He Will Finish What He Started

Today is Friday, November 29, 2019. Peace be with you!

Day 22,541

26 days until Christmas! (You knew that was coming, right?)

Yesterday was a most wonderful day. We had an awesome lunch that C mostly prepared, with a little help from Mama. I stirred a pot for a few minutes. Does that count? R & J brought a pumpkin pie and a couple of peanut butter pies, one of which they left with us. We had turkey (also provided by R & J, as they got a free one from Albertson’s), ham, mashed potatoes, dressing (not “stuffing,” because it was not “stuffed”), corn casserole, green bean casserole, rolls . . . I think that’s all. The only thing missing was the cranberry sauce, which I forgot about until this very minute. Oh, well. It was so good.

Today, C’s niece will be coming over around noon, I believe. We will continue our Thanksgiving celebration with them, and, hopefully, eat up most of the leftovers. There will probably be turkey and ham for another week, but the other things should mostly be gone after today. That’s okay, though, because I love to snack on cold turkey (no pun intended) and ham.

Today is Buy Nothing Day. I’m actually quite fond of that concept. “Black Friday,” in my opinion, is a blight on our society. Too many viral videos of shameless people beating on each other in mob fashion, just so they can get an Elmo doll, or some other ridiculous thing. Besides that, most stores have already had Black Friday prices going on for a week or so. In the spirit of full disclosure, however, I will confess that I have bought several items this morning. All from the comfort of my study chair. But they were, more or less, necessities. First, I bought some printer cartridges, because my black ink cartridge appears to be completely empty. Then I bought some iPhone lightning cables, because C’s car charger has quit working.

Today is also Chocolates Day. That should be a national Federal holiday, in my opinion. I love pretty much anything chocolate, and I am obviously not alone.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 105.4

Today I am grateful:
1. That I don’t “celebrate” Black Friday.
2. For family and the wonderful time we had together, yesterday.
3. For the rain we are getting today.
4. For the atonement for sin.
5. That he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion (Philippians 1.6)!

“O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.”
(Agnus Dei)
O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Psalm 69.5
When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.
Psalm 65.3
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 
but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 
So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 
And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 
He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 
But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

Matthew 13.24-30
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 
For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 
Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90.8-12

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours)

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1.6

These are such great comforting and encouraging words! To know that the work that has been begun in me will be completed, gives me that pervasive sense of well-being that Dallas Willard calls “joy.” I’m not perfect. I’m not even close. In fact, sometimes, it seems that there has been little to no progress in my spiritual development. Nevertheless, I have this encouragement from Paul. I know he was writing to the Church in Philippi. But why would this not be applicable to me, as well?

Jesus began a good work in me before the foundations of the earth! Before I was born, before my parents were born, before any of my ancestors were born, Jesus Christ began a good work in me. And he will finish that good work! I believe this with all my heart, and that is what keeps me going.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3.18

We are being transformed, all of us who call the name of and follow Jesus. Gradually, from “one degree of glory to another,” we are being changed into the perfect image of the Lord. We are being sanctified by him who called us out of darkness into life.

So take heart, today. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, even if you have stumbled and fallen horribly, Jesus Christ is working in your life to transform you into his perfect image. He started it, he will finish it.

Father, I thank you for this truth, today, this encouragement. In your time, you will perfect all things. Please give me patience as I wait for you to complete me and everything else, and as we wait for the return of the Lord.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Grace and peace, friends.

Three Metaphors

Today is Friday (I almost typed Saturday), November 24, 2017. Day 21,806.

31 days until Christmas! I just bought our first Christmas gift.

Pete Best, who was born on this date in 1941, said, “We were at our best when we were playing in the dance halls of Liverpool and Hamburg. The world never saw that.”

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is mucilaginous, an adjective, meaning, “sticky, viscid.”

Today is Buy Nothing Day, which occurs every Friday after Thanksgiving. I heartily endorse this “holiday,” although I bought one item on Amazon, before I realized what today’s holiday was. No worries, though. I probably won’t buy anything else today, other than possible soft drinks at Sonic, should I even venture out of the house.

I have inadequate words to express what a great day yesterday was. I helped C get the green bean casserole cooked, along with warming the ham, while she prepared the mashed potatoes. We had a good trip to Mineral Wells, where R & J were already there to greet us, along with Mama. She had made corn pudding, a cherry cream cheese pie, some deviled eggs, and had bought some crescent rolls and pecan pie. What a marvelous meal we had together! We also had some great conversation, a lot of which, for some reason, centered around education experiences for all of us.

Our drive home was smooth and completely uneventful. Traffic got a little heavier, as we approached Fort Worth, but never got bad. C relaxed, while S went to her room to play WoW, and I spent the evening in the land of The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt. It was a great day.

Today, there is nothing on the agenda, whatsoever. I think C is in the breakfast nook doing a paint by numbers kit. S is probably still asleep, and, well, I’m obviously in the study sitting at the computer.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
Psalm 135:1-3
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
Psalm 140:6
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
Psalm 97:9
For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep. But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.
Psalm 64:6-7
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Luke 10:22
Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together! My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre. Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit. For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names. Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49:1-12
Dear Father always near us, may your name be treasured and loved, may your rule be completed in us – may your will be done here on earth in just the way it is done in heaven. Give us today the things we need today, and forgive us our sins and impositions on you as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us. Please don’t put us through trials, but deliver us from everything bad. Because you are the one in charge, and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours – forever – which is just the way we want it!
The Lord’s Prayer (paraphrased by Dallas Willard)

(From Practice Resurrection)

(Pages 127-128)

As I’m finishing chapter 6, Peterson writes about “The Hospitable Church.” He focuses on Ephesians 6:15, where we find the phrase, “the gospel of peace.” Peterson says that this “gospel of peace” is “Jesus himself, breaking down the wall.” This is the central piece of those five things that Jesus did for us, mentioned earlier in the chapter. The middle piece of that was that Jesus has “broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).

“Jesus demolishes the wall that separates insiders and outsiders, lost and homeless men and women, aliens and strangers. In its place he builds a place of peace.”

I believe that this is more important than any of us realize. Our little group of believers has scratched the surface of this realization, I think, but we (myself included) still have a long way to go in its understanding.

There are three metaphors that Paul uses in the closing verses of Ephesians 2. “Household of God (2:19), “holy temple in the Lord” (2:21), and “dwelling place for God” (2:22).

A metaphor gives us something “we can see or handle but at the same time draws us into participation with something we cannot see or handle.”

We know that, in one sense, church is something we can see. “it is a building. It is a place on earth. It is local.” Some people, dismiss it as “nothing but bricks and mortar.” Peterson declares this as “a very unspiritual thing to say,” not unlike saying someone is “nothing but a pretty face.” Perhaps we should never describe anything or anyone as “nothing but . . .”

On the other hand, “church is also something we can’t see.” Can we observe sins being washed away? Can we see the new birth of a soul? Can we see “the river of life?” Sometimes people will visit a church out of curiosity and later tell their friends, “I couldn’t see that there is anything to it.” Also a very unspiritual thing to say, because much of what “we live by is unseen, the air we breathe and the promises we make, for a start.”

So Paul’s three metaphors give us a “feet-on-the-ground place of hospitality,” where we are “welcomed as participants with Jesus, who is our peace.” In the “household of God,” “God gathers his family together.” In the “holy temple in the Lord,” we find “a place where we are set apart to worship God.” And with “a dwelling place for God,” we see “a place where God makes himself known to us in our language and circumstances, in word and sacrament.”

We are the building materials for this church. “Men, women, and children are just as material as boards and bricks. Apostles and prophets are foundation stones. Jesus is the cornerstone (or keystone). And we are whatever else makes up the structure: rafters and joists, flooring and roofing, door and window frames.”

We cannot be more spiritual than God, when we consider or describe church. It is, indeed, a place, a building. It is also “people and relationships.” And it is “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And all of this at the same time: one, catholic, apostolic.” (Understand that, in this context, “catholic” means “pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.”)

Father, keep us from both under-spiritualizing and over-spiritualizing the church. Help us to see it for what it is, your household, your temple, and your dwelling place among us. Help us to see that we are its “bricks and mortar,” and may we never forget that the apostles and prophets are its foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone. It seems that, in recent decades, the church has drifted off of its foundation. May we return to the truth of the gospel of peace, the gospel of the Kingdom of God that is near, hear, and available for us to dwell in now!
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.

Logically Connected

Today is Friday, November 25, 2016. Thirty days until Christmas.

Quote of the Day

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss

Word of the Day

Perhapser – A person who says ‘perhaps’ with regard to a particular issue.

Today is Buy Nothing Day. We’ll come pretty close to that, although we may not make it perfectly. If we buy anything today, it will probably be food at a restaurant. Otherwise, we don’t go out on Black Friday. We did that once. And considering that I rarely buy any gifts in stores, anyway, there is no need for me to put myself through that again. That being said, tomorrow, I believe, is Small Business Saturday. I will highlight that again, tomorrow, but I would encourage people to go shop at small, local businesses tomorrow. Avoid the huge “discount” box stores and help out people with franchises or independent businesses.

We had a most wonderful day, yesterday. And, I have to say, as I noted on Facebook, my heart was full. I don’t think the day could have gone any better. Well, I will say there was one way . . . if my father could have been there, it would have been better. Otherwise, it was as close to perfect as possible, I do believe. The food was delicious and we had a wonderful time visiting afterward (while S snored on the couch). C and I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack on the trip there and back (and still didn’t quite finish . . . it’s two-and-a-half hours long).

Today will be a welcome day of rest (tomorrow, too, hopefully). We will probably put up Christmas decorations around the house, and perhaps the tree, as well. The lights have been hung for about a week, as we hired a local guy and his son to put them up for us. As already noted, we will not go out shopping today. We may go out for lunch, but not much more than that. Unless we decide to do our grocery shopping today. Who knows?

92 days until the first Spring Training Game.
129 days until Opening Day.


Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Psalm 69:5

When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Psalm 65:3

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

(From Praying With the Psalms)

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 
  On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 
  For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 
  How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land? 
  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 
  Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!
Psalm 137:1-6

When Israel was in exile in Babylon, they were taunted by their captors to sing their songs. They truly believed that they could not do it, but eventually realized that “their Lord could be as precious to them in Babylon as he ever was in Jerusalem.” Our Father is our Father, no matter where we are, and we can praise him in any circumstances.

“At the very moment, Lord, when I think all is lost,
that there is nothing to be done, that defeat is total,
show me the way of resurrection whereby you can bring new life, new song and new hope.
In my Babylonian moods keep the vision of Jerusalem alive in my heart and teach me new songs of praise. Amen.”

This psalm always makes me think about this beautiful song by Don McLean.

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The title of this reading is The Secret of Spiritual Coherence. Chambers says that “Most of us are not spiritually coherent because we are more concerned about being coherent externally.” What does “coherent” mean? It means, “logically connected; consistent.” It could also mean “harmonious,” or “sticking together.” So if we are spiritually incoherent, it means that our spiritual life is not consistent or logical. Paul had a strong spiritual coherence, which means that his external life could change however it pleased and he was not distressed, “because he was rooted and ground in God.”

If our consistency is not on the ground floor, in the fundamentals, we will be all over the place spiritually. Chambers makes a bold statement. “Restate to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ.” You probably wouldn’t hear that in a modern Seminary class, or in most modern pulpits. But I began doing that many years ago. That is not a boast, please don’t misunderstand me. I held to a system of beliefs, for many years, that included some stuff that just wasn’t biblical. I began tearing that down, or, perhaps God began tearing that down, in the mid to late eighties, and has continued ever since.

“If we get away from brooding on the tragedy of God upon the Cross in our preaching, it produces nothing.” The preaching might be interesting, but it is powerless without the Cross. The Gospel of Jesus Christ states that the Kingdom of heaven is here, now, and available for us to enter, to walk in. That Gospel is nothing without the Cross. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Father, keep me coherent, spiritually. I confess that I spend too much time trying to be externally coherent. Make my spiritual life logically connected and consistent. Make it logically connected to you! Don’t let my spiritual life get sidetracked by non-essentials and controversies. I pray that my spiritual life will not get distracted by external circumstances, like politics and elections. Draw my spirit, my hope, my confidence, and my trust back to you and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me walk in your Kingdom; walking in the easy yoke of Christ.

Even so, come, Lord, Jesus!

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15:4

Grace and peace, friends.

O, Magnify the Lord With Me!

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”~~Virginia Woolf

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is oniomania. Now I could understand if you think that has something to do with onions, but it does not. It means (and this is perfectly fitting for what day this is), “an uncontrollable desire to buy things.”

Also fitting, I believe, today is Buy Nothing Day. Honestly, I think that is someone’s wishful thinking, but rampant consumerism that drives the day we call “Black Friday” is almost barbaric in nature.

We had a delightful day, yesterday. The drive to Mineral Wells was a bit gloomy, as it rained most of the way. We saw the aftermath of two wrecks, one which appeared to be very serious, and heard of several others. The combination of rain and people hurrying to get places is a deadly combination. We all arrived safely, though, and had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch together. Afterward, we sat around and sort of watched the Cowboys get spanked by the Panthers. We had some dessert, and then Christi and I headed over here to the hotel. Stephanie decided to sleep at Grandma’s, which, it turns out, was a good thing, because we got one of the rooms with a jacuzzi instead of a sofa bed! We relaxed for the rest of the evening. I did run up to a convenience store at one point, to get some snacks.

We’ve already had our free breakfast, this morning, and were joined by Rachel and Justin (staying in the same hotel with us), at around 8:30.

Not sure what today holds, but hopefully, it will be relaxing and just enjoying each other’s company.

On this date in:

1924–the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held.
1934–Baby Face Nelson died in a shoot-out with the FBI.
1973–Gerald Ford was confirmed as Vice President after the resination of Spiro Agnew.

Today’s birthdays include Elizabeth Stride (victim of Jack the Ripper), L. Sprague de Camp (American writer), Bruce Lee (American actor/martial artist), Eddie Rabbitt (American singer), Jimi Hendrix (American guitarist), Kimmy Robertson (American actress), Bill Nye (the Science Guy), and Jaleel White (American actor).

Jimi Hendrix, well who doesn’t know him? Such a great guitar player snuffed out by a tragic accidental drug overdose. Here is a live clip of him and his band playing “Red House.”

Guillaume Dufay, Alexander Dumas, Clement Studebaker, Baby Face Nelson, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Honegger, Harvey Milk, George Moscone, and John Carradine are among notable deaths today.


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “How to Magnify God.”

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

I’ve often wondered how it is possible to “magnify God.” After all, he is already the biggest thing possible, right? So how do I possibly make him bigger?? John Piper has, I believe, an acceptable answer.

There are two different ways to magnify something. With a microscope or magnifying glass, we make things that are tiny look bigger so we can see them, examine them, or identify them. But with a telescope, we take things that are already much larger than us, and make them begin to appear as large as they really are. The moon in the night sky appears to be only about as big as a dime or quarter, depending on the time of year. But with a telescope, we “magnify” it, and can see detail on the surface of our satellite.

When David speaks of magnifying God, he is not speaking of making a small God appear larger than he is. Rather, he means that he will attempt to make a very large God appear as big as he really is.

“We are not called to be microscopes, but telescopes,” says Piper. We are not con-men, trying to sell the world on a “product” that is much smaller than we try to make it look. There is nothing larger than, nothing superior to, our God. So our calling, as Christians, is to make the greatness of God appear as big as it truly is.

Here is a good summation of our duty as Children of God: “feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.”

But (there is always a “but,” isn’t there), we cannot magnify what we have not seen, or what we quickly forget.

“Therefore, our first task is to see and to remember the greatness and goodness of God.” This is why we pray to God, “Open the eyes of my heart,” and preach to our souls, “Soul, forget not all his benefits!”

Father in heaven, open the eyes of my heart, please! Help me to see you as you are, infinitely big, infinitely great, infinitely loving, and infinitely merciful. Then help me to “magnify” your qualities to the world around me. I don’t have to be a great preacher, with magnificent words of eloquence. I simply need to do as Piper says . . . “feel, think, and act in a way” that will make you look as great as you really are.

I pray for the Gaines family to have some relief from sickness. I also pray for Sherry’s nephew to be found and that he is okay.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

How He Loves

Good morning. It is Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, November 28, 2014.

Did you know that, in 2010, a Canadian man rescued a baby from a dumpster, only to find out that he was the father?

Haha!! Today is Buy Nothing Day! And, yes, it always falls on Black Friday. Just take a look at our culture and what happens on this day every year. Personally, I think it’s shameful. Some of the videos I saw from last year were horrifying. While I may not succeed in “buying nothing” today, I certainly do not participate in the horror that is “Black Friday.”

We had a most excellent Thanksgiving Day yesterday!! Christi’s family all showed up, along with Rachel and Justin, as well. The food was delicious, thanks to Christi and Karen (Karen is Christi’s sister, and she brought a corn casserole that everyone loves, and some oogy green jello salad stuff). I had made the dump cake Wednesday night, and baked the frozen pumpkin pie yesterday morning. We also had a pecan pie that was fully cooked, and only had to be thawed. Everything was delicious, and I ate too much. We watched some football for a while, and I was delighted that the Eagles gave a sound trouncing to the Cowboys, beating them 33-10. After everyone else left, Rachel and Justin stayed behind for awhile, and we played Cards Against Humanity. I won’t link the website, because there is currently a “bad word” on their front page. This game is awful and hilarious, and you should never play it. Unless you can turn off every single one of your offense filters. That’s pretty much what you have to do. We laugh so hard, and then feel so guilty about it.

This morning, Christi is back at it, cooking more stuff, which we will take over to Mineral Wells in a couple of hours. Rachel and Justin went home last night, but plan on meeting us in Mineral Wells, later. I think they might be spending the night here, tonight.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1925 that The Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting. Originally named The Barn Dance, after a broadcast in Chicago, it was started on WSM radio in Nashville. The four-and-a-half-hour program (wow!!) became “one of the most popular broadcasts in the South.”

Today’s birthdays include Jon Stewart, Judd Nelson, Berry Gordy, Ed Harris, Randy Newman, Ryan Kwanten, William Blake, Hope Lange, Aimee Garcia, Paul Shaffer, Margaret Tudor, John Bunyan, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jeff Fahey, Dave Righetti, and John Burkett.

William Blake was was an English painter and poet, born on this date in 1757. One of his most famous poems (or at least best known by me) is probably “The Tyger.”

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Here is a song by my favorite group, Daniel Amos, that pays tribute to Blake, who had a tremendous influence on their main songwriter, Terry Scott Taylor.


(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Psalm 96:8
Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.
Psalm 119:135
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
Psalm 86:8
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:7-8
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.

Psalm 77:11-14
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Today’s Gospel Reading

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
Matthew 15:32-39

For years, I guess I didn’t realize that there were two separate miraculous crowd feedings, even though they are both recorded in Matthew. This one, there were about 4000 men, in the first one, there were 5000. I guess the thing that sticks out most in this account is that the disciples have obviously forgotten about the first one. Again, they ask the question about where they are going to get enough food for this many people. I mean, shouldn’t they just have been bringing what they found up to Jesus, and saying, “Here you go! Do that thing you did again!” Unfortunately, it appears that the disciples were too much like me, basically pessimists.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Personal Encounter with God’s Love.”

Brennan speaks of a “silent retreat” that he directed for “six women in Virginia Beach.” As the retreat began, he met with each woman and asked them to write down “the one grace that she would most like to receive from the Lord.” One particular woman, a married woman around 45 years old, who was well known for prayer and service to others, said that “she wanted more than anything to actually experience just one time the love of God.”

I will quote in its entirety the next paragraph.

“The following morning this woman (whom I’ll call Winky) arose before dawn and went for a walk on the beach. She noticed a teenage boy and a woman walking in her direction. In less than a minute the boy had passed by to her left, but the woman made an abrupt ninety-degree turn, walked straight toward Winky, embraced her deeply, kissed her on the cheek, whispered ‘I Love you,’ and continued on her way. Winky had never seen the woman before. Winky wandered along the beach for another hour before returning to the house. She knocked on my door. When I opened it, she was smiling. ‘Our prayer was answered,’ she said simply.”

He will love you, bless you, and multiply you.
He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground,
your grain and your wine and your oil,
the increase of your herds and the young of your flock,
in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.

Deuteronomy 7:13

Father, I thank you for this testimony of your love. We can never be too sure about how you are going to display your love to us, and that is one of the things that I love most about you. Yes, I love your grace and mercy and all the blessings that you have thrown into my life, but this thing . . . this love that you show us, and the oftentimes weird ways that you display it, I love that part about you the most, I think. I pray, Lord, that everyone who stumbles across this blog entry today will experience that love from you. I pray that they will sense it in whatever expression you choose to show them, whether it be in the actions of a total stranger, or in the beauty of creation, such as a sunrise or sunset that is more brilliant than anything they have ever seen before. I simply pray that you show your love to them and fill their hearts with wonder.

I pray for this day, that we will have safe travel to and from Mineral Wells. I also pray for safe travel for Rachel and Justin. I pray that our time together with my parents will be a blessing to them, and to us as well. May we always be thankful for the blessings you have granted, and for our time with each other. Let us not take these days for granted.

While I’ve never had a stranger kiss me on the cheek and say, “I love you,” I have most definitely experienced the incredible, overwhelming, crazy love of God. There is nothing like it. I pray you can experience that love today.

“And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…

He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.”

Grace and peace, friends.