Plunge In

Today is Saturday, November 18, 2017. Day 21,800.

Five more days until Thanksgiving (and four day weekend)!

Margaret Atwood, who was born on this date in 1939, said, “I was warped early by Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe. I was very fond of Franz Kafka.”

The word of the day, from, is nonbook, a noun, meaning, “a book without artistic or literary merit or substance, especially one that has been developed primarily to exploit a fad or make a profit quickly.” The first thing that comes to my mind is books hurriedly written on the coattails of successful movies.

Today is Mickey Mouse Day. Pretty much everyone knows who Mickey Mouse is, and today is a day to celebrate the iconic mouse and the “kingdom” that was built around him.

Last night was an interesting night. Actually, it started earlier in the day. C had trouble sleeping Thursday night, and when she got up Friday morning, she didn’t feel well. She had a low-grade fever (99.6), and was having trouble breathing. When her therapist showed up, she recommended that C get to a doctor. So she got an appointment for 3:30, yesterday afternoon. When I offered to leave work early, she said she would get her niece to take her. But her niece had a job interview, so C said, “I’ll be okay to drive.” I said, “No, let me come take you.” So I used my last three hours of PTO and left work early.

They checked her over, and didn’t see anything immediately wrong, but they did some blood work and checked something called “d’dimers.” This, apparently is an indicator that could signal the presence of blood clots. They said that if this test came back positive or elevated, they would call in the evening, and direct us to an emergency room.

At about 8:30 last night, we started getting ready for bed. I was tired, even too tired to play on the Playstation! I had just laid down when C’s phone rang. The d’dimers was elevated. So we got dressed again and headed for the closest hospital (at least the closest one that wasn’t North Hills Medical Center). We checked into the ER at around 9:10, and proceeded to wait for triage. Emergency rooms are interesting. There was a lady sitting across from me who was obviously in tremendous pain, and was holding her hand up to her jaw the whole time. I felt really bad for her.

We were finally called back at around 9:45-ish, and as the nurse was doing the triage, when C described what was going on, he said he had a room for her. So we weren’t sent back out to the waiting room. I think the magic words in that scenario are “blood clot.” Over the course of the next three hours, C had a chest X-ray, an ultrasound on her surgery leg, a CT scan on her chest, and some blood work. At the end, the attending doctor came in and said he had good news. There were no blood clots detected. Apparently, there are a number of things that could cause d’dimers to be elevated, but, since one of them is blood clots, they don’t want to take any chances. I’m fine with that.

What they did find was a very small aortic aneurysm and a small spot on an upper lobe of one of C’s lungs. The doctor indicated that neither one was cause for immediate concern, but should be watched closely. He recommended a vascular surgeon to check on the aneurysm, and getting another chest CT scan in three months, which can be done by C’s primary physician. We were sent home with those reports, and got home around 1:30 AM.

I slept until around 10:45, and C just got up about fifteen-twenty minutes ago. This is why my blog entry is later than usual for a Saturday morning.

I don’t have any other news, than to mention that Angus Young, co-founding member and guitarist for AC/DC, has reportedly passed away this morning. He was 64. There has also been a report that Charles Manson has died. But only one source was seen reporting that. Most other sources state that he has been hospitalized, and that his condition “remains a mystery.”

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
Psalm 29:2
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.
Psalm 63:1
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.
Psalm 44:1
They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness.
Psalm 82:5
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. 
John 6:35
He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, 
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. 
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. 
And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; 
they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. 
By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish. 
When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, 
he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; 
but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks. 
The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. 
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalm 107:33-43
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria
Dear Father always near us, may your name be treasured and loved, may your rule be completed in us-may your will be done here on earth in just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today, and forgive us our sins and impositions on you as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials, but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge, and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours-forever- which is just the way we want it!

The Lord’s Prayer, paraphrased by Dallas Willard

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is called “Plunging In.”

Joshua DuBois makes note of two different approaches to the “risen Savior, a King who has triumphed over death and brought us to life.”

In John 21, the disciples are out fishing. Jesus had revealed himself in risen form to many of the disciples. There is no indication of how much time had lapsed before this particular encounter. Jesus appeared on the shore and, once again, gave them helpful advice as to where to cast their net. Once they realized it was Jesus, Peter put on his outer cloak and plunged into the sea to swim to the shore. The rest of the disciples rowed back in the boat (along with all the fish).

“Peter couldn’t hold himself back – in his excitement, he just plunged in!”

If we look around us, we can see that God is still moving in our world, “raising dead and broken things to life.” This knowledge should not be “mundane to us, should never feel ordinary.” It should build excitement within us, to the point that we, like Peter, should want to simply plunge in.

I’ve been reading a book by Frederick Beuchner, called, The Magnificent Defeat. It’s a series of short messages, on different topics. Last night, while waiting at the emergency room, I read one about the resurrection. Essentially, it was about what the Jews were afraid would happen after Jesus had been crucified and entombed. One fear was that the disciples would come steal the body, and then claim that he had risen from the dead. This should not have been a serious fear, though, because had that happened, the phenomenon would have eventually died down and faded away. The other fear, perhaps more real, was that exactly what Jesus claimed would happen, would happen. He would, indeed, come back to life.

Which is, of course, what really happened. The big question for us is, what do we believe happened on that “Sunday” morning? What do we really believe? There’s a lot to think about here, because if I believe what I say I believe, I mean really believe it, then what effect does that have on my life? I do believe that Jesus rose from the grave. I believe that the Biblical record is truth. My life needs to indicate this better than it does.

I need to plunge in, like Peter.

“Dear God, light a fire within me when I see your healing manifested in the world. Help me greet evidence of you with excitement and great joy. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, give me the willingness to “plunge in,” whenever I see you at work. Increase my excitement when I see evidence of you in this world. I’m not talking about external excitement, such as when my favorite team wins. I’m talking about spiritual excitement that is consistent and alive, that drives me toward a closer relationship with you and my fellow believers; a truth that gives me life and peace and hope in this fallen world, and the willingness to share that with the people around me.
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.


Stay On the Up Escalator

Today is Friday, November 17, 2017. Day 21,799.

Six days until Thanksgiving!

Jeff Buckley, who was born on this date in 1966 (died 1997), said, “I don’t really need to be remembered. I hope the music’s remembered.”

The word of the day, from, is claque, a noun, meaning, “a group of persons hired to applaud an act or performer.” Also, “a group of sycophants.”

Today is Unfriend Day. Has that one Facebook “friend” grated on your nerves one too many times with his overt political posts? Today’s the day!

Last night, we finally ate the last of the food that people have brought to us over the past couple of weeks. Hold on. Wait. There are still two pieces of pie left. Never mind.

We have finally made our Thanksgiving plans. Unless something changes between now and then, we plan to cook a few things Thursday morning, and then drive to Mineral Wells to have lunch with my mother, and, hopefully, R & J. Then we will come on back home Thursday evening, and not try to spend the night in a hotel. While C is getting stronger all the time, I don’t think we’re up to trying to sleep in hotel beds, just yet.

Jose Altuve rightfully won the AL MVP award, yesterday. Stanton won the award for the NL.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:5
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Psalm 106:47
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 85:10
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 6:36-38
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. 
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face, 
who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. 
For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. 
For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 89:14-18

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is called “Religion.”

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22

“I would not so dishonour God as to lend my voice to perpetuate all the mad and foolish things which men have dared to say of Him. I believe that we may find in the Bible the highest and purest religion . . . most of all in the history of Him in whose name we all are called. His religion – not the Christian religion, but the religion of Christ – the poor man’s gospel; the message of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of love; and, oh, how gladly would I spend my life, in season and out of season, in preaching this!” (James Anthony Froude, The Nemesis of Faith

Sometimes, Joshua DuBois says, we have to search deeply through the “layers of religion to find Christ.” When we encounter churches and pastors who point us to Jesus, encouraging us to follow in his steps and his words, we should fully embrace them.

But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, “we encounter religion and leave feeling less connected with Christ.” Something is definitely wrong in those cases. At that point, we must “return to the basics: reading the Bible for ourselves, experiencing a prayerful communion with God, and engaging in gentle fellowship with other believers.” Please note that he does not exclude the fellowship with other believers, as this is a very important piece of our life with God.

“Religion is either an up-escalator to our Savior or a down-escalator to something else. When it goes up, let’s ride. When it goes down, let’s be sure to get off.”

“Jesus, be my religion. Help me find the support necessary to grow closer to you. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, I do thank you for “religion” and the contributions it has given to our faith. However, make us wise and give us discernment to know when to abandon the skin of religion when it leads us away from you and toward something that is not you. I pray, especially, today, for all of the “religious leaders” who have gotten themselves so wrapped up in politics that they seem to have forgotten about you.
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.

Strength in Temptation

Today is Saturday, November 11, 2017. Veterans Day in the U.S. Day 21,793.

One day until C’s birthday!!

Kurt Vonnegut, who was born on this date in 1922 (died 2007), said, “If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.”

The word of the day, from, is fortitudinous, an adjective, meaning, “marked by bravery or courage; having or showing fortitude.”

Today is Origami Day. Origami is that famous art of folding a piece of paper into a bird. Okay, there are other things besides birds, but that seems to be the most popular thing to make. Origami was famously featured in the 1982 movie Blade Runner, in which the man chasing after Decker kept leaving behind little origami figures, one of which was a unicorn.

I made the cake last night. R & J are coming over in a little while, so I decided to get the cake done last night, so I wouldn’t have to be dealing with that today. Plus I wanted it to be ready to eat this afternoon. It was a major undertaking, bigger than anything I had ever done before. It looks nice, but is much taller than I expected. In fact, it is taller than our cake holder, so we had to improvise to get it covered.

The frosting tasted wonderful, but turned out a little lighter colored than I hoped for. It still looks pretty good, though, especially for my first “from scratch” cake. Hopefully, it will taste as good as it looks.

C is feeling better this morning, after breaking down and taking a second pain pill. The prescription says to take one or two every four hours, and she keeps trying to get by with only one. Mobility-wise, she’s getting better and better all the time. She goes back to the doctor on Monday for a follow-up. We’ll see what he has to say about her progress.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD.
Psalm 135:1
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Psalm 71:2
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.
Psalm 116:16
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? 
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, 
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

Psalm 116:12-14

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.
(Luke 4:1-2)

There’s something interesting in these two verses. Something that gets overlooked a lot. We all (or at least most of us) are familiar with the three temptations that follow these two verses. Jesus is hungry, so Satan tempts him to turn stones into bread, which he could have easily done. That shouldn’t be any more difficult than turning water into wine, right? Then Satan tempts Jesus with power and authority, which in truth, wasn’t Satan’s to grant. Then, finally, Satan tempts Jesus to be a showman, a performer. “Jump off of this tower and show everyone how the Father will protect you!”

We all know about these three. But look carefully at the first two verses. Satan tempted Jesus for forty days! And we have no record of how intense that temptation was. We only know about those last three. I think what we need to take away from this is that temptation is a daily thing. We have a couple of passages in Hebrews that relate to this. “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

We can learn from this that, during those forty days, Jesus was tempted in any and every way that we could possibly be tempted. We can take comfort from that, which is the intent of the Hebrews passages, and should be strengthened by it. We might say, “That’s not fair because Jesus was God.” True, he was. But he was also man. He was human. The controversy has been brewing for decades, perhaps centuries. “Could Jesus have sinned?” Many insist that, no, he could not because of his divine nature. I believe that he could have because of his human nature. But he did not, because of his divine nature.

Take heart when you are tempted. And draw strength from Jesus.
(Thanks to Joshua Dubois, in The President’s Devotional)

Father, I thank you that we have the example of Jesus, who was tempted in every way that we are. I thank you for the divine strength that he had, and that he gives to us in our own temptations. And I thank you that, when I fail, the blood of Christ gives me forgiveness and cleansing. But I pray to find that strength that you have already given me, in Jesus.
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.

Here Together

Today is Friday, November 10, 2017. Day 21,792.

Two days until C’s birthday!!

139 days until Opening Day.

Greg Lake, who was born on this date in 1947 (died 2016), said, “‘Lucky Man’ I wrote when I was twelve years old. I wrote it when I first was given a guitar by my mother. I only knew four chords, but I used them all to write that song. And it just stayed with me, stayed in my head. I didn’t even write it on a piece of paper. I remembered it.”

The word of the day, from, is arete, a noun, meaning, “the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character.”

C had a different therapist, yesterday, who was a bit more aggressive. As a result, she has been a bit more pain all day and all night. She wound up going back to the couch last night (no I didn’t make her mad)(if that had happened, I would have been on the couch). We’ll see how today goes. Otherwise, she is getting around much better, and almost doesn’t need the walker.

C’s birthday is Sunday, but, obviously, there won’t be any big shindig this year. Just a quite “celebration” at home, and the cake that I will try to make tomorrow. We’re getting a new dishwasher for her birthday. The old one works, but it’s making some pretty horrific noises. Heck, it’s only eighteen years old! It’s the original dishwasher that came with our house.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

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
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life.

Psalm 119:145, 149
I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 56:12-13
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Psalm 86:2
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “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 and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah. 
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 
As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 
They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah. 
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Psalm 84:4-10
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

The Cry of the Church

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is “The Places You Dwell.”

Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, 
“‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? 
Did not my hand make all these things?'”

Acts 7:48-50

“Dear God, bring me to the places where you dwell.
If it is not in temples made by hand, then take me where you are.
Outside, with your creation, in the valleys, where your light breaks through darkness. With the poor and outcasts, those whom you love. In the quiet spaces, where it’s just me and you. ‘The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.’ Then, Lord, bring me to the places where you dwell. And there, let me encounter you.
(Joshua DuBois)

Father, I echo Joshua’s prayer. And then, I remember that you are everywhere, and that I don’t necessarily need you to bring me to a certain place, physically. Rather, I need you to bring me to that “place” spiritually. Today, I cry out to you. Remind me of your presence. Help me to call out to you constantly throughout this day. You are here. I am here. Let us be here together.
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.

Like Sands In An Hourglass . . .

Today is Sunday, October 29, 2017. Reformation Sunday. Day 21,780.

Two days until C’s knee-replacement surgery.

We had an awesome time at the Boo Bash last night! There were a lot of people there, and the host got on the PA system twice to announce that we were there, providing music and candy and popcorn. We also handed out free drawstring backpacks with our church’s name on them. The biggest hit was the popcorn. I helped with that for a little while, while the person who was handing that out wanted to participate in part of the Zoomba session that the YMCA led.

I wore a bloody tuxedo t-shirt, along with a long-sleeved red shirt and my black trench coat. I “topped” this off with my brown felt hat and a walking stick. What was I supposed to be? Good question. When people asked me that, I said that I was kind of a hybrid between Harry Dresden, Jim Butcher’s wizard, and Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:7-9
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4
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
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18:31
“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! 
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”

Deuteronomy 32:1-4
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. 
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. 
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 
in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 116:16-19
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

The Cry of the Church
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in me the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that I may obtain what you promise, make me love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is called, “The Long Fear.”

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

“I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.” ~ T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Joshua DuBois writes,

“The world is a fearsome thing.
Not just fear of dark alleys and bankruptcy and muggers and the meanness of love. Rather, that long fear. That fear that when we are old and gray, and go to unlock the padlock on the storehouses of our lives, and step gingerly on its creaky floor, and stoop over to gather the accomplishments we’ve been tucking away all these years . . . instead of the clang of gold and platinum, we will feel flowing through our fingers the fleeting silk of sand.
“That’s where Christ comes in. See, for those who know him, who love him, we have burned our individual storehouses to the ground. Instead, every day that we spend worshipping him and loving our neighbor, we add a newly baked brick to his storehouse, his Kingdom. It’s a building not our own, indeed. But it’s one that holds no sand.”

“Dear God, help me confront the fear of the eternal. Allow me to give that fear over to you and rest in the comfort of your love and your purpose for me. I’m not building my own house, God, but yours. And I thank you for that eternal freedom. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

This really resonates with me, especially over the last decade. I have spent a lot of days worrying about the accomplishments of my life, what I have amounted to, and I always seemed to come up empty handed. But it’s not about me and what I accomplish. I am not building my house on the sand of my own works and deeds. Rather, I am building a house on the rock of Christ Jesus, and no storm shall shake it down. I used to care way too much about my stuff. Now, it’s just that . . . “stuff.” It has no grip on me. Rather, it is Jesus Christ who grips me, and he will never let me go.

Father, I praise you for the life that you have led me into, a life that cares more about worshiping you and serving you than building up my own accomplishments. I don’t care if anyone recognizes me for anything that I do. And please help me to keep it that way. I confess, there are times when I start to edge back over into the “country of death,” and begin to fall back into attitudes that go along with that. Keep me in the “eternal country,” where it is only you that matters.
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.

His Grace Is Sufficient

Today is Saturday, October 28, 2017. Day 21,779.

Three days until C’s knee-replacement surgery.

Annie Potts, who was born on this date in 1952, said, “I’ve always declined to speak about things I don’t think are anybody’s business, and what I always get from the interviewers is, ‘Well, you know, we have to ask those things.’ I say, ‘Well, maybe you do, but I don’t have to answer them.'”

The word of the day, from, is guisard, pronounced [gahy-zerd], which means, “a person who wears a mask; mummer.”

Besides being Hug A Sheep Day (seriously), today is Make A Difference Day. Now, if you hug a sheep, you might make a difference, but there are many other things you can do to “make a difference.” They don’t all have to be “world-changing” things, either. Sometimes, the most simple things can make a difference in someone else’s life. So get out there and make a difference today.

I actually got off work on time, yesterday!! C had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, so she got home early, and picked up the ubiquitous Sonic drinks, and I stopped at Subway on the way home and picked up dinner. I was home before 6:00 PM, and by 7:00, we were pretty much finished eating. The downside of all of this is that, by 7:30, it felt like bedtime. We hung on until almost 10:00 PM, though, catching up on some TV watching.

Today, we don’t have anything planned, other than the Boo Bash at the YMCA where our church meets. This happens from 4-6 PM. C and I will be helping out. I have no clue what I will be doing. I was supposed to be playing music, but that kind of fell through. Maybe I’ll make popcorn. That could be dangerous, though, because there might not be any popcorn to hand out if I make it. Anyway, volunteering for the Boo Bash is one of the ways that we will be “making a difference” today. (See above reference to today’s “holiday.”)

The Astros battered Yu Darvish last night, and beat the Dodgers 5-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. They play again tonight. They have two games left in Houston. They could win it all if they sweep in Houston, and they just might do that. While it would be somewhat bittersweet to have the ‘Stros take the first World Series championship to Texas, at least it would still be the first World Series championship for Texas. So I’m all on board for the Astros.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety . . . God will give ear . . ., he who is enthroned from of old, Selah.

Psalm 55:16ff
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Psalm 85:7
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!
Psalm 65:4
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
Psalm 84:5
And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
Genesis 32:24-30
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

Psalm 59:16-17
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Psalm 84:2

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is called, “He Knows Our Faults.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

“The mercies of the Lord are greater than our iniquities. He can pardon you more sins that you can commit, as your malice is finite and his mercy is infinite.” ~ Saint Theodore Guerin, Journals and Letters of Mother Theodore Guerin

Joshua DuBois writes, “God would rather have us kneeling before the throne of forgiveness every day than hiding away from him in shame.” Remember the pair in the garden? God walked around “looking for them.” (As if he didn’t already know where they were.) They hid in shame, because they knew they had disobeyed him. Or maybe they hid in sheer terror because he had said that thing about “you shall surely die.”

But it’s never too late (unless we are dead) to confess our sins to him. We are never too dirty, and “he is never too far away.” Oh, how I have learned that last thing, recently. Not only is God never too far away, he is closer than I ever imagined. “Let’s approach him now, with intimate humility. He is a God who knows our faults and loves us nonetheless.”

And that is a most magnificent thing!

Father, thank you for being so close to me and making me aware of it. I pray that sin will never come between us, and that I will always be quick to recognize my sin and deal with it immediately. Your presence with me makes that so much easier. I cannot adequately thank you.
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.

Be Thou My Vision

Today is Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Day 21,775.

Seven days until C’s knee replacement surgery.

Bob Kane, who was born on this date in 1916 (died 1998), said, “It took them a while to catch on that Batman would be the greatest.”

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is pelf, which means, “money, riches.” “The glitter of guineas is like the glitter of buttercups, the chink of pelf is like the chime of bells, compared with the dreary papers and dead calculations which make the hobby of the modern miser.” (G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men, 1912)

Today is National Bologna Day. Are you full of bologna, today? And who knows why “bologna” is pronounced “baloney?” Regardless (note that I did NOT say, “irregardless”) of how it is pronounced, it’s good stuff. Good on sandwiches, good fried, even good barbecued.

Not a lot going on around here. The ID theft incident seems to be progressing smoothly. We’ve gotten a few more letters in the mail, all mailed before the incident occurred, and a form to fill out to send back to Target. I successfully froze my credit reports last Saturday. As far as I can see, there has been no more suspicious activity.

The Whirl Serious begins tonight, with the Houston Astros taking on the LA Dodgers, in LA. The fact that the series is beginning in LA marks a significant event in baseball, and the realization that a wish for which I have been wishing for at least a decade has been granted. MLB finally changed the ruling so that the team with the best record gets home field advantage for the World Series!!! The All Star game is finally meaningless! Huzzah!!

As for predictions, I will be cheering for the Astros, but I believe the Dodgers will take it in five or six games.

Now, if they would just fix the DH rule to make it fair to both leagues. As it stands, it favors the National League.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 105:4
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!
Psalm 125:4
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
Psalm 119:164
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

Psalm 103:15-16
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
Luke 12:8-9
Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! 
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 60:11-12
Lord, have mercy;
Christ, have mercy;
Lord, have mercy.

The Small Verse
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From The President’s Devotional)

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Psalm 119:36-37

“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” (Jonathan Swift, The Works of Dr. Jonathan Swift)

Joshua DuBois begins this reading, entitled “Everlasting Vision,” by saying, “If only we could place on our faces filtering glasses, which would let only goodness through.”

We would then see things like the beautiful light of the day, the smiles of friends and family, and the goodness of the goals in front of us.

What we would not see would be things like the material trivialities that pass quickly, the “momentary offenses and slights, the hurt that only lasts a measure in God’s eternal song.”

Those glasses do not exist. “But we do have a direct line into the One who controls our sight.” We can ask him for “clearer vision, free from worthless distractions and filled with everlasting things.”

“Dear God, be my vision. Help me see past and beyond. Help me see into the eternal. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

Yes, Father. that is my prayer today. Be thou my vision.
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.