The Savior of the World

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

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,536

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

“My God Will Hear Me”

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

May the peace of Christ reign in your soul today!

Day 23,535

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

This is to their shame.

I guess I had more to say than I thought.


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

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

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

I do believe! Help my unbelief!

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Praise the LORD! 

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

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

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Like A Child

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

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart!

Day 23,532

THREE DAYS until S turns 29!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

All of Your Times,” by S. Michaels

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

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

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

Thank you, Susan!


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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

“Put Your Hope in God”

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

Peace be with you!

Day 23,531

Only FOUR days until S turns 29!

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

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

The Red Sox . . . wait, what??

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

Peace Like A River

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

May the peace of Christ dwell within you!

Day 23,530

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

To Know Him is to Love

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

Peace be with you!

Day 23,529

Only SIX more days until S turns 29!

Friday the thirteenth falls on Saturday, this month!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On to the important stuff.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Period.

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

Sheep or Goat?

Today is Friday, the twelfth of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you!

Day 23,528

Only SEVEN more days until S turns 29!!

Yesterday was quite busy in the computer center. There weren’t a lot of patrons, but, at least early in the day, there were quite a few who needed assistance. This, of course, kept me busy, which made the day go faster. It slowed down significantly after my lunch break, and I had a nice conversation with the manager during the last hour of the evening.

The high temperature yesterday only hit 97, which was what was predicted. There was no rain yesterday, and not really any predicted today, either. Today’s high is also predicted to be 97. Yesterday’s record high is 106. I do wish the site would tell me when that occurred. Over the ten-day forecast, there are only four with 100 or higher, and the highest is 102. S’s birthday is predicted to be 96.

The Texas Rangers lost to the Houston Astros 7-3, yesterday. It was probably worse than the score suggests, as it was 7-0, at one point. The new pitcher, Ragans, was the loser. The Rangers are now at 49-62, still in third place in the AL West, 22 games out of first place, and 9.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They begin a weekend series with the Seattle Mariners tonight, in Arlington.

The Boston Red Sox won their single game against the Orioles, last night. Is anyone else surprised?? Final score was 4-3. Newcomer to the team, Eric Hosmer provided the game-winning RBI. The Sox are now 55-58, still in last place in the AL East, 16.5 games out of first place, and 4.5 out of a Wild Card spot. The O’s have moved to within a half game of a Wild Card spot, now. And, honestly, if the Rangers or the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs, if the Orioles do, I would probably pull for them. On the other hand, Tito still manages the Cleveland Guardians, so I might root for him, too. There are still approximately fifty games left, though (it differs from team to team). A lot can happen in fifty games.

There were only eight games played, yesterday, so the only stats that changed were the run differentials for my two favorite teams. Everything else remained static. The Rangers now have a -3 differential, while the Red Sox improved by one run, to -35.

I’m off today, since it is Friday. That will likely change, soon, however. One of the other part time aides is leaving us, his last day today. He had been one who only worked in the computer center (I’m a “floater,” working in three different departments). I have been informed that, once someone is hired and trained to replace him, I will be moved back to my old Friday schedule for the computer center, which is perfectly fine with me. While I have enjoyed the every-other-week four-day-weekend, I would prefer to not have to work two nights a week. Fridays would be the same schedule as Wednesdays, which is 9:15-6:15. So, on my “heavy” weeks, I would work Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, with Thursday off in the middle. A little more balanced.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Though,” by Daryl Madden

Come to watch the light shine
Though nothing’s there to see
Only through reflection
The colors come to be

Come to feel the wind blow
Though nothing’s really there
Only through the movement
It’s affects appear

Come listen to the silence
Though nothing to be heard
Only through our faith
Will we hear the Word

Come seek the divine
Though there’s no human way
Only through the Spirit
With vision, let us pray

I simply love this poem. Please check out Daryl’s site at the link provided above.


Lord our God, you are our strength and shield. Our hearts hope in you and we are helped. Accept us from among all the nations as a people who want to serve you. Strengthen our hearts, especially when we must be tested in every way and must face the many hardships that will come when we take up our task of proclaiming your name and witnessing to you. For you are strong and can protect us. You can fill us with light and with joy to proclaim again and again the salvation that is coming through your all-powerful goodness and mercy, salvation in Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that the Lord is my strength and shield, and that my heart trusts Him, and He helps me
2. that the Body of Christ is made up of people from all nations
3. for the light and joy we receive that enable us to proclaim the message of His love and salvation
4. that Jesus sums up the entirety of the law and the prophets with the two greatest commands
5. that God continues to drive my heart toward love

The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; 
the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; 
the mighty man cries aloud there. 
A day of wrath is that day, a 
day of distress and anguish, 
a day of ruin and devastation, 
a day of darkness and gloom, 
a day of clouds and thick darkness, 
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
 against the fortified cities 
and against the lofty battlements. 

I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, 
because they have sinned against the LORD; 
their blood shall be poured out like dust, 
and their flesh like dung. 
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. 
In the fire of his jealousy, 
all the earth shall be consumed; 
for a full and sudden end 
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
(Zephaniah 1:14-18 ESV)

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
(Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
(Proverbs 4:23 NLT)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
(1 John 4:7 ESV)

“May I always embrace the outcast, give hope to the hopeless, love the unloved, reach out to the unreached. May I always reflect the love of Christ for those most in need.” ~ Edward Grinnan, Daily Guideposts 2022

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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 22:36-40 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)


I don’t have a lot of my own words, today. I got some emotional chill bumps from Edward Grinnan’s prayer, today, as well as from the content of his reading for the day. The prayer seems to paraphrase Jesus’s words in that “parable” about the sheep and the goats. I put parable in quotation marks because I’m not so sure it’s an actual parable. In fact, the ESV does not call it a parable.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' 

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
(Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)

There may be some serious surprises on this day, when some people who believe they are “righteous” get their due reward.

Today's sources:
YouVersion daily Bible reading plan
Abide meditation
Daily Guideposts 2022

Father, in heaven, as we pray, sometimes in vain repetitions, but, nevertheless, for Your kingdom to come and Your will be done on earth as in heaven, is it the words of Jesus that we are considering? For I truly desire Your will on earth as it is in heaven. And, if I read the words of Jesus correctly, that will is for the hungry to be fed, the thirsty to be given water to drink, the strangers, immigrants, and refugees to be welcomed, the naked to be clothed, and the sick and in prison to be visited and cared for.

I can’t help but wonder what the self-righteous among us think they are praying for when they repeat those words? I can’t help but wonder what the bigot means when he prays for Your Kingdom to come and Your will to be done. I don’t think he really wants Your will at all. I think he wants his own misguided vision of what he thinks Your will must be.

Have mercy, Father! Show Yourself in our midst! Show Your power in our land. Mold our hearts that we might share in believing the truths that Jesus proclaimed when He was walking the earth, that His teachings about the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, would become our core beliefs as we strive to walk in His steps and in His words.

Because this is what love looks like. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” And I will echo brother Grinnan’s prayer. “May I always embrace the outcast, give hope to the hopeless, love the unloved, reach out to the unreached. May I always reflect the love of Christ for those most in need.”

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

What Is Your “Why?”

Today is Thursday, the eleventh of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be in your soul today!

Day 23,527

Only EIGHT more days until S turns 29!!

The temperature only got up to 98, yesterday, and it rained again, which, once again, dropped the temperature significantly between 5 PM and 7 PM. C said it rained so hard that she had to use her windshield wipers on high. It didn’t rain that much at our house. The ten-day forecast shows only three days over 100, and more chance of rain next week.

Last night, I made Beefy American Goulash for dinner. It was definitely a hit. And there was enough left over for a couple more servings. I plan to take one for lunch at work today. Oh. that reminds me . . . I have to start soup in the crock pot for tonight’s dinner. Be right back.

I’m back. Thanks for waiting.

The Texas Rangers exploded (not literally) in the top of the tenth inning, last night, to beat the Houston Astros 8-4. The game was tied 3-3, going into the tenth. The Rangers are now 49-61 for the season, still in third place, 21 games out of first place, and nine games out of a Wild Card spot. They have another game against the Astros, this afternoon, at 1:10 CDT, in Houston. Then they are back at home for three games against the Mariners and four against the Athletics.

The Boston Red Sox score was also 8-4. Unfortunately, the Sox were on the short end of that stick. The Braves won the game. Boston is now 54-58 for the season, sinking further into last place, seventeen games out of first place, and five games out of a Wild Card spot. They begin a four-game weekend series with the Orioles, tonight, in Boston. Oops. That was an assumption. This must be one of those weird make-up games for a game that was cancelled because of the pre-season lockout. It’s only one game, followed by a three-game series with the Evil Ones. And look! The Orioles have moved into third place! Shout out to kristianw84.

The LA Dodgers continue to roll on. They are on top of all three categories that I track, here. 77-33 record, five full games ahead of the Mets (the Yankees remain in fourth place), +236 run differential, and a TEN GAME win streak going! Vin would be proud. The Nationals remain on the bottom in two categories, with a 37-76 record, and a run differential of -200. I was wondering what the worst run differential in history was. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders had a run differential of -723. Anyway, the only category that the Nats aren’t the worst in is losing streak, currently owned by the Athletics with a five-game losing streak. The Red Sox have a four game losing streak. They now have a -36 run differential, while the Rangers keep bouncing around zero, and now have a +1.

It’s Thursday, so I’ll be working an eight-hour shift at the library computer center today, from 11:15-8:15.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, grant that we may be your watchmen, who can understand what you mean for our time. We thank you for all you have already done, for every change to the good among the nations. For the nations must bow to your will so that nothing happens unless accomplished by you. Judge us wherever necessary. Open our eyes to see where we are wrong and where something does not go according to your Spirit. Be with us and give us strength. Raise up more watchmen everywhere, in every place and in every home. Wherever something happens to move people's hearts, let the watchmen proclaim, "This comes from God. It does not matter how much we suffer. This comes from Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, but who rose again." Raise up such watchmen among young and old everywhere on earth, to the glory of your name. Let there be a people who go to meet you with shouts of joy and thanksgiving. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.
(Isaiah 52:7-8 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the good news, the Gospel of peace, and that our God reigns
2. for the willingness to open my eyes and allow God to show me when I am wrong
3. that God alone is who I wait for to satisfy the longings of my soul
4. that I strive for integrity and uprightness in my life
5. that His grace is sufficient in all things

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)

Though the fig tree should not blossom, 
nor fruit be on the vines, 
the produce of the olive fail 
and the fields yield no food, 
the flock be cut off from the fold 
and there be no herd in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the LORD; 
I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 
GOD, the Lord, is my strength; 
he makes my feet like the deer's; 
he makes me tread on my high places. 
(Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)

“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:33-37 NLT)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 ESV)

Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 NLT)

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
(Psalms 25:21 ESV)


Here, we see a link between Jesus’s words in Matthew concerning making oaths (let your yes be yes and your no be no), and this verse in Psalm 25 about integrity and uprightness.

The psalmist is asking for a true heart, a pure heart, because that is how we must draw near to God. Don’t misunderstand . . . we do not need to be totally without sin before we can approach God, because that is impossible. Even though all our sins are forgiven and wiped clean, we are still not completely without sin. It is the motivation of the heart that is in question here.

“To meet with the Holy One, our heart must be wholly given over to His will.” (Andrew Murray) When we first begin to wait upon God, we find out how treacherous our hearts really are. It is difficult to dispense with ulterior motives when praying. I find myself questioning my own motives, frequently, when I pray.

Why, for example, do most popular prayer “formulae” begin with “adoration” or “praise?” Pardon my cynicism, but I think it’s because we foolishly believe that we can “butter up” God. You know . . . “If I praise Him first, maybe He’ll answer my prayer.” Are we so naive that we don’t realize that He can see right through that?

The question also arises, what are we waiting for? When we pray, do we desire God’s gifts and actions more than we desire Himself? These are hard questions, I know. Trust me, I know, because I have grappled with them, myself, and still do. I pay attention to the words I pray. Sometimes I catch myself uttering silly, meaningless phrases, “vain repetitions,” when I pray. And when I do, I stop, immediately and confess. Sometimes, I even stop saying words for a few minutes and simply contemplate.

I don’t believe this is shameful, though, beloved. It is human. It is the normal behavior of us who are dust. And He remembers that we are dust.

I do long “for a sense of His holy presence and nearness.” Sometimes, I thirst for a manifestation of God’s power. But what is equally important is to know for whom we wait. I am not waiting on any human being to satisfy the longings of my soul. I am waiting for God and God alone, because it is He alone who is able, He alone who is worthy.

This just took an unexpected turn.

The prayer word of the day is “why.” I think the article intended it to be a question of “why,” as in “why is this happening to me?” And that, of course, is valid. However, this morning, I choose to look at it differently. And that, hopefully, will explain why I included it.

In the Weight Watchers community, it is strongly encouraged that we have a “why” in our mindset. Why am I doing this program? What is my reason? What is my “why?”

So what is my “why?”

Why do I continue to believe when so many of my old friends seem to have left the path? Why do I wait upon the Lord?

It is because I have experienced the nearness of God. I cannot prove it. I cannot even prove that God exists, just as an atheist cannot prove that He doesn’t. But I can firmly say, as Paul says,

But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
(2 Timothy 1:12 ESV)

And,

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

Does this mean I never have doubts? Oh, heck no. I certainly do. And I’m honest enough to admit it, unlike some. Frankly, I don’t believe anyone who says that they have never doubted.

Nevertheless, I am convinced of the same things of which Paul is convinced. And I know that it is on God alone that I wait. It is God and God alone who is worthy of my allegiance, my adoration, my praise, and my worship. He alone is worthy of my service, which works itself out in service to other humans.

My “why” is because He is faithful and has been faithful to me, for sixty-four years, through my unfaithfulness and my doubts. As I said above, I have experienced His nearness, His presence. I have felt His embrace. Scoff if you will, but that is something that can never be taken away from me.

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

Father, I am so grateful for You. You have been faithful to me, all these years, in spite of my own unfaithfulness. I still, to this day, sometimes wander off the path, and You are always there to guide me back, usually gently. And I remain convinced of Your care for me, Your love for me, and that nothing can ever separate me from Your love.

You alone are worthy of my praise. You alone created all these things that we sometimes think belong to us. Yours is the glory; Yours is the honor; Yours is the praise. It is on You alone that I wait.

I know that You will never leave me or forsake me, and, consequently, do not feel that I need to ask for that.

What I do ask is that I would be able to reflect Your love to the world. Help me to have those “beautiful feet” that spread the Gospel of peace to the world, that tell the world that You reign. Let me be a channel of Your grace and mercy to all people, and not just to the ones who I think deserve it. I believe You want us to love everyone as best we can, the way You have loved us.

Hallelujah, my God! All glory to You! Who can satisfy my soul like You? You are my “fountain;” You are my King.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Wonderful Revelation

Today is Wednesday, the tenth of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in you today!

Day 23,526

Only nine more days until S turns 29! And we have a day planned for that day. Lunch at Martha’s Mexican Cocina, pedicures, bowling, a cookie cake, and there will be presents! Should be quite a day.

We did hit 100 degrees, yesterday, but almost immediately after (shortly before 3 PM), the temperature dropped about twenty degrees as some light rain moved into the area. So that was our 42nd day of 100+, and began a new streak of two days. Today’s high is also predicted to be 100, followed by four days of less than 100. S’s birthday is the last day visible in the ten-day, and it is currently predicted to be 93! Let’s hope that holds true!

The Texas Rangers lost to the Astros, last night. They started out strong, but faded quickly, and Martin Perez had a rare loss in the game. Final score 7-5. The Rangers are now 48-61, thirteen games below .500. They are still in third place in the AL West, 22 games behind first place, and ten games out of a Wild Card spot. They play the Astros again tonight at 7:10 CDT, in Houston. They aren’t likely to win because a) Glenn Otto is starting, and b) Justin Verlander is pitching for Houston. He is 39 years old and has a 1.73 ERA.

I think we need to have his DNA checked, because I’m pretty sure he is not human.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox lost to the Braves, 9-7, to drop to 54-57 for the year. Significantly better than the Rangers, but still in last place in the AL East. Seventeen games out of first and five out of a Wild Card spot. They play again tonight at 7:10 EDT, in Boston.

The Dodgers remain on top of MLB, with 76-33 record (the Yankees have dropped to fourth), and the Nationals remain on the bottom, with 37-75. The Dodgers are still winning, now with a nine-game winning streak. The Athletics now have the longest losing streak, with four straight losses. The Red Sox just ahead of them, with three. And the Dodgers are still on top with a run differential of +233, and the Nationals remain on the bottom with -198. The Rangers dropped to -3, and the Sox to -32.

It’s my light week, this week, so I’m off today. I don’t know what I have planned for the day, other than a “surprise” meal for the family dinner, tonight. I’ll give a small hint . . . it involves macaroni.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God! What can separate us from your love? Can trouble or fear or persecution or hunger or nakedness or peril or the sword? In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Dear Father in heaven, we long for courage. You will answer our prayers and again and again grant us strength, the power of your Spirit, the only power that can strengthen us. We thank you for all you have done for us. Help us onward from victory to victory until everything on earth is won for the good, to your honor among all humankind. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
(Romans 8:35, 37 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ!
2. for the power of the Holy Spirit, from which we gain all strength in this life
3. for the "still, small voice" of God
4. for the confidence that, if we ask according to His will, God hears our prayers
5. that Jesus came to make His Father our Father

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
(2 Corinthians 11:30 ESV)

“What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
(Habakkuk 2:18-20 ESV)

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
(1 Kings 19:11-12 ESV)

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 ESV)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(Ephesians 1:15-21 ESV)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
(Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)


When we acknowledge our weaknesses, it makes us stronger. Paul learned that, and tried to teach his churches the same thing. Our modern culture resists that, though. We flaunt things that make us appear “manly” or “tough,” forgetting the things we are taught by God’s Word.

God, of course, has no weaknesses. Yet, when He deals with us, He deals with us gently (except for a few exceptions, like when Jesus knocked over the tables of the folks who were cheating people).

There are connections in the above passages. A solid reason that we should “keep silence” before God is shown in the passage from 1 Kings. An important point of prayer is that silence is involved. Why? Because, when we are always talking, we are not listening! Note that the voice of God was not in the fire, not in the earthquake, and not in the boisterous wind. There are, certainly, times that God must speak loudly to us, but that is usually because we are not paying attention.

As Elijah waited patiently for the Lord to reveal Himself, the voice of God finally came through in that “still, small voice” the KJV references, or, in this translation, a “low whisper.”

The first thing that Jesus teaches us, in His model prayer, is that God is in heaven, and that His name should be hallowed. What does “hallowed” mean? “Greatly revered and honored.”

Jesus, the master of prayer, gives us words to use when we are praying. He not only taught us how to pray, He demonstrated it, as well. There’s a whole chapter in John (17) that is a complete prayer of Jesus.

But in this model, Jesus gives us “a prayer that breathes the freshness and fullness of eternal life, so simple that a child can learn it, so divinely rich that it covers all we need.” (Andrew Murray) I don’t believe that, when Jesus said, “Pray then like this,” that He meant “pray these exact words every time you pray.”

I believe He was giving us a pattern to use. There aren’t many things that we can pray for that wouldn’t fit somewhere in this pattern.

Of course, there is certainly nothing wrong with reciting this prayer. I do it frequently. It has a centering and calming effect when I do it.

There’s another important thing, though, here. That word “Father,” preceded by the word “our.” The word “our” may be the most important word in the prayer. Why? Because, up to that time, no one in Scripture, none of the saints of old, had ever referred to God as “Father.”

“The invocation places us at once in the center of the wonderful revelation that the Son came to make His Father our Father.” (Murray, emphasis his)

“The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest–but also the last and highest–lesson in the school of prayer. It is in personal relationship to the living God and fellowship with Him that prayer begins.” (Murray)


Father, thank You for this revelation. I give praise to You for making this relationship possible through Jesus Christ. This is, truly, a “wonderful revelation,” as described by brother Murray. Help us to walk in this knowledge, to know this “Father-love” that is so readily available to us. The thing that amazes me is that this love of Yours is lavished on everyone on the planet . . . not just the people who acknowledge it! As Scriptures says, you send rain on the just and the unjust alike. There is air for the atheists to breathe, as well as the believers.

And You could very easily make it not so.

Your patience with mankind is staggering. I pray for the same patience, that I might love people as You love them. Help me to be a channel of that love, that, as it passes through me, it might spread out, fan out into the world and touch everyone around me.

Help me to keep silent before You, when appropriate, that I might hear Your “low whisper.” Teach me the ways of meditation and contemplation that I might know Your presence without having to speak, that I might gain knowledge of You in the stillness of Your presence. I want to be immersed in You.

Even so, please come soon, Lord Jesus!


“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” ~ L.R. Knost

Grace and peace, friends.

In the Name of Jesus

Today is Tuesday, the ninth of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart today!

Day 23,525

Ten days until S turns 29!!

Yesterday’s procedure went quite well, I think. And I must have been dreading it a lot more than I thought, because I was in better spirits, yesterday afternoon, than I have been in quite a while. Anyway, the procedure went smoothly, and they found only a couple of polyps, which were removed and sent to pathology. The doctor did not seem at all concerned that they might be cancerous. The nurses and techs were all very friendly and treated me very well. Best nap I’ve had in a long time. I tried to get them to give me some of that stuff to take home, but they wouldn’t do that. Propofol. That’s it. Best anesthesia ever.

Afterward, for lunch, I had a double cheeseburger (with a fried egg and bacon on it) and fries from OC Burger, followed by one of their gigantic chocolate chip cookies. It was delicious, and, at that moment in time, it was the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had. Hah.

Let’s see. Weather. It hit 101 yesterday, for our 41st day of triple-digit temperatures, this summer. Hopefully, there won’t be a streak to count, because it is not supposed to hit 100 today. In fact, the predicted high today is 97! And, if the forecast holds true, we have six straight days coming, below 100. And tomorrow, there is almost a 50% chance of rain! The record high for yesterday’s date is 106. The record low is 58. Now there’s a record I’d like to break!

There was no baseball that mattered to me, yesterday. I’ll take a look and see if any of my stats changed. Likely not. There were only seven games played, yesterday. The Nationals lost, so they will still be the worst in all of the categories. The Dodgers didn’t play, but will still be the best in all of the categories. The Rangers and Red Sox did not play, so they didn’t lose, and their run differentials didn’t get worse. For today, the Rangers play the Astros in Houston, and the Red Sox play the Braves in Boston. The only thing the Rangers have going for them is that Martin Perez is scheduled to pitch.

Since it is Tuesday, I’ll be working at the Hurst Public Library from 4:15-8:15, tonight, shelving books and/or DVDs. Good times.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God and our Father, we praise you because we are allowed to have community together in the name of Jesus, who has opened our eyes to see you and who has promised to be among us when we are gathered in his name. May our hearts remain unshadowed, even when our lives seem to grow difficult and the future looks dark. Protect us whenever we are tempted and have battles to fight. Deliver us. Make us free people who know we belong to you and who are allowed while still on earth to have a share in eternal life. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
(Matthew 18:20 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the presence of Jesus, when we gather together in His name
2. that I belong to Jesus, and have freedom in Him that can never be taken away by any government or earthly power
3. that God is constantly showing me the path of life, as I seek the "ancient paths" (Jeremiah 6:13)
4. for the fullness of joy in His presence, the eternal pleasures at His right hand
5. for the promise of Jesus, that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it; may I understand this promise correctly and walk in it

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV)

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
(2 Corinthians 10:17-18 ESV)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
(1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT)

Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
(John 12:26 NLT)

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:14 NIV)

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)

“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”
(Jeremiah 6:16 ESV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 ESV)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
(John 14:12-14 ESV)

When we speak a person’s name, we are (or at least should be) speaking more than just a proper noun. Names conjure up different things for different people. I could say the name, Jimmy Carter, and it would mean something different to everyone. But to me, it brings thoughts of integrity, honor, and extreme generosity. It speaks of his character and his nature.

The name of Jesus Christ “means His nature, His person and work, His disposition and Spirit. To ask in the name of Christ is to pray in union with Him.” (Andrew Murray)

Later on in this same discourse, Jesus tells His disciples that if they abide in Him, they can ask whatever they desire. (John 15)

“As we live in Him, we receive the power to avail ourselves of the authority of His name.” (Murray)

One of the things that Jesus showed us, while He walked on the earth, is the nature of true prayer. “To pray in His name, we must pray as He prayed.” Not necessarily in exactly the same words. But in the same Spirit, certainly. He is my example, my teacher, and my intercessor. And through Him, one of my goals is to receive from the Father, just as He did.

Things to consider, though, when we are asking. 
Is the nature of my prayer of the flesh or of the Spirit? While there are certainly material things that the Lord wishes to grant us, we must consider the words of Paul, up at the top of this entry, remembering that we do not "wage war according to the flesh." 
Can it be said that I am praying "in union with Him," when I ask for something? This is where the "prosperity gospel," the "name-it-claim-it" theology falls completely apart. If I pray for a Maserati, am I praying in union with Jesus. Is there any possible rational need for a $215,000 car when there is so much poverty in this world?
Am I asking so that I will look good? Any boasting that I do must not be in myself, but in the Lord. If I commend myself, that is all the commendation I will get. If I pray to look good to others, that is all the reward I will receive, as well, according to Jesus.

According to Jesus, the Father honors those who serve. “No time or effort is too great to serve others through prayer and intercession.”

Praying in Jesus’s name requires much more than simply tacking on “in Jesus’s name” at the end of our prayers. This is a practice that has sadly cheapened pray, over the decades. There is nothing wrong with saying that. Nothing at all. However, if we think that the act of saying validates everything that we prayed, we need to think again.

Because praying in Jesus’s name means much more than that. It means praying in union with Him, which, to me, means praying for things that He would want. I just cannot make myself even imagine Jesus praying for a Maserati or a mansion. I can, however, easily see Him praying for a friend’s surgery recovery, or for a friend’s marriage, or for even something as small as success in a weight-loss journey.

So before I pray for something, I stop and think . . . (no, I’m not going to say “What would Jesus do?”) can I envision Jesus praying for this?

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

Father, as I consider praying in the holy and mighty name of Your Son, I ask that I would always stop to think about things, about His character and nature, about His prayers, and about whether I can think of Him praying the things I’m about to pray. This, however, does not meant that I might simply confess to You the way I am feeling about something or someone, at the moment. But when it comes to what I ask for, I commit to evaluating those requests based on the Scriptures that we have before us.

I pray that You would always help us to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and no human being is our enemy. Even in the physical realm, I commit to not considering any human being to be my true enemy.

I commit, as well, to not seeking to commend myself, or seeking the commendation of others, and only seeking Your commendation. May any boasting I do be in You, and You only, through the Son and by the Spirit.

I praise You that You have put me on the road to life; that You have shown me this path, and that in Your presence is that fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore. May I be satisfied with these, Father.

As we seem to have departed from some of the more “ancient paths,” Father, I pray that You would help me to find them again. I will, as Jeremiah stated, seek those ancient paths, by looking back at teachers of old to see how they lived their lives and how they meditated and prayed. I also pray that You will help me pray only in union and agreement with Jesus Christ. Teach me to pray, Lord. Help me to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking for whatever I find to be needed.

And thank You for giving me everything I need for life and godliness.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.