Small Acts Bring Big Results

Today is Monday, the 2nd of January, 2023, in the second week of Christmas. It is the ninth day of Christmas.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always!

Day 23,671

For a lot of people (unless you happen to work in retail or restaurant industry), today is the observed holiday for New Year’s Day. As far as I know, the banks are closed, and there will be no mail delivery. C is off work today, and will be headed back in tomorrow after a whole week off, as she took vacation between Christmas and yesterday. I don’t ever work on Monday, so it’s just another day for me. “Just another manic Monday.”

I don’t really feel that way. It’s just a line from a song.

I wondered, this morning, how many sermons were preached, yesterday, on 2 Corinthians 5:17?


I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, 
and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
(Psalms 119:75 NRSV)

O Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers. I am praying, this morning, for many who need healing of some kind. I am praying for some who need guidance in life, and success in new goals that they have begun. There are many, many who are grieving . . . may You give the comfort of the Holy Spirit to their hearts and souls. There are some who seek familial reconciliation; may You intervene in their situations. O Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers!

Lord our God, we have gathered in your sight. We thank you that through your words you have given something of your very self to help us be your disciples, your children, who stand firm in faith and trust throughout our lives, whatever our lot may be. Help us in these times, and when days grow difficult and full of grief, hold your people securely in your hand. Help us to be firmly rooted in faith, however dark it is on earth. You can give us strength and courage; we can do nothing in our human strength. But the power of your Spirit can renew us, make us alert, and fill us with lasting joy. For we are your people, your children, and when held in your hand, we can rejoice in spite of all grief. Amen.

Daily Prayer from

With this in mind, then, I kneel in prayer to the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, that out of the treasures of his glory he may grant you strength and power through his Spirit in your inner being, that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts in love. 
Ephesians 3:14–17a, NEB

Today I am grateful:

  1. that Jesus shares Himself with us, in order to help us be His disciples
  2. that the Lord gives us strength and courage, for we can do nothing in our human strength
  3. for daily renewal in the Holy Spirit
  4. that even our smallest efforts can yield large results, when God is involved
  5. for the faithfulness of God to act on our behalf, when we commit our ways to Him

O magnify the LORD with me, 
and let us exalt his name together.
(Psalms 34:3 NRSV)
Open my eyes, so that I may behold 
wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalms 119:18 NRSV)
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; 
I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; 
your faithfulness extends to the clouds.
(Psalms 57:9-10 NRSV)
Save us, O LORD our God, 
and gather us from among the nations, 
that we may give thanks to your holy name 
and glory in your praise.
(Psalms 106:47 NRSV)
O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name,
 make known his deeds among the peoples. 
Sing to him, sing praises to him; 
tell of all his wonderful works. 
Glory in his holy name;
 let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 
Seek the LORD and his strength; 
seek his presence continually. 
Remember the wonderful works he has done, 
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,

He is mindful of his covenant forever, 
of the word that he commanded, 
for a thousand generations, 
the covenant that he made with Abraham, 
his sworn promise to Isaac, 
which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, 
to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 
(Psalms 105:1-5, 8-10 NRSV)
 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.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. 
May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, 
on earth as in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread. 
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. 
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; 
for Yours are the kingdom and the power 
and the glory forever and ever. 

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
(Matthew 13:31-32 NRSV)

“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”
(Luke 16:10 NRSV)

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”
(John 6:9 NRSV)

Open up before GOD, keep nothing back; 
he'll do whatever needs to be done:
(Psalms 37:5 MSG)

The tiny mustard seed becomes a huge plant. Whoever is faithful in little is also faithful in much. The young boy’s five loaves and two fish feeds a multitude. “Little is much when God is in it.” Even the smallest acts of faith can yield huge results.

For us, we need not worry about the magnitude of our actions. Some are hindered by the mindset of wanting to do “huge things” for God. But that’s not what God is after. He is after the willingness of the boy with the sack lunch, who is willing to share it with Jesus. He is after the one who is willing to pray, faithfully, alone in her closet, no one ever knowing. He is after the one who is willing to give her two “mites,” as opposed to the one who throws noisy coins into the coffer, out of his abundance.

One of the most seemingly small and insignificant things we can do, especially for one another, is to listen. This world is an exceedingly noisy place, and it is growing ever more so by the day. “We are surrounded with noise: telephone, radio, television, stereo. Messages are amplified deafeningly. The world is a mob in which everyone is talking at once and no one is willing or able to listen.” (Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder, quoted in God’s Message for Each Day)

But, in the midst of all of this noise, God listens. The popular Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” Peterson renders this to say, “Open up before GOD, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done.

Most followers of Christ are aware that God speaks to us. Primarily, this comes through His Word, but there are other avenues, as well. However, we aren’t quite as aware that God listens to us. He hears us. And, in ways that we cannot comprehend, somehow, He is able to hear all of us at one time. The fact that He listens to us is even more amazing than Him speaking to us.

Finding someone who listens to us at all, much less “carefully and thoroughly,” is rare. “When it happens we know that what we say and feel are immensely important. We acquire dignity. We never know how well we think or speak until we find someone who listens.” (ibid)

It has been said many times, that, when we are involved in conversation, we all too often, rather than listen when the other is speaking, are considering what we are going to say next. And how often do we interrupt?? I’m guilty of it, and I hate when I do it. It’s almost automatic, seeming to be out of my control. But it is not. We are a society of interrupting people.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Interrupting cow.
Interrupting cow w--

So today, consider two things. One, that God listens to you. Your thoughts, your words, your feelings are important, and have dignity. Two, consider listening to someone else. If you find yourself engaged in conversation today, listen. Let the other person speak full sentences. Don’t try to finish their sentences for them. Don’t interrupt. And don’t let your mind stray to what you want to say next. I might forget what I was going to say next. But that’s okay. I’m not the most important person in the room. You are.

"O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Divine Hours -The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
"Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, I pray,t he love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."
(The Divine Hours - Concluding Prayer of the Church)

Father, help us to be more aware and confident that You hear us when we pray. And, in that knowledge, help us to pray more and better. When I lift up the prayer requests that come to my attention, may my attention be fully with them. May my prayers be sincere and not cursory, and may Your Holy Spirit help me know the best way to pray for all.

I also pray that You help us, in turn to listen to others when we are in conversation with them. It is so important to listen. It gives others dignity and it gives them confidence. It also gives them feelings of hope and importance. So give us all the ability to listen, which goes hand in hand with not thinking we are the most important person in the room.

In Your mercy, Lord, hear our prayers.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Seventh Day of Christmas–The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Today is Thursday, December 31, 2020, the seventh day of Christmas.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,939

One more day until 2021! Will you stay up to say “good riddance” to 2020?

The above mentioned fact means, of course, that today is New Year’s Eve. And I have taken PTO (paid time off) for this last day of the year. As is, unfortunately, my custom, I was awake at shortly after 6:30, this morning. But that is still, technically, “sleeping in” for me.

As we finish off 2020, we have been greeted with yet more sad news, as Dawn Wells, who famously played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, passed away yesterday, at the age of 82, from complications due to Covid-19. I may or may not do a retrospective blog this evening. Probably won’t. But the idea did occur to me, so it’s floating around in my brain.

I will finish at least two more books today, for my 2020 reading list. I actually surprised myself by reading more than forty books. In the spirit of full disclosure, I include Audible titles on my reading list. At least, that is, if they are audio versions of real books. I do not include “Audible Originals” on my reading list. It looks like I will finish up with either 43 or 44 books, this year. Not too shabby. Two of those that I will complete today are devotional books.

In fact, I just had an idea. (Be careful, it’s in a strange place.) I think I will do a sort of “retrospective” for the year, but it will be a recap of sorts, running down all of the books that I have read this year. We will see how much I can remember about any of them. Hahaha!!


This new day You give to me
From Your great eternity
This new day now enfold
Me in Your loving hold

You are the star of the morn
You are the day newly born
You are the light of our night
You are the Savior by Your might

God be in me this day
God ever with me stay
God be in the night
Keep us by Thy light
God be in my heart
God abide, never depart.
(David Adam)

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)

BIBLE SONG: PSALM 90:1-6, 12, 17

A prayer of Moses the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.
(Psalms 90:1-6 NIV)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalms 90:12 NIV)

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalms 90:17 NIV)


The LORD said to Moses,
“Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
“‘”The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”‘
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
(Numbers 6:22-27 NIV)


This is a wonderful passage to close out a year, especially a year like 2020. Looking back on this year, we can find, all too easily, so much about which to complain. Most of us probably have to work a little harder to find something to be thankful for or that we consider blessing.

But here’s the thing. It is much more healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually, to be grateful and count blessings than it is to be downcast and complain.

I can think of at least a couple things, right off the bat, that I find to be blessings during 2020.

I have lost almost one hundred pounds this year. Perhaps by Saturday, when we officially weigh in, I will have reached one hundred pounds. I hope to. Together, the three of us who live in this house have lost almost two hundred and fifty pounds! (It looks like more if you write it out. Heh.)

C still has her job. In a year when countless tournaments were cancelled, when bowling leagues suffered, and others were laid off, she still has her job. Sure, she took a ten percent pay cut, earlier, but she still has her job, and we are doing fine, financially.

And guess what!! She got a bonus in this week’s check, and she gets her full pay back as of January 1! What a blessing! And totally unexpected.

I still have my job. Unlike many, I have had to go in to work every day of the pandemic. And, while we have had three reported cases of Covid-19 at our place, I have stayed well. My employer is doing a good job of enforcing protocols.

So there are blessings to be counted, and, even though I have been guilty of complaining about some of the madness of the year, I have also been faithful to note the blessings and continue my habit of gratitude throughout the year.

So, as I read this, the “Aaronic blessing” from the book of Numbers, I find that I can say, without hesitation, that the Lord has blessed me and my family throughout this year. He has blessed us and protected us; He has smiled on us and has been gracious to us; and I believe that He has kept His face turned toward us, and, above all, given us peace.

Father, I am grateful for these things, in this past year. I confess that there have been times when I allowed the presence of unpleasant events take hold in my spirit, and caused me to complain. But I also praise You for the fact that, when that did happen, Your Spirit was quick to turn me around and find blessing in our lives. I pray that, as a new year approaches, You will continue to bless us, and that we will find more ways to praise You and live out those blessings, allowing them to not stagnate in our own lives, but to overflow into those around us, “paying it forward,” so to speak.

"Covenant keeping God,
at the end of another year I thank you for keeping me
connected and at home in you through the Holy Spirit
by your free, unchanging love
and by the strong intercession of Jesus.
In your faithfulness,
continue to preserve and keep me and all your people
from the power of evil throughout the coming year.
In Jesus' name,
(Westminster Confession, 17)


“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)

Side note: I’m way too distracted, this morning. Trying to get focused to finish this out.

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:11-18 NIV)

In the category of blessings in the past year, I can include a strange peace that has settled in my soul/spirit. The reason for this is in verse 14 of the above passage. “He (Jesus Christ) is our peace.” Note that this verse also says that Jesus has “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

We, the Church, need to rediscover that peace.

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
(John 14:27 ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV)

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 150:1-6 NIV)

Father, what more fitting way to end the devotionals of 2020 than with “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord?” For truly, Father, everything that happens to us, during the course of a year, whether good or bad, happy or sad, must necessarily end with praise. So this year will end with praise. And 2021 will begin with praise. There has been so much in this year that has been out of sorts. Your Church has been torn down the middle by politics. I pray for restoration during 2021. I pray that we might set politics aside and realize that it truly has no bearing on eternity. We need spiritual healing.

But we also need physical healing. The world is hurting. Maybe not more than it ever has, but more than it has in my lifetime. Father, please deliver us! I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow morning and the pandemic be gone. I know that it could be, if that’s what You decide to do. I believe, with all my heart, that You could wave Your hand and Covid-19 would be eradicated. But I don’t believe that that is what will happen. Nevertheless, I pray that You would, Father, have mercy on us!

I pray for spiritual renewal in the coming year. Since we kind of see January 1 as an opportunity to “start over,” I pray that we can all approach the new year with a “clean slate,” and look for new blessings and for those new mercies that are new every morning. Grant us repentance and forgiveness for those times when we forgot to count our blessings and, rather, focused on failures. And I pray that we would find ourselves knowing and experiencing both Your presence and Your forgiveness more often in the coming year.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You have provided, financially, for us throughout 2020
  2. That our health has been maintained through this year
  3. That You have given us peace, in spite of the turmoil around us
  4. That You have put praise in my heart and on my lips
  5. For new beginnings and hope everlasting

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Irish Blessing)

Grace and peace, friends.