The Face of God

Today is Monday, August 12, 2019. Blessings to you!

Day 22,432

Seven days until S turns 26!!!! (I forgot to do that yesterday, sorry, S)

We had a great time at the Joyners’ house, yesterday. Lunch was great, burgers and hot dogs from the grill, with all the trimmings, plus potato salad. Dessert was peanut butter pie, chocolate pie, and rum cake. I had a little of the chocolate pie and the rum cake. It was all delicious. We had great fellowship during the meal, as well. Good times. We are all very grateful to this family for offering up their home and providing this meal.

The worship gathering was good, as well. Bittersweet, of course, in the absence of our pastor and his family. There is no further news on his father’s condition, at this time.

The Rangers avoided a sweep by the Brewers, yesterday, beating them 1-0. Mike Minor got the win for the game. The lone Ranger run (no pun intended)(no, really, I’m serious) was scored by Willie Calhoun on a Isiah Kiner-Falefa sacrifice fly. The Rangers are 59-58, in third place in the AL West, 17.5 games out of first place, and nine games out of the wild card race. Tonight, they play the Blue Jays in Toronto, with Ariel Jurado starting. They have forty-five games left.

The Red Sox lost again, to the Angels, 5-4. In ten innings. Ryan Weber was the losing pitcher. The Sox are 62-58, sixteen games out of first place, and 7.5 out of the wild card race. They start a series with the Indians tonight, in Cleveland, with Eduardo Rodriguez starting for Boston. They have forty-two games left.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah. 
We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. 
As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.

Psalm 48:7-10

Today I am thankful:
1. For the great group of brothers and sisters in Christ with which we worship and fellowship. So much love . . .
2. For a new week, full of opportunities to serve and glorify the Lord. (That’s as much a pep talk as it is a gratitude point)
3. For the diversity of gifts given us by the Father.
4. That we can see the face of God in Jesus.
5. That God has “shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

“O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Prayers and Thanksgivings, 31. For Schools and Colleges)

(From Solid Joys), John Piper

My Soul Thirsts for God

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 

Psalm 42:1-2

It s important to note what the Psalms thirsts for. The beautiful thing in this Psalm is that he is “not thirsting mainly for relief from his threatening circumstances. He is not thirsting mainly for escape from his enemies or their destruction.”

There is, of course, nothing wrong with praying for relief, or even for the defeat of our enemies. “But more important than any of that is God himself.” The Psalmist thirsts for God.

The result of reading/praying/studying through all of the Psalms is this: “We come to love God, and we want to see God and be with God and be satisfied in admiring and exulting in God.”

Piper says it is possible to translate the ending of verse 2 to say, “When will I come and see the face of God?” Jesus answers this question in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Mark Lowry, in his famous and perhaps over-used song, “Mary, Did You Know?” wrote a magnificent line. “When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.”

“When we see the face of Christ, we see the face of God.” Most of us, would, of course, say, “But I have not seen the face of Jesus.” Not literally, no. But we have seen him in “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Then, in the same chapter, verse 6, Paul says that God has “shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

“May the Lord increase [our] hunger and thirst to see the face of God. And may he grant [our] desire, even today, through the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Father, I echo John Piper’s prayer, that my hunger to see your face would increase. I pray that you would grant this desire, through “the gospel of the glory of Christ” who is your image.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.

Never Alone

Today is Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Hump Day. Blessings to you!

Day 22,413

Twenty-six days until S’s birthday!

C and S had a good time at the ladies’ outing, last night. They had dinner at Bosses Pizza. But they had burgers. Interesting. C said that the meat didn’t have a lot of flavor. S said her tater tots were delicious. C said they had really good ranch dressing. I had pizza at home, delivered from Tony’s in Watauga.

I played some PS4 games, but I also played a little bit of music, so it wasn’t a totally wasted evening.

The Texas Rangers finally snapped their losing streak, last night, beating the Seattle Mariners 7-2. Pedro Payano (who??) got the win for Texas. The are back over .500 at 51-50, in fourth place in the AL West, thirteen games out of first place, and 6.5 games out of the second wild card spot. They finish the series with the Mariners this afternoon, with Mike Minor taking the mound for Texas.

Chris Sale got win number five, as the Red Sox beat the Rays 5-4. They are 56-46 on the season, in a virtual tie with the Rays for second place in the AL East. The Sox are actually in front by .001 percentage. They are ten games out of first place, and two games out of the second wild card spot, currently owned by Cleveland. They play the Rays again, this afternoon, with a chance to sweep and take sole possession of second place. David Price will start.

The LA Dodgers and New York Yankees are tied for the best team in MLB, with .650 percentages. The Detroit Tigers have dropped into the worst spot, with a 30-66 record, .313 percentage.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! 
For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. 
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

Psalm 40:11-13

Today I am grateful:
1. That evils have NOT, in fact, “encompassed me beyond number,” and that my iniquities have not overtaken me.
2. That steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord “will ever preserve me!”
3. For the bond that is shared by believers in Christ.
4. That God “speaks” to us in many different ways.
5. That I am not left alone to fight this fight of faith.

“O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Prayers and Thanksgivings, 19. For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority)

(From Solid Joys), John Piper

Jesus Keeps His Sheep

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:31-32

Peter ultimately failed Jesus, quite miserably, yet was, arguably, by the prayer of Jesus, preserved “from utter ruin.” He was restored and eventually became the strongest of the apostles, boldly preaching his message at Pentecost. We see Jesus interceding for us in much the same way in Romans 8:34. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

In John 10:27-28, Jesus promises the preservation of his sheep. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

We see in Philippians 1:6 that we are not abandoned in this work, as “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” And again, in Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Scripture is full of reassurances that God is working in us and will continue to do so. Hebrews 13:20-21, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

It is true that we must work and fight. But our work and our fight is boldly enabled by the presence of the Lord, in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:30, we are told that “those whom he justified he also glorified.” Says Piper, “The glorification of God’s justified children is as good as done.”

We have this assurance that he will lose none of those whom he has brought to faith in Christ Jesus. With this assurance, we can have the faith to only move forward and not be concerned about our destiny.

Father, thank you, praise you, for these reminders that we are never alone in our fight of faith. You have equipped us, you have enabled us, and you will keep us, in Christ Jesus, through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your presence with us, every day.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Grace and peace, friends.

How To Love Your Enemy

Today is Saturday, April 21, 2018. Day 21,954.

Seven days until our next Night of Worship.

It’s the birthday of Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963), who said, “An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” BrainyQuote

The word for today is panchreston, a noun which means, “a proposed explanation intended to address a complex problem by trying to account for all possible contingencies but typically proving to be too broadly conceived and therefore oversimplified to be of any practical use.” If you’re like me, and you are sometimes, you just said, “huh??”

Supposedly, there is 100% chance of rain today. So far, it has not done so. We postponed our plans to go to Scarborough Faire today, because of the forecast. The YMCA even postponed their “Healthy Kid Fest” because of the forecast. The Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival is also going on this weekend. We still have thunderstorms predicted for later today, though.

The Red Sox had a close call, last night. Drew Pomeranz made his first start of the season, as he faced the Oakland Athletics, and got into trouble fast. In the first inning, he gave up three runs and threw more than forty pitches! So, after one inning, the Sox were down, 3-0, something they had yet to experience this season. In the top of the second, though, the Red Sox and Jackie Bradley, Jr. said “Oh, no you don’t,” when he belted a three-run home run to tie the game. It went on this way for several more innings until Mitch Moreland (remember him, Rangers fans?) sealed the deal with the Sox’s FIFTH grand slam home run of April! That was “all she wrote,” and the game ended with the Sox winning 7-3. This increases their astonishing record to 17-2. Their run differential in the first seventeen games is seventy! That’s the best in MLB by twenty-seven runs! They are only the fifth team in the “modern era” to win 17 of their first 19 games, and the first to do so since the 1987 Brewers. I can’t speak for any other Sox fans, but I’m vacillating between, “Holy cow, this is amazingly awesome!” and, “When’s the scandal going to hit, or the injuries going to start?” You see, I’m pessimistic at heart. Nevertheless, I’m loving this while it is happening. I have to confess, I was foolishly worried after the first inning last night. I should have known better. They continue their series in Oakland tonight.

The Rangers held their own against Seattle until the top of the ninth, last night. It was looking good for a bit. They even went ahead 2-1, at one point. But, alas, the Mariners tied it up in the eighth, and then Kela gave up three runs in the top of the ninth, and Diekman gave up one, which was, in the big picture, irrelevant. Rangers lose 6-2, to make their season record 7-14.

The Red Sox continue to be the best team in MLB, by three games over the New York Mets. The Cincinnati Reds have the worst record, at 3-16.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

A Psalm of Asaph.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. 
They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the heavens for food, the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth. 
They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. 
We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us. 
How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? 
Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name! 
For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.

Psalm 79:1-7

This Psalm seems to have been written after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, circa A.D. 70, which is odd, because it is attributed to Asaph. However, as far as I know, the “titles” of these psalms were added later.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12

In today’s Solid Joys, John Piper writes about “The Key to Radical Love.”

When he was preaching on Matthew 5:44 (“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”), Piper posed this question: “How do you love the people who kidnap you and then kill you?” That seems rather extreme, doesn’t it? I mean, how many of us have been kidnapped?

The point is, though, the source of the kind of love that can do this. “Where does the power to love like this come from?” I am immediately reminded of Corrie ten Boom and her sister, and the things they endured in a German concentration camp.

Jesus gives us the key to this kind of radical love in verses 11-12 of the same chapter. We can not only endure the mistreatment of our enemies, we can also rejoice in it!

“This seems even more beyond our reach than praying for our enemies or doing good to them.” Indeed, it does. It seems humanly impossible, and there is a reason for that. It is humanly impossible. But if I could do that, if I could actually rejoice in being mistreated by enemies, then I could certainly, as Jesus commanded, love those who are mistreating me. “If the miracle of joy in the midst of the horror of injustice and pain and loss could happen, then the miracle of love for the perpetrators could happen too.”

What is the key to all of this? It is in the second phrase of verse 12, “for great is your reward in heaven.” This points to something that John Piper has long called “future grace.” “The key to joy is faith in God’s future grace — that is, being satisfied in all that God promises to be for you.”

So, then, when we are commanded to love, we are, essentially, commanded to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). And things are above consist of all of the things that God has promised to be for us.

“The command to love our enemy is a command to find our hope and our deepest soul-satisfaction in God and his great reward — his future grace. The key to radical love is faith in future grace.” As stated in Psalm 63:3, the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life. And, lest we get things backwards, loving our enemies does not earn us the reward of heaven. “Treasuring the reward of heaven empowers you to love your enemy.”

Father, I thank you for the promises of future grace. I pray that you help me remember these whenever I am tempted to hate my “enemies.” Help me to love my enemies and rejoice if I am persecuted (which, in all honesty, has not happened to me in my lifetime). Your steadfast love truly is better than life, and the promises of what you will be for me, what you are for me, are great and precious to me. Help me to always realize the truth of Isaiah 41:10.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Enjoying God

Today is Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ~ Will Rogers

Word of the Day

Holus-bolus ~ all at once; altogether.

Today is that day when we mourn the loss of one of a pair, so frequently blamed on the dryer, but probably the fault of the washing machine. Yes, today is Lost Sock Memorial Day

Real quick recap/update. Band practice was pretty awesome last night. I’m not sure why, but I had a blast, and I felt like I was playing well.

For Mother’s Day, with the approval of my mother, we will be staying around our home for the day, hopefully visiting with our own kids. Since we will be spending the next weekend with my mother and uncle and cousins, my mother said that we didn’t need to come out to visit her this Sunday. This will work out nicely, especially since I have a band concert late on Saturday evening. We’re playing our Disney show again, outside at a local amphitheater, but it’s not beginning until 8 PM. Ugh. I’d like to have a conversation with whoever thought THAT was a good idea!


Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. 
Psalm 67:1
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123:1-2
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:17
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. (The Divine Hours)

(From Solid Joys)

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Psalm 63:1-3

What does it mean to love God? Certainly, it means to obey his commands; it also includes believing his words (not just believing in him), and thanking him for all of his gifts. But John Piper says that the “the essence of loving God is enjoying all he is. And it is this enjoyment of God that glorifies his worth most fully.” What is it that Piper is famous for saying? “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Think of it this way. Would you rather have someone love you out of duty or because they are delighted in your presence? You shouldn’t have to think long. Unless you are a sociopath.

None of us has reached the perfection of this state of satisfaction in God, although I have known one or two people in my lifetime that come close. But I do long for the day when I can truly say that God’s steadfast love is better than life. There are some days that I can proclaim that sincerely. There are other days that I barely think about God. Guess which days are better days!

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

Father, teach me to enjoy you. Teach me to love your “hesed” better than my own life. I long for the day when there will be no more temptation to sin, no more inclination to obey the flesh and disobey your will and your word. Truly, I cannot even imagine being in that state, but I believe that I will be, and that it will be the most marvelous state of being I have ever experienced. I long for that, and because of that, I say, most sincerely,
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Better Than You Can Ever Imagine

Today is Friday, May 5, 2017.


Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 
  who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 

Psalm 66:8-9
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 17:7-8
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.

Psalm 118:25-26
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

(From Solid Joys)

In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 
2 Corinthians 7:4

In today’s reading, John Piper gives us seven sources of joy.

1. It is taught by Jesus. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23) “Troubles for Jesus compound your interest in heaven–which lasts a lot longer than earth.”

2. It comes from the Holy Spirit, not from our own efforts, imagination, or even family influences. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

3. It comes from being a part of the Kingdom of God. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

4. It comes through faith, which is believing God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith. (Philippians 1:25)

5. It comes from “seeing and knowing Jesus as Lord.” Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

6. It comes when fellow believers work together to help us focus on joy, rather than “deceitful circumstances.” Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

7. It comes from tribulation. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Can we be like Paul, when he says, “I am overflowing with joy?” He calls for us to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

In addition to this, Dallas Willard points out that, as we become disciples, or students, of Christ, we will, as Jesus said, know the truth, and that truth will set us free. “It will set you free because it will be the realization of how things really are. There’s a lot to smile about. Joy is the final word. ‘My joy I give you,’ Jesus said. Along with his peace and his love came joy. That is based on the reality that things are really better than you can ever imagine as you live in the kingdom of God.” (Living in Christ’s Presence, p. 81)

“Things are really better than you can ever imagine . . .” Think on that for a while!

Father, may I experience the joy of Jesus today as his truth sets me free.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Touch

Today is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” ~ Earl Mac Rauch, from “Buckaroo Bansai”

Word of the Day

Grimalkin ~ domestic cat; especially , an old female cat.

Today is World Heritage Day. We all celebrate the heritage of our individual cultures, but this one day a year is set aside to celebrate the rich heritage of the history of the world. It’s really quite overwhelming, if you think about it, the history of the world.

I’m feeling a little better today. I could certainly do with staying home another day, but I guess I’ll go to work. Having an extra day to rest certainly did me some good. We’ll see how this progresses. I still have a bit of heaviness in my chest, though.

The Red Sox pulled off an early win yesterday, as it was Patriot Day in Boston, also the day of the Boston Marathon. The Sox always start their games before noon on Patriot Day. They beat Tampa Bay 4-3, improving their record to 8-5. They are still in third place, but only one game out of first. They play the last place Boo Jays in Toronto tonight. Someone named Johnson will be on the mound.

The Rangers had another solid win, last night, beating Oakland 7-0, behind A.J. Griffin, who got his second win of the season. Their record is now 5-8, and they are tied for last place, with Oakland. So they have a chance to get out of the cellar tonight. They play the A’s again tonight at 9:05 CDT, with Yu Darvish on the mound.


Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:14
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. 
Psa 67:2  that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Psalm 67:1-2
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
Psalm 119:54
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:8
Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. 
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. 
I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah. 
Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. 
  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 

Psalm 143:1, 4-8
“O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Gran that I, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ my Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

(From Solid Joys)

Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched.
1 Samuel 10:26

John Piper finds something in this verse that is extraordinary. It’s all wrapped up in this phrase, “whose hearts God had touched.”

God touched the hearts of these men. “The One with infinite power in the universe. The One with infinite authority and infinite wisdom and infinite love and infinite goodness and infinite purity and infinite justice. That One touched their heart.”

In comparison, Piper asks, “How does the circumference of Jupiter touch the edge of a molecule? Let alone penetrate to its nucleus?” Even that comparison falls short, because God is infinitely bigger than we are.

Nevertheless, God can touch our hearts! What makes this awesome is that it’s not just inspiration or divine influence. It is a touch; a connection. Something real.

Do you know this touch? I do. I know what it feels like to have God touch my heart. I could never describe it to you, other than by saying that it is something quite amazing. Words cannot do it justice. And it’s something that I covet, day and night.

“Oh, for the touch of God! If it comes with fire, so be it. If it comes with water, so be it. If it comes with wind, let it come, O God. If it comes with thunder and lightning, let us bow before it.

O Lord, come. Come that close. Burn and soak and blow and crash. Or still and small, come. Come all the way. Touch our hearts.”

Yes, Father, bring your touch to my heart today. Make it such that there is no doubt what has happened. I know that you see me and know me, better and more completely than I could ever know myself. But that is not enough. I desire your touch, your connection with my heart that can be compared with nothing else.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Grace For A Well-Timed Help

Today is Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.” – Steven Wright

The word of the day, from, is doctrinaire, an adjective meaning, “dogmatic about others’ acceptance of one’s ideas; fanatical.”

Today is Daiquiri Day. I can never remember how to spell that. But a Daiquiri sounds really good on these hot Texas days in July. I’ll have strawberry or peach, please.

C is home! C is home! C is home!!

Yes, she got home around 7, yesterday evening, and we were able to have dinner together. I wasn’t expecting that until yesterday afternoon, when I found out her flight was getting in earlier than I had originally thought. Of course, she is exhausted, but still has to go to work today. It was pretty good trip from the sound of things, and there were some really cool things that happened, so that was nice. We are all very glad that she is home. Especially Screamer, the cat.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness
when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”
Psalm 95:6-11

There is a contrast presented here, between worship and wandering, or worship and “the wilderness.” In worship, “we give our attention to God’s love and direction.” But in the wilderness, in Meribah and Massah, we give our attention to strife and temptation, “in which we look out for ourselves and snatch what we can in a trackless desert.”

“Father, I will give my attention to you in faithful worship, listening to your words of truth and guidance; and I will put aside the contentious scrabbling for my own way, which only adds years of wandering in the wilderness of my sins. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

(From Solid Joys)

His Timing Is Perfect

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Any work that we do, any ministry, is in the future. So there is always time to worry about it, to “fret about our inadequacy.” I know I do that a lot. Twice a month, on Wednesday, I fret about whether I’m adequately prepared to lead a prayer meeting.

“Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry.” I like that statement. We cannot pray without faith. I believe that the very fact that we pray indicates at least a little faith. After all, if I had no faith, why would I pray? Even people who don’t know Christ pray, sometimes. That means that there is a spark of faith there; a belief in something that might possibly answer that prayer.

So we pray, as John Piper would put it, for “future grace.” But what if the grace comes too early or too late? (That sounds like one of those rhetorical questions that Paul keeps asking in his letters.) Piper gives us a literal translation of the verse above that gives a sweet promise about that. Here is what his literal translation says: Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help.

Prayer is how we get this future grace. God’s grace will always arrive from the throne of grace, and right on time; right when we need it; a “well-timed help.” But we also have to have the faith that God’s timing is perfect, because ours isn’t. So we might get a little nervous when this grace doesn’t arrive when we think it should. We have to remember that God knows when it is needed. Remember that God set the times and boundaries for the nations of the earth (Acts 17:26). And then look at what the psalmist says in Psalm 31:15: My times are in your hand.

So when we begin to worry about the timing of this grace, we need to remember that it comes from the “throne of grace,” and that God’s future grace is always “well-timed.”

Father, thank you for these promises concerning grace. Thank you that your grace is always right on time. Now I pray that your Spirit will dwell so closely within me that I can remember these truths and promises when I begin to worry about the future (even when the “future” is ten minutes away).

Come, Lord Jesus!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Grace and peace, friends.

Equipped and Empowered

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”~~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is wormhole, “a hypothetical structure of space-time envisioned as a long thin tunnel connecting points that are separated in space and time.”

Today is . . . oh, boy. Today is Bacon Day. What else do I need to say about that?

Christi finally got her new car, yesterday. While she was picking hers up, I was getting new front tires on mine (I really need to do a better job of rotating those suckers), and then getting the oil changed. Right as Christi was about to leave with her new car, they told there was some kind of recall that had been issued the day before. It delayed her another hour or so, but wasn’t too bad.

I played Fallout 4 some more while I was waiting for her to get home. We watched a few episodes of Criminal Minds while we ate dinner, then Christi went to bed, while I stayed up to . . . you guessed it . . . play Fallout 4. It’s going to be tough going back to work and a regular schedule.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Christi’s new car, sitting right next to mine.
Christi's new car

On this date in:

1903–A fire occurred at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, killing 600 people
1922–The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed
1924–Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galaxies
1948–Cole Porter’s musical, Kiss Me, Kate, opened at the New Century Theatre on Broadway. It would become the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.
1965–Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines
1981–Wayne Gretzky scored his 50th goal of the season in the 39th game, setting a new NHL record
2006–Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging

Today’s birthdays include:

1865–Rudyard Kipling, English writer
1904–Dmitri Kabalevsky, Russian composer
1914–Bert Parks, American TV host
1920–Jack Lord, American actor, Hawaii Five-O
1928–Bo Diddley, American blues musician
1931–Skeeter Davis, American singer
1934–Del Shannon, American singer
1935–Jack Riley, American actor, The Bob Newhart Show
1935–Sandy Koufax, American pitcher
1937–Noel Paul Stookey, American folk singer, Peter, Paul and Mary
1937–John Hartford, American singer/songwriter
1939–Felix Pappalardi, American musician and record producer, Mountain
1941–Mel Renfro, American football player
1942–Fred Ward, American actor, Tremors
1942–Michael Nesmith, American musician, The Monkees
1945–Davy Jones, English singer, The Monkees
1946–Patti Smith, American singer
1947–Jeff Lynne, English musician, Electric Light Orchestra, The Traveling Wilburys
1959–Tracey Ullman, English actress/singer
1976–A.J. Pierzynski, American catcher
1980–Eliza Dushku, American actress, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse
1986–Ellie Goulding, British singer

So today is the birthday of both Michael Nesmith, who turns 73 today (born in Houston, TX), and Davy Jones, who will sadly not be turning 70 today, as we lost him back in 2012. Here is a music video The Monkees singing “Daydream Believer.”

I can’t ignore the fact that it is also Jeff Lynne’s birthday, frontman for Electric Light Orchestra, as well as Tracey Ulmann, British pop singer. Lynne turns 68, and Tracey turns 56.

Richard Plantagenet, Sonny Liston, Melba Rae, Richard Rodgers, Ling-Ling, Maureen Starkey, Jack Nance, Artie Shaw, and Saddam Hussein are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Outfitted and Empowered.”

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

There will be a lot of talk, over the next couple of days, about the new year coming up. 2016 will arrive in just over 36 hours (as I am typing this, it is 11:44 AM). As Christ has shed his blood for us, fulfilling the eternal covenant, he was raised from the dead by the “God of peace,” and is our “living Lord and Shepherd.”

As we look forward to 2016, we can be confident of two things:

1. God “equips us with everything good that we may do his will.”

2. God “works in us that which is pleasing in his sight.”

These two things are secured for us by the “eternal covenant,” which is also the “new covenant.” The promise of the new covenant is given in Jeremiah 31:33: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The will of God, as we understand it, is not just some words written on papyrus or stone. It is worked in our hearts. The result of this is that “we feel and think and act in ways more pleasing to God.”

We still have to work and use the things with which God has equipped us. Philippians 2:12-13 tells us: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The only way that we are able to please God, to do his good pleasure, is because “the blood-bought grace of God has moved from mere equipping to omnipotent transforming.”

As 2016 approaches, may we understand these things, and allow the will of God to work within us, that we might do what is pleasing in his sight.

Father, I pray for your work in me to increase in the coming year. I have struggled, this year, ever since April. It is time to move forward, to move ahead in your will, and with what you have equipped me for. It is time to stop sitting still. May your equipping in me and your work in me move me toward what is more pleasing in your sight.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Treasure the Glory of God

“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”~~Victor Hugo

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is kinesics, “a systematic study of the relationship between nonlinguistic body motions (as blushes, shrugs, or eye movement) and communication.” Otherwise known as the study of body language.

Today is Card Playing Day, a day that falls a few days after Christmas, with the idea that people just need some time to unwind by doing something like playing cards.

We wound up not going to church yesterday morning. I know. The horror! But there were circumstances. For one, I wasn’t feeling great. And because I wasn’t feeling great, my emotional state was kind of off. When we got to my mother’s house, we discussed it, and finally decided to just stay home. She didn’t mind at all, because it gave us that much more time to just sit around and visit. It also got us to The Mesquite Pit before the church lunch crowds. 🙂 We had a nice lunch there, and then finally got to get some hot chocolate at Jitterbeans. We had a lovely time there. I had the Aztec Spice hot chocolate again, as did Justin. Christi and Mama both had the Ghirardelli hot chocolate, Stephanie had the Ghirardelli white hot chocolate, and Rachel had a cup of hot apple cider. We sat and visited for a while, there, as well as visiting with the owners of the coffee shop/video store. Good times.

We went back to the house, where I sat down to complete some unpleasant business. After talking to my mother, we had decided, before Thanksgiving, that it would be best to simply deactivate my father’s Facebook page and email account. So I did that, yesterday afternoon. It was difficult. It was one of those things that just felt, well, final. We also got my mother’s Amazon account updated to her new email address that I had set up for her, and I showed her how to get some books for her Kindle. I also got her hooked up with one of the many free/discount ebook sites that I use.

We got back home at around, oh, I don’t know, maybe 6:00-ish? It might have been earlier. I’m really not sure. We got the suitcases unpacked, after which I finally sat down to start playing my new Fallout 4 game on the PS4 I got for Christmas. While I was playing, Christi went to get groceries for her mother and step-dad. That turned out to be a very unpleasant experience, as her mother is back on the drugs, and had, once again, managed to drain her step-dad’s bank account. He wasn’t aware of it (at least he says he wasn’t), but what happens is that Christ gets to the checkout line and his debit card doesn’t work, so she winds up having to pay for all the groceries out of our account. She was furious. At this point, we aren’t sure what the result of this will be.

We are both on PTO (Paid Time Off) for the next three days, then we will go back to work on Thursday for one day, and have New Year’s Day off.

On this date in:

1065–Westminster Abbey was consecrated
1612–Galileo first observed Neptune, but mistakenly categorized it as a star
1832–John C. Calhoun became the first U.S. Vice President to resign
1836–Spain recognized the independence of Mexico
1846–Iowa became the 29th U.S. State. “Oh, there’s nothing quite like the way an Iowa person treats you, if he treats you, which he may not do at all.”
1895–Wilhelm Rontgen published a paper outlining his discovery of what will eventually be known as X-rays
1895–The Lumiere brothers debuted their first cinema
1912–The first city streetcars operated in San Francisco
1945–The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance
1973–The Endangered Species Act was passed in the U.S.
2000–Montgomery Wards went out of business after 128 years

Today’s birthdays include:

1856–Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the U.S.
1902–Mortimer Adler, American philosopher
1915–Pops Staples, American musician, The Staple Singers
1922–Stan Lee, American comic book writer
1934–Dame Maggie Smith, British actress
1946–Edgar Winter, American musician
1950–Alex Chilton, American musician, The Box Tops
1954–Denzel Washington, American actor
1958–Twila Paris, American singer
1970–Elaine Hendrix, American actress
1973–Seth Meyers, American actor
1978–John Legend, American musician
1979–Noomi Rapace, Swedish actress
1980–Vanessa Ferlito, American actress, CSI: NY
1981–Sienna Miller, British actress
1990–David Archuleta, American singer

Dame Maggie Smith is a British actress who has been around a while. Well, 81 years, to be exact! She might be best known as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. It is my opinion that she gets the best lines of anyone in that show. Here are some examples of those lines.

Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith, Freddie King, Dennis Wilson, William Demarest, Sam Peckinpah, Sal Maglie, William L. Shirer, and Jerry Orbach are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Glory is the Goal.”

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:2

“Seeing the glory of God is our ultimate hope.” There are many Scriptures that bear this out. The above quoted text is one of them. Jude 24 tells us that God will present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.

in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
Romans 9:23
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:12
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:13

Jesus is the ultimate representation of the glory of God. Hebrews 1:3 says, He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Jesus, in John 17:24, says, Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Seeing and sharing in God’s glory is our ultimate hope through the gospel of Christ.” This is a hope that we truly know and treasure, and this kind of hope has a “decisive effect on our present values and choices and actions.”

We should study this glory, get to know this glory through studying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, we should treasure the glory of God above all things.

We should also know our own souls and know what seduces them away from this glory; why we treasure “glories” that are not God’s glory.

Father, I pray that I would know and treasure your glory above all things, in the coming year, and for the remainder of my life. Help me to know myself, to know what kinds of things draw me away from your glory, that which I should treasure and prize above all other things.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Full of Motion and Empty of Life

“I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.”~~Judy Garland

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is favonian, “of or relating to the west wind.” Example: “Our guests relaxed on the patio, watching the sunset and enjoying favonian breezes.”

Today is Visit the Zoo Day. It’s a bit chilly for that, here, today.

We got a good bit accomplished, yesterday. Or perhaps I should say that Christi and my mother got a lot accomplished. Late in the morning, we headed over to Mama’s house, where we visited for a little while. Christi took Mama to the AT&T store, where they got my mother a new cell phone, along with a brand new cell phone number. It didn’t take very long at all. She got a very simple “Go Phone,” flip phone style. She had no interest in a “smart phone,” just something she could use as a phone.

After they got back, we all headed to an old favorite of mine from “back in the day,” a little place called Dairy Mart. I had not been there since high school, probably, which would be about 40 years. The burgers were absolutely delicious, with patties that were obviously made from scratch there at the restaurant. One of the best burgers I’ve ever had. After that, we tried to go to Jitterbeans, but they were closed. 😦 They had, apparently, decided to close Friday and Saturday for Christmas. Can’t really blame them, since they are open seven days a week. It looks like they will be open today, though.

We got back to the house, where we sat for a little bit. Oh, wait. First, we dropped Stephanie off at the hotel, because she was tired. Then we went to the house. The Christi took Mama to WalMart to do a little shopping. Rachel and Justin went back to the hotel, and I just hung out at the house by myself, reading.

This morning, we will be going to First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells for worship, then having lunch at The Mesquite Pit, after which we will try, once again, to hit Jitterbeans for some hot chocolate. It will be even better today, as it is currently 36 degrees, outside, with a projected high of only 46. On a sadder note, there were some pretty bad tornadoes in east and south Dallas, last night. I believe the last report I saw said that eleven people had lost their lives. Many homes were damaged or destroyed. Very unusual December weather, I suppose brought on by the cold front coming through and hitting the warm air.

On this date in:

1831–Charles Darwin embarked on his journey on the HMS Beagle
1932–Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City
2002Clonaid claimed that they had successfully cloned a human being. No verifiable evidence was ever presented

Today’s birthdays include:

1654–Jacob Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician
1822–Louis Pasteur, French scientist
1901–Marlene Dietrich, German actress/singer
1931–Scotty Moore, American guitarist, Elvis Presley
1941–Michael Pinder, British musician, Moody Blues
1944–Mick Jones, British musician, Foreigner
Gust1966–Eva LaRue, American actress, CSI Miami
1972–Matt Slocum, American musician, Sixpence None the Richer
1975–Heather O’Rourke, American actress, Poltergeist
1980–Cas Haley, American guitarist/singer/songwriter
1982–James Mead, American guitarist, Kutless
1983–Cole Hamels, American pitcher
1988–Hayley Williams, American singer, Paramore

Michael Pinder is a keyboard player who was a founding member and original keyboard player for The Moody Blues. He left the group in 1978. Here is a clip of their song, “I’m Just A Singer In A Rock and Roll Band.”

Stephen F. Austin, Gustave Eiffel, Hoagy Charmichael, and Delaney Bramlett are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “What Is Your Aim?”

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

“When you get up in the morning and you face a day, what do you say to yourself about your hopes for the day? When you look from the beginning of the day to the end of the day, what do you want to happen because you have lived?”

I have to confess that, most days, I don’t think that way. I just get up and do what needs to be done. John Piper says that, when we do that, we are “cutting [ourselves] off from a basic means of grace and a source of guidance and strength and fruitfulness and joy.” Based on the above verse from Hebrews, God means for us to “aim consciously at something significant in our days.”

God doesn’t want us to drift aimlessly through our day, like leaves in the wind. This time of year, our yard is covered in leaves. The little boys next door keep coming over to ask if they can rake the leaves for us. I keep saying, “No, let’s wait until the tree is completely bare.” Those leaves probably move around more than anything else out there. Sometimes, they even blow in the front door of the house. “They are full of motion and empty of life.”

God does not desire for me to be that way; aimlessly wandering through my day, at the mercy of whatever circumstances come along. He created me to have a purpose, a focus, and aim for my days.

Father, as a new year approaches, an opportunity that we see as new beginning, may I begin to have purpose for my days, not living them aimlessly. May my life be a life of purpose and focus, but may it be your purpose, not mine.

I pray for peace, comfort, relief, and refuge for people affected by last night’s tornadoes.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.