In the Watches of the Night

Today is Tuesday, the twentieth of September, 2022, in the twenty-fifth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,567

Only two more days until Autumn begins!! (Which, as has been duly noted, means absolutely nothing in Texas, as it is still 90 degrees outside.)

And, once again, the high temperature for yesterday was two degrees below the predicted high of 95. We are running about six degrees higher than the average for this time of year.

Today’s high is projected to be 96. The record high for this date occurred just last year, at 100 degrees.

C and Mama are currently at Mama’s doctor appointment, as she is seeing a new doctor here in Fort Worth, for the first time. I hope they like him.

I’ll be working my half-day, this evening, from 4:15-8:15, doing shelving. C will be working from home the rest of the day, after the doctor appointment, and I will probably go out and pick up Subway for lunch today.

There were only nine baseball games, yesterday, none of which involved my two favorite teams. However, the Mets, I am told, clinched a playoff berth, yesterday, when they beat the Brewers 7-2. I read that this was their first playoff appearance since 2016. Comparatively, though, six years isn’t such a long time. According to one source, the Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, and they are on track to get a Wild Card spot, this season.

The Astros clinched their division, yesterday, to be the second team that has clinched a division, this season. However, I’m confused, because Seattle has sixteen games left, and they are fifteen games out. So that “clinching” shouldn’t happen until Houston wins their next game or Seattle loses one, as Seattle’s E# is 1. If Houston has clinched, there should be an “E” next to Seattle.

Update: I’ve dug a little more deeply into that situation. If Houston lost the rest of their games (not likely) and Seattle won the rest of theirs (also not likely) they would be tied, in which case the head-to-head record would be used to determine the record. Houston beat Seattle 12-7 this season. So there you go.

The Dodgers won again, so their chance to beat the win record is still alive. They must win fifteen of their last sixteen games. They are, of course, still atop MLB with 102-44. The Nationals and Athletics both lost, so the Nats are still on the bottom, at 51-96. The Mets have a five-game win streak going, and the Pirates, Phillies, and Diamondbacks all have four-game losing streaks. The Dodgers have a run differential of +332, and the Pirates are at -214 (the Nats are at -213).

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, our Helper, we thank you for walking among us and for letting many experience your protection. Even when we are dying, you protect and help us so that we need not pass into death but may enter into life. So may our hearts be lifted up to you. Grant that the light in us remains undimmed, and that we may come before you in sincerity. Lord God, create good out of evil. Let light dawn in the darkness. Fulfill your promise, for our hearts are not concerned with human desires but with your promise. You will carry it out, and we will be able to say, "Our faith was not in vain, our hope was not in vain. Lord our God, you have blest us a thousandfold." Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; 
his greatness no one can fathom. 
One generation commends your works to another; 
they tell of your mighty acts. 
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— 
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
(Psalms 145:3-5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the love of family and friends
  2. for the wonderful works of God, past, present, and future
  3. for my soul that desires to meditate on the Lord in the watches of the night
  4. for the steadfast love of the Lord, which is better than life
  5. for the admonishment to “be still before the Lord”

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. 
So I will bless you as long as I live;
 in your name I will lift up my hands. 
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
 and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
 when I remember you upon my bed, 
and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help, 
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
(Psalms 63:1-8 ESV)

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
(Psalms 119:148 ESV)

“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.”
(Lamentations 2:19 ESV)

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
(Luke 6:12 ESV)

Initially, I am drawn, once again, to the “steadfast love,” or chesed, of God. In this case, the psalmist (reported to be David) says that the steadfast love, or mercy, of God is better than life. This stands to reason, because without that steadfast love, there would likely be no life.

But then I am drawn to the middle verses of this psalm; verses 5-7.

I have been physically satisfied (even beyond satisfied) by “fat and rich food.” This is the comparison that David gives for his soul when he remembers the Lord in his bed at night. He speaks of meditating on the Lord during the “watches of the night.”

This made me remember one of the prayers for Compline from the Book of Common Prayer.

“Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all for your love’s sake. Amen.”

I remember reading a great book about that prayer, by Tish Harrison Warren, called Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep.

I really want to get into the habit of practicing Compline and “examen” before I go to sleep each night. Tragically, I keep forgetting. Examen is the practice of a detailed examination of the conscience, typically done at the end of the day. As a spiritual discipline, though, it goes deeper than just checking the conscience. It examines the day; what went well, what didn’t go well? What could have been better? How did I react to certain situations?

These are the kinds of things that I think about when I consider the “night watch,” or remembering God “upon my bed.” I’ve gotten out of the habit of the “bedtime prayers” that I grew up with. It is something that I really need to get back into.


“Release yourself from the bondage of your own judgment. Love yourself without condition. Love yourself through the walls of defensiveness and the darkness of your deeds. Love yourself beyond whatever you deserve for such is the love of God.” ~ Adolfo Quezada, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin


Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
(Psalms 37:7 ESV)

“Be still” is translated “rest” in the KJV. The Hebrew word is damam, which can be translated “to be dumb,” or “to be astonished,” but also means “cease,” “hold peace,” “quiet self,” “rest,” “be silent,” and so on.

Is this not the same sort of thing that happens when we remember the Lord upon our beds, meditating on Him during the watches of the night?

How many of us go to sleep at night worrying about current events or things that happened during the day that trouble us? And how many times do these worries cause us lack of sleep?

This is one of the purposes of Compline and Examen. To quiet the soul before trying to sleep. One thing I do every night (now that I think about this) is to turn on a meditation app that I have on my phone. It’s called “Abide.” They have great, Scripture-based sleep meditations. I have a set of headband-headphones that I put on (so that it doesn’t bother my wife), and I start one of the meditations. They allegedly last up to forty minutes, but I have yet to make it to the end of one of them.

This isn’t the same thing as purposeful examination of the conscience and the day that preceded, but it certainly can’t hurt anything to fall asleep listening to Scripture.

This verse, though, instructs us to not worry about evildoers or those who prosper. Eugene Peterson translated that verse this way:

Quiet down before GOD, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.
(Psalms 37:7 MSG)

In this, we are shown patience and endurance by the Holy Spirit. Waiting requires great patience; resting in the Lord requires great patience and faith.


Father, help me to wait and rest better. I pray for Your Holy Spirit to remind me, each night, to examine the day, to check my conscience, to see how I could have done better, and also how I could have done worse. Help me to remember You on my bed, and meditate in the watches of the night. If I have trouble going back to sleep, simply draw my thoughts and meditations toward You in prayer.

Thank You for these words of worship and wisdom, and help me to apply them to my life today.

Even so, please come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.” ~ Martin Luther’s Evening Prayer

Grace and peace, friends.

Today Forever

Today is Monday, the nineteenth of September, 2022, in the twenty-fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul!

Day 23,566

Only three days until Autumn begins!

The Queen’s funeral is going on, as I type this, and S is in the living room watching it. I suppose it is fitting that it is happening on September 19, which is already a sad day for me, as it is the day that Rich Mullins was killed in an auto accident, twenty-five years ago. This all rather overshadows “Talk Like A Pirate Day.”

We had a nice day, yesterday. The church gathering was good, and we had Applebee’s for lunch afterward. We watched an episode of Call the Midwife (C and Mama have been watching them, but I hadn’t seen any, yet) during lunch, then spent the rest of the day relaxing (after taking out the trash bins).

The high temperature yesterday wound up being three degrees below the predicted high of 95. Does that count as a cold front? That’s four degrees higher than the average for the day. Today’s high is projected at 95 again, as is tomorrow’s. Saturday’s high is 97, and then it begins to drop, going down below 90 for the last three days of the ten-day forecast. Unfortunately, Saturday is the day we plan to take the truck to Mineral Wells to move furniture. Hopefully, the truck doesn’t fall through, this time.

The record high temp for today is, once again, 98, back in 2005.

The Texas Rangers, after losing again to the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3, have been officially eliminated from any hopes of playoff contention for this season. They are 63-83 for the season, with sixteen games remaining. They are 32.5 games out of first place and 17.5 out of the Wild Card race. And they dropped back to fourth place, a game behind the Angels. They are off today, and begin a series with the Angels, in Arlington, tomorrow.

The Boston Red Sox came back with a vengeance and beat the Royals 13-3, yesterday. This puts them at 71-75 for the season, with sixteen games remaining. They are still in last place in the AL East, 5.5 behind the Orioles. They are 17 games out of first place and are now officially eliminated from the division race. They are 9.5 out of the Wild Card race and their WCE# is 8. They, too, are off today, and begin a series in Cincinnati tomorrow.

The Astros and Dodgers are still the only two teams to have clinched playoff berths, and the Dodgers are the only team to have clinched their division.

The Dodgers kept their chances alive with another win, yesterday, to make their MLB-leading record 101-44. They must win sixteen of their remaining seventeen to break the win record. The Nationals and Athletics both lost, so the Nationals remain the worst, at 51-95, 1.5 behind the A’s.

The Mets have the longest current win streak, at four games. The Pirates and Phillies both have four-game losing streaks. The Dodgers now have a run differential of +329, and the Pirates are at -214. The Rangers are at -22, and the Red Sox gained back the nine runs they lost yesterday (plus one) and are now at -34.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God and our Father, we thank you for all the light you let shine on earth to gladden our hearts. Your light shows us how to live in your creation with open eyes and open hearts, accepting in a childlike way all the good gifts from your hand. How much good you send to many sorrowful hearts, and how much strengthening to those in weakness, poverty, and sickness! Grant that we may recognize what comes from you, that we are not cast down in spirit but mount up again and again on wings like eagles. May we learn to say at all times, "Through how much need has not our merciful God spread out his wings to protect us!" Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
(Exodus 19:4-6 ESV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:30-31 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the light from God that shines to gladden our hearts and strengthen us in our sorrows and weaknesses
  2. that the Lord abounds in steadfast love (mercy) to all who call upon Him
  3. that He is merciful and gracious and slow to anger (shouldn’t we be the same??)
  4. for every good and perfect gift that comes down from the Father of lights
  5. that my thoughts are drawn toward eternity

So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
(John 19:16-22 ESV)

I have frequently wondered about the eternal destiny of Pilate. He was very close to believing, I think. He knew there was something more to Jesus than what was visible.


Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. 
Gladden the soul of your servant, 
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, 
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 
In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. 
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, 
nor are there any works like yours. 
All the nations you have made 
shall come and worship before you, O Lord, 
and shall glorify your name. 
For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth;
 unite my heart to fear your name.
 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, 
and I will glorify your name forever. 
For great is your steadfast love toward me; 
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
(Psalms 86:3-13 ESV)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, 
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 
Turn to me and be gracious to me; 
give your strength to your servant, 
and save the son of your maidservant.
(Psalms 86:15-16 ESV)

This has long been a favorite psalm of mine, and I can’t remember how long ago it was that I chose verse 11 as my “life verse.” That’s the verse in italics, above. It’s probably been a little over twenty years, because I seem to remember being in this house when I did that, and we have lived her for 23 years, now.

I’m still working, or should I say He is still working, on that united heart bit. And as for giving thanks with my whole heart, I’m still working on that one, too. What I want to focus on this morning, though is that steadfast love that is mentioned in this psalm. The word that is used in the Hebrew language is chesed. The KJV translates that word as “mercy.” The Strong’s entry on that word is as follows: “kindness; by implication (towards God) piety; rarely (by opposition) reproof, or (subjectively) beauty:—favour, good deed(-liness, -ness), kindly, (loving-) kindness, merciful (kindness), mercy, pity, reproach, wicked thing.”

Then verse 15 also tells us that God is merciful and gracious and slow to anger. As I read this psalm, this morning, my thoughts were drawn to questions about our own behavior in this world. If God shows mercy, steadfast love, and is merciful and gracious and slow to anger, are we not directed to be like Him?


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
(James 1:17 ESV)


And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
(1 John 5:11 ESV)

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:28-30 ESV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)

“Eternal life.”

How often do we consider the words “eternal” and “eternity?” The first definition of eternity is somewhat oxymoronic. “Infinite or unending time,” it says. The fact that it includes the word “time” makes me chuckle. I prefer the second definition, which, to me makes it clearer: “a state to which time has no application; timelessness.”

The first thing I always type in this blog is the date. Many people are interested in what “holiday” is featured for the day. Some holidays are official, some not so much. For example, today is “Talk Like A Pirate Day.” Shiver me timbers. I also remember this as the day that Rich Mullins died. It will, from this day forward, be remembered as the day that Queen Elizabeth II was buried.

We remember birthdays. We mark years. I remember significant years in my life.

In eternity, none of those will matter. Eternity will be one infinite day. It will be “today” forever. There will be no more tomorrow, and there will be no more yesterday. Or, perhaps “yesterday” will be remembered as a vague time when we were walking on earth. I have no idea if we will remember this life.

Great. Now my brain hurts.

The burdens of time, these “light momentary afflictions” that we must endure, are temporary. When we worry about them, we do ourselves a grave disservice (no pun intended). We steal joy from ourselves by allowing ourselves to be ruled by them. Yes, we must pay attention, and we must, to a degree, abide by them. It would be to my best interest to be at work on time on days when I am scheduled.

I find some words of Paul in Galatians to be quite interesting.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years!
(Galatians 4:9-10 ESV)

But, then, it is also important to note that, when Paul was writing these letters to the churches, they were all quite sure that Jesus would be returning in a couple of years, at the most.

“Eternal life.” Today forever. My soul rejoices at the hope!


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

Andrew Murray focuses on meditation, from this passage. He says, “Through meditation the heart holds and appropriates the Word of God.” The intellect takes in the words when we read, but they must get into the heart, and the way this happens is through meditation.

It is important to meditate on God’s Word because “whatever the heart truly believes, it embraces with love and joy and thus influences the life.”

Meditation was a lost art, for a long time, in modern Christianity. It is still shunned by many well-meaning Christians because of its Eastern implications. But meditation was encouraged, even demanded, as far back as Old Testament times.

But before we try to meditate, we must “present ourselves before God.” You see, the words on the pages of a Bible mean nothing without His presence, without the influence of the Holy Spirit. They are just words. “It has no power to bless apart from Him.” As it brings us into His presence, then we can begin to meditate on it and hide it away in our hearts. This is done in “quiet restfulness,” during which our minds need not expend energy, as we do in “study.”

And then, meditation leads to prayer, as it, by nature, “provides subjects for prayer.” I can attest to the truth of this, as I have many times been led into prayer by meditating on a specific passage of Scripture. In fact, every day, in this blog, I am led to prayer by the passages on which I meditate.

Today, I’m meditating/contemplating/pondering eternity.


Father, my soul rejoices, this morning, as I consider eternal life, and the implications within. Much of what we believe about eternity is speculation, as You have not provided an abundance of information about it. You have told us that there would be no pain, no sickness, and no tears, which is what causes me to question whether we will, in fact, remember our lives on earth. Such knowledge is too high for me, I cannot attain it.

All I know for sure is that I look forward to it with great anticipation. And I know that this eternal life comes from Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Word, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All praise to You for giving us this life, Father, and for drawing us into it as You have.

As we grow closer to the time when this will come to pass, I pray that You draw us away from earthly things that do not matter, special days, years, and even memories. Not that I want to forget loved ones or anything like that. I just don’t want to be focusing on things that relate to time, which will no longer be a factor in our lives. I love the concept that was brought into my mind today, the idea that, when we enter eternity, it will be an endless day, it will be “today” forever.

Even so, please come quickly, Lord Jesus!


He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Toward More Humility

Today is Sunday, the eighteenth of September, 2022, in the 25th week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,565

Only four more days until Autumn begins!

We had a great time, last night, as we celebrated a friend’s birthday. There were people there whom we have not seen for quite some time, so, as S commented, it was like a reunion. The food was good, but the fellowship was “gooder.” Our friend loved my gift to her, which was all of the Jim Butcher Dresden Files books that I owned. Four of them were special editions, signed and numbered. I didn’t have quite all of them in physical form, as I had read two or three in ebook form. I believe she has only read the first one, so that should keep her busy for a bit.

Today, we have our church gathering at 10:15-ish, although I’m not sure how many of us will be there. I guess we shall see. As far as I know, there are no other plans for today.

Yesterday was pretty busy at the library. There was a steady stream of patrons, especially in the afternoon, and, at one point, I turned to my co-worker and opined that it sounded like a mall in there. It’s good for the library to have that much traffic, and it makes the day go by faster.

Yesterday’s high got up to 91, the first day over 90 in almost ten days. True to form, though, that was two degrees lower than the predicted high of 93. Today’s high is projected to be 95, and eight of the next ten days have expected highs of over 90.

The Texas Rangers failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities, last night, and lost to Tampa 5-1. This puts them at 63-82 for the season. With seventeen games left, they are in third place in the AL West, 31.5 out of first place, and 17.5 out of the Wild Card race. Their WCE# is 1. They play Tampa again today, at the Juice Box, at 12:10 CDT.

The Bost Red Sox were embarrassed by the KC Royals, last night, losing 9-0. The Royals. A team that is thirty games below .500. Oh, well. The Sox are 70-75 for the season, and with seventeen games remaining, they are 17 games out of first place, which puts their division E# at 1. They are 10.5 out of the Wild Card race, with a WCE# of 8. But if they keep playing like it no longer matters (and it kind of does, still), that won’t last very long. They play the Royals again today, in Boston, at 1:35 EDT.

Houston has now joined the Dodgers in clinching a playoff berth. However, they still haven’t clinched their division, as Seattle still has a slim chance.

The Dodgers won game number 100, yesterday, keeping their chances of breaking the win record alive. Their MLB-leading record is 100-44. They must win seventeen of their last eighteen games to break the record. The Nationals won again, but so did the Athletics, so the Nats stay on the bottom, 1.5 behind the A’s. The Mets, Cardinals, and Guardians all have three-game win streaks going. The Reds, Phillies, Pirates, and Twins are all on three-game losing streaks. The Dodgers now have a +328 run differential, and the Pirates are back on the bottom with -210. There are now eight teams eliminated from any chance of playoffs, the Cubs being the most recent.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you that you have given us your glorious future as the basis for our lives. We thank you that on this foundation we can forget our present troubles and believe that the power of good can move us today to oppose sin, death, and everything evil. Free our hearts from all burdens, and grant that we may have courage to wait patiently for the great help which is to come. Grant that what is happening in the world today may somehow help toward the solution of all the problems. We praise your name, our Father in the heavens. We praise you for the good you do for us each day and for the light you will shed one day on everything on earth, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
(Revelation 21:21-23 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the hope of our future inheritance, that great city that needs neither sun nor moon because the Glory of God gives it light
  2. for the hope of future grace
  3. that God keeps teaching me about humility (obviously, I haven’t gotten it right, yet)
  4. that I have no righteousness of my own, nothing that I can call my own; all belongs to God; all comes from Jesus
  5. for friends and family, and reunions

“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
(John 19:10-12 NIV)

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, 
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; 
but let them not turn back to folly. 
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, 
that glory may dwell in our land. 
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; 
righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, 
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
(Psalms 85:8-11 ESV)

Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 NIV)

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
(1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)


It is interesting to me, how often I keep coming back around to these Scriptures about humility and seeking the good of others. Pride and arrogance are equated with evil and perverted speech. But humility is equated with the fear of the Lord.

How do we get to a place where we can, as Paul encourages us, “pray continually,” or, as the more popular phrase reads, “pray without ceasing?”

“If we seek to pray without ceasing simply because we want to appear very pious, we will never attain to it. It is by forgetting ourselves and yielding our lives to God that our heart’s capacity is enlarged to know God’s will.” (Andrew Murray)

People want to know God’s will for their lives. They don’t know because they aren’t looking for it. It’s right there. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” That’s God’s will for our lives. Or at least part of it.

But we can’t get to that place of praying continually until we embrace the previous Scriptures that instruct us toward humility; until we can “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.”

This comes back to that idea of confusing the struggle, too. When our whole life becomes wrapped up in God, in looking to Christ for our life and righteousness, when we truly realize that we have nothing to call our own, then we are close to being able to grasp the concept of humility and seeking the good of others instead of our own “rights.” Then, maybe we can be successful at the idea of praying continually.

“To forget oneself and to live for God and His kingdom among men leads to prayer without ceasing.” (Murray)


Father, this keeps coming around, and I have to consider the implications for myself. I can’t just point fingers at others without applying the lessons to myself, as well. There is always more that I need to be learning in regard to this journey, and this relationship. You are always here, always near me, always pointing me toward greater humility.

But self gets in the way, so often. I fall to the temptations of pride and arrogance, and begin to think that I am better than someone else because of my beliefs and my practices. But I’m not. I’m no better than anyone. I am not better than the “vilest offender.” I have no righteousness other than the righteousness of Christ in me, and that is pure grace, a gift from You, that no one should haven anything about which to boast.

So keep bringing it up, Father, because I haven’t gotten it right, yet.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
(Proverbs 8:12-13 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Impossible Becomes Possible

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

May the peace of Christ reign within you today!

Day 23,564

It’s going to be a busy day, today. First, I am scheduled to work my eight-hour shift in Circulation at the library. Then, immediately after, I will be driving to a friend’s house to help celebrate her birthday, which was Thursday. The event begins at 5:00 PM, so I will be driving straight there, and meeting C and S at the house.

Yesterday was a pretty normal day in the Computer Center. It wasn’t very busy, but there were a handful of patron interactions. I have no idea if it was very busy at the circ desk.

For the last four days, now, the high temperature has consistently been two degrees below the predicted high. Yesterday, it was predicted to be 91, and we topped out at 89. This is one degree above the average temp for the day. Today’s high is forecast at 93, and we have mid-nineties predicted for nine of the next ten days, which is disappointing. Fall-like weather will come, soon enough, but, since this is north central Texas, it will be gone too soon. Yesterday, the director of our library said that it would be convertible weather soon (top-down), and I said, “for about a week, right?”

The record high for today’s date is 98 again, in 1997.

The Texas Rangers managed to get a win against the Tampa Bay Rays, last night, 4-3. Nathaniel Lowe got his 24th home run of the year. Martin Perez got his 12th win. This puts the Rangers at 63-81 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, 31.5 games out of first and 17 out of the Wild Card race. With only 18 games left, their WCE# is 2. I feel quite confident that they will lose at least 2 of those last 18. They play Tampa again, today, in the Juice Box, at 7:10 PM CDT.

The Boston Red Sox barely beat the KC Royals (but barely is enough, for a W is a W), 2-1. This puts them at 70-74 for the season. They are in last place in the AL East, 17 games out of first place (E# 2), and 10 games out of the Wild Card race (WCE# 9). They also have 18 games remaining. I suppose they still have a slim chance, but it would require them to win most of their last 18 and the at least one team ahead of them to lose most of theirs. Not likely. They play KC again today, in Boston, at 4:10 PM EDT.

And this happened, last night.

With only two more left to reach 700, I really hope he does it at home.

The Dodgers won, yesterday, which puts them at 99-44. They need to win 18 of their last 19 to beat the win record. They are still the only team to clinch their division, but the Astros clinched a playoff berth, last night. Seattle could mathematically still win the division, but the Astros would really have to tank. I can hope, right? All of the other divisions are still way too close to call.

The Nationals won a game, but still have the worst MLB record, at 50-94. They are 1.5 behind the Athletics. The Astros now have the current longest win streak, at six games. The Royals and Angels both have four-game losing streaks going. The Dodgers are at +323 for run differential, and the Nationals are at -210 (with the Pirates only four runs ahead of them).

There are now seven teams eliminated from any playoff contention.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, you fill heaven and earth with your Spirit and allow us to share in your gifts. We thank you for all you have given us, for all you are giving and will give. We are poor and needy; all people are poor and needy in spite of their striving, longing, and seeking. Only you, through your Spirit, can awaken something in us to help us go toward your goal. Keep us from being caught up in what men do. The greatest help for our hearts is what you do, and each of us can tell something about it. Each of us has received help beyond anything we had hoped or thought of. How much you have done for us! How much you are doing for the nations! Yes, we thank you for this present time. Although our lives often seem hopeless and full of sorrow, your powers are still living among men, working for their good and awaking them to new life. The time will surely come when our hearts will be released from their hunger and we can be filled with the life from above, which you give us in Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin
  2. that by the Holy Spirit, God awakens something within us to help us reach His goals for us
  3. that we are allowed to share in God’s gifts
  4. that my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God (Psalm 84)
  5. that what is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18)

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
(John 18:25-27 ESV)

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! 
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; 
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
(Psalms 84:1-2 ESV)
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. 
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; 
the LORD bestows favor and honor. 
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
(Psalms 84:10-12 ESV)

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
(Psalms 51:7 ESV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. 
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
 your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
 and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalms 23:1-6 ESV)
"For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 
Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" 
But he said, "What is impossible with man is possible with God."
(Luke 18:25-27 ESV)

Simon Peter denied that he knew Jesus, three times. He gets a pretty bad rap for this. As if any of us would have been different.

But let’s consider something else. We tend to look somewhat judgmentally upon the disciples in some of the accounts of their actions and attitudes. They bicker among themselves. Who is the greatest? Can we sit at your right hand? What about this guy??

Here’s the thing. These guys may have been as young as twelve years old when Jesus chose them as disciples. We don’t know how old they were; we only know the practices of rabbis and their apprentices, and it was not uncommon for them to select their apprentices at a relatively young age.

So Simon Peter could have been as young as fifteen or sixteen when he denied Jesus three times. How many teenagers do you know that would be more responsible? Hmm??

But that’s just a side topic for today. That’s not my “big idea,” if you will. It’s actually something I thought of yesterday when I read the account of the first denial, but then forgot to include in my writing.

You see, Jesus restored Peter, later, and then the Holy Spirit made him a powerhouse of a preacher, with confidence through the roof. And this is one of those things that, while seemingly “impossible with men,” is “possible with God.”

How does God accomplish these things? Well, for starters, He’s God, and we’re not. But, besides that, there is this thing called “grace.” “God can do for us what appears to be beyond our reach,” says Andrew Murray. Dallas Willard defined grace as God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Remember yesterday, when I wrote that we cannot make ourselves whole-hearted? Right. God has to do that, and that is part of grace, when He does something for us that we cannot do ourselves.

One way that this all comes about is through the concept of abiding, which I have also been writing about, this week. Remember a couple days ago, I quoted Andrew Murray as saying, “The Christian life is not a struggle to live rightly but rather resting in Christ and finding in Him our life and our righteousness.”

That statement really resonated with me, and has stuck with me. In our lives, it all depends on the relationship that is maintained with the Lord. “God must be working and we must be receiving from God through trust and obedience.” (Murray) If we are not understanding this, we begin to “try harder” with our own efforts, and we usurp God’s role in our lives.

This is where meditating on a passage such as Psalm 23 can be very helpful. “He makes me lie down . . .” “. . . still waters.” “He restores my soul.” All of these things sound very restful and peaceful to me. It sounds like abiding. It sounds like “resting in Christ and finding in Him our life and our righteousness.”

By grace, God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. When we try to do it ourselves, things don’t go well. But what is impossible for us is possible for God.


Father, I thank You for the truths You have been revealing (or, should I say, “re-revealing,” because I’ve seen them all before) to me, this week. I pray for consistency in living them out. Help me to rest in Christ and receive my life and righteousness from Him, realizing that I can do nothing on my own, and that, by grace, You will do for me what I cannot do for myself.

May my prayers reflect this attitude, as well. Help me to pray with expectation; expectation that You will do the impossible for the people for whom I am praying (including myself). May Your blessings fall on us, Lord, and may Your love be channeled through me onto everyone I come in contact with. Let them see Your love, Lord. Help us have a love revolution.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Teach me your way, O LORD, 
that I may walk in your truth; 
unite my heart to fear your name. 
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, 
with my whole heart, 
and I will glorify your name forever.
(Psalms 86:11-12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Wrong Struggle

Today is Thursday, the fifteenth of September, 2022, in the 24th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ enfold you today!

Day 23,562

Seven days until Autumn begins!

I’m going to have lunch with C, today, since I don’t have to work today. I’m not sure what we will have, but it might be Fred’s Phillies.

The Texas Rangers lost to the Oakland Athletics, 8-7, last night. The sad thing about that is that they were ahead 5-1, at one point, and then 7-4. But their two most inconsistent pitchers struck again, and they lost another one run game. They are now 62-81 for the season, but still managed to stay in third place in the AL West. They are 31 games out of first place and 17.5 out of the Wild Card race. For some reason, the MLB standings page is no longer showing elimination numbers, so I don’t know what the WCE# is for Texas. They are off today, and will be in Tampa Bay, in the worst stadium in the history of baseball, tomorrow. They have nineteen games left.

The Boston Red Sox lost both games in a two-game series with New York, losing 5-3 on three unearned runs, last night. They are 69-74 for the season, and will likely finish in last place in the AL East. What a disappointing season. I can’t remember, but it seems like they were at least close to first place, at one point in the season. I know they at least were in the running for the Wild Card race, at one point. They are 18 games out of first place and 10.5 out of the Wild Card race. They are also off today, will face KC tomorrow, in Boston. They also have nineteen games left.

The current playoff picture looks the same as it has for a while, now. In the AL, we have Houston, New York, and Cleveland leading their divisions. The three Wild Card spots are currently occupied by Toronto, Seattle, and Tampa Bay, in that order. Baltimore, with twenty games remaining, is four games out. The White Sox are 6.5 out, and the Twins are 7.5 out. The White Sox and Twins, however, have a slim chance of winning the division, still.

In the NL, LA, NY, and St. Louis lead their divisions, with Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Diego holding the three Wild Card spots. Milwaukee is only two games out, while the Giants are a whopping nine games behind. Atlanta is only a half game behind the Mets, though, so that division is still up in the air, so to speak.

Albert Pujols still has 697 home runs. There’s another cool story in St. Louis, though. Last night, Adam Wainright and Yadier Molina started the game against the Brewers, which was the 325th time that pitcher/catcher combination played together. That surpassed the previous duo of Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan (1963-1975).

The Dodgers lost a game, but still lead MLB with their 98-44 record. They are also not only the only team to clinch a playoff spot, but are also the first team to clinch their division. With twenty games left, they must win nineteen of them to beat the win record. I’m not betting on that. The Nationals remain on the bottom, with 49-94. With Oakland’s win over Texas last night, the Nats are now three games behind the Athletics.

The Guardians continue to streak, pushing for that division win. They have won six consecutive games, now. The Reds continue to streak, as well, but the bad kind, having lost six in a row. The Dodgers’ run differential is at +318, and Nationals are now at -211. The Pirates have won four in a row, so they are twelve runs ahead of the Nats, now. The Rangers are at -17, and the Red Sox are at -36.

Weather-wise, we continue to have mild days, and the highs keep coming out to be a degree or two lower than predicted. You won’t get any complaints from me about that! Yesterday’s high was 88, and was projected at 90. The low was 66, which is the average for that date. Today’s high is predicted at 88. After today, we have nine days of low-to-mid nineties, with 89 on 9/24, which is the day we are now planning on taking the truck to Mineral Wells.

The record high for today is 97, back in 2019, and the record low, from 1993, is 41! Wow. That’s pretty chilly for a September morn.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you for allowing us to come to you and to stand before your face. We thank you for helping us throughout our life on earth, for strengthening our faith in you and our trust in all you do. Bless us and give us courage. May your light shine out among the peoples so that they recognize your will. May your light shine out so that your name may be praised and we can rejoice in the new time you give us. For you will be at work and you will accomplish it. Even when we do not know what will become of our time, you know what our time needs, and you will carry out your will. You will let your name be honored. You will bring your kingdom, and you will change everything for the good. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the very word of the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
(Isaiah 55:8–9 NEB)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the ways and thoughts of the Lord, infinitely higher than mine
  2. for the help and strength God gives me in this life, and for His light that shines out among all people
  3. for the confidence that, even though we do not know what will come in our time, that God’s will will be accomplished
  4. that God thought of me and planned my life before the very foundations of the earth
  5. that, together with God, we can do all things

“For You This Day,” by Daryl Madden

More than 10,000
Years ago
I thought of you
And loved you so

And I adored
You, everyday
A joy to craft
Your DNA

I took my time
Your soul, prepare
Blessed each cell
Count every hair

And all has led
Unto this place
And in this time
You’re sent with grace

Come find the joy
Within my way
What I’ve prepared
For you this day

This poem gave me chill bumps, this morning. Please check out Daryl’s site at the link provided.

“Joy Is Rising,” by S. Michaels/LightWriters

You can do all things through Me
together, let us do this…
with great joy, the time is now

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

Another mention of joy. Such encouraging words. Consider . . . with God all things are possible. “Together, let us do this.” Please check out Susan’s site at the link provided.


When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
(John 17:1-3 ESV)

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.”
(John 17:9-10 ESV)

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
(John 17:20-23 ESV)

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
(Psalms 82:3-4 ESV)

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
(Hebrews 7:25 ESV)


What is Jesus Christ to you? What is He to me?

If He is not everything to us, then He is not enough. If we see Him as everything, He is more than enough.

“The Christian life is not a struggle to live rightly but rather resting in Christ and finding in Him our life and our righteousness.” (Andrew Murray)

I love that quote. Read it again. And then read it again, and think on it, ponder it, consider it.

And while we are thinking on that, let’s also consider that mention of intercession. Jesus “always lives to make intercession . . .”

Did you know that Jesus prayed for you? Not only do we have this verse in Hebrews, which puts it in present tense, but we have His very words in John 17, in that “high priestly prayer,” which I like to call the “real Lord’s Prayer.”

Note that Jesus said He was not praying for the “world.” He was praying for His disciples. First, He was praying for the eleven that were remaining after Judas had done his “job.” But then? Then He prayed for you and for me!

And He continues to do so, according to the writer of Hebrews.

Now, back to this idea from Andrew Murray. If we consider what he says about the “Christian life,” then prayer becomes “not a matter of strain or anxious care but rather an experience of what Christ does through us. It is a participation in the life of Christ, which ascends to the Father as prayer. We can begin to pray not only trusting in the merits of Jesus and in the intercession by which our unworthy prayers are made acceptable, but in that union by which He prays in us and we in Him.”

This is all truly mind-boggling, if you think about it.

We (humans) have made the struggle in the Christian life to be all about doing and not doing. We have made it about “right living.” We are no better than the Pharisees in the New Testament, who made “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy” into literally thousands of petty little rules to follow.

This is not to say that “right living” isn’t important. But it is not the primary struggle. When we make the struggle about that, we become legalistic. We stand in the pulpit and condemn Christians who would dare to view an R-rated movie (I’m not making that up, I heard it said in a sermon). We shout from the pulpit that “you can’t be a Christian and vote Democrat in America!” I’m not making that one up either.

The last time I checked, the only qualification for being a Christian is believing in Jesus. My opinion about anything else doesn’t figure into that, whatsoever.

I shudder to think what the response might be if I were to try an experiment on social media and post, “You can’t be a Christian and _________.”

But I digress. You see, this is not the struggle, even though we seem to have made it so. As Murray so eloquently stated, the struggle is abiding in Christ, resting in Him, and finding our life and righteousness to be in Him. If I can succeed in that, the “right living” will take care of itself. But, alas . . . we westerners have, as usual, put the proverbial cart before the horse.

Take encouragement, as I am, this morning, that Jesus, our Savior, not only interceded for us a couple thousand years ago, but continues to do so, as He sits at the right hand of the Father. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit also intercedes for us!

That’s it. There is nothing else to say after that.


Father, my heart is full, this morning, as I consider these truths. I confess that, all too often, I have fallen prey to the legalism that comes with making the struggle of our lives be about following rules and right living. But then I read these words that remind me that my Savior prayed for me! And that my Savior continues to pray for me! And the Holy Spirit prays for me!

Father, thank You! I praise You! And, at the same time, I hang my head in shame, because there have been too many times when I have failed to remember these things. It’s not like I’ve never read those verses before. I’ve probably read John 17 literally hundreds of times. And I’m sure that I have made note of the fact that Jesus prayed for all of us who would believe because of the testimony of that handful of disciples with which Jesus started the Revolution.

Help us, Lord! We are in desperate need of Your help, today. We are fractured and splintered, and have been for centuries. People have made plenty of excuses for the many “denominations” into which Christianity has been divided. But it is tragic. We have not succeeded in being “one.” We need Your Spirit, Lord, to intervene. Now, more than ever, it needs to be seen that Your Church is united. Yet it seems to be more divided than ever before. Help us, Lord. May the prayers of Jesus Christ be answered in their fullness.

Give us the wisdom to make our struggle be about abiding and resting in Christ, and receiving our life and righteousness from Him, not from trying harder to live right.

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
(John 15:7 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

A Pattern for Abiding

Today is Tuesday, the thirteenth of September, 2022, in the 24th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ unite us all in harmony and love!

Day 23,560

There are only nine more days until my favorite season begins. The Autumnal Equinox is on September 22, this year. And soon, it will be my favorite month, the month of October. Our wedding anniversary falls in October, and C and I have a weekend planned, back in Glen Rose at our favorite cabin on the Paluxy River. We will be there, October 7-10.

The temperature reached 85, yesterday afternoon, a degree shy of the predicted 86. There was no rain, and there is none predicted over the next ten days. The highs are all 90 or above (none higher than 93), until September 22, when the predicted high is only 87. The record high for today’s date is 105, back in 2011.

The Texas Rangers split the double-header with Miami, yesterday. They won the first game 3-2, but lost the second 10-6. That makes them 61-80 on the season, and it got them in a tie with LA for third place. They are 30 games out of first place (eliminated from division contention), and 18 out of the Wild Card race (WCE# is 5). Today, they are back home to play the Athletics, at 7:05 CDT. Cole Ragans, who threw three innings of no-hit ball last time, will start. The Rangers have 21 games remaining.

The Boston Red Sox did not play, yesterday, and will begin a series with the Yankees tonight, in Boston, at 7:10 PM EDT. The Red Sox are 69-72 on the season, 16 games out of first place (E# 6), and ten games out of the Wild Card race (WCE# 13). They also have 21 games remaining.

The Dodgers, at 97-43 (MLB leading), are still the only team to have mathematically clinched a playoff berth. They have not clinched the division, yet, but the E# for San Diego, the second place team, is only 2. The Nationals are at 49-92, trailing MLB, but only two games behind the Athletics. The Cleveland Guardians have a four-game win streak going, while the Nationals, Braves (uh-oh), Rays (YAY!), Twins, and Reds all have three-game losing streaks. The Dodgers lead the run differential column, with +316, while the Pirates still have the bottom, with -211. The Rangers dropped to -17 with that second game, yesterday, and the Red Sox remain at -33.

Today being Tuesday, I will be at the library, shelving, from 4:15-8:15, this evening. This is also my “busy” week, so I will be working eight hours in circulation both tomorrow and Saturday. My Computer Center day is now Friday, every week.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we know that we are your children, and in this certainty we gather in your presence as a community. Grant us your Spirit, the Spirit who works in us and frees us from the many evils that still torment us. Be with us and let the power of your great grace and mercy be in our hearts so that we may gain the victory and lead joyful lives on earth in spite of our many shortcomings, blunders, and sins. For your grace is great, much greater than all our failings. You are our God and Father, and we want to keep our consciences clear today and always through your grace. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
For it is by his grace you are saved, through trusting him; it is not your own doing. It is God's gift, not a reward for work done. There is nothing for anyone to boast of. 
(Ephesians 2:8–9 NEB)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the power of God’s great grace and mercy in my life, that I might lead a joyful life here on earth, in spite of my imperfections
  2. for God’s gift of grace, by which I am saved
  3. for the unspeakable love that invites me to come and converse freely with God
  4. for the privilege of abiding in Christ
  5. that His power is made perfect in my weakness, about which I will gladly boast

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you."
(John 15:4-14 ESV)

Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
(Psalms 80:7 ESV)

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

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalms 37:4 ESV)

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
(Proverbs 16:1-3 ESV)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6 ESV)


“Abide in me,” says Jesus. I’ve discussed what “abide” means, in previous entries. It means to dwell, or live, in something, usually for an extended period of time. The NIV translates it “remain,” which isn’t a bad rendering of the word, either. The idea is to stay, to remain, to dwell, for a long time, in this case, preferably, permanently.

What joy it is to abide! What a privilege to be invited to do so! “As you enter a time of private prayer, let your first focus be to give thanks to God for the unspeakable love that invites you to come to Him and to converse freely with Him.” (Andrew Murray)

What I am attempting to do, every morning, here, is exactly that; to abide. My ritual remains relatively constant, although the appearance in this forum may change, from time to time. I begin with a prayer. Then I enter into a time of Bible reading/study. I seldom do any literal “study,” these days, as I have come to believe that that isn’t as important as I used to think. I realize that may sound like heresy to some . . . “study to show thyself approved,” and so on.

I rather enjoy the closing words of Ecclesiastes:

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
(Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 ESV)

I will also point out that the word translated “study” in 2 Timothy 2:15, is only rendered so in the KJV. Both the NIV and the ESV say “Do your best.” The NLT says “work hard,” and the MSG says “concentrate.” All of these are acceptable translations, based on what I can tell from the Greek word in the text.

What I believe is that meditation and contemplation are as good as or better than literal “study,” whatever that means. Most people, when they speak of “study,” think it means to sit down and look at a passage of Scripture and read tons of commentaries about it and try to learn everything about it that they can. I suppose there is nothing wrong with this. However, I know one person who has studied very hard and probably knows the Bible better than anyone that I know. His heart, however, does not reflect intimate knowledge of the Trinity. He is not a very nice person. That, to me, is tragic, and it is why I believe that meditating on the Scriptures is at least as helpful, if not more so, than “study.” And you can work hard at meditation and contemplation, too.

Here’s what Murray says:

“Prepare yourself for prayer by Bible study. Read a few verses. Take what you readily understand and apply it. Then ask the Father to enlighten all of the passage to your heart and make it applicable.” (Emphasis added)

What he calls “Bible study” sounds a lot like meditation and contemplation to me.

And that’s what I try to do, here. After reading the Scripture passages that I quote above, I then spend a few moments sussing them out, generally typing while I’m thinking. Sometimes I use material from the various devotional books, but, lately, outside of those quote from Murray, it’s my own thinking emerging from my fingertips.

That may or may not be a good thing. But I tend to look at it as a form of meditation.

Then, I turn to prayer. The prayers that I type in here are generally related to what I have contemplated. There are also prayers from individuals that I lift up, as they have requested. I should probably do more of the bit where Murray suggests that we “Remember His greatness, holiness, and love.” He also recommends that prayers be specific. I try to do that, as well. “Let your prayer be specific, originating either from the Word you have just read or from spiritual needs that you are sensing at the time.”

One thing that is important, though. This prayer that begins in the private place should be carried out into the world. This does not, in my opinion, contradict the words of Jesus. Remember, in context, Jesus is warning His disciples against praying for show, as “the hypocrites” do. When we take the spirit of prayer out into the world, we are doing what Paul tells us at the end of 1 Thessalonians, praying “without ceasing.” We begin here, in the private room. But we don’t leave it there; we don’t stop there.


Father, it is truly a joy to be able to do this; to abide (help me to be more consistent at this), to pray (help me, there, also), to meditate on Your Word and to consider the greatness of Your mercy, love, and grace. When I consider all of these things, along with the moon, the stars, the magnificent heavens, along with the mountains and oceans that dwarf us on earth, I sing, along with the psalmist, “What is man that You are mindful of him?”

It is truly amazing that You, the Creator of all things, condescend to fellowship with us, Your creation. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too high; I cannot attain it.

I thank You that You have placed it in my heart to desire to delight in You. And this desire for delight is not totally driven by the desire to get whatever I want. Sure, I would love for my prayers to be effective, to be answered the way I pray them, so that everyone who gives me a prayer request gets what they want.

But that is not the driving force behind my abiding. You are. Christ is. The Holy Spirit is. It is a sincere desire to know You as fully as I can. Help me to abide better. Help me to pray better, to pray without ceasing, and to take this spirit of prayer out of this room with me. Let that color and influence everything that I do in my life.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


"Have the patience and courage to begin again anew each day, and trust in God’s help; his mercy is new every morning. Then you will understand that life is always a matter of becoming or growing, and that you must always look forward to the greater things. Even though you stand in battle with dark powers, the victory will be yours, since in Christ every evil is overcome."
(Eberhard Arnold, Daily Dig from Plough.com)

Grace and peace, friends.

No Grounds for Boasting

Today is Monday, September 12, 2022, in the 24th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart today!

Day 23,559

Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru. Please check out his photo site at the link provided.

The weekend was pretty uneventful for us. C and I did make it to our church gathering, yesterday morning, which went pretty well. We picked up food from Lone Star BBQ for lunch, on the way home (and Sonic drinks, of course), watched an episode of the old Avengers TV show (with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel), and the rest of the day was pretty much rest and relaxation.

It was a beautiful day, outside, starting out somewhere around 65 degrees. When we walked outside to head to our house church, it was simply wonderful out there. The high only got to 83, yesterday, although, in the sun, it felt hotter than that. That was one degree below the projected high.

Today’s high is predicted to be 86, with no rain expected. The record high for today’s date, in 2011, was 100. The average high for this date is 89.

I haven’t updated baseball in a bit, as I tend to let time get away from me. However, I have no time restraints today, at all, so here goes. The Texas Rangers managed to win a game, yesterday, beating the Blue Jays 4-1. Martin Perez got the win. The Rangers are now 60-79 for the season, 29.5 out of first place, and 18 out of the Wild Card race. They remain in fourth place in the AL West. Their WCE# is six. Seattle is the only team not eliminated from division contention. The Rangers are a half game behind the Angels. They have 23 games remaining.

The Red Sox managed to string two victories in a row, against the Orioles. They crushed them Saturday, winning 17-4, and had a pitcher’s duel, yesterday, winning 1-0. The only run was scored in the top of the first inning. The Sox are 69-72 for the season, still in last place in the AL East, still 4.5 behind Baltimore. The division E# is 6; they are 16 games out of first place. They are 10 games out of the Wild Card race, and the WCE# is 13. They have 21 games remaining.

Albert Pujols has 697 home runs, passing A-Roid, yesterday, to be alone in fourth place for home run totals. That was a definite landmark, as the closest active player to him is Miguel Cabrera, who has just over 500, and is in 27th place, over all. Nellie Cruz, in 39th place, has 459. The next closest active player is Giancarlo Stanton, in 80th place with 373. Pujols, 42 years old, will likely retire at the end of this season. I am rooting for him to make it to 700. If he could hit 18 more, he would pass Babe Ruth. With only 21 games left, that is unlikely.

The Dodgers have become the first team to clinch a playoff berth. No one should be surprised at this, as they have a MLB leading 96-43 record. With 23 games left, they could still break the season win record. But they must win 21 of those 23 games. Honestly, having already clinched a playoff berth, and only three games away from clinching the division, I doubt they will be struggling to break that record. The Nationals are still on the bottom, with 49-92, two games behind the Athletics. The Tigers, Pirates, Athletics and Nationals are all eliminated from any possible playoff contention.

The Phillies and Guardians both have three-game winning streaks going. The Nationals and Twins both have three-game losings streaks. The Dodgers passed 300, now having a +310 run differential, and the Pirates are on the bottom with -214. The Rangers have -14, and the Red Sox improved to -33.

The Rangers have a double-header set of make-up games in Miami today. They play at 12:10 CDT and 6:10 CDT. Boston doesn’t play today, and begins a series against the Yankees tomorrow night.

Football season has begun, and I don’t care much about that. Dallas lost their first game to Tom Brady, but their defense performed pretty well, holding the Bucs to only one touchdown. Final score 19-3. The bad news is that Dak Prescott was injured in the fourth quarter, and the offense already looked terrible. My favorite NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens (for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with football), beat the Jets 24-9.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, Ruler over the world, whose longing is to see your thoughts and your will in all peoples, we come before you and ask that we may find strength in your Word and never cease to hope for the coming of your kingdom. Even when the world storms and rages, even when earthly kingdoms rise up against each other and everything seems dark, even then be present. Let your kingdom go quietly forward, to the honor of your name. Help us come closer to the goal Jesus has shown us, closer to the time we wait for, the day of his coming when all shall be made new and good through your power, through your Spirit. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains...And the gospel must first be preached to all nations...Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 
(Mark 13:7–8,10, 13 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the strength I get from God’s Word and the hope for the coming of His Kingdom
  2. that when I seek the presence of God, He makes known to me the path of life
  3. that I am in Christ because of God the Father
  4. that Christ has become, to me, wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1)
  5. that I do not have to wait until I am “perfect” to enjoy God’s presence

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. . . . Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."
(John 14:15, 21, 23-24 ESV)

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
(1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV)

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

He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
(Psalms 18:33 ESV)

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ESV)


“Him,” in that passage from 1 Corinthians, is God. Because of God we are in Christ, who became all of those things for us. We have no grounds on which to boast. We don’t even have any ground on which to stand, outside of the grace of God.

We are admonished to seek the Lord, to seek His face continually. This is not an easy thing to do. While His presence is always here, we are not always aware of it. I must direct my mind and heart to be seeking His face more often.

But in that presence, then, He shows me the path of life; there is fullness of joy; there are pleasures forevermore. He sets me securely on the Rock, on the high, flat place.

And here’s the thing; a beautiful thing, in fact. “This life is meant for the sinful and weary, for the unworthy and the impotent. It is a life that is the gift of the Father’s love and a life that He will reveal in each one who comes in childlike trust to Him.” (Andrew Murray)

We do not have to wait until we are “perfect” to begin to enjoy this life. We can begin walking in this Kingdom now, immediately!

“Come and yield more fully to God’s way of holiness. Let Christ be your sanctification. Not a distant Christ to whom you look but a Christ who is near, all around you, in you. Not a Christ after the flesh, a Christ of the past, but a Christ who is present in the power of the Holy Spirit. Not a Christ whom you can know by your own wisdom, but the Christ of God who is the Spirit within you.” (Murray)

This is the Christ who bids us love Him and keep His commands, keep his word. His commands are not burdensome, unless we attempt to do them in our own strength. Then they are impossible. But, if we abide in Him, if we seek His face continually, we can do those commands, which are, once again, summed up by

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 ESV)

and

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

and

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


Father, I praise You for bringing me into Christ Jesus. You have guided me for my entire life, longer than I can remember, as I have walked in Your Kingdom. Not perfectly. Not even close. Yet I am still here, still walking. There are days when my walk is a struggle, because I try to step outside of that “easy yoke,” and walk in a direction that is not pleasing to You. Yet You never leave me or forsake me; You never stop loving me. Not only that, but Your love never changes; it does not grow smaller when I stumble, or when I choose badly.

I have no grounds to boast, outside of You. It is because of You and Your providence that I am in Christ, and that I have an inheritance waiting for me. I have nothing that You did not give me. I have no righteousness that Jesus did not provide, nor any sanctification or wisdom outside of Him.

You have revealed Yourself to me, through Jesus. You. through Christ and the Holy Spirit, have made a home in me. All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit!

Now, help me to seek Your face more faithfully and consistently. I am too easily distracted, “far too easily pleased.” Forgive me when that happens and always draw me back to You.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“Most blessed Father, I bow in speechless adoration before the holy mystery of your divine love. Forgive me that I have known and believed in your love so much less than it deserves to be known and believed. Accept my praise for what I have seen and tasted of its divine blessedness. Accept, Lord god, the praise of a glad and loving heart that knows it can never praise you enough.” (Andrew Murray)

Grace and peace, friends.

Hating My Life in this World

Today is Wednesday, September 7, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,554

Yesterday’s temperature reached 93, at around 3:00 PM, which is a tad higher than expected. It was still fairly warm when we left the library, shortly after 8:00 PM, but not so hard to breathe. We did not get any rain, yesterday. Today’s high is also expected to be 93. The record high for today’s date was in 2012, at 103. It is still showing that we got .88 inch of rain over the last 72 hours.

I’m off work today, as I am every other Wednesday. I will work tomorrow, 8 hours in the computer center, but I will also work 8 hours in the computer center on Friday, this week, as my schedule change is effective on Friday. Going forward, I will not be working Thursdays anymore (after tomorrow).

I have an appointment at a dermatologist, this afternoon, to check on getting a couple of cysts removed from my head. They are right on top of my head, and there is no hair there, so they are quite obvious. So I’m going to try to get them removed. It shouldn’t be an issue, as I have had this done in the past. The only question is if one of them is too large for them to do it, in which case, they will likely refer me to a plastic surgeon, which has also happened one time in the past, when I had a very large cyst right at the top of my forehead.

For dinner, tonight, I am planning to make Beef Enchilada Pasta Skillet, from my favorite cooking website, Emily Bites.

The Texas Rangers broke their losing streak, last night, winning a rare one-run game against the Astros, 4-3. This makes them 59-76 for the season, but they remain in fourth place in the AL West, a half game behind the Angels. They are eliminated from any shot at the division, but still have a slim (very slim) chance at a Wild Card spot. Their WCE# is 12, with 27 games remaining in the season.

The Red Sox fell further behind by losing to the Rays 8-4. They are now 67-70 for the season, and, even though they are 15 games out of first place, are, miraculously, not mathematically eliminated. Their E# is 12. They are nine games out of a Wild Card spot, and their WCE# is 18. They have 25 games left.

There is now a tie for the lead in the NL East division, between Atlanta and the Mets. No one has clinched a division or playoff berth, just yet.

The Dodgers won, making their MLB leading record 93-42. With 27 games remaining, they still have a slim, but unlikely chance, to beat the win record. The Nationals lost, keeping them at the bottom with 48-88. To make matters worse for them, the Pirates won. But the A’s lost, and are now only two games ahead of the Nats. At this point, being the worst is anyone’s game. The Dodgers, of course, are not guaranteed to wind up the best, but the next team is 6.5 games behind them.

The Braves have the best current win streak (which is why they are now tied for first place), at six straight games. The Marlins now have the longest losing streak, at eight games. The Dodgers improved their leading run differential to +294, and the Pirates and Nationals are now tied for the worst, with -203. The Rangers have -11, and the Red Sox are down to -45.

My hopes of having a team in the playoffs grow slimmer with each passing day. As previously mentioned, I’m pulling for the Orioles to get one of those Wild Card spots away from either Toronto or Tampa. I’m also pulling for Cleveland, who is currently leading the AL Central. Why Cleveland? Because Terry Francona, that’s why Cleveland! I really, really wish Texas could lure him away from Cleveland.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, remind us again and again of what you have done in our hearts and lives to make us certain of the resurrection. Help us to live in this certainty and to hold fast to everything good and great which you bring into our lives. Grant us the assurance that we are gaining ground in the battle for the redemption of those who are still in darkness and in the shadow of death. May we find joy in what we have here and now. Give us patience in our struggles. Give us hope for all that has gone wrong, because even what is in darkness is still in your hands. In the end everything must be brought to the light so that all humankind may glorify your great name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
(1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for all things good and great that God brings into our lives
  2. that, in spite of what we might see around us, God is working His plan, and it will come to pass
  3. for the inheritance that is kept for us in heaven
  4. for memories
  5. that Jesus, because of His sacrifice, and He did not hold onto His life in this world, has made intercession for sinners

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
(John 12:25-26 ESV)

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
 yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 
Your way, O God, is holy. 
What god is great like our God? 
You are the God who works wonders; 
you have made known your might among the peoples.
(Psalms 77:11-14 ESV)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
(Philippians 1:3 ESV)

The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
(Proverbs 10:7 ESV)


Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:12 ESV)


“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life,” said Jesus. But He also said that we are to love our neighbor as ourself. How do I do that if I’m supposed to hate my life?

I believe there is a difference between “hating” my “life in this world,” and hating myself. We are never told to hate ourselves. The Greek word that is translated “life” in John 12:25 is psuche or psyche, which can also be translated as “breath” or “spirit.”

So this is not talking about wishing we would die, that our physical life would cease to be. Rather, it is speaking of the way in which we engage in this life, in this world. I believe it is a call to be somewhat detached from this life, almost aloof. Not to be careless, mind you, or irresponsible, because being careless and irresponsible can have negative impact on other people.

For a long time, now, I have had this mindset of, and this is also biblical, what can man do to me? It’s kind of like saying, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Certainly, there are things in this life that I enjoy. I like reading my books; I like playing my games; I like listening to and playing music. But I am less and less attached to those things (you might not know that if you see how much time I spend in front of the PS4), as I long more and more for Home.

And this longing for Home is not a wish to die, either. I have no interest in dying. There are people around me with whom I enjoy spending time. There are people around me who depend on me for things. I don’t desire to leave them just yet.

But I have less and less regard for my “life in this world.”

Jesus, according to that passage in Isaiah 53, had little regard for His life in this world. He “poured out His soul to death.” In doing so, He “bore the sin of many,” and made intercession for all sinners.

That word “intercession” gets thrown around a lot, usually in regard to prayer. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray. However, that is not the meaning of “intercession” in Isaiah 53:12.

“Intercede,” simply means, “intervene on behalf of another.” That can take many forms. In Isaiah 53:12, Jesus intervened on our behalf by giving up His life.

And in Philippians 2, we see a similar message about Jesus.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:8 ESV)

Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who “hated” His “life in this world.” He did not hate Himself. But He did not love His life to the point of trying to preserve it. And look at the results.

One result is the salvation of sinners. But another result is this:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

The one who wished to exalt himself in this life has all the reward he is going to get. If someone does acts of charity simply to be recognized by men, that will be the extent of his reward.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
(Matthew 6:2 ESV)

That is an example of loving a life in this world.

Jesus’s “power in intercession was established by His sacrifice; intercession claims what the sacrifice has already won.” (Andrew Murray)

So if we feel like we don’t have the power to pray or don’t know how, perhaps we need to examine how much we love our lives in this world. How much do we complain about things that don’t go our way? I struggle so much with this, personally. The more I understand these truths, the less that is an issue, but it still an issue. I’m dealing with something along those lines, right now, but God is helping me to understand; He is helping me to “hate” my “life in this world.”

I don’t hate myself, and I won’t do that. No worries there. I mean, sure, sometimes I don’t like myself very much, especially when I get unrealistically angry over something petty. But in general, I try to look at myself the way God looks at me (as best as I can tell), which is through the perspective of Jesus Christ, who died for me and interceded for my sin and placed His righteousness upon me.


Father, I praise You for Jesus Christ, Your Son, who has interceded for all sinners by not loving His life and by being obedient to the point of death. I acknowledge that You have exalted Him, because of this, and have given Him the name that is above every name. I humbly and willingly bow to His name and confess with my tongue (and my fingertips) that Jesus is Lord!

I praise You for His intercession on our behalf, and for the righteousness that He has placed upon us. I have no righteousness of my own, no inherent goodness. I do not hate myself, but, according to Your Word, have a healthy hatred of my life in this world, that I might, then, keep it for eternal life in Your presence, after the resurrection.

Help me to do this more and more; help me to not love my life in this world, to set aside my desires that are not in line with Your desires. Help me to not express anger over petty things, things that do not matter, things that are only “footstool” problems. Help me to learn these things and not just repeat the same things over and over.

I am grateful for all the saints, Father, and the relationships that we have with them. I am thankful for the ones who went before us, that we might learn from them. And I am thankful for the ones that will come after us, and hope that we might do something of value that they would learn from us.

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

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

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

Jesus wept. 

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

And then, He did the unthinkable, the unimaginable.

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

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

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

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

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

“What did He just say??”

“LAZARUS, COME OUT!!”

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

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

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

And I love what Caiaphas said to them.

“You know nothing at all.”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

What I Believe

Today is Monday, September 5, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul today!

Day 23,552

Today is Labor Day in the US, a holiday for many people (not the retail folks, though).

We had a nice thunderstorm with a decent amount of rain, yesterday afternoon. During the storm (we were under a “severe thunderstorm warning,” but it didn’t seem that severe in our location), the temperature dropped from 93 (the high for the day) to 70, in the space of less than an hour. I ventured out to get Sonic drinks between 3:30 and 4:00, and it was very nice outside. According to the site I use to check the amount, we got .38 inch in the last 72 hours. That’s the way I like my rain, not 9.5 inches in, say, twelve hours.

Today’s high is predicted to be 91, and our highs seem to be stuck in the 89-92 zone for the next ten days. The record high for today’s date was, once again, in 2000, at 105. I’m glad I don’t live in Citrus Heights, CA. One source predicts a high of 113 there, today. Egad.

We watched the Elvis movie, yesterday, on HBO Max. It’s a very well-done movie, and the young man who plays Elvis Presley did a very good job. I understand he did a lot of the singing, and also plays piano and guitar. Tom Hanks plays Col. Tom Parker. In this movie, it is coming from Parker’s POV, as he tries to convince us (not successfully) that he is not the villain, here, but that Elvis wouldn’t have existed without him.

I think I might do a separate review of the movie, later.

The Texas Rangers lost the fourth and final game to the Boston Red Sox, yesterday, 5-2. The Sox swept the Rangers. Have the Rangers given up? Or are the Red Sox surging? Hard to say. The Sox may have a slim chance of making the playoffs, and the Rangers have slim to none. The Rangers are now 58-75, soon to be twenty games below .500. The Angels lost, though, so the Rangers are still in third place in the AL West, 27.5 out of first place and 15.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E# is 2, and the WCE# is 15. They have 29 games left, and begin a series in Houston today.

The Red Sox are 67-68, almost back to .500. They are still in last place in the AL East, 13.5 out of first and 7.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E# is 15, and their WCE# is 22. They have 27 games left, and begin an important series in Tampa today.

The Minnesota Twins have caught up with the Cleveland Guardians, as the Guardians have lost five in a row. This is important for Minnesota, as there is currently no team in the AL Central in a Wild Card spot, because they are still locked up by two AL East teams and one AL West team. The Red Sox could knock Tampa out of that spot this week. Here’s hoping.

The Dodgers won again, so their MLB leading record is now 92-41. With 29 games left, they have to win 25 of those to break the 116 win record. The Nationals won again, but still have the worst record, at 47-87. The Mariners continue to win, now having a seven-game win streak. The Rangers, feeling the need to be the “best” at something, are in sole possession of an eight-game losing streak. The Dodgers edge closer to a +300 run differential, now at +294. The Pirates have overtaken the Nationals with the worst run differential, now at -209.

Not much on the agenda for today. Groceries are on the way, I’ve ordered some Crumbl cookies for the family, and we might have Lone Star BBQ for lunch. It’s Monday, so I’ll probably make chili for dinner, this evening. There might be a movie at some point, too.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

We thank you, Father in heaven, that you concern yourself with us and that you bind us to yourself through all your deeds and all your help. We thank you for showing us a way of hope, a way that becomes always clearer, always firmer under our feet. On this way we can defy every evil of this world and time, knowing for sure that everything will come out right and we will all be brought to the great, eternal goal, even though we have to deny ourselves and go through much suffering. Your kingdom must come to the glory of your name, so that all people may live on a higher plane and follow you, the only true help and true life. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that God concerns Himself with us and helps us, showing us a way of hope, which, if we are following Him, becomes ever more clear
  2. that we who long for Christ’s appearing will be awarded a crown of righteousness at the end of the race
  3. that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and, though we physically die, yet we shall live
  4. for the rest that comes with my relationship with Christ
  5. for the example of Jesus and His prayer life

So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
(John 11:3-4 ESV)

Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
(John 11:14-15 ESV)

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
(John 11:21-27 ESV)

We give thanks to you, O God; 
we give thanks, for your name is near. 
We recount your wondrous deeds.
(Psalms 75:1 ESV)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)


All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:27-30 ESV)

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(Matthew 6:33 ESV)


And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
(Mark 1:35 ESV)


“All things work together for good.” When Jesus received word of Lazarus’s (did anyone else grow up hearing people call him “Lasaruth?”) illness, He purposefully delayed His visit. I think it is important to understand this, to comprehend it fully, or at least as fully as it is possible for our human brains.

Jesus let Lazarus die, in order for God to be glorified by raising him from the dead!

Take a few minutes to process this. It’s not unlike the man that was born blind, to whom Jesus restored sight. Jesus declared that it happened that God might be glorified.

There are people who would explain away things like this, try to reason humanistic values into the truth. “My God would never do something like that; He wouldn’t intentionally cause someone pain.”

The Bible says differently. And if you’re not okay with that, then your understanding of God Almighty is somewhat incomplete.

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
(Psalms 115:3 ESV)

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 ESV)

Here’s the thing. God created everything. He created the universe, then He created life on this planet. He may or may not have created life on other worlds. If He has, He hasn’t deemed it necessary to tell us about that.

He has the right to do whatever pleases Him, including things that will glorify Himself. And He is worthy of all of that glory because, as previously stated, He is the Creator. If you create something, it is yours, and it is your right to do whatever you wish with that creation.

Anyway . . . back to Lazarus. He was allowed to die so that the world could see the power of God in resurrection. It was a foreshadowing of what would happen to Jesus, who allowed Himself to die, so that God could be glorified in His resurrection.

And yes, Jesus allowed Himself to die.

“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
(John 10:18 ESV)

And this, again, causes us to consider our thoughts about Jesus. I’ve mentioned this before, and will likely do so again. Any thoughts of Jesus simply being a “good person,” or a “good teacher,” are simply ridiculous, because of the claims He, Himself made. If any “normal” human being said the words in John 10:18, today, he would be locked up as crazy and be forced into therapy.

Either Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be, or He was insane, or He was an outright liar. Those are the only three options.

And if we believe that He was exactly who He claimed to be, then we should be believing His words and obeying His commands.

I do my best, in human terms, to do that. I believe that He was who He claimed to be; I believe His words, believing that He is the resurrection and the life, and that, even though I die, which I will, that I will live on into eternity, after the resurrection. Lazarus died again. He wouldn’t be the only person in history to do so, but there are only a handful of people who would die twice. And Lazarus will live again, after the resurrection, which will occur at the second coming of Christ.

I will remind you that I do not believe in the popular notion of a “rapture.”

I also try my best to obey the commands of Jesus, which are, as previously stated (perhaps ad nauseum to some), to love the Lord with all of our being, lover our neighbors as ourselves, and to love one another (all the saints) the way Christ has loved us.

So that’s what I believe. That wasn’t the original direction this was going to take, but, as any real writer (not that I’m a “real writer,” mind you) knows, sometimes your characters take you into some strange places.

I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, 
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, 
and born of the virgin Mary.
I believe He lived a sinless life and performed many miracles while on earth,
and was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day.
I believe He ascended into heaven (I'm not sure about the descending into hell part)
where He sits at the right hand of God (except for that bit when Stephen was stoned and He was standing up)
until the day He will return to resurrect those who have "fallen asleep,"
and gather up the rest who are still alive
to live with Him in eternity in a new heaven and a new earth, 
wherever those will be.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the unified Church, the Body of Christ,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

That’s mostly the Apostles’ Creed, with some modifications.

I also believe in the rest that comes from following Christ and walking in His easy yoke. He bids us come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest. He does the hardest work, if we will but let Him.


Father, I have lived most of my life believing in You and in Christ. I have believed longer than I can remember. I have loved Your Word since I have been able to read. Sure, there are some times, in the course of my life, that my belief waned, and that maybe I didn’t love Your Word as much as other times. Nevertheless, I still believe, today. In fact, my belief today is stronger than ever, and I praise You for bringing that to pass in me.

My belief and acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit and His power has not been as long or consistent as my belief in You and Christ. That is more complicated, and my “understanding,” if we can call it that, of the Holy Spirit came much later in life. I now, while not necessarily claiming to understand or comprehend, embrace the truth of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all equally loving and directing our attention to the other two. Three in One, God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

I believe that You are the Creator and that You do whatever pleases You. I am very glad that one of the things that pleases You is to commune with us, Your creation, Your people. I am grateful that You condescend to be concerned about us, and that You give us light and life. It is because of this belief that I can read the account of Lazarus without being upset about him being allowed to die so that You could be glorified. You are God; it is all about You, it is not about me or us. It is also about Jesus Christ, Your Son, and His glory.

I thank You for Jesus and all that He has done for us. I feel like I am rambling a bit, today, but there are a lot of thoughts running through my head, and I can’t quite make them all make sense. But another thing I believe is that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me when I do not know how to put my prayers into words. So I have faith that this is happening today.

Help me to be a light in this world of trouble. Help me to follow the commands of Jesus, to love You and to love people, giving them encouragement instead of criticism (oh, how critical I have been in the past . . . my God, I pray for forgiveness for that!). There is more than enough criticism in this world, Father. Help me be light, life, and encouragement to people. Salt and light.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(Traditional Doxology)

Grace and peace, friends.