Waiting

Blessings to you. Today is Sunday, June 23, 2019.

Day 22,382

Eleven days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?”
M.C. Escher, Dutch artist, 1898-1972
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

demur ~ to make objection, especially on the grounds of scruples; take exception; object. (Dictionary.com)

We had a wonderful day, yesterday. The drive to and from Mineral Wells was nice, and C got to drive the new car. After arriving at my mother’s, we went to Dairy Mart for burgers, then went to the Crazy Water store, where I bought a couple of cases of #4, and an assortment of nuts. My mother bought a little four-pack of single serve bottles, one of each strength. Then we went to the 76067 Market, downtown, where we wandered around for a little while, then went to their “Coffee and Cocktails” shop for some refreshment. It was a lovely day.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange Church, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street, in Fort Worth, Texas. We are “gathered” today, and our gathering begins at 10:15.

The Texas Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5, last night. Lance Lynn got his ninth win of the season. The Rangers are now 41-36, in second place in the AL West, 6.5 games behind the Astros, who have now lost seven games in a row. They play the White Sox again today, with Adrian Sampson taking the mound.

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-7. Matt Barnes took the loss, as they gave up seven runs between two late innings. The Sox are 42-36, in third place in the AL East, eight games behind the Yankees. They are still in the second wild card spot. They play the Jays again today, with Rick Porcello taking the mound for Boston.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Psalm 34:7

Today I am grateful:
1. For the weekly opportunity to worship together with our church family, as well as “all the saints” in other locations
2. For the promise of learning more about hearing from God
3. That as we cling to our Lord, we are able to share comfort and peace with others who suffer loss (2 Corinthians 1)
4. For the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three-in-one
5. For the promise that the brokenness of creation will one day be healed

“O Lord, we beseech thee, make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name, for thou never failest to help and govern those whom thou hast set upon the sure foundation of thy loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Proper 7)

(From Faith That Matters)

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:20-21

Today’s reading is “Broken by the Fall, Awaiting Deliverance,” by A.W. Tozer.

“Many through the centuries have declared themselves unable to believe in the basic wisdom of a world wherein so much appears to be so wrong.” In addition, I have heard many people declare that they are unable to believe in a God who allows so much trouble and pain in the world. “But the Christian view of life is altogether more realistic: this is not at the present moment the best of all possible worlds, but one lying under the shadow of a huge calamity, the fall of man. The inspired writers insist that a whole creation now groans and travails under the mighty shock of the fall.

“But there is hope in all our tears. When the hour of Christ’s triumph arrives, the suffering world will be brought out into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” People often speak of a “golden age.” When they do, they are being romantically nostalgic of an era long gone. The fifties perhaps. Who knows? “For men of the new creation the golden age is not past but future, and when it is ushered in, a wondering universe will see that God has indeed abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. In the meantime we rest our hope in the only wise God, our Savior, and wait with patience the slow development of his benign purposes.”

I have, just as I’m sure you have experienced the brokenness of creation. I won’t go into personal details, but I have experienced heartache, trouble, loss, and pain. So has everyone. These are the symptoms of a broken creation. We wait, sometimes not so patiently, but we wait. We wait for God to send Jesus back to right all the wrongs and usher in a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21). We are confident that this day will come.

Father, when the trouble and pain comes, remind us that all things are being made new, and that, eventually, the brokenness of this world will be reconciled and healed as Jesus reigns for ever. Thank you, Lord. Give us patience and confidence as we wait.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Grace and peace, friends.

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Put Your Trust in the Lord

Today is Saturday, June 22, 2019.

Day 22,381

Twelve days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Attributed to Albert Einstein, American physicist (German-born), 1879-1955
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

apologia ~ a work written as an explanation or justification of one’s motives, convictions, or acts. (Dictionary.com)

I haven’t had much time, during the week, to update things. But there hasn’t been a whole lot to update, the big event being the purchase of a new car Monday evening.

We are going to Mineral Wells in a little while, to visit with Mama and show her the new car. I’m pretty sure that S will not be going with us, this time. I’m not sure where we will have lunch on this trip. I also plan to visit the Crazy Water store and stock up on #4. Since it will likely be C and I, we may also pay a visit to the new-ish “76067 Market” downtown. I have not discussed this with C, however. 🙂

Last night, the Texas Rangers lost to the White Sox, 5-4 in extra innings. This is sad, of course, considering that Nomar Mazara hit a home run that went a projected 505 feet, bouncing all the way to the back row of the upper deck of home run porch, and tying a “Statcast era” record. Shawn Kelley took the loss in the game. The Rangers are now 40-36, in second place in the AL West, 7.5 games behind the flailing Astros, who are on a six game losing streak. They play the White Sox again tonight, in Arlington. Lance Lynn will get the start.

The Boston Red Sox came back and beat the Blue Jays, 7-5, also in extra innings. Brandon Workman got the win. The Sox are 42-35, in third place in the AL East, seven games behind the Yankees. They are currently in the second wild card spot. They will play the Blue Jays again this afternoon in Boston. Brian Johnson will take the mound for Boston.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
Psalm 34:6

Today I am grateful:
1. As always, for the weekend to rest up for the coming work week
2. For the beauty of Psalm 34, one of my favorites
3. That Christ has reconciled us to God (Colossians 1)
4. That what is wrong with the world is God’s business to fix
5. That I have found the joy of God in my heart

“Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of us all.
“He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Holy Eucharist II)

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah. 
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. 
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah. 
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. 
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” 
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4

Continuing to look at the “evening prayer” of Psalm 4, Eugene Peterson points out some contrasts. The first is between people who pursue futility (v. 2) and people who realize the providence of God (v. 3). In verse 2, people, “deceived by their own hearts and the devil’s illusions, fill the day with a desperate and anxious grasp for that which is not.” But those who live in verse 3 “discover God’s providential motions in themselves and others.”

“The second contrast is between those who are perpetually asking God for what they do not have (v. 6) and those who are overwhelmed before God with what he has already given (v. 7).”

Between those two sets of contrasts, however, we find six paired verbs that “move us from self-assertion in which we push our vain wills on the people and circumstances around us–acting as if we are in charge of the universe–to a believing obedience that acts as if God is in charge and that submits to becoming the kind of person that God is in charge of.”

In verse 4, we see, “Be angry.” Our day will not be perfect; things will go wrong. It’s okay to face these things squarely, and it’s okay to be angry. “And do not sin.” That’s a tall order, isn’t it? “Your anger is not a work agenda for you to plan a vengeance that will fix the wrong. What is wrong with the world is God’s business.” (Emphasis mine)

Also in verse 4, we find, “ponder in your own hearts on your beds.” We can speak to ourselves and listen to ourselves. We tend to lose ourselves in the activities of the day. Then, “and be silent.” There is nothing more to say. We need no explanations, no arguments, and no apologies. “This is who you are.”

Finally, in verse 5, we see, “Offer right sacrifices.” This is an offering that we place before God “so that he can make something of it.” This can be anything, but once offered, it needs to be left there. “It is no longer in your hands to improve a little more. You have had all day, now let God have all night.” Then, “and put your trust in the LORD.” God will transform our offering into something beautiful.

“Low tide. We sleep.”
(Quotes from Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, help me to remember, each night before I go to sleep, to pray these things to you. Help me to learn the essence of leaving my day in your hands, that I might rest for the next day. Help me with my trust and confidence in you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

We Proclaim Christ, Not Ourselves

Today is Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

Day 22,377

Sixteen days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
Dalai Lama
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

epiphonema ~ a sentence that is an exclamation, a general or striking comment, or a succinct summary of what has previously been said. (Dictionary.com) And example is Jesus’s use of the phrase, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

I got a new car last night! We had done a little research on the Internet, over the weekend, and decided to take a serious look at the Honda CR-V. Motor Trend ranked it the best crossover in its class, and Car and Driver ranked it second, but a very close second, to the Mazda in the same class. The Honda was slightly bigger, and we liked the interior better than the Mazda. So we met at a dealership right after work, with an Internet quote, test drove it, and that was that. The color is what the call Obsidian Blue.

The Texas Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2. Lance Lynn got win number eight. The Rangers are 39-33, in second place in the AL West, 8.5 behind the Astros. The Rangers are tied with the Red Sox for the second wild card spot. They will play the Indians again tonight, at 7:05 PM, in Arlington. Adrian Sampson will start for Texas.

The Boston Red Sox blanked the Minnesota Twins, 2-0. Rick Porcello was stellar, striking out eight, to get his fifth win. The Sox are 40-34, in third place in the AL East, 5.5 games behind the Yankees. They are tied with the Rangers for the second wild card spot. The will play Minnesota again tonight, at 7:10 PM, in Minnesota. David Price will start for Boston.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

I mistakenly cited my gratitude header verse as Psalm 34:1, yesterday. It was actually verse 2. The way it is configured in my PC Bible program, verse 1 looks like part of the header of the Psalm.

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1

Today I am grateful:
1. For a new car, of course, and that we have adequate credit to get good interest rates
2. The C and I have the kind of relationship that makes something like car-shopping fun
3. For the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how simple it truly is
4. That God has made known to me the path of life (Psalm 16:11)
5. That I have the Holy Spirit to guide me through this day

“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Penitential Order II)

(From Our Daily Bread)

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6

In today’s reading, Dave Branon relates a story about former MLB player Tony Graffanino. Tony has worked with a ministry in a European country in which baseball camps are held. During the week-long camp, they also hold Bible studies. “In past years, the leader tried to find reasoned ways to convince the campers that God exists so they would place their faith in Him.” In about thirteen years, though, the decisions for Christ were minimal.

So they changed their approach. Rather than trying the tactic of convincing through clever arguments and/or cunning, “they simply talked about ‘the amazing life and teachings of Jesus.'” This resulted in more campers coming to listen, as well as more choosing to follow Christ.

I have felt this way for years, about trying to use clever tactics to lure people in to “the path.” The last thing I want to do is trick someone into following Christ, yet that seems to be what many people have in mind. I know of one area church that has pulled stunts like driving a real military tank onto the stage during the “worship service.” That same church once gave away Superbowl tickets during a Sunday morning . . . I’m going to call it what it is . . . show.’

Paul says, “what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.” In 1 Corinthians 2:2, he says, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

While we definitely need Bible knowledge and should be able to defend our beliefs, we also should be able to simply tell our story. And in doing so lift up Jesus as Lord and Savior, proclaiming the simple truth of the Gospel, with no cunning or trickery involved. Let God do the drawing.

Father, thank you for drawing me away from using trickery and cunning to lure people to the message of Christ. Help me to live my life in such a way that Jesus shines forth. Help me to share Christ in a simple, positive way, and help me to then step back and allow you to finish the job.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.

Listen, Then Pray

Today is Monday, June 17, 2019.

Day 22,376

Seventeen days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.”
George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist and socialist, 1856-1950
The Quotations Page

I have two today.

“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.”
Christopher Morley, American author and journalist, 1890-1957
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

flounce ~ to move with exaggerated jerky or bouncy motions; to go with sudden determination; flounder, struggle (Merriam-Webster)

Yesterday was a nice day. Our “scattered” worship time was really great. It may have even been better than the first one. We did, essentially, the same thing. We split into some smaller groups, then we read three passages of Scripture, and shared what stuck out to us. One thing that didn’t happen, at the request of the pastor, was that there was no “cross-talk,” which, in this context, means that no one critiqued what anyone else said. I like that. It’s challenging for some of us, but I like it. After the reading, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together, then we prayed for each other. Then we went back into the larger group and took the Supper.

For Father’s Day lunch, we went to Whataburger. Yep. That wasn’t by my request. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, or even if I was hungry, yet. But we saw a Whataburger billboard on the way to Kroger to pick up our grocery order, and it looked good. So the advertising worked. After we got home, I received my gift from S (and C), which was a bag of theater-sized boxes of Hot Tamales, Lemonheads, and Red Hots. Oh, yeah!! Three of my favorites. Blood sugar, beware!! Oh, I forgot to mention . . . Saturday, R gave us bags of premium popcorn, and a copy of Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the ladies who do the “My Favorite Murder” podcast. That was a combination Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift. Because, you know, we were in Vegas on Mother’s Day. The rest of yesterday was pretty much spent doing what we normally do on Sunday afternoon. Nothing!! Well, something, but nothing even remotely productive, you know.

The Texas Rangers lost to the Cincinnati Reds, 11-3. Not a good outing, but they won the series. Ariel Jurado took the loss. They are 38-33, still in second place in the AL West, still 9.5 games behind the Astros. They are now tied with Boston in the second wild card spot. Funny thing . . . everyone in the AL West, except for the Seattle Mariners, lost yesterday. The Rangers are back home today, playing the Cleveland Indians, who, I hear, are rather hot right now. Lance Lynn will take the mound for the Rangers.

The Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6, yesterday, behind a monster blast by Rafael Devers. Brandon Workman got the win in the game. The Red Sox are now 39-34, in third place in the AL East, 5.5 games out. They will be in Minnesota tonight, to take on the red hot Twins. Rick Porcello will take the mound for Boston.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
Psalm 34:1

Today I am grateful:
1. For the loving family that I have
2. For the music that fills my soul and flows out of my fingers and my mouth to praise God
3. That God has provided me with his word, which allows me to listen to him
4. That my prayers need to be in response to what I have heard from God
5. For the fellowship and support of brothers and sisters in Christ

“Almighty God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer)

I’m running short on time, this morning. But the thing that is speaking most to me is a segment from Eugene Peterson’s book, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer. In the chapter on “Story” (Chapter 4), there is a segment on how important it is to listen before answering. It is an established truth that most of us, when we are in conversation with someone else, spend more energy thinking about what we are going to say next than we do listening to what is being said to us. And I have to say that this is one of the reasons that our pastor insisted that we refrain from “cross-talk” in yesterday’s worship gathering. We need to spend more time listening. One interesting thing about Dallas Willard was that, when he was asked questions, there was always a long pause before the answer. He took time to listen, then he formulated a response.

The Psalms are response to God. In fact, Peterson points out that there are five sections of the Psalms, which correspond to the five books of what the Jews call the Torah. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. The Psalms were shaped by “editors,” or, perhaps a better term would be “spiritual masters.” They are divided into five “books.”

Peterson speaks of what he calls “presumptuous prayer.” “Presumptuous prayer speaks to God without first listening to him.” Then he says, “If we pray without listening, we pray out of context.”

So, today, before I pray, I plan to try to listen first. That should always be my practice.

Father, help me to hear you before I speak to you. May my prayer always be in response to what I have heard from you, not simply blurting out words that specify a need.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

Grace and peace, friends.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

By Design

Today is Saturday, June 15, 2019.

Day 22,374

Nineteen days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”
William James, American pragmatist philosopher and psychologist, 1842-1910
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

recidivism ~ a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior (Merriam-Webster)

We made it to Saturday! I had to work about an hour overtime yesterday, but it was okay. It felt like a pretty good day, but that was largely because a problem that hung over from Thursday was resolved around mid-day, and it was resolved without me having to do much of anything. That’s always good!

Today, I have a dental appointment at 11:30. This is very rare for me. I normally only go to the dentist if something hurts. But C and S talked me into going to this new dentist (new to us) for a checkup and cleaning. It shouldn’t cost me anything today, as these preventive appointments are supposed to be fully covered by insurance. I just hate going to the dentist. And it’s been so long, I’m sure there will be future visits to fix things. And those won’t be free. Supposedly, I only have to pay 40%. But they throw in those words “reasonable and customary.” And I’m certain that the “reasonable and customary” prices are obtained from a third world country.

R & J are coming down for lunch, to visit for Father’s Day, which is, of course, tomorrow. I totally understand that they would rather come down on Saturday. I think I prefer it, too. I’m not that caught up in the whole Father’s Day thing, so it’s fine. I would rather spend my Sunday afternoon doing nothing, aka resting.

Speaking of Sunday, tomorrow will be a “scattered” Sunday. Not too scattered, just yet, as we will continue to all be at one house. I’m looking forward to it, based on our experience from the last one.

I haven’t had time to post the baseball results during the week. But last night, the Texas Rangers had their way with the Cincinnati Reds, beating them 7-1, behind a grand slam home run by Rougned Odor. Brett Martin (?) got the win for the rangers, and Drew Smyly got a save. The Rangers are 37-32, holding on to second place in the AL West, 9.5 behind the Astros. They still have the second wild card spot. They play the Reds again today at 6:10, in Cincinnati. Mike Minor will take the mound for Texas.

The Boston Red Sox really had their way with the Orioles last night, winning 13-2 behind two home runs by J.D. Martinez. Eduardo Rodriguez got the win for the Sox. They continue to hold on to third place in the AL East, six games behind the Rays. They are 37-34. They play the O’s again today at 3:05, in Baltimore, with Chris Sale taking the mound.

While the Rangers were playing in Cincinnati last night, Sir Paul McCartney was playing Globe Life Park in Arlington. Oh, how I wish I could have seen that! I know of at least one friend who was there.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.

Psalm 33:20-21

Today I am grateful:
1. As always, for the weekend, to rest for the upcoming work week
2. For an opportunity to spend time with family
3. For God’s Word and the many ways it influences/inspires my life
4. That all things are being brought to their perfection by Christ
5. That we don’t need to worry about bothering God with our desire for his help
6. That I, along with all creation, carry within me the signature of my Creator

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer)

I really like that prayer. Especially that part about things that have grown old being made new. Hahaha!!

(From Faith That Matters)

For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
Psalm 33:9

“Everything is created,” writes Eugene Peterson. “Everything carries within its form and texture the signature of its Creator. No part of this material world is unconnected with God. Biblical religion cannot be lived apart from matter–the seen, felt, tasted, smelled, and listened to creation.”

I believe this goes well with the above prayer, the idea that “all things are being brought to their perfection.” There is nothing in our world that just sort of happened along. “None of it is an inconvenience we are forced to put up with. None of it is a stumbling block introduced by the devil to trip the feet of those whose eyes are piously lifted in praise to God.” These statements require some serious thought. I mean . . . cockroaches?? Wasps and bees that sting? Snakes that bite? Texas heat??

Yes. All of it. All of creation is “our place for meeting God and conversing with him.”

Also, I consider that I carry within me the “signature” of my Creator! I was created by design, just as you were created by design. There are no mistakes.

Father, help me to see within all of creation, as well as within myself, your signature, your design. Help me to know my purpose in this grand scheme of yours, not matter how small and seemingly insignificant it may be.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.

Called and Equipped

“People who believe that Jesus is already Lord and that he will appear again as Judge of the world are called and equipped (to put it mildly) to think and act quite differently in the world from those who don’t.”

Today is Saturday, June 8, 2019.

Day 22,367

Twenty-six days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
Mother Teresa, Albanian Saint, 1910-1997
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

stymie ~ to hinder, block, or thwart. (Dictionary.com)

The weekend is here! It seems as though that’s all we think about, right? On Monday morning, we’re wishing for the weekend already. I’ve backed off on that a little, because, if, on Monday, I’m wishing for it to be Friday already, I’m wishing for four or five days of my life to be gone. At this age, I can’t afford to do that, right?

We got finished with work on time, last night, which is always nice on Friday. C picked up our traditional Freebirds dinner on her way home, and we chilled while we watched the last new episode of Black Mirror on Netflix. Then I played Vampyr on the PS4.

Today, after I finish this, C and I are going to head over to Six Flags. We can save on parking by parking at her work place and walking across to the entrance. She promises it’s not that far.

We scheduled our grocery pick-up for tomorrow after church.

The Texas Rangers lost to the Oakland Athletics, as they normally do, 5-3. Jose Leclerc took the loss. They were tied going into the ninth, and gave up two runs in the top of the ninth. They are now 32-29, in second place in the AL West, ten games out. They play the A’s again, this afternoon, in Arlington. Joe Palumbo, a new LHP, will get the start today.

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-1. Rick Porcello took the loss. The Sox are 33-30, in third place in the AL East, 6.5 games out. They play the Rays again this afternoon, at Fenway. Josh Smith will take the mound for Boston.

Rocky, the grey cat, is on the desk in front of the monitor, which makes it hard to type. Ah. He just jumped up on my chair back. Much better.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 33:1-3

Today I am grateful:
1. For the weekend to rest for the coming work week
2. For the Psalms that help me learn how to pray
3. That God can make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19)
4. For the things that God has done for my soul
5. That God has given me everything I need for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)

God and Father of all believers, for the glory of your Name multiply, by the grace of the Paschal sacrament, the number of your children; that your Church may rejoice to see fulfilled your promise to our father Abraham; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer)

“The language of prayer is forged in the crucible of trouble.” ~ Eugene H. Peterson, in Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Work for the ‘Day’,” by N.T. Wright.

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13

Does it seem as though the Church feels that it must build God’s kingdom all by itself? Or, perhaps, is there a sensation that we can do nothing at all until Jesus comes again? In truth, neither one of these feelings is reality. We may, at times, feel either way, but it is not reality. “We do not ‘build the kingdom’ all by ourselves, but we do build for the kingdom. All that we do in faith, hope, and love in the present, in obedience to our ascended Lord and in the power of his Spirit, will be enhanced and transformed at his appearing.” Of course, there is also a note of judgment included in this, as seen in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. When Jesus appears again, the quality of our work will be made evident.

“People who believe that Jesus is already Lord and that he will appear again as Judge of the world are called and equipped (to put it mildly) to think and act quite differently in the world from those who don’t.”

Called. Equipped. Those are words we hear a lot. So much, perhaps, that their true meaning loses its impact on us. But both are true, regarding anyone who believes in Jesus. We are called by him. We are also equipped by him. We are told in 2 Peter that we already have everything we need.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
2 Peter 1:3-4

These are some of the most encouraging words in Scripture, as well as some of the most ignored. I have failed, frequently, to appropriate this truth into my life. I forget, daily, that this is true. What would our lives, what would this world look like, if every believer lived according to the fact that is stated in 2 Peter 1:3-4? Don’t call it a “promise,” because that is not what it is. This is not a “promise” to be “claimed.” This is a fact!

Father, I confess my failure to live by the truth of these verses. If Jesus were to appear today, a lot of my “work” would be revealed to be wood, hay, and straw. I do believe that there would be some “work” that would be more along the lines of the gold and silver. But I think that most of it would burn up. Help me to do better. Remind me, daily, that you have provided me with everything I need for this life and for your work. I believe . . . help my unbelief!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

Grace and peace, friends.

How Shall We Then Live?

Today is Friday, June 7, 2019

Day 22,366

Twenty-seven days until July 4

Quote of the Day

“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.”
Harold Wilson, UK Prime Minister, 1916-1995
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Virtuoso ~ a person who excels in musical technique or execution. (Dictionary.com)

It’s Friday! This week has been a mixed bag as some days seemed to go by quickly while others dragged on for what seemed like forever. But Friday is here, with a weekend to begin soon.

C and I are currently planning on going to Six Flags tomorrow. We got these cheap season passes back at her company picnic last year, and have yet to use them. They have been activated, but I think we still have to do something with them inside the park. I guess we’ll find out.

We watched two episodes of the new “Black Mirror” season on Netflix, last night. There are currently only three new ones available. I hope that’s not going to be all. Oops. I just checked, and there will only be three. It’s because of the release of their interactive show, “Bandersnatch,” which has a veritable plethora of variations. It was stated that writing and producing Bandersnatch was like writing four normal episodes. We have yet to “watch” Bandersnatch, so I guess we will have to try that.

The Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3, winning the series. Ariel Jurado got the win for Texas. They are now 32-28, in second place in the AL West, nine games out. They are still in the second wild card spot. They play the Oakland Athletics tonight, in Arlington. Lance Lynn will take the mound for Texas.

The Boston Red Sox beat the KC Royals, 7-5, to complete a sweep of the series. Colten Brewer got the win for Boston. The Sox are 33-29, still in third place in the AL East, 6.5 games out. They play the second place Tampa Bay Rays tonight, in Boston. Rick Porcello will start.

Rocky, the grey cat, was on the rug next to me. He just left.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Psalm 32:11

Today I am grateful:
1. That my parents instilled in me a love for reading
2. For the freedom that comes in the Spirit of God
3. For opportunities to spend time in God’s presence (I realize that I am always in God’s presence, so what I am referring to is deliberate times spent focusing on his presence)
4. That through all the years of my life, God has allowed me to enjoy life with the wife whom I love (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
5. That God has drawn me away from the clutter of trying to live by the expectations of this world

Almighty God, you have placed in the skies the sign of your covenant with all living things: Grant that we, who are saved through water and the Spirit, may worthily offer to you our sacrifice of thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “How Are You Going to Live?” by Eugene Peterson.

Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off.
1 Samuel 17:38-39

“The way we do our wok is as important as the work we do. Means must be authentic, true, appropriate to our prayers and proclamations.

“David left Saul’s armor behind and walked out into the Valley of Elah clean and spare, traveling light, delivered from an immense clutter; and he kneeled at the brook.

“David at that moment, kneeling at the brook, frames something that’s absolutely essential for each of us. Are we going to live this life from our knees, imaginatively and personally? Or are we going to live it conventionally and secondhand? Are we going to live out of our God-created, Spirit-anointed, Jesus-saved being? Or are we going to toady and defer to eunuch professionals? Are we going to be shaped by our fears of Goliath or by God? Are we going to live by our admiration of Saul or by God?”

David decided that he would not attempt to “live inauthentically by using Saul’s armor.” Rather, he chose to live “out of the fullness of who he truly was. And then he killed the giant.”

How are we going to live?

Father, I thank you that you have already started drawing me away from living in the fear of my Goliaths, instead living by your grace and out of my “God-created, Spirit-anointed, Jesus-saved being.” No, I don’t quite have it down perfectly. Not even close, actually. But I am aware and working at it, rejecting the clutter of this world and its false ideologies.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Grace and peace, friends.