Live Peaceably With All

It is Saturday, March 10, 2018. Day 21,912.

Three days until I turn 60.

Terry Pratchett (not his birthday), said, “The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” (The Quotations Page)

The word for today is krummholz, a noun which means, “a forest of stunted trees near the timber line on a mountain.”

On a whim, yesterday, I decided that I need to take the whole week off to celebrate this birthday. You only turn 60 once, right? So I consulted with my boss-man, who had no objections, as there was no one else on the calendar for the rest of the week, and I have available PTO. C will only be off Monday and Tuesday, so I will be spending a lot of time playing games, and, perhaps, watching Netflix. Or maybe I’ll get some music projects jump-started, as well. S is pretty excited about that. She just likes having someone home with her. Not to mention someone who will bring her food. Haha!

There will be no blog entry tomorrow, Monday, or Tuesday, as I will not have a ‘puter with me on the trip to Glen Rose. One year I tried doing the blog on my iPhone. That’s not gonna happen again. ūüėÄ

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

For it is not an enemy who taunts me‚ÄĒ then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me‚ÄĒ then I could hide from him.¬†
But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 
We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.¬†
Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. 
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. 
God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah. because they do not change and do not fear God. 
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 
His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 
But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Psalm 55:12-23

David describes the bitter taste of betrayal in this Psalm. But in his bitterness, he turns to the correct source for vindication/comfort. God will sustain us in the most trying of times, even when a dear friend betrays us. And we do well to allow him to handle any thoughts of revenge.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.¬†Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”¬†To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”¬†Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:18-21

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” This is getting more difficult, isn’t it? It’s getting to the point where it is almost impossible to live in peace with other believers, when they insist on being so politically charged. There is such a prevalent attitude that anyone who disagrees with you on guns or anything else political is just a moron. We can’t seem to have intelligent conversations about anything. I’m reminded of a meme.

Which is why I usually don’t. But my opinion is that I should do everything in my power to live peaceably with all. And my opinion is that that is not just an “opinion,” but, rather, a command from God. Now, I realize that Paul says, “If possible.” But I sincerely believe that a lot of people use that as a loophole and maintain that it is impossible to live peaceably with someone who disagrees with them. Because, after all, if you don’t agree with me, you must be a moron.
(That was, in case you don’t know, sarcasm.)

Father, I pray for more peace between brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially in our country, there seems to be a lot of discord, right now. I pray that brothers and sisters will realize that politics is not worthy of their extreme devotion, and that there is no man who is going to save us from anything. May we all be more faithful to keep our eyes and hearts focused on you in Christ, meditating on and listening to your words. And lest I fall into the trap, my prayer is for me more than anyone else.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.


Do Our Charities Pinch?

Today is Friday, March 9, 2018. Day 21,911.


It’s the birthday of Samuel Barber (1910-1981), who said, “I think that what’s been holding composers back a great deal is that they feel they must have a new style every year. This, in my case, would be hopeless. In fact, it is said that I have no style at all, but that doesn’t matter. I just go on doing, as they say, my thing. I believe this takes a certain courage.” BrainyQuote

The word for today is meander, a verb which means, “to follow a winding or intricate course.” Also, “to wander aimlessly or casually without urgent destination : ramble.” We hope to do a bit of meandering in Glen Rose, this weekend.

Speaking of Glen Rose, have I mentioned we’re going there tomorrow? Of course. I’m sorry. But I am so looking forward to pie. We have set up our Kroger ClickList to pick up right after work today, and will be heading out tomorrow, right after our pedicures.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.
Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! 
Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, 
because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 
Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. 
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;¬†
yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah. 
I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”¬†
Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. 
Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; 
ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.

Psalm 55:1-11

That part about lodging in the wilderness has sounded good to me for a long time, now. Those cabins in Glen Rose is about as close as we can get, though. I do hope to be meditating on God’s words quite a bit while down there.

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
Giving to the Poor

“In the passage where the New Testament says that everyone must work, it gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in need.’ Charity – giving to the poor – is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce that kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.”(From Mere Christianity)

I tend to forget that bit where the New Testament gives that reason for working. But Paul, in his letters, was adamant about the churches contributing to those who were needy. He even advocated setting aside a little bit at a time, so that when the time for the collection came, they would be ready to give. And perhaps Lewis is right. Our charities probably are too small. I can’t say with any confidence that the giving we do really hurts our lifestyle. And I believe that we are relatively generous. It’s something to pray about, that’s for sure.

Father, make us more generous with what you have given us. May we not shy away from helping, anytime opportunity is given.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Refreshed and Replenished

Today is Thursday, March 8, 2018. Day 21,910.

TWO DAYS until Glen Rose!!

It’s the birthday of Micky Dolenz (1945), who said, “They were looking for actors – real actors – who could play instruments. There was a lot of improvisation and scene work involved in addition to the music. The auditions went on for a long time.”

The word for today is Minerva, a noun which means, “a woman of great wisdom.” Of course, she was also, “the ancient Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts, identified with the Greek goddess Athena.”

Well, we did not make it to the Y last night, because my back started hurting me late in the afternoon. Not sure what was wrong with it, but it hurt whenever I would lean over. Walking, standing straight up, it didn’t hurt, nor did it hurt while sitting. But any bending over caused quite a bit of pain. But I took a handful of ibuprofen before going to bed, and it’s better this morning. So, we’ll try again tonight.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, “Is not David hiding among us?”
O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. 
O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. 
For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah. 
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 
He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. 
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. 
For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Psalm 54

It’s harder for me to identify with this Psalm, as I have never considered myself as having “enemies.” Of course, as a citizen of the USA, there are people of other nationalities that might want to kill me, but it’s not personal. And I’m not really afraid of them. But I don’t have personal enemies, as David did. Nevertheless, I can still say, “God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.”

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
Jeremiah 31:25
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

How often do we feel weary? Maybe a better question is how often do we not feel weary?? I don’t know about you, but the longer I live in this world, the wearier I get. Frankly, folks, I’m tired of the battle. And, sadly, many times, it feels like the battle is with others who claim the name of Jesus. Especially in this politically charged climate. I don’t get political here, or on social media, and I won’t. But I do believe that a lot of people’s attentions are placed in the wrong arena and on the wrong people. I choose to focus on Christ and trying to walk in his steps, to be like him, to try to live my life the way he would live it if he were me (I?).

But every time there is another news story that illustrates how rotten this world is, I get a bit more weary. Every time I have to deal with annoying people at work, I get a little more weary. But God promises to satisfy our weary souls and replenish us. I just have to remember to live in that. I have to remember to breathe in his breath and revel in his presence. Because, my dear brothers and sisters, he is present with us, everywhere, all the time. There is never a moment when we are not in the presence of God. I keep forgetting that. But when I remember it, I am, indeed refreshed and replenished!

Father, I praise you for your refreshment. I praise you for your presence. Help me to remember it and walk in it all day today. Help me to remember tomorrow, before my feet even hit the floor, that I am walking in your presence, breathing you in and out with the air that I breathe.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Who Are You?

Today is Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Day 21,909.

THREE DAYS until Glen Rose!!

F. Scott Fitzgerald (not his birthday) said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
The Quotations Page

The word for today is benighted, an adjective which means, “intellectually or morally ignorant; unenlightened.” Also, “overtaken by darkness or night.”

We didn’t make it to the Y last night, but we were kind of expecting that would happen. We definitely plan to go tonight, though, followed by a Subway dinner, which we will pick up on the way home.

As it gets closer by the day, we get more excited about our trip to Glen Rose. This year, for the first time in many years, C will feel like actually walking, which we plan to do a good bit of. We may even go to the “Dinosaur State Park,” which is just up the road from our cabins. I’m sure there will be pictures, so stay tuned.

One of our plans for the weekend, though, is a pedicure before we leave for Glen Rose. I love a good pedicure. It’s more than just getting toenails trimmed. It’s more about the leg massage and stuff. And I really don’t care what anybody thinks about it.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.¬†
God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 
They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 
Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? 
There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Psalm 53

For a number of years, now, I have looked at this Psalm (as well as Psalm 14, which is almost identical), and considered that first verse. Perhaps I am reading more into it than is there, but the idea, to me, is that it is the foolish person who declare, with no doubt in his mind, “There is no God.” The one who doubts, we call them agnostics, are not so foolish, because at least he entertains the possibility. The thing is, I can no more prove to you that God exists than you can prove that he doesn’t. I believe, based on more than I have time to type, that he exists, and that he cares deeply for his children. But to outright say, “There is no God” is foolish, because no one can know this for certain.

(From Daily Guideposts 2018)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.¬†
Isaiah 30:21

Who are you?

How would you answer that question?

Many of us would answer the question with what we do. “I’m a musician.” “I’m a project manager.” “I’m a director.”

Why do we have so much trouble defining who we are?

I believe it’s because many of us simply do not know who we are, so we embrace what we do and let that define us. I have worked, in recent years, to stop that.

I am a follower of Jesus. Not to perfection, by any stretch of the imagination. Some days I don’t follow him very well at all. But that’s who I am. I am a God-child, follower of Christ. I’m a lover, not a fighter. What I “do” is pretty irrelevant. Maybe not to my boss, mind you, but in the grand scheme of things. I’m a musician, and maybe that’s more a part of who I am than what I do. I like baseball and books. I spend way too much time playing PS4 games. I could ramble on. But the most important thing that I am is a Christ follower, followed by husband, father, and son (not necessarily in that order).

With that in mind, it also helps describe where I get my guidance. To whom do you look for guidance? Who you say you are gives a clue. To me the main Source of all wisdom, guidance, and strength is God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

Father, I thank you for making me who I am. I pray for more guidance along the way. Direct my paths, make them straight. By your Spirit help me to trust you more than I trust my own “wisdom.” Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Count It All Joy

Today is Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Day 21,908.

FOUR DAYS until Glen Rose!

It’s the birthday of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), who said, “You were made perfectly to be loved – and surely I have loved you, in the idea of you, my whole life long.”

Today’s word of the day is something I think I sometimes have. Ergophobia is a noun which means, “an abnormal fear of work; an aversion to work.” Kind of like Maynard G Krebbs.

The band concert went pretty well, last night, I think. I had a few glitches along the way, including getting totally lost in the middle of the Harry Potter piece, all because I lost count in one measure. That’s how it goes, though. But the bit in the Superman piece that I practiced over the last two weekends went okay. I wouldn’t say that I nailed it, but it certainly wasn’t a disaster, either. There were moments where I played really well, and moments where I didn’t play so well. Over all, I’m pleased, and I think the director was pleased, as well.

I’m not sure if we will go to the Y tonight. I’m pretty tired, this morning, so we’ll see how we feel later.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 
Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 
You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah. 
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. 
But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah. 
The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, 
“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”¬†
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 
I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

Psalm 52

“I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” I love this verse. There is great strength and comfort in being in the presence of like-minded people. That’s one of the reasons that our weekly worship gathering is so important. Just to be in a room full of people who share the love of Christ together, singing and praying together, is a beautiful thing.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:2-5

These aren’t necessary the most encouraging words. Nobody likes suffering. Okay, maybe somebody does, but that body needs a psychologist. Suffering is not fun. Sometimes it is physically painful. But Paul tells us that any suffering that we might be going through, whether it be emotional, mental, or physical, is not even remotely comparable to the glory that we will eventually see.

Then, in Corinthians, he takes that a step further. Even in our suffering, if our faith is in the right person, we are not destroyed. We will always stand, no matter what.

James, the brother of Jesus, even takes it further, saying that we should rejoice in trials, because they will make us stronger. Let us ask God for wisdom, that we might stand firm in our struggles and sufferings.

Father, I don’t know how much I’ve truly suffered in my life, but there have been times when I have imagined that I was suffering, sometimes because of my own folly or sin, other times because of the way things played out in real life. But let my mind and spirit be such that, anytime I might suffer, that I might, as James admonished, rejoice in the trial, knowing that, on the other side of it, I will be stronger. But that requires that my faith stand firm during the time, as well, so let that be so. Garrison my imagination and my spirit that I might stand firm in all things and in all situations in my life. May my eyes be firmly fixed on you, my Lord.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Christianity is Relevant

Today is Monday, March 5, 2018. Day 21,907.

FIVE DAYS until Glen Rose!

John Lennon (not his birthday) said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”
The Quotations Page

The word for today is peculate, a verb which means, “to steal or take dishonestly (money, especially public funds, or property entrusted to one’s care); embezzle.”

Tonight is the night of our band concert. I practiced some more yesterday, but that one lick at the end of the Superman theme piece is kicking my butt. Sadly, I should have started practicing that after the first time we rehearsed that piece. Oh, well. The concert should still be fun. I’ve loaded up all my gear in the car, along with my black pants and jacket, white shirt and trombone bow-tie. Oh, and my black shoes. The trombone section collectively decided to dress as a reasonable facsimile of James Bond, since we are playing the Bond theme music.

C is feeling better. She spent most of Saturday and yesterday resting, which, I’m sure, was the best thing she could have done. Hopefully, she and S will make it to the concert tonight. S is on the fence. All last week, she was insisting that she wanted to be there. Yesterday, she was more hesitant about it. We shall see. I won’t have time to come home from work.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 
then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 51

This is one of the more famous of David’s Psalms, I believe, taking place, as noted, after he went through the episode with Bathsheba, and Nathan had confronted him. He knew he was wrong, and no other option but to cast himself upon the mercy of God. I especially like verse 15, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)

In today’s reading, called Social Morality, C.S. Lewis reminds us that what we know as “The Golden Rule” was not new, even when Jesus taught it. When he told the people, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” he was not giving a new and shocking revelation. He was reminding people that this is how we should live. It was “a summing up of what everyone, at bottom, had always known to be right.”

In addition, Lewis reminds us that Christianity “has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political programme for applying ‘Do as you would be done by’ in a particular society at a particular moment.” This teaching is appropriate for all men at all times. When we are told to feed the hungry, we are not give cooking lessons. When we are told to read the Scriptures, we aren’t given Hebrew and Greek (or even English) lessons. “Christianity . . . is a director which will set them to all the right jobs, and a source of energy which will give them all new life, if only they will put themselves at its disposal.”

These are good arguments for people who will try to insist that the Bible is no longer relevant to our society. My response to that objection would be, “Really? So do unto others as you would have them do unto you is not relevant today? Feed the hungry and care for the sick are not relevant for today?”

Father, we need constant reminding that your words are relevant for us today, because your words and precepts are timeless. We, as your children, need reminding, though, to live by them. Spiritual transformation is possible for the believer in Jesus, and all we need to do is to begin to look at his life and live like he lived. Or, as someone else has said, to try to live as Jesus would live if he were us.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Kindness Makes A Person Attractive

Today is Sunday, March 4, 2018. Day 21,906.

SIX days until Glen Rose!

It’s the birthday of Chris Squire (1948-2015), of Yes. He said, “Yes is what I like doing more than anything else. Somewhere along the way, as people came and went, it fell to me to kind of keep it going and oversee the spirit of the enterprise, as it were.”

The word for today is seriocomic, an adjective which means, “partly serious and partly comic.” We might also call that “dramedy.”

As I figured, nothing much happened yesterday. We ordered some food with DoorDash, for lunch. Then C went to lay down and I played video games until it was time to go pick up our Click List order at Kroger. C rested a lot, which is good. She’s planning on going to church, this morning, but still doesn’t feel quite right.

We’re getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street in Fort Worth. The worship gathering begins at 10:15 AM.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?¬†
For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. 
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers. 
“You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.¬†
You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.¬†
These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. 
“Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!¬†
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 50:16-23

Again, as in the first part of this Psalm, the emphasis is placed on thanksgiving.

What is desired in a man is steadfast love.
Proverbs 19:22

The Living Bible paraphrases this verse, “Kindness makes a man attractive.” When I looked at it in the ESV, I thought, “That’s not even close.” But perhaps I was wrong. “Steadfast love” is translated, in some versions, as “mercy.” Mercy and kindness are similar. I guess it could be said that the phrase, “what is desired in a man” could possibly be paraphrased as “makes a man attractive.” While we are at it, let’s go ahead and paraphrase “man” as “person.”

Indeed, kindness does make a person attractive. Steadfast love, mercy, kindness . . . all of these things make a person quite attractive. And sadly, I struggle a lot with those things, which, I suppose, might make me unattractive. But I pray, and when I pray, God blesses me with doses of mercy. When I remember how much God loves me, and how much mercy he has shown me, it drives me to be more merciful and kind to others. The struggle is being consistent with the remembering.

One thing I have begun doing again to help with this is trying to regain a habit of memorizing Scripture. Having a Bible verse handy to help with situations/temptations is always helpful. If we are to “fight the good fight,” we need ammunition, we need a weapon. The weapon we have is the “sword of the spirit” (I guess that doesn’t need “ammunition,” does it?), which is the Word of God.

May we, as God’s children, show more kindness, mercy, steadfast love, whatever you want to call it, not only to each other, but to the world around us. In our current world climate, there is not a lot of that happening. That needs to change.

Father, help me to be more kind, more merciful, show more steadfast love, both to my brothers and sisters, as well as to my “neighbors.” You have shown me great kindness and mercy. Help me, by your Spirit, to do the same toward others.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.