Jesus in Gethsemane

Today is Friday, the 26th of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart!

Day 23,542

I’m getting closer to going back to working Fridays at the library, rather than Thursdays. The new computer center person has been hired and is going through the HR processing. She could possibly begin next week. In spite of the fact that I will lose my alternating four-day weekends, I am okay with this. I would rather not be working two evenings a week. If it starts next week, however, I could possibly wind up working five days in a row, next week, since Thursday and Friday fall in different pay weeks for the city. It’s all good, though.

The Texas Rangers didn’t play yesterday, and begin a home series with the Detroit Tigers tonight. They have 38 games left.

The Red Sox lost again to the Blue Jays, last night, 6-5, completing a sweep and increasing their losing streak to four games. And, to make matters worse, they face the streaking Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend. The Sox are now 60-65 for the season, in last place in the AL East, 17 games out of first place and eight out of a Wild Card Spot. They have 37 games left.

The current Wild Card standings have Tampa, Toronto, and Seattle still in the three AL Wild Card spots. Houston, New York, and Cleveland lead their divisions. In the NL, LA, NY, and St. Louis lead their divisions, and Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Diego hold the Wild Card spots.

The Dodgers didn’t play last night, and still have the best MLB record, at 86-37. They are 7-3 in their last ten games. In order to break the all time season win record of 116, they would have to win 31 of their remaining 39 games. Certainly doable, but not likely. The Nationals, on the other end of things, are the worst MLB team, with a 42-83 record. With 37 games left, they would have to lose all of those games to tie the worst record in modern history, which is the 1962 Mets, at 40-120. At least they won’t do that, probably.

As previously mentioned, the Tampa Bay Rays lead the league with a six-game winning streak, and are heading to Boston, who currently has a four-game losing streak. They aren’t the worst, though, as the Twins and Angels are both “enjoying” a six-game losing streak. In the run differential department, the Dodgers will likely finish the season on top, with +275 currently. There will likely be no records broken, though, as the best run differential in history is by the St. Louis Maroons in 1884 (+458). It is possible, however, that the Nationals might not end on the bottom. They currently have -209, but the Pirates have -192, which isn’t that far behind (ahead?). The worst in history is the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, with -723. They also have the worst season record in history, at 20-134. As for individual games, the Texas Rangers still have the best single game run differential in modern times, when they beat the Baltimore Orioles 30-3 on August 22, 2007. The current Rangers are still at +16 for this season, while the Red Sox have fallen to +45.

There are a few tasks in the day ahead, but not much, so I’ll get on to what’s ultimately important.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, be our Father and care for your children here on earth, where it is often bitterly hard and where everything seems to turn against us. Keep us faithful in our inner life, drawing all our strength from you, the eternal power of life, and from Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. For Jesus has promised to come to us, and you will send him in our time of need. Let your strong hand be with those who often do not know where to turn. Show us paths we can follow, to the glory of your name in all eternity. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. 
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, 
and my hope is in you all day long.
(Psalms 25:4-5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for God’s strong hand of love
  2. that the Lord will show me His ways and teach me His paths, and my hope is in Him, “all day long”
  3. that the more I soak myself in Jesus and His words, the more I can see that I, as well as all of my neighbors, are beloved
  4. for all the saints, brothers and sisters in Christ, that are in my life and have ever been in my life and ever will be in my life
  5. that Jesus, when faced with the ultimate crisis in Gethsemane, surrendered to His Father’s will, procuring the power and authority to ask anything of the Father; we, His brothers and sisters, share in that power

“Beloved,” by Daryl Madden

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
You’re the beloved one
I praise you as my Savior
For everything you’ve done

Soaking, soaking, soaking
Claim my treasure, true
Through your gracious mercy
I’m the beloved too

Seeing, seeing, seeing
In each neighbor aware
They are the beloved
In this binding share

Grateful, grateful, grateful
Let our binding be
In our belovedness
Loving joyfully

As we soak ourselves in Jesus, our Beloved, we can more easily see the “belovedness” of our neighbors, and be grateful that we are beloved, as well. Please check out more of Daryl’s inspirational poems at the link provided above.


"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." 
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."
(John 6:63-69 ESV)

I thank my God every time I remember you.
(Philippians 1:3 NIV)

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
(Mark 14:35-36 ESV)


Jesus speaks to us words of spirit and life. The flesh is of little consequence. This does not mean, however, as some would have us believe, that the flesh is totally evil and only the spirit is good. This results in heresy known as Gnosticism.

After Jesus’s teachings in John 6, some left Him. His true disciples, however, recognized that there was nowhere else left to turn. “You have the words of eternal life,” they acknowledged.

And, “Because of the entire surrender of His will in Gethsemane, the High Priest on the throne had the power to ask what He would. He also has the right to let His people share in that power and ask what they will.” (Andrew Murray)

Murray further says, “if He had to say, ‘Yet not what I will,’ how much more do we need to say it? . . . it is precisely here that we have sure ground and an open way to assurance of an answer to our prayers.”

As I pray for various saints (and for some who may not be “saints”), I keep this in mind. There are times when I admit that I do not feel quite comfortable praying exactly what someone has requested of me. There are other times when I am not sure how to verbalize their prayer request in my own prayers. Those are times when “Thy will be done” is a phrase that is very close to my heart.

I find myself echoing Jesus’s Gethsemane prayer frequently. Not that I have a “cup” that I am asking God to take away from me. Rather, though, I would prefer God’s will over my own in any given situation. I also ask Him, frequently, to let me know if my own “will” is simply wrong. I am always open (unlike a lot of folks, apparently) to the notion that any of my opinions might be wrong.


Father, when I think of the saints in my life, I thank You. I have not always been able to echo Paul’s words in that passage from Philippians, but I am closer to it today, than I have ever been. I am grateful for the presence of Your saints in my life. Help me to see Your face in all of them; help me to observe Your Holy Spirit working in all of them. And help me to love them authentically, and “on purpose.” That is a phrase that someone brought to my attention today, and I like it. When we love people, it should always be “on purpose.”

Father, I pray, in all circumstances, that Your will would be done, on earth as in heaven. Whatever is supposed to take place will take place, of that I am sure. You are working Your plan, and it will be carried out. I don’t know the details; I may not want to know some of them, to be honest. I’m not sure that I desire to be around when Your final Day arrives. I have confidence and faith that my “life” will continue on beyond that Day, though. I only pray, though, that, should true persecution arise in my country, that I will be faithful to stand with You in all circumstances.

Help me to echo the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane: Not my will, by Yours be done. May that be true of all of my prayers. I thank You for the responsibility and privilege that You have give me, that of praying for others. I confess that I am not always as faithful to carry that out as I should be. But You have been impressing that upon me, more and more, of late, and for that I am also grateful. Just yesterday, I saw an earnest prayer answered for a beloved sister in Christ. All glory and honor to You, and I continue to pray for that specific situation, that Your presence would be on that family and things would go well for them.

May I be as surrendered to You as my Savior was in Gethsemane. May I know the power that comes in prayer from that surrender, that I might receive anything that I ask for. Just help me to not be asking for frivolous things or things that are not part of Your will for me or others.

I thank You for the words of life that come from Jesus. Truly, as His disciples said, we have nowhere else to turn, for He has the true words of spirit and life. “The flesh is no help at all.”

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Seen Vs Unseen

Today is Thursday, the 25th of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you!

Day 23,541

We hit 88 degrees, yesterday, for a high. It still felt rather humid out there, at one point, and the sky was looking like it might rain some more on us, but it didn’t. The record high for yesterday’s date is 105. Today’s projected high is 91. It looks like (hopefully) we have topped out at 43 total days of 100+, and the longest streak, at least in my area, was 14 days. The forecast is predicting more thunderstorms and rain (hopefully no monsoons) next week, beginning around Tuesday.

Nathaniel Lowe drove in a career-high five runs, yesterday, and Adolis Garcia extended his hitting streak to 21 games, as the Rangers obliterated the Colorado Rockies, 16-4. At one point, it was 9-0, as the Rangers scored two in the first and seven in the second. Martin Perez had a great game. The bullpen lost the shutout in the seventh, when the Rockies got their only four runs. But the Rangers stormed back with three in the eighth and four in the ninth. Matt Moore came in and closed it out in the bottom of the ninth with three-up-three-down. Perez gave up only four hits and had seven strikeouts, over six innings.

The Rangers are now 57-67, still in third place in the AL West, still 22.5 games out of first place and ten games out of a Wild Card spot. They are off today, and will be back home tomorrow for a weekend series with the Detroit Tigers. They were 4-2 on this recent road trip.

Boston lost their third consecutive game, 3-2, against the Blue jays, in ten innings. They are now four games under .500, at 60-64, in last place in the AL East, sixteen games out of first place, and seven out of a Wild Card spot. They play Toronto again, tonight, in Boston.

The Dodgers won again, and are now at MLB-leading 86-37. The Nationals won a game, but are still at the bottom with 42-83. The Rays are at the top of the streaks with five consecutive wins, while the Twins, Angels, and Pirates are still duking it out for the longest losing streak, all at five games. The Dodgers now have a +275 run differential, while the Nats are at -209. The Rangers are now at +16 after yesterday’s romp, and the Red Sox went down to -44.

Since this is Thursday, I will be spending my eight-hour shift in the Computer Center of the Hurst Public Library, from 11:15-8:15. It’s an odd shift, especially figuring out the eating schedule. I typically get “lunch” at 4:00 PM, and then I will eat “dinner” after I get home, which makes my dinner really late. The same thing happens on Tuesdays, but I don’t go in until 4:15, so I have a normal lunch on Tuesdays.

I have Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing, from Emily Bites, in the crockpot, and it will be ready whenever C gets home from work. This is a delicious recipe, and pretty easy to make. The most “difficult” part is stirring together the sour cream and cream of chicken soup, and then stirring together the stuffing mix and the chicken broth. It’s all layered in the crock pot, and that’s all the preparation that is involved. You basically have five ingredients and three steps. Boom. And the family loves it.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Grant us your Spirit, Lord our God, that we may discern your good, acceptable, and perfect will. Give us joy in fighting on your side, so that what is good, acceptable, and perfect may be given to the world. Wherever we are and whatever work we do, give us zeal to serve you and be guided by you so that your will may be done and your kingdom come, so that already today we may find happiness even though only in hope. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for answered prayers
2. for cooler temperatures
3. that the "work of God" is to believe on the One whom He has sent, that is Jesus
4. that Jesus is the "bread of life" 
5. that, as we look to things that are unseen, rather than things that are seen, we are daily being renewed in our spirit
6. for Jesus's declaration that we must take up our cross and deny ourselves, die to ourselves, to follow Him

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
(John 6:27-40 ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
(Psalms 92:12-15 ESV)

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”
(Isaiah 46:3-4 ESV)


I struggled for a few minutes, this morning, trying to figure out where the Lord was leading me with these various Scripture readings from various sources.

Then I keyed in on this idea of looking at things that are unseen, rather than things that are seen. If we keep our eyes on things that are seen, we remain selfish. We react to things differently, focusing on “I, I, me, me, me.” We focus on “what I’ve done,” and we also seem to focus too much on “what God has done for me.”

While there is definitely value in recognizing what God has done for me, we become hyper focused on the self. This is not helped by the modern trend of worship music to sing about “I” and “me,” rather than “us” and “we.”

One of the results of this trend is, for example, what I am seeing on social media today. When the news broke that many people would have at least part of their student loans forgiven, people who claim to be following Jesus became indignant. “I worked hard and paid for my school.” “I don’t want my tax dollars to pay off other peoples’ student loans.” And so on.

In my opinion, these sentiments are extremely un-Christlike. And very selfish and self-centered. Again . . . “I, I, me, me, me.”

These are people who have their eyes on what is seen, rather than on what is unseen.

When we keep our sight on the unseen, we realize that whatever we are going through at the moment, “this light momentary affliction,” is “preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (Emphasis added)

Only the things that are unseen are eternal, says Paul. Everything that is seen is transient, temporary. Why focus on those things? When we keep our eyes on the unseen, we are daily being renewed from within, even though our outward bodies are dying, wasting away. There is also much effort, in this culture, to preventing that outward wasting away, which is, of course, a dubious effort.

I thought of the prayer of St. Francis, as I was reading my devotions and thinking of these things. It is very other-centered, rather than self-centered. It prays for the ability to spread love, pardon (also known as forgiveness), faith, hope, light, and joy. And it points my feelings outward, that I might console, rather than be consoled, that I might understand, rather than be understood, and that I might love, rather than be loved.

In short, the prayer is a desire to die to self and be born to eternal life. When we focus on the things that are seen, on “I, I,” and “me, me, me,” we fail to do this. And this is what Jesus calls us to do . . . to die to self.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
(Matthew 16:24-25 ESV)


Father, my heart echoes the prayer of St. Francis this morning. I have had my share of being selfish and focusing on what is seen, rather than on what is unseen. You have been working on this in my soul for many years, now, and I believe that You have delivered me from being self-centered. Yet I find that I still manage to slip back into that habit, sometimes.

I pray for Your Spirit to dwell strongly within me, to help me keep focusing on what is unseen, on what is eternal, rather than on things that are transient and will perish, along with the rest of this physical world.

Help me to die to myself, to use the resources that You have given me to help others. I rejoice at the possibility that my “tax dollars,” that which I have “rendered to Caesar,” might be used to help someone else out of a financial bind. I cannot fathom any child of God being so selfish as to complain about that. Dear God, help us get outside of ourselves and stop being so selfish! Does Jesus weep when we complain so?

Help me . . . help all of us who call Your name and follow Jesus, to die to ourselves, to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, walking in His “easy yoke,” to live in Your Kingdom in this world.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

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

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

Amen.
(The Prayer of St. Francis)

Grace and peace, friends.

Tomorrow . . . He Is Able

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of August, 2022, in the twenty-first week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart today!

Day 23,540

The mild weather continues after Monday’s monsoon rains. We had a high of 82, yesterday, and, according to Weather Underground, we had a small amount of rain in the area. The record high for yesterday’s date is 107. Today’s anticipated high is 86, and the ten-day forecast shows temps ranging from 87 to 94.

My evening at the library went fine, yesterday, and I shelved a couple carts of adult books. There was almost a whole shelf of Spanish language books on one of them, which was unusual. When I commented on that to one of our adult services ladies, she said that she thought we recently got some new Spanish books, so that probably explains that.

I have to take S to the doctor, this morning, for a routine check. It’s been about a year since she has seen the doctor, so it’s overdue. Neither one of us is looking forward to it, but it’s part of the deal I “signed up for” when we agreed that I could retire last year. And, as “they” say, “this, too, shall pass.” In fact, the appointment is at 9:00, and we should be there by 8:45, because there will no doubt be paperwork to fill out. This means I will have to finish the blog entry after we get back home.

The Texas Rangers lost another one-run game, last night, to the Rockies, 7-6. However, in the course of the game, Adolis Garcia extended his hitting streak to twenty games, which is the second longest Rangers hitting streak, behind Josh Hamilton, who had 23 in 2010. Garcia also logged his twentieth stolen base, which, combined with his twentieth home run, hit in Minnesota, has put him in the “20/20/20 Club,” being only the second Rangers player in history to have twenty home runs, twenty stolen bases, and a twenty-game hitting streak. Pudge Rodriguez is the other one.

The Rangers are now 56-67 for the season, in third place in the AL West, 22.5 games out of first place, and eleven out of a Wild Card spot. They play the Rockies again, today, at 2:10 CDT. They have 39 games left in the season.

The Red Sox also lost, last night, to the Blue Jays, 9-3. They are now 60-63 for the season, in last place in the AL East, 15.5 out of first and seven out of a Wild Card spot. They also have 39 games left, and play the Jays again tonight at 7:10 EDT.

The LA Dodgers have now won 85 games, and have a MLB-leading 85-37 record. With forty games left, at the rate they are going, they could break the record of 116 games in a season. That record is shared by the 1906 Cubs (who only played 152 games), and the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who played 162. I would say that’s unlikely, though, as they would have to win 32 of their last 40 games. They are currently winning 60% of their games, which would give them only 24 more wins for the season. At any rate, they should easily win over 100.

The Nationals, on the other hand, could lose 100, as they have the worst MLB record of 41-83. The Tampa Bay Rays (BOO) have the current longest winning streak, at four games. The Twins, Angels, and Pirates all have four-game losing streaks. The Dodgers have a +269 run differential, and the Nationals have a -211 differential. The Rangers are at +4, and the Red Sox have dropped to -43.

Tonight, I plan to cook Chicken Taco Rice Skillet, from Emily Bites, one of the family’s favorites. For the record, I use two chicken breasts, which might be slightly more than one pound, and I increase the rice to 1.5 cups. I also use brown Minute Rice, which decreases the simmering time.

Update: The doctor appointment went well. S struggled a bit with anxiety, at the beginning, but by the time it was over, she was good. I’m very proud of her.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we long to come into your light, to live in your strength, that we may do what pleases you and furthers your kingdom on earth. Protect us from evil and do not let us be wounded by the flaming arrows of the evil one. Make paths for us whenever we do not know how to go forward. We always know you are our Father. Because you are our Father, we want to be courageous and persevere to the end so that you can make our lives bear fruit for you, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
And, with all these, take up the great shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 
Ephesians 6:16, NEB

Today I am grateful:

1. for the shield of faith; may I take it up consistently
2. that S's doctor appointment went well
3. that Jesus holds my tomorrows in His hands
4. for the power of music and song
5. that I would rather love people into the Kingdom than try to scare them in
6. that He is able . . . able to accomplish what concerns me today, able to handle anything that comes my way, able to do much more than I could ever dream

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
(John 6:16-21 ESV)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:34 NIV)

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
(Job 38:41 NIV)

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
(Luke 12:24 NIV)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)


This is a theme that arises frequently in this blog. Tomorrow. When I read the above four references, I immediately thought of an old hymn, written by the great Ira Stanphill.

I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from its sunshine,
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Refrain:
Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.

I don’t really know what else to say. I certainly can’t add to this. God cares about us. He loves us. And while it is true that Jesus is the only doorway into the Kingdom, I would much rather try to love people into the Kingdom than try to scare them in.

There must be thousands of songs that speak of this same sentiment. There is a quote that is attributed to C.H. Spurgeon: “God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to make a mistake. When I can’t trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.”

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
(C.D. Martin)

That song even speaks to my constant longing for Home. If I’m trusting Jesus the way I claim to be, perhaps my sights shouldn’t be so fixed on “Home,” but on Jesus and the presence of His Kingdom, here and now.


Father, You know my heart, and You know how quickly it leans toward worry. It’s not that I don’t trust You. I do trust You. And I feel, so often, like that father from the New Testament, who proclaimed, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!”

Maybe the problem is that, while I trust Your ability, I don’t always trust what You want to do. That needs to go away. It really does. I need to embrace the truth of Your love in my life. You love Your children, and You are faithful to provide and protect us. Help my unbelief. Help my lack of trust. Help me to know that You will provide, and that You will hear my prayers and, as Jesus said, whatever I ask for in His name, You will do.

Help me to remember . . . You are able to accomplish whatever concerns me today, You are able to handle anything that comes my way, and You are able to do much more than I could ever dream.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

All Authority

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-third of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,539

Weather. Wow. So, apparently, we received more rain in about twelve hours than we had received in the entire month of August since 1915. Based on a graphic I found at iweathernet.com, we got 9.5 inches at our house in, I would say, around thirteen to fifteen hours. Most of that came between 9:00 PM and midnight Sunday night and between about 8:30 and noon-ish yesterday morning. There was so much rain in such a short amount of time that we had water seeping into our house from underneath.

I had discovered a puddle by my side of the bed, when I went to bed Sunday night, but attributed it to one of our cats. It wasn’t real big, and I got it cleaned up and went on to bed. It did not reappear that night. When we left to take Princess (guinea pig) to the vet, yesterday morning, it started raining again. The closer we got to the vet, the harder it rained. And it got harder and harder as we sat in the exam room. It didn’t let up all the way home, and we live roughly ten miles from the clinic.

I came on back here to the study to continue my blog writing. I don’t remember what time, but at some point I got up to use the bathroom, and stepped in water just outside the bathroom door. There was a puddle there, as well as two other small puddles in the bathroom, and one larger one that ran along one bathroom wall. I went back over to where the puddle had been the night before, and, sure enough, it was back. Along with a good bit more water under the bed, along the headboard. The weird thing was that none of the exterior walls were even wet. All of this came from underneath, I guess.

I grabbed a bunch of towels and threw them down anywhere there was water. As they soaked up the water, the rain began to slow down, and there were no new puddles, from that time forward. As I interacted with other people on the book of face, I heard that others had it worse than we did. One person said he woke up to his kids’ room flooded.

Here are some photos from the Washington Post. That’s right. It was so bad we got national attention.

How did that get there??

So, the high temperature only reached 79, through all of that. Today, the chance of rain is much slimmer, however, there is a chance of more this evening. I seriously doubt it will be of that magnitude, though. The high today is supposed to reach 80. The record high for yesterday’s date was 105.

The Texas Rangers won the series as they beat the Twins 2-1, yesterday, with some help from the bat of Adolis Garcia, who now has a nineteen game hitting streak. They are now 56-66 (the first time they have been within ten games of .500 in a while), still in third place in the AL West. They are four games ahead of the fourth place Angels. They are 21.5 out of first place, and ten out of a Wild Card spot. They also have a three-game winning streak. Their next game is tonight, in Colorado, at 7:40 CDT.

The Red Sox didn’t play yesterday, and begin a series with Toronto, in Boston tonight.

The Dodgers lost a game, but still have the best MLB record, at 84-37. The Nationals remain the worst MLB team, at 41-82. The Cardinals continue to streak, now at eight games. Speaking of the Cardinals, slugger Albert Pujols is within seven home runs of 700. I’m pulling for him! He seems to be a pretty good guy. There are four teams with three-game losing streaks: The Twins, the Diamondbacks, the Angels, and the Pirates. The Dodgers have a +260 run differential, and the Nats have a -209. The Rangers improved to +5, and the Red Sox remain at -37.

There isn’t much on my agenda for today. Groceries have been ordered, I’ll run out and get Subway for lunch/dinner for the family (and Sonic drinks), and then I’ll go to work at the library at 4:15 for my weekly shelving shift.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you that you have given us an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank you that you have already begun to give us new vision, that already many things are being transformed, so that we may go gladly and confidently on our way with hope for whatever is still unsolved. May all this live in our hearts and fill us with thanks to you. We want to be courageous and keep in sight what still needs to be changed. Then we can take part as workers in your vineyard. May the light you have given us continue to shine in us and burn ever more brightly, as you have promised. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:10-11 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that the flooding in our house was minor and easily cleaned up
2. that we have been given an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
3. that "all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" (Julian of Norwich)
4. that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)
5. for the privilege and responsibility of prayer, and that this calling does not come through Moses or the law, but through Jesus Christ and His redemption

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
(John 5:19-24 ESV)

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psalms 46:10 ESV)

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 
And he said to them, "When you pray, say: 
"Father, hallowed be your name. 
Your kingdom come. 
Give us each day our daily bread, 
and forgive us our sins, 
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. 
And lead us not into temptation."
(Luke 11:1-4 ESV)

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” ~ Julian of Norwich

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:26-28 ESV)

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


Jesus has, once again, equated Himself with God, in John’s Gospel. There are some other interesting statements in this passage, as well. For example, in verse 21, Jesus declares that He (the Son) “gives life to whom he will.” And then, in verse 22, Jesus declares that the Father has handed over all judgment to Him. Jesus truly has all authority.

Just as He states at the end of Matthew’s Gospel.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
(Matthew 28:18 ESV)

It has been said that “it’s all about Jesus,” and I believe this to be true. On the other hand, we can look at the relationship between the members of the Holy Trinity, and we see them all pointing toward one another, not at themselves. Jesus points to the Father and sends the Spirit to us (or maybe it’s the Father that sent the Spirit, but waited until after the ascension of Jesus to do so). The Spirit points to the Father and the Son, and the Father points to the Son and sends us the Spirit to dwell within us.

I remember reading a popular book called The Shack, a few years ago. I didn’t care for the book, for the most part. However, I do believe there is one thing the author got right, and that is the depiction of the love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We humans cannot really even begin to comprehend this level of love. But we can try, and we can try to love the way God loves. We are supposed to, in fact.

There is another phrase that Jesus uses in that John 5 passage that should terrify some folks. In verse 23, Jesus says, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.”

There it is. Boom.

If you believe that there are “many roads to God,” Jesus declares otherwise. If you believe you can “worship” God without going through Jesus, Jesus declares otherwise. Jesus declares Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and says that no man comes to the Father but by Him.

If you do not believe these words of Jesus, then you cannot truly think that He was just a “good teacher.” I hearken back to words attributed to C.S. Lewis. There are only three possibilities when we deal with Jesus Christ. 1. He was exactly who He said He was. 2. He was a liar and deceiver. 3. He was insane. Those are the only three choices.

Please know that, as I type these things, I am not typing in arrogance, joyfully hoping that all who read it fail and miss out on the joy that comes in Christ. I try to express these things with humility, hoping that all who read it will know that joy and understand that this life in Christ is not at all tedious or difficult. On the other hand, it is impossible, so there’s that. But God has not made it difficult to find Him, and He desires fellowship in Christ with all people.

As I apply this to my prayer life, I have to know that my calling to prayer does not come through Moses or the law. There is no power for living in that. “Moses and his law have never given anyone the power to obey.” (Andrew Murray, Power in Prayer)

“My prayer life must be brought entirely under the control of Christ and His love. Then for the first time prayer will become what it should be: the natural and joyous breathing of the spiritual life by which the heavenly atmosphere is inhaled and then exhaled in prayer.” (Murray)


Father, I praise You for Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. I thank You for the Son, who has come to set us free, and who gives us power to obey all things, especially in prayer. I thank You for the joyful privilege and responsibility of prayer, and I ask that You make it like breathing for me. Let it be that natural, and that I do it that willingly.

I submit myself to the authority of Jesus, as He has declared that all authority has been given Him by You. He has the power and authority of judgment, as well as the power and authority to give eternal life to whoever He wills. Help me to be a better vessel of the Gospel, as I share the love of You and Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, with people within my sphere of influence, my little “kingdom.” This does not mean that I have to quote bible verses to everyone I meet, but, rather, that I simply need to show the love that is commanded me by Jesus.

Help me to be a true disciple of Christ, who does the things that Jesus said to do, all completely in the love that is shed abroad by You, the Holy Trinity.

I also pray that, as I walk through this life, help me to “be still and know” that You are God. May I never be overwhelmed by the tasks and purposes that this life throws my way, but always be able to stop and be still, to meditate, contemplate, and just know Your presence, and in that presence know the fullness of joy that comes from knowing You.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

One Day At A Time

Today is Monday, the twenty-second of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart!

Day 23,538

Only fourteen days until Labor Day in the U.S.

Yesterday was about as perfect as it could be. Okay, maybe not quite, but it was still a great day, and the birthday girl was as pleased as she could be, so that makes it perfect.

We got away a little bit late, but still made it to church on time. After the worship service, we touched base with the pastor, got his address, and then headed over to Taqueria La Estrella. Except we couldn’t get into the restaurant, as it was so packed that there wasn’t even a parking place. We had noticed that there was a new Mexican restaurant in the nearby shopping center, so we decided to check it out. It was called Sabor a Mexico. I have just learned that “sabor” means “taste.” So, “Taste of Mexico.”

Our experience was delightful! The food was delicious. C loved the hot sauce, which is how she judges a Mexican restaurant. Mama had the cheese quesadillas, which were delicious, and even a little bit crispy. S had cheese enchiladas with queso sauce, and queso on the rice. Plus we had a bowl of queso.

We love queso.

I had a dish called Pollo Sabor a Mexico (I think . . . it was something like that), which was somewhat fajita-like. Seasoned chicken pieces, mixed with green and red peppers, onions, and jalapenos. It was quite delicious. And C had the chicken enchiladas, which she said were good, but the chicken didn’t have much flavor. Hers was the only slightly negative review.

After lunch, we dropped Mama off at her house, and headed out to the pastor’s house, which is across the Brazos River, west of town. He has a very large place, and has a horse, a donkey, and some rabbits, as well as some dogs and cats. S was able to brush both the horse and the donkey, we all fed them both some treats and some hay, and then S got to walk the horse around (with the assistance of the pastor’s daughter). Then she got to pet a rabbit. Oh, and then they gave us ice cream!

It was a wonderful time, and S claims it was her best birthday ever. We stopped at Andy’s custard shop on the way home, and then, for a final delight, our friend who makes t-shirts had S’s shirt ready, with her newest cat’s picture on it.

We were all exhausted, but it was a most excellent day.

This morning, S and I have to take Princess (Guinea pig) back to the vet to have that eye checked out to see if it is getting better. I will likely not be finished with the blog, so it will be published later, this morning.

Update: We got a good report on Princess. The vet says the eye looks much better. We are to continue the eyedrops and ointment, but only three times a day for the drops and once a day for the ointment. The oral antibiotics can stop.

The Texas Rangers blanked the Twins, yesterday, 7-0. Kohei Arihara allowed only four hits during his six innings, and the bullpen stepped up and finished the job. They are now 55-66 for the season, and are over .500 since Tony Beasley took over as interim manager. They are 22 games out of first place, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. In a rare beyond-the-weekend series, they have a final game with the Twins tonight at 6:10 CDT, in Minnesota. Then they head over to Colorado for a two-game series with the Rockies.

The Red Sox lost to the Orioles, 5-3, which means they lost the series. They are now 60-62 for the season, in last place in the AL East, fourteen games out of first place, and six out of a Wild Card spot. They are off today, and begin a series with Toronto tomorrow, in Boston.

The Dodgers, etc. etc.. 84-36, +264 run differential. Nationals, etc. etc.. 41-82, -209 run differential. Cardinals still now have a seven-game winning streak. Miami, providing the only change in today’s stats, now has a four-game losing streak. The Rangers are back in the positive in run differential, with +4. And the Red Sox have sunk to -37.

The weather, yesterday, held out long enough for us to get the critter visits over with. It started raining on us, on the way home, sometimes heavily. When we got home, we saw that it had rained some, but nowhere near as heavily as we drove through. However, sometime around 9:00 PM, last night, the monsoons began, and they are still going on. It rained heavily both to and from the vet clinic, this morning, and is still pouring. Flash flood warnings are in effect all around. The receptionist at the vet’s office said, “All the prayers are being answered all at once.” That’s a pretty good assessment, in my opinion.

Yesterday’s high was 87, and we got about three or four inches of rain. We have had over 4.5 inches already, today. The record high for yesterday’s date is 105. Today’s high is expected to be 78. Overnight, there is only a 24% chance of more rain.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, as the deer pants for refreshing water, so our souls long for you, O God. Our souls thirst for you, for the living God. We stand in your presence and pour out our hearts to you. We bring before you everything that is painful to us, all our suffering and needs. We also bring you all our hopes and the many proofs you have given us that our lives need not go to ruin but can be directed to greater things. May the light of your Spirit shine on us today and always. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God.
 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When can I go and meet with God? 

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 42:1-2, 5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for rain
2. for a good report on Princess, the guinea pig
3. that I stand before You, in grace, and can pour out my heart to You, being confident that You will direct me to greater things
4. that our Father will provide enough for just this day; may we be faithful to trust Him for tomorrow
5. that God is slow to anger (and expects us to be, as well)

The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(John 5:15-18 ESV, emphasis added)

And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”
(Zechariah 7:8-14 ESV)

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
(Proverbs 14:29 ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”
(Exodus 16:2-4 ESV)

As we read the Biblical accounts, we see that God’s people, unfortunately, have a bad history of grumbling. And, if we keep reading, we see that there were even some who disobeyed this simple command to gather only enough for one day.

In Zechariah, God’s people were told to do a number of things, many of which are echoed by Jesus in His words, and many of which fall under the category of “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Render true judgments
Show kindness and mercy to one another
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor
Don't devise evil against another in your heart

How are God’s people doing at those things, in our modern day?

Then, in Proverbs, we see that whoever is slow to anger has “great understanding.” God, as it turns out, is slow to anger.

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
(Nahum 1:3 ESV)

If God Almighty is slow to anger, should we not be, as well? Considering that we are supposed to be like Him?

As God began to tell Moses about this strange new food that would be appearing on the ground, each morning, He told Moses to tell the people that there would be just enough for each day. “Enough for that day: Such was the rule for God’s giving and man’s receiving of provision in the wilderness. It is still the law in all the dealings of God’s grace with His children.” (Andrew Murray, Power in Prayer)

How long must we deal with our current affliction? Only one day at a time, says God. His grace is sufficient, His provision is sufficient for one day at a time.

“Only today is ours; tomorrow is the Father’s alone.” (Murray)

“Accept, enjoy, and fulfill with your whole heart the part you have to perform this day. His presence and grace enjoyed today will remove all doubt as to whether you can entrust tomorrow to Him as well.” (Murray)


Father, there is so much in Your Word that teaches us this truth that You provide us enough for just this day. Your instructions to Moses; Jesus’s teachings on faith and trusting You and not worrying about tomorrow; Jesus’s model prayer, telling us to ask for our “daily bread” for today, for just this day.

How it must hurt Your own heart to see how small our faith is, just like those Israelites who didn’t pay attention and tried to store up extra manna for the next day. We ruin today’s joy be worrying about things that may never come, or by not trusting that You are fully able to provide enough for today, and then again, enough for tomorrow’s “today.”

You have told us that You will do this, and, it is my belief, that by telling us to pray for this day’s daily bread, Jesus implies that You will answer that prayer and provide it.

You, O Lord, are indeed slow to anger. How well I know this, personally. I pray that You would work in our hearts, that we might be slow to anger, as well, and, thereby, display great understanding about things, in general. I know too many people who seem to be angry about everything. This displays a great lack of understanding. And, as for me, I know that, the older I get, the more I know that I don’t know.

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. You are truly my Shepherd, and I can live this life without lack because of this. In Your presence, there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand, there are pleasures forevermore.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Today is Sunday, the twenty-first of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,537 (the number of days since I was born)

Our high temperature, yesterday, turned out to be well below the predicted high. We only hit 89 degrees. The forecast was for 96. It’s currently 77, this morning, but quite humid out there. I was outside double-checking air pressure in tires before our trip to Mineral Wells, and I was working up a little bit of a sweat. Supposedly, there was a tiny bit of rain at Meacham Field, but I don’t know if it rained any at our house or not. The record high for yesterday’s date is 108.

Looking forward, we still have five out of the next ten days predicted at below 90. The other five are either at 90 or 91.

The Texas Rangers managed to beat the Twins, last night, 4-3 in ten innings. This puts them at 54-66, still in third place in the AL West. They are 22 games out of first, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They play again, this afternoon, at 1:10 PM CDT.

The Red Sox beat the Orioles, also 4-3, last night. This puts them at 60-61, back within one game of .500. They keep bouncing around this point. They remain in last place in the AL East, thirteen games out of first place and five out of a Wild Card spot. They play the O’s again tonight, at 7:10 PM EDT, another ESPN game.

The Dodgers continue their roll, now at 83-36, for the best MLB record. The Nationals remain on the bottom, at 41-81. The Cardinals continue to streak, now having won six consecutive games. The Giants, unfortunately, also continue to streak, now having lost four straight games. The Dodgers have a +257 run differential, while the Nats are now at -208. The Rangers are back at -3, and the Red Sox are at -35.

We will be leaving for Mineral Wells at about 8:45, this morning, where we will attend worship at First Baptist Church. After that, we will have lunch at Taqueria La Estrella. Then we will drop Mama off at her house, and take S out to the home of the pastor of FBC, who has a horse, a donkey, and some rabbits, where S will have a chance (weather permitting) to interact with some furry friends.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, let our thoughts be filled with all that is honorable, just, pure, gracious, good, and praiseworthy. We want to await your Spirit, not giving way to anxiety, but showing ourselves worthy to be your children. We want to be your children, who can rise above even the most difficult conditions and maintain a quiet trust, to the glory of your Spirit within us. Protect us now and always in your divine peace. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that there are things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, on which we can fix our minds and hearts
2. for the many blessings God has lavished on me and my family; in the words of David, "Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?"
3. for the intercession of the Holy Spirit when I don't know what to pray
4. that the Lord peaks to us in various ways; Father, help me to listen
5. for the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who was, who is, and who is to come

Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.
(1 Samuel 3:9 NIV)

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 NIV)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:1-3 NIV)

“The brightest of living beings, they who are ever before and around and above the throne, find their glory in adoring and proclaiming the holiness of God. Surely for us too there can be no higher honor than to study and know, to worship and adore, and to proclaim and show forth the glory of the Thrice-Holy One.” (Andrew Murray)

The repetition of “holy,” three times, can have multiple meanings. For example, the Lord is often referred to as “Him who was and is and is to come.” But more than likely, it is in reference to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Godhead, three in one, the Holy Trinity. God, the Father, is “the Almighty: the Eternal Source.” We see “the present manifestation in the Son,” and “the future perfecting of the revelation of God in the Spirit’s work in His church.”

“Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God almighty! which was and is and is to come! I worship you as the Triune God. With face veiled and feet covered, I would bow in deep humility and silence, till your mercy lifts me as on eagles’ wings to behold your glory.” (Murray)


Father, may I be faithful to listen to me, and may I always be willing to, as Samuel, say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Help me to also be faithful to always worship You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to be more humble in my attentiveness to You and Your ways. May we, Your people, never approach You flippantly, but always in awe, reverently, and in the proper kind of fear.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

Interior Silence, the Place of Strength and Power

Today is Wednesday, the fifteenth of June, 2022, in the eleventh week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,470

June is half over today. 2022 is almost half over. And even though we’ve already hit triple digits at least a couple times in the past week, Summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, five days from now. That day is also known as Summer Solstice, the day with the most hours of daylight.

If I write anything that doesn’t make sense, today, it’s because I woke up too early. C gets up at 5:15 to get ready for work, and my brain had a lot of things to think about, so I wound up getting up around 6:00. What’s on my brain? Let’s see . . .

We switched mobile carriers, yesterday. We finally dumped ATT, because I’m tired of over-paying and under-getting. We have switched to Mint Mobile, for at least three months. If we like it, we will likely renew for twelve. Unlimited data for half the cost of ATT. The problem is, I still have an iPad I need to get set up, and I’m going to need some technical support today, because I made one wrong decision when I was trying to set it up yesterday afternoon.

I’m trying to reschedule my colonoscopy that is currently scheduled for Monday. I didn’t realize, when I scheduled it, that it was the day after Father’s Day! I was thinking about going ahead with it, but then I looked at the prep instructions. I can’t eat any solid food for a whole day before the procedure! I have called the scheduling number four times, and one of the facilities once, and can’t get any response. So I have to deal with that again today.

There’s more, but those are the two “big” things (first world problems, of course, or, as I have also called them, “footstool problems”). It will all work out fine.

This is my Wednesday off, at least. And I’m cooking a surprise for the family, tonight. Another dish that I got from Emily Bites, a wonderful recipe site that has tasty and relatively healthy recipes. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow morning, along with how it came out.

The Rangers blew a three-run lead, last night, to lose to the Astros, 4-3. It was almost the exact reverse of Monday night’s game, when the ‘stros blew a 3-0 lead. And the thing that ultimately led to the loss was a misplayed grounder that could have been an out (allowing a run to score), but wound up being no outs and a run scored. The next batter hit a two-run home run, and that wound up deciding the game. Oh, well. Tonight’s another night, and the Rangers could still win the series. We’re still in second place, though, because the Angels lost again. The Rangers are back to 8.5 out of first, and 3.5 out of the Wild Card race.

I learned yesterday that there will be three wild cards in each league, this year. This is getting ridiculous. Soon, MLB will be like the NBA, where more than half the teams make the playoffs. Might as well just start the season with the playoffs. Also, currently, all three wild card spots are held by AL East division teams. If the season ended today, the AL East would have four teams in the playoffs!

Anyway, the Rangers play the Astros again this afternoon at 1:05 CDT. We don’t know who is pitching for the Rangers, yet.

The Red Sox beat the Athletics (good for the Rangers), last night, 6-1. The Sox are now 33-29 for the season, still in fourth place in the AL East, 2.5 out of third, 12.5 out of first, but are currently in the third Wild Card spot. They play the Athletics again tonight, at 7:10 EDT.

We all know who still has the best MLB record, now at 45-16. The KC Royals have the worst record, at 20-41. The Braves won again, increasing their win streak to 13! The Cubs must not have played last night, and the Pirates did, and lost, so the Pirates now have the longest losing streak, at nine games. You-know-who has a run differential of +129. The Pirates are now at -103. The Rangers are at +5 after last night’s loss, and the Red Sox are at +45. Oddly, the Sox are in sixth place in the run differential category.

The PWBA U.S. Women’s Open will carry on, today, with practice sessions for all four oil patterns.

Update on tasks. My colonoscopy is rescheduled for Monday, July 11, and my iPad appears to be set up, now. Things are looking up!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, help us who are allowed to hear your Word. Help us come with all our hearts to the Savior, who leads us into your arms. Hear our pleading and let your countenance shine over the world. Send a new age soon, a new salvation to the earth, to the glory of your name. Show us that what we have learned about you is the truth and that we may live in the truth and find the way through to heaven, to the glory of your name. Hear us, O Lord our God. Often it seems that you are far away. But we know that our voices still reach you and that those roused by your Holy Spirit will become your workers for the Lord Jesus. Send your Spirit soon, O Lord God. Send the Comforter, who leads us into all light and all truth. We entrust ourselves and our daily lives to you. We want to be faithful. Help us to be your children, to remember at every step that we belong to you, Lord God. No matter how dark it is on earth, help us remember that we are with you, your children in eternity. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’” From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
(John 1:14-16 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for one gracious blessing after another, received out of the abundance of the Father's unfailing love and faithfulness
2. that we are the tabernacle of God, as His Spirit dwells within us, but also that anywhere I can worship God can be my tabernacle
3. that God chooses to be with us always, an indication of how much He loves us; how then can we not also choose to love one another?
4. that we can know the strength and power of the Holy Spirit by entering into the silence of that inner tabernacle
5. for coffee

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
(Mark 2:15-17 NLT)

The prayer word for today, from Pray a Word a Day, is “tabernacle.”

Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.
(Exodus 40:34 NLT)

The tabernacle of the Old Testament was the place where the people of God met with Him. His presence dwelled within the tabernacle.

But now, ever since Christ came, God’s tabernacle is within us.

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:20-22 NLT)

There are many verses of Scripture that tell us that we are the dwelling place of God, now.

All that being said, though, anywhere You meet God can be your “tabernacle.” This study is my “tabernacle” every morning. I have experienced “tabernacle” on the deck of a cabin in Glen Rose, as I looked out over the landscape, toward the river. I have worshiped God sitting in a canvas chair on a beach in Galveston, watching the waves of the mighty ocean go to and fro.

Anywhere you can worship God can be your tabernacle.

“I am with you always.”
(Matthew 28:20 NLT)

When Jesus makes this promise to His disciples, it is a choice that He makes. Our God chooses to always dwell with us and care for us. This is a minute indication of how much He loves us. This is something worth dwelling on, worth meditating on. And when we do dwell on this, and think rightly about God, there is no other option but worship.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT)

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 NLT)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Did you know that we do not have to create silence? On the contrary, it is the noise that we create, that which disrupts the silence that exists. I wonder at the silence before everything was created, before God spoke the words, “Let there be light.” That must have been the most profound silence that ever existed.

It is difficult, in our day, to encounter complete silence. Even as I sit in this room, when I am not typing, there is some kind of noise. I can hear the computer fan. I can hear the box fan in the bedroom. Occasionally, there is a noise in the room next to mine.

But it is as close to silence as I can get in the house. I have experienced a deeper silence in the Redwood forest of northern California.

As C and I walked around in the midst of those majestic trees, the ground was covered with their needles. The ground cover acted as a silencer. Our walking made no noise, and, when we didn’t speak to each other, there was the closest thing to total silence that I have ever experienced.

John Main speaks of the interior silence that is the “language of the Spirit.”

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
(Ephesians 3:14-16 NLT)

“The words we use in trying to communicate the Christian message in the Christian experience have to be charged with strength and power, but they can only be charged with strength and power if they spring from the silence of the Spirit in our inner being. . . . Leaving behind all other words, ideas, imaginations and fantasies is learning to enter into the presence of the Spirit who dwells in your inner heart [your “tabernacle”], who dwells there in love. The Spirit of God dwells in our hearts in silence, and it is in humility and faith that we must enter into that silent presence. St. Paul ends that passage in Ephesians with the words, ‘So may you attain to the fullness of being, the fullness of God himself.’ That is our destiny.”

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
(Matthew 16:26 NLT)

Living the Godly life turns out to be the opposite of the world’s business mindset. “The bottom line in business shows how much you accumulate, but the bottom line in life shows how much you give away.”

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

Father, may we always be humble and never think of ourselves as more righteous than we ought. In comparison with You and Jesus, we are all the worst of sinners.

I thank You, Father, for the example of the Old Testament Tabernacle, where we get a glimpse of the power of Your holiness. But I am more thankful that we do not need that Tabernacle in our day, because we are Your “tabernacle,” as Your Spirit dwells within us. I am also thankful that anywhere I can worship You can be my temporary tabernacle.

Father, the way that You love us and choose to be with us at all times is inconceivable. It is, as the psalmist said, too much, too lofty. I cannot attain it. I cannot fathom it. But it is true. Help me to embrace this daily, Father, and help me to transform that into love for my fellow human beings. Yes, even the ones with which I do not agree, and even the ones who would abuse me or harm me or take advantage of me. Even the people who come, unbidden, to my front door, trying to sell me solar panels!

Father, I pray that I can know the silence of the Spirit in my inner being, so that the words that I must use, whether they be verbal or written, are charged with the strength and power of Your Holy Spirit.

Finally, Father, I pray that I would continue to be generous with all that You have give me, that my life would be marked by how much I give away.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Drink Deep

Today is Tuesday, the fourteenth of June, 2022, in the eleventh week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,469

The Rangers beat the Astros, last night, in a fantastic game. The Astros went ahead early, and led 3-0, until the bottom of the third, when the Rangers scored their first run. The score remained 3-1, until the bottom of the seventh, when the Rangers scored another, making it 3-2. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, the Rangers scored three times, to make it 5-3. Matt Moore came in and shut things down in the top of the ninth, to notch his first save. This makes the Rangers 29-31, in second place in the AL West, 7.5 behind the Astros, whom they will play again tonight at 7:05 CDT.

The Yankees are still the best in MLB, at 44-16. The KC Royals are back at the bottom, at 20-40. The Atlanta Braves won again, extending their winning streak to twelve games, the longest current (and maybe the longest for the season, so far) win streak. The poor Cubs and Pirates both lost again, extending their losing streaks to seven games. The Yankees continue to have the best run differential, at +127, and the Pirates have the worst, at -93. The Rangers’ run differential is currently +6. The Red Sox didn’t play, so theirs stays at +40.

The PWBA U.S. Women’s Open kicks off tonight, in South Glens Falls, NY, with the “Bowl with the Pros” event, at 7:00 PM EDT.

Since it’s Tuesday, I will be working a four-hour shift at the library, tonight, doing shelving. 4:15 – 8:15. This means I will miss the beginning of the Rangers game, but will catch up when I get home. I will likely keep tabs on it, on my phone.

Here’s a pic of four of our cats, probably the closest they’ve all been to each other without some hissing.

From the top, Rocky, Luna, Trixie, and Cleo

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, in the grace of Jesus Christ we pray to you that your will may be done for us and for all the world. Through Jesus Christ grant us faith that you love us, faith that we may live in your love, that we may hope in your love every day and have peace on earth, where there is so much unrest and trouble. Keep us firm and constant, remaining in your peace and in the inner quiet you give us because Jesus Christ has overcome the world. He has truly overcome, and this fills us with joy. We praise you, Almighty God, that you have sent Jesus Christ and that he has overcome the world. We praise you that he has overcome all evil, sin, and death, and that we may rejoice at all times in your presence. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:3-5 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that God's commands are not burdensome . . . really, they aren't, as long as we walk in the "easy yoke" of Jesus
2. for the faith to know that God loves me and that I live and hope in His love
3. that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life
4. for the "living water" from Jesus
5. that God has given me a generous heart

Today’s prayer word, in Pray a Word a Day, is “water.”

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
(John 4:14 NLT)

Who among us manages to drink enough water? The standard line is that adults should drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day. That’s – gets out fingers and toes – 64 ounces of water. A mere half-gallon.

But everyone is different. Having gone through the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) program, I know that they do not subscribe to that blanket theory. There’s another theory (and I first heard this one at WW, many years ago) that, in order to know how much water your body needs, divide your weight in half (or multiply it by .5) and that’s the answer in ounces.

So, let’s see . . . my current weight is right at 290 lbs. 290 X .5 = 145 ounces.

Egad. That’s well over a gallon a day. I get up too many times in the night, as it is!

And I just saw another site that said you should multiply weight by 2/3! That would have me drinking almost 200 ounces of water a day. Well, that would certainly be incentive to lose weight, wouldn’t it? And, they all say you should add more if you work out, up to twelve ounces per thirty-minutes of working out.

But we aren’t talking about literal water, here, are we? We are speaking of Jesus and “living water.” I think it is probably safe to say that none of us gets enough of that water, either. In fact, I’m not even sure it is possible to get “enough” living water.

Nevertheless, Jesus tells us that, if we drink His water, we will not thirst. How often do we seek after other “thirst quenchers” in our lives? Yet Jesus tells us,

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Jesus also tells us,

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

Note the word “the.” That article is actually in the Greek text. Not “a.” Jesus is the way (the road, the path, the means). Jesus is the truth. Jesus is the life. Also note that Jesus, Himself, says that no one comes to the Father except through Him. There is, in fact, only one road to God.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
(John 8:34-36 ESV)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
(John 14:15-17 ESV)

One thing that happens when we are connected to this “water,” to this “way, truth, and life,” is that we become more generous. How much generosity is enough? There is no real measure of that. Scripture suggests ten percent. That seems to be a good guideline (however, I will protest anyone who claims it is a law that we must follow, today).

Truly, it is the heart that is more important than the amount or percentage. You can give 99% of everything you have, but if you are giving it begrudgingly, you might as well hang on to it. And remember the widow and her two “mites?”

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
(Mark 12:41-44 ESV)

“Generosity means dealing with our greed and our impulsive self-indulgences. It means reordering priorities and values. Most people’s lack of generosity is due not to money problems but to greed problems, avarice problems, value problems.”

“If we try to live by getting instead of giving, we go against the stream.”

Our life is a gift. Everything that we see and “possess” is a gift from God. “God gives away everything that is. When we give our money, we begin to do, clumsily and awkwardly at first, what God does expertly.”

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

Father, I am grateful for the living water that Jesus Christ provides for us. I pray that I might drink more deeply of it, and, thereby, be more deeply connected with the way, the truth, and the life. I am also grateful that, through this connection, You have given me a generous heart. It could still be more generous, true, and I pray that You increase that generosity in my heart. Help me to not hold on to anything with a closed fist, but, rather, with an open hand and open heart.

I pray for more of the confidence in You that can enable me to sometimes simply sit in silence. It is true that, the more comfortable and confident two people are in their relationship, the more they can simply sit in silence, not requiring any words. Excessive words are the tool of the insecure. Make us more secure and confident in You, and help us to observe and practice the discipline of silence, that we might fall more deeply in love with You, in Christ.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

What Makes A “Strong” Christian?

From Romans 15, I see the way to tell is someone is a “strong” Christian. If they are seeking the good of others and not themselves, they are strong Christians. Something to think about. Because what this means is that all Christians who are insisting on their own “rights” and “freedoms” are, in fact, weak Christians.

Today is Friday, the tenth of June, 2022, in the tenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ find you today.

Day 23,465

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord, Almighty God, you are our Father and we are your children, who want to live for you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Strengthen and renew our hearts. When discouragement and fear try to mislead us, may your Holy Spirit help us again and again to hold fast, for no matter what difficulties arise, your will is being done and your will is good. Your name will be honored. Your kingdom will come for all nations. Your reign will come over all peoples, for they are all yours and must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to your honor, O Father. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
May God be merciful and bless us. 
May his face smile with favor on us. 
May your ways be known throughout the earth, 
your saving power among people everywhere.
(Psalms 67:1-2 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I have Fridays off
2. that I was able to sleep until almost 9:00, this morning (very rare)
3. that God is constantly making me new, reviving me, day after day
4. for the promises of God that help me in this reviving
5. that the marks of a "strong" Christian are selflessness, being considerate of others, and building others up, rather than building oneself up

We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.
(Romans 15:1-2 NLT)

From Romans 15, I see the way to tell is someone is a “strong” Christian. If they are seeking the good of others and not themselves, they are strong Christians. Something to think about. Because what this means is that all Christians who are insisting on their own “rights” and “freedoms” are, in fact, weak Christians.

The prayer word for today is “revive.”

Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
(Psalms 119:50 NLT)

One thing that has always fascinated me is the perennial plants. Last year, my mother gave us some “Four O’clock” seeds. The proper name for these is “Mirabilis jalapa,” also called “the marvel of Peru.” We planted them in several spots in our front flower bed, and one of the plantings survived, giving us a pretty good-sized flowering plant. I have always loved Four O’Clocks.

I wasn’t sure if they would come back, but sure enough, this spring, the plant came back up (along with a couple smaller ones) and is producing more flowers. I suppose you could say it was “revived.”

God revives me, frequently. I don’t suppose it could be said that I have ever “died” spiritually, but I have certainly had periods in my life when I was not as spiritually active as others. Perhaps “dormant” might be a better word, just as a perennial plant is “dormant” during the “off-season.”

The psalmist wrote, in Psalm 119, that God’s promise revived him. And this is what I have experienced. In my lowest times, a verse of Scripture, more often than not Psalms, has “revived” me, or sparked a new interest in me, or a fresh perspective on life. Some of my favorites include:

Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.
(Psalms 86:11 NLT)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
(Psalms 16:11 NLT)

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
(Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
(Psalms 73:25-26 NLT)

There are many more. Here are some verses that actually use the word.

Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?
(Psalms 85:6 NLT)

I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.
(Psalms 119:25 NLT)

I think, based on that verse in Psalm 119, that a condition to being revived is knowing that one lies “in the dust.” In other words, I have to know that my spiritual condition is desperate before I can be “revived.”

Our God is in the business of making things new.

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT)

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

But this “newness” is not a one and done deal. God continues to make me new, throughout my life, day after day.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Being an old Southern Baptist, I must say that the first thing I thought of when I saw the word for the day was this old hymn, written in 1863 by W.P. Mackay

1. We praise thee, O God, for the Son of thy love,
for Jesus who died, and is now gone above.

2. We praise thee, O God, for thy Spirit of light
who has shown us our Savior and scattered our night.

3. We praise thee, O God, for the joy thou hast giv’n
to thy saints in communion, these foretastes of heav’n.

4. Revive us again, fill each heart with thy love.
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.

Refrain - Hallelujah! Thine the glory, hallelujah! Amen!
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

Also, being an old Southern Baptist, I’m pretty sure I have never sung that third verse. Hahaha!

Speaking of what makes one a “strong” Christian:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
(Philippians 2:3 NLT)

It wouldn’t hurt to read that entire chapter.

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
(1 Peter 2:12 NLT)

Father, I pray for the ability to continue to seek to not be selfish, to not try to impress anyone else. Let my motivation be only to do what is good for others and to build them up and help them. Help me to always think of others as better than myself. I pray that this would be true for all who call the name of Jesus. May we all be “strong Christians.”

Help me to “live properly” among my neighbors, so that, should they not be believers, they will still give honor to God for my behavior.

I praise You that You are always in the business of making things new, reviving us. This gives me hope when my soul is downcast, because I am reminded, by Your great and precious promises, that You will never give up on us, and that we cannot be taken out of Your hands.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Today is Thursday, the ninth of June, 2022, in the tenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ find you today.

Day 23,464

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our Savior, you are our Lord and our Helper. Show yourself again and again in our hearts as the Savior who is strong to help us even in difficult times. Remember the many people who sigh to you. Guide them into the protection of the almighty God. Even if they suffer pain and distress and have to go through fear and anxiety, even if they die, Lord Jesus, you are comfort and help. In everything life brings us you will show yourself as the One who does the will of God and who carries it out for us on earth. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
(Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that the Lord takes delight in us with gladness
2. that the Lord calms all our fears with love
3. that real transformation is possible, changing the way I think, renewing my mind, by dwelling in and meditating on the Word of God
4. that by doing the things in number 3, I can live a life of love, joy, and laughter
5. that regularly gathering with other saints enhances this even more
Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. . . . Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. . . . So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other.
(Romans 14:1, 4, 10-13a NLT)
O God, you know how foolish I am; 
my sins cannot be hidden from you. 
Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, 
O Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.
(Psalms 69:5-6 NLT)

It seems to me that a large number of us needs to spend some time in Romans 14.

The prayer word of the day is “mind.” This is not the verb sense of the word, but, rather, that which is somewhat synonymous with “brain.”

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Romans 12:2 NIV)

I prefer the way some other translations word this, though.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
(Romans 12:2 NLT)

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
(Romans 12:2 MSG)

In this day and age, it is not unusual for one’s mind to feel scattered. Society has pushed the myth of multi-tasking on us. Susanna asks, “How can I figure out God’s will when I can’t even navigate my day?”

The presence of God and His Word can “rewire how I see things, changing priorities, bringing peace in the midst of chaos, resetting my moods with His grace.” This is the “transforming” or “renewing” of the mind that Romans 12 speaks of.

If we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, it will certainly change the way we think.

All too often, though, and this is what causes the attitudes that Paul is speaking against in Romans 14, we allow the way we think to “transform” what God’s Word says.

Just sit on that for a minute.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
(Proverbs 31:25 NIV)

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:26 NIV)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 NIV)

Most people are probably familiar with Proverbs 31, and that it speaks of a “wife of noble character,” beginning in verse 10.

But that’s not what we’re talking about, here, today. I want to focus on that bit about laughing at “the days to come.”

I’m pretty sure that no one would deny that we have been living “hell on earth” for the last two years or so, maybe closer to three. First there was a pandemic (honestly, there still is . . . as much as some folks want to believe it’s over, we are still having close to 100,000 new cases a day in the U.S.). Weather has been unpredictable (February in Texas, 2021, the entire state was frozen for three to five days). Russia invaded Ukraine. Prices are skyrocketing.

Here’s the thing. Because of my faith in Christ, because of my walk with Him and in God’s Kingdom, because of abiding in His Word and His Word in me, I can do what Proverbs 31:25 says. I can laugh at the days to come.

Not because I think it’s going to be funny. I don’t think that at all. I have opinions about the way things are going. They aren’t relevant to pretty much anything, though, so I keep them to myself, for the most part. I do believe, however, that Dallas Willard nailed it when he said that, in Christ, “this world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” And this is the attitude portrayed in Proverbs 31:25.

The psalmist alluded to that in Psalm 73:26. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” The verse immediately preceding that has long been a favorite of mine. Verse 25 says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”

Because of these things, I can “live a life filled with love, joy, and laughter.” I can, as “they” say,

(From Daily Guideposts 2022)

What makes this state of mind even better is when we can enjoy it with other believers. “Honesty in worship is maintained by keeping in touch with other Christians in company before God. There are no instances that we know of when Christians have successfully severed themselves from a regular gathering in community.”

Worship is not an option, something you add on whenever you feel like it. “Community worship keeps our relationships with God from depending on our feelings (our feelings are notorious deceivers) and restrains us from indulging. It keeps us connected to the whole revelation in the whole company of all God’s people.”

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

Father, I praise You for joy. I praise You that I can look at the days ahead and laugh, not because things are funny, but because I have You, and because I desire You more than I desire anything on earth. I pray that You keep this mindset alive in me. Continue to transform and renew my mind, my way of thinking, as I continue to read, pray, and meditate on Your Word.

I also pray for continued gathering with other saints to keep this alive and enhance the mindset. As we gather, Father, help us to have joy in our lives, regardless of outward circumstances and appearances. May Your will be done on earth as in heaven; bring heaven to earth, Father. And please do it “soon.”

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.