The Highest Desire

“Many baseball fans look upon an umpire as a sort of necessary evil to the luxury of baseball, like the odor that follows an automobile.”~~Christy Mathewson

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is nullibiquitous, which means, “existing nowhere.” I guess it’s the opposite of ubiquitous.

Today is World Autism Day. April is also Autism Awareness Month. Since we have a daughter who is high-functioning autistic, this is meaningful to us.

We found out yesterday, at work, that our yearly raises are being delayed at least another quarter. It seems that, on a national level, the company is “underperforming.” We aren’t very happy about this, as we are very aware that our particular facility is making good money, and our customer is extremely happy with us. We were pretty much promised that, not only would merit increases happen in April, but that they would also actually be true merit raises, based on our reviews. After all . . . if raises are going to be across the board flat rate raises, why bother having reviews?

Today is Saturday, and Rachel and Justin will be coming over this evening, to celebrate Rachel’s birthday, which was this past Tuesday. We’ll be going out to eat somewhere.

On this date in 1513, Ponce de Leon, while searching for the legendary “Fountain of Youth,” discovered Florida. He immediately set up a retirement community. You can read the whole story at

Today’s birthdays include:

1805–Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer
1875–Walter Chrysler, American auto pioneer
1891–Max Ernst, German painter
1908–Buddy Ebsen, American actor/dancer
1912–Herbert Mills, American singer, The Mills Brothers
1914–Sir Alec Guinness, English actor
1920–Jack Webb, American actor
1939–Marvin Gaye, American singer
1940–Penelope Keith, English actress
1941–Dr. Demento, American radio personality
1942–Leon Russell, American blues-rock pianist/singer
1945–Linda Hunt, American actress
1947–Emmylou Harris, American singer
1953–Debralee Scott, American actress
1964–Pete Incaviglia, American baseball player

Buddy Ebsen was an American actor who, at least by my generation, was probably best known for playing Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. Here is a rather strange clip from that show, that I found on You Tube.

Samuel F. B. Morse, Esther Morris, Hermann Rorschach, Gil Hodges, Buddy Rich, and Edwin Starr are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 42:1-5

“God is to the soul what water is to the body: an absolute need, felt intensely.” The very fact that we long for him is evidence of “the reality of the God who is there to fulfill our being.”

“‘As pants the hart for cooling streams when heated in the chase, so longs my soul, O God, for Thee, and Thy refreshing grace.’ In Jesus’ name (Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, ‘As Pants the Hart’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“The Glory That Excels”

So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 9:17

When Paul’s sight was restored to him, he also received “insight into the Person of Jesus Christ.” The rest of his life consisted of nothing other than preaching the Gospel of Christ. “No attraction was ever allowed to hold the mind and soul of Paul save the face of Jesus Christ.”

If we are to be spiritual people, we must have this “concentrated passion” in our lives. “Never allow anything to deflect you from insight into Jesus Christ.” We must fight against things that push to have a growing fascination for us. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not. I struggle daily with things that present themselves to me in such a way as to distract me from Christ. And all too often, they are successful.

Father, strengthen my will, my mind, my imagination, and my spirit, that I might fight harder against these things that draw my attention away from Christ. While it is okay to have “hobbies” and other interests, these things should not occupy the bulk of my attention or desires. May Jesus Christ be my highest desire.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Be At Peace

Well, it’s Monday again. How did that happen so quickly? Good morning. It’s Monday, August 12, 2013.

Today is Vinyl Record Day. Yes sir, I’ve got plenty o’ those! I’ve never counted them all, but I would venture a guess that there are at least 1000 vinyl records in my house. And I”m still one of those people who believe that vinyl sounds better than digital. You see, life does not happen digitally. Life happens in analog. Every sound you hear around you every day is in analog. That’s why vinyl sounds richer, more alive, than digital. There are some who have figured that out and have returned to making vinyl records. Anyway, dust off some vinyl and celebrate the day! If you can find a record player, that is. 😀

As hinted at above, the weekend seems to have flown by. Christi wasn’t feeling well on Saturday, but was better yesterday. She says she feels better this morning, too. “Not 100%, but better.” We had a good day at church yesterday, I think. Jacob preached a good message on service, and one of the main points dealt with the same thing that I have been dealing with here, lately, and that is that true Christian service requires relationship or community. Oddly enough, we had already planned to take dinner to a sister from church who had some surgery about a week ago, so we did that yesterday afternoon.

We also watched a movie from Redbox yesterday afternoon. We watched Silver Linings Playbook, with Bradly Cooper (what movie doesn’t have Bradly Cooper?) and Jennifer Lawrence. Although a highly disturbing movie, as it deals with people who have issues similar to Stephanie’s (there was one “meltdown” scene that was very painful to watch), it was also a very beautiful movie. Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job of acting in that movie, and definitely deserved the Oscar she won for it. I won’t give out an across the board recommendation, as the movie is strewn with “F-words.” If you aren’t easily offended by language, the movie is worth seeing. It is emotionally gut-wrenching.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1822, at the age of 53, Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh took his own life by slitting his own throat at Cray Farm, in Kent. He had become increasingly paranoid, as he was more and more disliked by the liberals of England. Diplomatically, he had been successful, being responsible for the appointment of Sir Arthur Wellesley (who would become the Duke of Wellington), to the command of “the British expeditionary force sent to Spain to fight the Peninsula War against Napoleon.” He served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and after PM Spenser Percival was assassinated, “he became leader of the house of Commons,” where he “performed with brilliance.” Alas, though, peace brought him more troubles than war. He began to be condemned by liberals when eleven protesters were killed by English soldiers at the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. As his paranoia increased, he said he was being blackmailed for various alleged offenses. On this date, he even accused his wife of 28 years of conspiring against him. But at that point, he began to realize his instability, and called for his doctor, “named Bankhead.” As Bankhead arrived, Castlereagh was in his dressing room, back to the door. When asked why he stood thus, Castlereagh responded, “Bankhead, let me fall upon your arm; it is all over,” after which he collapsed into Bankhead’s arms, blood spurting from his throat. He was dead in moments. Lord Byron penned this epitaph:

“Posterity will ne’er survey
a nobler grave than this.
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
Stop, traveler, and piss.”

Today’s birthday is Christy Mathewson. Matthewson, born in 1880, was a MLB pitcher who is ranked among the top ten major league pitchers of all time. He played for seventeen years, most of them with the New York Giants. He was one of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner. Sadly, he died of tuberculosis in 1925, only 45 years old.

Honorable mentions go to Erwin Schrodinger, 1887-1961, George Hamilton, 74, Cecil B. DeMille, 1881-1959, Casey Affleck, 38, Buck Owens, 1929-2006, Mark Knopfler, 64, Jane Wyatt, 1910-2006, Porter Wagoner, 1927-2007, Peter Krause, 48, Pat Methany, 59, and Matt Thiessen, 33.


Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Psalm 80:1
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Psalm 50:2
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Father, as I “taste and see” that you are good this morning, I pray that you would show me marvelous things from your word. Thank you for another day.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Be At Peace Among Yourselves.” The scripture reading is 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

This rapid-fire list of advice (commands?) “describes the effective functioning of community life.” There are ordinary life tasks mixed in with deep spiritual matters. “In the community of disciplined grace, respecting co-workers and helping the weak are just as essential as praying without ceasing and not quenching the Spirit.” I love that. I’m not sure we often look at things in quite this way. We always want to compartmentalize things too much. That statement resonates deeply within my spirit. The “with-God life” involves matters that are both physical and spiritual, and it involves them equally. Our pastor, who also happens to be the leader of our “huddle” group, often speaks of this balance between “up, out, and in.” He draws a triangle to illustrate the concept. I should clarify that it is an equilateral triangle, where every side is the same length. Our goal is to balance our relationship with God, our relationship with other believers, and our relationship with the world. I believe this brief passage from Paul defines that almost perfectly.

Father, as I go about my daily life today, I pray that you would help me to find more balance between the various aspects of this life. I spend time every morning on the “up” portion of this life, as well as brief times at work, during my morning breaks. How much time do I spend on the “Out” portion? For that matter, how much do I spend on the “in” portion? Point me in the right directions, Father, as I attempt to balance this life and become what you desire me to be.

I pray for this day, Lord, as Christi and I begin another work week. May your grace and mercy overflow into our lives, spilling out into the lives around us. Teach us how to show others your peace. May you show Stephanie your steadfast love today. May you give your blessings to Rachel and Justin, as well as my parents. Your grace is sufficient for all things. May your will be done in our lives, above all else.

“In the community of disciplined grace, respecting co-workers and helping the weak are just as essential as praying without ceasing and not quenching the Spirit.” Perhaps, spend some time reflecting on that statement today.

Grace and peace, friends.