help me to love others as myself. I also pray that You help me to love the saints as Christ loves the Church. Help me to be “holy” as You are Holy.

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.