Oh, How I Love Your Word

Today is Tuesday, the second of November, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,245

Ten days until C’s birthday!

It seemed like a busy day, yesterday. Part of that was because I didn’t finish yesterday’s blog until after noon. Then I went to the grocery store, but right after I got home, C texted me to tell me that S had a prescription ready at CVS. So I went back out to pick that up. Then, I had lunch, at a little after 2:00 PM. I had already started washing the bed linens, earlier, and they were dry not too long after that, so I had a little time to relax before I needed to put the sheets back on the bed. Then I swept the floor, and by the time I finished that, it was time to start cooking dinner, because C was on her way home.

Today, there’s not a lot to do. I work this evening, 4:15-8:15, so I’m planning to cook “lunch” at around 2:00 or so, planning to have it ready to eat by 3:00. Then I’ll have a light snack after I get home from work. I don’t have to work tomorrow or Thursday, so I may stay up later tonight.

Nothing else is planned. Oh, and C is working from home today, her normal day to do that.

The World Series continues tonight at 7:00, in Houston. The Braves lead the series 3-2.

I realize that I haven’t (and don’t usually) said anything about football. I’m not much of a football fan, and it’s still baseball season. But the Dallas Cowboys are 6-1, so far, this season! Granted, they are in one of the worst divisions in the NFL, and they are the only team in their division with a winning record, but they have played some pretty good teams, along the way. While I don’t actively root for the ‘boys, I have some good friends who do, so I wish for their happiness. Dallas plays Denver (4-4) this Sunday afternoon.

Today is Deviled Egg Day. I do love those, but I likely will not have any today.

The word for today is busk, “to entertain by dancing, singing, reciting, juggling, etc., on the street or in a public place.” I was familiar with the word, but did not know that it included activities other than singing or playing an instrument. Makes sense, though.

Today’s quote is from e.e. cummings, American poet. “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

Birthdays on November 2:

Daniel Boone, American frontiersman, 1734-1820. 
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France (Let them eat cake), 1755-1793
James Knox Polk, 11th U.S. President, 1795-1849
Warren G. Harding, 29th U.S. President, 1865-1923
Burt Lancaster, American actor, 1913-1994
Ray Walston, American actor (My Favorite Martian), 1914-2001
Jay Black, American pop singer (Jay and the Americans), 1938-2021
Stefanie Powers, American actress, (Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Hart to Hart), 1942 (79)
Keith Emerson, English musician (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), 1944-2016
J.D. Souther, American singer/songwriter (Heartache Tonight, New Kid in Town), 1945 (76)
Carter Beauford, American drummer (Dave Matthews Band), 1957 (64)
k.d. lang, Canadian country singer, 1961 (60)
David Schwimmer, American actor (Friends), 1966 (55)
Jay Black is the singer
Keith Emerson on keys

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

All have received gifts;
Use them to serve each other,
As stewards of grace.
(1 Peter 4:10)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
(Psalms 118:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the gifts that You give
2. for opportunities to use those gifts
3. that we can count on Your guidance, forever
4. for Your Word and all of its benefits to my life
5. for the strength found in relationship

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

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – DAY THREE

INVITATION

that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.
(Psalms 48:14 ESV)

I pause, during this quiet moment, to reflect on Your great and wonderful gifts, and Your constant guidance, always available to us, forever.

BIBLE SONG

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
(Psalms 119:97-104 NIV)

BIBLE READING

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
(Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 NIV)

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I become more aware of God’s loving presence, I read these passages again, looking for anything in His Word that has caught my heart’s attention. Is there a command to be obeyed? Is there comfort to be savored? As I meditate on these things, I pray them to God and rest in His presence.

The first thing that catches my attention is the first verse of the Psalms passage. “Oh, how I love Your law!” I like the way Peterson paraphrases this, so that we aren’t using the word “law” literally.

Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed; I reverently ponder it all the day long.
(Psalms 119:97 MSG)

There are several different words used to describe God’s Word, throughout Psalm 119; law, commands, statutes, precepts, word. All of those could be defined, as Peterson does, “all You’ve revealed.”

I have been a Bible reader since before I was able to read. That may sound contradictory, but remember, people were reading Scripture to me before I was able to read. I have loved “God’s Word” as long as I can remember. Even through the darkest parts of my life, some of which were of my own making, it was always the Bible that drew me back to the path. Sure, His Holy Spirit is involved, no doubt. But even He drew me back via the precious Word of God.

Do not mistake me . . . I do not “worship” the Bible. I worship the God who revealed Himself through the Bible. But I do love the Bible, just as the psalmist who penned Psalm 119 did.

The Word of God, rightly applied, gives us more wisdom than anyone around us; our enemies, our teachers, our elders, even. It helps us stay away from evil paths. Or, when our feet have strayed onto an evil path, it gently maneuvers us back. It teaches us to hate those evil paths.

One of my favorite passages regarding God’s Word is found in Psalm 19.

The revelation of GOD is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of GOD are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of GOD are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of GOD are plain
and easy on the eyes.
GOD’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of GOD are accurate
down to the nth degree.
God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
(Psalms 19:7-10 MSG)

The Teacher, in the meantime, continues to find everything to be meaningless, “a chasing after the wind.”

Father, I know that not everything in life is meaningless. Many of the tasks, however, in which we constantly find ourselves engaged, are truly a chasing after the wind. This is true; it is known. Many of those things, though, are, more or less, harmless, in the big picture. What is not meaningless is relationship with You, which we are able to enhance and grow through a healthy attitude toward Your Word. I praise You for Your Word, in which You have revealed Yourself further to us. I say “further,” because You have, in fact, revealed Yourself quite extensively through nature and Creation, to those of us who are looking at it wisely. But the revelation of Yourself through Scripture, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit, is invaluable and priceless, worth more than pure gold, sweeter than pure honey (or strawberries). I love Your Word, Father, I do. Thank You for placing that love of it in my heart at such an early age. Thank You for placing people in my path, people who cared for me and loved me and read Your Word to me and taught Your Word to me. I cannot thank You enough for those blessings.

I pray that You would continue to give Your people a love for and commitment to the communities in which we have landed. I pray that You continue to equip us to serve in unique and effective ways.

"Everlasting God,
I shop for pleasure,
looking to consume happiness;
I hustle for meaning,
striving to make a difference.
But the more I consume the less I enjoy,
and the harder I work the more life slips out of my reach.
Help me understand the simple truth that none of my work or worry,
nor any of life's pleasures,
does any good without Your blessing.
Amen."

BLESSING

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 ESV)

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
(1 Peter 4:9 ESV)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
(Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV)

submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(Ephesians 5:21 ESV)

I want to take a moment to boast (I don’t normally do this kind of thing) about the relationship that my wife and I have. That whole passage from Ecclesiastes 4 is worthy of visiting.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)

I feel like we have been lifting each other up, constantly, for over thirty-six years, now. And, since my retirement, this has even been enhanced more. When we discussed the possibility of me taking early retirement, I heartily agreed to become, more or less, a “house-husband,” taking care of menial household chores, on my days off, while C continues to work full time. For the record, it is still roughly four years until she is eligible for early retirement. But I have gladly taken on tasks such as laundry, sweeping floors, keeping dishes clean (which I helped with a lot already), trash removal, and things like that. I have tried to keep the house somewhat neat, and it has been quite rewarding for me. I don’t hate it at all. Because I am doing it out of love for my wife.

There are different ways to describe a marriage. The Ecclesiastes passage may not even be describing marriage, per se, but simply a good partnership. But that’s what marriage is, right? Most definitely a “good partnership.” Some say that one plus one, in a marriage, doesn’t make two, but makes one. I don’t disagree with that, but I would also entertain the thought that one plus one equals infinity, because I believe that we two together are infinitely stronger than one of us alone. And when Jesus is in the middle of us, it is infinity times infinity. “A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped” (The Message).

Father, I praise You for this relationship, and look forward to what You are going to continue to do in our midst, in the years that we have left.

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.”
(Ezekiel 36:22-23 ESV)

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!

May the LORD richly bless both you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 115:14-15 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

God Is Not Remote

“We need to understand that God has to do with every part of our lives, not just the religious part.”

Today is Thursday, November 2, 2017. Day 21,784.

Three days until Daylight Saving Time ends!

Daniel Boone, who was born on this date in 1734 (died 1820), said, “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is hypogeal, an adjective, meaning, “underground; subterranean.”

Today is Men Make Dinner Day. That’s most days at our house. I’m usually the first one home, so I start cooking dinner.

We got C home at around 5:00 PM yesterday. It could have been earlier, but one thing I have observed about hospitals . . . they never seem to be in a hurry to get you checked out. Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital of Arlington was marvelous. Until it was time to go home. I left work at 2:00 PM, taking another couple of hours of PTO, thinking we would be out of there by 3:30. Finally, around 3:45, a nurse showed up with prescriptions and other information and started getting us ready to go. Besides C and her new knee, we brought home a walker, a shower chair, and this little unit that circulates ice cold something into a bladder thingy that wraps around her knee. This has improved drastically since her previous knee surgery, seven years ago. The machine she got that time was pretty much an ice chest with tubes coming out of it, and we had to keep filling it up with ice. This one requires no ice. You just plug it in and turn it on. I have no idea how it works, and don’t need to.

C is in quite a bit of pain, however, this morning. Perhaps she just waited too long to take her pain meds. She is a bit afraid of those things, from the history of her mother being addicted to them. But they say that the second and third days are the worst. Today is the second day. I’m at home today, but will have to go back to work tomorrow. I believe the plan is to have her niece come over tomorrow to help out. I think that is a good idea. We will even give her some money to do so.

The Astros won the world series last night, in what was probably the most boring game of the series. Unless you were an Astros fan. I didn’t watch any of it, but Yu Darvish, once again, got knocked around severely and didn’t make it past the second inning. So the Astros got off to a quick 5-0 lead, and that was pretty much it for the game. Somewhere along the way, the Dodgers scored one run. Compared to the rest of the series, this game had to have been rather blasé.

It’s 147 days until Opening Day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
Psalm 99:1
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. 
The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.

Psalm 7:7-8
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.
Psalm 106:47
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Psalm 33:8
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Matthew 21:23-27
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Psalm 33:8
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. 
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.

Psalm 125:1-3
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Psalm 33:8

(From Practice Resurrection)

(Pages 110-112)
We all know quite a bit about ourselves. Perhaps we think we know more than we do. I surprise myself continuously. But we know our language; we know what we need to get by. When we were young, we learned that we need to brush our teeth and wash our hands. We learned how to tie our shoes, or that it’s easier to buy slip-ons and Velcro shoes. We know how to stay out of trouble. Well, maybe not. We know how to get a job, how to be married and raise a family. We know what we like; we know what we are good at. We fall in and out of love.

“But how God figures in all this on a day-by-day basis is vague.” In all of these things that we learn as we grow up, physically, “it is not readily apparent that God is present to us in these immediate ways that contribute to our self-understanding.

“If we don’t know what God thinks of us and what we have to do with God, we have missed a huge part of what it means to grow up.” It is important to know that, as many people have believed, God is not simply “‘deity in general,’ not off doing something big in the universe, remote from who we are or what we think of ourselves. God is not remote; God is present and active in us.” This is radical for many people. Believe me, it was radical for me when I realized it. And it wasn’t all that long ago when I realized it. This is “a radical redefinition of who we are in a way that is different from anyone else. We need to understand that God has to do with every part of our lives, not just the religious part.”

That last sentence is quite important: “We need to understand that God has to do with every part of our lives, not just the religious part.”

This way of seeing and understanding ourselves and our world changes everything.

And all of this happens in the context of what we call “church.” “Church: the final entry in the litany of God’s actions that establishes the conditions in which we grow up in Christ.”

I just saw a meme on Facebook that said, “You are not too old and it is not too late.” This is true in many areas of our lives, and it is true in our spiritual life. I’m almost 60 years old, and the things I am learning about God at this point in my life are staggering; astounding; life-changing! Why didn’t I learn them sooner? That, my friends, is totally irrelevant. I am learning them now. I am not too old. It is not too late.

God is near, God is able, and God is good.

Father, I have to keep thanking you for what you are revealing to me, these days. I praise you that you are not remote, not “off doing something big in the universe.” While you may very well, and probably are, doing something big in the universe, you are also right here with me. I felt your presence during the night, as I woke, occasionally. I felt comfort and reassurance when I prayed for to cover C’s pain with your loving hand. I know that you are present with me and in me, at all times. Help me to remember your presence during the day to day “drudgery,” and, by recognizing your presence, convert it from drudgery to blessing!
I pray, still, that you ease C’s pain, and make her recovery quick. Help her to heal from this surgery, and may she be able to walk without pain when it’s over.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Looking Through the Wrong Lens

“Unless and until we have men and women who live by the inner dynamism of the Spirit, human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ, Christianity will be a musty antique of a medieval past.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Thanks to my friend Robert Warden for reminding me about that song from the seventies!

Today is Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day. I swear I am not making this up. Just click the link, you’ll see. This creates a rather hilarious visual image for me. Houseplants on a leash? In fact, someone else has already created the visual for me!
houseplant walk
Hopefully, she doesn’t mind me borrowing her picture. I’ll link her blog for credit. carriebuchert.wordpress.com

Yesterday was odd, in some ways. I managed to get myself in a grumpy mood, early on, over something silly, really, and it colored most of the day. Nothing really went badly, so it was, overall, a pretty good day. We got the grocery shopping done, had a nice lunch, and time to relax before going to church. Then the prayer time before our service was very moving, just as last week’s was. The pastor has encouraged all who are involved with the worship ministries to be in there Not demanding, but strongly encouraging), and I think it has had a great effect on both the prayer time and the worship service. The worship was good, as well, and, as a result, my grumpiness was long gone by the time it was over. We stopped by Lee’s Grilled Cheese on the way home, and picked up dinner. Yum!

One thing I did, yesterday, was to finally create the Facebook prayer community that I have been wanting to create for several weeks. After looking at several possible names (I wanted to call it “The Prayer Exchange,” but there were already about six or seven Facebook pages by that name), I finally decided on “A Prayer Gathering.” I sincerely hope that is what it becomes, too. Not just a place for people to post prayer requests, although that is what it is, but also a place for people to pray together over those prayer requests. My desire is that this becomes a true community of prayer, reaching all over the world. Please check it out; feel free to post a prayer request or a prayer.

Today looks like it will be a little busy. Christi is going to the grocery store again, because Don didn’t feel up to going to the Commissary yesterday. They didn’t call her until last night to ask her to get some things for them. We also are planning to take Tessie (our Corgi) to the pet store to get her nails trimmed. Christi wants to trim my hair and beard today, as well. That might be all. Who knows?

(Source: This Day In History)

On this date in 1794, Maximilien Robespierre was overthrown and arrested, effectively ending his “Reign of Terror.” He and 21 others were led to execution without trial, by the very guillotine which he, himself, had executed many others, in the Place de la Revolution. Another 82 of his followers were executed over the next few days.

Today’s birthdays include Seamus Dever, A-Roid, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Julian McMahon, Jerry Van Dyke, Bobbie Gentry, Peggy Fleming, Maureen McGovern, Norman Lear, Lupita Tovar (104 years old!), Max Scherzer, Johann Bernoulli, Sage Kotsenburg, Sasha Mitchell, Keenan Wynn, Leo Durocher, Gary Gygax, and Irv Cross.

Maureen McGovern is a singer who turns 65 today. The only song of hers that I can remember is “The Morning After,” the theme song from the seventies disaster movie, The Poseidon Adventure.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

(From The Divine Hours)

Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Psalm 96:10
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
Psalm 67:3
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;
Psalm 65:5
My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
Psalm 119:20
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
Psalm 119:1-3

The Prayer Appointed for the Week
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing
is holy: Increase and multiply upon all your faithful people your mercy; that, with you as
our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things
eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Seeing Christ In Others.”

G.K. Chesterton is quoted as saying, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”

Gandhi has his famous quote, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

Brennan says, “Unless and until we have men and women who live by the inner dynamism of the Spirit, human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ, Christianity will be a musty antique of a medieval past.”

Just last night, our pastor said that there seems to be a layer of “Christian dust” that has settled all about the DFW Metroplex, but not much of it has penetrated to a deeper level.

As Christians, we seem to be afraid of “making waves.” We want to “float through life like a majestic iceberg taking no chances.” There are other people (not Christians) who are sounding the need for racial justice better than we are. Unfortunately, there are too many people who believe that living “by the inner dynamism of the Spirit” involves things like speaking in tongues and handling snakes. But what it truly means is loving one another as Christ has loved us; that “fire of love for Christ” that Brennan mentioned above.

“What a strange breed of Christianity the law has ushered in! What little resemblance it bears to the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

. . . that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:6

Father, forgive your Church for losing sight of the true gospel. Forgive us when we go astray and become more judgmental than merciful. Forgive us when we desire the gifts of the Spirit more than we desire the Spirit himself. May we become “human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ,” and begin to penetrate to deeper levels of our culture. I love that this is what our pastor is trying to create at The Exchange. I pray that you continue to inspire him and give him wisdom, discernment, and courage. May you give Jacob Seay eyes to see things the way you see them and the ability to focus on things above. May you give us the faith and courage to be light in a dark world; to invite people we know to “come and see.” We don’t have to be able to answer ridiculously hard questions. We don’t have to be able to effectively defend Jesus. All we have to do is bring them along. “Come and see.”

I pray for this day, Father, that we will get the errands done that need to be done. Keep us safe as we get out and about today, and then give us good rest later on, that we may be prepared for the week of work ahead. As we go through that week of work, I pray that we will remember whose we are, and always be looking for opportunities to serve you, pray for others, and share the kingdom with them.

Your grace is sufficient.

While I never take much stock in criticism of Christians by non-Christians, I do believe that we have a large segment of “Christianity” that is completely on the wrong path. I pray diligently that we will choose the way of love, letting our love for Christ color what we see around us. We have a tendency to look through a lens of the wrath of God. We must be very careful. Only God is qualified to do that, because only he is holy.

Grace and peace, friends.

Merry Christmas!

It’s Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Today is “Johnny Appleseed Day.” As noted yesterday, “Yom Kippur” began at sundown yesterday and goes through nightfall tonight. What’s the difference between “sundown” and “nightfall?” Anyway, I believe that there is some significance to Yom Kippur that is not widely held. You see, I believe that there is a strong possibility that Jesus was born on Yom Kippur. I did not come up with this theory, I heard it somewhere else, not even sure I can remember where or when. Most people readily accept the probability that Jesus was not born anywhere close to December 25. It’s a widely known fact that there was a festival on that day that celebrated the return of the sun after the shortest day of the year. Much speculation (and that’s really all we can do) has placed his birth in late September/early October. Yom Kippur is one of those holidays that comes on a different day each year, like Easter. In late September/early October. How cool would it be if Jesus, the one who provided atonement for mankind, was born on the “Day of Atonement?” For a further bonus, if you count backwards from Yom Kippur, 40 weeks, the human gestation period, in the case of this year, you get December 21. So, it’s entirely possible, that by celebrating on December 25, we just might be celebrating the “immaculate conception.” Hmmm? Just food for thought on this Wednesday morning.

On this date in 1580, Francis Drake became the first British navigator to circumnavigate the earth.
On this date in 1957, West Side Story, composed by Leonard Bernstein, opened on Broadway.
On this date in 1969, The Brady Bunch premiered. It was the story of a lovely lady who was living with three very lovely girls…
On this date in 1888, T.S. Eliot was born.
On this date in 2008, Paul Newman died. I completely forgot that he was dead. Wow.
On this date in 1820, Daniel Boone died. I did not forget that he was dead.
And on this date in 1971, Jim Palmer won his 20th game of the season, pitching for the Baltimore Orioles (who, by the way, are in the running for the American League east division championship this year). This made the 1971 Orioles the first team since the 1920 White Sox to have four 20 game winners.


Not much to report from yesterday. It was a pretty normal day. Other than Christi continues to hurt pretty badly. Last night, her hip was hurting so bad she could hardly walk. It’s better this morning, she says. We think it may have something to do with the way she is sitting at work. She pretty much stays in the same meeting room all day, so there’s not much movement.

Our lifehouse meeting last night was good. We talked for a bit on how we feel God has worked in our lives over the past year. It’s kind of a yearly thing, as we just started our meetings back up a couple weeks ago. Next week we’re off, then we start looking at a DVD series by Francis Chan.

The Rangers lost to the A’s last night in the 10th inning. They are back to only 4 games ahead of the A’s with 8 games remaining. The Angels are only 2 games behind the A’s. In the National League, the Atlanta Braves clinched at least a wild card spot, which makes four teams in the NL that have clinched playoff spots. As of today, there are still NO teams in the AL that have clinched a spot. I can’t stand this. Talk about an exciting finish. So, technically, there’s still a chance that the Evil Empire might not even make the playoffs. I can dream, right?


Father, I pray that you will show me a glimpse of you this morning as I look into your word and meditate on your precepts.


Today, I’m reading Psalm 118. This is a Psalm of thanksgiving.

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

When we recognize that the Lord is on our side (not the side of any “cause,” mind you, but he is for the redeemed), we have nothing to fear.
5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

We see that the Lord is more trustworthy than men.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
16 the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!”

Included in this psalm is the verse Jesus quoted about being the cornerstone, as well as a verse that is quoted by any number of preachers almost every Sunday morning.
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Also included in this psalm is the cry of the people as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

And it closes out the same way it opens.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 118 made me think of this old Michael W Smith song.


Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “The Unblameable Attitude.” The verse is Matthew 5:23, which says, So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you… In the middle of these readings that have the word “Go” in them, we get this one. This verse was also included in the reading from two days ago.

What is being spoken of here is sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. We are not being told to rack our brains before giving our offering, to see if there’s anything in our memory that must be taken care of. If I’m about to give my offering, whatever it may be, and the Spirit reminds me about some unfinished business with a brother, then I need to be sensitive to that reminder and go take care of it.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t mention the other person. “You go.” Once again, we get to the point about our “rights.” “The stamp of the saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.” Also note that the idea is that my brother has something against me, not the other way around. In other words…if I have offended a brother and not made reconciliation, I must make an attempt to rectify this before making my offering. It doesn’t have to be a successful attempt, although, if he is truly a brother, he must accept my efforts to make things right.

The chain of obedience is clear. I’m making a sacrificial offering; the Spirit reminds me; I go and humbly make reconciliation; I return to make my “glad, simple, unhindered, offering” of my gift to God. Attitude is everything in this. I cannot afford to be begrudging in this. If God leads me in this way, I must go humbly and willingly, with no complaint. This is “The Unblameable Attitude.”


Father, as I get ready to head into this day, I first thank you that your steadfast love endures forever. I praise you that you are on the side of the redeemed. Not MY side. No. And truly, you are on YOUR side. But you do great wonders for the redeemed, for which Christ has died. As I ponder the fact that there is truly nothing man can do to me that will permanently harm me, I praise your name. I will not fear. That is a bold statement, considering that I probably will, at some point, fear. But it is a truth that, as one of your redeemed, there is truly nothing that should cause me to fear. I will take refuge in you, Lord. You are my strength and my song and you are my salvation.

May I have the “unblameable attitude” spoken of in today’s reading. If you remind me, by your Spirit, that there is someone who has something against me, give me the courage to take care of it. Don’t let me be distracted, however, by trying to drum up old memories of relationships from the past. Simply let me be sensitive to the promptings of your Spirit.

I pray for this day. I continue to pray for relief for Christi from her pain. i pray that her day will go smoothly, and that there will be no stress at her work place today. I pray that her hip will continue to feel better today. I also continue praying that the injection tomorrow will accomplish what it is supposed to. I pray for my work day today. May our work go smoothly and without issue today. Reveal something of yourself to all of us during this day. May we stay focused and in an attitude of prayer as we work today. I also pray that Stephanie will have a good day today. Draw her attention to you and to your word during this day.

Give me faith and focus as I go into my private prayer time. May you hear my cry today as I call out to you.

Your grace is sufficient.


Today’s topic is not an easy one. It requires faithfulness and humility. It requires that we surrender our rights. But a true saint can do this, with the help of God’s Spirit.

Grace and peace, friends. Oh…and “Merry Christmas!” 🙂