Fear and Delight

Good morning! Today is Saturday, the twenty-third of October, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life today!

Today’s header photo is courtesy of photographer Paul Militaru. Please check out his photography blog.

Day 23,235

Fifteen days until Daylight Saving Time ends.

And it’s only twenty-five days until we fly to Indianapolis! We need to find someone to check up on or stay with our kitties while we’re gone, though.

I had a great day at the library, yesterday. It wasn’t super-busy, and others have said that Friday was usually the slowest day of the week, even pre-pandemic. The computer center had people in it for most of the day, though, and there was a bit of an influx between 5:00 and closing time, at 6:00. The manager says that’s fairly normal, and I figure maybe people have just gotten off work and run over to the library to do whatever they need to do. I’m starting to notice “repeat customers,” too.

When I got to work, yesterday, there were three “candygrams” in my mailbox. One from my manager, one from the assistant director, and one from the Community Services manager who is our director’s boss. That was very nice.

My interlibrary loan book has been extended for another week, so I now have until next Friday to finish it. I might finish over this weekend, but at least my anxiety level about it has been decreased significantly.

Another anxiety decrease/elimination occurred last night when the Red Sox failed to score a run in Game Six of the ALCS, sending the Astros to the World Series. Again. Sigh. In the spirit of the current culture of our nation, I have to assume that, since my team didn’t win, the other team cheated. That’s how we think, now, right?

I’m joking, of course. But there is something awful fishy about how the Red Sox bats just quit working for the last three games. That almost reeks more of game-fixing than cheating on either team’s part. But, in the words of one of the songs from Hamilton, “that’s one less thing to worry about.” I doubt that I will watch any of the World Series, as I couldn’t possibly care less who wins. I guess I could root for Mookie Betts, but that would require me to root for the Dodgers, and I don’t want to do that.

There’s always next year.

C has an old friend from high school coming over today, so I will be hiding away in the study for most of the day. I have a grocery order to pick up at Kroger between 1:00 and 2:00 PM, and might pick up some lunch for S and me, during that time. Otherwise, I have no significant plans for the day.

There are a lot of “holidays” to choose from today. I choose Make A Difference Day. What can you and I do today, to make a difference in someone’s life?

The word for today is verst. “a Russian measure of distance equivalent to 3,500 feet, or 0.6629 mile (1.067 kilometers).”

Today’s quote is from Peter Drucker, American businessman, and I 100% agree with it. “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

Significant birthdays on October 23:

Emmanuel, marquis de Grouchy, French general and marshal (only because I like his name), 1766-1847
Milton "Gummo" Marx, American actor and comedian, 1892-1977
Frank Sutton, American actor (Gomer Pyle, Sgt Carter), 1923-1974
Johnny Carson, American comedian and TV host (The Tonight Show), 1925-2005
Ellie Greenwich, American singer/songwriter (Da Doo Ron Ron, Leader of the Pack), 1940-2009
Pele, Brazilian football player, Player of the Century, 1940 (81)
Michael Crichton, American author (Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain), 1942-2008
Alfred "Weird Al Yankovic" Matthew, American comedian and parody singer, 1959 (62)
Sam Raimi, American filmmaker (Spiderman, Evil Dead), 1959 (62)
Cat Deeley, English TV presenter (So You Think You Can Dance), 1976 (45)
Ryan Reynolds, Canadian actor and comedian (Deadpool, Van Wilder), 1976 (45)
Emelia Clarke, English actress (Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen), 1986 (35)
Ellie Greenwich co-wrote this song
My favorite Weird Al song


Can Be A Prayer, by Daryl Madden

A simple intention
With a heart to care
Feeding the birds
Can be a prayer

A moment of dawning
Of light to appear
Watching the sunrise
Can be a prayer

Feeling so grateful
For food we prepare
Making our breakfast
Can be a prayer

A time of blessing
With God that we share
Any moment we live
Can be a prayer

Isn’t that a beautiful poem?? And so true! Any activity we do can be a prayer, with the right mindset behind it. I believe it may have been Brother Lawrence who said that the most non-spiritual tasks, such as washing the dishes, can be prayer.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
(Psalms 92:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that any activity we do can be a prayer
2. for Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night
3. for the music You have placed in my soul, that I might sing Your praises
4. that, because I fear You and delight in Your commands, I do not fear bad news
5. that, in You, I will never be shaken

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



Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor his loving kindness from me.
(Psalms 66:20 WEB)

I pause, this morning, to give thanks to the Lord for my life and all its blessings. His grace is overwhelming.


Praise the LORD.

Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
(Psalms 112:1-8 NIV)


Then Job replied to the LORD:
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
(Job 42:1-6 NIV)


As I grow more aware of God’s presence with me, I read these passages over again. What speaks to me? What stirs my spirit within me?

The psalm is simply beautiful. It is so stirring. Ironically, if asked to list favorite Psalms, 112 would not come to mind. It should, though.

I do believe that I have a healthy fear of the Lord, and that I delight in His commands. Especially when those commands are boiled down to what Jesus said summed up the law and the prophets. And I also consider myself “blessed.” That is not a boast of my circumstances. Rather, it is a boast of my God. Yes, my circumstances are, for the most part, wonderful. But a lot of that is in my spirit, in my perspective. There are things that could certainly be better. C could be healing better/faster. We could have a better life going for S, with her autism, considering her future.

But here’s the thing. Verse 3: “Wealth and riches are in their house.” This is not, in my opinion, just about money and material goods. The Hebrew word translated “wealth” implies “enough.” And we most certainly have enough. Even with my retirement and going to a part time job, we have enough. We have not had to dip into our savings yet! And that’s with me having to pay over $500 a month for COBRA insurance, until January 1, when I will get on C’s health insurance.

Verse 4: “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.” And verse 5 speaks loudly to me: “Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” This is huge, to me. We have, for many years, now, been generous (C probably thinks I am overly-generous, sometimes) with the blessings we have been given. As stated in the above paragraph, we have enough, more, even, than enough. So, when the opportunities arise, we share that bounty. We tip generously, when we go to restaurants. I try to tip, when I have cash available, grocery pickup/delivery people. They don’t make a lot of money.

Again, I am not boasting of my works. It sounds like I am, but I am only attempting to illustrate the principals being taught. I am boasting in my God and His faithfulness. He keeps His promises. He blesses those who fear Him. And, even when things turn dark, we can see the light, if we focus on Him, rather than on those circumstances. As Job said, a few days ago, “shall we receive good from God, and not trouble?” (I’m sure that’s a terrible paraphrase.)

“Surely,” says verse 6, “the righteous will NEVER be shaken!” (emphasis mine) I don’t know about that part about being remembered forever. Not on earth, at least. But that’s why “story” is so important. I wish I had more stories from my parents and grandparents. That’s one reason to write things down. That’s one reason to pass things down to our children and their children. But we will not be shaken. Not ultimately, not permanently.

Sure, things will happen that shake me, momentarily. But I will bounce back, quickly, eyes on my Father, not my circumstances. And then I will give thanks and sing praises to His name. And because of these things, I can say, confidently, as in verse 7, that I don’t fear bad news. Note: It does not say that I won’t get bad news! It says that we will have no fear of it. There’s a difference.

Remember the words of Dallas Willard. If we are in Christ; if we fear the Lord, and delight in His commands, “this world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” God won’t keep bad things from happening to us, as Tish Harrison Warren observed in Prayer in the Night. He didn’t even keep bad things from happening to Himself! But, in Him, the world is a safe place to be.

I love Job’s response to the Lord in the final chapter of the book. He is humble, as we need to practice. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know,” he said. What would this world look like if more of us were that honest? I don’t know if we need to go as far as despising ourselves, but a measure of repentance would certainly be helpful.

If you keep reading beyond the featured passage, you see that the Lord chastises Job’s “friends.” He says to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” (emphasis mine) Oddly, He does not mention Elihu, the younger of the group, who waited until last to speak.

You will also see, at the end, that all of Job’s fortunes were restored, and then some. Because, throughout all of this testing, Job never waivered in his faith. He questioned, yes. He questioned the reasons that all of these terrible things were happening to him, and requested audience with the Almighty. But never once did he, as his former wife suggested, “curse God and die.”

When we fear God and delight in His commands, we are blessed. Wealth and riches will fill our houses. Good will come to us (when we are generous). We will never be shaken. We will have no fear of bad news.

Father, I praise You with all my being, this morning, for these truths. We all know that “bad” things (by our own definitions) will come in our lives. But if we know You, fear You, and delight in Your commands, those “bad” things will be turned around for good. We will not be, ultimately, shaken. Your grace, Your mercy, Your steadfast love and faithfulness . . . there aren’t enough words for me to thank You and praise You enough. I will sing to You as long as I have breath (and beyond, for I don’t believe I will need breath in heaven). Thank for Your blessings, and I also thank You that You have brought us to a place where we focus on the blessings we have, not on those we don’t have.

Father, I pray for unity and holiness within Your Church. Heal us, O Lord!

"Saving God,
before my very eyes,
visibly portray Jesus Christ crucified.
Humbled before the cross,
seeing Your suffering,
may I die to myself and come alive to You.
As I find life in Your death,
let me taste Your joy in my sorrow.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(Matthew 5:8 WEB)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
(Matthew 25:40 NIV)

Blessed are those who
fear the Lord and find delight
in His commandments.
(Psalm 112:1)

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Love Defends Me

Today is Wednesday, the twentieth of October, 2021

Peace be with you!

Day 23,232

Eighteen days until Daylight Saving Time ends

I actually had a nice time at the Hurst Way Conference, yesterday. It was informative (being that I’m still relatively new to the City of Hurst), and parts of it were quite fun. I made it in time to get breakfast (they served right up until 8:30), which was scrambled eggs, bacon and link sausage, and breakfast potatoes. It was quite good.

I sat at a table with two other part time library aides, as well as my boss, the Adult Services manager. There was also way too much candy on the table, of which we all, obviously under some kind of mind control, ate most of. Lunch was also quite good, consisting of salmon, roasted chicken, some kind of rice, and some broccoli. And a roll. And salad. If you’ve ever taken part in a buffet of this kind, you know the kind of salad, too. You know . . . the one that looks like someone went out in their back yard and gathered leaves? But it was good, especially when doused with Ranch dressing.

There was a fun presentation by a group called Positively Outrageous Service, which is based on a book by the same name. The two gentlemen who presented were Andrew Szabo and Michael Hoffman. They are co-authors of the book, along with T. Scott Gross.

There was a lot of talk about how the city made it through 2020 and the pandemic. The last Conference was two years ago. In fact, everyone in the room received a “Team Hurst Award,” which is, apparently, normally given either to an individual or a department. So we all received a gold-ish coin for that. Everyone also got a City of Hurst t-shirt, and I volunteered to participate in a “Family Feud” game, and received a copy of the game, “Hurst-Opoly,” as well as $100,000. Candy Bar. Hahaha! Oh. And I also won a prize at the end, a dozen “bundtinis” from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I plan to get those one day next week and take them to work with me. The last thing we need in this house is a bunch of mini bundt cakes.

I had started soup in the crock pot before leaving, yesterday morning, so that was our dinner. C and I watched a couple episodes of Midnight Mass on Netflix, our current binge. We have two more episodes left. It is an interesting mix of drama and supernatural, and, so far, doesn’t get overly scary. C hasn’t bailed on it, yet. It has a cool soundtrack, as well.

Then I started watching the ALCS game, Red Sox v. Astros. It was going fine for a while. Then the Astros tied the game in the eighth inning. Then they went ahead by a run in the ninth. Then Alex Cora put Martin Perez in the game to pitch. I should have turned off the TV at that point. But I didn’t. I watched Perez hand four more runs to the Astros on a silver platter before I gave up.

Here’s the thing, for anyone who cares. Perez has never been, nor will he ever be, anything more than a mediocre pitcher. He played for Texas for a while, and was never better than .500, and usually below. Why on earth the Red Sox hired him, I will never know.

Game Five will be this afternoon at 4:08, but Chris Sale is starting. This is an exercise in insanity, in my opinion. Sale has not been himself since he returned to the lineup, but I don’t know what other choice they have. Cora brought in Eovaldi in the ninth inning last night, so he’s not available to start. So I’m not optimistic about the Sox going back to Houston with a lead in the series. But then, I don’t think many of us expected them to get this far anyway.

C is back at the office today, for the second time this week. If she follows her normal schedule, she will work at the office tomorrow and at home on Friday. She went for a somewhat lengthy walk, yesterday, and seems to be okay. If I ask her, she says she is doing pretty good. I doubt, however, that she is pain-free.

Today is Information Overload Day. I’m just going to leave that there.

The word of the day is burgeon. “to grow or develop quickly; flourish.” The Internet seems to burgeon with information, whether accurate or not.

Today’s quote is from Elizabeth Barret Browning, English poet. “Who so loves believes the impossible.”

Significant birthdays on October 20:

Charles Ives, American composer, 1874-1954
Bela Lugosi, Austrian actor (Dracula), 1882-1956
Stuart Hamblen, American singer and composer (This Ole House), 1908-1989
Louis "Grandpa" Jones, American country singer (Hee Haw), 1913-1998
Art Buchwald, American author and columnist, 1925-2017
Joyce Brothers, American pop psychologist, 1927-2013
Mickey Mantle, American HoF baseball player, 1931-1995
Tom Petty, American rock singer/songwriter (American Girl, I Won't Back Down), 1950-2017
Viggo Mortensen, American actor (Lord of the Rings), 1958 (63)
Kamala Harris, US Vice President, 1964 (57)
Juan Gonzalez, Puerto Rican MLB outfielder (Texas Rangers), 1969 (52)
John Krasinski, American actor (The Office), 1979 (42)
It’s actually the rest of the Traveling Wilburys backing him on this video.

Today’s blog header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru, from Romania, who is a wonderful photographer. You can check out his photos in the link on his name. He has graciously allowed me to feature his photos here.


If we are faithless - 
The saying is trustworthy -
He remains faithful.
(2 Timothy 2)

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.
(Psalms 75:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I am alive and breathing
2. that "Your name is near"
3. that You have never turned a deaf ear to me, and have always been loyal in Your love for me
4. that no temptation comes against me that I am unable to bear
5. that Your love defends me

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



Blessed be God: he didn’t turn a deaf ear, he stayed with me, loyal in his love.
(Psalms 66:20 MSG)

I pause, now, during this quiet moment, to reflect on His love and the blessings in my life.


Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love.
Let them know that it is your hand, that you, LORD, have done it.
While they curse, may you bless; may those who attack me be put to shame, but may your servant rejoice.
May my accusers be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
(Psalms 109:26-31 NIV)


One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
(Job 1:6-12 NIV)


As I remind myself that I sit in God’s presence, I linger over these passages, looking for words or phrases that move me, catch the attention of my spirit.

In the psalm passage, I see the idea of God holding us up when others falsely accuse us or attack us. But the piece that really sticks out to me is when he asks the Lord to let them know that it was specifically His hand that has done it. And while the psalmist doesn’t specifically state that he is being “falsely” accused, I believe it is implied.

We should not be asking God to vindicate/defend us if the accusations are well-founded. That seems to be something that a lot of folks miss. And there is also a false idea of what it means to be “attacked” or “persecuted,” in my culture.

As far as I have seen, there are no Christians being persecuted in the USA. But there are people who seem to think that, if someone disagrees with them, they are being persecuted. That’s just silly. We must be sure, I believe, that the accusations leveled against us are false. Then and only then can we be justified in asking the Lord to defend us. And then, we want everything to be for His glory, so we ask, along with the psalmist, that it be obvious that it is the hand of God performing the works.

There is debate over the story of Job, as to whether it is a real, literal, historical tale or an allegorical tale. I tend to lean toward allegory, but I will also say that I am not nearly wise enough to know for sure. Either way, though, I believe a clear lesson that is taught in the brief passage we read today is that our accuser, our enemy, has no authority to tempt us or test us, unless it is given him by God.

Satan brought an accusation to the Lord, and the Lord allowed him to test it against Job. Allegory or not, I believe the precept to be true. Nothing comes against me without God allowing it. If Satan has power to tempt me or try me, it is because the Lord has allowed him to do so. But we should note that the Lord forbad Satan to lay a hand on Job. At least at first. Later, He even allowed Satan to afflict Job, physically, but did not allow him to take his life.

The comfort this should give us is knowing that nothing comes against us without the knowledge of our Father. He also knows what we can bear. This is not the same as believing the false teaching that “God won’t allow anything that you can’t handle.” That’s baloney. But 1 Corinthians 10:13 does say, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

God is not surprised. There will never be an instance when God says, “Oh! I didn’t know Satan was going to do that!” He also, by the way, knows when we will fail, but allows this, as well, that we might grow from the experience. The key is that, as noticed in the Haiku above, from 2 Timothy, God is faithful; God is always faithful, even when we are not.

Father, I am grateful for the provision that You place over us; provision that keeps our enemy from having too much power over us. I am comforted to know that nothing comes against me that doesn’t go through You first. I am encouraged to know that You know everything that is coming my way, and that You will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. My fault comes when, even though I can bear it, I sometimes fall under it. For those times, I humbly ask forgiveness, and the opportunity to get back up and go again. But You protect us. You also defend us. As the song says, Your love defends us. Sometimes, we do feel like we are all alone, but Your love defends us. You are the strength of my soul. Your Holy Spirit is the strength of my life.

"Bruising God,
if You haven't abandoned me to chance or fortune,
then help me to understand the suffering of Job,
of this world,
of my life.
I don't know what to do with a God like You -
too free,
too wild,
too beyond my control.
I know You are not safe,
but I trust You are good.


“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
(Matthew 5:8 MSG)

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
(Psalms 138:8 ESV)

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:8-9 ESV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
(Proverbs 3:5 ESV)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Hope In Difficult Circumstances

Today is Thursday, October 18, 2018.

Day 22,134

35 days until Thanksgiving!

“Of those who say nothing, few are silent.”
Thomas Neill
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is cryonaut, “a person whose dead body has been preserved by the technique of cryonics.” I don’t know if it’s still true or not, but at one time Ted Williams was a cryonaut.

I did not stay up for the entire game, last night, but the Red Sox wound up beating the Astros 8-6. The game was not over until after midnight and ended on a spectacular catch by Andrew Benintendi. I am at the same time both glad I didn’t stay up and wishful that I had. But I would be running on less than five hours of sleep if I had, so it’s probably for the best.

Unfortunately, Houston fans will all be pointing at a controversial call by umpire Joe West, who called fan interference on what would have been a Jose Altuve two-run home run. Even as a Boston fan, I have to say it was iffy. Mookie Betts was reaching for the ball and probably would have caught it, but his glove hit several outstretched hands that were going for the home run ball. Did they reach over the yellow line? It’s very, very close. But he called it, it was reviewed by MLB and they upheld his call.

But in my mind, that sort of makes up for the call the night before where the ball very likely bounced off the old manual scoreboard before falling into the Houston player’s glove.

Anyway, Boston leads the series 3-1 going into tonight’s game, which begins at 7:09. In other news, the Dodgers beat the Brewers 5-2 to take a 3-2 lead in that series. They are off tonight as the teams travel back to Milwaukee. I’m still hoping for a Red Sox/Brewers World Series.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

“O ye people of the God, bless ye the Lord;
O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.

O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord;
O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord.
Let us bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
praise him and magnify him for ever.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, A Song of Creation, IV The People of God)

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24

This is actually from yesterday’s Daily Guideposts reading. Julia Attaway gives us a somber reminder of how we need to hope in the Lord, no matter what. She has a family filled with dysfunction. The main body of this reading concerns her daughter who has mental health issues. I won’t go into the detail, but this is one of those readings, unusual as they may be, in which all is not well at the end of it.

We get a lot of stories where God fixed everything and all was well and good at the end. Everyone lives “happily ever after.” Those are certainly warm and fuzzy and leave us feeling good at the end (or, perhaps, slightly nauseated). Not this reading. This reading reeks of reality. Everything is not always resolved at the end of the day. Julia’s issues with her family were not “fixed” at the end of this reading. What was for sure, though, was her conclusion: “I had to figure out how I would go about loving God, serving Him, and trusting Him in the midst of it.”

You see, Julia did not blame God; she did not forsake God because He didn’t “fix” all her problems. She went on trusting Him in the midst of all of them. We don’t always get that miracle that we think we need. Our autistic children aren’t always miraculously healed so they can lead a “normal” life (whatever the heck that is). But what we who are His true children know and understand is that God is God, we are not, and He will always do what is best. He will also do what He said He will do, and we have to face the truth that that does not always involve giving us whatever we want or think we need.

God knows what we truly need, and He will always be faithful to provide that. And that is where we must turn our faces away from the circumstances that would threaten our peace. We must turn our faces toward the God of peace, who will give us that peace in spite of the circumstances. The circumstances will likely remain, but my mindset will be different. I will be able to say, as Dallas Willard once said, “The world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”

Father, help us to take our eyes off of our difficult (or impossible, even) circumstances, today, and trust You. Help us to do this even when things don’t “get better.” If we but set our faces toward You, the difficulties will fade. They will still be there, but You are bigger, and You should take up more of our focus. Help me to trust You, serve You, and love You.
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.

Authenticity In Social Media

Today is Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

Day 22,132

29 days until Fallout 76!

“Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge.”
Scott Adams, comic artist (Dilbert)
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is linguaphile, “a language and word lover.”

Yesterday was a nice, relaxing, rainy day. I left the house a couple of times. Once to go have lunch with the family (we went to Martha’s Mexican Cuisine), and then a second time to pick up our grocery order between 4:00 and 4:30 PM. C spent part of the day out and about, getting nails done and taking S to get her hair cut. S wants to donate her shopped off hair (about eight inches worth) to an organization that provides wigs for children with cancer.

After C got home from her 4:30 eye-doctor appointment, she and I snacked on food we had left over from our vacation, watched some TV, and then went to bed around 9:00-ish. I didn’t sleep great. Seems like I woke up at least once an hour. Probably anticipation over having to go back to work today. I don’t wanna. But we must.

Also, it’s raining and cold outside. That doesn’t make for a fun trip to work.

The Brewers beat the Dodgers 4-0 last night, to take a 2-1 lead in that series. The Red Sox play the Astros in Houston this afternoon at 4:00-something. Honestly, I don’t understand why both games can’t be played at the same time. They aren’t being broadcast on the same TV channel. I’ll have to listen to most of the game on my drive home from work.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

“O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord;
O ye waters that be above the firmament, bless ye the Lord;
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.

O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord;
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord;
O ye showers and dew, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.

O ye winds of God, bless ye the Lord;
O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord;
O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.

O ye dews and frosts, bless ye the Lord;
O ye frost and cold, bless ye the Lord;
O ye ice and snow, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.

O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord;
O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord;
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.”

(The Book of Common Prayer, A Song of Creation, II-The Cosmic Order)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

In today’s Daily Guideposts reading, Ashley Kappel writes about social media. There are, of course, both positive and negative characteristics of social media.

Positives include being able to keep up with friends who may not live close to you, sharing projects that you have worked on and completed, pictures of children, and so on. I have personally made social media a tool for prayer in my own life, asking people what their prayer needs are, each morning before I leave for work.

Negatives tend to run along the lines of politics and complaining about things. I have managed to resist the temptation to be political on social media, as I feel that it feeds the deep division in our nation. I will confess to complaining a time or two, and, occasionally giving a bad review of something.

One negative that might be disguised as a positive is people who only show the best things in their lives on social media, making it look like their lives are perfect. Of course, we all know better, right?


I believe that, as God’s people, we have a responsibility to display authenticity on social media. That means letting people know that we have problems as well as successes. Not to complain about our problems, and there’s a fine line, there, but just to let people know that we do not, in fact, have it all together. I certainly don’t. And I try to make that evident.

Just as God loves us in our shining moments as well as our darkest moments, we need to show this to people. We need to display the love of God through good and bad, sickness and health, richer or poorer . . . hey, this is starting to sound like a wedding.

Well, isn’t that interesting?

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Father, help me to be salt and light today, but not in such a way that I present a false front. Help me to also display authenticity in my walk with You, so that people know that I am real and that Your love for me is also real, through everything that comes my way, no matter how I might carry myself through the day. Even when I fall down, You love me, and that is what people need to see about You.
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.

Always Do Right

Today is Monday, October 15, 2018.

Day 22,131

38 days until Thanksgiving.

30 days until Fallout 76!!

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.”
Jules Renard, French dramatist, 1864-1910

The word of the day is tergiversation, “evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement,” “equivocation,” “desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith.”

We had a nice drive back home, yesterday. We wound up not getting to go to The Gumbo Diner for breakfast, as they were so crowded that we couldn’t even park. We decided to go ahead and hit the road and see if we could find someplace on the way back. We did find a cafe that looked promising, but when we arrived, there were people standing outside on the sidewalk. I went in to scope out the wait, and was told it would be thirty to forty-five minutes. We had already decided that we wouldn’t wait (we were anxious to keep moving and get home), but I noticed that they had at least eight to ten tables empty in the place. When I questioned this, I was told that they had to seat people “at the pace of our kitchen.” They apparently believe that people would rather stand outside on the hot sidewalk than sit at a table and wait. The name of the place is First Watch, located in League City, just outside of Houston. They got a number of good reviews for their food, but we are not the only ones who noticed this rather silly philosophy of waiting. Needless to say, we won’t try the place again. We wound up having Jack In the Box, and eating on the road. Not nearly as satisfying as a real breakfast, but it sufficed.

We made a couple more stops along the way, to visit the restrooms and buy gas at Buc-ee’s, and then to get some more peach ice cream at Cooper’s Farms in Fairfield. That is always a high point in our trips to Galveston. We drove straight on to Mineral Wells, where we dropped off Mama. After getting her unloaded and settled in, we headed back to Fort Worth. We stopped for some food at O.C. Burgers, then went to the house. All was well here, except for one cat that seemed to be a bit perturbed at us for going off for so long. The rest of the animals seemed quite happy to see us.

The Red Sox/Astros ALCS game had just started when we got home, so we got unpacked, got our food distributed, then sat down to watch the game. It was definitely a nail-biter, but the Sox prevailed 7-5 to tie the series. They will be off today, as they traveled to Houston for the next three games. Frankly, I’m hoping that the Sox can go ahead and win the next three and not have to come back to Boston for game six.

I’m very glad that we decided to go ahead and take today off. After all that driving/riding yesterday, we were pretty tired. It was nice to sleep in on a Monday morning, especially as it is raining and cool outside.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

“O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him forever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
praise him and magnify him for ever.”
(The Book of Common Prayer)

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
Proverbs 4:18
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Psalm 82:3
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Proverbs 21:3
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

There are some tough words in these verses. The first, in Proverbs 4, is an encouragement. The encouragement/admonishment is that, when we walk in the path of righteousness, we will shine like the dawn, brighter and brighter. This is not a shining of self-fulfillment, or arrogance. I’ve seen people like that. They walk in the glory of their own accomplishments. That’s not the shining that this is talking about. This “shining” is the reflection of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

And this righteousness is what brings about the actions in the other verses. When we walk in the righteousness of Christ, we “give justice to the weak and the fatherless.” We “maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute.” And we recognize the fact that doing righteousness and justice is “more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

We need to ponder that truth more, I think. I do, for sure. There are a lot of people who want you to know how much they sacrifice for God to serve Him. But Jesus indicates to us that if we do those things to be honored by men, then we already have our reward. Our church is doing something different, this coming weekend. We are taking part in a program in a nearby town, called “Fix-it Blitz.” And, our pastor has decided that we will not have our usual worship gathering on Sunday morning, but will, instead, meet at the house that our team is working on. He plans on having the Supper (communion) at this house with whoever is there. I’m sure there will be some criticism, but what I believe is that he wants the community to see the love of Christ in action. It is not so that The Exchange Church can walk in the light of its own accomplishment, but so that it can shine like the dawn with the righteousness of Jesus.

There is a phrase that I’ve heard in the past. “Always do right.” A simple three-word phrase, right? Not so much. “Right” is not so easy all the time. Most of us always want to do “good,” right? But “good” and “right” are not always the same thing. “Right” is sometimes much more difficult than “good.” Just like being kind is not the same thing as being nice.

I believe that these Scriptures bear out the truth of “always do right.” We, the people of God, need to be about giving justice to the weak and the fatherless, maintaining the right of the the afflicted and destitute, being more concerned about doing justice and righteousness than sacrifice, and thinking on thigs that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

Father, help me to be more like the verses quoted above. Help me to be more concerned with righteousness and justice than I am about my own appearance or reputation. Help me to think on the things mentioned in Philippians 4:8. And most of all, help me to always do right.
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.

A Threefold Cord

Today is Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

Day 22,126

“The great god Ra whose shrine once covered acres
Is filler now for crossword-puzzle makers.”
Keith Preston, The Quotations Page

The word of the day is vulgarian, “a vulgar person, especially one whose vulgarity is the more conspicuous because of wealth, prominence, or pretensions to good breeding.”

Let’s see. What did we do yesterday?

C cooked up a batch of cinnamon rolls for breakfast, after which we lounged around for a while. Oh. C and I went down to the beach and played in the water a bit. We tried to set up our canopy, but it was too windy, and, alas, we wound up breaking our canopy. I put on a bunch of sunblock, though, so I could at least sit out there for a little while.

Afterward, we showered and went back in to the Seawall where we had a lunch buffet at Mario’s Seawall Restaurant. We always enjoy their buffet, as it includes a number of good dishes, as well as pizza. My favorite on this trip with the Beef Stroganoff. Spooned over a bit of rice, it was quite delicious. They also had this Baja Chicken Pasta that was good, and a little spicy.

After lunch, we drove over to the ferry landing, where we walked on and rode the ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula and back. C fed the seagulls from the front of the boat, while the rest of us climbed the stairs and stood on the observation deck for the trip. We saw several dolphins on our trip.

After that, we stopped by Ben & Jerry’s for some ice cream, Sonic for drinks, and then back to the house for the remainder of the evening, where I listened to game four of the ALDS between the Red Sox and the Yankees.

It was a pretty good game, except for the ninth inning. The Sox got ahead 4-0, then gave up one run. Alex Cora brought in Chris Sale to pitch in the eighth inning, and he got the Yankees down 1-2-3. I think I speak for the majority of fans when I say that Cora should have kept him in for the bottom of the ninth. Craig Kimbrell came in with a 4-1 lead. He couldn’t throw strikes. He loaded the bases. He walked in a run (or hit the batter, I can’t remember. Then he gave up a sac fly. The score was 4-3, two outs and two men on. Finally, he got the last batter to ground out. That play was close, and the Yankees manager had the play reviewed, but it stood. The Red Sox won 4-3, and will advance to the ALCS against the Houston Astros, which will start Saturday night. Which is good because my heart needs a rest. It will be a tough series, because the Sox and the ‘stros were the two best teams in MLB this season. I fully expect whichever team wins the ALCS will win the World Series, maybe even sweep it.

The Brewers and Dodgers NLCS will begin Friday night.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 
Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 
The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 
And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:18-25

As you read through the creation story, over and over you see God saying “It is good.” Suddenly, in Genesis 2, we are struck with “It is not good . . .” What was the first thing about which God said, “It is not good?” Adam was alone.

This is not just about community. It is much more than that. And it’s more than having that mythical thing that some people call a “soulmate.” It’s about having someone in your life with which you can be “one flesh.” This relationship is deeper than words can truly explain. Myriads of books have been written about it, and they are all flawed at one point or another. Why? Because, in my opinion, this relationship can simply not be adequately described with human words. It’s also not just about sex. There is more to being “one flesh” than the physical relationship.

C and I, in two days, will have been married for thirty-three years. We have grown to know each other pretty well in that time. I think it is fair to say that we have accomplished the feat of being “one flesh.” She is my best friend. Sometimes, I think she is my only true friend. She will stand by me no matter what. But, at the same time, she will be brutally honest with me. Sometimes that hurts, but I know she is right. We are truly one flesh, as well as one heart, and, most of the time, one mind. I thank God for her.

God knew what He was talking about when He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” And then there is this passage in Ecclesiastes, which, while often quoted about marriage, isn’t necessarily so.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

What does that last phrase mean? “A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” I thought he was talking about two people! To help answer this I will pull a verse out of context. Matthew 18:20.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

So, as C and I celebrate thirty-three years of being “one flesh,” we celebrate with Jesus. He is the piece of this relationship that has helped it stay strong. He is the third cord in this “threefold cord.” He is what keeps us from being broken.

Father, I thank You that You brought us together, all those years ago. I thank You for the depth of our relationship, and for the hope of many more years to come. I pray that we will continue to celebrate You in our relationship, and that we will never forget You. May Jesus continue to be in the midst of us, that we may not be broken, and that we might be a light for all the world to see.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Grace and peace, friends.

Take My Life and Let It Be

McFly?? McFly??

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is hoverboard. No, really. Click the link. I’m not making this up. Do I need to give the definition? Okay. ” A board, resembling a skateboard without wheels, which hovers above the ground and may be ridden like a skateboard.”

And, of course, today is Back To the Future Day. I would watch the movies, this evening, but I don’t think I have a device that will play VHS tapes.

The work week has gone pretty well, considering it’s a week fresh off of vacation. The person filling in for me did a pretty good job of keeping up, so much so that I was totally caught up with everything by noon yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised.

Huddle got cancelled last night, because the leader’s wife started having back spasms around mid-afternoon. He had to take her to the chiropractor, where she got “adjusted,” and then went home to rest in bed. Sounds like it was kind of scary for a bit, but this has happened before.

Today being Wednesday, we have nothing to do this evening. Tomorrow, we have to take Stephanie to the doctor to get her meds refilled. The appointment is at 6:00 PM, so I will probably take her right after work, if I get home in time.

In the ALCS, the Royals lead the Blue Jays 3-1, and the Mets lead the Cubs 3-0 in the NLCS. Both teams could put it away today with a win. It doesn’t look like the Cubs will be fulfilling any “Back to the Future” prophecies. They couldn’t really, anyway, because it said they beat Miami in the World Series. This, of course, is impossible, because Miami is also National League. Plus, the World Series hasn’t even started yet, anyway.


(From Daily Guideposts 2015)

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
Psalm 13:5

In today’s reading, writer Marci Alborghetti, writes of a time when a storm was threatening the building in which they lived. The river had flooded, and was into the parking lot. They had moved the car to higher ground, and lived on the top floor, so their danger of flooding was small. However, “if the water got into the building, the furnace and utilities would stop functioning.” Some had evacuated, but they had heard that the storm shelter in the city had a broken generator.

Marci’s husband was tense and anxious, but she felt calm. This was a first for her. But she was praying the way her missionary friend Lynn Holm was known to pray. She recalls this man whom she describes as “the only person I know who completely lives his faith.” (Pastor Holm passed away in 2013.) Marci writes that Lynn was never afraid “because he is never without God’s presence.” When winter storms would threaten his home in Minnesota, he simply prayed that the home belonged to God and that “it is His home to do with as He will.”

Marci, taking her husband’s hand, realized that she didn’t have to be Lynn Holm in order to pray like him. And neither do we. Everything that we have, we have because God gave it to us. And, in reality, it all belongs to him. So we, along with Lynn Holm and Marci Alborghetti, should be praying,

Father, this house is your house. Do with it as you will. This life is your life. This computer, on which I am typing, is your computer. May I use it for your glory. May you be glorified in everything that I own, and everything that I do.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Some may have noticed a slight change in my daily blog. I have shortened the prayers at the end, and no longer include the brief prayers for the family. Please don’t think I have stopped praying for my family. I have just stopped including them in this forum.

Grace and peace, friends.

Who Can Truly Meet My Needs?

Good morning. Today is Monday, October 14, 2013.

Today is “Bald and Free Day.” I’m certainly working on that.

Well, we are back from our extended weekend trip. We had a wonderful time in Glen Rose, in spite of Christi having a bit of stomach troubles. We’re not positive, but we think that stemmed from her taking some Omega 3 fish oil pills. She has stopped taking those, so we will see if she’s feeling better. The weather wasn’t bad down there. It was sunny and warm each day, but not terribly hot, with highs in the mid to upper eighties each day. We played a round of golf in Cleburne on Friday. We always play “scramble-style,” and we shot 85. Ish. I say “ish,” because we did hit a few “mulligans.” But it was just us, so who cares, right? We had a great time, and actually birdied one par 3 hole! And we lost no less then six golf balls. The Cleburne course is pretty nice, and we noticed about halfway through that they have NO sand traps. Huzzah for that!

We also discovered a new favorite place to eat in Glen Rose. They have a new Cajun restaurant called “The Bayou.” It’s a small place on Hwy 67 and they have, at least based on what little we know of Cajun food, pretty good food. We had “Pistolettes” for the first time ever, which is a kind of roll filled with a creamy concoction that could either be crawfish or shrimp. We chose the crawfish, and it was delicious! I had some red beans and andouille sausage, which was also very delicious. The first night we went (we went both Thursday and Saturday), I had a “Boudin Burger,” while Christi had the fried catfish. Both were very good. Saturday night, I got the catfish, and Christi wasn’t feeling great, so she ordered a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches (they had those on the menu for kids) and she said they were very good. Of course, we also had pie. Several times. From The Pie Peddlers, which is our very favorite place in Glen Rose, next to the Paluxy River Bed Cabins. And we brought several pieces home for family and friends.

Sadly, we had to come home yesterday and it’s back to the weekly grind today. On Saturday night, I listened to the Red Sox lose the first game of the ALCS to the Tigers, 1-0. It was an incredible pitchers’ duel. Last night, I sat down to watch what started out as another pitchers’ duel, until Clay Buchholz gave up five runs over a couple of innings, four of them in the sixth. Boston had be no-hit, again, through five of those innings, and finally got a hit, along with their first run of the series, in the bottom of the sixth. The game remained 5-1 until the bottom of the eighth. Boston was continuing their record number of strikeouts (32 so far, through two games!), but had managed to get the bases loaded, as Detroit played revolving door with the bull pen. Joachin Benoit was brought in to pitch to David Ortiz. Papi put the first pitch into the Red Sox bull pen for a grand slam home run. I believe they said that was the first time in history that a grand slam had been hit to tie a playoff game. Napoli struck out again to end the eighth, tied 5-5. The Red Sox’s newest hero, Koji Uehara, shut down the tigers very quickly in the ninth. Jonny Gomes got a base hit, advancing to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. He then went to third on a wild pitch. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then hit a single to win the game. It was truly amazing. So the next game will be in Detroit tomorrow afternoon. I’ll be listening at work, on my phone.

Today’s birthday is Justin Hayward, born on this date in 1946. Hayward has been guitar player and singer for The Moody Blues since 1966. Here is a clip of their song, “I’m Just A Singer In A Rock and Roll Band.”

Honorable mentions go to Lillian Gish, 1893-1993, Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, Sir Cliff Richard, 73, William Penn, 1644-1718, and Harry Anderson, 61.


Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Psalm 103:20-22
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” Psalm 70:4
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Psalm 30:2-3

Father, I pray that you would open my eyes, that I may see, open my ears, that I may hear, and open my heart and my mind that I might understand.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Human Power Posing as God.” The scripture reading is 2 Kings 18:28-32.

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.”

The “Rabshakeh,” and Assyrian official, was attempting to get the Israelites to surrender and accept exile. He promised them their own vine and fig tree, along with fertile lands and clean, fresh water. In a sense, this official, speaking for the Assyrian king, is mimicking God, offering life for obedience, and death for disobedience. “We are to submit to human authorities as long as this submission does not become destructive, but never to place them before God.” How often are we tempted to believe that another person (spouse, friend, parent, pastor, government official) can meet all of our needs, especially only those God can meet? In case you haven’t figured it out, yet, this can only lead to disappointment. Who in your life are you placing unfair expectations on? Perhaps, it might be better to seek to fulfill a need of theirs, instead. And then place your expectations on the only One who can truly fulfill those needs. And note. . . I said “needs,” not “wants.” God will fulfill our every need, but not necessarily our wants. It is important to remember that.

Father, help us to discern when it is time to submit, and when it is time to not submit. The apostles in the New Testament seemed to have a good grip on that principle. I also pray that you help us to not place undue expectations on other human beings. They cannot meet all of our needs, and it is wrong to expect them to do so. Only you can meet all of my needs, and you wait with open arms for me to expect that. May I work today to meet someone else’s needs, rather than expect them to meet mine. Help me learn this discipline of submission.

I pray for this day, as I listen to the sounds of rain outside. May you give us a good day as we return to work from our short vacation weekend. I thank you for a wonderful anniversary celebration weekend. I pray that Christi will feel better today. I pray also that her work day will be smooth and that she will be a source of encouragement and grace to others. I pray the same for myself, at my work place today. May your grace flow through me. I also pray that you show Stephanie your steadfast love and grace today.

May we all remember who is truly able to meet our needs and who is not, and, thereby, not place unfair expectations on others.

Grace and peace, friends.