“It Is Your Face I Seek”

Today is Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Day 21,629. THREE days until our Oregon vacation!

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
The Quotations Page

Puffery ~ Undue or exaggerated praise.

For the lack of being able to find anything better, today is Senior Health and Fitness Day. So all you graduating seniors, get out there and be healthy today! Because I’m certain that’s what they mean, right?

Our bowling league begins tonight! The first night always begins with a meeting, which, in this case, begins at 5:45. So we’ll be loading both bowling bags in my car before we leave, this morning, and going straight to the bowling alley from work. We still haven’t worked out what we’ll do about dinner. The “food” at bowling alleys is never quite what you might consider “healthy.” I mean, it’s barely “food,” right? But the league won’t be over until at least 8:30, I’m sure, so we may have to eat something there. We’ll see. They frown upon us bringing outside food and beverages in the place.

The Rangers and Red Sox both won last night. The Rangers came back from behind to beat the Rays, and the Sox maintained a lead against the other Sox, giving Chris Sale his sixth win of the season. The Sox remain in second place, three games out, and the Rangers are also in second, tied with the Angels, eleven games out.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 96:9
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
Psalm 119:164
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
Psalm 25:8
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 
Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 7:37-39
Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! 
For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 117

(From The President’s Devotional)

“Come now, little man,
turn aside for a while
from your daily employment,
escape for a moment
from the tumult of your thoughts.
Put aside your weighty cares,
let your burdensome distractions wait,
free yourself awhile for God
and rest awhile in him.
Enter the inner chamber of your soul,
shut out everything except God
and that which can help you in seeking him,
and when you have shut the door, seek him.
Now, my whole heart, say to God,
‘I seek your face, Lord,
it is your face I seek.'”
Anselm of Canterbury, in Theology for a Troubled Heart

Father, Help me to do exactly this during these morning times. Help me to put aside anything other than that which can help me in seeking you, and then, to simply see you with my whole heart. “It is your face, Lord, it is your face I seek.”
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.

“Unconscious Blasphemy”

“The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ.”

Today is Sunday, November 20, 2016. Four more days until Thanksgiving!

Quote of the Day

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

Word of the Day

Nictitate (verb, NIK-tuh-tayt) – to close and open quickly : to shut one eye briefly : wink

Today is Guinness World Record Day. So get out there and see if you can break the world record for balancing apples on your nose!

Yesterday was a productive day! The pool is fixed, and it actually wound up costing a couple hundred dollars LESS than quoted! How often does THAT happen??

The concert went well, last night. There was one song that was a little rough, but, overall, we played well. C was there, and R & J showed up for it, too, as well as at least one family from our church. After the concert, C, R, & J and I went to Cotton Patch for dinner, and took something home to S.

When we got home, we watched a bootleg recording of Hamilton. What a remarkable show! You can judge me for watching a bootleg, if you want, but the show is currently sold out through next August. 😛 I was in tears several times, throughout the performance, especially toward the end of the segment about the Revolution. I’m not sure it ever dawned on me what a miracle it is that we are even here, as U.S. citizens.

We are getting ready for church, this morning. We worship at The Exchange, which meets at 9100 N. Beach Street in Fort Worth. The worship gathering begins at 10:15.


Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Psalm 32:12

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. Psalm 67:1

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Psalm 50:2

(From Praying With the Psalms)

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.
Psalm 135:15-18

We might consider that this particular segment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, actually poking fun at those who created and/or worshiped idols, which “have mouths but do not speak,” and “have eyes, but do not see.” It is postulated that the people who worship them would eventually become like them.

“God Almighty, I thank you for the ability to laugh at the ridiculous posturing of pride, for the perspective to see the clownish behavior of the arrogant. From insights gathered while laughing, build in me humility and loyalty as I serve you in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

In him we have . . . the forgiveness of our trespasses. Ephesians 1:7

Continuing on the same subject as yesterday’s reading, Chambers warns against the “pleasant view” that God will certainly forgive us because he is so kind and loving. Yesterday, he called this view “shallow nonsense.” Today, he calls it “unconscious blasphemy.”

“The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ.” It may be easy for us to accept forgiveness, but it cost God “the agony of Calvary.” We should never accept a view of forgiveness that “blots out the Atonement.”

Father, show me this truth, deeply. Keep this right in front of me for the rest of my days on earth. Let me never believe that you simply forgive because you are kind and loving. Yes, you are so very kind and loving, but the forgiveness of sins comes only from the agony and atonement of Christ on the Cross. May we, as your people, always remember this, and may that inspire us toward sanctification and gratitude.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Almighty and everlasting God,
whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son,
the King of kings and Lord of lords:
Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth,
divided and enslaved by sin,
may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours)

Grace and peace, friends.

Relationship, Not Service

Today is Tuesday, August 30, 2016. 45 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

Word of the Day

Vilipend – to regard or treat as of little value or account. Also, to vilify; depreciate.

Today is Frankenstein Day. That’s rather ironic, as we lost Gene Wilder yesterday. You know . . . Young Frankenstein?

Yes, the news was breaking as I was starting my afternoon break yesterday. Gene Wilder, our beloved Willy Wonka and Young Frankenstein has died at the age of 83. He died “due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.” Did anyone know he had suffered from Alzheimer’s? Probably not, as Wilder chose not to disclose it. “He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” said his nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman.

Band practice went well, last night. We made it through most of the music for the upcoming concert, which will be on Saturday, September 17, at 7:30 PM, at our usual spot, the Southlake Town Center Gazebo.

The Rangers beat the Mariners 6-3 last night, knocking Seattle into third place and maintaining an 8.5 game lead over the now second place Astros. The Red Sox beat the Rays 9-4, but gained no ground on the Boo Jays, who beat the Orioles 5-1. They are still two games behind, in second place. They do, however, have a two game lead in the wild card chase.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
Psalm 107:23-32

Every day, in the business world, we see people overcoming insurmountable odds, using their wit, cunning, cleverness, and intelligence. These situations, of course, give people the illusion of having control. “But there are powers and forces over which cunning has no influence. Life has storms from which mere ingenuity cannot save us.”

“Just when I get my life arranged so that everything is under control, something happens to upset it. I need to learn, Lord, that life is not a business that I arrange and control, but a pilgrimage in which you give protection and provide guidance. Help me to learn that through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Am I Convinced by Christ?

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20

What Jesus tells us is that we should not be rejoicing in “successful service,” but because we are rightly related to him. “You can never measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ.” But if our eyes are on the service, instead of on Christ, our reward will simply be the job well done. Maybe that’s enough for some people. But if we stay focused on Christ, rightly related to him, he will pour “rivers of living water” through us, and we won’t even be aware of it. That’s the best way to be. If I am rightly related to Jesus, then my daily walk will include works that our Father will do through me that I won’t even be aware of. I don’t need to be aware of them. My reward is not in the works of service that I do, but in my relationship with Jesus.

“The tendency today is to put the emphasis on service.” Do you realize when that was written? This book was initially copyrighted in 1935! Imagine how true it is in 2016! Things haven’t changed much, have they? For all of our talking and teaching about “grace,” we still manage to put all the emphasis (well, most of it, anyway) on works! We cannot make our usefulness the measure of our success. “It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him.” We must keep our relationship with Jesus right; the work will take care of itself, as we stay in the “easy yoke.”

Father, I pray that you keep me rightly related to Jesus. I know that this depends somewhat on me, and pray that I can manage to do this daily. But I fail a lot. Keep my eyes on Jesus. Help me to “look full in his wonderful face.” Then you can work through me, and I don’t have to worry about the works of service, because they will flow through me like rivers of living water.

Come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.


“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”~~Abraham Lincoln

Today’s word of the day, from Word Think, is futile. “Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.” As in, “We are Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

Today is Giving Tuesday. This day is set aside on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, to get the “giving season” started. It also serves to try to remind us that there is “more to holidays than consumerism and commercialization.”

It was tough getting back into the swing of things, yesterday, after a four day weekend. And, as expected, we pretty much got a double hit of packages from UPS, since they don’t observe a holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We made a pretty good dent in it, though, and I stayed an extra hour before heading to Southlake for band practice.

It was there that I made a nice discovery. Our regular band director was not there last night, so we had a substitute. He is the only sub I’ve seen, so far, another one of the Southlake band directors. I only know his first name, which is Jay. Hah! Google is a wonderful thing. I just learned that his last name is Bach. Anyway, what I learned is that he did graduate work with Neill Humfeld at East Texas State University in the mid eighties! It was so cool to meet another student of Dr. Humfeld!

Today is Tuesday. Not much else about it. We might get our Christmas tree up tonight. Or we might get back to the gym. Christi put out some of our home decorations while I was at band practice last night. The house looks so beautiful! I love our home during Christmas!


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Prepare the Way.”

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.
Luke 1:16-17

We have entered into a season known as “Advent.” It is the weeks leading up to the day we celebrate as Christmas on December 25. The quoted scripture verses refer to John the Baptist and his preparation for the arrival of Jesus. Advent can do the same for us, today.

Let us not enter into the Christmas season unprepared. Spiritually unprepared, that is. First, we should meditate on the fact that we need a savior. “Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior.” Yes, the Christmas story is beautiful and warm. However, we must consider why there was a need for the story to begin with.

Second, we should engage in “sober self-examination.” John Piper compares Advent to what Lent is for Easter. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24) One of the favorite Christmas hymns says, “Let every heart prepare him room . . .”

Third, we should have “God-centered anticipation,” expectation, and excitement in our homes. As we put up the decorations, let us converse about what they mean and why we put them up. Let us expect Jesus Christ to invade our homes and hearts this season.

Finally, we should search the Scriptures, and even memorize great passages. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:29) “Gather ’round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights.”

Father, as we prepare for Christmas, this year, let it be something magical, made so by your Holy Spirit, as we anticipate what Jesus can do in our lives this season. Let us not approach it unprepared, or even worse, in a blase fashion. Give us excitement and anticipation as we go through Advent, this season.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Struggling in Prayer

“Prayer is not merely a way to get inward peace–it is also a way to look outward and participate with God in his work in the world.”~~Timothy Keller

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”~~Abraham Lincoln

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is penurious, “extremely stingy; parsimonious; miserly,” “extremely poor; destitute; indigent,” or, “poorly or inadequately supplied; lacking in means or resources.” So Scrooge was penurious, but so was Bob Cratchit? Interesting.

Today is Name Your PC Day. I still haven’t done that. I’m not sure what its name is. Is it a she or a he? Who knows? I thought about calling it “Hal,” but that might not end well.

Christi had her last Huddle last night, and I got a few things accomplished around the house. Tonight, we go to Mineral Wells to pick up my mother and bring her back here for the weekend. Going to be a busy one. We have to do holiday grocery shopping tomorrow morning, the concert for the Christmas Tree lighting at 4:30, church Sunday morning, take Mama home, and then the church’s Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening. It should all be good fun, though.

Of course, I will probably have to work late tonight, but we’re kind of used to that, now.


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, I begin chapter fourteen, “Struggle: Asking His Help.” This chapter tackles a third form of prayer. We have looked at upward prayer, which is praise and adoration of God. We have looked at inward prayer, which is self-examination and confession. Now we look at outward prayer, which is asking God for things for ourselves, others close to us, and for the world. David expressed this kind of prayer in Psalm 61:1-2, in a rather primal way. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. On the surface, petitionary prayer looks simple. In the words of Mr. Keller, “looks can be deceiving.”

First, we look at the book of James, where the brother of Jesus writes, You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Our petitions could actually be bad for us, especially if we see them as a way to tell God, “My will be done!” We tend to want to indulge our appetites and tell God how he should run things. This is neither pleasing to God nor helpful to us.

We can still be manipulative without being arrogant about it, though. Sometimes we get it into our heads that if we pray a certain way, God is obligated to us. If we follow certain “elaborate forms and practices,” we can get what we want from God. These prayers “do not seek God’s face, grace, and glory so much as power to get things from him.”

We can also be too timid in prayer, especially when attempting to avoid these other two errors. Here is a great quote from Keller:

Prayer is not merely a way to get inward peace–it is also a way to look outward and participate with God in his work in the world.

Theologian Donald Bloesh said, “‘Prayer is not simply petition, but strenuous petition. It is . . . active pleading with God. It consists not merely in reflection on the promises of God but in taking hold of these promises.'” Paul asked the Roman Christians to “strive” with him in prayer. I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf. (Romans 15:30) In Ephesians 6:12, Paul says, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. How do we “wrestle” against “cosmic powers?” In prayer.

I have caught myself falling into the trap of thinking that if I pray the right words, God will answer. I frequently stop myself in the middle of prayers and rethink what I am saying. I have also been guilty of spending most of my petitionary time praying for others, and never asking anything for myself. I believe this is equally erroneous. It is almost a false humility, thinking that God is too busy to worry with me, but will answer my prayers for others. Or maybe I think my own petitions are too trivial.

“It is quite natural in prayer to ask wrongly or not at all. We must learn to ask, and to ask rightly.”

Father, teach me, as I continue to study this book, to “ask rightly.” Teach me to pray. That is my ultimate goal as I read this book, and then continue on to others. Teach me to pray. I want to knock on the doors of heaven with confidence, but not arrogance; with humility, but not timidity. I want to participate in the work that you are doing in the world, with strenuous petition.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Nowhere Else To Go

Good morning. It is pre-Friday, February 11, 2015. Only 8 more days until pitchers and catchers report! 53 days until Opening Day.

Today’s word of the day is evolution. (I think it’s Darwin’s birthday.) Evolution is a noun, and it has many meanings. I will not post them all. One meaning is, “A movement or change of position.” This can be military, as in, “A manoeuvre executed by troops or ships to adopt a different tactical formation.” It can be figurative, as in, “A (tactical) change in behaviour or attitude.” Or it can be, “A wheeling, twisting, or turning movement; one performed in dancing or gymnastics.” It can also mean, “The process of unrolling, opening out, or revealing.” If you want more, click on the link.

Today is Lost Penny Day. I believe the gist of it is to gather up as much loose change as you can find and give it to charity. Because every little bit helps, and those “pennies” add up.

Work is continuing to go pretty well, which is nice, for a change. However, I have to go to a meeting this morning, at 9:00. We’ll see how that goes.

Christi has her Huddle tonight. There’s not much else going on in our lives, other than the weekend coming. I have to be off work next Monday, because my Saturday is coming up. And yes, I did say, “Have to be.” I’m still not crazy about the Saturday arrangements. Plus, there’s no telling what my queue will look like on Tuesday when I arrive. The week after that, I will be taking three days of PTO to assist my mother as she gets cataract surgery. Y’all can pray for that, if you feel so inclined. 🙂


For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:10-11

(FromSolid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Lincoln’s Providence.”

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Romans 11:33

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. What you may not know about him is that he remained “skeptical, and at times, even cynical, about religion into his forties.” It was “personal and national suffering that drew Lincoln into the reality of God.”

In 1862, Lincoln’s 11-year-old son Willie died. While Mary (Lincoln’s wife) sought out “New Age mediums” to try to deal with the loss, Abraham “turned to Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.” After some long talks, Gurley says that Lincoln experienced “a conversion to Christ.” Lincoln, himself, says he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

As the war went on, Abraham Lincoln was confronted daily with the horrors of dead and wounded soldiers. All of this “drove Lincoln deeper into the providence of God.” He is quoted as saying, “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”

One month before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln gave his Second Inaugural address. In it, he makes statements about the providence of God, and refrains from attempting to show God as siding with either the Union or the Confederacy. In this address, he said, “Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this might scourge of war might speedily pass away . . . Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, ‘the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.'”

May all who suffer and experience loss be drawn closer to the providence of God, as Abraham Lincoln was. May we all experience “a deeper reliance on the infinite wisdom and love of God’s inscrutable providence.”

Father, draw us more closely into your providence, into that sense of believing that you have all things under your control, and that your judgments are, indeed, “true and righteous altogether.” Many times, when we lose that which is dear to us, we shake our fists toward heaven in anger. This is not necessarily wrong, as long as, after shaking that fist, we fall to our knees in submission and supplication. May our anger and frustrations over loss and suffering draw us toward you, rather than pushing us away. We have a great example in Abraham Lincoln. May we look at the examples of people like him and be inspired to deeper belief. I believe, as Lincoln believed, that “I have nowhere else to go.”

I pray for this day, that our drive to work may be safe and smooth. I pray for Christi’s work day, that she would get much accomplished, and that there will be no anxiety or drama. I pray for her Huddle gathering tonight, that the ladies will continue to learn about you through Christ, while drawing closer together in fellowship, as well. I pray that Stephanie will know your steadfast love today, and that you would give her wisdom.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all, like Abraham Lincoln, find that we have nowhere else to go, but to God.

Grace and peace, friends.