The Savior of the World

Today is Saturday, the twentieth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,536

The birthday was a great success. We wound up having to go to a different bowling alley to get our bowling done, as they were having a clinic at C’s workplace. But there is a bowling center just a few miles away from there, in Grand Prairie, and it is one that is still owned by the family that originally opened it, and has not yet been assimilated by the Borg Bowlero. And, to make it even better, it was $2 Friday, so our games were only $2 each. In our second game, C bowled a 199. She needed a spare to get 200, but left a 6-7-10 split and picked up two of them.

Lunch was really great, as well. Martha’s Mexican Cocina has seldom, if ever, disappointed, and they did not disappoint, yesterday. The service was very good and friendly, and the food was delicious. And they brought S a huge piece of cheesecake, drizzled with sauces (strawberry and chocolate?), with “Happy B-Day” written on the plate in one of the sauces.

And then we had our mani/pedis. So very relaxing, just a wonderful time. A fun time was had by all. After a quick stop at a nearby Sonic (of course), we headed home to have some cookie cake and collapse.

Today is my work Saturday (every other week), so I will be at the library from 9:30-6:15. After I get home, C, S, and I plan on heading over to Goldfish Sushi for dinner.

We hit 93 for a high, yesterday, after having one day below 90. There was no rain, but we have five straight days in the forecast with rain predicted, beginning later today. The high today is projected to be 96, but the next five days are below 90 with one day (Monday) potentially being below 80!

Martin Perez had another rare loss, yesterday, as the Twins beat the Rangers 2-1. Perez gave up back-to-back home runs in the first inning, but that was it for the Twins. Unfortunately, it was all they needed. The Rangers are now 53-66 for the season, in third place in the AL West, a game ahead of the Angels. They are 23 out of first, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They continue the series tonight, in Minnesota, at 6:10 PM CDT. Texas has 43 games remaining.

The Red Sox lost to the Orioles by the score of 15-10. Right. That’s what I said. That was the score in the seventh inning, when I checked in, and it stayed that way for the rest of the game. I’m not even sure what to say about that. The Sox are now 59-61, seemingly unable to crawl back up to .500. They remain in last place, especially since the team they are playing is currently a place above them. They are fourteen out of first, and five out of a Wild Card spot. Boston has 42 games remaining.

The Wild Card situation in the AL still has two teams in the East. Seattle, from the West, has the first spot, followed by Toronto and Tampa.

The Dodgers continue to be the best MLB team, at 82-36, six games ahead of the next best Mets. The stumbling Yankees are now fifth in MLB. The Nationals, in spite of a two-game winning streak, continue to be the worst, at 41-80. The Cardinals still have the best winning streak, now at five games. The Giants and Other Sox both have three-game losing streaks. The Dodgers, as they continue to dominate, have a run differential of +250. The Nationals, on the other end, have one of -207. The Rangers are now at -4, and the Red Sox are at -36.

Speaking of the Other Sox, I am beyond dismayed that our dear Elvis Andrus, after having been release by Oakland, has signed with the Southside.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, grant that we may be your children who receive the Spirit and all they need from you. You strengthen us not only physically but also inwardly, in our hearts, enabling us to face the uncertainties of earthly life and whatever still needs changing in human society. Keep us from giving in to weakness. May your power be always with us. May we have patience and hope, because you are working for the good and we may wait for it in expectation. Amen..
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

 1. that there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus
2. that we receive all that we need from God the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit
3. that God's power and kingdom are always available to us, providing patience and hope as we navigate through these troubling times
4. that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world
5. that if we ask anything according to God's will, He hears us

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
(John 4:39-42 ESV)

Glory in his holy name; 
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! 
Seek the LORD and his strength; 
seek his presence continually!
(1 Chronicles 16:10-11 ESV)
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, 
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; 
bring an offering and come before him! 
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; 
tremble before him, all the earth; 
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, 
and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!" 
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 
let the field exult, and everything in it! 
Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, 
for he comes to judge the earth. 
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 
for his steadfast love endures forever!
(1 Chronicles 16:28-34 ESV)
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. 
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
(Psalms 1:1-3 NIV)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “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! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
(1 John 5:14-15 NIV)


Jesus Christ is revealed as the “Savior of the world.” He was acknowledged and recognized in this way numerous times in Scripture. What shall we do with this?

Each individual’s destiny is contingent on their response to that information.

I don’t frequently “evangelize” on this forum, but I do try to go wherever the Spirit takes me with the passages I read for that day. And today, I read the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. The culmination of that account was her townspeople declaring this truth, “this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

A person’s family heritage is not enough to secure their destiny, although it can provide a highly favorable environment, and there are places where individuals are encouraged to believe, which would result in them being saved “and their households.”

Even more importantly, a person’s place in a nation will not be enough to secure their destiny. There is a drastically mistaken notion that has been popular for a number of years, that “America” is a “Christian nation.” I’ve said it before, and will likely say it again. There is no such thing as a “Christian nation.” Only an individual can be a Christian.

Our Father deals with us as individuals, and as the Body of Christ. He makes no difference in nationality. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, not any particular nation.

If Jesus has, in fact, saved me, then I will look more and more like Him, as I grow in Him. I will do the things that He did and said. I will love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I will love my neighbor as myself, and I will love the saints, my brothers and sisters in Christ, as He has loved us.

And I will try to find ways to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and thirsty, release the imprisoned, relieve the oppressed, and so on, because whatever I do to the “least of these,” I have, in fact, done to Jesus, Himself.

It is true . . . a glorious truth . . . there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But we must truly be “in Christ Jesus” for that to be true, and the evidence of that is that we are doing what He commanded.

So my admonition today is to believe in the Savior of the world. Follow in His footsteps, His teachings. Love God and love people. Let’s start a love revolution.


Father, I pray for the name of Jesus to be loved in this world. I pray that all will know Him as the Savior of the world. I pray that people will stop pretending to know Him when their actions say otherwise. I pray for love to reign, and for the Body of Christ (the true Body) to rise up and be recognized. I pray that any false teachers and false “churches” be shut down.

Your Word says that if we pray anything according to Your will, You will hear us. I believe, with all my heart, that praying for the salvation of the word is according to Your will, as Your Word also tells us that You desire all people to be saved. I pray that we, Your people, will rise up and proclaim the Good News that Your Kingdom is here, now, available to all who want to walk in it.

And then, Father, may we use the resources which You have provided, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and thirsty, release the prisoners, relieve the oppressed, heal the sick, and so on. We are in desperate need of a revolution, Father. Jesus and His disciples were subversive, Lord. May we engage in that behavior today, but in all love and peacefully. Yes, in love and in peace, which is extremely important. Jesus did not overthrow a government; rather, He sacrificed Himself in order to accomplish His purpose.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“My God Will Hear Me”

It is Friday, the nineteenth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your soul today!

Day 23,535

And today is the day! Our beloved S turns 29 today! The presents have already been opened, but the cookie cake is waiting until after lunch. The birthday girl requested donuts for breakfast, so I went out and got them. It’s probably the first time I have been out and about between 7:30 and 8:00 AM in well over a year.

THERE WERE PEOPLE OUT THERE!! It was awful!! There was . . . shudder . . . TRAFFIC!!!

But I managed to get the donuts, in spite of the fact that the donut shop was already totally out of any kind of buttermilk donuts! Egad!

So the order of the day is as follows: bowling first. Then we will have lunch at Martha’s Mexican Cocina, and then we will get pedicures. Maybe mani/pedis. Who knows? After that, we collapse. Tomorrow, I must work at the library, and after I finish that, we will have sushi for dinner.

The Texas Rangers beat the Athletics 10-3, yesterday, to win the series. They are now 53-65, still in third place in the AL West, 23 out of first place, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. The general consensus seems to be that they are out of any contention for the playoffs, this year. However, they are not mathematically eliminated, yet, and there are 44 games remaining. They begin a four-game series in Minnesota tonight.

The Red Sox lost to the Pirates, 8-2, but won the series. They are 59-60 for the season, and still in last place in the AL East, fourteen out of first place, and five out of a Wild Card spot. They begin a series in Baltimore tonight.

The Dodgers remain the best MLB team, at 81-36. The Nationals remain the worst, at 40-80. I keep waiting for their losses to catch up with the Dodgers’ wins. The Cardinals have the current win streak, with four games. The Rockies have the worst losing streak, at five games. The Dodgers have the best run differential, at +249, and the Nationals are still the worst, with -210. The Rangers are at -3, and the Red Sox are at -31.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear God and our Father, if only we have you, we desire nothing more in heaven or on earth. Body and soul may fail, but you, O God, are the strength and comfort of our hearts and you are ours forever. May we live in your Spirit and may your light shine over us. Touch our hearts and help us understand the greatness of what you call us to. Help us and free us again and again so that we are not bound by fear, even when we must pass through intense suffering. For your hand shall be with us and shall rescue us. Your hand shall bring about good for us and for all the people around us. Our hearts go out to them and we plead for them too, "Lord, send your Savior to all." Amen.
(Daily Prayer, from Plough.com)

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:25-26 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that even though my flesh and heart fail, God is my strength forever
2. that, having my Father in heaven, through the Son and by the Spirit, I desire nothing else in heaven or on earth
3. that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, Son of the living God, crucified for our sins, buried, and rose again on the third day
4. for the confidence that, in times when I am afraid, I can trust in the Lord
5. that our Father in heaven, Creator of everything we see and know, hears our prayers

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:13-14 ESV)

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
(John 4:25-26 ESV)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
(Psalms 56:3 NIV)

Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalms 27:1 NIV)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
(Psalms 34:4 NIV)

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
(Isaiah 41:13-14 NIV)

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:7 NIV)


Once again, I find that I have little to say in addition to these Scriptures. Jesus, Himself, proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah. Because of Him, we have confidence (or at least we should have confidence) that our Father hears our prayers.

Our God is always near us, as He is omnipresent. Therefore, when we find ourselves facing fear, rational or not, we can have the confidence and faith to trust in Him. He is our light and our salvation; who shall we fear? If God is the stronghold of my life, of whom should I be afraid?

What can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus? Hunger, pain, sickness, death? Politics, racial issues, governors, presidents?

The person, the human being who occupies the White House or the governor’s office has absolutely no effect whatsoever on my relationship with my God or my standing in Him!

Because of the effectual and perfect work of Jesus Christ, not even my sin can separate me from God!

There is so much fear in our world right now, and much of it is begin expressed (thought it might be disguises) by Christians, of all people! Why are so many people afraid? I can only surmise that they do not, in fact, trust in their God. They faith and hope is not, in fact, in Christ Jesus. They have errantly placed their faith in humans and their institutions.

This is to their shame.

I guess I had more to say than I thought.


Father, I praise You for the confidence that You have nurtured in me; confidence in You and You alone, to the point that I have no fear of what a man can do to me. You are my light and my salvation; You are near to me, always, as You have promised. Therefore, I have nothing to fear; therefore, this world, this universe, is a perfectly safe place for me to be.

I pray for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, that they might know this same confidence, that they might be able to set aside their irrational fears and stop trusting in “princes” to rescue them.

As for me, I watch and I wait for You; I know that You will hear me when I call to You.

I do believe! Help my unbelief!

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Praise the LORD! 

Praise the LORD, O my soul!
 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; 
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 

Put not your trust in princes, 
in a son of man,
 in whom there is no salvation. 
When his breath departs, 
he returns to the earth; 
on that very day his plans perish. 
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
 whose hope is in the LORD his God, 
who made heaven and earth, 
the sea, and all that is in them, 
who keeps faith forever; 
who executes justice for the oppressed, 
who gives food to the hungry. 
The LORD sets the prisoners free; 
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. 
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; 
the LORD loves the righteous. 
The LORD watches over the sojourners; 
he upholds the widow and the fatherless, 
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 
The LORD will reign forever, 
your God, O Zion, to all generations. 

Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 146:1-10 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Like A Child

Today is Tuesday, the sixteenth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart!

Day 23,532

THREE DAYS until S turns 29!!

Surprisingly, we had another day when it didn’t hit 100 degrees! That’s six in a row, and we may be close to the end of the heat wave. It hit 99 again, yesterday, in spite of the predicted 100. Keep in mind that I’m tracking temperatures from Meacham Field Airport, rather than DFW, because it is closer to my house. DFW might be hotter. The record for yesterday’s date is 105.

For the ten-day forecast, today and tomorrow are predicted to be over 100, followed by eight days of below-100 temperatures, half of those possibly below 90! Bring it on! There is potential for rain on Thursday of this week, and several days next week.

We experienced something new, last night. While I was trying to get S’s cookie cake ordered from the “Great American Cookie Company” yesterday, I looked into the cookie company known as Crumbl. I had heard of them, but I don’t believe I had ever had any. I did, after much inconvenience, manage to get a cookie cake ordered online, for C to pick up on her way home from work Thursday evening.

But later in the evening, I decided I really wanted to try those Crumbl cookies. So I ordered a dozen. And they were delivered in about an hour.

I didn’t get a point of reference for size, there, but those cookies are at least four inches in diameter, maybe larger. So far, we’ve each had half a cookie. I had the raspberry cheesecake, last night. What we have there is milk chocolate chip, lemon poppy seed, raspberry cheesecake, peanut butter blossom, french silk pie, and caramel popcorn. There are four of us in the house, and we agreed that we would cut them all in half, so that everyone could try each kind. I’m going to try to trade my caramel popcorn for a lemon poppy. I might trade my peanut butter blossom for something, as well. I’m sure S would like to have that one.

Oh. I almost forgot. My half of the raspberry cheesecake was pretty amazing.

The Texas Rangers fired their manager, yesterday. In my opinion, this needed to happen a long time ago. Chris Woodward is out. Tony Beasley, who had been (I think) third base coach (?), will take over as interim manager, for now. And they won his first game, beating the Oakland Athletics 2-1. Granted, it’s just Oakland, but they always struggle with Oakland. They have now won three in a row, and are 52-63 for the season. They’re still in third place in the AL West, but are now 1.5 ahead of the Angels. They are 22 games out of first, and 9.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They play Oakland again, tonight, at 7:05, in Arlington. They have 47 games remaining.

The Red Sox did not play, yesterday, and begin a series in Pittsburgh tonight.

The Dodgers won again, and now have become the first team to win 80 games, this season. At 80-34, they have the best record in MLB. The Washington Nationals won a game, but remain the worst team, with a 39-78 record. The Atlanta Braves still have the longest winning streak, at seven games. The Oakland Athletics continue to have the longest losing streak, at nine games, and hopefully the Rangers can help them make it longer. The Dodgers, with a run differential of +251, are almost sixty runs ahead of the next team in that category. They are the only team with higher than 200 (in the plus, that is). The Nationals are the only team with higher than 200 in the minus, with -209. The Rangers are now at -1, and the Sox remained at -32.

It’s Tuesday, so I will be at the Hurst Public Library, this evening, from 4:15-8:15, shelving whatever there is to shelve.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

I was struggling, a bit, this morning, before I got around to this. I’ve been in the process of changing my email address, for several reasons, and was experiencing some difficulties, this morning, with various websites. Then I read this, from Lightwriters:

All of Your Times,” by S. Michaels

Seek My beautiful places
let all else fall away, let
all your times rest in My Care

©2022 S. Michaels
Always Believe
(Prophetic Haiku 7-7-7)

The timing was perfect, and such great advice. Seek the beautiful places of the Lord, and let everything else fall away. That is so difficult, especially in these days of high technology and social media. But, upon reading this, I virtually felt weight rolling off of my shoulders like a cool, refreshing, summer rain. (Not that I know what that feels like!) “Let all your times rest in My care,” says the Lord.

Thank you, Susan!


Dear Father in heaven, we come before you to receive what we need as your children who cannot find help and guidance on our own, but only through your Spirit. Enlighten us by your Word, which you alone can give. You will give us your Word so that we can know with absolute certainty and clarity how to serve you. Your Word will show us the truth that is to be revealed on earth in Jesus Christ. Shelter us in your hands. Strengthen us especially during suffering, and free us from fear and trembling. Fill our hearts with patience and joy. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Believe God, and he will recover thee: 
and direct thy way, and trust in him. 
Keep his fear, and grow old therein. 
Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy: 
and go not aside from him, lest ye fall. 
Ye that fear the Lord, believe him: 
and your reward shall not be made void. 
Sirach 2:6-8 Douay-Rheims

Today I am grateful:

1. that I can daily come before the Lord to receive what I need
2. for grace, which is God acting in His power to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves
3. for Jesus's teachings on humility; may I learn to be more humble
4. for the progression of asking, seeking, and knocking, that leads to a deep abiding in the presence of the Lord
5. that, above all, God's purposes will stand and be accomplished

The verses quoted above are from an apocryphal book that is included in the Catholic Church canon.

And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
(John 2:16 ESV)

So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
(John 2:18-22 ESV)

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
(Matthew 18:3-6 NIV)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
(Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
(Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)


Humility is something we all struggle with. And if you don’t think you’re struggling with it, then you need it worse than anyone else. Jesus tells us that we must enter the Kingdom like children.

Obviously, we cannot become young again, as hard as some marketers want us to believe we can. So what does Jesus mean? It’s a position of lowliness, for starters. Over and over, Jesus tells us that, if we want to be first (and who doesn’t?) that we have to be last.

But there’s a catch, here. Kind of like Catch 22. You know . . . you have to be certified crazy to get out of the Army, but if you want out of the Army, you’re not crazy. This catch is a little different. In order to be first, we must be last. But if we try to be last, just so we can be first, we’re missing the point.

We might be able to fool (we can, in fact, fool) our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we cannot fool God. He knows the heart, so if you’re working real hard to be last because you really want to be first, He knows the motivation behind your actions.

John the Baptizer nailed it when he said, “He must increase; I must decrease.”

Children are honest and authentic. They are, to a degree, naive, innocent. Until they learn otherwise from a nearby adult.

So we have to learn humility. I’ve found several ways to learn this. One is on the freeway. I have adopted the philosophy that it doesn’t matter if someone gets ahead of me on the freeway. I always drive with at least enough room for a couple of cars in front of me. In fact, my car has this cool feature that uses some kind of radar to determine the distance between me and the car in front of me. I have it set for the maximum possible distance, when my cruise control is activated.

I have to resist the temptation, when someone is driving like a jerk, to retaliate and refuse to let them in. But that is neither Christlike nor humble. It doesn’t matter if someone gets in front of me.

Now. When we read that passage about asking, seeking, and knocking, it threatens our humility. How do we reconcile Jesus’s promise and teaching in that passage with the need for humility. I have seen pride swell up when people quote that verse.

The requirement is that we must ask, knowing our status before God, knowing that we are not entitled to what we are asking for, and that, if we do receive it, it is not because we deserved it, but because of mercy and grace. It is strictly because of the generosity of the Giver.

There is a progression of events, here, as well, and I have Andrew Murray to thank for this. Asking, refers to the gifts for which I am praying. But I can ask for gifts with the Giver. So I have to seek the Giver. The word “seek” is used in Scripture to refer to looking for God. We are encouraged to seek Him while He may be found. “But,” says Murray, it is not enough to find God in a time of need without also coming into an abiding fellowship with Him.” And here is where “knock” comes into play. When we knock, we are “admitted to dwell with Him and in Him. Asking and receiving the gift thus leads to seeking and finding the Giver. This again leads to the knocking and opening of the door to the Father’s home and to His love.”

But there is one thing that is certain. Jesus wants us to know for sure that our asking, seeking, and knocking will not be in vain. But He also wants to be sure that we are asking, seeking, and knocking in humility.

It does not take a genius to see that humility is in short supply in this world, right now.

Today's sources:
Pray a Word a Day (Scripture verse only)
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, humility is something that I struggle with, greatly. Some days, the struggle is harder than others. And there are some days where I probably don’t even bother to struggle with it. I pray for Your grace and guidance in this. And I know full well that praying for humility is about as safe as praying for patience, knowing that the only way to grow in humility is to have it tested.

But I am willing, Father, because I want to walk in humility; I want to decrease, so that You/Jesus/the Holy Spirit can be seen to increase.

I pray for Your Church, Lord, that we might all see the need for a deeper humility in these times. We must learn to be last, rather than struggling to be first. We must allow ourselves to decrease, that You might increase. There are many ways in which we can do this, and they differ with each individual. So show us all, Lord; teach us humility.

And teach, us, too, Lord, that it is Your purposes that will stand. When our own purposes butt up against Yours, it is we who will lose; we who will suffer. Your purposes will stand, so I pray that mine line up with Yours.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(Kyrie)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Put Your Hope in God”

Today is Monday, the fifteenth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,531

Only FOUR days until S turns 29!

In spite of the forecast, we only had a high of 99, yesterday, for our fifth consecutive day of below-100 temperatures. The record high for that date is 102. The ten-day forecast now only shows three days at 100 or higher (today being one of those), and, toward the end of the ten days, there are three days below 90! In addition, we have a chance of rain Thursday morning, as well as August 22-24.

The Texas Rangers now have a two-game winning streak, as they beat the Mariners 5-3, yesterday, also winning the series. They are now 51-63 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, still a half game ahead of the Angels. They are 23 games out of first place and 9.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They begin four game home series against the Athletics, tonight, followed by an unusual four-game away series against the Twins, which goes from Friday to Monday. The Rangers have 48 games left in the season.

The Red Sox . . . wait, what??

The Red Sox BLANKED the Yankees, last night, on ESPN, 3-0! They are now 57-59 for the season, still in last place in the AL East, 15.5 out of first place, and 4.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They won the series against the Yankees. Things are looking up. They are off today, and begin a three game series in Pittsburgh tomorrow night. This is followed by a weekend series in Baltimore, which could turn out to be an important series for both teams. The Sox have 46 games left.

As it stands today, Toronto, Seattle, and Tampa Bay have the three Wild Card spots.

The Dodgers lost a game, but are still the best MLB team, with a 79-34 record. The Nationals also lost, and remain the worst team, at 38-78. The Braves now have the longest winning streak, at six games, while the Athletics continue with the longest losing streak, at eight games. The Dodgers have outscored their opponents by 247 runs, while the Nationals have been outscored by 210. The Rangers are now at -2, and the Sox improved to -32.

In about an hour and a half, S and I will be leaving to take Princess (guinea pig) to the vet to have her eye checked out, and also for a possible ear infection. The birthday girl has requested Lone Star BBQ for dinner tonight, so our traditional Monday night chili will be postponed for the second week in a row. Last week, we put it off because of my colonoscopy. We had a late lunch, and I didn’t feel like cooking that night.

I don’t have any other plans for the day, other than folding some laundry and probably running the robot vacuum.

Oh, and I might mention that our son-in-law’s birthday is the same day as S’s. So cards are being mailed today, to him. He already has his main gift, which arrived Saturday. Or maybe yesterday. I’m not sure, actually.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we praise your name because we are allowed to bear witness to what we see and hear, to all the good you have given us. May we become firmly and faithfully united, awaiting the glorious day when your almighty hand will be victorious and will bring an end to the many evils among us. On that day you will be praised throughout all nations and everything will be clothed anew, to the glory of your great name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.
(Colossians 1:3-6a NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the community of saints and the love that is shared between us
2. for the hope stored up for us in heaven
3. for the promise that all tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain will be wiped away in eternity
4. that God hears His people when they call, and rescues them from all their troubles
5. for the true freedom that comes in Christ, and the "easy yoke" of Jesus

Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
(John 1:50-51 ESV)

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 43:5 NIV)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
(Revelation 21:4 NLT)

The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
(Psalms 34:17 NLT)

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign LORD rescues us from death.
(Psalms 68:19-20 NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
(Galatians 5:1 NLT)

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
(1 Samuel 12:23 ESV)


In the first Scripture passage, above, Jesus tells one of His new disciples, “You will see greater things than these.” That was both a promise and an encouragement.

The psalmist, in Psalm 43, questioned his own soul. “Why are you downcast?” he asked his soul. Perhaps this is a question that we might ask ourselves, when we find ourselves waxing pessimistic.

I’m a pessimist, at heart. I’m always expecting the worst. I’ve gotten better, over the years, but I find myself worrying over situations that may or may not even happen. And when I have an event coming up, especially one I’m not looking forward to, I might even lose sleep over it. I have a friend who is much, much worse about that then I.

What is the solution? The psalmist answers his own question. “Put your hope in God.”

While that may seem over-simplified, it is worthy of consideration. There is great hope in God and in His promises. Consider the next verse, the one from Revelation. Therein, we find the promise that God will utterly wipe out things like tears, death, sorrow, and pain. I find great comfort in this, not so much for myself as much as in regard to loved ones who have gone on before me.

“Put your hope in God.”

Back to the Psalms. The Lord hears His people; He rescues them from all their troubles. He carries us in His arms; He rescues us from death!

“Put your hope in God.”

And then Jesus gives us that bit about His “easy yoke.” What does that even mean? The further forward in time we go, the more difficult this may be for younger generations to grasp. The “yoke” was a wooden bar that went across the shoulders of two oxen, who pulled the plough to till the ground.

If we step into that yoke with Jesus, He basically shoulders the brunt of the load, because He is infinitely stronger than we. And He says that His yoke is “easy.” If it is easy for Him, then it should be beyond easy for us, if we allow Him to take the load.

“Put your hope in God.”

Ironically, even if we put ourselves in this yoke with Jesus, He has set us free. It is in joining ourselves with Him that we become free. I realize that this seems like foolishness to the “natural man,” but there is great truth and wisdom here. It is when we separate ourselves from Christ and His “easy yoke” that we place more burden and bondage upon ourselves.

“Put your hope in God.”

So my prayer today, is that I, along with all of you, the community of saints, can walk in this freedom, this “easy yoke” of Jesus, and dispense with our pessimism, our negative thinking, our worrying that things are going to go badly.

Things probably are going to go badly. That’s one thing that God never promised wouldn’t happen. But, in the end, things will be (and are) better in His Kingdom than we could ever imagine.

Today's sources:
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Pray a Word a Day
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, help us to put our trust in You. You have given us all of these great and precious promises, these wonderful words of life from Jesus, and yet we somehow insist on wallowing in our distress and pessimism, worrying about things that may not even happen. Have mercy, Father. Help us to put our trust in You.

Give us more of a desire for fellowship with You, that we might spend more time in prayer, both for our fellow saints, and for a deeper knowledge and intimacy with You. Deliver us from our self-made troubles, Lord. Not all of our troubles are self-made, but many of them are.

You wait to shower us with blessings, and all that is needed is for us to turn our faces toward You, open our arms and hearts and hands to You and receive. I know this sounds a lot like “name-it-claim-it,” but You know my heart, and You know that is not what I mean. I’m not talking about material wealth, although that blessing is not ruled out. I’m simply referring to the blessing of walking in life with You, in that easy yoke of Jesus, and walking in true freedom; freedom from doubt; freedom from worry; freedom from legalistic meanderings that yank us off of the true path of freedom in You.

Help us, O God, to truly put our hope in You.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
(Psalms 33:18-19 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Peace Like A River

Today is Sunday, the fourteenth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you!

Day 23,530

We hit a high of 98 degrees, yesterday, for our fourth consecutive day under 100. The record high for yesterday’s date is 105. I wonder if that was 1980? The ten-day forecast still includes six days of under-100 temperatures, but the next four are 100+. The great news is that at the end of the ten days, I’m seeing two days that will possible be below 90! The not-so-good news is that we likely aren’t going to get any more rain until around August 21.

I have an adventure tomorrow. I get to take S’s guinea pig, Princess, to an exotic animal doctor to have her eye looked at. It’s been a little cloudy of late, although it seems a little better this morning, and she has exhibited a bit of a head tilt, which may mean she has some inner ear trouble going on.

We have our church gathering, this morning, at 10:15, and it looks like most of us will actually be there. However, we will not be there next Sunday, as we will be traveling to FBC Mineral Wells as part of S’s birthday celebration. Oh, I didn’t put that up there, did I? S turns 29 in only FIVE MORE DAYS! We should probably get that cookie cake ordered, huh?

C and I have scheduled a Glen Rose trip in October for our anniversary. It will be the weekend before the actual anniversary, which is October 12. It’s been a while since we have been to Paluxy River Bed Cabins, so we are very excited about that.

The Texas Rangers snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Mariners, by winning 7-4, last night. That losing streak was exclusively against the Mariners, by the way. They are now 50-63 (finally won that fiftieth game), still in third place by a half game, 23 games out of first place, and 9.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. They play Seattle again today, at 1:35 CDT, with Martin Perez taking the mound. The Rangers have 49 games left in 2022.

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Yankees, 3-2 (I think that’s the same score they won by, the night before), to make them 56-59 for the season. They remain in last place in the AL East, 16.5 games out of first place, and 4.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They will play the Yankees again, this evening (it’s an ESPN game). The Red Sox have 47 games left in 2022.

The LA Dodgers can’t seem to lose, now. They continue to be the best team in MLB with a 79-33 record, twelve straight wins, and a run differential of +251. The Washington Nationals remain on the bottom, at 38-77, and a -204 run differential. The Athletics of Oakland, however, have the current losing streak at seven games. The Texas Rangers have a run differential of -4, and the REd S

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, grant that we may heed your commandments, that our peace may be like a river and our righteousness like the waves of the sea. Be with us through your Spirit, we pray. Speak with us and tell us what we need to hear so that we can understand what draws us always nearer to you. Show the might of your hand to help us and all people. Even under judgment we shall not despair, we shall not lose courage because of troubles and distress. Come with your strength, that we may grow strong to overcome the world through Jesus Christ the Savior. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
(Isaiah 48:18 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the possibility of peace "like a river," by heeding the commands of God (loving God and loving people)
2. for an understanding of what draws us nearer to God
3. for the strength to overcome the world through Jesus Christ the Savior
4. for the songs that my God sings over me
5. for the encouragement to always be growing, moving forward in Christ, and the knowledge that, if I am walking with Him, He will lead

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
(John 1:29-34 NIV)

Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD; she does not draw near to her God. Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning. Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law.
(Zephaniah 3:1-4 ESV)

“On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”
(Zephaniah 3:11-13 ESV)

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
(Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
(2 Peter 3:18 ESV, emphasis added)

“A faith walk is measured by forward movement. And when we walk with Jesus, He takes the lead.” (Shawnelle Eliasen)

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
(Luke 17:5 ESV)

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
(Hebrews 6:1-2 ESV)


I could have easily stopped, today, after that bit from Plough about having peace like a river. I kept on reading my prescribed readings, though, from my various devotional materials.

Here’s the thing. Do you have peace in your life? And I’m strictly speaking to believers, here, because I know a bunch who don’t live like they have peace. And the reason for this? It’s right there in Isaiah!

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
(Isaiah 48:18 NIV)

The problem is that we seem to be getting bogged down in what those commands are. Let’s go over that again. I will never get tired of quoting Jesus Christ on this, because it is simply the essence of life.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:34-40 NIV)

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

When we don’t have peace in our lives, it is very likely because we are not heeding those commands.

Another thing that happens when we heed those commands is that we grow. We move forward. I love the quote from Shawnelle Eliason, this morning. When I walk in faith, I will move forward. And Jesus will take the lead, if I am truly following Him.

There’s one final thought, here, from Andrew Murray. “We find the Christian life difficult because we seek for God’s blessing while we live according to our own will. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to watch and see that sin does not overtake us and that we do not wander too far from the path.”

If we are heeding His commands, we will be entirely at His disposal, we will be moving forward in our faith walk, and we will have peace like a river.

Today's sources:
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, help me, today, to enjoy this peace. Help me to focus only on obeying/heeding those two commands (three if we add that “new command” from Jesus) to love You, love my neighbor, and especially love the saints. If I can do those things, I will have peace, my walk will be moving forward, and, more importantly, my life will be Yours, to do with as You will.

I pray for all of Your children, today, that they might experience this peace in their lives by heeding Your commands and loving. It truly is all about love, Father.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

To Know Him is to Love

Today is Saturday, the thirteenth of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,529

Only SIX more days until S turns 29!

Friday the thirteenth falls on Saturday, this month!

We had our third consecutive day of below-100 temperatures, yesterday, as the high only reached 97 again, in our area. The record high for that date is 104, so we are well below that. Today, we are expecting 98, with virtually no chance of rain. The ten-day forecast shows six days below 100, and some chance of rain next weekend. In fact, my favorite weather site shows next Sunday and Monday to have highs of only 92. We don’t even consider that “hot” around here.

I didn’t do much of anything, yesterday, but I did cook a pretty good dinner. Well, the slow cooker cooked it, but I mixed it up and arranged it. It was Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing, from Emily Bites. It was a big success with the family, and, I’ll confess, quite tasty. Relatively easy, too, as it only has five ingredients. Chicken, a box of stuffing mix, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and chicken broth. We’ll be doing that one again, next week.

The Texas Rangers lost to the Seattle Mariners, 6-2. Ironically, they were only outhit 11-9. But that is typical of the Rangers. They tend to get a lot of hits, but are unable to get the runners to home. They are now 49-63 for the season, and still in third place in the AL West, but only by a half game, now. The Angels are on the verge of catching up with them. They are 23 games out of first place, and ten games out of a Wild Card spot. They play the Mariners again, this evening, at 6:15 CDT (that’s a strange start time), in Arlington.

The Boston Red Sox BEAT THE YANKEES! 3-2 in ten innings! This makes them 56-58 for the season, but still in las place in the AL East. They are 15.5 out of first place, and four games out of a Wild Card spot. They play the Yankees again, today, in Boston.

Speaking of Wild Cards, if the playoff were to begin today, here’s how it would look. The Yankees, Guardians, and Astros lead the AL divisions. The Mariners, Blue Jays (BOO), and the Orioles (!!) currently occupy the three Wild Card spots. Notice that the AL East still has two of those three Wild Cards. In the NL (which I really don’t care beans about), the Dodgers, Mets, and Cards are leading their divisions, and the Wild Card spots are occupied by the Braves, the Phillies (!?!), and the Padres.

The LA Dodgers, now having won eleven straight games (didn’t they just get Joey Gallo??), continue to lead all three categories that I track, here (78-33, W11, +241). The Mets are better than the Yankees (picture me singing that in a mocking tone of voice); the Mets are better than the Yankees. The Washington Nationals continue to be the worst in two of the three categories. Their record is 37-77, and their run differential is -205. The Athletics have the longest current losing streak, at six games. THREE of the teams in the AL East (Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays) have a three game losing streak! Hee. As fun as that is, it would be a lot more fun if my favorite teams would start winning.

Today, I really don’t have any plans. C and I might do something later . . . not sure. I’m planning to make burgers for dinner tonight, but I have no idea what lunch will look like. I have groceries scheduled for delivery at noon. I didn’t get them yesterday, because I wanted to wait and see how last night’s dinner turned out.

On to the important stuff.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you for the trust you have put into our hearts. We thank you for all the signs of your goodness that comfort us when we are in great need and when many deaths take place around us and touch each of us. We thank you for comforting us, for always giving us fresh courage wherever we may be, and for giving us hope for other people, who also struggle hard to find what is good. O Lord God, bless our world with power from on high, with your gifts that bring good to many people. Bless our world. Save it from sin, from ruin, from every kind of despair. Give your blessing, O Lord our God! As you bless us, so bless all the world, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. “I, even I, am he who comforts you.”
(Isaiah 51:11-12 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the signs of the goodness of God that comfort us when we are in need
2. for the courage to go on in life when things around us seem to be crumbling
3. for the hope that we will "enter Zion with singing"
4. that God's thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours
5. that God demands/commands that we love

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 ESV)

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:11-14 ESV)

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.
(Zephaniah 2:3 ESV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
(Proverbs 17:17 ESV)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
(John 15:12-14 ESV)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
(Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:9 ESV)


So here’s the thing. It’s really a no-brainer, yet so many of us seem to be struggling to brain it.

God commands that we love; God demands that we love. It is not negotiable; it is not optional.

His ways are infinitely higher than ours; His thoughts are infinitely higher than ours. “Remembering this will prevent our being content with our knowledge and thoughts concerning the Word of God. Instead, we will wait on God to know His mind.” (Andrew Murray)

There are two things that faith in God’s Word should teach us. Ignorance and expectation. “Many of God’s children, who by neglecting to continually cultivate a childlike spirit and by resting on their creed or personal Bible study, have spiritual truth hidden from them and never become spiritual adults. Allow a deep sense of your own lack of knowledge and a general distrust in your own power to understand the things of God to characterize your Bible study.” (Murray)

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
(Matthew 11:25-26 ESV)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 18:1-4 ESV)

The older I get, the more I know that I don’t know. And the more that I know that I don’t know, the greater my expectation of revelation from God’s Holy Spirit. “The greater our distrust of our own comprehension of the thoughts of God, the greater our expectation will be.” (Murray)

When we realize and acknowledge how much higher God’s thoughts and ways are than ours, perhaps, then, we can learn to obey His commands to love one another. It is commanded. It is not suggested. It is not negotiable, and, furthermore, if we are not loving, God’s Word tells us that we do not know Him.

Period.

Today's sources:
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, we need Your help. Have mercy on us, please! Teach us love. Please, Father, make your people realize that these commands are necessary; they are essential, and they are not optional. We are not loving people; we are not sacrificing or laying down our lives for people, so how can we possibly believe that we are “friends” of Jesus?

The Gospel is here; the Gospel is now; Jesus Christ has made Your kingdom, a Kingdom of love and light, available to anyone who desires to walk in it. It is not a Kingdom of war and vengeance; it is not a Kingdom of everyone fighting for their “rights” and “freedoms.” The story, the Gospel, that great story that we have to tell to the nations, is “a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light” (H. Ernest Nichol).

My soul hurts, Father, as I look around me and see the lack of love and compassion being spread by those would call themselves Your children. Please help us, Father. The outside world is looking with scorn on those who call themselves “Christian,” but don’t follow the teachings of Christ. This drives them away from You instead of drawing them toward You. Help us to spread the true Gospel, of peace and light, Lord.

For truly, if we do not love, we do not know You.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:7-8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Wandering About

Today is the twenty-ninth of June, 2022, in the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Day 23,484

We are still getting a slight break from the heat, as the high today is only supposed to be 93. There’s a slight chance of rain on Sunday, but from July 4, until the end of the ten-day forecast, the temps are back over 100.

I can’t find any updates on the “Dempsey Fire” in Palo Pinto County since Monday, but at that point, it had burned almost 12,000 acres and was only 27% contained. We need rain badly.

Mama and I spent three hours at the dentist, yesterday morning. She’s getting that tooth capped, and all seems to be well. The dentist is not 100% sure that it will work, long-term, but he said he was doing what he would want done, so we trust that. Hopefully, this will be fine. The permanent cap will be there in a few weeks.

The Texas Rangers have done well against the KC Royas, as they should. Monday night’s game was iffy for a while, but they wound up winning 10-4. Last night, they won 8-3, so they have won the series, regardless of what happens in this afternoon’s game. They are back within one game of .500, at 36-37, still in second place in the AL West. Ten games out of first, four games out of the Wild Card.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have lost two games in row to the Blue Jays, and have been bumped into third place in the AL East. They are only a half game behind the Jays, at 42-33, and still have the second Wild Card spot. They will play the Blue Jays again today.

The Yankees still have the best MLB record, at 55-20 (they are eight games ahead of the next team). The Athletics continue to hold down the basement, at 25-51. The Yankees, Brewers, and Nationals all have three-game winning streaks, and the Pittsburgh Pirates own the current longest losing streak, at five games. The Yankees also have the best run differential, having scored 149 more runs than their collective opponents. The Athletics currently hold the worst, having been outscored by their opponents by 112 runs. The Rangers have outscored their opponents by 14 runs, and the Red Sox have outscored theirs by 59 runs.

Today is a rather lazy day (I hope). The lawn guy is coming today, and I have a grocery order being delivered. We may have to take a guinea pig to the vet this week, but if that has to happen, I think it will be Friday, my next day off after today.

I had a good night at the library, last night, and wound up checking out about six DVDs and a book. I think that’s the most I have gotten at one time. And not all of the DVDs are for me. I got a couple of Good Witch movies for C and Mama, as well as the first season of a British comedy called The Dectectorists, which looks like fun. Then I got Deadpool 2, American Graffiti, and The Abandoned. The book is called The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, recommended by one of our librarians because I liked Daisy Jones & the Six.

I’ll start my devotional as soon as I get another cup of coffee.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, we glorify your name. How we wish our voices could ring out over all the world, telling of the great things you have done for us, praising you that we can come to you in Jesus Christ, that we can worship, honor, and thank you for all your goodness! Safeguard all your children so that they hold to faith and remain true to the message of the gospel. May we thank and praise you for all you have done this day and for your working in the hearts of many people who are still unknown to us. Your Spirit rules and calls people, to bring them to you, the Father in heaven. Watch over us and continue to bless us. Help us who belong to your people, and protect us through the night. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
But I will sing of your strength,
 in the morning I will sing of your love; 
for you are my fortress,
 my refuge in times of trouble. 
You are my strength, I sing praise to you; 
you, God, are my fortress, 
my God on whom I can rely.
(Psalms 59:16-17 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the strength and love of my God, who is my fortress and refuge in times of trouble
2. that we can come to Him in Jesus, and worship, honor, and thank Him for all His goodness
3. that, even when I wander from His path, the Lord is always with me, and always draws me back to Him
4. that, thought I am breakable, He will not allow me to be crushed, and He will not abandon me
5. for freedom in Christ

The word for today, from Pray a Word a Day, is wander.

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
take my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for Thy courts above."
(Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, by Robert Robinson, 1758)

By definition, wandering isn’t necessarily bad or wrong. It simply means “walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way.” In fact, the word “wander” is frequently used with the word “aimlessly.”

I don’t remember if I wandered much, as a child. I know that, as I grew older, and was allowed to ride my bicycle all over town, I wandered quite a bit. I liked exploring the town.

C and I like to wander when we visit new places. Sometimes we wander, but not aimlessly, when we find a trail that we haven’t walked on. We aren’t sure where we are going, but we are following a trail.

Spiritually, however, wandering is never good. It is never good to wander through the spiritual life aimlessly. And I do tend to do that. Sometimes, I wander dangerously far from the path of righteousness. But God is faithful. When I wander, He never leaves me. In fact, even when I have wandered away from His path, He is always right beside me. It’s not His fault I’m not paying attention to His presence. He hasn’t gone anywhere.

And He is faithful to draw me back. Oh, sure, He will indulge me for a season. “Go ahead, have your ‘fun’,” He seems to say. But there will come a time when He will say “enough!” And that time may be somewhat unpleasant for me. I can say this from experience. But the end result will be safety.

Father, I pray that You keep me from wandering. And, when I do wander, I pray that You will always draw me safely back to You. I also pray that, when I do wander, You will protect me from my own foolishness. Thank You for Your presence, always with me, always watching out for me.


For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
(Romans 7:18 NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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 NIV)

Romans 7:18 is one of the reasons for my wandering. As long as I continue in this moral coil, this will be a struggle. As Paul says elsewhere, this keeps us humble, too.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NIV)

The glory of God in a “jar of clay.” We are not unbreakable. But He will not allow us to be crushed, nor will He abandon us. And, as long as we stay in that “easy yoke” with Jesus, our burden will be light.

Thank You, Father, that You will never abandon us or allow us to be crushed. Please protect this “jar of clay,” and make Your glory shine through the mud.


Eugene H. Peterson writes about freedom, but it is not any freedom that any country or government can provide or control.

“In all nations, there are people who live out a freedom that is both different and better than that claimed by their fellow citizens, whether capitalist or communist or anything in between. These people call themselves Christians.”

Unfortunately, the word “Christian” is getting some bad press in the U.S., these days, and there are some who call themselves by that name that are depending much more on that “freedom” that they get from the government than that which they get from Christ. The true Christian is free in Christ and needs no government to tell him otherwise. Notice that Peterson says, ” all nations . . . whether capitalist or communist or anything in between.”

Christians are free in Christ, regardless of the political system. Oh, sure, they may have to meet underground to worship. But physical freedom is much different than spiritual freedom.

"The Word that Christ speaks to us sets us free; the praise we offer develops freedom; the prayers we offer make freedom possible for others.
"As people faithful in worship and attentive to God's Word, we will witness to that freedom. We will be free, but not with the world's freedom. We will be Christians."

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I thank You for true freedom, freedom that we have in Christ. I praise You that this freedom cannot be taken away by any man, system, or government. It is truly in Christ, and it is protected by You. I praise You that no man can snatch me out of Your hands. My body is not indestructible, but my spirit is. All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer, prayer for Compline)

Grace and peace, friend.

Earnestly Seeking

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-eighth of June, 2022, in the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,483

I went downtown to the courthouse for jury duty, yesterday morning, and was promptly dismissed. “We are no longer in need of your services,” we were told. Got my $6 check and went back home. I think I spent more time waiting for the shuttle to go back to the parking lot than I spent inside the building.

This morning, I have to take Mama to the dentist. She broke a tooth, yesterday, or it came loose, or something. At any rate, we have an appointment for 9:00 this morning, at the last dentist any of us went to, in Watauga. At least she is not in pain, and was able to eat her chili last night.

I received shocking news, yesterday morning, that our college band director (East Texas State University, now TAMU at Commerce), had passed away from an extremely aggressive form of Leukemia. A week ago, he didn’t even know he was sick. He was a tough band director, and there were times when we hated him, but we always loved him, too. I am proud to have been a part of the ETSU band while he was there.

Since I have to get Mama to the dentist, I’d best get on with the devotional.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, we thank you for all you reveal in your creation so that our lives may be fruitful. Reveal your wisdom and strength among people everywhere so that death and destruction do not have their way, but your will, your love, your mercy shall prevail. Let our age learn that power belongs to you and not to men, and that you will at last fulfill all your promises of good. Your day of justice and holiness will break in, and all misery will be removed through your great mercy. Watch over us as you have done till this hour, and keep us safe during the night. Be present and carry out your will wherever there is misfortune. May your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
(Romans 8:19-21 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that power truly belongs to God and not men; any power that men may seem to have is only temporary
2. that God's will, His love, and His mercy will prevail
3. that in Christ, all things are possible to the one who believes
4. that God is readily available for all who really want to find Him
5. for His presence in my life

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
(Mark 9:2-8 ESV Emphasis mine)

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:23-24 ESV)

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.”
(Mark 9:38-41 ESV)


Today’s word, in Pray a Word a Day, is diligently.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

The Greek word in this verse is translated “diligently seek,” not just “diligently.” The NLT translates it “sincerely seek.” NIV says “earnestly seek,” and The Message and ESV both just say “seek.” Whichever translation you prefer, the emphasis, I believe, is on seeking. God rewards whose who seek Him.

What does it mean to seek? It means to look for Him, to search for Him, actively. This is not a passive thing. A favorite verse in Jeremiah says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

“With all your heart . . .” could also be “diligently” or “earnestly.”

The point is, if you want to find God, you will.

Father, I thank You that You have directed my heart to diligently, earnestly seek You. I cannot truthfully say that I have sought You, yet, “with my whole heart.” I’m not even sure if that’s possible, as a human being. But I do earnestly desire fellowship with You, so I continue to seek You, daily, and You continue to reward me with Your presence. I am grateful for this, as it is not something that I inherently deserve. Thank You for Your presence, Father.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

What A Friend . . .

Today is Monday, the twenty-seventh of June, 2022, in the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,482

C and I had a good time at the show, yesterday, but I don’t think either one of us was crazy about the production. There were some great moments, and some not-so-great moments. Ironically, my great moments were probably C’s not-so-great moments. But that’s the way it goes. I will say this much. Anything that we didn’t care for was solely on the production, not the talent. The performers were marvelous.

As previously stated, I have jury duty today. Normally, I would have had to be there in about twenty-five minutes, but last week, I received an email with a court assignment and revised reporting time of 10:30, so I don’t have to leave as early. Parking might be more tricky, though. For our courthouses, though, there is a free off-site parking lot with free shuttle bus service from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, so I should be okay.

The Texas Rangers lost again (and lost the series) to the Nationals, yesterday, 6-4. It was actually worse than it looks, as the Rangers’ last three runs weren’t scored until the bottom of the ninth, too little, too late. They are now 34-37 for the year, but still in second place, a game ahead of the Angels, 10.5 out of first place, and 5.5 out of the Wild Card race. Tonight, they begin a series with the KC Royals, another terrible team.

The Boston Red Sox, on the other hand, swept the Cleveland Guardians, beating them 8-3, yesterday. They are 42-31 for the season, and also in second place, but 11 games out of first. They are, however, in sole possession of the first Wild Card spot. Tonight, they begin a series with the fourth place Blue Jays.

Of course, the Yankees still have the best MLB record, at 53-20. The Athletics continue to be the worst, at 25-49. The Red Sox continue to streak, having won seven consecutive games, now. The Guardians, thanks to the Red Sox, now have the longest losing streak, currently at four games. The Yankees still have the best run differential, at +144, and the Nationals, in spite of having just embarrassed the Texas Rangers, have the worst, at -111. Texas is at +3, and Boston is at +65, only two behind the NY Mets. The next team up is roughly double that. But, the run differential column isn’t the most important. The “W” column is what really matters.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, help us to be holy as you are holy, and free us from all the earthly things that try to torment us. Grant us your Spirit so that we do what is right. May we always hold your hand confidently. Protect your children everywhere on earth, and help them do what is right even if the whole world does what is wrong. Help us, so that all we do becomes holy and pleasing in your sight. Let your grace grow among us and among the nations, and let your hand be strong to bring in your day, your day when everything is made new. May your name be kept holy, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the holiness of God, and the desire to imitate that
2. for the heart that God has given me
3. that Jesus calls me "friend"
4. for a morning of silence and solitude, directing my heart to God
5. for shelter over my head, with protection from the heat outside
6. that "forever and ever His heart is my home" (Matt Maher)

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?
(Mark 8:34-37 ESV)


Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is heart.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
(Matthew 5:8 ESV)

When we speak of “heart,” we are usually speaking of what is considered, at least in Western culture, the seat of the emotion, the center of the person. It is very close to, and similar to, the notion of “soul.” I’m not going to go into a lengthy exposition on this, though.

We also know that the heart is what God looks at, when He is judging a person. And when we consider actions, the heart is akin to the motivation behind an action. A person could do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. Remember Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.” And then He immediately applied that to prayer, as well. Don’t pray just so other people can hear you pray. Don’t “heap up empty phrases” or “vain repetitions.”

What is in your heart when you give to the poor? What is in your heart when you pray for someone? For that matter, why do we dress up so fancy to go to church? Who are we trying to impress?

For many years, I have loved this passage in Ezekiel:

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.”
(Ezekiel 11:19-21 ESV)

The last verse there reminds me of Jesus’s warning, also in Matthew 6, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (verse 21).

Father, direct my heart toward You. May my heart be a “heart of flesh” rather than a “heart of stone.” I believe that it is, as You have given me the desire to be generous with the blessings with which You have blessed me. You have given me the desire to do my best to follow the commands of Jesus and to try to do the things that He mentions in His parable of the sheep and the goats. But I know that I can do better, and that I can do more. I pray for Your Spirit to direct me to people who need the help, that I might do what I am able to help them. I pray this for Your whole Body, that we might be more in tune with the needs around us, and less concerned with our opinions and causes.


Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
(John 15:13-15 ESV)

"What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!

Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!"
(Joseph Medicott Scriven, 1855)
"I've found a friend, O such a friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him;
And round my heart still closely twine
Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.

I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
He bled, He died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life,
But His own self He gave me.
Naught that I have mine own I call,
I’ll hold it for the giver;
My heart, my strength, my life, my all
Are His, and His forever.

I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
So kind and true and tender,
So wise a counsellor and guide,
So mighty a defender!
From Him who loves me now so well,
What power my soul shall sever?
Shall life or death, shall earth or hell?
No! I am His forever."
(James G. Small, 1866)

Thank You, Jesus, for calling me “friend.”


Father, this morning, I pray for the fire in Palo Pinto County to be extinguished. Please send rain, or otherwise intervene, that no more damage would be done. Please protect all the firefighters who are involved in attempts to contain this fire. Please protect the homes of those nearby, who might be in the path of it.

I know of several who have recently lost loved ones, Father. I pray for peace and comfort for them and their families. I also lift up my mother’s good friend, who is having some physical issues. Please bring healing there.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


That piano playing!!!

“Forever and ever His heart is my home!”

Grace and peace, friends!

Let It Shine

Today is Sunday, the twenty-sixth of July, 2022, in the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of God find you today. Whatever is going on, just stop. Stop and embrace the peace. Let it hold you.

Day 23,481

We had a great day at the library, yesterday. It was just busy enough that it didn’t get boring, but not busy enough to be crazy. And there weren’t any over-challenging patrons. A very pleasant day.

Today, C and I will be going to Bass Hall for the 1:30 performance of Oklahoma! We are really looking forward to that.

Tomorrow, I have jury duty. Not really looking forward to that. But not dreading it, either. Something different to do on a Monday, when I never have a work shift, anyway. I just hope it doesn’t carry over into Tuesday.

The Texas Rangers beat the Washington Nationals, last night, 3-2, on a walk-off home run by Adolis Garcia (“El Bombe”). After losing 2-1, the previous night, their record is back to two games below .500, 34-36. They are in second place in the AL West, 10.5 behind the Astros, and 4.5 out of the Wild Card race.

The Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Guardians 4-2, to improve their record to 41-31. They are now in second place in the AL East, 11 games out of first, and in the first of three Wild Card spots. The other two Wild Cards are currently Toronto and Tampa. Again, if the season ended today, the AL East would have four teams in the playoffs. I’m sorry, Mr. Manfred, but this just doesn’t seem right.

I just sent an email to the MLB about that issue. I’ll let you know if they respond. Hahaha!

The Yankees still have the best MLB record, at 52-20. However, the have lost two games in a row, and were no-hit (??) last night. Unfortunately, it was the Astros who no-hit them, so I can’t exactly be happy about that, can I? Today, the Athletics have the worst record, at 24-49. The Yankees continue to have the best run differential, at +141, but the Dodgers aren’t far behind them, at +130. The Nationals (with whom the Rangers are struggling!) have the worst, at -113. Come on, Rangers!! The Red Sox have the longest current win streak (YAY!!) at six games, and the Diamondbacks have the longest current losing streak at five games.

The Rangers will play the Nationals this afternoon, at 1:35, while we are watching Oklahoma! at the Bass Hall. The Sox will play the Guardians at 1:40 EDT.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

What I Long For, by Daryl Madden

I longed for the day
Of future years
I long for the past
Now that they’re here

I’m looking forward
To what happens today
But the gift of this moment
I let pass away

And even of heaven
Where I long to be
I can lose focus
To let life pass by me

So let all my longing
Be now in a prayer
In dealing with you, Lord
In heaven right here

So much truth here, in this lovely poem. Please visit Daryl’s site, using the link provided above, for more.

O Lord our God, grant that we may have fellowship with you every day. May our hearts be ready to fulfill your commandments and to do what you want in all things. Hear our prayer. Hear and answer when we pray for the nations, for the whole world, and let your holy will be done. Remember all who are in distress, and lead them on the right way. May we go with joyful hearts wherever you lead us. Your name will be our help, your glory will come, and the world will be full of your love, your power, and your splendor. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:3 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the fellowship we have with God, in Christ, and the desire to see others have that same fellowship
2. that my desire to draw people into the love of God supersedes my devotion to any other "cause"
3. for this moment, right here, right now (yes, the one that's already gone), because that is all we truly have
4. for the heart of gratitude that God has grown in me
5. for the admonition in Isaiah 58 to stop blaming and slandering, and to pour out our lives for the hungry and afflicted

Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is thanks.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
(1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV)

That is one of 72 times that the word “thanks” appears in the NIV. 33 of those appear in the Old Testament, and 39 in the New. I’m actually a little surprised that it doesn’t appear more often. However, if you take off the “s,” the word “thank” appears another 35 times. And “thanksgiving” another 22. Three more times for “thankful.” So there’s a total of 132 appearances of some form of the word in the NIV Bible.

I think God desires for us to be thankful. Do I think it’s because He desires the attention? Does it make Him feel better when we say “thanks”? You know, the way it makes you feel better when one of your kids or a close friend says “thank you.”

Here’s the thing. Actually, I’m posing a question. Which do you think is more healthy for you, a life of complaining about things, or a life of gratitude?

As you know, I start each day’s devotional with gratitude (after a brief prayer, sometimes an inspirational poem, and a verse to jump off from). This sets the stage for the day. But it would be even better (and a practice that I need to begin) if I said some thanks before I even put feet on the floor.

Dallas Willard once said that, before he got out of bed in the morning, he would meditate through either the Lord’s Prayer or the 23rd Psalm. Both worthy things, and a great way to start the day. And I’m sure gratitude was a part of that. How much better to simply start the day with some thanks, before ever getting out of bed? (Don’t misunderstand . . . I’m not at all being critical of Dallas Willard!)

I mean, how many of us jump out of bed all happy and cheerful? If you do, I don’t want to be around you. Even my wife, who is more of a morning person than I, doesn’t exactly spring out of bed in the morning. So stopping to express some gratitude would certainly help. It would set the stage for a better day, I believe, and prepare me for pretty much anything that could come my way.

I’m still not doing any “springing,” though.

It also would make me think, to be aware. I sometimes have to think about what I’m grateful for. Some days, it’s harder than others. Other days, I might lie there for a half hour, giving thanks.

The writer of today’s reading gives his own suggestions. “Thanks for a good night’s sleep. Thanks for a bed and a pillow. Thanks for hot water. For indoor plumbing (ever lived without it?). For toothpaste. For soap. Thanks for a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat, and coffee to drink, hallelujah, amen!”

I know that my mother is thankful for being able to go out shopping with my wife, yesterday.

There’s a book that has been on my TBR list for a while, now, and I think I may try a bit harder to get it read, this year. It’s by Anne Lamott, and it’s called Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. And, judging from the fact that our Father knows every word before it comes out of mouth, and knows what we need before we ask it, those are three pretty good prayers.

As “Bob” has advised, try it today. “See how many things – including diverse things – you can say ‘thanks’ for today.” It just might change your whole outlook.

Of course, if you enjoy your whining and complaining, never mind.

Father, You know my heart, and You know the heart of my gratitude, each day. You also know that some days, it is more difficult than others to come up with five things that I’m grateful for. I pray for help for those days, and I pray that You would remind me, by Your Spirit, every morning, when I wake up, to give thanks before I even get out of bed. Help me to do that, as I want the general attitude of my day to begin with thanksgiving. And then help me to punctuate the rest of my day with constant thanksgiving, giving thanks in all circumstances, as Paul tells us to do.


if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
(Isaiah 58:10 ESV)

Hmm . . . I think the previous verse needs to be included in this.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
(Isaiah 58:9-10 ESV)

The thing I found interesting, when including the previous verse (it would actually be helpful to read the whole passage), is that it is not just the pouring oneself out for the hungry and helping the afflicted that makes one’s light shine. It must be accompanied with the ceasing of the blame game and slandering!

And this is exactly where our society is, today, both within and without the church. We are blaming and slandering. I can hardly stand to look at my social media feeds, these days, because of all the slander and hatred being spewed out, by “Christians!!” It hurst my soul! If we wonder why our lights aren’t shining, we need to take a closer look at that.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
(Isaiah 60:1 ESV)

Father, help us to stop pointing fingers and speaking wickedness, so that we might turn our attention to the things that really matter, pouring ourselves out for the hungry and helping the afflicted in our world. These are the things that Jesus seems to care about, as He indicated in His parable of the sheep and the goats. Turn our hearts toward You, Father, toward Your generosity and Your heart for the oppressed and afflicted, for the “orphans and widows.” Have mercy, Father!


We serve a God who comes to us. He is not at a fixed point in the universe, and we do not have to work hard to find Him. Yes, the Bible tells us to “seek Him,” but it’s not like He is hard to find.

He came to us, in Jesus Christ, and He has promised to return in Jesus. We live our lives between those two events. What does it mean to live in a world where God comes to us?

“This is the expectant believer’s task: to clarify that question, to celebrate it, and to live heartily and hopefully in response to the God who comes to us. Will we live slovenly, with unbuttoned minds and disheveled spirits, thoughtlessly supposing that the same things will be forever monotonously repeated, over and over again, in creation and history? Or will we live alertly and ardently, convinced that God continues to come to us and will come to us again in Jesus? Will we believe that in expectantly waiting for his coming, being hospitable to his arrival, we are getting the most out of life?”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, help me to live expectantly, not slovenly. Keep my mind sharp as I interact with You and with my fellow human beings. Help me to resist the temptation to blame and slander, but to wait expectantly for Your coming again in Christ, all the while doing my utmost to obey His commands to love You and love my neighbor as myself. May we, as Your people, be open and hospitable to the arrival of our Savior, whenever that may occur. Thank You for being the God who comes to us and does not sit out there in the ether, waiting for us to find You. I praise You that You have condescended to interact with us, and that You initiated it all. May we respond appropriately, with worship, prayer, and thanksgiving.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.