Today is Thursday, July 27, 2017. Day 21,686. 23 days until S’s birthday!

“I have only one superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run.” ~ Babe Ruth
The Quotations Page

The word of the day us bumfuzzle, a verb meaning, “to confuse of fluster.”

Today is Chili Dog Day. Our version of chili dogs is made with crescent rolls. If I had known, Saturday, when I went to the store, that today was Chili Dog Day, I would have bought the stuff to make them. Oh, well.

Last night’s bowling didn’t go so well for me, again. That’s three weeks in a row where I have totally missed my average. It took me until the third game to figure out where to throw the ball, and I still missed by six pins. C did better than me, as did our other two teammates. We wound up winning one of three games.

Tonight we have our “missional gathering” for Night of Worship. So we wouldn’t have been able to have chili dogs, anyway. I’m not sure if we are all bringing our own food or the host is cooking for us.

We also have our monthly night of worship this coming Saturday night, so it’s going to be a busy weekend.

The Red Sox shut out the Mariners in a day game, yesterday, but the Rangers got beat badly last night. 22-10. That’s more of a football score.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
Psalm 29:2
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
Psalm 31:1
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:11
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 
Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Psalm 19:1-6
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria

The heavens truly declare your glory, Lord! May we look to the skies to see your majesty. May we look for your glory in everything around us, from the things of nature to the souls of men. May we especially look for you in the souls of those with whom we come in contact today. You are near; you are able; you are good.
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.

Troubled About Trifles

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”~~Babe Ruth

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumatology, “The science, doctrine, or theory of spirits or spiritual beings.”

Today is Chip and Dip Day. And why not? Chips and dip go together like, well, love and marriage, and a horse and carriage!

Not much happening around here. It is, I have forgotten to mention, Holy Week, as they call it. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week don’t have specific names, such as Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. So today is simply Holy Wednesday. Traditionally, it is the day when Judas arranged for the betrayal of Jesus. Of course, the Bible doesn’t assign days to these events, so this is purely conjecture. I’m also one of the people who do not believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday. The math just simply doesn’t work. But that’s a subject for a different day.

While Christi was bowling, yesterday evening, I watched episodes two and three of Vinyl HBO’s new series about a record industry executive in the seventies. Chock full of drugs, sex, and rock and roll, it has a soundtrack that is quite good. I’m pretty sure there was an anachronism last night, in episode three, though. This episode featured a young Alice Cooper, doing a lot of drinking and golfing. Cooper is famous for both, although he has since given up the drinking (it almost killed him at least twice). There was a scene in which Cooper uses the word “stormtroopers.” Star Wars didn’t come out until 1977. Now, the specific year in which this is taking place is never identified, but in another scene, the band is rehearsing “I Love the Dead,” which is from their 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies. In episode one, Richie Finestra (the main character) is seen listening to the New York Dolls perform “Personality Crisis,” also released in 1973. So, I’m pretty sure that it’s not 1977, yet. Oh, well, it’s still a fun series for me, because I was “coming of age” in the seventies, and it’s fun to see representations of some of the artists that I liked back then.

Today is Wednesday, and I’m meeting with our pastor this evening, right after work. He wants to spend some time talking about prayer, since I’m the leader of the prayer and “spiritual formations” ministry of our church. We’re still sussing out what that “spiritual formations” is going to look like. Should be an interesting conversation, and I hope that we come out of it with some good direction.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.
Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.
For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death.
The LORD will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

Psalm 37:23-33

Our God does not abandon us to “stumble along the best we can by trial and error.” Sometimes it seems that way, but it is not. I like what Peterson says about Scripture, here. He calls a large portion of Scripture “‘travel notes’–notation’s on life’s journey as it is traveled in faith.” The key operative word in that sentence is “faith.” When we delight in the way of the Lord, he will direct our steps.

“God, you have given freely of both counsel and example. Give also a strong spirit of perseverance, that I may not falter as I walk the way you have pioneered for me in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
1 Corinthians 3:3

Using a question that most of us would rather not ask ourselves, Chambers calls this reading “Am I Carnally Minded?” In the verse above, the KJV uses the word “carnal” in place of “of the flesh.”

“No natural man knows anything about carnality.” Interesting statement, no? The thing is, we don’t know about “carnality” until we are regenerated, and the battle between Spirit and flesh begins. Paul tells that if we walk in the Spirit, carnality will disappear.

Here’s where it gets real. “Are you contentious, easily troubled about trifles?” Uh-oh. This is carnality at work. When the Spirit detects something wrong within us, he will ask us to “accept the light, and He will put it right.” As a “child of the light,” we must hear the conviction of the Spirit and confess at once. God will deal with what is wrong.

Where is the proof that carnality is gone? There will be ample opportunities to prove it. “The practical test is the only proof. ‘Why,’ you say, ‘if this had happened before, there would have been the spirit of resentment!'”

I have a long way to go.

Father, I pray that I might be more aware of the Spirit when he tells me what is wrong in my life, that I might listen, heed, and confess, that these little trifles in life would stop causing me irritation. Give me the Spirit of Christ daily, that I might live life on a more even keel, not getting aggravated about little things that, in the grand scheme of life, simply do not matter.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Faith in All the Promises

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is flumadiddle. While it might sound like a percussion rudiment, it is not. It is a noun, meaning, “utter nonsense,” or, “worthless frills.” I will attempt to not have too much flumadiddle in today’s blog entry.

Today is Cheer Up the Lonely Day. Sounds like a good thing. Cheering people up is always good, especially if they are lonely. Be careful, though. Sometimes people don’t want to be cheered up, and your efforts could have the opposite effect.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, over all. I got off on time, which is always good on a Friday, but my trip home was a bit of a challenge. Traffic in the first third or so of my trip home was really bad, due mostly to an accident on the wrong side of the road. Silly rubberneckers. But it’s what we do, isn’t it? I stopped by O.C. Burger, on the way home, and picked up “naked burritos” for dinner. That’s basically the contents of the burrito in a bowl, in case you don’t know that. O.C. Burger’s breakfast burritos are amazing, even for dinner.

We had a nice, relaxing evening at home, watching TV. I stayed up later than Christi and watched my traditional Netflix horror movie, late at night. This time, it was The Haunting of Whaley House, from 2012. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. However, I enjoyed it, as I usually do that type of movie.

Today is our usual Saturday, and we will be back to our normal prayer and worship gatherings, beginning at 4:45 this afternoon. Stephanie has a “horse outing” planned with some friends tomorrow.

It was on this date that the infamous duel between Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton occurred. Burr won. Hamilton died. In 1859, A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, was published. In 1914, Babe Ruth made his MLB debut. In 1921, William Howard Taft became the only person to have been both a President and Chief Justice of the SCOTUS. And, in 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, was published.

Today’s birthdays include John Quincy Adams (American President), Annie Armstrong (American missionary), Jim White (discovered Carlsbad Caverns), E.B. White (American writer), Yul Brynner (Russian-born actor), Brett Somers (Canadian-born actress), Tab Hunter (American actor), David Kelly (Irish actor), Giorgio Armani (Italian fashion designer), Bonnie Pointer (American singer, Pointer Sisters), Bruce McGill (American actor), Suzanne Vega (American singer/songwriter), Richie Sambora (American musician, Bon Jovi), and Greg Gunberg (American actor).

Suzanne Vega was born on this date in 1959, making her 56 years old today. She is best known for her folk-style songs from the mid-eighties. One of her most popular songs is probably “Tom’s Diner.” However, the original version of that song contained no music behind it, only her voice, a capella.


A Psalm of Asaph.
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” Selah.

Psalm 82:1-2

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “We Experience the Spirit Through Faith.”

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25

“The Spirit came to you the first time when you believed in the blood-bought promises of God. And the Spirit keeps on coming, and keeps on working, by this same means.”

Paul asks a question, earlier in Galatians: Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? (3:5) The question is, of course, rhetorical, and the answer is, “By hearing with faith.” Everything that the Spirit accomplishes in and through us is by faith.

If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, you probably long to see might outpourings of the Holy Spirit in your life. “Perhaps you cry out to God for the outpouring of the Spirit in your life or in your family or church or city. Such cries are right and good.” Jesus, in Luke 11:13, tells us, If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

But, in agreement with John Piper, here, what I most often experience is my own failure to “open myself to the full measure of the Spirit’s work by believing the promises of God.” Why do we find this to be so difficult? And we’re talking about more than just believing that the Spirit will come when we ask. “I mean all the other precious promises that are not directly about the Spirit but, perhaps, about God’s provision for my future — for example, ‘My God will supply every need of yours’ (Philippians 4:19).”

What seems to be missing in my own experience, and, I would guess, the experience of many Christians, is this faith in the promises of God. Sure, I have faith in the salvific work of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, by grace through faith. But what about my faith in all of the promises of God? The Spirit works mightily in us through our faith, “not just faith in one or two promises about the Spirit himself, but about all the soul-satisfying presence of God in our future.”

Father, again, I pray that you teach me this faith, for I lack it severely. I believe in salvation; I believe in Jesus Christ, and the work that was done to procure my eternal salvation and forgiveness. But why do I find it so difficult to have faith in all of your great and precious promises?? I pray for more faith in these promises, that I might see the mighty work of the Holy Spirit in my day-to-day existence. I know that you are faithful and worthy! I know that you will do what you say you will do. At least my head knows that. Translate that to my heart, I pray! “I do believe! Help my unbelief!”

I pray for this day, as we go about doing whatever we need to do. I pray for our worship and prayer gatherings, this evening, that your name would be lifted high and that you would be glorified in all that happens. May your word be faithfully preached by your servant Jacob, tonight, and may you open our ears and heart so hear exactly what we need to hear. Let us not leave unchanged; let us not leave without being drawn closer to you tonight.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we grow in our faith in all the promises, that the Holy Spirit may do mighty works in and through us. Heaven knows the world could use that right now.

Grace and peace, friends.

Getting Squeezed

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 30. Last day of September. Today is “Chewing Gum Day.” Hmm…I can’t say, at this point in time, if I will participate in this one or not.

On this date in 1955, the “Rebel Without A Cause,” James Dean, died in a car crash on a California highway. “Too fast to live, too young to die, bye-bye.”
On this date in 1935, Johnny Mathis was born in Gilmer, Texas. He is said to be one of the most successful recording artists of all time.
And on this date in 1927, Babe Ruth hit home run number 60 for the season, a record that would stand for 34 years.

We were planning to go to the early worship celebration at The Exchange, this morning, but the start time on today’s Rangers game has been moved to 1205, due to the rainout rescheduling of yesterday’s game. Yesterday’s rained out game will be played at 605pm this evening. Since the early game features all of the “Fan Appreciation Day” activities, we’ll need to get there in plenty of time before the game starts, so I don’t think we’ll have time to make our worship service this morning.

Yesterday was a pretty nice, relaxing day. We spent the afternoon watching TV, listening to the rain, then had dinner at Hoffbrau Steakhouse with Stephanie and Michael. Michael is supposed to go to the game with us today.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of your face this morning. Show me something to keep me focused on you during this day, and throughout this upcoming work week.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 119:25-32.

25 Daleth. My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!

It could be my imagination, perhaps reading more into this than is really there, but there seems to be a progression of sorts in this segment. The psalmist begins by confessing the state of his soul. “My soul clings to the dust.” I’m too attached to the “stuff of earth.” He then asks for life. After receiving a response from the Lord, he asks for continued teaching and understanding of the ways of the Lord. He chooses “the way of faithfulness,” clings to God’s Word, and, finally, runs “in the way of your commandments.” This gives me a mental image of a person running through a beautiful meadow, without a care in the world. Verse 32 always makes me think of this song by Miss Angie.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “The Commission of the Call.” The verse is Colossians 1:24, which says, Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…

If I’m reading Chambers right, what I see him saying is that we tend to make a mistake and think that our “spiritual consecration” is a calling to something. I have seen this in action. I went to seminary, back in the eighties, after sensing that I was called to music ministry. The number of middle-aged men who show up at seminary is staggering. The common thread is middle-aged salvation, followed by the immediate desire to be a preacher. I can’t say for sure if someone is called to preach the gospel or not. That’s between them and God. But I do have a strong opinion that, if God has called you to preach the gospel, you will have the gift of effective communication. A lot of these men mistook their salvation/sanctification/consecration as a calling to preach the gospel.

But at some point in our lives, God “brushes all these things aside, and rivets us with a pain that is terrific to one thing we never dreamed of.” At that point, we see what God is after and say, “Here am I, send me.” Again, this has nothing to do with “personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine.” The problem we have is that God never just uses his own fingers to make us “broken bread and poured-out wine.” He uses people we don’t like. He uses circumstances that are extremely uncomfortable (and inconveniencing) to us. When those things begin to crush us, we object, we complain, we cry out. We cannot be selective about how we are crushed. And, you can’t drink grapes, can you? “Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.” That’s one of those “tweetable” quotes, isn’t it?

If we stay right with God and allow him to do whatever he will with us, we will find that he is producing bread and wine through us that will be beneficial to others. Chambers is speaking primarily about the call to preach the gospel, in these readings. However, these truths run through the center of any type of calling we might receive from God. Our main responsibility is to be sensitive and obedient to his Spirit, allowing ourselves to be crushed when the time arises.

Father, there have been multiple times in my life where I have clung to the dust of the earth. I have clung much too tightly, at times, and you have answered my cries by giving me life. You have, throughout my life, taught me your ways, according to your word. I praise you for this. Your steadfast love is never ending! You continue to give me understanding, as I meditate on your truths. As I continue to choose the way of faithfulness, I pray that you strengthen me against the desires of the flesh, which always wants to run back to the dust. I will cling to your testimonies, O Lord, and run in the path of your commands as you set my soul free!

You have also crushed me multiple times in these 54+ years. The crushing is never pleasant, no. Of course not. It’s not supposed to be. But you continue to process me into broken bread and poured-out wine. I also praise you for that and ask you to continue to do so. You have riveted me to this thing that I never dreamed of. Keep me faithful to it. I have said to you, “Send me!” I pray that you continue to use me to be of benefit to others.

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray for safety as we travel to one more baseball game. For some reason, I’ve never felt comfortable praying for a team to win a game. So I don’t do that. I do pray that we will have a pleasant time of relaxation and fun as a family. It seems like there aren’t many things we do together, and this is one of the things that we all enjoy. May it be a blessed day today.

I lift a special prayer for my friend Dawn who got married yesterday. I pray for her new life with her husband and that you will bless them richly. I pray for much peace and love in their household and grace as they share a life together.

I also pray for the worship that is currently going on at The Exchange. I pray for Joel as he preaches two messages today. Give him clarity and focus as he shares your word for the people this morning. I pray for open ears to hear your word today.

“Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.” Yeah. Don’t resist the “squeezing” of God.

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It’s Thursday, August 16, 2012. Today is “National Rum Day.” Which immediately made me think of this.

Indeed…why is the rum gone. Daiquiris all around!

On this date in 1896, gold was discovered in the Yukon, near the Klondike River. On this date in 1948, George Herman “Babe” Ruth passed away from cancer in New York City. On this date in 1977, Elvis Presley was found unconscious in his Graceland home. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Since that time, he has been seen multiple times at K-Mart. On this date in 1958, Madonna was born, prompting Don McLean to write a song about “the day music died.” I’m not even going to try to type her whole name. The part about Don McLean was a joke. Sort of. On this date in 1920, Charles Bukowski was born. On this date in 1974, The Ramones played their first public gig at CBGB’s in Manhattan.

(I know…that’s not The Ramones, but it’s what I thought of, so I included it. I like the song.)

We are beginning preparations for our Christmas vacation, the first one we have ever taken. Last week, we decided that, on the day after Christmas, we are heading to Cancun. In order to do this, we will have to get passports. I’ve never done that before, so we’re getting to work on that. We’ll be staying at this Iberostar hotel. We’re still looking into a day trip to some of the ruins, perhaps Chichen Itza or Tulum. We’re pretty excited about this trip.

As this week winds down, we are heading towards Stephanie’s 19th birthday. That happens in just three days, now.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of your face this morning as I look into your Word.

Today I’m reading Psalm 77. Another psalm written by Asaph, this one laments the feeling that God has abandoned his people. The psalmist remembers, though, the great works of God in the past, which lifts his spirits.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
IN the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.

You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” (1-10)
From this point on, he remembers the works of God on their behalf. I believe that it is okay to ask these questions of God. Of course, I never truly believe that God has “forgotten” anything. He certainly has not “forgotten to be gracious!” But there are times in my life, when it seems, at least to my feeble understanding, that God has abandoned me. I hope, at this point in my life, that I will not think that again. But I’ve certainly been there. It’s not a pleasant feeling. In fact, it is a feeling of ultimate despair. The very idea that God has abandoned you is one of the worst feelings you could have. There is no hope if God has abandoned me. And there is no worse feeling than that of no hope.

The good news is that God has never abandoned me, no matter how bad things seem. He has promised this. Because of this, there is always hope. Always.

My Utmost For His Highest
To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3

“The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps intimate touch with Jesus.” One can know much about doctrine and not know the Savior. Mary was weeping in the garden, as she contemplated an empty tomb. She knew nothing of doctrine. The Pharisees could have humiliated her, doctrinally. But they could not take away the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her, or the fact that she knew Jesus!

Have there been times in my life when I doubted something about Jesus, perhaps something to which others testified but I have not yet experienced? Thomas had been told what the other disciples had seen, but he would not believe until he saw. Jesus graciously condescended to show him. When those personal touches from Jesus come, “they are indescribably precious.” When those times come, I, along with Thomas can do nothing but cry out, “My Lord and my God!”

Peter denied Christ, even throwing in a few curses for good measure. Yet, after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter…alone. Jesus restored Peter privately, then before the others.

Do I have a personal history with Jesus? “The one sign of discipleship is intimate connection with Him, a knowledge of Jesus Christ which nothing can shake.” I can say today, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that, yes, I have such a history. I know Jesus, and he knows me. That may sound arrogant, but there is nothing of arrogance in this. As I look at the teachings of Jesus each day, especially those in the Beatitudes, I am made more and more aware of my condition without him. I am, indeed, “poor in spirit.” I know my condition! I know that I have nothing to call my own, except the sin that I bring to the foot of the cross! I have no “good” in me. “You are good, you are good, when there’s nothing good in me!” I am recognizing the necessity of mourning over sin, especially my own. There is an increasingly intimate connection with Jesus going on, and I don’t want to stop it…I don’t want to mess this up.

I will continue to learn more about doctrine. Nothing wrong with that. But it will no longer be more important than that connection, that intimacy with my Savior.

Father, I thank you for this intimate connection with Christ. Yet, it is not intimate enough. I pray that it be deeper. Draw me closer, by your Spirit. Each day, as the day closes, I can look back and identify times when I failed to display the characteristics of the Beatitudes in my life, or the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians. At the end of this day, I want to be able to look back and say that I was gentle, kind, patient, loving, joyful, peaceful, good, faithful, and had self-control. I want to be able to say that I was poor in spirit, that I mourned over sin, that I was meek, that I was pure in heart, that I helped someone find the peace of God, that I was merciful, and that I hungered and thirsted for your righteousness.

Let me not doubt you. May my faith be strong, even in times of stress and crisis. Give me courage to believe in you at all times, and to trust that you have everything in my life in your hands, under your control. May my prayers be effective, as I lift others up to you. And by “effective,” I mean that I desire to be praying your heart for people, not just asking for what they/I want. I’m not asking you to do what I want you to do. I’m asking you for the desires of your heart to be my desires. “Break my heart for what breaks yours.”

I think I’m rambling now, Lord. I pray that you keep me focused on you throughout this day. I ask for Christi to have a good work day, and that you would relieve the pain that she continues to feel. She is strong, Lord. She endures it. But I know that it wears her down, and I pray that you would heal it, whatever is causing it. I pray that you would touch Stephanie today, inspiring her to know you more, to pray and study your words. Give us all your peace today.

My life goal, at least in this matter, will be to know Jesus more than what I know about him. I desire to learn more, yes. But I desire to know him more, as well.

Grace and peace, friends.

That I May Know Him

Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Today is “Free Slurpee Day” at 7-11. Why? Because it’s 7/11! So from 7 to 11 today, you can get a free 7.11 oz Slurpee! Also, according to my Hallmark Ultimate Holiday app, it is “National Blueberry Muffin Day” and “National Cheer Up the Lonely Day.” So take a blueberry muffin and free Slurpee to a lonely person today!

On this date in 1804, the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton occurred. On this date in 1979, Skylab crashed to earth. No one was injured. On this date in 1914, Babe Ruth made his MLB debut. On this date in 1899, E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web was born. And on this date in 1767, John Quincy Adams was born.

This morning, I woke up to this “spam” in my junk mail box.
I am an F.B.I AGENT here in Africa. We receive an email that you are dead and you ask one Albert R J Pitre to come and claim your ATM Card worth $10,000,000.00 (Ten million united states dollars. it was just a compensation to you by the Nigerian President, it was issue to you has an ATM-CARD.

The ATM CARD has been with us since 1month now, so I am writing you to know if you are (DEAD OR STILL ALIVE), if you do not reply back before 48hrs we will have no other alternative that to believe that you are truly dead according to Albert R J Pitre.

If you are still alive you can get back to us as fast as you can OR call me, take note that every thing has been paid,it is just the Security fee that this Albert R J Pitre has agreed to pay for if you refuse to get back to us. Am afraid we shall give him the ATM Card and collect the money from him and he will sign on your behalf and claim your ATM Card that means that he is right that you are dead and you ask him to come and claim the ATM Card on your behalf.I have with me the scan copy of Mr Albert I.D. So fill the Information Below.

Name and Surname:Driver License and Age:House Address:Phone Number and Occupation:

Please take note that you have been given just 48hrs to get back to us so that we can know if you are alive, and fill the Information Below.

We await your swift response in regard of this email we have received from Albert R J Pitre.

CALL ME: +2348086157686

That’s one I haven’t heard before. I especially like the line, “it was issue to you has an ATM-CARD.” I can’t help but having an image of a really cute kitten along with that line. But “has” should have been spelled with a “z.”

Wait…what?? I’m dead?? I guess I’m “ghost-writing” then…

Yesterday was one of those days that just went by without much of anything remarkable happening. It was kind of nice, actually. Work went very well for me, had a good workout last night. Everyone in the family was pretty happy; just an over all “good” day.

Father, I pray for some vision of you today that will make it easier for me to stay focused on the task at hand, that being intercessory prayer. Keep me looking at you today.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 41. This psalm by David begins by proclaiming the Lord’s blessings on the one who is generous.
Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.

The rest of the psalm seems to be about the two-faced nature of David’s “enemies,” who come to his sick bed, utter empty words of encouragement, but then go away hoping that he doesn’t recover. Even one who was his “close friend” is involved (v 9). But David does not lose hope.
By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

There is a principle at work here, though, and that is that the Lord blesses those who are generous to the poor and needy.

My Utmost For His Highest

…that I may know him… Philippians 3:10

Yesterday’s reading was about “the spiritual sluggard,” today is “the spiritual saint.” “The initiative of the saint is not towards self-realization, but towards knowing Jesus Christ.” See, it’s not about us! It’s not about me. I don’t need books or advice to help me figure out myself. I don’t need “self-realization!” All of that is bogus! What I need is to know Christ! That’s all I need. “The spiritual saint never believes circumstances to be haphazard, or thinks of his life as secular and sacred; he sees everything he is dumped down in as the means of securing the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” I love that sentence! My life is not secular here and sacred there! I have believed for a long, long time that the Christian cannot “compartmentalize” his life. But many try to do exactly that. They have their sacred life on Sundays (and any other time that they are engaged in “religious” activity), and their secular life the rest of the time, especially at work. My friends, I tell you this: the work life is every bit as “sacred” (if not more) than the church life! Every piece of my life is a part of my journey to know Christ more. Every piece. There are no random circumstances; there are no coincidences; there are no accidents. While it may look as though I’m approaching life with “a reckless abandonment,” what is really happening is that I am looking at every circumstance as something designed by the Spirit to get me realizing “Jesus Christ in every domain of life.” “Self-realization leads to the enthronement of work.” There’s another problem with “self-realization.” How many people do you know that worship their work? Work is god, work is king. Even churches fall prey to this trap! There must be some kind of work or activity going on, else we are not serving the Lord!
What is the true aim of the “spiritual saint?” See the quoted verse above. “…that I may know him…” My goal is not to realize that something must be done and I must do it. My goal is “to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances” I am in.

Father, I would be counted among those whose goal it is to know Jesus Christ more. That is the goal of my life, the singular goal. All other goals fall below this one. As you work in me, chiseling away at the parts that don’t look like Jesus, I find that this is truly my heart’s desire. As I delight myself in you, you are giving me the desires of my heart, just as the Psalm says. I am finding that the “stuff of earth” is holding less and less sway over me. I rejoice in this. Not that I have “arrived…” Not at all. I’m not even close. But I am getting closer; I can feel it. I pray that my life will be lived in the realization of Christ at every moment; in every circumstance. Let me never think that happenings are random, without reason. Let me look to you through the Holy Spirit in all circumstances, looking for Jesus Christ in them. Let me live life with the reckless abandonment of a “spiritual saint.” I do not have a sacred life and a secular life. I only have one life, and I desire to spend that life glorifying Christ.

I pray for this day. I pray for a good work day for Christi, and that she will continue to feel better. I pray for a good day for Stephanie, that she might find herself feeling well today, and that she would be inspired to spend part of her day reading your word and praying. I pray that I will have another day like yesterday, but keep me ready to respond to any situation that might arise, looking to your Spirit for strength and wisdom.

Today, I ask for your people to be more aware of their need to be praying. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says this: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. The Church needs to be about praying. So I’m asking that the Holy Spirit would inspire more people to pray on a daily basis. We are admonished by Paul in several places to “pray without ceasing.” Father, prayer should be like breathing to us. Keep me praying throughout this day! Remind me at any given moment to pray for something that is needed. You are making an intercessor out of me, Lord. I pray for your inspiration as I enter into this task.

Keep me focused now, as I go into my private prayers.

If you are a “spiritual saint,” make it your life’s goal to know Jesus Christ more.

Grace and peace, friends.