People Depend On Prayer

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”~~Marcel Prous

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is bookaholic, which means, as you might expect, ” A habitual and prolific reader; a compulsive book buyer.” I would certainly qualify as a bookaholic. There’s bonus word today, from, a much lesser-known word. Florilegium means “a collection of literary pieces; anthology.” As a bookaholic, I possess a number of florileiums. Would that be “florilegia?”

Why all of this talk about books? Because today is World Book Day, that’s why!!

I wound up having to work late, last night, until just after 5:30. Christi had a meeting of ladies to go to at 7:00, so we didn’t see each other until after that. They are trying to start up a few small accountability/confession groups. We ate dinner in “shifts.” I fixed the pool equipment (just needed to replace a vinyl connector), hung up some laundry, and played Fallout.

Speaking of Fallout, I seem to be in good company. Christi found this video of one of our favorite actors, Christian Kane, talking about playing Fallout. He also mentions James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who also played the game.

Today is Thursday, a day I also like to call “pre-Friday.” It will also be the first night of the week we don’t have something going on.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Psalm 32:1-5

Most of us know this. If we try to hold onto our sin, hiding it inside, it begins to “fester and poison our whole system.” There is only one who can do anything about sin, and that is God. “Confession is the act that brings sin out into the open and lets God take care of it.”

“As I confess my sins to you, merciful Father, help me to be honest and thorough–not holding back, not denying, not making excuses–and so may I know the glad blessing that comes with forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

In today’s reading, Edward Grinnan writes of his first day at Guideposts, some 29 years ago. As he sat arranging his desk, at 9:45 AM, a bell went off. It was Monday morning. A colleague stopped by to explain that it was time for “Prayer Fellowship.” It was voluntary, but his colleague suggested he come, since it was his first day.

Edward went into a conference room, where a number of staff people sat around “a long brown table heaped with letters that contained prayers.” People were digging through letters, occasionally closing their eyes to pray. Some were being read out loud. There were the usual large requests for “world peace and an end to hunger.” But there were also smaller, more personal requests, like asking for a car to be reliable, or for a husband to be inspired to shave his beard. It didn’t take long for Edward to realize, “people depend on prayer.”

Guideposts has moved several times during that 29 years, but that long brown table still goes with them, and they still meet every Monday morning at 9:45 to pray. The get requests from letters, still, but many requests come their OurPrayer Web site and the Guideposts Facebook page.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6
pray without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17

I think I may try to join them every Monday morning at 9:45. Not physically, of course. I can’t go to Manhattan every Monday morning. But I can certainly set an alarm to remind me to pray at that time.

Prayer is important. Many people have a kind of basic, underlying feeling that this is true. But it is more important than most of us realize. We need it for ourselves, we need it for each other. As the statement above says, “people depend on prayer.” I have committed to not letting those people down. I have set up a prayer page on Facebook, as well. It’s called “Pray Where You Are.”. I would love to see more people praying together via this page. Feel free to leave a prayer request there. It will be prayed over, I promise.

Father, keep teaching me to pray. Give me the discipline and inspiration to “pray without ceasing,” and to possibly join in with the Guideposts group every Monday morning. I won’t necessarily know what they are praying about, but I can still pray with them. I pray for all Christians to understand the necessity of prayer, both individually, but more importantly, together. I pray that you would help us as a church to pin down a good time for a regular prayer gathering.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Not So Simple, It Seems

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 27, 2015,

Today’s word of the day, from, is preprandial. This is an adjective, meaning, “before a meal, especially before dinner.” “Preprandial came to English in the early 1800s from the Latin prandium meaning ‘luncheon, meal.'”

Today is Sunglasses Day Just might be a good day for that, too. It seems to be a bit cloudy out, right now, though, and we had rain/thunderstorms during the night.

As is typical for Fridays, I wound up having to work more than an hour over, last night. I didn’t mind, terribly, though. I was in a better frame of mind than the last time I had to do that. All this talk of “abiding” seems to have helped me along in that regard. I picked up some dinner on the way home, and Christi and I alternated between watching recorded TV shows and talking about trombones. That seems to be the topic of the month, but Christi is getting a little weary of it. I don’t blame her, really. I tend to get obsessed about things.

We have decided to move on from the two Holton trombones I found on Ebay. Both of them are pretty old. The one that has a minimum bid of $700 (a great price) was likely manufactured in the late seventies, based on the serial number, which makes it older than my current horn. The seller doesn’t know how old it is, and estimated 15-20 years, which is way off base. The other horn has a “buy it now” price of $950, but is likely pretty old, too. Both of them have a closed-wrap F-attachment system, though, and I am wanting to go for the open-wrap F-attachment, as most reviews say it has less resistances to airflow.

Currently, I am looking at a couple that are on Craig’s List, one in Southlake and one in Mesquite. The one in Southlake seems to be a relatively new Bach 42B with a Thayer valve. I know . . . I’m speaking Greek to anyone who might be reading this. Anyway, I’m currently awaiting email responses from a couple of those ads.

Today is our usual prayer and worship gathering day. This evening’s worship gathering will consist of prayer and singing, with no sermon. I’ve got the prayer portion lined out and ready to go, I think. As usual, I’m a little apprehensive about it, but it will probably be fine. Our prayer gathering is at 4:45 and the worship gathering will be at 5:45. We are The Exchange

It was on this date in 1844 that Joseph Smith, Jr and his brother, Hyrum Smith, were murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail. Dum dum dum dum dum. On this date in 1898, Joshua Slocum, of Briar Island, Nova Scotia, completed the first solo global circumnavigation. In 1950, the U.S. decided to enter the Korean War. In 1967, the first ATM was installed in Enfield, London.

Today’s birthdays include Helen Keller (American deaf and blind activist), Bob Keeshan (American actor, Captain Kangaroo), Ross Perot (American businessman), Rico Petrocelli (American baseball player), Vera Wang (American fashion designer), Julia Duffy (American actress), J.J. Abrams (American TV/Movie writer and producer), Viktor Petrenko (Ukranian figure skater), Christian Kane (American actor and singer), Tobey Maguire (American actor), and Leigh Nash (American musician, Sixpence None the Richer).

Christian Kane is one of my wife’s favorite actors and singers. We first saw him as “Lindsey” on Angel, the Buffy spin-off. He has since been in a couple of other TV shows, including Leverage and, most recently, The Librarians. He also starred in a movie last year, called 50 to 1, which told the true story of a long-shot Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird. Christian is also a country music singer/songwriter, who has recorded both in his own name, and with a band that was simply called Kane. Here is a song from his most recent CD release, “The House Rules.” He was born in Dallas, TX, and turns 41 years old today.


Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,
when he performed his signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the destroying locust and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them; he apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies,
but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers; they twisted like a deceitful bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
When God heard, he was full of wrath, and he utterly rejected Israel.
He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind,
and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people over to the sword and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men, and their young women had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine.
And he put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting shame.
He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,
but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever.
He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

Psalm 78:38-72

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Timothy Keller writes of the “confusing landscape that one will find while seeking to learn how to pray. Somewhere in the last generation or so, there has been a growing interest, in Western culture, in “spirituality, meditation, and contemplation.” Perhaps it started when The Beatles began showing interest in Eastern mysticism, and perhaps it was “fueled by the decline of institutional religion.” As time goes by, the number of people who experience any kind of regular religious routine is shrinking. Yet “some kind of spiritual craving remains.” Each year, many people make pilgrimage to “ashrams and other spiritual retreat centers in Asia.” Not too long ago, even Rupert Murdoch tweeted that he was learning Transcendental Meditation.

Similarly, there has been a resurgence of interest in prayer in the Christian church. “There is a strong movement toward ancient meditation and contemplative practices.” The “spiritual disciplines” have been very popular in the past decade or so.

The problem with this is that it is not what might be considered a “single, coherent ‘wave.'” This is where the “confusing landscape” idea comes in. Many more fundamentalist types reject contemplative spirituality as though the devil, himself, came up with it. So the simple act of seeking resources to help learn to pray becomes much less simple.

I hate to leave things on a “cliffhanger,” here, but that is the end of the particular section, and I must move on.

Father, as I continue in this course of seeking to learn to pray more effectively and powerfully, I pray for wisdom. I pray for anyone out there who is on the same journey, that your Spirit might direct and protect; direct to the true and right way, and protect from errant ways. I desire truth; I desire the most intimate communion with you that is possible. As I move forward, I will be uttering these words time and time again, “Lord, teach me to pray.” I will look at the prayers of Jesus, and I will look at the teachings/observations of other men, as well. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day. May your name be lifted high and glorified as we pray and worship you, this evening. May your grace rain down on us and empower us. May we all learn better means of communing with you. I also pray that we would have adequate time to rest today and tomorrow, as a new work week approaches.

Your grace is sufficient.

Learning to pray is, unfortunately, more complicated than it needs to be, due to the well-meaning efforts of humanity. May we seek the face of God in our efforts, and learn in his Spirit.

Grace and peace, friends.

Excellent and Praiseworthy

Good morning afternoon. Today is Thursday, June 27, 2013. It’s our last full day in Galveston. Ah, but it has been a marvelous week, in spite of the fact that I fell down during last night’s “Restless Spirits Ghost Tour” and broke our camera. (I think one of those “restless spirits” tripped me.) Oh, well. I got a scraped knee, but otherwise I’m okay. The camera, not so much. So we’re looking for a new camera now. We didn’t see any ghosties on this tour, but I there were definitely two instances where I got some serious piloerections. That’s goosebumps for all of you people with filthy minds. One time was when we were looking up a very long, narrow staircase inside one of the many buildings around The Strand, and the other was when we were in an alley, talking about ghosts of little boys and an elevator mechanic who kind of seems to be the “protector” of all the boys.

Or maybe we DID see some ghosts! Christi took three pictures of a window in “Charlie’s Alley” (that’s the one referenced above, where I got serious goosebumpage), and, on the way back to the condo, she got real excited and made me pull over to look at them. Sure enough, you could see the image of a face that appeared to be looking through the curtains in that window.

Is there a face in this window?
Is there a face in this window?

photo 2
photo 3
Click on the photos to get a closer look. If you dare!

We did have a good time on the tour, which was worth it just for the stories told by the tour guide. The history of Galveston is fraught with tragedy, the worst of which revolves around the famous hurricane of 1900. The stories are simply horrible. I knew it was bad. But I had no idea how bad. It was the deadliest natural disaster to ever strike the United States. Many of the “hauntings” seem to be spawned from that event. For example, even the local Wal-Mart on Seewall Blvd is alleged to be haunted by children, as it sits on the site of an orphanage that was there at the time of the 1900 hurricane. It is reported that toys fly off the shelves in the middle of the night.

Well, enough of that. Today, we have no plans, other than to head back down to the East Beach at some point, and spend our last evening in Galveston relaxing on the beach and in the water.

Today is Sunglasses Day. Indeed. I will, no doubt wear mine at some point today. But, unlike Corey Hart, I do not wear my sunglasses at night. That’s just silly.

(Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1472, while King Louis XI and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, were fighting over France, Charles and his army arrived beneath the walls of a “handsome walled city” called Beauvais, 50 miles north of Paris. The residents of Beauvais already knew what had happened to neighboring city Nesle, which was ravaged after having surrendered to the Duke. The citizens of Beauvais “put up a might resistance,” and one young lady, a simple butcher’s daughter named Jeanne Laisne, took up her father’s butcher’s hatchet, cut down the Burgundian flag bearer and seized the standard. “Twenty-five days after the siege began Duke Charles was forced to withdraw his depleted army.” Jeanne Laisne became a heroine, and was given the nickname Jeanne Hachette. There remains to this day a statue of her likeness in the city’s old marketplace.

Today’s birthday is Christian Kane, born on this date in 1974. Born in Texas, he has starred in Angel, the spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as the TNT series, Leverage. Currently, he is front man for the country band that goes by his last name, Kane. Here is a clip of him singing one of his songs on Leverage.

Honorable mentions go to Helen Keller, 1880-1968, Tobey Maguire, 38, Bob Keeshan, 1927-2004, J.J. Abrams, 47, Julia Duffy, 62, and Rico Petrocelli, 70.


Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
Psalm 86:16
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
Psalm 54:4
But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 68:3-5

Father, I pray for that strength today, as you have truly saved the “son of your maidservant.” Be my hiding place today, be my helper and uphold my life. I shall exult before you as I look to your word for strength and inspiration this afternoon. Show me a vision of you today.

Today’s reading from Tabletalk magazine focuses on the fruit of the Spirit, as described in Galatians 5:22-26.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

One thing that I have noted for a long time is the idea that this is a singular fruit, not a group of “fruits.” I hear many people speak of the “fruits” of the Spirit, as though we might possess one or two, and not the others. However, I believe very strongly, that we are to possess the entire list, if we are, in fact, living by the Spirit. This is not a vague list of “ideals” to shoot for. These are qualities that must be in our lives, if we are to be said to be following Christ. It is also important to note the general “selflessness” of these qualities. These qualities seem to be mostly outwardly-directed (with the exception of self-control). If we possess (or are at least seeking to possess) all of these, we will find that verse 26 comes much easier, and we will not be “conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Think About These Things.” The scripture reference is Philippians 4:8-9.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

“The spiritual life is a cooperative transformation of thought and action.” First, we have God working in us, as described in Philippians 2:13, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. But we have a part to play in this life, as well. We must choose what we think on, as described in the above reference. Then we must choose the right things to do. “As we model our thoughts after the highest of standards and model our lives after the life and message of Paul himself, we will find that the ‘God of peace’ himself accompanies us on our transforming journey.”

“Lord God, I return to you today to meditate on those things that are excellent
and ‘worthy of praise.’ Throughout my day it seems that my thoughts
are on everything but what is just, pure, pleasing, and commendable.
Guide my thoughts, Lord; teach me about what is excellent and
praiseworthy in your sight, that I may honor you in thought, word, and deed.

Father, I confess that I spend way too much time thinking on things that are most definitely not excellent and praiseworthy. I pray that you continue to mold my mind, shape my thoughts, that I might focus more on the fruit of the Spirit in my life, meditating and thinking on those things that are pure, lovely, and commendable. While being in a setting such as this week makes it easier to focus on your glory and majesty, soon, I have to return to the drudgery of the work setting. There it becomes more difficult, more challenging, especially as my work setting is changing. Help me to meet this challenge, by the power of your Spirit. Make me adaptable to change, that I might continue to find time to pray and meditate during my work day, that I might not get overwhelmed by the new challenges ahead. Most importantly, as I pray daily for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifest in my life, I pray that I might possess all of these qualities, in increasing measure.

I pray for the activities of this day, whatever they turn out to be. Keep us safe as we move about today, and give us safe travel back to Fort Worth tomorrow.

We love you, Lord. Teach us to follow you closely.

Join me today in doing a thoughtful check on those things that we find ourselves thinking on. Are they pure? Are they lovely? Are they commendable? Are they excellent? Are they praiseworthy?

Grace and peace, friends.