Real Faith or Pseudo Faith?

“For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.”

Today is Saturday, April 13, 2019.

Day 22,311

Thirty-ninth day of Lent (Holy Week begins tomorrow)

Twenty-six days until our Vegas trip!!

Quote of the Day

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.”
Bill Watterson, American cartoonist (Calvin and Hobbes), 1958-

Word of the Day

Tootle ~ to move or proceed in a leisurely way. (

The Texas Rangers couldn’t hold on to a 6-1 lead last night. After Elvis Andrus padded the lead with a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, they promptly gave up four runs in the top of the sixth, and then one more in each of the last three innings, to lose to the Oakland Athletics, 8-6. Chris Martin (not the one from Coldplay) took the loss for the Rangers. The Rangers are 6-7, in fifth place in the AL West. They play the Athletics again tonight at 7:05, in Arlington. If this torrential rain stops in time.

The Boston Red Sox had a nice win over the Baltimore Orioles. The took the lead early, and actually stayed ahead the whole game. Not only did they not have to come from behind to win, it was the first win of the season for any of their starting pitchers. E Rodriguez got the win in their 6-4 victory. Andrew Benintendi got his first home run in the third inning. Ryan Brasier picked up his third save. The Sox are 5-9, in fourth place in the AL East. They play again this afternoon at 12:05 CDT.

As previously mentioned, today is our monthly Night of Worship, so we will be heading over to the host’s home in a few hours. I have to go pick up our grocery list between 12-1 PM, and I think we are shooting for being over at the house by 3:00. The NoW begins at 6:00. Well, people start showing up around then. We usually start singing around 6:30.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Psalm 22:10

Today I am grateful:
1. That I was, as the above verse, cast on God from my birth, and that God has been my God ever since.
2. For the sweet opportunity to gather with the saints tonight and worship together.
3. That God is moving in the midst of our fellowship
4. That God has demonstrated his presence with us
5. That I have grown in real faith

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
Grant us thy peace.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.

Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy upon us).
Christe eleison (Christ, have mercy upon us).
Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy upon us).
(The Book of Common Prayer, The Great Litany)

(From The Root of the Righteous, A.W. Tozer)

Today’s reading is “True Faith Brings Committal.”

“To many Christians Christ is little more than an idea, or at best an ideal; He is not a fact.” A bold statement, indeed. But it is true that “our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.” If we do not “walk the talk,” we are, in effect, frauds.

But this goes deeper than a cute, cliche, phrase. How do we prove our faith? By our committal to it. There is no other way. Our belief must command our actions. If it does not, it is only what Tozer calls “pseudo-belief.”

We have become quite skilled in arranging our lives “so that we can get on well enough without divine aid, while at the same time ostensibly seeking it. We boast in the Lord but watch carefully that we never get caught depending on Him.”


This is probably possible more in the USA than in any other culture in the world. Christians in countries like India, China, or North Korea do not have this luxury. In Francis Chan’s book, Letters To the Church, he speaks of Asian Christians who literally laughed at him when he described some of the goings on in the American church. Sadly, we have the luxury, over here, of pretending to live in faith when nothing actually challenges that faith.

But for true, real faith, “it is either God or collapse. And not since Adam first stood up on the earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted Him.” Make note of that fact. God is trustworthy. He will not fail us. So why do we live as though we are afraid he will??

Please understand, I have been guilty of this, myself. I have claimed the faith in Christ while living a life that did not demonstrate any dependence on that faith. I am working to remedy this.

Says, Tozer, “What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.”

May we invite God to remove our false trusts and secret hiding places. May he “bring us out into the open where we can discover for ourselves whether or not we actually trust Him.”

Father, do I trust you? Do I really? Or am I guilty of “pseudo faith?” I believe the events of the past few weeks have opened up pathways of real faith, real trust. I am quite grateful for those events, even through the pain that they caused. You have shown us, recently, that you are there. You are always there for us. And we desire to be there for you. Show us the path, Lord. Make us to know your ways, that we might serve you faithfully and truly.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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.

Grace and peace, friends.

Just As I Am

“God loves me just as I am, not as I should be. I know that I am not as I should be. I know there is a lot of sin that still needs to be rooted out of me. But I know that God is not finished with me yet. I know that I am loved.”

Today is Sunday, March 31, 2019. Last day of March.

Day 22,298

Twenty-sixth day of Lent

Thirty-nine days until our Vegas trip.

Quote of the Day

“From now on, I’ll connect the dots my own way.”
Bill Watterson, American cartoonist, 1958-

Word of the Day

Velutinous ~ having a soft, velvety surface, as certain plants. (

C had a good time at the ladies’ gathering yesterday. She didn’t get home until almost 8:00 PM. My day was okay, but I wasn’t feeling great for most of it. I’m better this morning, though, so that’s good.

C is having to go to work, this morning, which is sad. But, as I think I mentioned, they have a big rollout this weekend, so she has to go in and support that this morning. She said that everything has been going real smoothly, so maybe she’ll be done by lunchtime.

The Rangers came back to get their first win, last night, beating the Cubs 8-6. They scored two in the seventh and three in the eighth, and then held on in the ninth to win the game. Shawn Kelley got the win for the Rangers, and Jose Leclerc got a save. Carl Edwards took the loss for the Cubs. Yu Darvish only lasted 2.2 innings, giving up seven walks! The Rangers play the Cubs again today at 3:05 CDT. The Rangers are 1-1, and jumped from last place to second place.

The Red Sox scored three runs in the top of the ninth again, but it wasn’t enough this time. They lost 6-5. Eduardo Rodriguez took the loss, and Mike Leake got the win for the Mariners. The Sox are 1-2, and in last place in the AL East. The Sox play the Mariners again today at 3:10.

Kansas City is the only undefeated team in the AL. The Mets, Phillies, and Reds are undefeated in the NL.

I’m getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange Church, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street in Fort Worth, Texas. Our worship gathering begins at 10:15 AM.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18:31

Today I am grateful:
1. To have another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ
2. That C had a good experience, yesterday, at the ladies’ gathering
3. For another day to try to live in the joy of the Lord
4. That Jesus Christ took on himself the punishment for my sin
5. That I am loved

Behold now, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
you that stand by night in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the LORD;
the LORD who made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.
(The Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 134)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Just As I Am, Weakness and All,” by James Bryan Smith.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
1 Timothy 1:15

This is one of those that, for the sake of its beauty, I will quote in its entirety.

“One of the hardest steps for me was to admit my weaknesses and failures. I had tried to cover them up, excuse them, and rationalize them. But each time I found myself baring my soul to God, I received not judgment but mercy.
“God’s love for me has radically reshaped my identity. I no longer need to defend myself, make resolutions to do better, or show God that I have atoned for my sins. God is slowly making me bold.
“During the period in which I felt so alienated from God, I prayed, ‘Lord, why did you call me into ministry? I am not worthy.’ God’s voice seemed to remind me, ‘Jim, I have never used anyone but sinners to share my good news. The message is not about you, it is about me.’
“God loves me just as I am, not as I should be. I know that I am not as I should be. I know there is a lot of sin that still needs to be rooted out of me. But I know that God is not finished with me yet. I know that I am loved.”

I am stunned by this reading this morning. Stunned because it hits me right where I am. And because it is such a picture-perfect representation of what God has been showing me over the past decade or so. Sadly, I am a slow learner. I keep drifting back into that “punishment” state of mind, thinking that God is always angry with me because of my sin. But he is not. He might be sad when I sin, the Holy Spirit might be grieved. But Jesus Christ took on the punishment for all of my sin. All of it! There is, therefore, now, no condemnation!!




Father, I am almost speechless in gratitude, this morning. There are tears in my eyes as I type this. Thank you for showing mercy instead of judgment. Thank you for initiating the forgiveness process. May I be faithful to extend the same love and mercy to others, just as you have shown us.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17

Grace and peace, friends.

God’s Mercy Chases Me

Today is Thursday (almost there), June 21, 2018. Day 22,015.

Today is the longest day of the year. Summer began at 5:07 this morning.

Thirteen days until July 4!

146 days until Fallout 76!

“Talking with you is sort of the conversational equivalent of an out of body experience.” ~ Bill Watterson, from Calvin and Hobbes, no doubt someone’s comment to Calvin. The Quotations Page

The word for today is summerize (no, I did not misspell “summarize”), “to prepare (a house, car, etc.) so as to counteract the hot weather of summer.” Also, “to protect in hot weather for future use.”

As noted, today is the first day of summer. The high for today, though, is “only” projected to be 99, here. It is supposed to reach 103 tomorrow. I’ve lived in Texas sixty-plus years, and I still loathe Texas summers. Summer is by far my least favorite season. What is my favorite season? Why thank you for asking! It is Fall, or Autumn, depending on what you prefer to call it.

The Red Sox dropped another game to the Twins, last night, 4-1, and dropped another game in the standings. With a 49-26 record, they are now two games behind the Yankees.

The Rangers won their fifth consecutive game, beating the Royals 3-2. Their record is now 32-44, but they remain eighteen games back, as the red hot Astros became the first team to win 50 games. The ‘Stros also passed the Red Sox in the overall MLB standings.

The Orioles remain the worst in baseball, but just by a skosh. The Royals are barely ahead of them.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me! 
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me. 
I am gone like a shadow at evening; I am shaken off like a locust. 
My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt, with no fat. 
I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they wag their heads. 
Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! 
Let them know that this is your hand; you, O LORD, have done it! 
Let them curse, but you will bless! They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad! 
May my accusers be clothed with dishonor; may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak! 
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. 
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Psalm 109:21-31

I believe this to be mostly a prayer of vindication. Far better, I think, to pray for God to vindicate me than to try to do it myself. Not that I am in need of vindication, at the moment, but there have been times in my life when someone above me, at work, didn’t believe I did enough. The problem is, they were either not aware of what I was doing, or it was not measurable, because it didn’t produce any statistics. When I pray to God to vindicate me, he takes care of me; I don’t have to worry about trying to defend myself. and because of that (and many other reasons), “With my mouth I will give threat thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.”

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. 
I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah. 
Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. 
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:5-8

A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23

The word in verse 6, that is translated “mercy,” is, I believe, chesed. This is a well-used Hebrew word in the Old Testament, often translated as “kindness” or “lovingkindness.” Here, it is translated, as most often, “mercy.” I have also read that the word “follow” might be better rendered as “pursue.” In fact, Eugene Peterson writes it this way:

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life. (Emphasis added)

So ponder this, today. The undying chesed, or mercy, of God doesn’t just follow after you. It chases you.

Perhaps we should not try to outrun his mercy.

Father, Psalm 23 gives me so much comfort. I confess that I have not meditated on this Psalm much, lately. I do need to get back to that. I am eternally grateful that your mercy follows, pursues, chases after me. Help me to not run from it. May I walk with you, in Christ, by the Spirit, in your kingdom, faithfully walking and working in the easy yoke of Jesus.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Good News About Ourselves

Today is Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Day 21,664.

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.” ~ Bill Watterson, who turns 59 today.

Bonus quote: “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” ~ Mitch Hedberg
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is gobsmacked, a mostly British adjective, meaning, “utterly astounded; astonished.”

Today is Bikini Day. Don’t blame me, it’s the only choice they gave me. It’s the anniversary of the invention of the bikini, in 1946, by a Parisian fashion designer, named Louis Reard.

Yesterday was mostly a nice day. I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up about 5 things that we forgot about when we sent our order to Instacart, then picked up Sonic drinks, followed by Taco Bell for lunch. Earlier that morning, C had thrown some ingredients in the crock pot for a cheeseburger soup, which we had for dinner. It was okay, but not great. The fire-roasted tomatoes that were called for in the recipe seemed to have a sweet taste to them, and none of us really cared for that. That, along with the fact that you have to brown the ground beef before putting it in the crock pot probably make this a non-repeater, as we typically have crock pot dinners on work days.

I played Fallout: New Vegas for most of the afternoon (my reward for going to the store and getting lunch), and we watched some TV while we ate dinner. Then the fun came. It wasn’t actually as difficult to get to sleep as we thought. However staying asleep was a different story, altogether, as someone in the neighborhood thought it would be fun to toss firecrackers around, at intervals of at least thirty minutes, up until around 2:30 AM. I mean, seriously, it was as if they had some kind of monitor to tell when we had just fallen back asleep. And it was always just two or three, not a lot of them. They finally stopped, though, but sleep was restless, pretty much the rest of the night. I’m not angry (as I’m sure some people are), but feel that people who do these kinds of things (along with people who perpetrate road rage) are seriously deranged and need some time in a mental institution.

Tonight is bowling night, but the team we are supposed to bowl against will not be there. They bowled their games last Wednesday, after our normal league time was over. The good thing about that is that we should get through early tonight.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! 
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

Psalm 98:5-6
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139:17-18
The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.”
Psalm 132:11
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 
She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 11:25-27

(From Living the Message)

One of the ways that the gospel is “good news” is that it is “good news about ourselves.” This reality within us is just as important as any world news that we might take in every day. Even if world peace existed, and all economies were fair and stable, we would still have to deal with the reality of ourselves.

It doesn’t matter how nice my house is, how well-educated I am, or how secure I feel within my job or family. It doesn’t matter how competent and happy I appear. If I am “filled with anxieties and guilt and hopelessness,” I can’t make it. If I cannot escape the conviction that my life has no meaning, it’s bad news. We all need “a sense of integrity and purpose. We need to count, to mean something, to be important to somebody, to make a difference.”

It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20b (The Message)

Father, help us to see the good news about ourselves in the Gospel. The good news that we don’t have to try to impress anyone, any more, not even you! Christ is in us, and we need to strive to live the kind of life that Christ would live if he were us.
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.

Managing Infinity

Today is Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Tuesday of Holy Week. Five more days until Easter.

Quote of the Day

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” ~ Bill Watterson

Word of the Day

Rampike ~ Chiefly Canadian. a dead tree, especially the bleached skeleton or splintered trunk of a tree killed by fire, lightning, or wind.

Today is Library Workers Day. I’ve always wanted to be a “library worker.” When I was unemployed for three months back in ’10, I began the enrollment process for the Masters of Library Science at TWU in Denton. Then I got a job, so I stopped it. Sometimes, I wish I had kept going. If you have a chance, thank a librarian or library volunteer today.

The Rangers had the day off, yesterday, and will play the Angels tonight at 9:05 PM, CDT. The Red Sox lost a close game to the Tigers, 2-1, which also lost the series 3-1. The Sox are now 3-3 on the season, in third place in the AL East.

As we move through Holy Week toward Easter, I’m reminded that this is also the period of time that my father was in the hospital between the time he fell and the time he passed. It’s bittersweet that Easter is falling in the middle of that time, this year. I guess the celebration of the resurrection should give us hope and comfort as we consider how much we still miss him. Some friends of ours lost a grandmother a couple days ago. Others that we know have suffered loss, recently, as well. Give your loved ones a hug today, if you can. Make sure they know how much you love them. In fact, in the whole realm of “love your neighbor as yourself,” the people you live with should come first as your “neighbors.” Think about that for a while.


God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!

Psalm 47:5-8
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Psalm 119:147
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1
For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered.
Psalm 92:9
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD. 
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. 
  Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!

Psalm 36:5-10

(From Living the Message)

When we first realize that there is such a thing as infinity, one of the first things that comes to mind is that, “if there is such a thing as infinity, I am not it. I am finite. If there is God then there is no room for me as god.”

This is a difficult realization for most of us. And our response is usually one of two things. One is that we back off, retreat from infinity. We step back into the “spiritual sovereignty of self.” We work on improving, cultivating the self. My world. All mine, and nothing matters but me.

The other response is an attempt to skirt around the entry point of infinity and try to control “the spirituality of infinity.” We figure that this spirituality of infinity needs management. We get practical, almost entrepreneurial.

In truth, many of us, in our attempts to manage and understand infinity, practice a bit of both of those. But we need to return to “Square One,” as Eugene Peterson calls it. “The place of wonder, the realization of infinity, the worship of God.” We need to cultivate humility in order to do battle with these two responses. “Learning to be just ourselves, keeping close to the ground, practicing the human, getting our fingers in the humus, the rich, loamy, garden dirt out of which we have been fashioned.

“And then listen.”

The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. 
Romans 12:3B (The Message)

Father, teach me this humility (am I insane, asking for this?). Teach me how to not be narcissistic, or to try manage this thing called infinity. You are God, I am not. You are in control of infinity, I cannot possibly be. Help me to stop trying. And help me to obey the first part of Romans 12:3, that I not think more highly of myself than I ought.
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.

I Am Not My Own

Today is Sunday, September 4, 2016. 40 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“From now on, I’ll connect the dots my own way.” – Bill Watterson

Word of the Day

Abeyance – temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension.

Today is Newspaper Carrier Day. Talk about your dying occupations! There’s at least one around here who has a job only because they keep throwing free stuff in our driveway once a week. On Wednesday, we get a Keller newspaper that we never asked for (and we don’t live in Keller), and on Saturday, we get all the flyers from the Sunday paper. We also never asked for those. They all go straight into the recycle bin. Unless it rains a lot before we pick them up.

The Rangers trounced the Astros, last night, 12-4, increasing their lead over the second place team to 10-5 games. They also increased their winning streak to seven, and their last ten record to 9-1. Could they win 100 games this season? The way they’re playing right now, it’s entirely possible. The Red Sox also soundly defeated the Athletics again, 11-2. The Boo Jays lost to the O’s, so the Sox and Jays are once again tied for first place, with the O’s only two games behind.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, in the U.S., so we have the day off from work. We don’t have a lot of plans, other than having steaks and mashed potatoes for lunch. R & J won’t be coming over, because R needs to stay in and get some rest. Perfectly understandable, as she is probably working more, right now, than she ever has.

We will be picking up my mother on Tuesday night and bringing her back home with us, so she can get her second cataract surgery done Wednesday morning. The office where the procedure is done is in Fort Worth, so we decided it would be easier if she just spent a few days with us. I’ll take her to the office Wednesday morning, taking PTO for the day, and C will take her Thursday for her follow-up visit. Then we’ll either take her home Friday night or Saturday.

We are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 North Beach Street in Fort Worth, TX.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.
Psalm 108:10-13

Edom became a symbol for an impenetrable defense. Transferred to the life of faith, Edom is a symbol for the forces of sin, “forces before which we are powerless, but which are conquered routinely by God in Christ.”

“I thank you, O God for delivering me from a way of life bound by impossibilities into one that burgeons with opportunities. I will no longer live timidly and cautiously, inhibited by the enemy, but confidently and valiantly, believing in a victorious Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)


I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. John 17:6

The point when we have reached the greatest maturity is when we can say (and truly mean), “I am not my own.” We must realize that our lives are based, not on what God has done for us, but on whose we are. When we have truly reached the point where we can say that, we will be of great use to God. “Our Lord never sent any of the disciples out on the ground of what He had done for them.” Our message is not, “Come and see what the Lord has done for me.” Our message is the same as the message of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is at hand.

We must constantly check our relationships. If we belong more to our mothers, fathers, spouses, brothers, sisters, or even friends, than we to to the Lord, we cannot be his disciples. “Our Lord makes a disciple His own possession, He becomes responsible for him.” The secret of the missionary is, “I am His and He is carrying out His enterprises through me.”

Father, I confess that I have not yet reached this place. I sense progress, yes. But there are still times when I find myself asserting my own rights instead of submitting to yours. In your kingdom, I have no rights of my own. I must surrender those so-called rights to you. Only then will I be able to truly love others as you love them and see them as better than myself. Teach me the ways of Christ, Father, that I might walk as he walked, and step into his easy yoke. May your kingdom come in my life!

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.

As the Ruin Falls

“Only when we will to live in Christ do our actions become his. I am not speaking here of human willpower but of radical reliance on the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to transcend egoism, moodiness, and laziness.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 5, 2014.

Today is Hop A Park Day. Not to be misconstrued as “Hop Over A Park Day,” this day is simply intended to encourage people to get out and visit a local park.

Yesterday was a pretty nice day. After I finished blogging, we went to the Main Street Cafe in Keller for a late breakfast. After breakfast, we went on up to far north Keller to take Stephanie to Megan’s dad’s house, where she would spend the rest of the day and last night. Then, for an unexpected treat, Christi and I decided to go to Grapevine, to Nails Spa, to get a pedicure. Let me tell you, if you’ve never had a pedicure, at least one like these people give, you don’t know what you’re missing. Hot oils, massages, hot stones, different fragrances (mine was the “Thai Coconut deluxe pedicure), and oh, so relaxing. Except for those few times when they hit a ticklish spot. They even scrape all that dead skin off your heels. Oh, and somewhere, during all of that, they clip your toenails. They’ll paint them, too, if you want. I’m not quite bold enough to try that, yet.

After we got home from Grapevine, Christi went back to her mom’s apartment and finished the last of the unpacking and hung stuff up on the walls. I played baseball on the X-Box. Then we had pizza from PapaJohn’s, watched some TV, pausing every time big booms of fireworks went off, because Tessie went nuts. Poor thing. She hates July 4th. 🙂 Over all, it was a very nice day, pretty much exactly what I was hoping for.

Today, it’s grocery shopping, and then church this evening. That will be a bit on the different side, as a lot of key people are out of town today. We are going to have a time of worship and prayer, with no preaching (because the pastor is one of those aforementioned “key people”), and I’ll be leading the prayer times. I’m also leading the Lord’s Supper, and have to make the coffee as well. Going to be a busy afternoon. However, I may not make a full pot of coffee, because I don’t think there are going to be very many people there. We know of quite a few that will not be there.

Tomorrow, as previously mentioned, we will be going to Mineral Wells to visit my parents, since we never got to see them around Father’s Day.

The Texas Rangers lost their sixth consecutive game last night. The Red Sox got postponed by a hurricane. Or tropical storm. Some guy named “Arthur.” They will play a double-header today, beginning at 13:05 Eastern time. This has been a dreadful season, so far. Unless you’re an Oakland fan. I don’t know any Oakland fans. I don’t think there are even any in Oakland. Their fans rank just above Tampa’s.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1921 that the a trial began, with jury selection, against eight Major League Baseball players who were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series. These players were on the Chicago White Sox, who had played the Cincinnati Reds during the 1919 World Series. Among those charged was one of the most famous baseball players of that era, Shoeless Joe Jackson. It was the discontent of the players, due to being underpaid by White Sox owner Charles Comisky, that fueled the scandal. Gamblers offered money (although not a huge amount) to individual players, asking them to lose games intentionally. However, the gamblers did not pay the players, which resulted in open complaints by the players, which, in turn, led to the publicizing of the whole scandal.

Owners eventually hired Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as their commissioner, who, subsequently, barred all eight players from every playing again. This decision was unfair to Buck Weaver, who refused to take any of the money, and was banned because he didn’t turn in the rest of the players. And even though he did take some money, there is no evidence that Shoeless Joe ever played less than he was capable of. In fact, he had the highest batting average of either team during that World Series.

A book and movie have been released about this scandal, called Eight Men Out.

As for the “Say it ain’t so, Joe” quote, it probably never happened. Here are the words of Joe, himself: “I guess the biggest joke of all was that story that got out about “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” Charley Owens of the Chicago Daily News was responsible for that, but there wasn’t a bit of truth in it. It was supposed to have happened the day I was arrested in September of 1920, when I came out of the courtroom. There weren’t any words passed between anybody except me and a deputy sheriff. When I came out of the building this deputy asked me where I was going, and I told him to the Southside. He asked me for a ride and we got in the car together and left. There was a big crowd hanging around the front of the building, but nobody else said anything to me. It just didn’t happen, that’s all. Charley Owens just made up a good story and wrote it. Oh, I would have said it ain’t so, all right, just like I’m saying it now.” (Source: Wikiquote)

Today’s birthdays include Huey Lewis, Judge Joe Brown, Bill Watterson, Marc Cohn, Mary Walcott, Phineas Taylor Barnum, Richard “Goose” Gossage, Jimmy Crespo, and Jason Wade.

There are several worthy of note. Bill Watterson is the creator of the beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. He is 56 today, same age as me!
Calvin and Hobbes

Marc Cohn is a singer songwriter who wrote this great song, “Walking in Memphis,” released way back in 1991. He is 55 today.

Finally, Jason Wade is the lead singer of the group Lifehouse. Here is their video of the hit song “You and Me.”


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Psalm 96:7-10
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:1-3
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
Psalm 31:5
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 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.”
Isaiah 43:1b-2
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
Psalm 84:2-3

“Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and
sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that I, putting away all
earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of public worship, and
grant as well that my Sabbath upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest
promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Contact Through Faith.”

Do you remember the story from Mark 5 of the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years? By touching merely the hem of the robe of Jesus, she was healed. Instantly, Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” (Mark 5:30) Peter, in essence, said, “You’re kidding, right? There are hundreds of people around you, and you want to know who touched you??” (My paraphrase) But then Jesus explained: “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” (Only Luke recorded this part, 8:46) “Among all those in physical contact with Jesus at that moment, this woman’s touch was accompanied by faith–faith sufficient to unleash the divine power in the Master.”

We, in the current age, have been made one with Christ in baptism. Our contact is much closer, more intimate. We have the ability to “transform even our most mundane experiences into those of Christ.” But we, like the woman in the Gospels, must “activate that contact through faith.” As this gets a little deeper, we see that we must will this faith; we must will this transformation. “Only when we will to live in Christ do our actions become his. I am not speaking here of human willpower but of radical reliance on the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to transcend egoism, moodiness, and laziness.” Ouch?

I love how the writings of Brennan Manning alternate between loving and encouraging, and challenging and admonishing. One day, I will be enjoying the loving grace of Jesus, and the next, writhing in agony as if I were just punched in the gut. Yes, I’m moody, lazy, and egotistical. I’m so much like the C.S. Lewis poem. You know the one, right? “As the Ruin Falls.”

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

I wish I could communicate the emotion that I feel when I read and listen to this beautiful poem/song. But I cannot. I can only hope that you can get a sense of it yourself. I must will the transformation, but even that will comes from that “radical reliance” on the Spirit. Lately, I haven’t been doing real great at that. I pray that it will be better.

The aim of our charge is love
that issues from a pure heart and
a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

Father, I pray for more will. I pray for more of that radical reliance on your Spirit, that I might will to live in Christ. Again, I pray for the ability to see with his eyes, hear with his ears, and feel with his heart. Let that be a reality in my life. Most days, I do pretty good, for a few minutes. Then I get in traffic, or I get to work, or someone aggravates me on Facebook. In truth, I’m too predictable. Father, make me unpredictable!

I pray for the remainder of this day. Christi is out, again, doing things for her mother. I pray that is going smoothly. I pray for our worship time, which will happen in a few hours. I pray that, for those who attend, it will be a time of intimate communion with you through songs and prayer, as well as the participation in The Supper.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we all have the grace to will ourselves out of our egoism, laziness, and moodiness, that we might live in Christ.
As the ruin falls
Grace and peace, friends.