Only Words

Today is Thursday (why can’t it be Friday) April 26, 2018. Day 21,959.

Two more days until our next Night of Worship.

Carol Burnett turns 85 years old today. She said, “Funny is funny. I dare anyone to look at Tim Conway and Harvey Korman doing the dentist sketch, which is more than 40 years old, and not scream with laughter.” BrainyQuote

The word for today is frugivorous, an adjective which means, “fruit-eating.”

C and I made it to the Y again, last night. I spent the whole time on the weight machines, while she split the time between weights and cardio. We may go back tonight, as I want to try a tai chi class. Tai chi is a slow, “graceful” (haha!) form of exercise that has, by some, been referred to as “meditation in motion.” It is supposed to be a great way to reduce stress.

The Red Sox broke their losing streak last night, beating the Blue Jays 4-3 behind two Mookie Betts home runs. Good to see him hitting again. This puts them at 18-5 on the season, and four games ahead of both the Yankees and the Blue Jays in the AL East. They remain the best team in MLB, two games ahead of the D-Backs, 2.5 ahead of the Mets and Astros. The have one more game against the Blue Jays tonight.

The Rangers also won their game, last night, finally beating Oakland 4-2. This puts them at 9-17 on the season, still in last place, eight games behind the Astros. They have an off day today, and will be in Toronto, where the Red Sox leave off, on Friday night.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.
Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! 
Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. 
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. 
For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob. 
He made it a decree in Joseph when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known: 
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. 
In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah. 
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me! 
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god. 
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Psalm 81:1-10

When, in our distress, we call upon God, he is sure to answer and deliver.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4

In today’s Daily Guideposts reading, Carol Knapp reminds us how powerful words are. We, all too often, allow careless words to come out of our mouths, words which can cause irreparable damage to people whom we claim to love. For years I watched C’s father spew words of condemnation and criticism at his wife and children. I’m not sure he ever realized the damage he was doing.

But have I done the same? I’m pretty sure that I haven’t toward C. I try to make it a point not to speak critically to her, and I most definitely never say anything critical or derogatory concerning her in public. But what about to my children? I fear that I have, in my frustration, said hurtful things to S many times. Who knows what kind of effects words can have on autistic people? It is, quite honestly, impossible to tell how they take things that are said. They certainly, for the most part do not understand sarcasm.

I’m also sure I have muttered words, at work, that can be hurtful. Who hasn’t, right? But that’s no excuse. Even when my words are not meant to be heard by anyone else, they might be heard.

Those of us who call ourselves by the name of Christ should be much more careful with our words. Jesus had a few things to say about words.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Matthew 12:36-37

That, right there, should strike fear into all of our hearts, shouldn’t it?

Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.
Matthew 15:17-19

So, we see here, we should be much more concerned about what comes out of our mouths than what goes into them.

“They’re only words.” Oh, but they are so much more . . .

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Psalm 141:3
From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
Proverbs 12:14
Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.
Jeremiah 15:19

Father, keep me mindful of the words that come out of my mouth today. As I walk through this day, may I think carefully before speaking anything, and may I speak more uplifting and encouraging words than the opposite.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God,
who hast safely brought us into the beginning of this day:
Defend us in the same with thy mighty power;
and grant that this day we fall into no sin,
neither run into any kind of danger;
but that we, being ordered by thy governance,
may do always what is righteous in thy sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer)

Grace and peace, friends.

“You Can Be A Rainbow and Not A Painbow”

“You either make people a little better, or leave them a
little worse.”~~Frederick Buechner

Good morning. It is Saturday, April 26, 2014.

Today is Hug An Australian Day. If I could just find one. . .

Christi had a good day at the job transition fair she attended. Turns out, it was an all-day affair, with free lunch, and loads of information that she is still processing. Also turns out that it was Chuck Swindoll’s church that hosted this thing. It was totally faith-based, with prayer and scripture reading before and during, as well as people on-site praying throughout the event. I’m very impressed with the heart that this church has for the unemployed. There was no cost at all to the attendees of the event, and the fact that they have people there praying for them, either individually or for the whole group at once just makes my heart swell. It is Stonebriar Community Church (because everything in Frisco is “Stonebriar,” right?) and it’s on Legen—wait for it—DARY drive!! 😀 (Extra points if you get the reference.) They even handed out a book that had all of the slide presentations in it.

Christi has a panel interview with Etherios scheduled for next week. Unfortunately, I cannot remember when, and she’s still asleep as I’m writing this.

My day went very well yesterday. I got access to one more of the tools that I need for my job, and now lack only one thing. It seems that they put me in their system as being in El Segundo, which causes my tracking tool to give an error every time I try to scan a box to a drop location in Dallas. I wish I worked in El Segundo! I was told that the number of goods receipts that I did on Thursday was “fantastic!” 😀 My goal, of course, is to be the best receiver they’ve ever had. Not too ambitious, right? And note, I did not say “fastest.” I said “best,” which places quality over quantity.


It was on this date in 1986 that the worst nuclear accident in history occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Kiev, Ukraine. Authorities are still not sure of the total damage done by this disaster, but believe that thousands were killed and at least 70,000 severely poisoned. “In addition, a large area of land may not be livable for as much as 150 years.”

“At first, the Soviet government only asked for advice on how to fight graphite fires and acknowledged the death of two people. It soon became apparent, however, that the Soviets were covering up a major accident and had ignored their responsibility to warn both their own people and surrounding nations. Two days after the explosion, Swedish authorities began measuring dangerously high levels of radioactivity in their atmosphere.

“Years later, the full story was finally released. Workers at the plant were performing tests on the system. They shut off the emergency safety systems and the cooling system, against established regulations, in preparation for the tests. Even when warning signs of dangerous overheating began to appear, the workers failed to stop the test. Xenon gases built up and at 1:23 a.m. the first explosion rocked the reactor. A total of three explosions eventually blew the 1,000-ton steel top right off of the reactor.

“A huge fireball erupted into the sky. Flames shot 1,000 feet into the air for two days, as the entire reactor began to melt down. Radioactive material was thrown into the air like fireworks. Although firefighting was futile, Pripyat’s 40,000 people were not evacuated until 36 hours after the explosion. Potentially lethal rain fell as the fires continued for eight days. Dikes were built at the Pripyat River to contain damage from contaminated water run-off and the people of Kiev were warned to stay indoors as a radioactive cloud headed their way.”

There are plenty of chilling photographs available on the Interwebs, that depict what the area looks like today, 28 years later. The forest has almost completely over-run the plant and the neighboring city of Pripyat.

Today is the birthday of Shakespeare and a Medici queen. But it’s also the birthday of Carol Burnett, who turns 81 years old today. I would consider her to be the reigning queen of comedy (only because she’s still alive). Here is an outtake clip from one of her shows. Makes me wish I could have been in the studio audience for one of her shows. I’m guessing what was never aired on TV had immense potential to be even funnier than what we saw.


(From The Divine Hours)

Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalm 103:20-22
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Lending A Hand.”

Do my relationships with others give life or drain life? That is a sobering question, if you stop and think about it. We can drain life out of others bit by bit, by inattention and self-centeredness, as well as by constant criticism. Manning quotes Frederick Buechner:

“Sin sprouts, as banana
trees on the Nile, whenever the effects of your relationships
with others is to diminish rather than enlarge them. There is
no neutral corner in your human encounters, no antiseptic
arena in which ‘nobody else is hurt’ or ‘nobody else knows
about it.’ You either make people a little better, or leave them a
little worse. You define your faith and moral posture in the ordi-
nary stuff of your daily routine. The Kingdom belongs to those,
as artless as children, who love others simply and directly, with-
out thinking about anything but them. The inheritors of the
Promise are those unsung folks who lend others a hand when
they’re falling. That’s the only work that matters in the end.”

Father, these are sobering words, indeed, as I consider the relationships in my life and my effect on the people around me. Do I bring them down or lift them up? I confess my fear that I’m more of a bringer-downer then a lifter-upper. Father, may the life of Christ in me turn that around. This does not mean that I will agree with everyone I meet, nor does it mean that I will condone sinful actions. But I don’t always have to voice my opinion or be negative about things. Teach me to love others. Teach me to live in the Kingdom now. This idea is being drilled into us by our pastor, in his current sermons. We need to live as though the Kingdom of heaven is here, now. We cannot wait until it finally arrives to begin living as though it is real. We need to practice Kingdom living right now, thereby working to bring about the prayer, “Your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” While we don’t have control over everything that happens, we do have some control over how we live. May I be constantly on the lookout for ways to make people’s lives better by living in the Kingdom around them. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. May I be one who brings life to people, not death. May I be the one who makes people a little better, rather than a little worse.

I pray for this day. May we be safe in all that we undertake today, and may our worship and prayer this evening be acceptable in your sight. May we bring glory to you in all that we do today.

Your grace is sufficient.

I’ll leave with what I believe to be the central idea of Buechner’s quote. “You either make people a little better, or leave them a little worse.”

(Extra points to anyone who gets the reference in the title.)

Grace and peace, friends.