“Take Heart; I Have Overcome the World”

Today is Wednesday, the 23rd of November, 2022, in the 34th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,631

Thanksgiving is tomorrow!

Today’s header photo was taken by Paul Militaru, Romanian photographer. Please visit his site at the link provided.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
(Psalms 119:32 ESV)

Some translations of the above verse have the second part saying something like, “You have broadened my understanding.”

Lord our God, we thank you for ruling us with your shepherd’s staff so that again and again we can be refreshed and can delight in what you are doing for us. We thank you that we can have eager, joyful faith even when sorrows come, looking again and again to the good you give us. We are thankful and want to be thankful always. Be a mighty Lord over the peoples, we pray, and protect our country. Show your sovereignty by guarding the flock close beside you and by pouring out your grace to give life to the dying and resurrection to those who have died. O Lord God, hear and bless us. May your will be done on earth as in heaven, so that your kingdom may break in and everything may come right, according to your great purpose. Amen.

Daily Prayer from Plough.com

I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep. When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. 
John 10:11–12, TEV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ
  2. that “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT)
  3. that God knows everything there is to know about me, even before I do, say, or think it; yet still He loves me
  4. that Jesus, in spite of what we think we see, has overcome the world
  5. for the forgiveness of God, with which we must also forgive all

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
(2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
(2 Peter 1:16-18 ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. 

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; 
you discern my thoughts from afar. 
You search out my path and my lying down 
and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue,
 behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 
You hem me in, behind and before, 
and lay your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
 it is high; I cannot attain it. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit? 
Or where shall I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! 
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 
If I take the wings of the morning 
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me, 
and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
 and the light about me be night," 
even the darkness is not dark to you; 
the night is bright as the day, 
for darkness is as light with you. 

For you formed my inward parts; 
you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; 
my soul knows it very well. 
My frame was not hidden from you, 
when I was being made in secret, 
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; 
in your book were written, every one of them, 
the days that were formed for me, 
when as yet there was none of them. 

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! 
How vast is the sum of them! 
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
 I awake, and I am still with you. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart! 
Try me and know my thoughts! 
And see if there be any grievous way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting! 
(Psalms 139:1-18, 23-24 ESV)

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
(Matthew 22:39 ESV)

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 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.
(Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)


Last night, in Chesapeake, VA, a shooter left seven people dead at a Walmart store, including himself.

This past Sunday, five people were killed and many more injured when a lone gunman opened fire at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs.

On November 13, three UVA football players were killed by a gunman.

On November 12, four Idaho students were stabbed to death while they slept.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

The four news items I have listed above are not there to make any kind statement about guns or weapons or even violence. They are to illustrate the turmoil that is quite easy to see in our world, these days.

As some have indicated, it seems as though the world is burning. Are these not “signs of the times,” though?

I am far from a doomsday prophet. Nor am I a fear-mongerer. In fact, I am quite the opposite. I do not want to instill peace and hope into everyone’s minds.

“How can you see hope in any of this?” you may ask. And well, you might.

But I see it in the words of Jesus. He knew. He was able to tell us, through His disciples, two thousand-plus years ago that we will have “tribulation.” But then, He reminds us, He has overcome the world. Note that that statement is in present tense.

“I have overcome the world.”

Not, “I will overcome the world.”

Even before He died on the cross and was resurrected from the grave, Jesus Christ had already overcome the world.

And He has given us all we need to do the same. We have all we need to “rise above” the world and overcome. This doesn’t mean that we are going to get rich and always be healthy. This is not a “name-it-claim-it” religion or a “prosperity gospel” (which is no gospel at all).

Peter tells us, in the Scriptures above, that we have received everything we need for “life and godliness.” David, in the most famous of psalms, says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need.” I lack nothing. Period.

And just relish that Psalm 139. Read it and read it again and love the words of David, telling us how deeply our God knows us, and how there is nowhere we can go where we are not in His presence!

He has overcome the world. Even though there be shootings and stabbings, murders and arsons and whatever else, out there. He has overcome the world, and we can, right along with Him.

That is why I’m not afraid. Sure, I say that . . . sometimes I do let fear creep in. But in the long run, in the “Big Picture,” I am not afraid. Because my Savior has overcome the world; and my God knows me more deeply than I know myself, and He loves me, still.


Thank You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for these encouraging words in some of the darkest times. It is tempting to look around and lose hope. It is tempting to despair. But I refuse. I will lift my eyes up to the heavens and give You thanks, praising You that You, Jesus, have overcome this world, and that You, Holy Spirit, dwell within my soul, and that You, Almighty Father, really do have “the whole world in Your hands!”

There is nowhere I can go that You are not. There is nothing that I can do, say, or think, that surprises You (even though I certainly surprise myself, sometimes). I praise You for these thoughts and truths, Lord. And for this knowledge that is too high; so high that I cannot attain it. Yet You have revealed it to us and given us everything we need for “life and godliness.” All we have to do is make full use of what You have given us, and depend fully on You for our lives.

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

Tears in Heaven

Today is Thursday, the twenty-second of July, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life today!

Day 23,142

28 days until S’s birthday!

I’m not sure what words to use to describe the day I had, yesterday.

I stopped at the CareNow in Grapevine, on the way to work, hoping to get my DOT physical done. But the doctor who performs those doesn’t arrive until 9:00, so I went on to work, debating whether to go back during my lunch time or after work.

I decided to do a “web check-in” at around 11:00 or so, and they sent me a text shortly before 1:00 PM. So I clocked out for lunch and headed that way, letting my supervisor know that I would be taking a “long lunch” for this.

I wound up not getting back to work at all. I was at CareNow for at least three hours, most of which was sitting alone in the exam room. And I did not get the physical completed, as there is a slight hiccup in the process.

You see, I have slept with a CPAP machine for probably at least twenty years. DOT requires some kind of proof of compliance with their regulations on those. You have to show that you sleep with it at least four hours a night for at least seventy percent of the time.

My CPAP machine is an ancient relic. It doesn’t communicate with anything or anyone and is basically an air pump. So. When I first heard that news, I was devastated and figured all was lost. But anyone who knows me very well knows that this is how I roll.

When the actual doctor came in (after I had been stewing in the bad news for at least 45 minutes), she did inform me that DOT allows 45 days to show compliance before the exam is rendered “incomplete.” Now, I know that the ISD is probably not going to be willing to wait that long, but hopefully it won’t take that long. I have already sent two messages to my primary care physician, asking if they can just get me a new CPAP, rather than trying to schedule a new sleep study.

As soon as I can get a new one, I have to use it for ten days in order to prove compliance. Will the ISD wait that long on me?

Well, as proof that miracles do happen and God does speak to us, I got a phone call during dinner, out of the blue, from the HR lady who had contacted me about the job Tuesday. This call was on a totally unrelated topic, regarding getting the fingerprinting appointment set up. I explained my situation to her, and she felt sure that they would work with me on this. So after I hung up with her, I sent an email to her and one of the other people with which I had interviewed, explaining the circumstances.

Today, I plan to call my doctor’s office, in support of the two messages I sent last night, to see what we can get accomplished. At this point, all plans are still going forward, including my stop date at my current job. Even if it takes a little longer to finish this process, it won’t kill us if I go a few days without working. And, if the worst happens, as my general manager told me yesterday, “You did it right. You will always be welcome back here.”

In fact, both he and my direct manager both suggested the possibility of working part time with them, as well.

So, contrary to my natural instincts, all is not lost at all. In fact, I remind myself, it is just a “footstool” problem.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

A Blessing of Grace, by Daryl Madden

Come here my beloved
Fall in my embrace
Allow me to gift you
A blessing of grace

To draw our hearts closer
Of love to outpour
To know you’re a treasure
And how much you’re adored

In arms of surrounding
May you find safety
A place of protection
Of peace cover thee

Found in the grip
Of hands holding tight
Are ones here to help you
And serve with delight

This blessing a glimpse
I hope that you find
Of the perfect blessing
From our God divine

“To know you’re a treasure/And how much you’re adored.” May we all find safety in His arms of surrounding, today, a place of protection and peace!

Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
(Psalms 37:5-6 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the hope that You keep in my heart, even when things look grim;
2. that when I commit everything to You, You are there helping me;
3. for Your "arms of surrounding," in which I find protection, safety, and peace;
4. that You did not forsake Your Son, nor have You forsaken us;
5. for the opportunity to live my life as an act of worship today.

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

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK NINE – DAY FIVE

INVITATION

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
(Psalms 24:1 NIV)

I pause to simply consider the events of the past twenty-four hours, praying for God’s hand to move, and confessing my lack of faith in Him. We are not our own, we are the sheep of His pasture, and He will take care of us.

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
(Psalms 22:1-5 NIV)

BIBLE READING

This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.

“I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
(Genesis 6:9-14, 17-22 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

I this quiet time, as I sit in the presence of God, I linger over these passages, asking the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts, meditations, and prayers. I seek His truth for my life and for my day ahead.

Yesterday afternoon, around 2:00 PM, I very easily could have been heard repeating the words of Psalm 22:1. I may have prayed something similar . . . it wasn’t those exact words. But for a brief time, I felt “forsaken.”

In retrospect, I feel silly. Of course, I wasn’t forsaken. But does David ever feel “silly” for writing those words?? I sincerely hope he did not, because his words are preserved for millions to be inspired by. If we consider what he endured, my hour or two in the exam room yesterday pales in comparison. David had to live in a cave while Saul sought his life. He had to run for his life from his own son! If anyone had cause to cry out, “My God, why have You forsaken me?” it was David!

But fast forward a few hundred years. A Man hangs on a cross, moments away from His death, and repeats those exact words. Of course, David had no idea, had no way of knowing that Jesus Christ would be quoting him. And what Jesus endured, at that moment, was far worse than any human being has ever endured, in all of history.

His Father turned His back on Him.

There was, for that briefest of moments, a break in the fellowship of the Holy Trinity, and, for maybe the only time in history, there were “tears in heaven.”

We are not left hanging, though. Verse 5 of the psalm brings it around. “To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” And we know that Jesus was not left alone for long, either. In fact, just a couple of days later, His Father exhibited the most magnificent display of His power that has ever been seen when He raised Jesus from the dead!

Jesus cried out to His Father and was saved.

He will do the same for us, as well, if we only believe.

Father, I am so grateful that You have not forsaken us. Even when it seems like all is lost, help us to know that it is not at all. You showed me, yesterday, that things are, in Your kingdom, indeed, far better than I could ever imagine. And while my joy was momentarily threatened, it was restored, and I have the pervasive sense of well-being that comes from knowing and trusting in You. And, as Job once said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” That means, that, no matter what the outcome of this current employment/retirement situation, my trust in You will not waver. I was tempted yesterday, and confess that I may have been near giving up. But You would not allow that to happen. All praise to Your glorious Name, through the Son and by the Spirit!

Lord, I pray for spiritual renewal in my heart, in Your Church, in our land, and throughout the world. Give us deep repentance, which simply means changing the way we think about things. Help us to think correctly about You, Father! I also pray that You will provide new relationships with unbelievers, that I might display Your grace, love, and mercy to them.

"Holy God,
because sin flooded the earth with violence,
you sent the judgment of the flood.
As you saved Noah's family and the animals,
you float me to safety in the waters of baptism.
Thank you that you did not wash your hands of me but instead set out to find,
forgive,
and free me in a deluge of your grace.
In Jesus' name,
amen."

BLESSING

“I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.'”
(Isaiah 51:16 NIV)

“Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
(Isaiah 7:11 NIV)

Hallelujah!
Sing to GOD a brand-new song,
praise him in the company of all who love him.
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
Zion’s children exult in their King.
Let them praise his name in dance;
strike up the band and make great music!
(Psalms 149:1-3 MSG)

The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
(Jeremiah 31:13 NLT)

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT)

Father, help me to live my life today as an act of worship, as I join in the dance with You!

May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

Peace With God

Today is Sunday, the thirtieth of May, in the second week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,089

Tomorrow is Memorial Day!

Today is also Holy Trinity Sunday.

We are up and getting ready to go to Mineral Wells, this morning. I don’t have a lot time, because we need to leave the house by 8:30. So I won’t get into any personal stuff, not that there is much to get into anyway.

There is a bit of sad news. We lost BJ Thomas and Gavin McLeod both, yesterday. McLeod, whom I knew best from Love Boat, was 90, and I believe Thomas was 78. I don’t know about Gavin, but BJ had been in poor health for a while, as I remember a previous announcement that he was suffering from some kind of cancer.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Follow the light--
and turn your life around.

Read the page in Scripture--
and turn the words over in your mind.

Acknowledge the grace of God--
and turn it into faith.

See the love around us--
and turn it into praise.

Stand firm in your faith--
and turn the other cheek.

Grow closer to our Lord--
and turn away from sin.

Thwart the spread of bitterness--
and turn to forgiveness.

Know of his resurrection--
and turn to joy.

Turn away from darkness--
and turn to the light.
("Turn to God" by Dayrl Madden, from On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the LORD.
(Psalms 26:12 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the peace in my soul, this morning
2. that, because of the work of Christ, I am eternally at peace with You
3. that there is nothing that can disturb that peace
4. that You answer me when I call
5. for the mystery of the Holy Trinity

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

ORDINARY TIME – DAY 1

(This will start over each week, from now until Advent)

INVITATION

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:5 NIV)

I pause during this moment to briefly meditate on the presence of God and His love, poured into our hearts.

BIBLE SONG

A song of ascents.

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.
Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
(Psalms 120:1-7 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

I leisurely read these passages again, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts and meditations.

The Lord answers me when I call out to Him. Maybe I am in distress over something. Maybe I’m just dissatisfied about something, maybe even dissatisfied about the way He is responding or not responding to something.

Don’t tell me you have never felt that way. Just read the Psalms. Even the great and might David, the “man after God’s own heart,” felt that way at times. And God never chastised him for it.

But the point is, God will respond in some way. More often than not, it is a gentle nudge in my spirit. But sometimes, circumstances seem to redirect.

Also of note, in Psalm 120, is this idea that God is not too fond of deceitful lips. Be careful what you say, both to Him, about Him, and to others and about others. One of the more grievous sins (although I truly believe that God does not categorize sins) seems to be that of gossip.

Please note that the Bible never says, “Thou shalt not lie.” The command, one of the “big ten,” says,

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:16 NIV)

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:16 NLT)

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:16 ESV)

The Message, not a literal translation, is the only one that even uses the word “lie,” but then qualifies it with “about your neighbor.”

No lies about your neighbor.
(Exodus 20:16 MSG)

Just some food for thought, here, telling us that we really need to be careful with the words that come out of our mouths, especially when talking about our “neighbors.”

As for the Romans passage, the first word that jumps out at me is “peace.” Because we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God! Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we are in an eternal state of peace with God!

And through this progression of events, named in verse 3-4, we have hope, in which we are not put to shame. The invitation verse for the week is verse 5. The book chooses to omit the first phrase for the invitation, which says, “And hope does not put us to shame.”

Shame is a nasty tool of the devil. It may be one of his biggest tools against Christians. Shame is debilitating. Shame will make you sit still and do nothing, wallowing in self-pity, because you believe that you are not worthy of anything that God has done for you and that He could never use you to do anything good.

Shame is brought on by people who will attack your worthiness (sometimes even parents, but thank God, not mine). “You’ll never amount to anything,” people may tell you. Or you may tell yourself that.

Lies.

Remember the Psalm??

Remember the commandment??

You are not to even bear false witness about YOURSELF!!

I tell you the truth, these words are coming to me, as I type, and I am fully persuaded that they are coming from the Holy Spirit.

You are enough! Because of the work of Jesus Christ, you (if you have called His name, and begun to follow in His words and steps) are enough! And because we are justified by faith, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, we are in a state of peace with God, which is now and forevermore!

There is nothing that can disturb that peace!

Well, nothing except shame, which is a lie, and only disturbs my peace from my direction.

I once heard an oversimplified definition of “propitiation,” on of those fifty-dollar theology words. The definition was, “God is not mad at you any more.”

Oversimplified, yes. But true. More lies from well-meaning preachers. God is not mad at you. If you are in Christ, all of your sins have been erased, past, present, and even future. You are, I am, enough.

Please take some time to rest in that, this morning, especially if you are one who struggles mightily with your own worthiness.

Father, I praise You for the work of Jesus, because of which I am eternally at peace with You. Am I perfect? Not even close. Do I still sin? Daily, maybe even hourly. Are you angry with me? Not the way I understand it. I love You, Father, and I am so grateful for the work You have done in my spirit, over the past few years. I am thankful for the peace, the love, and the way You are gradually (gradually because I’m so darned stubborn) transforming me into someone who spreads that love, and who loves his neighbor. Keep transforming me, Lord. Don’t stop.

Three-personed God,
you are a wonder.
God the Father our Creator,
God the Son our Deliverer,
God the Holy Spirit our Sanctifier.
United and yet each unique,
sole God but not solitary,
three and yet one.
Thank you for this mystery:
that at the heart of the universe is a communion of love.
Amen.
(Heidelberg Catechism 24/25)

BLESSING

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.
(Psalms 4:8 NLT)

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”
(Genesis 28:16 NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
(Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Father, thank You for being my refuge and strength. Thank You for giving me rest and sleep each day. Thank you for moving a universe to answer our prayers. Or maybe thank You for leading us to pray for things that are already happening.

Lord, please give us resurrection hope and joy, this morning, as we join with the communion of saints in worship, around the world. Give us faith and strength and boldness to share the Gospel of Christ in love. May we all experience a deeper fellowship with You, the Triune God.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends. Shalom Aleichem!

Lists

Today is Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“The most wasted day of all is that on which we have not laughed.” – Nicolas Chamfort

Word of the Day

Willowwacks – a wooded, uninhabited area. Also, apparently, a married couple performing folk-ish music.

Today is Marzipan Day. So, once again, I give you . . . Marzipan!

I cooked with our new oven and stove top, yesterday. It works fine. First, it was just some frozen potato skins. While those were baking, I made chili on the stove top. Later, I made chocolate chip cookies. They weren’t the best we’ve ever made, but it’s not the oven’s fault. The problem was, we were out of brown sugar (this was a rather impulsive thing, because we had chocolate chips left over from the fudge C made at Christmas, so we didn’t think to check all of the ingredients before we started), so C found a recipe that didn’t use brown sugar. They tasted fine, but they were too “floury,” or something. We still have some chips left, so we might get some brown sugar at the store today and try again.

Otherwise, we continue to just chill at home for the next couple of days. We may go visit our pastor’s step-dad today or tomorrow. He is still in the hospital after having surgery to remove a cancerous spot from his mouth. He’s having a tough go of it, because he can’t eat or drink anything for around three weeks. I can’t even imagine!

It has been reported, on Yahoo!, that the San Diego Chargers are planning to move to Los Angeles. Seriously?? Don’t they already have enough teams?

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TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! 
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. 
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. 
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
Psalm 81:1-4

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11

My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. Psalm 71:15

Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.” Psalm 58:11

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

(From The President’s Devotional)

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

We love to be on lists, don’t we?

“We feel honored to be among the most accomplished, the brightest, the powerful.” I’ve been on lists. I frequently made the Dean’s list in college. I was on the honor roll many times in public school. I got a music award as a junior in high school. It was awarded to one student per school.

But think about Jesus. He wasn’t on any of those kinds of lists. “He was counted among the outcasts, the rejects, the condemned.” Those are bad lists to be on. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3) Jesus is a constant reminder that lists are overrated.

If we want to be a friend of the world, we will seek to be on its list of accolades. “But if we want to be a friend of the Most High, then we must seek to imitate him.”

“Dear God, let me discount the value of place and position. Help me seek first your kingdom, your character, and your righteousness. Amen.”

Father, I pray for the spiritual fortitude to seek your righteousness and holiness, rather than the approval of the world. Let me not worry about any “lists” that the world might make. At the same time, I do desire to do the best job at whatever it is I set out to do, but not for man’s approval. I also pray that I would never seek “religious experience” over your righteousness and holiness.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.