How To Defeat Evil

In truth, this is how we are supposed to defeat evil. Not by “killing” it, but by praying for God to make Himself known among the nations, among those people who are the perpetrators of evil.

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), July 23, 2020. Peace be with you!

Day 22,778

27 days until S’s birthday! She’d better get busy on that birthday list!

C’s doctor visit went well, yesterday afternoon. She continues to feel better. There is still a bit of dizziness, but not as bad, and I can tell by her countenance and even the tone of voice when she speaks that she is feeling much better.

We had Crock Pot Chicken Ranch Soup, last night, and watched episode four of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, the HBO miniseries about Michelle McNamara and the Golden State Killer. After that, we watched the first episode of HBO’s new Perry Mason series. It had its moments, but I don’t think it grabbed us.

I just looked it up and I was right. I thought the original Perry Mason was a lawyer. This one is a private investigator. I doubt we we will watch any more of it.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
(Psalms 29:2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the glory of Your Name and the splendor of Your holiness
  2. That You give strength to Your people and bless us with peace
  3. That You worked salvation for me, even while I was still Your enemy (Romans 5:10)
  4. That if we seek You, You will make sure that You are found by us
  5. That You show us how to defeat evil by doing good

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
(Psalms 31:1 ESV)

May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!
(Psalms 29:11 ESV)

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
(Matthew 17:1-2 ESV)

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:20-28 ESV)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
(Psalms 19:1-6 ESV)

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!
(Ephesians 2:1-5 MSG)

But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.
(Ephesians 2:11-13 MSG)

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
(1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV)

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
(Proverbs 8:17 ESV, Wisdom speaking)

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
(Acts 17:26-27 ESV)

As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Cover their faces with shame, LORD, so that they will seek your name. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:14-18 NIV)

I find it interesting that, in the midst of this psalm, where the Asaph is praying that God would destroy His enemies, suddenly, the psalmist changes his tune, so to speak.

In verse 16, he is suddenly asking God to cause His enemies to “seek Your name.” While it may be true that Asaph is more interested in God’s vindication than he is the salvation of God’s (and his) enemies, we see a precedent that is carried further, in light of Christ and the Cross.

In truth, this is how we are supposed to defeat evil. Not by “killing” it, but by praying for God to make Himself known among the nations, among those people who are the perpetrators of evil.

“Christ gives us great resources for turning enemies into God’s friends. He died for us while we were yet God’s enemies (Romans 5:10), which motivates us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:14-21).”

“Lord, I praise You because when I was Your enemy, You lovingly drew me to Yourself. How can I respond any differently to those who are making my life difficult? Help me to forgive those who mistreat me from the heart, and then seek their good, even if and when I tell them things they don’t want to hear. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, we struggle with response to evil in our world. There are many who respond with hatred that is misplaced, and directed toward the people who do evil. But Jesus has commanded us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us and mistreat us. Help us all to see that the true way to defeat evil in this world is by doing good and by praying that You would make Yourself known to them. Thank You for saving me, even when I was Your enemy. Help me to pray the same for any “enemies” that I might have.

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!

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(Romans 5:7-11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

I Will Not Forget You

“Lord, I worry because I forget Your wisdom, I resent because I forget Your mercy, I covet because I forget Your beauty, I sin because I forget Your holiness, I fear because I forget Your sovereignty. You always remember me; help me to always remember You. Amen.”

Today is Friday, July 3, 2020, in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,758

July Fourth is tomorrow! Today is my holiday from work, since it is on Saturday. And today is the day that the Hamilton movie premiers on Disney+!

47 days until S’s birthday!

There were 57,236 new Coronavirus cases in the US, yesterday. I expect an even bigger spike after this weekend, when a lot of people, especially in our “great state” of Texas, ignore the advice of “experts.” Once again, more than half of those new cases were in only four states. Florida (10,109), California (9,352), Texas (7,535), and Georgia (3,472).

These are just numbers. What is behind those numbers are people. Human beings. With souls. People who, just like all of us, need one another to survive.

The Texas governor has issued a mask mandate, beginning at noon today. the details are slightly vague (as is the custom of politicians), but it seems to state that if we live in a county that has more than twenty active cases, if we go out in public, we must wear a mask. The reason I say it’s vague is that I’m unclear if it means we have to wear a mask if we are alone in our cars. There’s really no point in that. Some businesses, such as Subway, are enforcing the already-in-place Tarrant County mandate. There is a sign on the door that states that you must wear a mask to enter the store.

And let me be totally honest. I am good with that. I am willing to “suffer” (it’s not, really, you know) this “inconvenience” (also not) for the greater good. In this case, as famously spoken by Spock, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.” That was actually a combined quote of Spock and Kirk. But you get the meaning.

What are the plans for the day? The weekend? Not much. We will probably get groceries today, as we are out of a few things that we normally have. We plan to watch the Hamilton movie, probably while we eat brunch. I will, no doubt, spend too much time playing The Last of Us, Part II on the PS4. I also plan to get some reading done, as well as some time in the “recording studio.” That’s the same room I am in right now. Half of the room is the recording studio, which consists of a laptop loaded with Pro Tools, a keyboard, some speakers, and a couple of guitars. The rest of the room is just the “study.” Do you notice the similarities between the words “studio” and “study?”

I suppose it is time to get on with what’s really important.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!
(Psalms 99:9 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For an extended weekend
  2. That You, O Lord, are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding steadfast love (Psalm 103:8)
  3. That You have turned Your face toward me
  4. That You will not forget us
  5. For Your wisdom, Your mercy, Your beauty (O yes, Your infinite beauty, O my God!!), Your holiness, and Your sovereignty

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
(Psalms 40:13 ESV)

But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me! For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me.
(Psalms 109:21-22 ESV)

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
(Psalms 103:8 ESV)

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
(John 3:17-19 ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
(Psalms 40:1-3 ESV)

Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
(Psalms 55:17 ESV)

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
(James 3:1-6 ESV)

Lord, please help us control our tongues, and keep us from doing harm with them. This applies also to fingers on keyboards.


But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

This could be also applied to a person’s behavior. I’m convicted, right now, as I consider the behavior of a certain person at work. This person is loud and obnoxious, and, therefore, annoying to the max. But what is going on inside this person’s heart? That is what I should be more concerned about than the fact that I am annoyed.

Father, forgive me, and give me more wisdom and care for this person.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
(Proverbs 15:1 ESV)

This, of course, involves that tongue thing from the James passage.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV)


The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand up like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas; he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.
(Psalms 78:9-16 NIV)

We get a sort of warning from this passage. Those “men of Ephraim,” according to Keller, were the northern tribes of Israel, who fell into idolatry and eventually were deported and “lost to history (2 Kings 17).”

“The root of their problem was spiritual forgetting (verse 11).” We, as modern believers in Christ, can also suffer from spiritual stagnation, forgetting, as 2 Peter 1:9 says, that we have been cleansed from our sins.

“The key is to have a heart constantly vitalized by deliberate remembering of the costly sacrifice of Jesus. We must remember that for our sins Jesus was, as it were, forgotten.” Forgotten? That’s harsh. But in Matthew 27:46, Jesus cries out with that most chilling question, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (The Message)

Because of this, our Father “can now no more forget us than a mother her nursing infant (Isaiah 49:14-16).”

May we preach the gospel to ourselves daily, that we might remember these things.

“Lord, I worry because I forget Your wisdom, I resent because I forget Your mercy, I covet because I forget Your beauty, I sin because I forget Your holiness, I fear because I forget Your sovereignty. You always remember me; help me to always remember You. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)


Father, You have spoken volumes to me, this morning. Both in content and loudness. I hear You. Teach me to remember Your wisdom, Your mercy, Your beauty (O yes, Your infinite beauty, O my God!!), Your holiness, and Your sovereignty. Teach all of us who are frightened right now to remember Your sovereignty. Thank You for remembering me/us!

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!

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”
(Isaiah 49:14-16 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Faith and Works

Today is Thursday, July 2, 2020, in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,757

Two days until the Fourth of July! One day until the Hamilton movie premiers on Disney+!!

The US set a new record high of new Coronavirus cases yesterday, with 51,097. We are very close to one percent of our population having been infected. Which is sad, because the percentage for the entire world is still only .14%. This means that the US has nearly ten times the cases per million than the entire world combined.

Well, my computer just decided to re-boot itself, right in the middle of a sentence. I had written another paragraph, but since it is now at least five minutes later, I must press on with the devotions.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
(Psalms 99:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That today is (hopefully) the last day of work for this week
  2. That we do not rely on the strength of men or armies to save or deliver us, but that Your eyes are upon those who fear You (Psalm 33)
  3. For the gift of faith
  4. For the gift of obedience
  5. For Your steadfast love that surrounds us daily

Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high.
(Psalms 7:7 ESV)

Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
(Psalms 106:47 ESV)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
(Psalms 33:12 ESV)

So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.
(Luke 20:20-26 ESV)

The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
(Psalms 33:13-22 ESV)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 ESV)

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
"Lord God Almighty,
You have made all the peoples of the earth for Your glory,
to serve You in freedom and in peace:
Give to the people of our country
a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance,
that we may use our liberty in accordance
with Your gracious will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, 
for ever and ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)

Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.
(Proverbs 22:6 MSG)

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
(Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV)

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(Psalms 86:5 ESV)

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
(Isaiah 54:13 ESV)

Daily Guideposts 2020 writer Julia Attaway shares from her heart concerning a daughter who has “grown ambivalent about her beliefs.”

Today, I lift up a prayer for all parents who find themselves in similar circumstances. Father, draw our children back to You! Please protect them in the lives that they have chosen. May Your grace and mercy, Your steadfast love, find them and surround them on all sides.


A maskil of Asaph.

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
(Psalms 78:1-8 NIV)

This is another historical psalm, recounting “the history of Israel from its deliverance from Egypt to the kingship of David.” The psalmist expresses hope that the next generation would not be like their ancestors, stubborn and rebellious. He also expresses a more positive hope that they would “put their trust in God.”

It is not enough to know the truth about God. As Jesus expressed, even the demons do that. We must put our trust in Him, from the heart, from the most intimate, deep-seated place in our being.

It is also not enough to simply obey, going through the motions of “faith” without the actual substance of it. External behavior is worthless without the faith to accompany it, which has been demonstrated by lifeless rituals in the live of the Church throughout history.

“Lord, I can obey You dutifully, but that will not satisfy You. You want my heart. But like Paul I see impulses within me that resist You. Replace my still-stony heart with a heart of flesh. help me love You and want You. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)


Indeed, Father, I have found myself living out the shell of outward behavior/obedience, without the inward fruit of faith. But, I would argue, the opposite has been true, as well. I have expressed faith, but then failed to obey. Which is worse? I don’t know. I believe they are pretty equally bad. Help me to have the faith and the works to go along with it. Teach me Your ways, that I may walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your name.

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!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Danger of Self-Sufficiency

Today is Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,741

Five days until Father’s Day!

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it, but we’re actually going to be blessed with a visit from R & J Saturday! I’m very excited, as we haven’t seen them since the day after my birthday, in March. We won’t do anything crazy, like go out to a restaurant, though. We are in no hurry to get out an mingle with people. I have to mingle enough, Monday through Friday, at work. But at least I know those people. I’m sure we will order something to be delivered or pick something up and eat at home.

I had a pretty good day at work, yesterday, getting the Expedites pretty much caught up, and the unreceivables queue down significantly. But that could change in a moment. All it takes is for program people to go crazy submitting expedites for their material.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Have you ever prayed for “only God’s will” to be done? We pray that line in the Lord’s prayer, frequently. You know the one: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But I don’t know that I’ve ever actually prayed that line in this prayer. “Let only your will be done in me and in all your creatures.” We could turn it around. Don’t let anything happen to me today that is NOT Your will! Sorry to go down a rabbit trail, but I think that is pretty weighty.

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
(Psalms 47:5-8 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You sit on Your holy throne; I want to hear Your shout!
  2. That You get me up before dawn to cry out to You
  3. That You are the Alpha and Omega, the One who is, who was, and who is to come (Revelation 1:8)
  4. A couple of humbling events that occurred yesterday
  5. That all that I am and have has come from You

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
(Psalms 119:147 ESV)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalms 115:1 ESV)

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
(Psalms 92:12-13 ESV)

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32 ESV)

Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
(Psalms 33:1-5 ESV)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 ESV)

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
(Proverbs 17:17 ESV)

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
(1 Samuel 18:1-4 ESV)

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 ESV)


They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
(Psalms 73:4-9 NIV)

If you remember from yesterday, the psalmist is talking about how he almost stumbled by envying the wicked. This description of “the elites of his day is almost timeless. They have healthy, sleek bodies; today we might call them the beautiful people (verse 4). They have the powerful connections to avoid the burdensome responsibilities most people face (verses 5 and 12).”

They take full credit for their station in life, even though they have been what some people might call “lucky.” They feel superior to everyone below them.

“The root of it all is that they see no need for God. If there is a heaven, they feel they have earned it (verses 9 and 11).”

But we believers should take note. We also lean toward self-sufficiency in our spiritual lives. Isn’t it true that we pray less when things are going well? “And why do we secretly feel that we deserve the lives that they have?”

“Lord, there has never been a human society without overweening pride at the top and bitter envy at the bottom. That is why if the ‘have-nots’ ever overthrow the ‘haves’ they become the same. Father, give our culture your grace, humbling both leaders and followers and giving us peace. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)


Father, I haven’t struggled with this so much in the last few years. I’m not as envious of the “haves,” but a lot of people would probably consider me one of the “haves,” as it seems that, thanks to Your blessings in our lives, we have all that we need and a lot of what we don’t need. You have done a few things in the past few days that have humbled me a bit. Good things, for which I am grateful. Please keep me on level ground, with a level head. Keep me humble, both spiritually and otherwise. Don’t let me fall into envy or self-sufficiency. I know that I have nothing that You did not give me. My sin is the only thing which I can call my own, and You have washed me clean of that.

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!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Say Only What Helps

Today is Sunday, June 14, 2020, in the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time. Peace be with you!

Today is the “Solemnity of Corpus Christi,” or, “Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.”

Day 22,739

Seven days until Father’s Day.

Also, I just realized, yesterday, that July 4th falls on Saturday, this year. Hopefully, we will get Friday the 3rd off as our holiday.

Yesterday was a fun day! C went out early, and missed our WW virtual workshop. She had things she needed to do. Or wanted to do. One of those. Part of those things was buying a new mattress for our bed. She wants a softer mattress as the one we have had for the last I-don’t-remember-how-many years is uncomfortable to her, now. She called saying she had found one, but did I want to come lay on it, and I said that I would be fine with whatever fit her and made her comfortable. I believe it is supposed to be delivered on Tuesday.

She also bought a new recliner. Our old one is, indeed, getting old, squeaky, and falling apart. I’m not sure when the new recliner is being delivered. The last thing she did was go to the grocery store. No, that’s not quite right. She went and got us Subway for dinner.

All the while she was out, I was playing with Pro Tools and my new Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. I spent most of the day in here (in the study) messing with it. I had some favorable results, I believe. I laid down piano, vocal, and bass guitar (synthesized) tracks for the most recent song I wrote. It took me a little while to get my keyboard to act like a MIDI controller, but I finally got that to work. Then I realized, when I couldn’t find a proper bass guitar sound in Pro Tools, that I had failed to download one of the files that came with the software, last November! I got that downloaded, and now have a veritable plethora of instrument sounds with which to work!

While we ate our dinner, we watched Rocketman on Amazon Prime. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It is an interesting movie, more fantasy than reality, about the life of Reginald Dwight, aka Elton Hercules John. It contains disturbing things about his life, many of which I was not aware of until last night. I also did a little fact-checking and learned that, just as I suspected, the time line of a lot of the songs was way off (by several years in some cases), and a few of the events did not happen exactly the way they were portrayed. However, the movie does not pretend to be an exact biopic of Elton John. I mean, crowds burst into song and choreographed dance to songs such as “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”

This morning, we have our worship gathering of The Church at Brandon and Kristin’s, at 10:15. I’m leading this week’s Scripture readings, and we will be reading 1 Peter 3:8-16, Ephesians 4:25-32, and James 3:1-12. The topic will be our words and how we use our tongues. This is a topic that is very near and dear to me, because it is one with which I struggle mightily.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
(Psalms 30:4-5 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, both in person and via Zoom
  2. That joy still comes in the morning and hope still walks with the hurting, and that I’m still alive and breathing (Thanks, Matt Maher)
  3. For kindness
  4. For the inspiration to watch the words that come out of my mouth
  5. For the confidence to surrender

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
(Psalms 142:5 ESV)

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,
You take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us; 
You are seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer.
For You alone are the Holy One,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.
(Glory in Excelsis)

“At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.”
(Psalms 75:2 ESV)

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
(Luke 4:16-22 ESV)

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
(Psalms 12:5-7 ESV)

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
(Proverbs 3:3 ESV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(Hebrews 13:2 ESV)


Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV)

Let’s see how this is presented in The Message.

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:25-32 MSG)

“Watch the way you talk.” And, by association, I think, we could also apply this to what we type. We do a lot more typing than talking, these days, thanks to social media.

I’m sure there would be some who would try to form a loophole by saying that it specifically talks about words that come out of our mouths. And the things I type on Facebook don’t come out of my mouth. I would argue that they are wrong, because, as is the case so much of the time, we need to be hearing the spirit of what is being said, just as much as the literal words.

Jesus said that the things that come out of our mouths indicate what is in our heart.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:45 ESV)

So, can a person’s heart be good at times, and evil at other times?

I’m not wise enough to know the answer to that question, but I must confess I hope that is the case, because my words, sometimes, certainly don’t indicate that there is goodness in my heart.

The Holy Spirit and I are working on that, however.

The things that we say (or type) should not be corrupt, foul, or dirty; they should not be filled with hatred. They should be helpful; they should be for building up.

Does this mean we can’t be critical. Not at all. As long as our criticism is for the purpose of being helpful or building up. Not all criticism tears down. Being able to master this, however, is quite tricky.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
(Proverbs 10:19 ESV)

Or, as Eugene Peterson paraphrased it,

The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.
(Proverbs 10:19 MSG)

There’s an old adage, and there are a few variations on it. I know it as, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.” Then there’s this “THINK” acronym.

Is it:
True
Helpful
Inspiring
Necessary
Kind

Facebook might be a much “quieter” place if everyone followed that ideology. And, for sure, the world we be a nicer place, a kinder place.

As for those of us who follow Christ, there is no excuse for the words that come out of our mouths to ever be hateful or hurtful. Ever. I don’t care how much you don’t like that politician. Or celebrity. Or co-worker.


Father, I pray for the truth of these verses to infiltrate my heart. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3) I pray for our worship gathering, this morning, and that You would inspire everyone in Your Church to also guard the things that they allow to come out of their mouths or through their fingertips.

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!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Embrace Humility

“God spent considerable time warning us against egotism, conceit, and pride. Jesus was a walking, talking advertisement for living to serve and not expecting adulation in return. He told us to study the flowers and learn from them.” (Pam Kidd, Daily Guideposts 2020)

Today is Thursday, June 4, 2020, in the ninth week of ordinary time. Peace be with you!

Day 22,279

30 days until July 4th

We’ve made it to Thursday, which I call “pre-Friday.” Again, nothing much is happening around here. Luna (cat) continues to do adorable things, and she has started purring. C and S claim she’s growing . . . she still looks tiny to me.

Yesterday was my first real attempt to drink the amount of water recommended for me, by a formula presented on the WW app. Said formula goes like this. Divide your weight (pounds) by 2.2. Why 2.2? I have no idea. Okay. That’s 286/2.2=130. Then multiply this by a number (seemingly random), based on age. My number is 30. Okay. 130X30=3900. Don’t panic. We’re not done. I’m NOT supposed to drink 3900 ounces of water.

Next, divide that result by 28.3. 28.3?? Where on earth . . .? I’m sure there is some science behind that, but they do not reveal this. Okay 3900/28.3=137.8. I’ll round that up and say that I should drink 138 ounces of water. Per day. That’s more than half of what the “standard” has been in past years, which has always been, “Everyone should drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day.”

So, yesterday, I reached that goal. Plus some. I wound up drinking 160 ounces of water, yesterday. A gallon is 128 ounces, people! Do you have any idea how many times I went to the bathroom yesterday?

I’m going to aim closer to the goal today. The weird thing is, I still woke up in the middle of the night with parched mouth, so dry I almost couldn’t move my tongue. And I’m pretty sure I don’t sleep with my mouth open, since I sleep with a CPAP, but who knows?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
(Psalms 51:15 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For water, and the benefits it brings
  2. For Your light and Your truth (Psalm 43:3). Let them lead me!
  3. That righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne, and that steadfast love and faithfulness go before You (Psalm 89:14)
  4. For the vision of You given us by Jesus
  5. For the call to put way ego and embrace humility

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
(Psalms 43:3-4 ESV)

O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you?
(Psalms 89:8 ESV)

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
(Psalms 89:14 ESV)

I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
(Psalms 116:9 ESV)

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
(Mark 10:17-27 ESV)

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.
(Psalms 102:25-28 ESV)

Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
(Psalms 55:17 ESV)

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.

“Holy Father, creator and sustaining wisdom of all that is, both in heaven and on earth, take from me those thoughts, actions and objects that are hurtful. Give me instead those things that are profitable for me and all who seek rightly to praise You. I ask this grace in the company of all believers and through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is, with You and the Holy Spirit, one god forever and ever. Amen.”


Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
(John 14:8-14 ESV)

Jesus could not possibly be more clear in this passage. In essence, He has said, “If you want to know what the Father looks like, look at Me.”


It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
(Proverbs 25:27 ESV)

“God spent considerable time warning us against egotism, conceit, and pride. Jesus was a walking, talking advertisement for living to serve and not expecting adulation in return. He told us to study the flowers and learn from them.”
(Pam Kidd, Daily Guideposts 2020)

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
(Isaiah 5:21 ESV)

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
(Matthew 23:12 ESV)


You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
(Psalms 69:19-21 NIV)

At first, this just looks like David whining. But look deeper.

“Suddenly there is a startling reminder of Jesus–how on the cross he was scorned, disgraced, and shamed, helpless, friendless, and offered vinegar to drink.” Compare verse 21 to John 19:28-29.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
(John 19:28-29 ESV)

Humility is probably one of the most difficult character traits to develop. Some people seem to be naturally humble. I have always struggled with that. I don’t, outwardly, believe myself to be better than anyone. But my inward sense of judgmentalness with which I struggle says differently.


Father, Jesus gave us the perfect picture of what You look like. He also gave us the perfect example of humility and how to walk in that, as He walked humbly all the way to His death on the cross. Show me that same humility today, as I walk in Your kingdom, through this day. Make me a servant, and take away that grumbling spirit that so often surfaces when someone asks something of me. I am here to serve; You and others. It’s not about me.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to embrace humility.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Glorious Worship

Today is Friday, May 22, 2020, in the sixth week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,716

Three days until Memorial Day.

I’m on PTO today, so the blog entry is a bit later, this morning. Combined with Monday’s holiday, that gives me a four-day weekend, followed by another four-day work week. I like that. The downside is that I am missing today’s “free” lunch at work. Of course, as we all know, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” TANSTAAFL.

I haven’t reported and COVID-19 numbers, lately, but since my last report, the world has passed five million cases and three hundred thousand deaths. The USA had over twenty-eight thousand new cases, yesterday, a significant spike from recent days. Oddly enough, it is approximately fourteen days since we started re-opening places. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I don’t exactly have any plans for the day, or the weekend, for that matter. We won’t be going anywhere, really, for the holiday. I doubt we will even cook out. But we might. Who knows. It’s been a while since I cranked up the old grill. C is working today, so I’ll be trying to not bother her. I’ll stay in the study or the bedroom, maybe read a lot today. I won’t be playing on the PS4, though, until after she finishes work. There’s also a possibility that I will make the grocery run today. Of course, there will be Sonic drinks.

Little Luna (cat) is settling in quite nicely, I think. She’s an energetic little fluff of fur. I just went and said good morning to her. She had to get off the bed and run round my feet and legs for a few minutes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”

Charles de Foucauld

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
(Psalms 105:4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. For a long weekend and the rest it will bring
2. That You know my foolishness, and my wrongs are not hidden from You (Psalm 69.5)
3. For Your steadfast love and mercy, that never ends
4. That You have called everyone on earth to praise you
5. That You are patient with us when our worship is trivial and pretentious

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)

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

When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.
(Psalms 65:3 ESV)

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
(Matthew 6:22-23 ESV)

Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
(Psalms 25:6-11 ESV)

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 merciful God, in your goodness keep me, I pray, from all things that may hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
(Psalms 116:5 ESV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:22-25 ESV)

For the director of music. A song. A psalm.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.” Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!

(Psalms 66:1-5 NIV)

Everyone on earth is called to praise God (verse 1). This praise consists of singing “the glory of His name,” and the awesomeness of His deeds (verses 2 and 3). The character of this praise, or the description of it, is “glorious” (verse 2).

So what, exactly, is glorious praise?

“‘Glory’ has connotations of weightiness, dignity, magnificence, and beauty. Glorious worship is exuberant, never halfhearted. It is attractive, not off-putting. It is awesome, never sentimental. It is brilliant, not careless. It points to God, not to the speakers. It fits its great object–it seeks to be as glorious as the one it praises. So worship should be ‘never trivial, never pretentious.'” (The quote within the quote is from Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary, by Derek Kidner)

Glorious worship is what will win the world.

“Lord, so much of the public worship of your church is indeed trivial and pretentious. Let my church–and churches across the world–begin to praise you ‘in Spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24). Grant us anointed worship–so beautiful that it attracts even those whose hearts are hardened toward you. Amen.”
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, I pray, along with the Kellers, that our worship of You would, indeed, be glorious. When we “gather” this Sunday, let there be no pretense or triviality in the content of our worship. May the worship we offer match the glory of the One whom we worship.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to worship.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1.24-25

Grace and peace, friends.

Salvation Transcends All Boundaries

Today is Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in the sixth week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,714

Five days until Memorial Day!

And only one more day (after today) until my long weekend, because I decided, over the past weekend, to take a PTO day on Friday so I can have a four-day weekend! After this Friday, I still have seven days of PTO left for the year, along with three “floating holidays.” Of course, it is my understanding that I have to use two of those floaters for the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

A tough decision was made yesterday, to give Moe (cat) back to his foster mother. She was fine with that, as she said she had almost been crying ever since we took him. I realize we hadn’t even had him for a week, but he was hiding the entire time. At one point, we were seriously afraid he was lost, and that he might have gotten out the pet door during the night. But he finally came out of nowhere (cats can do that, you know . . . even Robert Heinlein has a book about a cat that walks through walls) in S’s room. But by that time, S and C had already decided that he wasn’t going to work out for us.

Needless to say, yesterday morning was really tough. I had been trying to do this thing that was recommended by the last book I read, Life Without Lack, by Dallas Willard. It’s about spending a day with Jesus. The idea is not to go off by yourself and be silent in solitude for a whole day. Rather, the idea is to go about your daily routine, work, and whatever, with the conscious idea that Jesus is with you. It is much harder than you might think. I managed to make it about a half day Monday, and yesterday was a complete train wreck.

But a very positive thing happened, that boosted my faith. I had been praying, hard, all morning, that Moe would be found. Shortly before lunch, S called me to tell me that she had found him in her room. Who knows where he had been hiding? But my prayers were answered.

They are now looking for a female kitten. Fun times. Honestly, I think that would be a better choice. Let her grow up with S, in her room, rather than take her out of an environment she has been in for a year or longer.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”

Charles de Foucauld

Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared,
(Psalms 76:11 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. For answered prayers (had a big one yesterday)
2. That the taste of your Words is sweeter than honey in my mouth (Psalm 119.103)
3. For You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
4. That Your great salvation transcends all boundaries of race, politics, geography, and economics
5. That You are the hope of all the ends of the earth (Psalm 65.5)

Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
(Psalms 119:169-170 ESV)

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
(Psalms 54:6 ESV)

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalms 119:103 ESV)

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 7:12 ESV)

Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them, that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.
(Psalms 106:1-5 ESV)

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 merciful God, in your goodness keep me, I pray, from all things that may hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.
(Psalms 65:5-8 NIV)

God is our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth (verse 5). “God’s salvation began with Abraham’s family, who then became the nation of Israel, and now has burst all boundaries of nation, race, language, ethnic origin, or geographical location. We must prepare our hearts for the rich diversity of heaven (Revelation 7:9) by showing love for all, and especially those of God’s people on earth who are far from us socially, economically, racially, politically, or any other way.”

Another great word for our time from Pastor Keller and his wife.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
(Revelation 7:9 NIV)

“Lord, I am so absorbed in my own troubles I don’t see and praise you for what you are doing across the world. Help me to escape the defense mechanism of racial superiority so I can embrace, learn from, and rejoice in my brothers and sisters across the boundaries of race, class, and nationality. Amen.”

Yes, Father, may I remember today, that Your great salvation transcends all boundaries. May I equally show Your love to all I encounter today. Walk with me today, Jesus, as I walk through this day. Be with me all day. Take me through the daily grind today, and help me to set my mind upon You.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us how much You love all people.
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.

“Yes, My Soul, Find Rest In God”

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Today is Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in the fifth week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,706

Thirteen days until Memorial Day. Unless there is a miracle, I’m sure it will just be another day off work at home, for us.

C tripped and fell on a walk, yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, she just scraped one hand and bruised another. There was a segment of sidewalk that stuck up about two inches higher than the rest, and she happened to be looking at her Fitbit to check her steps. I’m so glad she didn’t hurt herself worse. What concerns me more is that she didn’t take her phone with her. But, angels were watching out for her.

Traffic is picking up in the afternoons. I’m not getting home as quickly as I did for a couple of weeks. The morning drive is still pretty great, though. More people are getting out and about in the afternoon, but I guess they still aren’t going back to work, and school is out until at least September.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”

Charles de Foucauld

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
(Psalms 95:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. For Your face that shines down upon us!
2. For Your angels that are ministering spirits to us.
3. Your open arms, to which I can run, when in distress.
4. For the rest that my soul finds in You.
5. For helping me to stop working for Your blessing, but trusting that my salvation is in You alone.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
(Psalms 67:1 ESV)

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
(Psalms 123:1-2 ESV)

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
(Psalms 7:17 ESV)

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
(Acts 1:1-5 ESV)

Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one. The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne. If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.”
(Psalms 132:8-12 ESV)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
(Psalms 17:8 ESV)

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.

“Remember, O Lord, what you have wrought in us and not what we deserve, and, as you have called me to your service, make me worthy of your calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
“For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
“In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.

“He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
(2 Samuel 22:1-7, 17-20 ESV)

“While our distresses may be small in comparison to David’s, God welcomes us to run to Him to find the shelter we long for. His arms are always open. Therefore we ‘sing the praises of [His] name’ (v. 50.”
(Anne Cetas, Our Daily Bread)

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
(Psalms 62:5-8 NIV)

In verse 5, David speaks to his soul, reminding it to follow the truth of verse 1 and find rest in God. “The battle to shape our hearts with the truths our minds know is never over.” Our salvation comes from God alone, not from anyone or anything else, including any of our own efforts. And we need to remind ourselves of this.

I have heard more than one preacher/writer say that we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves constantly. We need to remind ourselves, and we need to remind others. That’s why we have hymns and worship songs that seem to be more “about” God than “toward” God. We need to sing to one another about the great truths of God’s Word, and that, too, is worship.

Romans 4.5 says it well.

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
(Romans 4:5 ESV)

When we do not strive for our own salvation, our faith is counted as righteousness. And notice that David does not simply talk to himself, but also speaks to “you people.” That makes me laugh a little. “You people need to trust in the Lord!”

“We can best help others with their fears and distress when we have been through our own and found God faithful, our rock and our refuge.”

While this may seem a little scattered and disjunct, there really is a them in it. Rest in the Lord, and remind yourself, and others, of this truth that our strength and salvation comes from Him alone.

“Lord, the deepest impulse of my heart is to do things to secure your blessing rather than rest in what Christ has done for me. This only makes me anxious and in turn insecure and self-righteous. Teach me to ‘cast my deadly “doing” down–down at Jesus feet’ and to ‘stand in him, in him alone, gloriously complete.’ Amen.” (Quote from James Proctor, “It Is Finished,” hymn.)

Father, help my soul to rest in You today. Help me to remind myself, as well as my brothers and sisters, of these truths. Help us to remind each other. We do this by reminding ourselves and each other of Your truth in Your Word. Help us to hide it in our hearts, that we may walk more completely in Your kingdom. I pray for the presence of Christ in my life throughout this day. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done today.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to rest in You!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

God Is Enough

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
(Psalms 67:5 ESV)

Today is Monday, May 11, 2020, in the fifth week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,705

Fourteen days until Memorial Day.

We had a good virtual church gathering, yesterday morning. Attendance was a little bit down, but it was Mother’s Day, and one of our larger families was dealing with a death in the family. We still had some good discussion, though, on passages that deal with our value in God’s eyes. I consider that “worship,” even though we don’t usually sing any worship songs. As long as we are participating in what the early disciples did, which is praying and reading Scripture, I believe it’s worship. The one major thing missing is the Supper, but we feel that should not be attempted in a virtual setting like that. Some churches are doing that, and that’s okay. We just don’t want to.

It was a nice Mother’s Day, according to C. Actually, I believe she used the word “great.” And one of her gifts actually showed up yesterday afternoon. So that was nice. The other probably won’t be here until at least tomorrow.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.
(Psalms 71:8 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. For the beginning of a new work week, and the opportunities it will bring to serve You and the people around me.
2. That Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119.105)
3. That You have taught me from my youth (Psalm 71.17)
4. For our Helper, the Holy Spirit.
5. That You are enough.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
(Psalms 119:105 ESV)

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
(Psalms 71:17 ESV)

This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
(Psalms 118:23 ESV)

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
(John 15:26-27 ESV)

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
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. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

(Psalms 67:1-7 ESV)

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

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.

“Remember, O Lord, what you have wrought in us and not what we deserve; and, as you have called me to your service, make me worthy of your calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

“Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”

Charles de Foucauld

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

(Psalms 62:1-4 NIV)

“This is a psalm for those under stress, and the first verse is the key to facing it. Literally it says, ‘Only toward God my soul is silence.'” If you pay attention to your soul during times of stress, you might find that it is chattering away: “We need this! We have to have this! We’re not gonna make it!” The general idea seems to be that God is not enough, “some other circumstance or condition or possession is necessary to be happy and secure.” Just look around during this time of pandemic and see the reactions of some people.

But David has learned to speak to his soul and say, “‘I need only one thing to survive and thrive–and I have it. I need only God and his all-powerful fatherly love and care–everything else is expendable.'”

Note that last phrase. “Everything else is expendable.” Once we have this realization firmly established in our souls, we truly will “never be shaken.”

“Lord, I praise you for your all-sufficiency–that you are enough for my heart, my life, my joy. Forgive me for not praising and treasuring you and your salvation until I come to the place of rest. Help me do so now. Amen.”
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

This reminds me of a song I hear frequently on the Pray As You Go app. It’s The Prayer of St. Theresa, by Margaret Rizza.

“Let nothing disturb you,
nothing distress you.
While all things fade away,
God is unchanging.
Be patient,
for with God in your heart,
nothing is lacking.
God is enough.”

Father, teach me these truths. Let my soul be in silence before You, finding rest and sufficiency. Truly help me learn to live a life without lack, because truly You are enough. I have You, I need nothing else. Instruct my soul today. Help me speak truth to my soul, truth from Your Word.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us that You are enough!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3.17

Grace and peace, friends.