Kindness

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-eighth of September, 2022, in the twenty-sixth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,575

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God and our Father, we thank you for all the blessings you have brought into our lives and for everything we still hope to receive from your goodness. We thank you that through your Spirit you will work more and more in us and in all people, so that we are not held back by any human considerations but can go toward a higher goal. Keep us in your care. In all our special concerns may each of us experience your comfort and help, so that we may rejoice with the praise of your name always in our hearts. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 
his love endures forever. 
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— 
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 
those he gathered from the lands, 
from east and west, from north and south.
(Psalms 107:1-3 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the goodness and love of the Lord, which endures forever
  2. for the hope of future grace and future goodness
  3. that God is my refuge and my fortress
  4. for the kindness of God, displayed in Christ Jesus; this inspires kindness in us (at least it should)
  5. for the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5; may it be visible in me today
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say to the LORD, 
"My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
(Psalms 91:1-2 ESV)

And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
(2 John 1:5-6 ESV)

The LORD reigns; 
he is robed in majesty; 
the LORD is robed; 
he has put on strength as his belt. 
Yes, the world is established; 
it shall never be moved. 
Your throne is established from of old; 
you are from everlasting. 
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, 
the floods have lifted up their voice; 
the floods lift up their roaring. 
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, 
mightier than the waves of the sea, 
the LORD on high is mighty! 
Your decrees are very trustworthy; 
holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
(Psalms 93:1-5 ESV)


This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘”You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
(Matthew 13:13-17 ESV)


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

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

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV)


Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:24-25 NIV)


Father, today I see the conflict between walking in the flesh and walking in step with the Spirit. I see that we, as Your children, are either doing one or the other. I fully believe that it is possible to waver between the two, from day to day. I pray that I will walk in the Spirit today. Help me to display the fruit of the Spirit, today, and I especially pray for the characteristic of kindness to be more visible today.

You have called us to love one another. Part of loving is showing kindness. One person was quoted as saying “It costs nothing to be kind.” While that may not be 100% true, the sentiment is understood. We must be kind, if we are to be seen as Your children. Help us to crucify our flesh with its passions and desires. Help us to walk in step with Your Spirit, and to pray according to the desires of Your heart.

I pray that the desires of Your heart would be the desires of my heart. The way I get to this is through abiding; abiding in Christ, abiding in Your Word, and they abiding in me. Just as Christ is in You and You are in Christ, let me be found to be in You, as well, and You in me.

Help me to clothe myself, today, with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and humility.

Even so, come quickly, 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.

When “Bad Things” Happen

Today is Sunday, the twenty-fifth of September, 2022, in the twenty-sixth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ find you well and whole, today!

Day 23,572

I’ll be updating Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit after this is completed.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, our Father, we look deep into your mighty Word and see the glory of the new world you will create according to your justice and truth. We thank you for giving us this joy on earth in the midst of all our toil and striving. We look deep into your Word. You make all things new. To this hope our lives are directed, to this hope you have called us, and we want to be faithful forever. Praise to your name, for you have already done great things for us! Keep us in your Word. Let many find the light, for in this light they may look to you in simple faith and constancy until the end, when throughout the world we may see your glory and your grace. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more...And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." 
(Revelation 21:1, 5 RSV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that things went so very smoothly, yesterday, moving things from Mama’s house to our house
  2. for the two young men who helped us move the heavy stuff
  3. that Jesus Christ will make all things new and that His words are trustworthy and true
  4. that when Jesus appears, we will be like Him
  5. that I am one of God’s children

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
(Luke 9:48 ESV)


Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. . . . We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 
(1 John 3:2-3, 11, 14-18, 23-24 ESV)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 
Before the mountains were brought forth, 
or ever you had formed the earth and the world, 
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
(Psalms 90:1-2 ESV)
So teach us to number our days 
that we may get a heart of wisdom. 
Return, O LORD! How long? 
Have pity on your servants! 
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, 
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, 
and establish the work of our hands upon us; 
yes, establish the work of our hands! 
(Psalms 90:13-14, 17 ESV)

We are all God’s children. We must receive each other in His name. Yes, Jesus was referring to a literal child, at that point, but the lesson goes beyond that. Whoever is the least will be great. Whoever is last will be first.

Why is this so hard for us to grasp? It has become apparent to me that the best measure of peoples’ understanding of this teach of Jesus is seen in the way they drive. I have seen “Christians” share things on Facebook that hurt my soul. They are meant to be funny, but they are not funny to me. “You will run over every traffic cone before I will let you in front of me,” says one meme.

That attitude violates at least two of Jesus’s teachings. 1) the last shall be first and the first shall be last, and 2) “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

I like this bit about “what we will be has not yet appeared.” It’s true. We have no real clue what we will be like when we meet Jesus, face to face, other than these statements that tell us we will be “like Him.”

And, again, John visits the subject of loving one another. As any frequent reader of this blog knows, this is something that I harp on, constantly. And for good reason, I think. It is something that the Bible harps on, especially in the New Testament. Jesus talks about it a lot. Paul talks about it. James talks about. John talks about it. Over and over and over.

You would think we would have gotten it down by now.

I believe Psalm 90 pinpoints a reason that we might struggle so much with the concept. Verse 14. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” I believe that if we are satisfied with God’s steadfast love, His chesed, we will find it much easier to love one another.


When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
(Isaiah 43:2 NLT)

This verse gives us beautiful truth; it gives us great encouragement. But part of the truth is in the word “when,” in this verse. It is necessary to notice that it does not say “if.” We are going to go through deep waters, through rivers of difficulty; we are going to walk through fire (hopefully not literally). And some of my favorite Psalm verses, which speak of God’s deliverance, tell us that He will deliver us “out of” our troubles, trials, and tribulations.

God will not keep “bad things” from happening to us. “God did not keep bad things from happening to God himself.” (Tish Harrison-Warren, Prayer in the Night) He has never made any kind of promise that indicates that He would keep bad things from happening to us. But He has promised that He would be with us during those “bad things,” and that we would not be consumed.


Father, I am thankful that I am one of Your children. I am also grateful that I have no issue at all being considered Your “child.” Help me, I pray, continue down this path of being less so that You can be more, of decreasing that You might increase. You have taught me that the last shall be first, and it has translated into other parts of my life. But the humanity within me bucks against that; everything I have seen and learned from this world would have me think the opposite, that I need to be first and make others get behind me. But this is not the teaching of my Savior.

Help me to keep getting better at love others, as well. It is not hard to love others when they are displaying their neediness, their desperation in their circumstances. It is hard to love others when they are displaying their self-confidence and their own lack of love toward others. This is a challenge for me, I confess. It is hard to love a “hater.” Help me with this, Father. It is hard for me to love someone whom I see ridiculing and mocking those with whom they do not agree. Help me with this, Father, because Jesus makes no distinction. I am to love all equally (with the exception that my love for the saints is to be even stronger, and some of those with whom I struggle are, indeed, saints).

I thank You that You are always near, and that You have promised to be with us when we walk through “rivers of difficulty,” and through the fires of oppression. Help us to see “bad things” through Your perspective, rather than strictly our own.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Of Agapao and Sheep

Today is Saturday, the twenty-fourth of September, 2022, in the twenty-fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul!

Day 23,571

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, we long to be your children and to grow closer and closer to eternal life with all its goodness and truth. In your love to us your children, bless us as we walk on earth under great stress and temptation. Keep us from going astray, and let what you have placed in our hearts grow toward perfection, to your glory and your honor. May our hearts always know the joy that our struggle and suffering are not in vain, that if we are faithful, we may bring forth the fruit of righteousness. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
(John 12:24-25 NIV)

  1. for the joy of knowing that any struggle and suffering we endure in this life are not in vain
  2. that the crimson stain of our sin is washed whiter than snow
  3. for the perfect, inexplicable love that our Father has for us
  4. for the fact that there is nothing that we can do to either diminish or increase that love
  5. that God does not get angry with us for our sins (thanks to Jesus’s blood on the Cross)

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 ESV)


My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
(1 John 2:1-6 ESV)

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
(1 John 2:9-11 ESV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

1 John is such a wonderful book. There is so much good material in there. Chapter 2 deals with several different subjects. Verse 6 gives us a good way to measure our relationship with Christ. If we abide in Him, we will be walking “in the same way in which he walked.” Unfortunately, it appears that the only part of Jesus’s walk that some folks noticed is the bit where He upended the tables of the money-changers and chased them off with a whip.

Personally, I’m drawn more toward His compassion toward the woman caught in adultery (and I still want to know where the man was in that scenario; it seems a lot of things haven’t changed in a couple thousand years); I’m drawn to His compassion to the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, who was healed by the touch of His garment; I’m drawn to the blind man, to whom Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Verses 15-17 present a tough order. But looking at the Greek text, the word that is translated love is “agapao,” which we call “agape.” That is the highest form of love possible. Unconditional love. We are being told not to give that kind of love to the world and its desires. I don’t believe that this is saying that we cannot enjoy things in the world. But we are not to be obsessed with them, or love them unconditionally. That kind of love is reserved for God and other people.

Nevertheless, I will still admit that this is a struggle for me, at times. The world can be a lot of fun, and it can be very satisfying. I mean, face it, our enemy is not going to come at us with beets and brussel sprouts. (Apologies to anyone who likes beets and brussel sprouts.) And sin is, to be honest, rather beautiful on the surface. So there’s our danger. And we simply need to remember that our highest allegiance is not to the world, it is not to a nation (there are quite a few people who really need to hear that), not to a government or a tribe or a language. Our highest allegiance is to God and God alone.


I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
(John 10:11 ESV)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:27-30 ESV)

First, I want to direct us back to the 1 John passage, verse 2 of chapter 2. There’s that fifty-dollar theology word, “propitiation.” That is a rare word that is translated the same in the KJV as it is in other versions. It can also mean “atonement.” But I will never forget one definition of that word that I once heard in one of our “lifehouses,” back in our Exchange days. It was said that “propitiation” means “God isn’t angry with us anymore.” Sure, that is a drastic over-simplification of the word, but it is also true.

Now, take that thought and look at Jesus’s words about being a “good shepherd.” Can you even imagine a shepherd being angry with his sheep? I cannot. I’ll confess, I don’t know much about sheep, other than what I have learned in Bible studies, but I simply cannot fathom a shepherd being angry with his sheep.

If we are His sheep, and He is our shepherd, He is not angry with us. When we go astray, He goes out of His way to bring us back. And, while there may be consequences for our going astray (I have heard that a shepherd would, at times, have to go so far as to break a sheep’s leg to keep it from going astray, after which the shepherd must carry the sheep on his own shoulders until the leg heals), that doesn’t mean that our shepherd is angry with us.

God loves us with a love that is inexplicable. That word up there, agapao, is virtually impossible for a human being to achieve. I think we can come close, but that is the love with which our Father loves us. And there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change it. I cannot sin so badly that God will love me less; nor can I perform so amazingly wonderfully that He will love me any more than He already does.

So what I do is, I rest in that. I embrace that. It draws me into deeper relationship with Him. And I love Him back as best I can, as a human being.


Father, I praise You and thank You for Your love for us, that agapao that we can scarcely mimic. I thank You for the propitiation for our sins that means that, because of the work of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us, You are not angry with us; our sins have been forgiven, they are atoned, forever and ever. All glory to You, Father!

Help us to love one another with that same love, Lord! Help us to walk in the way that Jesus walked; and may we focus more on the loving ways that He treated people than with the rare times when He expressed anger. Give us that love for one another.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
(Colossians 3:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Be Like-Minded

Today is Friday, September 9, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul!

Day 23,556

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, we thank you that it is your will to strengthen us through your presence, through Jesus Christ, the leader of your cause, who is and remains victor among all on earth. Our souls need strength and our hearts need confidence so that in our time we can draw near to you and to your kingdom. Bless us with the Holy Spirit whenever we begin to grow weary. Your Holy Spirit can give us the strength to believe and hope, the strength to see the salvation that is coming to give joy to all the world. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for coffee
  2. for the strength and confidence to draw near to God, daily
  3. for the Holy Spirit, who gives us that strenght
  4. for the joy that comes in the presence of the Lord, the pleasures at His right hand
  5. for the possibilities that come in a life of abiding in God’s Word

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)

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
(1 Peter 3:8 NIV)

“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.'”
(Zechariah 7:9-10 NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:7 NIV)


There is certainly joy in the presence of the Lord, “pleasures forevermore” at His right hand. And it is abiding in, dwelling in, that presence that gives us the power to do the things that are required in the other Scriptures, here.

Peter admonishes us to be to be “like-minded,” to be unified in thought. Be honest . . . do you see that in today’s church? I don’t. And the reason is, in my humble opinion, is that we are focusing on issues and concerns that are not the highest priorities of the Church. It is impossible to be unified or like-minded when we insist on centering our thoughts on controversial issues. We like to argue too much; it seems as though we thrive on it.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.
(1 Timothy 4:7 ESV)

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
(1 Timothy 6:20 ESV)

In the second half of the verse from 1 Peter, he tells us to be “compassionate and humble.” I don’t see much of that going on, right now, either. Now, mind you, the tragedy is that what we see is coming from the groups of people who are making the most noise.

I guarantee you that there are some honestly godly people out there, quietly going about the business of working the Gospel in this world. But those aren’t the people that the “world” is seeing, right now.

The admonitions of Peter go hand in hand with the direction in Zechariah. The real tragedy is what is said in the verse immediately following the ones I quoted up there.

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.”
(Zechariah 7:11 NIV)

And that is what I’m seeing in a large part of the church, today. Refusal to listen to God’s Word, and focusing on their own opinions, driven by human beings.

This becomes the reason that prayers are not answered, when considered in light of John 15:7. For most of my life, I have seen many people focus so much on the second half of that verse that they miss the requirement in the first half. Everyone wants to jump to the “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” part.

But they miss that bit about abiding, remaining, dwelling. If we truly abide in Christ and in His word, the possibilities are endless.

And I’m out of time, this morning.


Father, I thank You for the truths that are presented in Your Word, today. May we, Your Church, successfully abide in Christ and in His Word, that we might be faithful ministers of the Gospel, administering true justice, showing mercy and compassion, being like-minded, not oppressing the widows and the fatherless and the foreigner and the poor. May we never be found to be plotting evil against one another.

Help us to love one another the way Christ has loved us.

Even so, come quickly, 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.

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

Today is Tuesday, September 6, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,553 (the number of days since I was born)

To many people, today feels like Monday. My wife (known as “C” in this forum), for example, had to return to the office today after her long weekend. I, too, go to work today, but I’m always off on Monday. I’ll head in, this evening, at 4:15, for my weekly four-hour shift shelving returned books at the library.

We had another interesting weather day, yesterday. It was similar to Sunday, but the thunderstorm happened later in the day. Somewhere around 8:30 PM, we got a rousing thunderstorm, preceded by a nice rain. We received alerts that there was a severe warning in the area just north of us, but we did not get any severe weather at our house. Just like Sunday, though, the temperature dropped almost twenty degrees, this time taking almost three hours. Yesterday’s high was 90 degrees. I’m not sure how much rain we got yesterday evening, but we have received .88 inch in the last 72 hours. That may be it for a while, though, as there doesn’t appear to be any significant chance of rain over the next ten days. The temperatures continue to range from 87-92 for highs. The record high for today’s date is 102, occurring in 2012. I guess we got a break in 2000.

The Texas Rangers lost their ninth straight game, yesterday, unable to plate a run against the Astros. Final score, 1-0. Once again, Martin Perez pitched fairly well, but got no run support from his team. The Rangers, now 58-76, dropped to fourth place in the AL West, a half game behind the Angels. The Angels, Rangers, and Athletics are all eliminated from any chance of winning the division. The Rangers’ WCE# is 12. They have 28 games remaining.

The Red Sox lost to the Rays, 4-3, which is disappointing for several reasons. First, because the Red Sox lost; second because the Rays won; and third, because the Sox need to beat the Rays to keep any playoff hopes alive. The Sox are 67-69, in last place in the AL East. They remain 4.5 games behind the Orioles (who lost to Toronto, BOO), 14.5 out of first place, and 9 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E# is 13, and their WCE# is 19. They have 26 games remaining.

In the Wild Card race, Baltimore is actually first behind the three current Wild Cards. But they are 4.5 games behind Toronto, to whom they just lost. They really need to win these next couple of games. Being the only other team in the AL East that I don’t seriously dislike, I would just as soon they make the Wild Card over Toronto and/or Tampa. If Boston or Texas can’t get in, Baltimore is my next choice.

The Dodgers lost a game, making their MLB leading record 92-42. With 28 games remaining, they must win 25 of those to break the record of 116 wins. They are 19 games ahead of the second-place team in the division, though, so, while they don’t mathematically have a playoff spot locked in, they virtually do. In other words, the Dodgers are coasting. The Nationals are making a serious run at not being the worst team. They have won four in a row, and are now only two games behind the Pirates, with a 48-87 record.

The Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays both have five-game winnings streaks. The Rangers have the longest losing streak, at nine games. The Dodgers have a +291 run differential, while the Pirates kept the worst, with -209.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, how shall we thank you for all you give to us, your children, for the great wisdom and power you hold in readiness for us if we are childlike? We want to be glad in your presence. We do not want to weep and complain, though tears often threaten to come. We simply want to ask you to protect us, your children. Protect all your children on earth. Let the pain that breaks over them be taken away, for the sake of the whole world. Even when we must follow a hard road, let all the suffering we endure become part of the fight that brings in the kingdom of heaven, bringing your purpose to the earth and great mercy to the peoples, bringing to all the world the wonderful forgiveness that enables men to be reborn, until at last all are called your children. Sustain us. Help us. Bless us. May the Savior always live among us, reviving and strengthening us in body and soul. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
(Mark 10:13-15 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for children, and how they can teach us innocence and faith
  2. for the ways in which God protects His children
  3. that Jesus wept (John 11:35)
  4. that God can speak through anyone or anything He pleases
  5. that apart from God, I can do nothing

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 

Jesus wept. 

So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?"
(John 11:32-37 ESV)

Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
(John 11:41-44 ESV)

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
(John 11:49-52 ESV)


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:1-5 NIV)


Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
(Hebrews 13:2 NIV)

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
(Proverbs 29:25 NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25 NIV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)


He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”
(Matthew 13:24-30 ESV)

“The attempt to abolish wars and wickedness by the moral law is doomed to failure because of the fact of sinfulness.” ~ Dorothy L. Sayers


Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
(James 5:16 ESV)


“Jesus wept.” Sermons have been preached about the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35. Why did Jesus weep? We do not know. We are not given that information. In verse 36, the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But that is just their conjecture. I mean, sure, yes, Jesus loved Lazarus. But that isn’t necessarily the reason Jesus wept.

I’m not going to try to figure it out. I’m not going to try to think of all the reasons that Jesus wept. I only want to see the reality in front of me, that Jesus wept. Jesus, God incarnate, fully God and fully human, expressed emotion. He wept, right there, “in front of God and everyone.”

And then, He did the unthinkable, the unimaginable.

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

Even Mary and Martha didn’t fully grasp what was about to happen. “Lord, it’s going to stink in there!” was the objection that Martha gave when Jesus told them to roll away the stone.

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
(John 11:40 ESV)

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

What I would love to know is the thoughts of the people who were standing around the tomb, at that moment. The expressions on their faces. What they said to one another in quiet whispers. Did they snicker? Did they scoff? I bet their eyes got as big as saucers.

“What did He just say??”

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
(John 11:44 ESV)

A little side speculation, here . . . how, exactly, did Lazarus come out? It says that his hands and feet were bound, so I’m thinking he didn’t exactly walk out. Maybe he shuffled? Did he hop? Or did he . . . float?

It’s not really important, that detail. What’s important is that he came out, alive. It says that many of the Jews that were on the scene believed in Jesus after this. I can’t help but notice that it doesn’t say “all” of the Jews believed. Some of them went back to the Pharisees to report on this.

And I love what Caiaphas said to them.

“You know nothing at all.”

Ooh, what a slap in the face that must have been.

But then, John lets us know that what Caiaphas said was prophecy, and that he didn’t speak it of his own volition.

To see the glory of God in our lives, all we must do is believe. This is expressed many times in Scripture. But here’s the thing. At that moment in time, when Jesus cried out, in a loud voice, “LAZARUS, COME OUT!!” the belief or unbelief of those watching was utterly irrelevant. Lazarus was coming out, whether they believed it or not.

We can see the glory of God all around us. But, if we believe, it will be more readily seen. We will see His glory in events and scenes in which we might not otherwise see it. And, even better, we might be involved in it.

The book of James tells us that the prayer of the righteous person has great power. What more exciting thing than to be involved in the glory of God being revealed through prayer? And prayer requires belief. I would not pray if I did not believe, plain and simple.


Father, I praise You for Your almighty power and glory. I praise You for the raising of Lazarus and the story that we have of that event. I thank You that Jesus showed His emotions, regardless of what reason there was for His weeping. If the reason were important, You would have told us. And maybe it was something as simple as the fact that He loved Lazarus, since those three where probably His closest friends, outside of the disciples.

Help me, Father, to believe, that I might see Your glory, daily. I’m not asking to see the dead raised, every day, or even lesser miracles, although that would be exciting to see. I just want to see Your glory in my world. Let me look at the world with eyes that believe, rather than eyes that scoff and are cynical. I have spent far too much time being sarcastic and cynical, in my life. Cynicism is worthless. Belief is everything. I do believe! Help my unbelief!

I pray for the righteousness of Christ to permeate my life to the point that my prayers are powerful. Not that I might gain any notoriety or fame, but that You might be glorified, and that Your glory might be seen in the world. I pray for the prayers of all the saints, that they might be powerful and effective, and that Your glory would be known and celebrated. Let the earth be filled with Your glory, as the waters cover the seas.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


"The originality and the authenticity of Christian spirituality consists in following a God who has taken on our human condition; who had a history like ours; who has lived our experiences; who made choices; who dedicated himself to a cause for which he had to suffer; who experienced successes, joys, and failures; and who yielded his life. This man, Jesus of Nazareth, is like us in every way except that he was without sin. In Jesus, all the fullness of God dwelt; so he is the only model for our life, as humans and as Christians." ~ Segundo Galilea
(Daily Dig from Plough.com)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Conscience

Today is Sunday, September 4, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,551

Tomorrow is Labor Day, a holiday in the US. C will be off all day and has promised that she doesn’t plan to open her work computer. I don’t work on Mondays, anyway, so it’s just another day for me, except that we won’t get any mail.

Yesterday was a warm one, getting up to 94 in our area. I swear I opened my weather app, while I was at the library, and it said 97, but the official history for the closest airport says it reached 94. There was no rain, yesterday, which is not surprising. There is some chance of rain today, with possible afternoon thunderstorms, with an expected high of 95. The record high for today’s date was, once again, in 2000, and was 110 degrees! We have had 1.1 inches of rain in the past 72 hours, at our house. The ten-day forecast shows five days of 90+, and five days in the upper eighties. Summer will not go quietly, it seems.

There was a steady stream of patrons at the library, yesterday, which made it go by fairly quickly. The book drops were quite busy, as we filled up about six carts of books that were returned. There were two carts of youth (that means children’s in library lingo) books and two carts of adult fiction/non-fiction. One cart is DVDs and “talking books,” and the other cart is books that go on the new book display in front of the circ desk.

The Texas Rangers lost again to the Boston Red Sox, 5-3, and all three of those were scored in the top of the eighth inning. One of the bullpen pitchers started the game, and it was one who has not done well of late, so I’m scratching my head over that one. The Rangers are now at 58-74, still in third place in the AL West, but only by a half game, now. They are 26.5 out of first place, with a division E number of four, and 14.5 out of a Wild Card spot, with a WCE of 17.

The Red Sox improved to 66-68, but remain in last place in the AL East, still six games behind the Orioles. They are 13.5 out of first place, with an E number of 16, and 7.5 out of a Wild Card spot with a WCE of 23. The Rangers and Red Sox play one more time today, at 12:35 CDT.

Not much has changed in the playoff picture. New York, Houston, and Cleveland lead their divisions. Tampa and Seattle are in a virtual tie for the first two Wild Cards, and Toronto has the third spot. In the NL, the Dodgers, Mets, and Cards lead their divisions, and the Braves, Padres, and Phillies currently have the WC spots.

The Dodgers won, improving their MLB leading record to 91-41. The Nationals won, as well, but still have the worst record at 46-84. They are only 2.5 behind the Athletics, though, who have lost four in a row. The Mariners continue to streak, having won six in a row, now (the Rays have won five), and our Texas Rangers continue to lose, now having lost seven in a row. The Dodgers will likely lead the run differential for the remainder of the season, now at +289. The Nationals, though, do have a chance to not have the worst differential, currently at -212, but the Pirates are at -208. The Rangers, after losing 9-1 to the Red Sox a couple days ago, are now at -8, and the Red Sox have improved to -43.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, let your light shine in our hearts, the light that can gladden us and lead us until all our longing is stilled. May the higher nature born in us become ever stronger so that the lower and perishable nature does not rule over us. Grant that we may overcome and that our hearts may rejoice in being allowed to strive for the highest good because we are your children who can share in what is eternal. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:5-7 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the light that shines in our hearts, “the light that can gladden us and lead us until all our longing is stilled” (Plough.com)
  2. for His great and infinite mercy, by which He has saved us
  3. for the Holy Spirit, poured out on us generously through jesus Christ
  4. that God desires to be gracious to us and bless us
  5. for the conscience; a gift from God that helps me determine right from wrong

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
(Isaiah 30:18 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)


Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.”
(Isaiah 48:17-19 ESV)

But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’
(Jeremiah 7:23 ESV)

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
(Luke 6:46-49 ESV)

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
(James 1:25 ESV)


I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—
(Romans 9:1 ESV)

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
(Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV)


“God waits to be gracious” (Isaiah 30:18). The Hebrew word for “gracious,” in that verse, is chanan. The literal meaning of the word is “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, to bestow.” The NIV says, “the LORD longs to be gracious . . .”

The words “waits” and “longs” imply that there is a reason, though, that He is prevented from being gracious. Something is delaying God’s graciousness to His people. Now, in the Old Testament, this is speaking to a nation that is God’s people, the nation of Israel.

We no longer have a nation that is considered “God’s people.” God’s people is no longer a nation, but is now the Church, the Body of Christ. I think it is fair to read verses like Isaiah 30:18 and Jeremiah 29:11 and apply them to the individual within that body.

God seriously and sincerely desires, longs, waits, to be gracious to us and to shower us with blessings.

But something delays this blessing, sometimes. Isaiah 48 sheds some light on this. “Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!” There it is. And this should be no surprise to anyone who has read the words of Jesus in the New Testament, because He says, multiple times, that, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments, or that if we abide in Him and abide in His Word, we can ask for whatever we desire, and He will give it to us.

“Abide” means “to dwell, to live within,” and if we are dwelling in Christ and in His Word, we will obey His commands.

And what are His commands? If you have read this blog before, you know the answer.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35 ESV)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
(Romans 13:8 ESV)

So, if I believe, or find, that God is not, in fact, being gracious to me (which is absurd, because the very fact that I just took another breath is grace . . . everything that allows my life to continue is grace), it is because there is some point in my life where I have not been obedient.

This is not to induce guilt or shame. Especially not shame, because I am a firm believer that shame is a terrible thing, a tool of our enemy.

However, it is to force us to take a look at ourselves and be honest with ourselves.

I know no person who is 100% obedient to those commands, 24/7. I know a person or two that are close. But we are all human, and we all fail.

And this is where that gift of conscience comes into play. Look at that verse from Romans 9 up there, where Paul talks about his conscience bearing witness. What is “conscience?”

“An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.”

Here’s what Andrew Murray has to say about conscience: “If the voice of conscience tells you of a course of action that is nobler or better, and you choose something else because it is easier or pleasing to self, you ill-equip yourself for the teaching of the Spirit by disobeying the voice of God.”

Keep in mind that Brother Murray is writing to Christians, here. Not to say that the unbeliever doesn’t have a conscience; of course they do (unless they are a psychopath), and I find that some of them do a better job of obeying that conscience than some believers.

I have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within me. Therefore, my “conscience,” as it were, as Murray implies, is equal to the voice of God. It tells me if something I am considering is right or wrong. Or, perhaps, it also tells me if there is something that I should be doing that I am not doing.

“You really ought to help that person. Give them something.”

“You shouldn’t do that thing you’re thinking about doing.”

You should do that thing you’re thinking about not doing.”

Murray then gives us that verse from Deuteronomy 30 about God circumcising the heart. He advises us to “claim this promise.” If we allow God to “circumcise” our heart, then we will, it says, love Him with our entire being, “and live.”

And we will experience the full extent of the graciousness with which God longs and waits to bless us.

“Believe in the love of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Trust the Spirit that is in you, enabling you to love and so cause you to walk in God’s statutes. In the strength of this faith, and in the assurance of sufficient grace, which is made perfect in weakness, enter into God’s love and the life of living obedience it enables.”

It is only the continual presence of Jesus and His love that can enable this continual obedience in us.


Father, strengthen this conscience within me, that I might hear Your voice more readily, and be more obedient to Your commands. Help me to truly live, letting that life come to me because I have loved You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And, in doing this, help me to love my neighbor as myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ, as He has loved us.

Let the love of Christ be continually fueling my own love, as I allow it to channel through me, driving my every behavior. This is a tall order, Lord. I am not asking for perfection; well, maybe I am, knowing Your desire for me is to be “perfect, even as my Father in heaven is perfect.” Yet, I know that I cannot be, at least not as long as I dwell in this mortal coil.

But my desire is to strive for this perfection. Not so that I can boast; for I want to have no part in boasting of anything that I have done. Rather, I desire to boast only in You and what Christ has done in my own weakness. Let my weakness be seen, that You might be seen to be strong. Let my foolishness be known, that You might seen to be wise.

I pray for the Body of Christ, that we might do a better job of heeding the conscience that is the voice of Your Holy Spirit, that we might follow the commands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and might feed the hungry, clothe the naked, free the prisoners, and stop oppression in His name.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.


Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. 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 13:11-14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Specific Prayer

Today is Saturday, September 3, 2022, in the 22nd week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,550

It is officially the Labor Day weekend, so a lot of people are enjoying a long weekend. C will be one of those. It makes not a lot of difference to me, because I am always off Mondays, and I am scheduled to work today. I find myself wondering if the library will be slow today. I know it will be closed on Monday.

As for my schedule, it is changing next week. And because of the way the city’s pay schedule works, I will be working next Thursday and next Friday. But I would rather do that next week than the following week, because next week is my “light week,” meaning that, were it not for this schedule change, I would only work two days. With the new schedule taking effect, I will work three. If it had been delayed until the following week, I would have wound up working five days in a row. Oh, the horror! Hahaha!

This morning, I am due in at 9:30, and will work until 6:15 PM. I do plan on making burgers for dinner tonight. That reminds me . . . I have to put meat out to thaw. Be right back.

Thanks for waiting.

Yesterday’s high only reached 84, but it’s supposed to hit 93 today. There is little chance of rain, today, but we had a little bit yesterday, to make three consecutive days where we had at least a small amount of rain. According to one website, we have had a little over an inch of rain in the last 72 hours. The record high for today’s date was, once again, 108, back in 2000. You would think that I would remember that year, being that hot, this late. On the other hand, that was 22 years ago, wasn’t it? Egad.

The Red Sox beat the Rangers 9-1, last night. Can we go ahead and say that the Dallas Kuechel experiment is a miserable failure?? The Rangers are now 58-73, still in third place (still by a game and a half) in the AL West, 26.5 out of first place, and 13.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E number is now 5, and the WCE number is 19.

The Red Sox are 65-68, still in last place in the AL East, 14.5 out of first place, and 7.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E number is 16, and their WCE number is 24. The two teams play again this afternoon at 3:10 CDT, in Boston. Texas has 31 games left, and Boston has 29.

The Dodgers have lost three in a row, now, diminishing their chances of breaking the win record. They are at 90-41, still leading MLB. The Nationals still trail the pack with 45-87, but only 3.5 games behind the Athletics. The Seattle Mariners now hold the leading win streak with five wins in a row. The Texas Rangers are at least leading in something, right? They now have the longest losing streak in MLB, at six consecutive games. The Dodgers’ run differential went down, but they are still almost 100 runs better than the next team, with a differential of +278. The Nats remain at the bottom, at -218.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you that you come to help us with your power and might. We thank you that you come to us in our suffering and strengthen us in all we must endure on earth. You help us so that what is good and full of light comes more and more to us and to all people. We thank you and pray that your power, coming from the invisible world into the visible, may continue its quiet working in us until the day when everyone can see Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and into all eternity. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that God sends His strength and power to us, coming from the invisible world into the visible
  2. that He helps us to see what is good and full of light in this world of trouble and distress
  3. that these “light and momentary troubles” are nothing compared to the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all”
  4. for the constant presence of Jesus in my life, and that He will never leave me
  5. for the question that Jesus asks in Mark 10:51, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
(John 10:9-18 ESV)

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; 
you hold my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel, 
and afterward you will receive me to glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you? 
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 
My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:23-26 ESV)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
(Psalms 32:8 NIV)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
(Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
(Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 NIV)


And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
(Mark 10:51 ESV)


Jesus is clear. He is the door. He has already called Himself the way, the truth, and the life. He is not a door; He is the door. He then says, “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.”

But doors serve more functions than just entryway. They also serve as protection. When the door is closed, nothing can get in to harm us. And there is also a great mystery, here. While Jesus is the door, He also goes before us, to lead the way. He can be our access point, while at the same time, never leaving us. Therefore, we have no reason to be afraid.

Once we accept these truths, then we can dig a little deeper and look at this question that Jesus asked the blind man. “What do you want me to do for you?”

I can easily see Jesus asking the same question of us, today?

“What do you want me to do for you?”

What is your answer to that question? I believe that Jesus truly wants to know the specifics, here. “He wants to hear from the man’s lips not only the general petition for mercy but also the distinct expression of his desire. Until he declares it, he is not healed.” (Andrew Murray, emphasis added)


Father, help us to answer this question. Help us to be specific with Jesus when we answer it. It truly helps us to put our specific desires into words. I can speak from experience to say that there have been times when I expressed my desire out loud, it began to sound trivial and selfish. While I certainly believe the truth that You know what we need or desire before we express it, I also believe that You desire to hear us pray specifically.

Thank You for Your constant presence in my life, and that You will never leave me. This brings me great comfort. Would that the Psalm were true, that I truly desire nothing on earth besides You. I find that I have not quite made it to that point, yet, but it is my desire to do so. Help me get there, Father. Decrease my desires for earthly things, that I might only desire You and Your presence.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

“Talk No More So Very Proudly”

“There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
(1 Samuel 2:2-3 ESV)

Today is Friday, September 2, 2022, in the 22nd week of Ordinary Time.

Look at all those twos!

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart today!

Day 23,549

I’m late today, because of several things. First, I started playing a tournament round on Golf Clash, and I was playing so well that I dare not quit. In fact, I’m currently in first place. Unfortunately, it is only a qualifying round, so there are no prizes for this round, just the privilege of advancing to the weekend round.

Second, I needed to get a grocery order in, to be delivered later today. This required frequent trips back and forth to the kitchen, and multiple conversations with other members of the house. But that is done, and meals are planned for most of next week. Tonight, I’m planning to cook one of our favorites, Pecan Crusted Buttermilk Chicken, a WW recipe. I have a side dish planned, as well, that will be a surprise.

I don’t work today, and it may or may not be my last Friday off. That is TBD. The new computer center person starts today, though, so it will be soon.

It rained yesterday, and has rained on and off, this morning, as well. Our high, yesterday was 85, but when we walked out of the library last night at shortly after 8:00 PM, we all agreed that it was difficult to breathe, as the air seemed quite “moist.” “Swimmable” was one word that was used. Today’s high is expected to be 88, with the next two days being in the low nineties. This changes from day to day, but the rest of the ten-day forecast predicts temps in the mid-to-upper eighties, with slim to moderate chances of rain each day.

After starting pitcher Glenn Otto scored a career-high eight strikeouts, last night, the Texas Rangers bullpen erased a five-run lead, giving up four of those in the bottom of the ninth, to lose to the Boston Red Sox 9-8. As one might expect, I am always conflicted when these two teams play each other. However, for a number of years, now, my primary allegiance has been with the Texas Rangers. So I’m sad to see them lose, especially like that! The Rangers, now having lost five in a row, are 58-72 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, a game and a half ahead of the Angels. They are 25.5 out of first place (this is not the largest disparity between first and third place, but it is close), and 12.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their elimination number (my, it seems early to be seeing those), at least as far as the division goes, is only seven games. This means that any combination of Rangers losses and Astros wins eliminates them from any chance of winning the division. I gave up on that a long time ago, though. Their WC elimination number is 21. They have 32 games left.

The Red Sox are 64-68 on the season, and remain in last place in the AL East. They are six games behind the Orioles, 15.5 out of first place, and 7.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division elimination number is 16, and their WCE number is 25. They have 30 games left. The Rangers and Red Sox play again tonight at 6:10 CDT. Dallas Kuechel will start for the Rangers, so I don’t expect much.

The Dodgers have lost two in a row, which makes their chances of breaking a wins record slimmer. They remain at 90 wins, and top MLB with a 90-40 record. They must win 27 of 32 remaining games to break the record. The Nationals are at the bottom of MLB, with 45-86. The Seattle Mariners have the longest current winning streak, at four consecutive games. The Giants still have the longest losing streak, at seven. The Rangers are apparently trying to catch them. The Dodgers have a league leading run differential, at +284, and the Nats maintain the lowest, at -214. The Pirates, however, are only 13 runs ahead of the Nats. The Rangers, in spite of that five-game losing streak, are still in the positive column, with +2, and the Red Sox are at -53.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, you are always near to us on earth, and we thank you for all the love you put into our lives so that we can be joyful, even in all kinds of temptations and struggles. How much you have given us and how often you have rescued us from distress! Again and again you have let the light of life shine out. You give us light not only for the moment but also for the future, enabling us to draw strength and assurance from the present, the past, and the future, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; . . . through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 
(2 Corinthians 6:4-5, 8-10 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that our Father in heaven is always near to us on earth
  2. that we Christians in at least this country have not experienced most of the things in that Scripture passage
  3. that, even if we find ourselves having nothing, we do, indeed possess everything in Christ
  4. that God loves us unconditionally; may I love you in the same way
  5. that when I miserably fail to do number 4, God continues to bless me, anyway, in order to teach me patience, humility, and compassion

“To Me,” by Daryl Madden

For nothing’s deserved
You bless all for free
Lord, Let me share
The grace given to me

Lord, never ending
Is your great mercy
Lord, let me forgive
As you’ve forgiven me

You love every soul
Unconditionally
Lord, help me to love
How you have loved me

We know I will fail
Miserably
And Lord you bless more
To teach patience to me

I find myself echoing this prayer, today, especially the last two stanzas. It is my desire to love all as God has loved me, yet I, too, fail miserably. Please visit Daryl’s blog site at the link provided above.


“New Every Day,” by S. Michaels/LightWriters

Let songs rise on eagle’s wings
I will not fail to restore
I will not fail you…ever

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

It’s rare that I feature more than one poem, but this one spoke mightily to me, today, as well. God will not fail us; He will not fail to restore; He will not fail us, ever! Please visit Susan’s blog site, at the link provided above. She also includes lovely images with each of her poems.


Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
(John 9:39-41 ESV)

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
(2 Chronicles 7:1-3 ESV)


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:13 ESV)


But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.
(Psalms 94:22 ESV)

“There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
(1 Samuel 2:2-3 ESV)

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 
for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 
Let me dwell in your tent forever! 
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! 
Selah.
(Psalms 61:1-4 ESV)

There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
(Isaiah 64:7 ESV)


There are a lot of different topics, seemingly, in the assortment of Scriptures that I read, today. It is sobering to think that one of Jesus’s purposes on earth was to give sight to the blind, and, at the same time, blind those who claim to be able to see. In some ways, not much has changed in a couple thousand years.

The scene in 2 Chronicles is seen more than once in the Old Testament. After certain prayers, the Spirit of God occupies the temple/tabernacle to the degree that the priests are unable to perform their duties. The Glory of God is so thick, in these instances, that humans cannot endure His presence. I, personally, have not experienced this in any worship service I have ever attended.

But, for me, the big message today is hope. Our God is the God of hope, and the verse in Romans is a prayer that He would fill us with joy and peace, so that, by the power of His Spirit, we abound in hope.

What is hope? The dictionary definition is, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Or, there is a more archaic definition, “a feeling of trust.” It can also, of course, be a verb, meaning, “want something to happen or be the case.”

Our hope, as believers and followers of Christ, I believe, is more along the lines of the archaic definition. We certainly have an expectation or desire for certain things to happen, but it is more than, say, “I hope the Rangers win tonight.” Our hope, in the Lord, is a strong sense of expectation that is built on trust. Hope sustains us.

There is a quote by Hal Lindsey (I really would not have chosen to quote him, but here it is) that says, “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”

An exaggeration, to be sure, but there is some truth to the thought. We can “live” without hope, but is it truly “living?”

And besides being my hope, the Lord is also my stronghold, my refuge, my fortress, and all those other kinds of words that we find over and over in the Psalms, probably my favorite book in the Bible.

And check that quote from 1 Samuel. We love to quote that bit about “there is none holy like the Lord.” But we always stop before verse 3, which commands us to “talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth.”

Oops.

I’m seeing a lot of pride and arrogance coming out of our mouths, these days. Way too much.

And, in addition to the pride and arrogance, there seems to be a lack of prayer, in general. Now, I cannot truly judge how much another person prays. I really don’t have a clue. But I can surmise, from the actions and public words of many people, that if they do pray, the content of their prayers is quite shallow.

“If we desire to grow from strength to strength and to experience God’s power in sanctification and blessing on others, we must be more persevering in prayer. . . . Unless we are willing to pay the price to sacrifice our time and attention along with the seemingly legitimate or necessary tasks for the sake of attaining to the spiritual gifts, we need not expect power from above in our work.” (Andrew Murray)

Major ouch, there.

To sum all of this up, I will draw your attention back to Psalm 61:1-4.

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 
for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 
Let me dwell in your tent forever! 
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! 
Selah.
(Psalms 61:1-4 ESV)

Father, may we pray diligently, in all humility, and in all hope, expecting You to answer, expecting You to grow us from strength to strength. Lead us to that Rock that is higher than we. And in order to allow You to do that, we must confess that there is, in fact, a Rock that is higher than we, which also requires humility.

Strike pride and arrogance from our lips, especially in the public domain. Let our words on social media be tempered with humility and compassion; let us be seen as people who know and walk with Jesus Christ, that people may, indeed, know we are His disciples by our love, not by how hard we can throw a Bible at someone.

Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wins, my God. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, for I am truly a lowly servant. Teach me to pray more diligently, in more humility, and may my prayers reflect Your will on earth as it is in heaven.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Grace and peace, friends.

Rest

Today is Thursday, September 1, 2022, in the 22nd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul today!

Day 23,548

We have a pretty good chance of rain, today, mostly this afternoon. The temperature is expected to be in the mid-eighties, and the rain chance is 57%, but less than an inch is expected. It would be much better if it were a slower rain than we got last a week ago, Monday. The highs for all ten days of the ten-day forecast are below ninety, which is fantastic. The record high for this date was 107, back in 2000.

I realize I haven’t posted much about baseball, recently. Part of that is because of time restraints, but my interest is waning, as the season nears its end. About the only thing I’m really interested in, at this moment, is hoping that Albert Pujols makes 700 home runs before the end of this season. He currently has 694.

The LA Dodgers have won 90 games, six ahead of the next team, which, unfortunately, is the Houston Astros. They would have to win 27 of their remaining 33 games in order to break the season record 116 wins. Doable, yes; but not likely, as they are winning about 70% of their games, right now. The Washington Nationals are still on the bottom, with a 44-86 record. With 32 games left, they will likely lose over 100 games.

The Astros, Mariners, Rays, and Padres all have three-game winning streaks going on. The Giants are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. The Texas Rangers have lost four straight, two having come at the hands of the Astros, in their recent two-game series.

The Dodgers have outscored their opponents, so far, by 286 runs, while the Nationals have been outscored by 216. The Rangers are somehow still in the positive, having outscored their opponents by three runs. The Red Sox have been outscored by 54 runs.

The Rangers are still in third place in the AL West, but won’t necessarily finish there. At 58-71, they are only two games ahead of the Angels. Meanwhile, the Red Sox look like they will finish last in the AL East, currently at 63-68, six games behind the Orioles. The Rangers have 33 games left, while the Sox have 31 remaining.

I’ll be spending the day in the computer center, today, from 11:15-8:15. I have chicken taco soup in the crockpot, which will be ready by the time C gets home from work, this evening. This may be my last Thursday to work, as I will soon be switching back to Fridays. That may not happen until after next week, however. We aren’t sure, just yet. Because of the city’s pay schedule, whenever it does happen, I may wind up having to work a Thursday and a Friday, consecutively. It’s complicated. Heh.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, open our hearts to see what is good in our lives. May the light in our hearts shine clearly so that we see, recognize, and live in accordance with what comes from eternity and belongs to our true nature, brought to us through Christ. Keep us from being blinded and deafened by experiences that will pass by. Help us to rise above them even in suffering and to wait patiently for what is becoming new and perfect. Praise to your name that we too can say, "The old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
(I am currently not including the link because it doesn't seem to be working at the moment)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the gentle rain that falls outside, as I write this
  2. that the Father opens my heart to see what is good in my life
  3. for the rest that Jesus gives when we come to Him
  4. that, because of Jesus, we can draw near to God when we come with a sincere heart
  5. for the ultimate protection of the Lord; the waters will not sweep over me, the flames will not burn me; all will be well

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
(John 9:3-5 ESV)


“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)


let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
(Hebrews 10:22 NIV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 NIV)

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
(Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)


Jesus was the light of the world as long as He walked here. When He left this plane, He passed that light on to His followers. As we follow Him, we have the assurance of His strength and help, through the Holy Spirit. We also have this promise of rest and “easy yoke” from Jesus. I have spoken many times of this, in this forum, and will, no doubt, speak of it again, for this is an important concept that we need to grasp.

The work to which God appoints us is not difficult, as long as we follow the commands of Jesus. As long as we come to Him when we are weary, He will give us rest. Rest is important for everyone. And as long as we walk with Him in His easy yoke, the work will not be burdensome. Anyone who experiences what has been called “burnout,” has not been walking in this easy yoke, but, rather, attempting to do the work, more or less solo.

We also have the admonishment, alleged to be the most oft-stated command in Scripture, to not be afraid. God has promised His presence with us wherever we go. He has redeemed us; He has set us free; do we truly believe that He has redeemed us only to abandon us and allow us to fail? My beloved, this cannot be! Look at the promises in Isaiah. When we pass through the waters, He will be with us; when we walk through the rivers, they will not sweep over us; when we walk through the fire, it will not burn us.

How easily we forget! How easily we allow our unbelief to creep in. I am no less guilty than anyone.

Therefore, I encourage you as we are admonished in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. I encourage you who are walking in this journey with me. Do not fear, for He is with you. Come to Jesus when you are weary, and He will give you rest. Walk in His easy yoke, and you will not be burdened. Do not be discouraged, for He will be with you wherever you go. He has called you, and He has redeemed you, and He will be with you and protect you.


Father, I praise You for these words of encouragement from Your Word. I thank You for the easy yoke of Jesus, and for His promise of rest when we are weary. Help us to avail ourselves of these promises and truths. Thank You for Your promises of Your presence and protection. Remind us that, no matter what can possibly happen to these jars of clay, our souls are eternally safe. Therefore, we shall not fear. We believe, Lord! Help our unbelief!

Even so, come quickly, 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 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Joy of Being in the Light

Today is (I had to stop and thing) Saturday, August 27, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,543

It’s going to be a busy, but fun, day today. We start out with C’s company “picnic,” from 11:00 – 2:00. I put picnic in quotes because it is mostly inside, this year. They are having it at the ITRC facility, and will have food trucks outside (all free for us), bowling available, as well as tours of the museum and Hall of Fame. And, for additional treats, Steel City Pops will be there. I’m sure we will have a limited amount of choices, but I do hope they bring some peach pops.

After the picnic, we will be home for a couple hours, after which we will head to a good friend’s house, where we have been invited for dinner. Mama will be going with us for that. We don’t know what’s for dinner, but feel confident that it will be delicious.

Weather continues to be pretty mild, here, especially for this time of year. Yesterday’s high was 93, which is just shy of the average for that date. The record high for the date is 104. I’ve started looking at multiple sources, and will, going forward, use the record highs and lows from a different source, because it gives a year. But I can only see the current date for that, so today’s record high is 106, back in 2011. I don’t remember much about that year, but it must have been hotter than this year, or at least hotter later, because a lot of the record temps seem to be coming from that year.

The forecast for the next ten days shows three days in the mid-nineties, three in the lower nineties, followed by four days in the upper eighties.

The Texas Rangers won a rare one-run game, last night, beating the Detroit Tigers 7-6. Texas scored all of their runs in the first three innings. As is par for the course, the bullpen (mostly Leclerc) tried to blow it. I really wish they would stop giving the ball to Leclerc. The Rangers are now 58-67 (nine games below .500), still in third place in the AL West. They are 22 games out of first place, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. At this point, I think we are just hoping they can get up to .500 before the end of the season. They play the Tigers again, today, at 6:05 CDT.

The Red Sox ended the Rays’ winning streak, in spite of the Rays surging with four runs in the top of the eighth inning. Final 9-8. Go figure. The Red Sox are now 61-65, still in last place in the AL East. They are 17 games out of first place, and eight out of a Wild Card spot. They play Tampa again today, at 4:10 EDT.

The Dodgers won again, making their MLB-leading record 87-37. The Nationals lost, making their record 42-84, 3.5 games worse than the struggling Oakland team. The Yankees (BOO) and Phillies are both enjoying a five-game winning streak. The Rangers have a two-game streak, currently. The Pirates are finally alone in the losing streak column, having lost six in a row. Nothing has changed in the differential column, other than the numbers on both ends getting higher. The Dodgers are now at +279, while the Nats are -213. The Rangers are now at +17, and the Red Sox at -44.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

We thank you, dear Father in heaven, that you let the light from your face shine into our hearts. Look upon our time, we pray, with your clear, penetrating eyes, and let all people sense that they are watched over by more than they are able to see. Let them realize that a strong God and Father is watching over them. Protect us on our way, and let your light shine ever more brightly, so that in all we do your name is glorified. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Hear my voice when I call, LORD; 
be merciful to me and answer me. 
My heart says of you, 
"Seek his face!" 
Your face, LORD, I will seek. 
Do not hide your face from me.
(Psalms 27:7-9a NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the light of God, the Light of the world, that shines brightly in our lives
  2. that the Lord hears when I call; He is merciful!
  3. for this pilgrimage, this journey into the heart of God
  4. for the ministry of Renovare and their inspirational writings
  5. for the joy of simply being

“As Never Before,” by S. Michaels/Lightwriters

Expect divine reversal
a coming into Promise
a whole new joy in being

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

As I read this little poem, this morning, I was struck with the line about “joy in being.” Such a simple, yet complex thought. Simple, because we should all be blessed with that joy, the joy of simply being. Complex because it’s not as easy as all that. But as we seek His face, as encouraged by Psalm 27, that joy becomes easier to find.

One of my favorite verses in Psalms is 16:11.

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)

You see, as we seek His face (which He is not hiding from us), we will experience that “fullness of joy,” that is found in His presence, and those “pleasures forevermore” at His right hand. These are not at all dependent upon circumstances; in fact they transcend circumstances.

Please check out more of Susan’s beautiful poetry at the link provided above.


I came across an article from Renovare, this morning, written by Rev. Laura Rasmussen. The article is called “Always Look for the Light.” In it, among other things, Rev. Rasmussen talks about pilgrimage. I found this to be very enlightening.

“As a pilgrim, I am journeying to the heart of God. To journey to the heart of God is to journey to that divine spark of light, of life, within me. Pilgrimage is not about arriving quickly and efficiently to the destination, it is about giving space and time, attention and love to the actual journey towards an intended destination.”

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 ESV)

“To walk in the light of Christ,” says Rev. Rasmussen, “is pilgrimage—navigating us to the heart of God.”

Jesus also understands our vulnerabilities, as we walk through this world. There are things that are going to distract us from the Light. Daily life, daily tasks, unexpected circumstances. “It’s not Jesus’ nature to shame us and alienate us in our vulnerabilities. Instead, his nature is to light our way through our vulnerabilities and into the abundance of his life. Jesus is all about bringing us back to the heart of God, to our true self. On the way we are met, loved, healed and transformed in this divine light.”

May the Light of the world illuminate your pilgrimage!


So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”
(John 7:16-18 ESV)

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
(Isaiah 54:10 ESV)

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
(James 1:26 NIV)

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 NIV)

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
(Proverbs 21:23 NIV)

In light of the last three Scripture references, I want to share some words from Henri Nouwen.

"In Jesus, no division existed between his words and his actions, between what he said and what he did. Jesus’ words were his action, his words were events. They not only spoke about changes, cures, new life, but they actually created them. In this sense, Jesus is truly the Word made flesh; in that Word all is created and by that Word all is re-created. 
"Saintliness means living without division between word and action. If I would truly live in my own life the word I am speaking, my spoken words would become actions, and miracles would happen whenever I open my mouth."

And, to kind of wrap all this up, here are some words from Andrew Murray: “We are continually praising or thanking God by our actions and by the manner in which we treat others. At times God cannot hear the prayer of your lips because the worldly desires of your heart cry out much more loudly and strongly.”

Our life, indeed, exerts a profound influence over are prayers. But if we walk in the Light of the world and allow the light from God’s face to shine into our lives, we are delivered from this, and we can pray without hindrance. In that, as we journey on this pilgrimage, we can truly experience the simple joy of being.


Father, I am thankful for the words of all of these people that have been represented here, today. From the poetry of Susan Michaels, to the writing of Rev. Rasmussen, to the words of Andrew Murray and Henri Nouwen, all of it seen through the lens of Scripture and illuminated by the Light of the world, Your Son, Jesus.

I pray for this “joy of being” to be displayed in my life, today, and every day, going forward. Whenever circumstances threaten this, help me to remember that I am on a pilgrimage into Your heart, with the way illuminated by Your light that shines from Your face, which I am constantly seeking. Your face will I seek, O Lord! Do not hide Your face from me!

I praise You for the everlasting nature of Your covenant with us. We walk in the confidence that Your covenant will never be removed from us, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
(Acts 2:42 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.