Do Not Be Anxious

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 13, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is multiloquence This noun means, ” Excessive talkativeness or loquaciousness; prolixity.” Great, now I have to look up two more words. “Loquacious” is another word for “full of excessive talk.” “Prolixity” is a form of “prolix,” which means, “marked by or using an excess of words.” So today, you get three words for the price of one! I call that a bargain.

Today is Grandparent’s Day. I always thought this was just another day thought up by Hallmark, but apparently, it has some deeper meaning. Someone named Marian McQuade “instigated a campaign in the early 1970s aimed at highlighting the plight of lonely elderly people in care homes and encouraging grandchildren to take advantage of the wisdom and guidance their grandparents could provide.” So there you go. If you have any grandparents left, show them some love. Listen to their stories. Even better, record their stories! I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had recorded my grandparents talking.

We had a truly amazing time, yesterday! We went down for the lunch buffet at around 11:00 AM. The place we ate had pretty good food, with a very wide variety of types of cuisine. They had Asian, Mexican, Italian, American, and seafood, along with a very large salad bar and dessert bar. The dessert was actually quite good, too, which is rare for buffet places.

After lunch, we all split up to play some more, with plans to meet up at 5:00 PM for dinner. Christi and I played for what must have been close to four hours. I ran out of my “free” $50 bonus money early on, and started using money we had allocated for playing. The winnings ebbed and flowed, as the amounts dwindled. As it got later, we started on a journey to get to the other end of the casino. Winstar is set up in pretty much linear design, with a right angle turn in the middle. Each gaming area is named after a city in the world. Our hotel is on the London end, which is followed by Madrid, and then Rome, which is where the Global Event Center is located. More on that later. At the other end of the casino, is New York City. There is Venice and Cairo in there, somewhere, too. I can’t remember if there are any more cities represented.

We would stop and play a machine, here and there, but really had no good luck. We reached New York and turned around to head back. As we walked, we stumbled on a machine that I had really liked in a previous visit, a Wizard of Oz “Haunted Forest” themed machine. So I sat down to play. I used up what was on the last voucher I had printed, and put $40 more in the machine. On this machine, you could bet with $.40, $.80, $1.20, $2.00, or $4.00. On a whim, I placed a $1.20 bet, and got this “Flying Monkey” feature which randomly places some “wilds” on the playing board. I won a significant amount, getting my total up around $50 or so. Feeling bold, I placed a $4.00 bet, and won only $2.00. I turned around and put that $2.00 back up, and got the Flying Monkeys again. This time, they put a “wild” in all five columns! As the reels stopped turning, the machine started playing this lush orchestral version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and the amount I had won started going up. It stopped at $199 and some change! I had just won $199 on a $2 bet. I cashed out. Total won on that machine, $241 and some change. As I got up, Christi was coming to find me to show me that she had finished up with over $60 winnings on the machine she was playing. We walked away with just over $300.
Winstar vouchers

We met back up with Rachel and Justin at 5:00 PM and went back down to have some dinner. We ate a a place in the London area, called “Chips and Ales.” We didn’t have any ale. But we had some pretty good fish and chips and other stuff. We still had close to two hours before Jim Gaffigan’s show as was to start, so we agreed to meet in front of the Global Event Center at 7:00. I had found out that they would begin seating at 6:30. Since there’s nothing else to do in a casino, we played some more. I pretty much lost $20 during that time, cashing out with forty cents. Christi had put in $40 and finished up with around $11 or so.

The show was really great. I probably would not entertain the idea of going to another one at that venue, however. The place is totally flat (no incline until you’re so far back you couldn’t see, anyway), and they use those portable plain chairs that hook together for seating. What this means is that the chairs are right next to each other. All of us are pretty big people, which makes this type of setting VERY uncomfortable. Added to the fact that this show was sold out, it made things even worse, because there would be someone sitting next to us. However, a few minutes before time for the show to begin, a nice gentleman came over and showed us how to unhook the chairs, so that we could at least spread them out a few inches between us. That brought us some welcome relief. We probably weren’t supposed to do that, but no one official seemed to notice.

I can’t remember the name of the “warm-up” comedian, but he was pretty good, telling jokes about old commercials that we grew up with, and how politically incorrect they were. Such as the “Frito Bandito,” the “How about a nice Hawaiian Punch” commercial, and the Armour Hot Dogs jingle with spoke of “fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks; tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox . . .” Anyone in their forties or fifties would have loved those jokes.

Jim Gaffigan did not disappoint. He was hilarious, as always, constantly making fun of himself, without being vulgar or off color at all. He joked about hiking, kids, Disney World, and, to my pleasant surprise, finished the show with his entire “Hot Pocket” routine. It was all great fun. Except for when the possibly drunk person came in to the row right behind us, with only about 15 minutes left in the show and constantly giggled “He’s so funny” while loudly repeating every joke that Jim told, to the person sitting next to him. Ah, well. There’s always something, right? I didn’t let that ruin my good time. The show was fantastic, and we laughed more than we had ever laughed in an hour, before.

After the show, we hit the restrooms, and Justin and Rachel went off in search of snacks and, maybe, coffee. Christi still had that $11 voucher burning a hole in her pocket, so she found a machine just like the one she had won $60 on, earlier. There were two together, so I sat down next to her and put in my forty cent voucher. And another $20. A few minutes later, another $20. Then I got a couple of “Bonus” rounds almost back to back. I cashed out with $60, while Christi went on to cash out with $40. Walking out with $100, we had broken even for the night, which, in casino-speak, is the same thing as winning!


As I type this, this morning, we are roughly $100 up for our trip. And that’s including the $40 I dropped in about 5 minutes, playing Blackjack! Yeah. I don’t think I’ll ever try that again.

We have to check out by 11:00, this morning, after which we will pack up the car, park it somewhere else (it’s in valet parking), and go back to the buffet restaurant for our complimentary brunches. We will likely head back to Denton after that, and then on to home. We still have to get in our grocery shopping after we get home, which is not a great way to finish off an otherwise spectacular weekend!

On September 13, in 122, the construction of Hadrian’s Wall began. In 335, Emperor Constantine consecrated the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In 1501, Michelangelo began work on his statue of David. In 1609, Henry Hudson finally reached the river that would later be named after him. In 1788, the Philadelphia Convention set the date for the first presidential election, and New York City was established as the temporary capital of the U.S. In 1898, Hannibal Goodwin patented celluloid photographic film. In 1899, Henry Bliss was the first person in the U.S. to be killed in an auto accident. In 1971, the National Guard, along with state police, stormed Attica to end a prison revolt. In 2001, civilian aircraft flights were resumed in the U.S., following the 9/11 attacks. And, in 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in the Gulf Coast, causing heavy damage to Galveston, Houston, and surrounding areas.

Today’s birthdays include Milton S. Hershey (American confectioner), Arnold Schoenberg (Austrian-born composer), Claudette Colbert (American actress), Bill Monroe (American musician credited with the invention of bluegrass), Roald Dahl (British writer), Mel Torme (American singer), Barbara Bain (American actress), David Clayton-Thomas (Canadian singer, Blood, Sweat & Tears), Peter Cetera (American musician, Chicago), Jacqueline Bisset (British actress), Nell Carter (American actress), Jean Smart (American actress), Anne Geddes (Australian photographer), Dave Mustaine (American musician), Tyler Perry (American filmmaker), Fiona Apple (American singer), Ben Savage (American actor), and Daisuke Matsuzaka (Japanese pitcher, previously Boston Red Sox).

Peter Cetera is a bass player/singer, born on this date in 1944, making him 71 years old today. Egad. His best years were with Chicago as their bass player and one of their singers. He had a relatively dismal solo career, and I have no idea what he is doing today. Here is an early clip of Chicago performing “Dialogue,” with Terry Kath playing guitar and singing, long before he accidentally killed himself.

Leopold Stokowski, Tupac Shakur, George Wallace, Dorothy McQuire, and Ann Richards are among notable deaths on this date.


Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 103:14-16.

For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

(From Solid Joys)

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:31-34

Today’s reading is, “Reasons Not To Worry.”

There are several great promises in this passage of Scripture. The first is in verse 31-32, telling us that there is no need to be anxious about daily needs, because God knows what we need. We simply need to trust his timing, as he is not ignorant about our needs.

In verse 33, we are told that, if we give our lives to seeking God’s cause, which is his Kingdom, all of these things will be added to us. In other words, if we seek the Lord and his interests above our own, he will provide for us. In my opinion, the cause of the Gospel is the only worthy “cause” on earth to support.

Finally, in verse 34, we are again told to not be anxious, specifically about tomorrow. God will take care of us. As my mother used to tell me, “Don’t borrow trouble.”

Father, I pray for my faith to be stronger, that I might follow these promises and commands, not worrying, trusting that you will provide for me. Help me to selflessly seek your Kingdom and support your cause with my entire being.

I pray for safety as we travel home today. Thank you for giving us a great weekend of fun and relaxation.

Come, Lord Jesus.

My brothers and sisters, try with all your being to shed your anxieties and trust in God’s timing and provision.

Grace and peace, friends.

Committed to Christ’s View

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 9, 2012. There are several “holidays” on this day. We have “National Teddy Bear Day.” Then we have “Wienerschnitzel Day.” (Let it be known that the Hallmark Ultimate Holiday App spelled “Wienerschnitzel” wrong. It’s also, apparently, supposed to be two words. “Wiener Schnitzel.”) I don’t know that I’ve ever had that…the real stuff, not a hot dog from the fast food joint, although, I can’t say I’ve had one of those, either. You see, Wiener Shnitzel has absolutely nothing to do with hot dogs. It’s essentially a deep-fried cutlet of pretty much any meat.

The last day listed is “Grandparents Day.” This, of course, wasn’t even a thing until 1978 when Jimmy Carter made it a thing. He probably got a kickback from Hallmark, you know. But at any rate, if you have some grandparents, do something special for them today.

On this date in 1776, the “United Colonies” became the “United States.”
On this date in 1971, the prisoners at Attica State Prison, in Buffalo, New York, rioted.
On this date in 1976, Chairman Mao died.
On this date in 1850, California became a state. The 31st state.
On this date in 1965, Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the eighth perfect game in MLB history.

We had a nice, restful day yesterday. We cooked chicken and corn on the grill last night for dinner, and watched the A&E presentation of Robin Cook’s Coma. It was a pretty good mini-series.
This morning, we are getting ready to attend our worship celebration at The Exchange. After that, I think we’re having lunch with Michael, and anyone else who wants to join.

Father, I pray that you will send the Holy Spirit to us through your Word, and that you will reveal your Word to me this morning, enlightening my mind.

This morning, I’m reading Psalm 101. This one is said to be a psalm of David.

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart within my house.
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.

That last line is a tough one, but what if we all adhered to that ideal? If I could even go through one day without letting anything worthless pass before my eyes, what a day that would be. There are, of course, some things that we can’t help; they are out of our control. There are other things that might be considered “worthless” that I purposefully set before my eyes.

David speaks of a special relationship between those who belong to the Lord.
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.

I don’t believe that, in writing this, David insists that he only fellowship with perfect people. Remember…it’s a song. But he speaks of how those of us in the family of faith take care of one another. Any of us who follow Christ are, in a sense, walking in “the way that is blameless.” And we will minister to one another, as we follow Christ’s command to love each other as he loved us.

My Utmost For His Highest

… and take every thought captive to obey Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:5

Yesterday, we spoke of determinedly demolishing some things in our lives. Today, Chambers speaks of the need to “determinedly discipline other things.” He quote the Moffat translation of the same verse, which says, “I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ.” And then Chambers says this: “How much Christian work there is today which has never been disciplined, but has simply sprung into being by impulse!” Jesus Christ did nothing on impulse; everything that he did was part of the will of his Father, and had been “disciplined” from the beginning. I have been on church staffs for a large part of my adult life, both as traditional “music minister” and as “worship leader.” I can tell you that many projects that the churches set out to do were nothing more than marketing brain children of certain ministers or pastors, designed to do nothing more than manipulate people into coming to the church. I case you can’t tell, I can’t stand such projects. Our God is not a manipulator! He does not practice psychological manipulation on people to get them to do things. He doesn’t have to. And any such “project” we set out on, thinking we are going to make God more attractive to the secular world has exactly the opposite effect! We have a “vivid religious experience,” and suddenly we set out on impulse, putting things into action immediately, then begin praying that God will “bless” our actions. Instead, we should have been “imprisoned and disciplined to obey Christ.”

Practical work is overemphasized in this culture (Chambers even said that in the thirties!), and “the saints who are bringing every project into captivity are criticized and told that they are not in earnest for God or for souls.” Many well meaning people are doing work that is not really “for God,” but, instead, at “the instigation of their own human nature which has not been spiritualized by determined discipline.”

We are not committed to Jesus Christ solely for salvation. We are also committed to Jesus Christ’s “view of God, of the world, of sin and of the devil, and this will mean that [we] must recognize the responsibility of being transformed by the renewing of [our minds].”

Father I pray, first of all, that I would be “determinedly disciplined” in all things. You have definitely been creating a culture of discipline for me, as of late, as I have been struggling to get this prayer ministry right. I pray that I will do nothing “for you” without first spending time “imprisoned and disciplined” to obey you. I pray for churches around our nation, as well as around the world, that they would cease striving in the flesh to gain new members. I pray that they would understand that it has never been about the numbers. It is about discipline and showing people the love of God. It is, after all, YOU, through the Holy Spirit that creates true Church members! We cannot bring people into the Church! Only you can do that. So all of this psychological manipulation has nothing to do with you. I despise it when people try to trick people into believing in you, Father! There is no trick to it. It is by the invasion of your Holy Spirit that a man believes in you. It is by your predestined will that someone receives the faith to believe. I simply cannot help that along at all. I must simply be faithful to be ready to share the gospel with someone who needs it, at the prompting of your Spirit, as this is the means and method you have ordained.

Ah, Lord…I’ve stepped on a soapbox. I confess that and humbly step down. I pray that you would continue working in my life to make the characteristics of the Beatitudes a reality in my life. Most of all, I pray for meekness and humility.

Father, I pray for this day. May our worship celebration resound with the praise of all the saints this morning. May our praise rise up to you like sweet incense. Fill us with your Spirit and may rivers of living water flow out of all of us as we interact with others throughout this day and the week ahead.

May all of our work for God be disciplined and not impulsive. May we seek his will before we start seeking ours.

Grace and peace, friends.