Good and Trouble

Today is Thursday, the twenty-first of October, 2021

May the peace of God reign in your lives

Day 23,233

Seventeen days until Daylight Saving Time ends

As is pretty typical on or around Thursdays, I don’t have a whole lot to write about, this morning. I did some grocery shopping, yesterday, and not much else. I’m doing a few other household chores today, and hope to get a good deal of reading done. The library book I am reading is due tomorrow, and I’m not sure I’m going to get it finished.

The Red Sox are heading back to Houston, down 3-2, after another lackluster performance, yesterday. The sad thing is that Chris Sale actually put on a stellar performance from the mound, only giving up one run on a home run, early in the game. Unfortunately, the Houston pitcher was perfect through five innings, something that has never happened at Fenway Park. And then, as if they weren’t behind enough, Alex Cora showed that he doesn’t learn from his mistakes and put Martin Perez in, again, in the ninth, to hand the Astros two more runs. Red Sox lose 9-1. Oh, well. It will be one less thing to worry about.

I have neglected to mention . . . we will be closing on the refinancing of our mortgage next Tuesday. We will be paying off both car loans after the refi, and we plan to channel the money we have been paying on the cars into the mortgage payment, and theoretically could have the house paid off in less than ten years. The main reason was to get a lower interest rate, but we will take advantage of the opportunity to pay off the cars early. I don’t foresee either of us entering into a new car loan any time soon. Both of our cars are less than five years old. I think mine is a 2019, and C’s is likely only the year before that.

Today is Reptile Awareness Day. Lizards, anyone?

Today’s word is shivaree. “A mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple; charivari.”

Today’s quote is from Jonas Salk, American scientist. “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” Reminds me of one that I don’t know who originally said it, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Significant birthdays on October 21:

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet (Rime of the Ancient Mariner), 1772-1834
Sir Georg Solti, Hungarian conductor (Chicago Symphony), 1911-1994
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, American jazz trumpeter, 1917-1993
Whitey Ford, American HoF baseball pitcher, 1928-2020
Ursula K. Le Guin, American Science Fiction author (The Lathe of Heaven), 1929-2018
Manfred Mann, British rock musician (The Mighty Quinn, Blinded By the Light), 1940 (81)
Elvin Bishop, American rock guitar player (Fooled Around and Fell in Love), 1942 (79)
Judith Sheindlin, American television personality (Judge Judy), 1942 (79)
Lee Loughnane, American musician and songwriter (Chicago), 1946 (75)
Keith Green, American Christian musician, 1953-1982
Rich Mullins, American Christian singer/songwriter, 1955-1997
Carrie Fisher, American actress (Star Wars, Shampoo), 1956-2016
Steve Lukather, American rock singer, guitar player (Toto), 1957 (64)
Speaking of trouble . . .


“Jesus wants us to receive the love he offers.
He wants nothing more than that we allow him to love us and enjoy that love.
This is so hard since we always feel that we have to deserve the love offered to us.
But Jesus wants to offer that love to us not because we have earned it, but because he has decided to love us independently of any effort on our side.
Our own love for each other should flow from that “first love” that is given to us undeserved.” (Henri Nouwen, Receive Jesus’ Love)

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
(Psalms 79:13 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the love of Jesus, undeserved, yet freely given
2. that I am alive and breathing
3. for a raise at my library job (yes, already!)
4. for passages of Scripture with which I must struggle
5. that my enemy can bring nothing against me that God has not approved (don't agree? Read the book of Job)

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



I praise God, because he did not reject my prayer or keep back his constant love from me.
(Psalms 66:20 GNB)

I pause, during this quiet moment, to reflect on the love of Jesus, as stated by Henri Nouwen, above. It is such a marvelous truth to realize that He loves us unconditionally, even though we have done nothing to deserve such love.


The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
(Psalms 110:1 NIV)

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.
(Psalms 110:4-7 NIV)


So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
(Job 2:7-10 NIV)


As I linger over these passages, I seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in meditating over them. These are not the easiest of passages to apply to current life situations.

I’ll be honest . . . the psalm is not one of my favorites and is a bit off-putting, especially when trying to ascertain how it applies to us, today. I believe that the first part refers to the Father speaking to the Son. The designation “LORD” should be translated from the Hebrew “YHWH,” or “yehovah.” The other “Lord” is translated from variations of “Adonai,” which means “sovereign” or “ruler.”

References to Melchizedek are always confusing, too. Basically, Melchizedek was the king of Salem, who just appeared to Abraham in Genesis 14. There are some who believe that Hebrews teaches that he was actually the pre-incarnate Christ. However, I don’t think I go along with that teaching, and passages like Psalm 110 seem to rule that out. Nevertheless, Melchizedek is a mysterious character in the narrative, having no explanation of where he came from or anything.

Psalm 110, though, proclaims that Christ (the “Lord” referred to in these verses) is a “priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

The latter verses of the psalm seem pretty violent, and I won’t pretend to comprehend verse 7 at all. I believe the main thing to get from Psalm 110 is the preeminence of Christ.

And the main thing I get from the Job passage (after I get through shuddering at the image of a man sitting among ashes, scraping boils off of his skin with piece of pottery) is Job’s response to his wife when she encourages him to “curse God and die.”

It’s a very wise response and one we would all do well to ponder. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

Again, I don’t know if I believe that Job was a real person or if this is just allegory that teaches us things about God and His relationship with His people. I do know that there are people out there who would have us believe that any “trouble” we receive in life comes from the devil.

I don’t agree with that stance. God most definitely brought trouble on Israel. He sent trouble to David. Now, granted, most of those times of trouble were caused by their own actions. But Job had done nothing wrong. And while it is true that the boils and calamities were technically caused by Satan, they were allowed by God.

So I will gracefully (sometimes not so much, I admit) accept whatever comes my way. The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, you know.

Father, I am grateful for all of the good that You bring to my life. And I know, as Scripture tells me, that even the trouble that comes my way comes through You, and You work it all out for my good, because I do love You, and I am called according to Your purpose. I say these things with all humility, especially in light of the love of Jesus, so freely given, yet so little deserved. I praise You for Your great love for us, Father! Give me strength to endure any trouble that comes my way, with the grace that the Holy Spirit enables me to display. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth.

I pray that all of Your Church will have a deeper understanding of the gospel and what it means for us. May we have the full experience of life as Your adopted children, and please give us vibrant prayer lives.

"God of severe mercy,
like Job,
eventually I will lose everything -
whatever treasures I have,
my family,
my health,
my life.
This bitter reality challenges my core motives:
why am I following You?
Who am I living this life for?
Yet in this I rest:
I belong to You,
come what may.


“Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!
(Matthew 5:8 GNB)

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalms 34:18 NIV)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
(Psalms 55:22 NIV)

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
(Revelation 21:4 NIV)

Psalm 55:22 is a great verse to read after considering the truths brought forth in Job.

Thank You, Father, that You will never let us be shaken.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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 Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

Keep On Running

Today is Saturday, October 21, 2017. Day 21,772.

Ten days until C’s knee replacement surgery.

Carrie Fisher, who was born on this date in 1956 (died in the celebrity massacre of 2016), said, “I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know. It was something I always did.”

The word of the day, from is ducky, which means, “fine; excellent; wonderful.” But, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think I have every heard this word used in any sense other than sarcasm. “Well, that’s just ducky!”

Today is <em>Reptile Awareness Day. You know, just in case you weren’t aware that reptiles exist?

I haven’t had time for personal update, much, this week. I’ve been trying to make sure that I have adequate time for my devotions, each morning, which is the more important part of the day. But there hasn’t been much going on, anyway.

Except for the part where someone got hold of my social security number somehow, and started opening credit card accounts. Yes, sir, I have been Identity Thefted! I may have mentioned a little over a week ago (can’t remember) that someone had gotten into my AT&T mobile account, stored a credit card with a Wisconsin address and PAID almost $1000 toward our account. We still can’t figure that one out. I changed my password and deleted the credit card. As far as I can tell, there has been no further activity there.

The next day, I received a strange call on my cell phone. I didn’t answer, because I didn’t recognize the number, but it showed being from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Yes! Another Wisconsin thing. Turns out, it was a number from the Kohl’s corporate headquarters. They left a message, too, with a call back number (different from the originating number). So, I called the other number. I had a strange conversation with a woman, who said that the message had been an investigator. But she couldn’t tell me anything about why, and started asking for personal information. So, I ended that call, as I didn’t feel comfortable giving that out.

About a week later, we received several disturbing things in the mail. There were two letters from Kohl’s. One stating that I had shoplifted some merchandise from a store in Fresno and was responsible to reimburse them $350. The other one was that a credit card had been opened in my name, but some of the information on the application was not verifiable, so they were wanting to verify if it was me.

We first called the number on the letter about shoplifting. Again, we had a very strange conversation with a woman who didn’t seem to know anything at all about the situation. All she would say is that if we filed an ID theft report and forward that to them, it would clear it up. When we asked to speak to a manager, she said there weren’t any. At Kohl’s corporate office. No managers. We ended that call, and tried the other number about the credit card. We got slightly better results, there, but it was still not handled well.

That same day, we also received a credit card from Target and a credit card from WalMart, neither of which I applied for. I immediately called the numbers on the backs of both cards. The guy I spoke with at Target was extremely helpful (I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure he was also in the United States, which I’m 99% sure the Kohl’s people were NOT), and informed me that the fraudulent people had, in fact, used the $500 temporary limit, but that I would not be responsible for any of it. He said the card would be turned off immediately, and that I would receive a form in a few days that I need to complete and send back. The WalMart people were just as helpful and professional as Target. They did, however, forward me to someone with the bank that backed the card. There had been no usage on that one, but it was also turned off immediately.

I called our local police department to report ID theft. They took down information for a report, but since nothing happened in our city, they couldn’t file an official identity theft report. I get that. But at least they have the data.

I also filed a report with the Federal Trade Commission. That seems to be the most important thing to do. And I emailed that report to Kohl’s on Friday. In addition, I put a fraud alert on all three credit reporting companies. I’m seriously considering putting a credit freeze on all three of them today. That will cost me a little bit, but it would, no doubt, be worth it.

Oddly enough, after most of these phone calls, and after dinner was ready, we sat down to eat, and decided to watch last Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” with John Oliver. After spending a few minutes going over some recent news reports, John Oliver settled into the week’s story. The Equifax security breach. I swear I am not making this up!!

We got the Kohl’s credit card in the mail, yesterday.

In other news, the Dodgers made quick work of the Cubs, beating them in the NLCS 4-1. At least the Cubs won a game. The Yankees, after falling behind 2-0 in Houston, proceeded to win three consecutive games in NY to go ahead 3-2 in the ALCS. But last night, back in Houston, the Astros put it to the Yankees, beating them 7-1. The final game of that series is tonight at 7:00 CDT. The World Series begins Tuesday night.

I have also learned that today is the 62nd anniversary of the birth of Rich Mullins, who died in 1997. Here is a video of his song, “The Color Green.”

I also just became aware that today is also Keith Green’s birthday. He was born in 1953, while Mullins was born in 1955. Green died in 1982. Here is his song, “O Lord, You’re Beautiful.”

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Psalm 84:8
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 57:7-11
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
John 10:14-17
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:3-5

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:1

In today’s reading, Julie Garmon writes, again, about her daughter, Katie, whose divorce was final in April (unspecified year). In August of the same year, she had “double hernia repair surgery.” Katie planned to run a half-marathon in October, only six weeks after the surgery.

Julie was skeptical regarding the health safety of running so soon. But Katie insisted that it was something she needed to do.

At 7:55 AM on the day of the race, Katie texted her mother “Say a prayer that I finish strong.” Julie texted Isaiah 40:31 back to her. They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Later, another text came. “Pray. Mile 8. This is hard.” Julie texted back, “Praying. I love you!”

Then came, “Mile 10. Can barely move my legs. Pain in my side. Keep praying.” Julie really wanted to say, “Just quit!” But she wrote, “I’m praying. Text me when you finish!”

Then, a little after 10:00 AM, came the photo of Katie crossing the finish line! She called Julie and said, “Thanks for praying, Mom. When I wasn’t sure if I could keep going, I knew you and God wouldn’t let me quit.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve want to just quit this race, to lay everything down and just live however I want to. I have watched numerous friends fall along the wayside, as the years have gone by. One in particular, with whom I went to high school and grew up in Sunday School, is pretty much an atheist, now. Another dear friend, while I think he still believes, won’t set foot in a church.

How have I held on? There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a super-Christian with super faith. I’ve had sin in my life that would make some of you run and hide. There are only a couple of explanations as to how I have endured some of the circumstances that have come my way. One is the grace of God, because he chose me and will not let me go. The other is the same thing that kept Katie going in the story above. My parents praying. And, most certainly, grandparents, too, when they were still on this earth.

Not only have I stayed the course (not perfectly, again, please, please understand that . . . I strayed off of said course plenty of times), but I am discovering new things about God, faith, and this life in the Kingdom every single day! And I’m almost sixty years old! God is so good, so beautiful, and so loving!

So, pray for your children, and keep running the race set before you, knowing that, if you “wait for the LORD,” your strength will be renewed.

Father, thank you for all that you have done for me and my family. Thank you for praying parents and grandparents. Thank you that you remind me to pray for my own children. I pray that you always draw them closer to you. And thank you for continuing to teach me new things so that my faith doesn’t grow stale.

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.

Pray Without Ceasing

Today is Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Three more days of 2016.

Quote of the Day

“I have two moods. One is Roy, rollicking Roy, the wild ride of a mood. And Pam, sediment Pam, who stands on the shore and sobs… Sometimes the tide is in, sometimes it’s out.” – Carrie Fisher

Word of the Day

Sockeroo – a notable success.

Today is Card Playing Day. The idea is to chill out from all of the “kerfluffle” of the holidays by just playing a few games of cards. Unfortunately, some of us have to keep working.

As 2016 continues to kick us in the gut, we lost two more greats yesterday. The first report was that author Richard Adams had died, at age 96. At least no one could say they didn’t see that coming. Frankly, I was surprised that he was still alive. The second was probably inevitable, considering the massive heart attack suffered over the weekend, and the fact that she stopped breathing, by some reports, for as long as ten minutes. But that didn’t make the report that Carrie Fisher had died any easier to deal with. She was only two years older than me, for goodness sake. She lived a hard life, I understand, and struggled with mental illness. In fact, from what I understand, she was a champion in the field of mental illnesses.

There is a video clip of her roasting George Lucas. In it, she says, “I’m an alcoholic because George Lucas ruined my life.” I met her once, at one of those Sci-Fi conventions, and heard her say those exact words to those of us waiting at her table for an autograph. She was one of the more memorable of my celebrity meetings at those conventions, mostly because I never figured I would get to meet someone of her status. Last night, I went to my autograph folder and found this.

Here’s the roast clip from AFI.

59 days until the first Spring Training game.
96 days until Opening Day.


Psa 95:1  Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Psa 144:5  Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!

Psa 71:23  My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.

Psa 89:47  Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Psa 148:1-6  Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

All of creation participates in the praise. “The reasons for praise are so manifold and the possibilities of praise are so multiform, that every voice is put to work.” There is not a single part of creation that is exempt.

“With everyone else singing so heartily, Lord, let not my voice be silent. Assign me my part in the music, so that with my joy, my life a song, will harmonize with the soaring melody of creation to your praise. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

1Th 5:17  pray without ceasing,

Roberta Messner writes of a a four-year-old great-nephew and his habits of prayer. He seemed to be constantly uttering short breaths of prayer, such as, “Bless those sick people” when an ambulance would pass by their car. He once prayed for God to keep trick-or-treaters dry when it was raining on Halloween morning.

On Christmas day, when he smelled something burning, he cried out, “Lord, help the food!” And then, when he heard of a neighboring family who had lost a loved one, his simple prayer was, “Be with them, Jesus.”

Roberta writes, “After dinner, I sat at the end of the table and applied pressure to my eyes. ‘The medicine hasn’t touched my headache,’ I remarked to my brother. I noticed Braxton on the sofa, looking up from his computer game. He didn’t say a word, just lowered his head and moved his lips to the One Who hears every request from every believer, young or old.
“Somehow I wasn’t surprised when the pain behind my eyes disappeared.”

Just a simple reminder of the necessity and importance of prayer in our lives.

Eph 6:18  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Php 4:6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Col 4:2  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Father, thank you for this reminder, this morning, that I need to not shirk my duty/responsibility/privilege to pray without ceasing. Let this little, simply story of a four-year-old be an inspiration to me, as I go about my work day. While it is true that I am still not feeling well, that doesn’t stop me from praying. Let me be part of the symphony of praise in your creation, and may your Holy Spirit prompt me to pray at a moment’s notice, throughout this day.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.