The Wrong Struggle

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

May the peace of Christ enfold you today!

Day 23,562

Seven days until Autumn begins!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

Today I am grateful:

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

“For You This Day,” by Daryl Madden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.