Opportunity Knocks Constantly

Today is Thursday, the twenty-eighth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,513

22 days until S turns 29!

My weather chart for yesterday looks a lot like the day before. The high temp was 103 again. That’s three straight days of 103 for a high. Keep in mind that I am getting my information from the nearest airport which is not DFW Airport, but Meacham Field in Fort Worth. I saw other information, yesterday, which had one more day of 100+ temps than I am showing. I have 32 days total, with a current streak of twelve. Today’s high is predicted to be 102.

We have now had no rain for 54 days. The ten-day forecast promises no relief.

The Texas Rangers kept Jon Gray in the game one inning too long, yesterday, and they lost 4-2 to complete the sweep by the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers are now 43-54, eleven games below .500, somehow still in third place in the AL West. They are still twenty games out of first place (the cheaters lost again), and 9.5 out of the Wild Card race. They begin four-game series in LA with the Angels today.

The Red Sox, after going ahead 6-5, couldn’t hold the lead, and lost to the Cleveland Guardians, 7-6. They are now 49-50, and remain in last place in the AL East, seventeen games out of first place and 4.5 out of the Wild Card race. They have another game with Cleveland today.

The Dodgers have overtaken the Evil Empire (I have been waiting to be able to say that!) by .003 percentage points, with a 65-32 record. While the Yanks have won one more game, they have also lost one more, which accounts for the percentage difference. The Nationals continue to have the worst MLB record, at 34-66. The Chicago Cubs now own the longest win streak, at six games, and the Giants continue to have the longest losing streak, now at seven. The Yankees maintain the highest run differential, at +196, and the Nationals keep the lowest, at -160. The Rangers are now at +3, and the Red Sox are at -16.

Today being Thursday, I will be working from 11:15 to 8:15 in the computer center at the library.


Lord our God, we come into your presence, pleading with you to bring the world what it needs, so that people may be freed from all their pain and enabled to serve you. Let the power of Jesus Christ be revealed in our time. For he has taken on our sin that justice might arise on earth, that all might have life and might see your salvation, which you will bring when the time is fulfilled. Let your power be revealed in the world, and let your will be done, your name be kept holy, and all wrongs be righted in this turbulent and difficult age. O Lord our God, you alone can help. You alone are the Savior of all peoples. In your great mercy you can bring peace. We look to you. And when we consider your Word, we remember the mighty promises you have given, promises which are to be fulfilled in our time. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Now we find that the Law keeps slipping into the picture to point the vast extent of sin. Yet, though sin is shown to be wide and deep, thank God his grace is wider and deeper still! 
(Romans 5:20 Phillips)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the senses, which allow me to have enjoyment in things in this life
2. for poetry . . . there are many poets who inspire me in this world
3. for the many opportunities that will come my way, to serve the Lord, today; may I be faithful and keep my eyes open for them
4. for the intricate connection between prayer and God's Word
5. that our Father will always be accessible to those who walk in Christ

On This Day, by S. Michaels, LightWriters

Let there be a change
the north west wind speaks
the willows drink deep

©2022 S. Michaels
A Season of Singing
(Haiku 5-5-5)

That’s an example of one of the poets who inspires me. Please check out her website for more beautiful imagery and poetry.

So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
(1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV)

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV)

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 KJV)

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares 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 55:6-9 ESV)

Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
(Psalms 55:17 ESV)

And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.
(Numbers 7:89 ESV)

Opportunity is the word of the day. Opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.”

In the Scripture passages above, there are opportunities galore. Opportunity is something my day is full of. It has been said by someone that “Opportunity knocks but once.” That may be true in some cases, because some great opportunities may only come to us one time. But opportunity, in general, happens constantly. Everywhere I look, if I’m paying attention, opportunity presents itself.

For example, in the Isaiah 55 passage, we are told to “seek the LORD while he may be found.” It’s not like He is hiding from us. He is available for us to find Him. For a season, at least. Seeking the Lord is one way of “making the most of every opportunity.”

Another way of making the most of those opportunities is in prayer. Now, we must be careful to note that that passage in 2 Chronicles, the one that well-meaning Christians love to quote when things are going bad in the nation, is directed to a specific people for a specific time. “My people,” in this case, is Israel. It is fair, as well, to say that “My people,” in this day and age, is the Church (capital C). What is not accurate or true is to think that “My people” represents a particular country, today.

Nevertheless, the encouragement to pray goes out to all people, to everyone who calls the name of Jesus. One of the ways that we seek the Lord (while He may be found) is through prayer. Side note: God will always be found by His own people. The Psalmist recognized that opportunities to pray were constant. In Psalm 55, he speaks of praying “evening, morning, and noon,” which is a way of saying “all the time.”

In Psalm 119:164, the psalmist says, “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.” That information led the Church, through history, to implement “fixed hour prayer.” By the sixth century, the monastic orders had implemented seven fixed times of prayer. Benedict added an eighth time in the sixth century. So they had Matins at midnight, Lauds at 3 AM, Prime at 6 AM, Terce at 9 AM, Sext at noon, None at 3 PM, Vespers at 6 PM, and Compline at 9 PM. Consequently, there was “opportunity” to pray every three hours.

Needless to say, the average Christian who works for a living cannot follow such a rigid schedule. However, it gives us the realization that we can truly, as Paul admonished us, “pray without ceasing.”

And we are not restricted, as Moses was, to a specific place to speak to God. Isn’t that wonderful? We can meet with God whenever and wherever we want, as well as whenever and wherever He wants.

Prayer and God’s word are inseparable. Attempting to experience one without the other will diminish both.

“A prayerful spirit is the spirit to which God will speak. A prayerful spirit will be a listening spirit waiting to hear what God will say.”

“The Word gives you a subject for prayer. It shows you the path of prayer, telling you how God would have you come. it gives yu the power for prayer – courage in the assurance that you will be heard. And it brings you the answer to prayer as it teaches what God will do for you.”

But prayer also prepares our hearts to hear God through His Word.

God should be the aim of my heart, the one object of my desires. Through prayer and His Word, He abides in me, and I in Him.

"Lord, make me willing to be used by Thee. May my knowledge of my unworthiness never make me resist being used by Thee. May the need of others always be remembered by me, so that I may ever be willing to be used by Thee.
"And open my eyes and my heart that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee."
(Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country)
Today's sources:
Pray A Word A Day
Daily Guideposts 2022
Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, I praise You that You are always right there, ready for me to find, and waiting for me to both speak and listen to You. While there will come a time when those who do not believe will no longer be able to find You, You will always be found by us who call the name of Christ.

I thank You for the many, many opportunities that will come my way today. I pray for the readiness to utilize them, and pray for the willingness, as Alan Paton prayed, to be used by You. Every day that I walk into that library, I will be faced with dozens of opportunities to serve You by loving someone. May I be faithful to fulfill that responsibility.

I thank You for Your Word and for prayer, and the way that they are inextricably linked. It is true that prayer prepares me to receive Your Word and all of its benefits, but Your Word also prepares me to pray and gives me subjects for prayer, as well as answers my prayers. I really praise You for the book of Psalms, as it constantly gives me material for prayer, as well as a source of praise to You.

I pray for Your healing in the Church, Father. I pray that You would heal the division that has been brought on by people seeking peace in men rather than You. I pray that we would stop aligning ourselves with politicians and start loving You with all our being and loving one another the way Christ has loved us.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

“When opportunity knocks a pessimist dials 911;
when opportunity knocks an optimist sets the table.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

Grace and peace, friends.

The Measure of Faith

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-seventh of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,512

23 days until S turns 29!

I apologize in advance for the length of this entry.

The heat wave continues, as yesterday’s high reached 103, for eleven straight days of 100+ temps, the longest streak so far, this year. That will likely continue today. We have had 31 days of triple digits, so far this year, and no relief in sight. There has been no rain for 53 days. The average high and low for yesterday are 97/73, and the record high for the day is 104. Today’s high is predicted to be 103, and the next ten days are predicted to be at least 100 degrees.

The Texas Rangers blew another one, last night. They had gone ahead by scoring in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but then the bullpen blew the save in the bottom of the ninth and lost the game 5-4. They are now ten games below .500, at 43-53. They are still in third place in the AL West, though, still twenty games out of first (the cheaters have lost two in a row), and 8.5 out of the Wild Card race. They play Seattle again, this afternoon, at 2:40 CDT. That’s a strange time for a game.

The Red Sox lost to the Guardians, 8-3. So they are back at .500, with a record of 49-49. And they have dropped to last place in the AL East, a half game behind Baltimore. They are seventeen out of first, and 3.5 out of the Wild Card Race. Now what does it say about a division when the last place team is at exactly .500?? The AL East is the only division that has any team below third place with a .500 record. In some cases, even the third place team is below .500. The Sox play the Guardians again tonight at 7:10 EDT.

The Nationals, in spite of a three-game win streak, continue to hold the worst MLB record, at 34-65. The Blue Jays continue to hold the longest current win streak, at seven straight games. The San Francisco Giants have the longest current losing streak, at six games. The Nationals also keep the worst run differential, at -154. The Rangers are at +5, and the Red Sox have dropped to -15.

It is somewhat odd that the Rangers have a positive run differential, yet are ten games below .500. Almost every other team with a positive number in that category has a winning record, with the exception of the Giants, who are only one game below .500. The Orioles have a -5 differential, yet are one game above .500.

I guess that’s just how baseball go.


Lord our God, bring us together as one. Give us your Spirit so that we may know you, so that joy may fill our hearts, not only for ourselves but also for others. Root out evil from the earth. Sweep away all that offends you, all lying, deceit, and hate between nations. Grant that all people may come to know you, so that disunity and conflict may be swept away and your eternal kingdom may arise on earth and we may rejoice in it. For your kingdom can come to people even while on earth to bring them happiness and to make them your own children. Yes, Lord God, we want to be your children, your people, held in your hand, so that your name may be honored, your kingdom may come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
(John 10:16 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the hope of unity in Christ
2. for joy that fills my heart and soul, not only for myself, but for others, as well
3. for the "measure of faith" given to us that we can obey God's commands to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, and to not judge others, and to give generously and freely
4. that I can trust God and not be afraid, because the "universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be" (Dallas Willard)
5. that God is able to use anyone, anywhere, no matter what the weakness
6. for the power of intercessory prayer

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV, emphasis mine)

The word for today, from Pray A Word A Day, is “measure.”

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
(Romans 12:3 ESV)

The actual reading for today is so ridiculous I’m not even going to mention it. And they take the phrase from the verse completely out of context. So I’m winging it, here.

The NASB translates the last phrase in that verse, “as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” For today’s reading, it is truncated to simply, “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

While that is a true statement, we need to realize the reason for this measure of faith, and to do that, we must look at the whole verse. And the purpose of the verse is to instruct us to “not think of [ourselves] more highly than [we] ought to think, but to think with sober judgment.”

“Measure” could easily be thought of as “amount.” Yes, each of us has been given an “amount” of faith, and we need to use that faith to obey the commands of the Lord.

There are other uses of the word, as well. Jesus used the word when He cautioned us against judging.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
(Matthew 7:1-2 ESV)

Then there was this somewhat vague usage in Mark 4.

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
(Mark 4:24-25 ESV)

Then, He kind of wraps it all together in Luke 6.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
(Luke 6:37-38 ESV)

So how would I use the word “measure” in prayer? After all, this is the point of this whole devotional book, right? I would pray for God to help me use my “measure” of faith to obey His commands to not think more highly of myself than I ought, and to not judge others, and to give generously and freely.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
(Isaiah 12:2 ESV)

“There is none like God . . . who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
(Deuteronomy 33:26-27 ESV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
(Psalms 46:1-3 ESV)

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; 
my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, 
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, 
beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, 
my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live; 
in your name I will lift up my hands. 
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, 
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 
when I remember you upon my bed, 
and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help, 
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you; 
your right hand upholds me.
(Psalms 63:1-8 ESV)

Have you ever been afraid? Is that a dumb question?

I’ve been afraid. Many times in my life. At least one or two of those times were caused by my own stupidity or rebelliousness. Some of them are humorous, as I look back on them.

One of the times, C, R, and I were driving to east Texas to visit grandparents. C was driving, as she normally does on the road trips. It had been raining heavily, and as we passed through Dallas on I-30, we encountered some standing water. At roughly sixty miles per hour or so. The car began hydroplaning and drifting toward the center lane (we were in the left lane). C was desperately turning the wheel to the left, but with no result. There was a pickup pulling a trailer in the center lane, and we were headed straight for the back of the trailer, when suddenly, the wheels caught ground, and turned sharply to the left and struck one of the cement barriers on the side of the road. R, being a toddler, at the time, slept through the whole thing in her carseat. Some paint was scraped off the front bumper, and that was the only damage.

Then there was the time we lived in west Fort Worth, near White Settlement. R was a few years older, and S had not yet come along. C was going to night school to finish her college degree. When we lived in that part of the world, we frequently got pounded by thunderstorms. They always came from the west, and they always hit us head on, with full force. That night, C was at school, and one of those storms hit. Tornado warnings went off (back then, a tornado “warning” meant that there was one on the ground somewhere; these days a “warning” is what we used to call a “watch”). R and I got pillows and huddled in a hallway in the middle of the house. We had been watching a lot of Scripture song VHS tapes (remember those?) back then, and one of them was a Steve Green tape, I think it was called “Kids Sing Praise.” One of the songs was based off of Psalm 56:3-4.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
(Psalms 56:3-4 ESV)

Turns out it wasn’t “Kids Sing Praise,” but “Hide ‘Em In Your Heart.”

Anyway, R suggested we sing that song while we sat in the hallway with the storm raging outside and C somewhere in between Euless and our house, coming home from her night class.

Then there was the night before R’s birthday, I believe it was the year 2000. We were putting a basketball goal together, which she had asked for, outside in the driveway. At that time, we lived where we currently live. Clouds began building, and storm warnings began occurring. A tornado was coming, and it was heading straight toward us. I mean, it was miles away, at the time, but still on a trajectory to hit our area. We huddled in a bathroom (S was with us by then), and ate pizza, which had been delivered before the storms started. We prayed. Other people we know were praying, as well.

Here’s the thing. That tornado/storm did something really weird that evening. It took a hard left turn (“left” is totally arbitrary, there) and went through downtown Fort Worth, hitting the Bank One building the hardest. But it was after 5:00 PM, so no people were injured, because there was hardly anyone there.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid.”


Once again, I am reminded of some words by Dallas Willard, these coming from his book, The Divine Conspiracy. “Jesus brings us the assurance that the universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”

More words from Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country:

“No Christian should ever think or say that he is not fit to be God’s instrument, for that in fact is what it means to be a Christian. We may be humble about many things, but we may never decline to be used.”

“The gospel is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling. You are salt to the world! You are light to all the world! Even the hairs of your head have all been counted! These words were exciting to those who heard them. Things might be dark but they were to be the light of the world. They were given a new sense of their value as persons. Especially was this true of women.”

“There are therefore two things for us to do. The first is never to doubt that God can use us if we are willing to be used, no matter what our weaknesses. The second is to see that God can use any other person who is willing to be used, whatever his weaknesses, and if need be, to assure him of this truth.”

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
(Luke 11:5-13 NLT)

“In true, unselfish prayer there is little thought of personal need or happiness. If we would be delivered from the sin of limiting prayer, we must enlarge our heart for the work of intercession.”

Our faith will be stirred, says Andrew Murray, by interceding for others. Murray lists these elements of “true intercession”:

Urgent need – In order to learn to pray as we should, “we must open our eyes and heart to the needs around us.

Willing love – “It is the very nature of love to give up and forget itself for the sake of others.”

The sense of powerlessness – In Jesus’s example, the friend admits that he has nothing to give.

Faith in prayer – What he doesn’t have, someone else does have. “To get from God and then give to others what we ourselves receive from day to day is the secret of successful ministry.”

“Intercession is the link between our powerlessness and God’s omnipotence.”

(From Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray)

Father, I do sincerely pray that I might use the “measure of faith” that You have allocated to me, and that I might not think more highly of myself than I ought, nor judge people, and that I might give freely and generously to those in need, as You direct me.

I thank You for the gift of intercessory prayer, and that You have led me, in this task, to pray for others and their needs. I know that I have nothing to give, but You do, so I can ask You to do things for others that I cannot do, and that they cannot do for themselves.

I praise You for the reassurance that You can use anyone, at any time, for Your glory, no matter what kind of weakness we might think we have.

I thank You that I can trust You and not be afraid, because, in Your kingdom, as we walk in You and trust in Christ, this universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.

I continue to pray that You would bless us with some rain, Lord. We are in desperate need, and there are people all over the world who need relief from this heat wave. Have mercy, Father!

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Bonus points if you’re still reading.

Grace and peace, friends.

Compassion, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Faith

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-sixth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,511

24 days until S turns 29!

In the words of Sonny and Cher, “the heat goes on.” Wait. That’s not right, is it? Well, anyway, it does go one. Yesterday’s high was 103, for our thirtieth triple-digit day of this summer, and the tenth in the current streak. And, to make matters worse, those two days of below-100-temperatures in the forecast are now gone. (Sad face) And the chances of any rain have also diminished.

The average high and low for yesterday is 97/73 and the previous record high was 102, so we set a record yesterday. (I just started looking at those numbers, yesterday.) Today’s projected high is 104, and at 9:30, it was 88. The forecast for the next ten days has every day being at least 101, but today is the only day that is as high as 104. Of course, all of that could change tomorrow.

The Texas Rangers lost to the Mariners, last night, 4-3. They scored first, but fell behind an inning later and never caught back up. They are now 43-52, still in third place in the AL West. Still twenty games out of first, but now eight games out in the Wild Card race. They will face Seattle again, tonight.

The Red Sox managed to finally win a game, yesterday, beating the Cleveland Guardians, 3-1. This put them back over .500, at 49-48. Unfortunately, they won in those dreadfully ugly yellow uniforms. Who on earth thought that was a good idea?? Anyway, they are still in fourth place in the AL East, and still only a half game out of last place. Seventeen out of first, and three out of the Wild Card. They will face Cleveland again tonight.

The Nationals have won two straight games, but are still at the bottom of MLB, with a 33-65 record. The Blue Jays now have the longest current win streak, with six consecutive wins, and the Giants (since the Red Sox finally won) now have the longest current losing streak, at five games. The Nationals still have the worst run differential, but it has improved to “only” -159. The Rangers are at +6, and the Red Sox are at -10.

Today being Tuesday, I will be working at the library, this evening, from 4:15-8:15, shelving books. I have a suspicion that there will be a number of “youth” carts in the queue, still, as there were several there Saturday evening. So, if I check out another children’s book, that will be why. Hahaha!

Yes, that’s Kevin.


Lord God, we thank you for your Word, greatest and most glorious of all that comes to our human life. Every day we want to find more joy in your help, in what you are doing for us. Again and again we feel and rejoice in the new help, new strength, and new courage for life given by your Word. We seek and seek to find Jesus Christ, the eternal Life. He will surely come to establish your kingdom. Praise to your name, eternal, glorious, almighty God! Be with us poor, lowly people. Strengthen us in spirit, and enable us to persevere until everything is fulfilled that is promised by your Word. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Your word, LORD, is eternal; 
it stands firm in the heavens. 
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; 
you established the earth, and it endures. 
Your laws endure to this day, 
for all things serve you.
(Psalms 119:89-91 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the Word of God that stands firm, no matter how badly we humans distort it and misinterpret it and take it out of context
2. for another day of living
3. for the power and privilege of prayer
4. for compassion and mercy; both that of God toward us and that which we are to extend to one another
5. for faith in the God who makes the promises, and faith that He answers prayer

Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
(1 Corinthians 12:3-7 NIV, emphasis mine)

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
(1 Corinthians 12:11 NIV, emphasis mine)

Today’s word, from Pray A Word A Day, is “compassion.”

“We can’t heal the world today, but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an act of kindness.” ~ Mary Davis

I can’t verify this, but I’m guessing that this Mary Davis is the author of Every Day Spirit: A Daybook of Wisdom, Joy and Peace.

While there are plenty of references to “compassion” in Scripture, I do like the gist of this quote. I can’t “fix” the world. Not only can I not do it myself, it certainly can’t be done in one day. And there’s another quote by Mary Davis that I found en route to looking up this one. “We all change the world whether we intend to or not. And we always change the world for the better when we plant the seeds of kind thoughts and words.”

Every day, I change the world a little bit. How I change it is up to me. I can change it for the better or I can change it for the worse. That voice of compassion, that heart of love, or that act of kindness can have somewhat of a “butterfly effect” on the world around me.

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”
(Isaiah 49:13-16 ESV)

The KJV translates the word that is seen as “compassion” here as “mercy.” The two are, of course, closely related. But here’s the thing. God has compassion (mercy) on His afflicted people. We are supposed to act like God. And Jesus told His disciples in that verse that I keep quoting to love one another the way He had loved them.

Therefore, we ought always show compassion toward one another. What’s that verse I shared yesterday?


If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
(Psalms 130:3-4 ESV)

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
(Hebrews 8:12 ESV)

Speaking of compassion . . . God keeps no record of our sins. If He did, as the psalmist queried, “who could stand?”

So, here’s another question. Do we, as we are infinitely less than God, dare keep our own record?? And I’m not talking about keeping a record of my own sin! I’m talking about how we seem to be really good at marking the iniquities of others!

As Rick Hamlin states, “God knows about all my judgmental thoughts, my uncharitable impulses, and my efforts at loving my neighbor as myself.”

“But,” you might object, “you just said He doesn’t keep a record of those things!”

Maybe not. But then we have deal with some of the most frightening words Jesus ever spoke.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

Are we willing to take a chance that Jesus didn’t mean exactly what He said, there?

(From Daily Guideposts 2022)

A prayer of Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country:

"O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the need of others,
open my ears that I may hear their cries,
open my heart so that they need not be without succour,
let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee."

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
(Mark 11:22-24 ESV)

These statements were in answer to the disciples’ astonishment that the fig tree that He had cursed the day before had withered. And it tells us something very important. The faith that we have, faith that our prayers will be answered, is faith in God. My faith is not in my prayers! My prayers are just words. But if my faith is in God, then my prayers become powerful.

“The power to believe a promise depends entirely on our faith in the One who promises.” And the development of that faith depends on our relationship with Christ Himself.

“The connection between faith in God and faith in His promises will become clear when we think about what faith really is. It is often compared to the hand or mouth by which we take and appropriate what is offered. Faith is also the ear by which we hear what is promised, the eye by which we see what is offered. I must hear the person who gives the promise – the very tone of his voice gives me courage to believe. I must see him – in the light of his eye and his countenance, all fear fades away. The value of the promise depends on the one giving the promise; my knowledge of his character and dependability creates faith in his promise. In the case of God our Father, there can be no doubt as to His character and power to hear and answer and provide.”

(From Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray)

Oh, and speaking of compassion again, check out the verse immediately following the above quote!

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
(Mark 11:25 ESV)

Father, we are in desperate need of compassion in our society. We have, for far too long, now, made a practice of keeping a record of wrongdoings. We have forgotten how to have compassion on one another. We have forgotten the words of Jesus when He said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Increase my faith in You, Lord, that I might fully believe Your promises, and that I might be one whose prayer is righteous, fervent, and effective. May I be one whose faith is such that, whatever I pray, I receive. And You know, Father, that I am not entering into “prosperity gospel,” or “name it/claim it” territory. Because I rarely pray anything for my own benefit. My prayers are almost always for others. And I don’t want prayers answered so that people will point fingers at me and say “What a great pray-er he is!” I want prayers answered so that You will be glorified through the Son and by the Spirit!

I echo the prayer of Alan Paton, this morning. Open my eyes, ears, and heart, that I might see the needs, hear the cries, and offer the compassion and succor to those who need it. And don’t we all need it, in some way?

Take my judgmental thoughts and my uncharitable impulses and do away with them, that they would be no more. Make it so that only love, charity, compassion, and forgiveness emerge from my heart and soul. May I believe with all my being the words that Russ Taff sang back in the eighties when he said, “I don’t care what label you may wear; if you believe in Jesus, you belong with me.” That’s the attitude I want in my heart, Lord, and only You can put it there, through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Refresh my spirit, Lord!

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Courteous and Considerate in EVERYTHING

It is Monday morning, the twenty-fifth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,510

25 days until S turns 29!

As the world-wide (seemingly) heat wave continues, we reached 102 in our area, yesterday, for the 29th day of 100+ temps and the ninth consecutive. I have had communication from a blogger in Romania that says it is reaching 42 degrees Celsius in the shade, there. The average temperature for yesterday is high 96, low 73. Yesterday’s low was 81. The record was 104/65. We are still looking at the possibility of two days below 100, this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. There is as much as 35% chance of rain on Saturday, perhaps overnight Friday night. It has now been 51 days with no rain in our area.

C is working from home today, as she has a morning doctor appointment. It is always nice to have her at home. I’m off all day, as I am always off on Mondays, which is also nice.

The Texas Rangers won a game, yesterday, in spite of the bullpen’s efforts to lose it. They were ahead 11-1, at one point. But Garrett Richards gave up four runs in the eighth inning, only managing to get one out, and Brett Martin gave up three in the ninth. Miraculously, Martin Perez managed to get the win. The Rangers are now 43-51 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, twenty games out of first, and seven out of the Wild Card race. They are currently seven games behind Seattle, and they begin a series in that city tonight.

The Red Sox got swept by the Blue Jays. I’m not sure what’s going on, there, but the Sox are now 48-48. Baltimore lost, so they were spared dropping into last place. They are in fourth place, 17.5 out of first, and three games out of the Wild Card race. They begin a series with Cleveland tonight, in Boston.

The Nationals continue to hold the worst record, at 32-65. They did manage to win a game, though. The LA Dodgers still have the longest current win streak, now at eight consecutive games. The Red Sox are the proud owners of the longest current losing streak, at five games. At least they are the best at something. The Nationals also still have the worst run differential, at -162. The Rangers improved to +7, and the Sox dropped to -12.


Dear Father in heaven, Creator of what is good, beautiful, and full of joy so that all may work in harmony with you, we thank you for all the good that comes to us. May we be your children, joined together to serve you. May our life bring joy to others, and may we do good without ceasing through your great, strong love, which moves us, strengthens us, and helps us every day, however hard life may be. May your name be praised throughout the world. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
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.
(Psalm 90:17 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for all that is good and beautiful in the world; Lord, help me focus on these things rather than what is bad and ugly
2. for Mondays off
3. for the amazing things that God has done for us
4. for gravity, because without it, I would fly off into space and die
5. for the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi 

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-30 ESV)

I used to believe (and I think this still may be taught in some places) that this passage meant that you’d better not have any “unconfessed sin” in your life when you take the Supper. That is not what this means. This passage is about unity in the Body of Christ, and these four verses must be interpreted in context. A note in the Bible I am reading says “Because some of the believers in Corinth were celebrating the Supper in a way that destroyed the unity it represents, God had brought judgment upon the community.”

Today’s word, in Pray A Word A Day, is “amazing.”

Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!
(Psalms 126:3 NLT)

Amazing. How many times do you use that word in a day? I, just like the writer of today’s reading, probably need to confess that I overuse that word. I’ve lost track of how many books I have given a five-star Goodreads rating, this year. Five stars means “it was amazing.” Yesterday, C and I saw a musical show and it was “amazing.”

Sometimes I think I should stop using that word so much, because the “amazing” things that God does for us cannot be compared with Irving’s Main Stage production of “Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Maybe we need “tenses” of amazing. “Amazinger.” “Amazingest.”

The things that God does for us are the amazingest.

I woke up this morning. C woke up this morning. Mama woke up this morning. S woke up this morning. I have been able to hear music this morning. I can see colors today. Gravity is keeping me from flying off into space. There is air for me to breathe.

Many of God’s amazing works are overlooked daily, aren’t they? That’s one of the reasons that I started my daily gratitude list. And it’s also one of the reasons that, some days, you might see me being grateful for waking up, or for cats, or for coffee, or for air to breathe.

I think this is a good place for this poem.

Beautiful Things, by Daryl Madden

Blessed are they
Who see beautiful things
For its God that they
See everywhere

Blessed are they
Who give beautiful things
For its God’s gift of love
That they share

Blessed are they
Who pray beautiful things
For its God’s way of
Making things clear

Blessed are they
For they’re beautiful things
For its God’s Presence
They’re bringing here

Please check out more of Daryl’s poems at the link provided above.

And when I read that poem, I thought of this song.

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 NIV)

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be a strict order to everything. The word translated “fitting” in the NIV is translated “decently” in the KJV, and is from a Greek word (euschemonos) that literally means “decently, honestly.” Huh. KJV got it right, eh? This lends itself to attitude, not structure.

Now the context for all of this is a lengthy discourse on spiritual gifts, which I won’t get into today. And I rather like Eugene Peterson’s take on it.

Be courteous and considerate in everything.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 MSG)

I mean that really sums it up, doesn’t it? “EVERYTHING.”

Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country) on praying the prayer of St. Francis:

“So majestic is this conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. The world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves. Life is no longer nasty, mean, brutish, and short, but becomes that time that one needs to make it less nasty and mean, not only for others, but indeed also for oneself.”

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:7 ESV)

Andrew Murray, in Power in Prayer, says that “Prayer is both one of the means and one of the fruits of our union with Christ.” And, rather than seeing prayer as a means of getting what we want, we should see prayer as “one of the primary channels of influence by which, through us as workers together with God, the blessings of Christ’s redemption are dispensed to the world.”

And the reason for answering prayer, according to Jesus in John 14:13, is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Seriously, this is what everything should be about for us; bringing glory to God. What a life-changing difference it would be if we could all adapt that mindset.

Father, help me to think about prayer the same way Andrew Murray does, here, as well as the way Jesus thought about it, as a way to glorify You, and as a fruit of the union that I have with Christ. And, as I consider the prayer of St. Francis, may my mind be focused on making the world “less nasty and mean,” at least as much as I can in my own little “kingdom.”

And, in doing this, or as a means of facilitating this, help me to obey the words of Paul when he said to “be courteous and considerate in everything.”

Help me to see the beautiful and good things in the world, rather than the mean, nasty, and ugly things. This takes work, because I have, over the years, been trained by our society to see the worst. Lately, it seems that the “church” is taking over that responsibility. Help us to crawl out of that pit, Lord.

You have truly done amazing things for us, and I am beyond grateful for them. Help me to remember these things every day, especially when my mind and heart begin to drift over into the negative things.

Even so, please come soon, Lord Jesus!

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(The Prayer of St. Francis)

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Wednesday, January 11, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“I have always found that actively loving saves one from a morbid preoccupation with the shortcomings of society.” ― Alan Paton

Word of the Day

Myrmidon – a person who executes without question or scruple a master’s commands.

Today is Learn Your Name In Morse Code Day. Because why? Because, that’s why!

Both of us have stayed home from work today, and will for the remainder of this week. C really struggled with this, because there are things going on at work that she feels like she needs to be there for, but everyone has told her to take as much time as she needs. I think she finally agreed and decided to stay home the rest of the week. I think that was the right choice, because I really feel that she needs some really good rest.

The funeral for her step-dad will be at 1:30 on Saturday. They will have a rosary/visitation from 6:00 to 8:00 on Friday evening. I’ve never witnessed a rosary before. I’m interested to see how that plays out. My mother will be coming for the funeral. We will go pick her up on Saturday morning and take her back home Saturday evening.



Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. Psalm 86:4

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! Psalm 119:10

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Psalm 7:18

(From Living the Message)

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Matthew 13:10-13 (The Message)

Jesus was subversive. Take a moment to thank about that. Have you ever considered it? Subversive means, “seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.” While that may not have been Jesus’s primary reason for being on earth, it certainly applied to him.

Everyone called him Rabbi. Rabbis don’t make things happen. They are important, but they aren’t world changers. And when something happened or was said that would draw extraordinary attention to him, Jesus cautioned people not to say anything. He preferred to remain “under the radar,” at least until the time was right.

His favorite form of communication was the parable. Parables are subversive. “Parable sound absolutely ordinary; casual stories about soil and seeds, meals and coins and sheep, bandits and victims, farmers and merchants.” In addition, the vast majority of Jesus’s parables were what we would call “secular.” Only one was set in “church,” and only a couple mention the name of God. When people heard these stories, realizing that they were not about God, and were unthreatening, they would relax. “They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. And then, like a time bomb, they would explode in their unprotected hearts.”

“Jesus continually threw odd stories down alongside ordinary lives and walked away without explanation or altar call. (Notice that Jesus never used an altar call.) The word parable literally comes from Greek, para, “alongside,” bole, “thrown.”

It was like planting a seed in the imagination. And parables certainly did not make things easier. There was nothing simple about them. Just note the disciples’ question in the passage quoted above. Parables force us to “exercise our imagination, which if we aren’t careful becomes the exercise of our faith.”

Father, give me a heart to understand Jesus’s parables. I know that there are places where he explains them to his disciples. Help me to understand them with my own faith. I’ve prayed before . . . help me to believe the words of Jesus and put them into practice in my life. All of the words. Not just the ones I like. Give me the faith to understand and practice the ones that make me uncomfortable, as well. Help me to also understand the subversive nature of Jesus and his ministry on earth. If I am to walk as he walked, there must be at least a hint of that subversive nature in me, as well.

Even so, 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.