I Have No Right to Judge

“All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height.” – Casey Stengel
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is tohubohu. Isn’t that a fun word? It means, “chaos; disorder; confusion.” I work in a place that, at times, seems to be overrun with tohubohu.

Tough choice today. Today is Onion Rings Day, but it’s also Chocolate Eclair Day. I present both, today, so you can make your own choice. Normally, I would choose anything with chocolate in it. But, for some reason, today, the onion rings sound better. Yes, even at 6:00 AM.

Not much to mention about yesterday. Work was fine, I felt pretty good, most of the day. We made soup in the crock pot for dinner. The Rangers lost to the Reds, ending their consecutive series win streak (this was a two game series, so they would have had to sweep to keep the streak going . . . #schedulemakerssmokingcrack)

Today is Wednesday. It’s the fourth Wednesday of June, so we have our Anchor prayer gathering tonight, at 7:00 PM. This means we pick something up on the way home, because we don’t have time to cook.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah.
You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.

Psalm 85:1-7

Time has an effect on “religion. The skeletal structure of obedience becomes arthritic, and the circulatory system of praise becomes sluggish.” The psalmist’s prayer, “Restore us again . . . revive us again,” moves toward keeping the body of Christ “youthful and responsive to every new mercy and grace in God.”

“O God, when my faith gets overladen with dust, blow it clean with the wind of your Spirit. When my habits of obedience get stiff and rusty, anoint them with the oil of your Spirit. Restore the enthusiasm of my first love for you and the alacrity of my first obedience to you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Undeviating Test

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Matthew 7:2

This is not a popular verse of Scripture. And many people try to twist it to fit their own ideology, so they can cast judgment on groups that they hate. But this statement of Jesus is brutally honest and “an eternal law of God.” It is not retaliation, it is retribution. “If you have been shrewd in finding out the defects in others, remember that will be exactly the measure given to you. Life serves back in the coin you pay.”

Paul takes it even further in Romans 2 when he says that “the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing.” But here, God is not necessarily looking at the act, he is looking at the possibility within us. I am well aware of what kinds of sins and crimes I am capable of. Much worse than what I have actually committed.

Do we truly believe the statements of the Bible? Do we believe that the things we criticize in others, we are guilty of ourselves? “The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is because they are all in our own hearts.” Yes, they are there. Does it mean I have been guilty of them in actions? Not necessarily, but probably, at some point in my life. But the grace of God has worked in me to hold my flesh back from sin. “Therefore I have no right to judge.”

The real test . . . the “undeviating test . . .” Who among us would stand before God and say, “‘My God, judge me as I have judged my fellow men?’ We have judged our fellow men as sinners; if God should judge us like that we would be in hell.”

Thanks be to God for his marvelous gift!

O, my Father, how I still struggle with this sin! Not as much as I used to, but it still plagues me. While I don’t tend to “hate” groups of people any more, I still struggle with casting judgment on individuals. Father, strike this plague from my heart! Give me the love of Christ for all people. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth! Help me to put the words of Jesus into practice in my life.

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.

Grace That Will Not Fail

Good morning. It is Monday, June 22, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is roustabout. If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, you might be thinking of a particular song by Yes. But that’s “Roundabout.” A roustabout could mean one of several things: a “deckhand,” “a person who loads and unloads ships at a seaport,” “an unskilled or semiskilled laborer especially in an oil field or refinery,” “a circus worker who erects and dismantles tents, cares for the grounds, and handles animals and equipment,” or, “a person with no permanent home or regular occupation; also : one who stirs up trouble.” I think my favorite is the circus definition.

Today is Chocolate Eclair Day. It was a tough decision, because the other selection was Onion Ring Day. But chocolate will usually win out over onions. Especially at 6:00 AM.

We had such a wonderful day, yesterday. We had a very nice lunch at El Paseo, in Mineral Wells, and then went back to my mother’s house, where we just sat and visited for a few hours, talking about whatever came to mind. My mother read from a journal that my dad had begun, describing his life, growing up. It was a very sweet time, remembering, and even hearing some things that I never knew about his younger days. The tears were very brief, but the memories so sweet. It was a great day.

This evening, I plan to go straight from work to Southlake/Grapevine, where I will sit in on a rehearsal for the Southlake Community Band. They have two more rehearsals, then a July 3 concert, after which they will take the month of July off. This should give me a chance to get a good feel of the group and whether I will enjoy playing with them. At this point, I have no idea what to expect.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song. In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah.
Glorious are you, more majestic than the mountains full of prey.
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil; they sank into sleep; all the men of war were unable to use their hands.
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse lay stunned.
But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused?
From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still,
when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah.
Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.
Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared,
who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

Psalm 76

(From Solid Joys)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14

Today’s reading is “How You Must Fight for Holiness.”

“There is a practical holiness without which we will not see the Lord. Many live as if this were not so.”

If we are not careful to understand what is being said, here, we might see a doctrine of salvation by works. But I can guarantee you that this is not what John Piper has in mind. There are people out there who profess to be Christians, but their lives are so unholy that they are in danger of hearing the most fearful words from Jesus, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23) Paul even tells us, in Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die.

So there is a holiness that is required to see God. And we fight for this by “faith in future grace.” We must not fight for it in our own strength. 1 Peter 4:11 says, whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. Romans 15:18, For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me. . .

2 Corinthians 9:8 also tells us, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. “Moment by moment, grace arrives to enable us to do ‘every good work’ that God appoints for us.”

“The fight for good works is a fight to believe in this future grace.”

Father, help me to fight for this holiness in my life, but make sure that I only fight for it in the strength that you give me, through your Spirit. Let me not struggle in my own flesh, in my own power, for I will surely fail. My flesh is weak, so very weak. But your Spirit is infinitely strong, and the grace that you provide for me is endless and limitless. Therefore, I will fight, but i will only fight in you power. Glorify yourself through me; glorify yourself through your Church.

I pray for this day, as we head back into another work week. May our travel be safe and smooth. May our work be productive and efficient. I pray for the drama situation at Christi’s job to be resolved. May you intervene and do whatever it takes to resolve this situation. I pray that Christi and I will both represent your Kingdom at our jobs, with the goal being for people to see Jesus in us.

Thank you, Lord, for a most wonderful Fathers Day visit, yesterday! Thank you for the strength that my mother exhibits, but this strength is also from you, and we are all very aware of this. If we resorted to seeking strength in our flesh, we would be without hope and joyless. But we are full of both hope and joy in the promises that you have given us, and the provision and protection that you give. May your surround Stephanie, Christi, Mama, Rachel, and Justin with your overwhelming love today.

Your grace is sufficient.

We fight for holiness, but we do not fight in our own flesh. We fight by faith in future grace, the grace that will never fail us.

Grace and peace, friends.

God’s Mystery

Good morning. Today is Saturday, June 22, 2013. We are officially on vacation. However we will not be leaving town until tomorrow, immediately following our worship service at The Exchange.

As I stated in previous blog entries, this has been a tough week. Thursday evening was tough, as I bid farewell to a bunch of “temp” employees that had been staffing our warehouse crew for the three years that I have worked at CEVA. Yesterday was difficult, as I talked to contract drivers who were making their Office Depot deliveries for the last time. We will likely see each other around, as I’ll keep working at CEVA, at least for now. The thing that hit me the hardest was when I walked down to the other end of the warehouse yesterday and saw this:
2013-06-21 15.35.45-1
They seriously didn’t waste any time. Now, you haven’t seen what used to be in that huge empty space. There was a circular automated conveyor system that we called the “racetrack.” Well, it actually wasn’t “circular.” More oval-shaped. Anyway, extending from that “racetrack” were two straight manual roller conveyors that extended out probably 30 yards or so. I don’t know the exact length. The went down to about the third yellow cement post you can see in the picture. All of this was bolted to the floor. It was all gone by noon yesterday. And they just finished the last sort, probably, around 3am yesterday morning. I seriously wasn’t prepared to see that. I took the picture, posted it on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with the caption, “And so it ends . . .” As I walked back to the office I was almost completely overwhelmed with emotion.

Later yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Christi. It seems that Amber was not doing so well. She had used the bathroom on our bed, and it was full of blood. She had lost about a pound since we got her home from the vet a couple weeks ago. I thought she had gained a little, but I was wrong. Her skin was peeling off in patches. We made a very difficult decision and took her back to the vet last night. This emotionally packed week was capped off by having this dear friend of the family (close to ten years, I think) put to sleep last night. The sole redeeming factor of this event was that the doctor we saw agreed with us 100%. She believes that Amber had some sort of intestinal cancer. We’re okay, but it was very sad.

The good news is that we’re going to Galveston tomorrow for a week of rest and relaxation. The current weather forecast for Galveston shows 30% chance of rain on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But that has been changing every day that I’ve looked at it over the last week, so who knows? And who cares? I may sit on the balcony in the rain and watch the waves.


Today is Chocolate Eclair Day. AND Onion Rings Day!! Oh, my gosh!! How am I supposed to choose?? I had some really good onion rings yesterday, at Flip’s Patio Grill. Yum. But yesterday wasn’t Onion Rings Day. It was Take Your Dog to Work Day. If I had done that, she might have eaten my onion rings!


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1527, Niccolo Machiavelli died at the age of 58, “on the outskirts of Florence, the city he loved so well, the city that had elevated, enriched, imprisoned, banished and forgotten him.” He spent the last 14 years of his life as “a gentleman farmer, living in obscurity, writing his books.” As his death approached, he said, “I would rather go to hell than to heaven. There I will enjoy the company of popes, kings and princes, while in the other place are only beggars, monks and apostles.” The fact that he used the word “enjoy” clearly indicates that he is confused about the concept of hell. His most influential work, The Prince was written during this time of “political wilderness.” It was “a treatise based on his observations of that ruthless, treacherous, implacable and capable soldier and nobleman, Cesare Borgia.” In it, he opined that it is safer for a ruler to feared than loved, if one had to choose.


Today’s birthday is Ian Kinsler, born on this date in 1982. Ian has been my favorite player on the Texas Rangers since he made his debut back in 2006. Stephanie and I were present when he got his first MLB hit. Happy birthday, Ian! Here’s a fan-made highlight video I found. The music drowns out the commentary at times, but I like the video anyway.

Honorable mentions go to H. Rider Haggard, 1856, John Dillinger, 1903, Johnny Jacobs, 1916, Kris Kristofferson, 1936, Pete Maravich, 1947, Howard Kaylan, 1947, Octavia Butler, 1947, Todd Rundgren, 1948, Lindsay Wagner, 1949, Meryl Streep, 1949, Cyndi Lauper, 1953, Bruce Campbell, 1958, and Steven Page, 1970.


I said I wasn’t going to take all morning to do this, and here it is 1230 already. In my defense, I have been interrupted a few times.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD. Psalm 135:1
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Psalm 71:2
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. Psalm 116:16

Father, I pray that you show me a vision of your holiness and righteousness as I delve into your word for this brief time today. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Knowledge of God’s Mystery.” The scripture reading is Colossians 2:1-3.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The knowledge of God is spoken of, here, as being a mystery. Yet it is, also, knowable, according to Paul. It has been hidden, but is now revealed, in the person of Jesus Christ. It is “understood to be the life of Christ within believers.” It is not a “generalized mystery or a vague sense of the holy. It is Christ himself, who is the treasure of wisdom and knowledge.” Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

I am challenged to meditate on this passage today, seeking right understanding about Christ as God’s mystery. Here is a prayer from Martin Luther:

“Lord God, dear Father, through your Holy Spirit you have taught and
enlightened the hearts of your believers. Through the same Spirit give us
a right understanding, to be glad at all times in his comfort and power,
through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”


Father, as I meditate on this and other passages of scripture, I certainly pray for “right understanding.” It is my heart’s desire to understand all of scripture, but I truly don’t expect that to ever happen. I will pray for understanding as you choose to enlighten me. Help me to seek solid truth, not “generalized mystery,’ or a “vague sense of the holy,” when I am meditating. My heart’s desire is to glorify you with every breath I take, every word I speak, and every meditation that goes through my mind. Help me to embrace the mystery that is Christ in me, the hope of glory.

I pray for this day, Father, as we go about the chores that we have, in preparation for leaving on our vacation trip tomorrow. I thank you for this week coming up, that we have the opportunity to get away and rest. Help us make the most of this time. I also pray for comfort in the loss of our pet.

I lift up Jacob Seay, as he prepares for his message to us tomorrow. Give him wisdom and courage as he “keeps on” as the leader of our church. I pray for a strong show of support for him at our worship service tomorrow. We love Joel, Lord, but I pray that the people of The Exchange are committed to you and to the church, not to the people who started the church. They are but men. It is you we serve, the Lord God Almighty.

Your grace is sufficient.


Take time to seek and celebrate God’s Mystery in your life today.

Grace and peace, friends.