There Is No Greater Thing

I seek to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified.
When I take the full measure of your love in the cross,
any worth I might think I have pales in contrast to the beauty and wonder of knowing Jesus Christ.
I find comfort in his wounds and life in his death,
which renders me perfect forever.

Today is Friday, the twenty-sixth of March, 2021, in the fifth week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,024

Nine days until Resurrection Sunday!

C received her second Pfizer vaccine shot, yesterday. Her reaction was a bit stronger than mine, as she has a mild fever, and chills and aches. Forward thinking, she brought her work computer home, and will be staying home today.

S should get her second shot next week, but I’m not sure we have received notification about that, yet.

Yesterday’s work day was as different from the day before as night is from day. It was truly amazing. The “epiphany” that I had in the midst of Wednesday made a world of difference. I’m still just as busy and just as behind, but the attitude was completely different.

And today is Friday! It’s hard to get me down on a Friday. I have no idea what this weekend holds, other than Palm Sunday. I know that we have no plans outside our normal Saturday and Sunday activities.

Baseball season begins soon. I believe Opening Day for MLB is April 1. The Texas Rangers begin the season in Kansas City, so their home opening day (at the new ballpark, which will finally have some fans) will be Monday, April 5.


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(The Prayer of St. Francis)

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
(Psalms 66:16-20 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • that C has gotten her second COVID-19 vaccine shot
  • for gentle nudges from You, throughout the day
  • that You are my Rock and my Foundation
  • that knowing You, Jesus, is the main purpose of my life
  • that Your Word casts a beam of light on my path

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:17-18 NIV)

I am pausing, this morning, to quietly reflect on the Lord’s goodness in my life.


Of David.

To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
(Psalms 28:1-2 NIV)

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:6-7 NIV)


If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:4b-14 NIV)


As I rest in God’s presence, this morning, I reread these passages, searching for words or phrases that reach out to me or move my spirit.

I acknowledge that God is my Rock. He is my Foundation. All other ground is sinking sand. I frequently cry out to Him for mercy, and He hears my prayers. Praise be to God!

He is my strength and my shield! “My heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

The reading from Philippians stresses one thing and that one thing is, as Curly emphasized in City Slickers, the main thing. That main thing is “to know Christ.” Everything that Paul lists off as potential reasons to boast, and his list is long, he considers as garbage. The KJV uses the word “dung.” Everything that I could possibly boast in, compared to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, is a big old pile of poop.

And Paul?!? The mightiest of all New Testament writers? He does not yet claim to have “taken hold of it.” He continues to press forward, “straining toward what is ahead.”

We focus our attention on so many useless things, and, to be fair, some of those are helpful diversions from the issues we face in this world. I spend more than my fair share of time playing video games. But that is my mode of relaxation; it helps me to get over the stress of the work week.

But there are other things that we obsess over that are not so healthy. We get dragged into political junk, conspiracies over this or that. I’m currently reading a book about the Manson murders back in the late sixties. It’s making my head spin. It would be really easy to get drawn into an obsession over that kind of thing.

But obsessions over anything that is not Christ are unhealthy for us. As Paul proclaims, knowing Jesus is the main thing. There is no greater thing, as a song by Graham Kendrick proclaims.

Father, I praise You for being my Rock and my Foundation. I thank You that You hear my prayers for mercy, and other prayers, as well. I echo the sentiment proclaimed by Paul, and sung by Matthew in the above song. Knowing You, Jesus, is the main thing. There is no great thing! May that be the thrust of my life, the goal of my very existence. I love You, Lord!

I seek to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified.
When I take the full measure of your love in the cross,
any worth I might think I have pales in contrast to the beauty and wonder of knowing Jesus Christ.
I find comfort in his wounds and life in his death,
which renders me perfect forever.
(Belgic Confession 21)


God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
(1 John 5:11-12 NIV)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.
(Colossians 2:6 MSG)

With your instruction, I understand life; that’s why I hate false propaganda. By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
(Psalms 119:104-105 MSG)

Father, keep me on Your path, today. Simple and straightforward, teach me to live in what I have learned from You. I have received Jesus Christ, the Master; help me to live in Him and walk in Him. Your Word casts a beam of light on my path, that I may see where I am going. Let me not step out of that beam today! Knowing You . . . there is no greater thing!

Lord, may You give me, today, the ability to deny myself and serve others. I am still praying for more gentleness in everything I think, do, and say. Give me and all of us the commitment to do justice and love mercy. I lift up a special prayer, this morning, for all who are separated or divorced. May You bring comfort to them, peace to their hearts, and, where possible, restoration to broken relationships. All glory to You, Lord!

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Jesus, Our North Star

Good morning. It is Friday, June 19, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is porteur. If it looks French, that’s because it is. It’s a ballet term, meaning, “A male dancer whose role is to lift or support a ballerina when she performs leaping or jumping movements.”

Today is Garfield the Cat Day, celebrating Garfield’s first appearance in the comics on June 19, 1978. To help celebrate, I will share something that I find to be very entertaining, Garfield Minus Garfield.

Christi’s Huddle went pretty well last night. While she was gone, I started scanning old photos of my parents (and a very young me) into my computer. It’s going to take longer than I expected, as I need to scan both backs and fronts, in order to preserve the descriptions of each photo. I plan to put a bunch of them on Facebook (if my mother doesn’t mind), but here is a preview photo.
That’s my parents on their wedding day, May 25, 1957, with his best man on the right, and the minister on the left. They got married in her parents’ home, several miles outside of Henderson, Texas.

Anyway, I’ve still got a lot of work to do. I was hoping to finish before Sunday, when we go back to Mineral Wells, but I should have started sooner. 😦 Oh, well.

The Texas Rangers lost a game in the bottom of the ninth inning, last night, with two outs. Apparently, the relief pitcher balked in the winning run. Sigh.


Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Psalm 73:25-28

(From Knowing Jesus)

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Galatians 2:17-21
for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
Philippians 1:19-26

Today’s reading is “‘For to Me, to Live Is Christ.'”

How would we complete the sentence, “For to me, to live is . . .?” Even for the most devoted followers of Jesus, this is a difficult question, and the answer would differ, based on where we are in our journey. Answers would also reflect “age, health, family, career, wealth, and so on. But regardless of where we stand, somehow we must orient ourselves toward Jesus. He is the North Star on our life compass.”

Where we started is not so important. What matters is where we are today. Many of us would like to draw a graph of our walk with Christ, hoping that, even though there would be dips and valleys, the trend would be upward.

But sometimes, “for me to live” means something other than Jesus. When Jesus gave his Revelation to John, there were churches that fell into that category. Paul the apostle wrote about people who had drifted away from following Christ. These kinds of warnings encourage us to check ourselves regularly and “ask ourselves often whether we are living primarily for Jesus.”

We need to take steps to ensure that our walk with Christ is “sound, wholesome, and healthy.” The writer of Hebrews admonishes us repeatedly, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 3:7-8, 15; 4:7) “Jesus becomes our North Star when we hear him through our prayer, Bible reading, worship, and fellowship.”

Father, I pray for your Spirit to remind me of this throughout this day, and forever more. Remind me, frequently, to examine my walk with Christ and see if I can truly say, “For me, to live is Christ.” I confess that there are too many other things competing for my allegiance. “The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the giver of all good things!” It is true. So I ask for your help, Lord, in walking with Jesus, and that he would, indeed, be my “North Star.”

I pray for this day, as always asking for safe passage to and from work. I thank you for reducing the drama at Christi’s job, and pray that this will continue. Your sovereign hand is over all things. May we acknowledge this more and more. I pray for your sweet love to surround Stephanie, today, and that your grace and mercy would rain down on Rachel, Justin, and Mama.

I pray for comfort for Joan Mitchell and her family, in the loss of her sister. May your grace and mercy cover them, Father.

Your grace is sufficient.

This post is not intended to bring guilt, but, rather, to inspire life. May we examine our walks with Jesus on a regular basis. What a joy it would be to repeat with Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ.”

Grace and peace, friends.

What More Do We Need?

Good morning. It is FRIDAY!!!! June 12, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from, is cavort. This is a verb, which means, “to prance or caper about,” or, “to behave in a high-spirited, festive manner; make merry.” The fact that it is Friday makes me want to cavort. However, there is rarely cavorting at 6:00 AM, around here. 😀 Not until I have had coffee, at least.

Today is Superman Day. Yes, that Superman. Nothing philosophical or lofty about this. It’s a celebration of a comic book character. But not just any comic book character. We’re talking the one and only Superman, fighting for truth, justice, and the American way!!

Well, Christi wound up not going to Huddle, last night. I can’t say as I blame her. She had not had one single evening at home since Sunday, and had back-to-back meetings all day yesterday. She needed some resting time, and that is one of the things Huddle teaches as one of its principles, that we need to have balanced time between work and rest. Christi’s pendulum was swinging a bit too hard toward the work side. So we had a nice evening at home, eating our “Mexican soup,” and watching the season premier of Major Crimes.

Today, Christi has to bowl after work, as they have started a short league among people who work with her. They will normally bowl on Tuesdays, right after work, but Christi and several others, were, of course, trying to leave El Paso, at that time. El Paso was not giving them up without a fight, though! Tomorrow, should be a pretty normal Saturday. And I don’t know what’s happening Sunday, yet. Hopefully nothing.


Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.
Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them.
May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents.
For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah, and people shall dwell there and possess it;
the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Psalm 69:22-36

(From Knowing Jesus)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Our Conqueror.”

The author of this book, Jim Reapsome, speaks of defeating cancer twice, in his lifetime. “Two times, Jesus has conquered my disappointment, fear, and hopelessness in the face of the disease.” He states that Jesus did everything that Paul promised He would.

In what is one of the best-loved passages in all of Scripture, Paul is wrapping up his treatise on our salvation in Christ, and he sort of finishes it off with a “dramatic ‘so what?'” “What difference does it really make that God gives us salvation, requiring only our faith in Jesus?”

Well, for starters, God “did not spare his own Son,” but along with Jesus, gives us “everything we might possibly ever need!” In any circumstance we might face, we need only focus on this gift of grace. “Jesus died for us, rose again, sits at God’s right hand, and pleads our cause, so what do we have to fear–from cancer or anything else?”

These truths compel us to run to Jesus, over and over again. It is a “lifelong adventure,” beginning with our initial confession of faith, and going on as we learn more about Jesus, along with brothers and sisters in Christ, over the years.

During one of his bouts with cancer, the author was returning home from a walk, when he heard these words from Jesus: “Wait a minute. What worries you? What do you need? Do you not realize that you are completely secure in me? I have taken care of your most critical need, your eternal salvation. No condemnation awaits you. I died for you. That’s the main thing, isn’t it?”

Jesus loves us, and he is stronger than anything that we could ever face . . . even death. “Nothing can ever cut us off from his all-powerful love.”

Father, the timing of this reading today is perfect, just as your timing always is. There are things that I am grappling with right now, that are consuming me. Yesterday, I had an extreme bout of missing my father. I am trying to sort out where I’m going from here with several directions in my life. But none of these things are enough to separate me from your love in Christ Jesus. Even death cannot separate me; in fact, death is merely a gateway into your eternal presence. Help me to remember the truths of Romans 8, as I grapple with these things, Father.

I pray for this day, that we might have safe passage to and from work. I pray for Christi, today, that her day would be full of you and that she would know your presence as she works. May your great love surround Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and especially my mother. May we all know your strength in our lives today.

Your grace is sufficient.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What more do we need?

Grace and peace, friends.

The Truth Marches On — By the Power of Prayer

Good morning. It is Monday, June 1, 2015. Welcome to June. Summer is coming.

Today’s word of the day, from the OED, is pleonexia. This is a noun, meaning, “Excessive covetousness, avarice, or greed.”

Today is Say Something Nice Day. I like that. And if you can’t say something nice . . . well, you should know the rest, right?

Yesterday was a nice day, but it didn’t quite turn out like I planned. After I finished blogging, I decided that I needed to help Christi with the groceries, especially since her mom and step-dad’s list turned out to be rather complicated. We each took a basket and a list and took off. Christi finished while I still had a couple of aisles to go, so she helped me finish off my list. Then I needed to get gas, and she had a couple of stops that needed to be made. As we headed back to our house, after unloading the groceries at her mother’s, I took note that there was no way I was getting to the game before game start time, which was 2:05. Before I could say anything, Christi said, “I wouldn’t think less of you if you decided not to go.” Little did she know that I was already thinking that. I don’t like going alone, anyway, and no one else had been able to take me up on the extra ticket.

So, as soon as we got home and got all the groceries in, I got on Facebook, and offered the tickets to anyone who could come get them. Sadly, I didn’t get a single nibble, not even a comment (until after the game was over). We sat in the comfort of our living room and watched the game on TV. I hated wasting the money, but I’m glad I didn’t go. We still had more laundry to put away, and a few other things, and, as an added bonus, I’m not excessively tired this morning.

Back to work today, and this week is my last chance to work on the ol’ trombone chops. But I’ve already decided that I’m not terribly worried about how terrible I play at this reunion. I’m going more for the people than for the playing. I do hope that there are enough people who can still play, so that the playing part won’t be a total bust.


Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts!
Psalm 65:4

(From Knowing Jesus)

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 1:1-6

Today’s reading is “Jesus, the Faithful Witness.”

“A faithful witness is one who speaks the truth.” Jesus always spoke the truth, no matter what the circumstances. “He never shaded the truth.” He never colored the truth in order to gain popularity. And even when it condemned him to the cross, he spoke the truth.

Here are things that Jesus witnessed to:

  • Jesus confessed in public “that he had come from God on a mission to reveal God’s truth about salvation and heaven.
  • “Jesus witnessed to God’s standard of holiness and to the internal values of God’s laws.” He showed us what God’s commands truly meant, and how they affect our lives.
  • Jesus always spoke truth concerning life and death, and concerning sin and our enemy, the devil. When attacked by Satan, he overcame him by “witnessing to the power of God’s Word.”
  • Jesus always shared truth with his friends and his disciples. He never tricked anyone into following him; in fact, he did exactly the opposite. He was so truthful that it actually drove some people away, as he promised suffering.
  • Jesus spoke of the value of the kingdom of God, “denouncing materialism, pride, and hypocrisy.” These truths drove his accusers to seek his death.

This kind of faithful witness demands great courage, which Jesus had in ways that we will never comprehend, this side of heaven. One way that this courage was fueled was by his “constant communion with his heavenly Father. His daily prayers kept him in line with God’s truth and the purpose of his mission.”

The writer tell us that the word witness “has its roots in the Greek word for ‘martyr.'” In a sense, Jesus was a martyr. Except for that part where he didn’t stay dead! Because of his resurrection, Jesus’s truth marches on. Jesus Christ is the one true “witness to God’s eternal truth.”

Father, the one piece that really stands out to me in all of this is the part about constant communion with you. That is my goal. I desire to be constantly in touch with you throughout each day. So far, I have been defeated in this, but I sense that I’m getting stronger each day. Draw me closer, by your Spirit. Keep me in touch with yourself each day, that I might be a faithful witness, myself. Let my witness to the power of grace and mercy, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, be faithful and courageous. I pray for the power and strength to boldly share your Kingdom wherever I go, even if it is just in the passing niceness that I might share with a total, random, stranger. Especially since we believe that there may not be any such thing as “random.”

I pray for this day, that you would give us safe passage to and from work. I pray for Christi’s work day, that it will go smoothly. I pray for the people who create drama in her work life, that they would think a little more before speaking and acting in the ways that they do. I pray for your grace and mercy to be overwhelmingly present in the lives of Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and my mother. Continue to hold us up in your loving arms, making us aware of your presence in our lives.

I pray for a brother of mine who is heading into divorce territory. May you be his comfort and strength through this, and help him rediscover confidence in himself and his relationship with you through grace.

Your grace is sufficient.

Jesus was able to maintain the strength of his witness through prayer. If the Son of God needed that kind of prayer relationship with his Father, how much more to we need it? I am convicted more and more of the necessity of prayer as a lifestyle. Paul says, “Pray without ceasing.” I don’t think that was hyperbole. I think he meant it.

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It is Friday, May 22, 2015. There’s only a 40% chance of rain today.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is nepotism. This noun is usually used in connection with hiring, and means, “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.” Some companies strictly prohibit it, others embrace it.

Today is Don’t Fry Day. Get it?? You might think this has something to do with eating fried foods, but you would be mistaken. It is actually a day to raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer from too much sun-bathing.

Christi’s Huddle was cancelled, last night, so we had our usual Thursday dinner (our own concoction that we call “Mexican soup”), and got caught up on one of our new favorite TV shows, “Battle Creek.” We talked a lot, during watching, which was nice. For me, I’m trying to suss out what I’m feeling emotionally, because, I’m at a point where I don’t know what I want, any more. Again, I realize that this is a normal piece of the grieving process, so I’m not panicking, just trying to verbalize it and work through it. I won’t belabor it, either, because I know that people will get weary of it.

The weekend is near! I’m not sure what we will do on Sunday. Thunderstorms are predicted again, so anything outdoors is probably off the table. Monday, as I have said before, we will be traveling to Mineral Wells to spend Memorial Day with my mother. Who knows what kind of “trouble” we will get into? I know one thing: I am really looking forward to this three-day weekend.


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

Psalm 59

(From Knowing Jesus)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1-10

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Showcase of God’s Grace.”

We all know what it is like to receive grace. Perhaps it is the grace allowed on a bill payment, giving you extra time. Or maybe when we were in college, we got extra time to turn in a research paper (which is really a good example of grace, because the due dates are given weeks, if not months, in advance).

“The central theme of the Bible proves conclusively that all of us need grace from God.” None of us has ever achieved the holiness required by God. None of us would ever be “fit to stand in his presence and claim righteousness.” We all fail; none of us does good all of the time, and quite often do just the opposite. “We have been selfish, unkind, pushy, lustful, and greedy–if not worse.” And that’s just in the last fifteen minutes!

But God . . . Ephesians 2:4. I think those are my two favorite words in all of Scripture! But God . . . “God did something to bail us out of our predicament.” God has every right to condemn us, but he offers grace and forgiveness. During this “grace period,” we have the opportunity to say yes to Jesus.

But in order to fully accomplish this, we must say no “to all other efforts to please God and gain his favor.” We must realize that we cannot do anything to gain God’s favor! It’s either Jesus, or it’s nothing.

“Jesus proves God’s grace. When we focus on Jesus, we lose sight of our impoverished, sickly, insulting ways of trying to earn credit with God. When we focus on Jesus, we confess that even our pious thoughts and deeds–our churchy religion–fall far short of making it with God.”

Jesus, being the grace of God in action, paved the way for us, the way to forgiveness and eternal life. “His grace smashes our pride.”

This grace not only forgives us, but it also prepares us for heaven (being the only way we can be “good enough”), and enables us to “represent him on earth.” We are his workmanship, as Paul says in verse 10.

There is a danger, though, in the pride that believes that we could possibly add something to this grace. We still keep thinking that we can gain favor with God. But we must embrace the truth that there is nothing that we can do that can cause God to love us any more than he already does. Neither is there anything that we can do to make him love us less. Even in the depths of our deepest, darkest sin, when God looks at us, he feels only love!

God told Paul that, “My grace is sufficient.” We need grace for salvation; we need grace for our pain and afflictions; we need grace for life. And we that grace in Jesus Christ.

Father, I praise you for grace! How well I know this grace! But yet, I still, sometimes, fall into the trap of a works mindset, thinking that I can somehow either repay you, or at least make you happy with me, by doing something “good.” I forget that the “good works” that you have prepared for me are just that . . . works that YOU prepared, and that you enabled me to do. In fact, you are the one who is actually “working!” Let me never think that I can add anything to the great grace that you have lavished on me. As the title of this blog suggests, let me revel in that grace, Lord. Let me bask in it, and let it feed me, nourish me, heal me, and cleanse me! I celebrate your grace today!

I pray for our day, Father, that we would have safe passage to and from work. Give us just enough grace and mercy for this day, that we might be true representatives of your Kingdom in our work places. I pray for Stephanie, Father, that you would touch her with your healing hand and remove whatever is making her not feel well. I pray that you would draw Rachel and Justin closer to you, and that you would continue holding up my mother. Thank you for the wonderful friends that she has through her church. I also pray for the people of FBC in Mineral Wells, as they begin the painstaking process of rebuilding what the tornado destroyed. Your grace is sufficient for them, as well.

We all need grace. We need it for everything. Those who are in Christ Jesus possess all the grace they need, every day, every minute.

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It is Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is prudent. This is an adjective, meaning, “marked by wisdom or judiciousness,” “shrewd in the management of practical affairs,” “cautious, discreet,” or, “thrifty, frugal.”

Today is Accounting Day. I’ve never needed an accountant, so I don’t what to do with this. If you have one, I guess, show some appreciation today.

I really have nothing personal to write about today. The week has started of pretty normally, nothing really exceptional to say about it. I kind of hope it continues that way.

Tonight is Huddle night, so I’ll have to catch the finale of the Voice tomorrow night. We watched most of the performance show, last night. I’m rooting for Sawyer Fredericks to win.


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

Psalm 56

(From Knowing Jesus)

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2:6-15

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Our Total Sufficiency.”

Through the untimely death of his wife of seven years, the author learned of his complete sufficiency in Christ. “In the abyss God spoke Colossians 2:10 to me. Despite my desolate grief, by the miracle of God’s grace in Christ, I was complete in Jesus.”

We all fall into the trap of believing that we need something else to complete us. For many, it is a spouse. For some it is a fulfilling job or even a ministry. But, in truth, we need nothing besides Jesus to be complete. When the Spirit reveals this to us, it becomes “refreshing water and nourishing food” for our souls.

“Colossians 2:9-15 resembles a JumboTron display of everything believers possess in Jesus. We are divested of our lower nature by a spiritual circumcision, buried with him and raised to new life. We have been made alive in Christ. He has forgiven us and has wiped out the indictment against us, nailing it to the cross. Triumphantly, on that cross, for our sake, Jesus threw off the cosmic powers of darkness like so much dirty laundry and made a public spectacle of them in his victory parade.”

When we get trampled down by our circumstances, let us look to the “victory parade” of Jesus. We are completely free and completely forgiven! When we begin to believe that we need someone or something to complete us, we need to “recognize this as the devil’s trick to draw us away from our completeness in Christ.”

Father, I thank you that I am complete in Jesus Christ. However, I don’t always recognize or acknowledge this. May your Spirit, just as he reminded our author, remind me that I don’t need anyone or anything to be complete, because I am complete in Jesus. Let that be the thought that runs through my heart today, like “refreshing water and nourishing food.”

I pray for this day, today, that we might have safe passage to and from work. May we have just enough grace and mercy for this day. May our jobs not produce stress for us today, and may we reflect your Kingdom in everything that we do, say, or even think. I pray for your great love to be shown to Rachel, Justin, and Stephanie, and that you would provide for, protect, and guide them today.

I pray for our Huddle group tonight. Teach us your ways, that we may walk in your truth.

Your grace is sufficient.

We are complete in Christ Jesus. We need nothing else. Nothing.

Grace and peace, friends.

“We Are Far Too Easily Pleased”

Good morning. It is Friday, May 8, 2015. Two days until Mother’s Day.

Today’s Word of the Day, from the OED, is psephocracy. More than likely chosen because they just had elections across the pond, this word means, “The form of government which results from the election of representatives by ballot; the system of government by elected representatives.” Very interesting, as that is pretty much what we have in the U.S., as well.

Today is No Socks Day. I have a friend or two that would like this.

Christi is still coughing up a storm, it seems. She had a rough night, last night. At this point, I’m beginning to be concerned that something serious is going on, as it doesn’t seem to be improving. I’m guessing the antibiotics didn’t fix whatever it is, so it must be viral. The PA told her not to take Nyquil because of its effects on blood pressure. I’m thinking that we need to weigh which one has a worse effect; Nyquil or not sleeping! This brings to mind something that also concerns me about the medical community. Our doctor’s office told her to take Mucinex. The last time I was sick, I went to Minute Clinic and saw a nurse-practitioner, who said she doesn’t like Mucinex. You see, there really is no consensus in the community at all! You get one thing from one doctor and another thing from another doctor. Running is good for you. Running is bad for your back and feet. Well, which is it?? We’ll never know.

In the news of the weird category today, the Texas Rangers have won four games in a row.

Today is Friday, of course, but I have to work tomorrow. I’ll be going in at 7:00 AM, so if there is a blog at all, it will be more like a weekday version without all the weekend “bells and whistles.”


Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Psalm 51:1-4

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5

Jesus, teach me to abide.

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus Sharpens Priorities.”

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet 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 his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

“Following Jesus demands that we sharpen our priorities.” As Jesus traveled around announcing the coming of God’s Kingdom, people had to learn how to focus on the things that were truly essential to life. This meant, sometimes, going beyond “what was good and acceptable behavior.” It meant not settling for good when the best was available. What did C.S. Lewis say? “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (Emphasis mine) Jesus should be our top priority.

In the first of the three passages above, several would-be disciples came to Jesus. He advised them of the cost. Following him might mean not having a bed to lay on at night. A couple of others wanted to give priority to other activities. They weren’t unnecessary activities, but, nevertheless, would have to take second place to following Christ.

In the second passage, seventy disciples returned from a “mission trip” with “glowing reports of successful ministries.” Jesus did rejoice with them, but then told them that they should not rejoice that they had power over demons, but should, instead, rejoice that their “names are written in heaven.

“How often have we ranked earthly success, even in spiritual warfare, above heaven itself?” Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that we should “focus our hearts and minds on things above and give priority to where Jesus is.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

The last passage, which can be somewhat humorous, uses a “family spat” to sharpen priorities. Martha is consumed with household duties, sweeping floors, preparing a meal, and so on. She gets aggravated that Mary does nothing but sit at the feet of Jesus. But Jesus tells her that only “one thing is necessary.” This is “our clearest, sharpest guide for setting our priorities.” What is the “one thing?” “Jesus is it. If he outranks everything else in our lives, then we have discovered that one necessary thing.”

Jesus doesn’t want to stand on the “periphery of our life, accepting leftovers.” He wants us to choose the best over what is merely good. “Only one thing is necessary, to sit at the feet of Jesus and to enjoy him forever.”

Father, forgive me for having many things in front of Jesus. Teach me to make him my one thing. Teach me to seek that holiday by the sea, to choose the best instead of what is merely good.

I pray for this day. As we travel to and from work today, may our passage be smooth and safe. As we work today, may our work go smoothly. May we seek to follow you as we go about our daily activities at work. I pray for Christi’s cough to go away, Lord. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show yourself to her today. Lord, I pray for Rachel, that you would give her confidence in herself. Show your great love to her and Justin today. Keep giving strength to my mother, Lord.

May wee seek that “holiday by the sea” and stop making mud pies.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Big Question

Good morning. It is Thursday, April 30, 2015. Last day of April, a month which is forever darkened for me.

Today’s Word of the Day is epistling. Epistling is, “The action or practice of writing letters; (also) epistolary matter, correspondence.”

Today is International Jazz Day. It’s showtime! Here is some fun jazz from an artist that I just discovered last night.

Christi comes home tonight. But she came down with something last night. Not sure what, but she had fever and was coughing a lot. I’ve had a couple of texts from her this morning, though, and she said the fever broke early this morning. She still feels pretty bad. Not a good thing to happen when you’re away from home, especially working at a convention.

Got this song stuck in my head, lately. There’s a reason. My dad made some recordings back in the eighties. One of them had this song on it.


Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 43

(From Knowing Jesus)

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

Matthew 11:1-19

This reading, called “Jesus Answers the Big Question,” may be the most important reading in this book. We see, at the beginning of the Scripture passage above, that John the Baptizer sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” They were asking him if he was truly the Messiah. “John had lost his focus and his faith certainty. Doubt overwhelmed him.”

Earlier in his ministry, John had “unequivocally pointed to Jesus,” as the Messiah, he who would baptize in the Holy Spirit. He had declared that Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world (John 1:29-34). But when John was thrown in prison, our enemy got to him, “and assaulted him with the big question: Was Jesus really God’s promised Messiah?” During this “dark night of his soul, John no longer possessed absolute assurance about who Jesus was.”

Jesus reminded John’s disciples of who he was and what he had done. As they departed, Jesus turned to the crowd and spoke to them of John, stating that there had never been a better man born than John the Baptizer.

This “big question” keeps coming up, over and over. It comes up repeatedly in Scripture. “It’s always there, demanding an answer.” Jesus challenged his own disciples with it. Pilate asked it to Jesus. “The apostles confronted the world with it. Boiling everything down to its essence, John the Apostle explained that the only thing that really matters is whether or not Jesus Christ is God in the flesh.

“How we answer the big question settles our fate.” In the Revelation to John, Jesus describes the eternal fate of those who would reject him. “The closer of all things brings heartrending terror (Rev. 20:7-15).”

It is not hard to find the right answer to the “big question.” “Follow Jesus, look at him, examine him from every angle, read his story again and again, reflect on his deeds and words, and ask him to ratify the right answer by giving you the inner witness in your heart. Jesus promised that if we’re serious about knowing the answer, he will show it to us.”

Saying “yes” to Jesus is not a one time thing, either. The devil will attack our confidence and confession “every chance he gets. In the darkness of depression and fear, our faith candle may flicker and go out.” When this happens, we run to Jesus and cry out to him to reinforce our belief, just as John did, while he was in prison. Jesus’s answer will be, “Yes, I am God in the flesh, his eternal Son, given to die for your sins. Look to my deeds and words one more time, especially to my death on the cross for you.”

Father, I confess that I have doubts. Some days, I have more than others. Some days, I live in total confidence of the truth about who Jesus is, and my relationship in him. But others, my faith is in shambles. Help me, on those days, to run to Jesus, asking him to renew my strength and confidence in the truth of the Gospel.

Father, I pray for Christi, this morning, that you would heal her body and renew her strength. I pray that she will be able to function, this morning, and that she will get safely home tonight. I pray that she will feel your presence strong within her this morning and all through this day. I pray for Stephanie, that she would know your love today. I pray for my mother, that her strength would continue to be in you. She answered the big question a long time ago, and, as far as I know, never looked back. My mother’s faith is an inspiration to me. I pray you keep her strong. Give me safe travel to and from work, this morning, and may my day go well. I thank you that my knee is feeling better, and I pray that it would continue to do so.

Your grace is ever sufficient.

Has Jesus answered the big question for you? If and when you have doubts, run back to him, as John the Baptizer did.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Compassion of Jesus

Good morning. It is Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Today’s Word of the Day is portmanteau. I’ve heard this word before. It is a noun, meaning, “a large suitcase,” or, “a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms.” A “mash-up” in other words. For example, ginormous is a portmanteau of gigantic and enormous. Remember “Brangelina?” Yep. Portmanteau.

Today is Cubicle Day, a day to celebrate those horrific (another portmanteau?) office prisons with walls that are only four feet high. The web site suggests individualizing your cubicle, which is all well and good, unless you work at a place like my job, where they want every desk and workstation to look exactly the same! Gotta love 5S.

Well, it turns out I didn’t go to work, after all, yesterday. I was about halfway there when the traffic came to a dead halt, due to (as I would find out later) an overturned vehicle on the 121 at the edge of Coppell and Grapevine. As I got off of the freeway, thanks to wise instructions from my Waze GPS app, I texted my shift lead to let her know I would be running a few minutes late, because of the traffic. She immediately called me to say, “I didn’t expect to see you today!” It turns out, we are allowed five days of bereavement for the death of immediate family. After a brief discussion, during which I considered going ahead and making it in, since I was already halfway there, I finally asked her if she would be upset if I turned around and went home. She said no, so I did exactly that.

I spent the morning playing baseball on the Xbox, after which Stephanie and I went bowling. Then we picked up lunch at Lee’s Grilled Cheese, and brought it back home with us. I watched an old movie (Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, from the seventies), and a few episodes of the SyFy series, Lost Girl. It was a nice, relaxing day.

So I guess I’ll go to work today, finally. And, I should make it to Huddle tonight, after missing something like four weeks in a row.


Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”
And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.”
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

Psalm 41

“. . . it is an error which is by far too common among men, to look upon those who are oppressed with afflictions as condemned and reprobate. The Scriptures in many places plainly and distinctly declare, that God, for various reasons, tries the faithful by adversities, at one time to train them to patience, at another to subdue the sinful affections of the flesh, at another to cleanse, and, as it were, purify them from the remaining desires of the flesh, which still dwell within them; sometimes to humble them, sometimes to make them an example to others, and at other times to stir them up to the contemplation of the divine life.” (John Calvin, from A Heart Aflame)

(From Knowing Jesus)

In Luke 7:1-17, we find two rather astounding accounts in the life of Jesus. They may or may not have happened on the same day, we really aren’t sure. The first event happens when a Roman centurion sends a delegation of Jewish elders to Jesus, asking him to come and heal a servant who is ill, even to the point of death. There may be an implication that Jesus hesitated, as Luke says that they pleaded with him. These are Jewish elders here, some of whom, just a chapter earlier, were plotting how they might kill Jesus! But he went with them. Somewhere along the way, the centurion sent friends to meet Jesus, telling him that he said he was not worthy to have Jesus enter into his house, but that if he would just say the word, his servant would be healed. Such faith!! How it must have rankled those Jewish elders when Jesus said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (v. 9) Do we have such faith as this? When the friends returned, “they found the servant well.” (v. 10)

The second event occurs “soon afterward.” (v. 11) Jesus traveled to a town called Nain. We really aren’t sure why he went there, unless, of course, it was for the very purpose of what happened while he was there. As he approached the town, a funeral procession was coming out, carrying the only son of a woman who was a widow. The was a “considerable crowd” with her. She made no attempt to draw Jesus’s attention to herself or her mourning. But Jesus, seeing her sorrow, approached her and said, “Do not weep.” (v. 13) After this, he approached the bier, touched it, and said, “Young man, I say to you arise.” (v. 14) The man sat up and began to speak! Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” (v. 16)

“We are awestruck. God cares for his people, whether a Gentile Roman army man or an insignificant grieving widow who did not even cry out for help. Jesus’s compassion wins every time. He could have refused the centurion’s case. He could have allowed the widow’s funeral to go by, but he didn’t
“Hurting people require the same compassion from us. We must be willing to see people through Jesus’s eyes and be willing to be inconvenienced so that we can help them. This is what he has called us to do.”

Father, teach me. Teach me to love the way Jesus loved. Teach me his compassion. These past three weeks have shown me how your people can rise up and be the Church when people are hurting. Christi and I have realized how far short we fall when similar situations occur around us. We need to care more about people when they are hurting. Help us, Father, to do this. Help us to, like Jesus, turn aside from our path when we see someone mourning or hurting, as this widow of Nain was doing. We may not be able to physical raise someone from the dead, but we can have compassion that comforts and encourages people. Give us wisdom in every situation that comes our way, that we might do some good for people, and be your Church in this world. Help us to share your Kingdom and to display the righteousness of Christ in our world.

I pray for this day. Thank you for Christi’s safe arrival in Omaha yesterday. I pray that she will have a good day at the convention today. I don’t know exactly what she is doing, but I pray that you will give her whatever she needs to do it to the best of her ability. I pray for safety for everyone involved in this event. Give Stephanie your great love today and help her to know you more. I pray for continued strength for my mother, as she keeps working through things that need to be done in the aftermath of my father’s passing. I pray for her Bible study group that meets this morning. These ladies have been such a stronghold of faith and comfort for her (and all of us) during this time. May your blessings fall on them like rain! I pray for safe passage to work and back for myself today, and that I will have a good and productive day at work.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we have the compassion of Christ when we encounter people and their needs. May we not be too busy or afraid of being inconvenienced.

Grace and peace, friends.

When Things Get Tough, Consider Jesus

Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Do you know where your taxes are?

Today’s Word of the Day is adultescent. No, I am not making that up. It means, “An adult who has retained the interests, behaviour, or lifestyle of adolescence.” I’m sure most of us can think of some great examples. I might be one, myself.

Today is Bookmobile Day. I sure wish we had one of those around here! That would be awesome!

Stephanie and I went up to the hospital last night. Christi is suffering from a sore throat, and didn’t want to expose my mom and dad to it. There’s not much to say, as things seem to be mostly the same. Dad was pretty tired, and slept most of the time we were there. He did say that they had put a Tylenol drip in his IV, to help with the headache he had been having. Mom also said that they had put some kind of liquid nutrition in the IV, as well, as he continues having trouble swallowing. They had planned on releasing him, yesterday, but the swallowing issues caused them to keep him at least 24 more hours. The plan, upon release, is to take him to the rehab center in Mineral Wells, close to the hospital out there.

Christi will be working from home, today, as her throat is still hurting pretty bad. We also have a dryer repair man coming between noon and 3PM, because our dryer quit spinning last Saturday or Sunday. She was already planning to be at home around noon. She doesn’t think she has fever. It was low, last night, 99.5. She tried to go to a Minute Clinic, but they stopped taking patients at 6:30, even though their website says they don’t stop until 15 minutes before they close, which is 7:30.

The Red Sox and Rangers both won their games, last night. The Sox squeaked by the Nationals, 8-7, while the Rangers dominated the Angels 8-2. It seems that Nick Martinez (Rangers pitcher) may be the “real deal,” having gone 12 consecutive scoreless innings before finally giving one up in the 7th, last night. The Sox are in first place, while the Rangers are a game behind the hated Athletics.


For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 32:3-11

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, the Epitome of Perseverance.”

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Hebrews 12:3

I’ll be honest with you. This is not exactly the reading I want to see, this morning. The word perseverance is frightening. It is frightening because it conjures up images of suffering. No one ever has to “persevere” through awesome, successful times. But there are inspirational stories, galore, about great people who have persevered through hard times, struggles, and disabilities. Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, Temple Grandin . . . the list goes on and on.

Jesus could fit into this group, as well. The Gospels are full of stories of how he kept going “in the face of opposition and misunderstanding.” He fasted for 40 days, after which Satan tempted him. He endured physical hardships and attempted spiritual manipulations.

He never quit preaching and teaching the Gospel, even though the “miracle-hungry crowd turned away from his discipleship demands.” He navigated through the clever traps of his enemies. He endured the taunts of demons. Even his followers had pathetic knowledge of Scripture and the love and power of God.

He persevered when his cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded. When his family tried to get him to stop the madness of what he was doing, he forged ahead, refusing to give up. Even when his own home town people tried to kill him, he kept going. He was accused of being a drunkard, of being a friend of “sinners,” and even being in cahoots with Satan.

And he persevered, in spite of knowing that the cross loomed in front of him.

So, the writer of Hebrews encourages us, when things get tough, we need to stop and look at Jesus, and what he endured. “You haven’t suffered anything like that, so keep going. Don’t quit. Don’t give up on your faith. Don’t complain. Hang on. Persevere. Endure. Be steadfast. Pray that God will direct your heart to his love and Christ’s perseverance.”

Father, lift me up to this level of perseverance. I don’t like that word. I don’t like the images it conjures. Especially right now. But I realize the truth that, just as Jesus persevered, so must I. So must we all. We have not come close to suffering as Jesus did, at least not in this country. There may be a time when we do. I hope and pray that, should that time come, I will persevere and endure whatever comes in the name of Christ. But for now, I must simply persevere through the hardships of this life. My mother needs me to be strong, and to be there for her and my dad, for however long this trial lasts. And I am willing. I praise you that you have given me that kind of heart.

I pray for this day. May you bring healing to Christi, this morning, that her throat would feel better, and that she would continue to not suffer with fever. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her and help her understand. I pray for healing and recovery for my dad, and strength for my mother. Keep Rachel and Justin safe, and give them whatever they need for this day. Draw them to your love.

I lift up our brother Brandon, who is having surgery to have a stent removed this morning. I also pray for Kevin and Jacque, as they will receive biopsy results today. Bring peace to Kevin, as he is barely able to function due to anxiety over this. May the results be favorable, Father.

Your grace is sufficient.

I didn’t want to hear this today. But there it is, and hear it, I do. God is faithful. I will persevere.


Grace and peace, friends.