God Is There

Good morning. Today is Saturday, June 8 (I keep forgetting what day it is, and have to hover my mouse over the clock at the bottom of my screen), 2013. Sigh. A well-needed Saturday, too. This week has seemed like a long one, probably because last week was only four days because of the Memorial Day holiday.

Only ten more work days on this wretched account that I work on. Yesterday, our client sent us more freight than I have ever seen in the history of this account. I just talked to the guy who works nights, while ago, and it actually turned out better than I was expecting. That’s helping me rest a little easier over the weekend. No new developments yet.

We’re going to cook a brisket tomorrow (or maybe tonight). Why? Because we want to. What more reason do you need? We got a recipe last week for one that we had last Sunday at a friend’s house, and it was legen . . . wait for it . . . dary!

Today, the bass player in our worship band is coming over to work on music with me. It seems he is leading worship tomorrow, and he’s nervous about that. I know this guy. He’ll do fine. But I’m there for him; I got your back, Terry!! 😀


Today is (oh, my gosh, I didn’t have a donut yesterday!!) Best Friends Day. I’m married to mine.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

Louis-Charles, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, was imprisoned with his parents in 1792, in the Temple, “a 12th century fortified monastery so named because it once housed the Templar order.” He technically became King of France, Louis XVII, after his father was executed in January of 1793. Shortly after that, he was “put in the charge of a rabidly republican cobber named Antoine Simon, who treated him with the brutality and contempt that revolutionaries reserve for royalty.” Three months after that, his mother was executed at the guillotine, and the young dauphin was, once again, imprisoned in the Temple. “The only poetic justice in the story is that Simon perished on the guillotine shortly thereafter, executed in the same group of victims as the Terror’s main terrorist, Maximilien Robespierre.” Loius-Charles was kept in solitary confinement in a cell that was never cleaned and doubled as a toilet. He died on this date in 1795, at the age of ten. Yes. I said “ten.” What an absolutely dreadful story. “Modern scholars believe he died of tuberculosis.” Of course there are rumors. Some said that he was poisoned by his jailers, while others say that he never died but was somehow rescued from the Temple. In the years that followed, there were many who pretended to be “the Dauphin, most famously and fictitiously in Mark Twain’s great novel Huckleberry Finn.”


Today’s birthday is, of course, Chuck Negron, born on this date in 1942. It is hard to believe that one of the lead singers of Three Dog Night is 71 years old today. Three Dog Night was one of my very favorite rock groups in the late sixties and early seventies. I share this love of them with my wife, as they are her favorite group, as well (okay, they may be tied with Steve Perry and Journey). Chuck is our favorite of the three “dogs,” even though he no longer is affiliated with the group, after some really rough times in his life. Three Dog Night still tours without Chuck, and he occasionally tours on his own. We say him a few years ago at one of the “Hippiefest” events that rolled through town. Happy birthday, Chuck! Here is a You Tube clip of their hit song, “One.”

Honorable mentions go to Robert Schumann, 1810, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867, John W Campbell, 1910, Robert Preston, 1918, Jerry Stiller, 1927, Nancy Sinatra, 1940, Scott Adams, 1957, Derek Trucks, 1979, and Alex Band, 1981.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah. Psalm 84:8
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

Father, I pray that you teach me something during my time with you this morning. Give me the grace to live this day, and to accomplish whatever needs to be accomplished in your plan for my life.


In Touch Magazine reminds me, today, that I am always in the line of God’s vision.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

The example is given of a three-year-old girl who suddenly realizes that she cannot see her daddy anywhere. She begins to panic. What she doesn’t realize is that he is in the next room, and has been able to see her all along. He never lost sight of her. When our eyes are distracted from looking at our Father, when they become focused on “the hills,” which are a constant source of treat and trouble, we need to remember that our Father’s eyes are always on us. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:4).


In the same light, Tabletalk Magazine gives us reasons not to fear. We may fear that God does not always see us. We may fear that the worst case scenario is going to fall up on us. But God has words of comfort for us in Isaiah 43. In verse 1, God says, Fear not, for I have redeemed you. This word “redeemed” means (in a rather simplistic way) “purchased.” God has purchased us with the sacrifice of his Son. This redemption, this purchase, comes to us through his call. But it is not just a general call. See the reset of verse 1. I have called you by name, you are mine. I belong to God, body and soul. He has purchased me; he has called me by name. So even if that worst case scenario does happen, I belong to him, so I have nothing to fear.

But there’s more. In verse 5, God says, Fear not, for I am with you. In fact, there are promises in verse 2 that go along with this thought. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. “When the worst comes upon us and we feel exposed, alone, and ashamed, we hear God reminding us that He is with us in our affliction.” What more comfort do we need than these words, “Fear not, for I am with you?”


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Seeking False Guidance.” The scripture reading is 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, which chronicles the tragic circumstances of King Saul.

So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance.
1Ch 10:14 He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

How often are we tempted to look elsewhere if God doesn’t answer our prayer for guidance right away? “Even Christians sometimes fall into such superstitions practices as ‘Bible roulette,’ in which one opens the Bible at random and looks for guidance in the first verse the finger falls on.” Many of us are familiar with the humorous joke in which the man is asking for guidance and does this. His finger falls on Matthew 27:5, which says of Judas Iscariot, And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. Feeling certain that this was surely not his course of action, he tries again. This time his finger lands on Luke 10:37, in which Jesus says, “You go, and do likewise.” Desperate for one last try, he closes his Bible and does it again, landing on John 13:27, in which Jesus says, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” It’s a funny story, but it also shows the error of trying to make decisions in this way. In truth, it’s not much different than Saul consulting a medium to try to solve his problems. When we are desperate for guidance, there is no other proper course than to pray to our Father, and then be patient as he gives us our answer, even if it takes weeks. Or years.

Lord, your way is perfect: Help us always to trust in your goodness, so that, walking with you and following you in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and may cast all our care on you, for you care for us. Grant this, Lord, for your dear Son’s sake, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Father, I pray that the thoughts presented in my devotional today will stay at the front of my mind throughout, not only this weekend, but the rest of my life. You always have your eyes on me, I am always in your line of sight, even when my eyes get taken off of you by some distraction. You have purchased me, you have redeemed me, you have called me, and you are always with me, even when things get tough. May I remember this, by the power of your Spirit, each day, especially during these stressful times at my work, when I fall into the temptation of thinking you aren’t there. That’s silly. Of course, you are there, and I praise you for this. When I have decisions to make, may I always seek your Spirit, and nothing else. Speak to me through your word, through your Spirit, and through others, if necessary, and give me the ears to hear and eyes to see your truth and your guidance.

I pray for this day, as Christi and I go out to do our weekly chores. Keep us safe as we travel around. I pray for the practice session this afternoon, that Terry and I will have a productive time, as well as some fun. I pray for our worship celebration tomorrow, that you will be glorified and praised, above all else. It’s not a concert; it’s not a production; it’s not about visual response. May we and our other leaders always know and recognize this.


Rest assured of the truths in this devotional today. God can always see us; God has purchased us; and God is always with us. I can think of nothing else that I need to get through each day.

Grace and peace, friends.

Knowing

Good morning. It’s Friday, June 8, 2012. One day closer to whatever’s next. Today is “Best Friends Day.” Who’s your best friend? Mine is my wonderful, amazing wife. Been my best friend for going on 28 years. i guess she truly is my “BFF.”
On this date in 1984, the movie Ghostbusters was released. “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!” “This chick is TOAST!” On this date in 1969, Brian Jones and The Rolling Stones parted ways, as Jones had allegedly become so dependent on drugs and alcohol that he was virtually non-functioning.

Yesterday, we had an almost perfect day. Christi, Stephanie, Scottie (Stephanie’s boyfriend), and I went to Six Flags Over Texas. In spite of a 60% chance of rain for the day, we saw very few raindrops while we were there. The sky was overcast and the temperature was very mild, making it a wonderful day to be at Six Flags. In addition, there was hardly anyone in the park. And, thanks to our weight loss over the last five months, we were able to successfully ride most rides. The new Texas Giant is amazing, by the way, with turns that are, literally, completely sideways. Christi and I rode in the back car the first time (yes, we rode it twice), and I thought I was going to come out of my seat on the first drop. And several times after that… I swear I was a foot off my seat several times. The biggest test was the Titan. They have this block that they use to test if the bar is far enough down. I passed the test, and was able to ride the Titan, as well. It was truly a wonderful day.
Back to work for me, this morning, and Christi has one more day off before she heads back to work for Supermedia on Monday morning.


Father, I pray for some vision of you this morning, as I read your words. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.


Today, I’m reading Psalms 8, 38, 68, 98, and 128.

Have you ever wondered why God even bothers with us? I think that is the sentiment being expressed in Psalm 8:3-4. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet, he has crowned us with glory and honor!


My Utmost For His Highest

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:7

Chambers begins this reading by saying, “Determine to know more than others.” I’ve felt that way for years. I’m always wanting to know more. Of course, the catch is, if you know, there is responsibility attached. “Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open.” We are not to spend all our time tied to the dock. We must get out into “the great deeps of God” and begin to know for ourselves.
If I know I should do something, and then do it, right away, I know more. “Revise where you have become stodgy spiritually, and you will find it goes back to a point where there was something you knew you should do, but you did not do it because there seemed no immediate call to, and now you have no perception, no discernment; at a time of crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-possessed. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to go on knowing.” I have experienced this, first-hand.
There is a sort of counterfeit to this, though, of which we must be careful. That is a state of mind wherein we sacrifice ourselves as a substitute for discernment. “It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfill your spiritual destiny. It is better to fulfill God’s purpose by discernment than it is to “perform great acts of self-sacrifice.” And this: “Beware of harking back to what you were once when God wants you to be something you have never been.” Yes. I believe that is where I am right now. I’m too busy looking back at what I used to do…it’s very possible that God wants something else out of me now.


Father, first of all, I want to thank you and praise you for the wonderful day we had yesterday. We could not have asked for a more perfect day, I don’t think. We all had a marvelous time, and the weather was amazing. We thank you for this, Lord!
Today, I pray for this knowledge. I pray that I would have this discernment that is spoken of, this knowing, that I might be what you want me to be right now. If this means I need to forget about what I once was, then so be it. However, I still know that you have given me a talent that I need to be using for you. And this is where I seem to be failing. Help me to gather myself and apply motivation. I pray for the Spirit to drive me to do what you want me to do. But again, I pray for discernment that I might fully know what that is.

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray for a smooth day at my job, and I pray that Christi will have a nice, relaxing day at home today. I pray that she and Steph will have a nice time together today.

I lift up a special prayer for Kayla, Lord, and for her mother. Things are not looking good at all for Kayla’s mom. I pray for hope; I pray for peace; I pray for comfort. I pray for healing for her mother. I’m not sure if they ever found out what is wrong.

Your grace is sufficient.


Increase knowledge, but know that with it comes responsibility. As soon as we know and don’t do, we stop knowing.

Grace and peace, friends.