I Am Not A Measuring Rod

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is alliaceous, meaning, “having the odor or taste of garlic, onion, etc.”

Today is Apple Strudel Day. That actually sounds good, this morning. Wish I had some.

Yesterday afternoon, Colby Lewis flirted with perfection. He was perfect through seven innings, as the Texas Rangers battled the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland pitcher wasn’t too shabby, either, but his game fell apart in the seventh, when Ian Desmond launched a line-drive home run. Colby walked a guy on four straight pitches in the eighth, but still had his no-hitter going. He lost that on the first better in the ninth. The Rangers won the game, though, 5-1. They have now won an unprecedented eight consecutive series. Tonight, they face off in interleague play, against the Cardinals of St. Louis.

The Red Sox have been struggling, lately, and lost the series to the Orioles. However, they are only one game back in second place, as they won one of the three games.

It’s Friday! Seems like it’s been a long week. But it’s almost over, and it will be a busy weekend. We will travel to visit my mother tomorrow, and then hang out with R & J on Sunday, for Father’s Day.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known:
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah.
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Psalm 81

This psalm presents a “festival” attitude. God desires that we live in a festive attitude toward him. That’s why there were so many festivals/celebrations in the Old Testament. If we, in our common lives, don’t live up to that, it’s not the fault of God or his promises. It is because, as verse 11 says, “Israel would not submit to me,” or, in the version Peterson quotes, “Israel would have none of me.”

“I haven’t asked enough from you, O God – I see that now. Remembering what you have promised and what you have done, I will rejoice in festival celebration, taking what you so generously give and sharing what you so joyously provide. In Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Uncritical Temper

Judge not, that you be not judged.
Matthew 7:1

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook a quote from Richard Foster’s Celebration Discipline. “When we genuinely believe that inner transformation is God’s work and not ours, we can put to rest our passion to set others straight.” This morning’s reading seems to go hand in hand with that quote.

Chambers says, “The average Christian is the most penetratingly critical individual.” Some folks are naturally critical, and in some realms, such as the business world, this can be an advantage. However, “in the spiritual domain nothing is accomplished by criticism.” It serves to divide the powers of the one who is being criticized. In fact, Chambers says that the Holy Spirit is truly the only one who is in a position to criticize. “He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding.”

We cannot enter into proper communion with God when we are in a critical state. It makes us “hard and vindictive and cruel,” and it makes us think we are superior. I should know. I’ve been there. I tend to be a very critical person. We must, as disciples of Jesus, “cultivate the uncritical temper.” This is a difficult process, and is not something that is done only one time. This is also something that is helped by practicing the Spiritual Disciplines, the subject of the Richard Foster book quoted above.

Jesus has the penetrating vision. Remember what he says, if I see a mote in your eye, I most likely have a beam in mine. When I judge you, I condemn myself, according to Romans 2. “Stop being a measuring rod for other people.” There is always a part of that other man’s story that I do not know!

Father, it’s getting to a point where I am no longer amazed at how much the readings of Oswald Chambers go hand in hand with what I am reading in Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. I pray that these things will take hold in me, as I attempt to walk in your Kingdom and put the words of Jesus into practice. Today, help me to not judge people. I still have issues with that on a daily basis. I pray for your Spirit to calm me and remind me that I have plenty of beams in my eyes, and that there are things about that other person that I just don’t know. Always. Help me to show the love and compassion of Christ toward other people.

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.


Good morning. It is Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Hump Day.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is esoteric. This is an adjective, meaning, “designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone,” “requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group; broadly : difficult to understand,” “limited to a small circle,” “private, confidential,” or, “of special, rare, or unusual interest.”

Today is Apple Strudel Day. A pastry that is alleged to date back to 1696, “Apple strudel consists of a centre of apple, cinnamon and raisins, wrapped in crispy layers of pastry, that puff up in the oven; served with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of thick cream, comfort food at its finest.” Yum. Much better than “Eat Your Vegetables Day.” What’s this recent kick on vegetables, anyway??

It’s raining this morning, as Tropical Storm Jim has made his way up into north central Texas. It’s predicted that it will rain most of the day, today, prompting continued flash flood warnings, as we really haven’t recovered from the April and May “showers.” The Trinity River is still above floodplain, even after a couple of weeks with little to no rain.

Christi bowled in her league, yesterday, after work, and did quite a bit better than last week. However, her knee was severely sore afterward. Perhaps some kind of brace might be in order. I’ve been thinking about one of those for my knee, as well. Not much else going on. We have definitely decided to go to Mineral Wells for Father’s Day on Sunday.

Oh. Brock Holt hit for the cycle for the Red Sox yesterday, as they finally won a game, beating the Braves, 9-4. He is from Fort Worth, Texas, by the way.


A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.

Psalm 73:1-17

(From Solid Joys)

But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Isaiah 66:2

Today’s reading is “What Kind of Prayer Pleases God?”

“The first mark of the upright heart is that it trembles at the Word of the Lord.”

Isaiah 66 deals with people who worship God in different ways; some of their worship pleases God, but some of their worship does not please God. Take verse 3, for example: He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations. Why are their offerings so offensive to God? The answer is in verse 4: I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.

Verse 2, quoted above, describes the kind of person whose prayers God will hear. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

“So the prayer of the upright that delights God comes from a heart that at first feels precarious in the presence of God. It trembles at the hearing of God’s Word, because it feels so far from God’s ideal and so vulnerable to his judgment and so helpless and so sorry for its failings.”

Compare this to Psalm 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. “The first thing that makes a prayer acceptable to God is the brokenness and humility of the one who prays.”

Father, teach me this humility in the face of your Word. For, in truth, your Word shows me my weakness and failures. It constantly shows me where I am lacking in my devotion and service to you. Therefore, I must be more humble as I even consider praying to you, for I am not what I should be. You have made me something new, something better, but I have yet to fully acquiesce to your commands and desires for my heart and for my life. I pray for more humility and more sincerity of heart, that I might be a better servant and ambassador for your Kingdom.

I pray for this day, that we might have safe travel, especially in this rain, to and from work. Keep Rachel and Justin safe, as well, in whatever they must do today. Show your great love to Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama, as they do whatever must be done today. May your great grace and mercy never fail in our lives. We are grateful for all that you have done for us. May your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth, as in heaven.

I lift up the Henneke family, as they travel back from Florida today. May their trip be safe, and may it not be delayed by the tropical storm system.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all tremble at God’s Word, rather than feeling any kind of pride in what we believe we have accomplished. In this way, we can be assured that our prayers will please him.

Grace and peace, friends.