Knowing Christ

Today is Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Day 21,838.

Only six days until 2018!

Carlton Fisk, born on this date in 1947, said, “I knew it was gonna go out. It was just a question of it being fair or foul. The wind must have carried it 15 feet toward the foul pole. I just stood there and watched. I didn’t want to miss seeing it go out.”
I assume he’s referring to this:

The word of the day, from, is afterglow, a noun, meaning, “the pleasant remembrance of a past experience, glory, etc.” Many people, especially children, will be basking in the afterglow of yesterday’s festivities.

Today, of course, is Boxing Day in Canada and UK countries. What is Boxing Day? There are several explanations, but it seems to have originated with the practice of setting out boxes of money or gifts to thank tradespeople for good service throughout the year.

Yesterday was simply marvelous. I don’t think it could have been better. We had a wonderful lunch at my mother’s house, after which we exchanged our gifts. We visited (also dozing off from time to time) for a while afterward, had some dessert, and headed home.

Back to work today, even though it’s supposed to be my Christmas Eve holiday. But at least I get some decent overtime for it.

For the remainder of this week, I will be deciding what devotional books/tools to use for 2018. One will be Daily Guideposts 2018, which I received as a gift from my mother.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Tuesday – Fourth Week of Advent

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:16
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Psalm 67:1-2
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
Psalm 119:54
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
John 4:23-24
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah. For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Psalm 61:1-5

(From The President’s Devotional)

Today’s reading is “A Thought to Christ.”

“There have been men before . . . who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God Himself . . . as if the good Lord had nothing to do but to exist. There have been some who were so occupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“Let’s give a thought to Christ,” says Joshua DuBois. What was this Jesus? “What did he care about? How did he spend his time?” What can we learn about Jesus from the Bible? The point is that Christianity, the faith so many of us claim to have, is absolutely nothing without the person of Jesus.

Just like Joshua DuBois, I have known people who were so adamantly going about making “converts” that I truly feel that they didn’t truly know this Jesus to whom they were trying to convert people. And Jesus never commanded us to make “converts.” He told us to make disciples. There are a lot of converts walking around out there who don’t know the first thing about being a disciple. I should know. I was one of them for a long time.

“Lord, I’d like to reintroduce myself. I have not known you fully, and I’d like to know you more. Show me your character. And help me be more like you. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, I could echo Joshua’s prayer. I don’t feel like I’ve known you very well, lately, and I want to move back into a realm where I feel like I know you more. Help me to study the character and nature of Jesus more. Remind me to meditate more on his words and works, that I might emulate them in my daily walk. Help me to walk in your kingdom and in the easy yoke of Christ.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Disasters and Mercy

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”~~Aesop

Today’s word of the day, from, is bonhomie, “frank and simple good-heartedness; a good-natured manner; friendliness; geniality.” We could all do with a bit more bonhomie in our lives.

Today is Candy Cane Day. Isn’t that the fake CB name that the kids in Joyride came up with, that caused the truck driver to terrorize them?

We had a wonderful Christmas Day! After finishing up everything yesterday morning, we got packed and headed to Mineral Wells. We unloaded all the food and gifts into Mama’s house, and had lunch soon after. When we were all full from the delicious food, we moved over to the living area to exchange our gifts. Mama was very happy with the Keurig that we got for her, along with three boxes of coffee, and a carousel pod holder for the K-cups. We also got her an 8X10 of the photo of her and Uncle Buddy, from her trip to Marshall last week. CVS did a great job of copying and printing that picture, and it was quite inexpensive.

After sitting for a while, we went to the hotel to check in. Unfortunately, the elevator is broken and we are on the second floor. The had a room on the first floor, but it did not have a sofa bed for Stephanie. We took a short nap and then went back over to Mama’s for dessert and more visiting. Around 9:00PM, we headed back to the hotel, trying to stop at Jack in the Box for something to take back with us, but the drive-thru line wrapped all the way around the building. It was that way when we went back to Mama’s, as well, since they were almost the only place open. We had noticed, earlier, that Burger King was open, so we gave up on Jack and headed to the King, which was in the same direction as the hotel, anyway. We got some small burgers and fries and brought them back with us.

We got a good night’s sleep, and got up just in time to take advantage of the complimentary breakfast. After I finish this and take a shower, we will be heading back over to the house, and then, eventually, downtown, where we will visit Jitterbeans Coffee Shop, where I will have another delicious cup of Aztec Spice Hot Chocolate. We have nothing else planned for today.

On this date in:

1776–The British were defeated at the Battle of Trenton. Remember George Washington crossing the Delaware yesterday?
1799–4000 people attended George Washington’s funeral
1846–“Trapped in snow in the Sierra Nevadas and without food, members of the Donner Party resort to cannibalism.”
1871–Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated for the first time in an opera called Thespis. It would be four years before they would work together again.
1898–Marie and Pierre Curie announced the isolation of radium
1919–Harry Frazee, owner of the Boston Red Sox, sold Babe Ruth to the Evil Empire
1933–FM radio was patented
1941–President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill that established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day
1986–The soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, aired its final episode, after being on the air 35 years
1996–JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home

Today’s birthdays include:

1791–Charles Babbage, English mathematician and inventor
1891–Henry Miller, American writer
1914–Richard Widmark, American actor
1921–Steve Allen, American comedian
1947–Carlton Fisk, American baseball player
1954–Ozzie Smith, American baseball player
1963–Lars Ulrich, Danish drummer and Napster-killer, Metallica
1979–Chris Daughtry, American singer

Carlton Fisk is a retired MLB catcher who played for the Boston Red Sox. In the 1975 World Series, Game Six, he hit this walkoff home run to win the game and force Game Seven. Even though the Sox lost the series, I still believe this to be the best World Series ever, at least in my lifetime. Game Six is definitely regarded to be one of the most exciting World Series games in history.

Melvil Dewey, Harry S. Truman, Jack Benny, Dian Fossey, Curtis Mayfield, Jason Robards, Armand Zildjian, and Gerald Ford are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is a difficult one, called, “How to Contemplate Calamity.”

John Piper begins with the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2005. As I looked at historical events on this date, I was somewhat taken aback at the number of calamities that occurred on December 26. The Donner Party, the discovery of JonBenet Ramsey’s body (even though she probably died on Christmas Day), multiple earthquakes, Babe Ruth being sold to the Yankees . . . Okay, that last one might not really count as a calamity, and I certainly am not comparing it to cannibalism, murder, and earthquake/tsunamis.

But what is the point of all of this? When Job learned of the deaths of all of his children, due to a natural disaster, his response, recorded in Job 1:21, was “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” As he contemplates the earthquake/tsunami from 2005, Piper offers several points.

1. “Satan is not ultimate, God is.”

In the case of Job, Satan only had as much authority as God would allow. “God gave Satan permission to afflict Job.” But God is seen as the decisive cause. Many people struggle with this thought and completely reject the idea that God could ever cause affliction. I believe that these people don’t truly understand Scripture. I know that’s a bold statement, but I believe that Scripture is pretty clear about this. The writer of Job, at the end, says, And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. (42:11) “Satan is real. Satan brings misery. But Satan is not ultimate or decisive. He is on a leash. He goes no farther than God decisively permits.”

2. “Even if Satan caused the earthquake in the Indian Ocean the day after Christmas, he is not the decisive cause of over 200,000 deaths; God is.”

In Job 38:8-11, God proclaims that he has authority over the seas (including tsunamis) when he says, “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?” We saw Jesus, in Luke 8:24, rebuke the wind and the waves in the sea, showing ultimate control over nature. ” In other words, even if Satan caused the earthquake, God could have stopped the waves.”

3. “Destructive calamities in this world mingle judgment and mercy.”

There is nothing simple about thinking about natural disasters. There is no easy answer. But we know from Scripture that God was not punishing Job. What came upon him was meant to be purifying. However, we do not know the spiritual condition of Job’s children. Job had his own doubts about them, even offering sacrifices on their behalf in case they had committed some sins. It is possible that the calamity that struck them was judgment. If that is the case, then the same calamity that brought judgment on Job’s children was mingled with mercy for Job. This, Piper says, is true of all calamities. They mingle both judgment and mercy.

The clearest illustration of this is Christ and the cross. The cross of Jesus was both judgment and mercy. It was judgment on Jesus because he bore our sins. It was mercy on us, because someone else was bearing the punishment of our sins on our behalf. As another example, Piper cites the curse on the earth. It is seen as judgment to those who do not believe in Christ, but for us who believe, it is considered “merciful, though painful, preparation for glory.”

4. “The heart that Christ gives to his people feels compassion for those who suffer, no matter what their faith.”

This is where we tend to fail on a magnificent level. The Bible tells us, in Romans 12:15, to “Weep with those who weep.” Note that it does not say, “Unless God caused the weeping.” Piper astutely says, “Job’s comforters would have done better to weep with Job than talk so much.” Unfortunately, we are way too much like Job’s “comforters.” We tend to try to explain to people why these bad things are happening to them, instead of simply weeping for them over their misfortune, pain, loss, or sickness. “Pain is pain, no matter who causes it.” All have sinned; we are all in this together.

5. “Finally, Christ calls us to show mercy to those who suffer, even if they do not deserve it.”

This is a much-needed message in the political climate of our nation today. We have Christians refusing to consider offering aid and refuge to people of certain races because they might be terrorists. I thank God that He does not operate this way! If he did, none of us would be saved, because we are all sinners. . . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God did not wait for us to stop sinning or prove that we could maybe sin just a bit less before showing love and mercy to us. The meaning of mercy is “undeserved help.” We are told by our Savior to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Father, teach us mercy. When we experience calamity, teach us empathy and compassion, even toward those whom we might feel don’t deserve it. Make us more like Christ. Teach us mercy.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It is Thursday, December 26, 2013. The day after Christmas. Five more days until 2014.

Today is “Thank You Note Day.” Does anyone still do that?

These last couple of days have been a true blessing, other than Christi and Stephanie not feeling up to par. Christ’s coughing a good bit, this morning, but Stephanie seems to be feeling a little better. She got to feeling pretty down before we left Mineral Wells yesterday, but was better later in the evening. We had a great time visiting with my parents yesterday, along with Rachel and Justin. It was a great day.

Not much going down today. Or tomorrow, either, for that matter. We do have a wicked pool leak, though, so someone is coming by to take a look at that tomorrow. Oh, and someone is supposed to come look at our mailbox lock today. There is no evidence that this has happened, thus far.

All in all, today is a lazy day. My favorite kind.

Today’s birthdays are Charles Babbage, inventor, 1792, Henry Miller, author, 1891, Mao Tse-Tung, Chinese Prime Minister, 1893, Richard Widmark, actor, 1914, Steve Allen, comedian, 1921, Phil Spector, wall of sound, 1939, Carlton Fisk, catcher, 1947, and Chris Daughtry, 1979.

Carlton Fisk was the catcher for the Boston Red Sox during the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Here is a clip of his famous walk-off home run that finished what many believe to be the greatest World Series game in history, Game Six of the 1975 World Series.


Psalm 26:8 O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.
Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 56:12-13 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 86:11-12 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

Psalm 116:5-6 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.

Psalm 146:2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is “Celebrating the Jubilee.” The scripture reading is Leviticus 25:8-12.

“You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field.

The Jubilee was a pretty big deal to ancient Israel. Marked by the sounding of “the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month,” it was a new beginning for everyone. “All people get a new start.” I can only imagine the intensity of this year-long celebration of new beginnings. It is a strong witness to the hope of God’s mercy and grace. And, if we fast-forward to the New Testament, we can see that this Jubilee was a foreshadowing of the completed work of Jesus Christ, who is our “Jubilee.”

Blow, ye the trumpet, blow!
The gladly solemn sound
Let all the nations know,
To earth’s remotest bound,
The year of jubilee is come!
The year of jubilee is come!
Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.

(William Walker)

Father, we have celebrated the coming of our Savior in recent days. May we recognize the new beginning which he has provided for us. May we celebrate our own “Jubilee,” as Israel celebrated so many thousands of years ago. May we, as forgiven sinners, constantly return to our “home” in Jesus Christ, remembering always that he has opened heavens doors that we may all enter in.

I pray for the rest of this day, that we will simply rest in you, and that Christi and Stephanie will feel better.

Let Jesus be your Jubilee today!

Grace and peace, friends.