Inner Child Or Pharisee?

“To open yourself to another person, to stop lying about your loneliness, to stop lying about your fears and hurts, to be open about your affection, and to tell others how much they mean to you – this is the triumph of the child over the Pharisee and the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit at work.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Thursday, October 9, 2014. I am not on my way to work!! 😀

Today is World Sight Day. Having been one who spent most of my life being “legally blind” (20/400+ vision), I can get behind a day designed to promote vision and help for those who are blind or vision-impaired. I had Lasik surgery in 2004, and can still see quite well. I only need glasses for reading, and not always for that.

We are SO ready for our trip! Okay, maybe not literally, as we have not packed yet. But mentally, I started relaxing before I got home from work, last night. We took Stephanie to Fogata’s last night, for dinner, and I recall just breathing a huge sigh of relief at one point during the evening. Just knowing that we have the next two days off, and within hours, we will be at our favorite place in the world!

Since we will be computerless for a few days, there will likely not be another blog post until Monday. I will be having my morning devotionals on the front porch of our cabin, listening to the sounds of nature (and the occasional car out on Hwy 67), and drinking my coffee. Ahhhhhh . . .

Okay, I’ll stop gloating.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1747, David Brainerd passed away from tuberculosis, at the age of 29. He was a missionary to Native Americans in New England. His journal was later published by Jonathan Edwards, and inspired many people to become missionaries.

Today’s birthdays include John Lennon, Sharon Osbourne, Tony Shalhoub, Jackson Browne, Brian Blessed, John Entwistle, Guillermo del Toro, Camille Saint-Saens, PJ Harvey, Rube Marquard, Joe Pepitone, Mike Peters, and Jeannie C Riley.

There are several people that I’m fond of in this list. Guillermo del Toro is a movie director that has made some (in my opinion) really good movies, one of which is Pan’s Labyrinth.

Jackson Browne is a musician that is probably more well known for his work in the seventies. He was part of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the sixties. He co-wrote “Take It Easy” with Eagles member Glenn Frey. His biggest success was probably the album Running On Empty, which combined live and studio recordings. My favorite song of his is on that album.


(From The Divine Hours)

But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 115:18
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. Selah.

Psalm 32:7
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.

Psalm 54:4

Today’s Gospel Reading

As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
Matthew 9:32-34

There are no recorded words of Jesus in this passage, just an act of deliverance and healing. Note that Matthew does not choose to included Jesus’s response to the accusation of the Pharisees. Other Gospels record his response. The people, however, realize that they are experiencing something that is brand new.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Being Authentic.”

“The inner child is capable of a spontaneous breakthrough of emotions, but the Pharisee within represses them.” In my experience, it is not always the Pharisee within that is doing the repressing. When I was in seminary, emotional expressions of faith were frowned upon. I was puzzled by that stance, myself, and never bought into that idea. The question, here, however, is not that of being emotional or subdued. “The issue is, Do I express or repress my authentic feelings?” Brennan quotes John Powell, who commented that, had he been asked to write an epitaph for the tombstone of his parents, he would have written, “Here lie two people who never knew one another.” Here was a father, who never shared his feelings, so his mother never truly got to know him. In the defense of fathers from an era gone by, there was an underlying belief that a “real man” never expressed his feelings. Valid or not, it was just the way it was. I am fortunate that my parents didn’t raise me that way. In fact, if anything, it is possibly a bit too easy for me to express my feelings. Shoot, I cried when E.T. was alive. At the end of Titanic, I couldn’t get up to leave the theater for at least five minutes. Yeah, I’m a bit of a sap. But how open am I to others? Pretty much, I’d say, but it depends on the group. When I’m with my church family, I’m pretty transparent.

“To open yourself to another person, to stop lying about your loneliness, to stop lying about your fears and hurts, to be open about your affection, and to tell others how much they mean to you – this is the triumph of the child over the Pharisee and the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit at work.”

For neither circumcision counts for anything,
nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Galatians 6:15

Father, I pray for more transparency within your Church. I pray that we would take the masks off and allow ourselves to be emotionally free in community with each other. There is nothing innately “masculine” about hiding feelings. In fact, I think it takes more of a “real man” to admit that he has feelings and to express them. More than anything, I pray that we, your Church, would be “authentic” with each other. Too often, we answer, “Fine,” when someone asks, “How are you?” The problem is, when we ask, “How are you?” we don’t really want to know. We’re just exchanging pleasantries. I pray that we would stop that, and be sincerely inquiring as to the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Remind me of this, the next time I am in community with my church people. Help me to be sincerely interested in their state of being. This is integral to the ministry of intercessory prayer, anyway, so I should already be doing that. May your Spirit’s presence be dynamic in my life, Father. Keep my “inner child” visible and alive, and help me repress my “Pharisee.”

I pray for this day. May our travel to Glen Rose (along with our morning activities) be safe. I pray for a wonderfully relaxing time this weekend, as we celebrate 29 years of marriage. Wow. That’s a long time. I love Christi, Lord, with all my heart, and I pray that you help me show it more often. There go those emotions, again! I pray for Stephanie, this weekend, Lord, that you will be especially close to here and remind her how much you love her.

I pray for missionaries in India, Brandon and Beth Graham, that they will be safe in the approaching cyclone, HudHud, that is due to make landfall on October 12. Not just their safety, but all the people in the path of this storm.

Your grace is sufficient.

So which piece of you makes more appearances? Your “inner child,” or your “Pharisee?”

Grace and peace, friends.


“. . . human desire with all its emotions cannot compare with the passionate yearning of Jesus Christ.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 12, 2014.

Today is Different Colored Eyes Day. If you are one of those rare people who have different colored eyes, this day is all yours! Mine are both green. We once had a cat that had different colored eyes.

Christi’s job seems to have taken a couple of steps backward. It seems they keep throwing more responsibility on her. She’s got a ton of work (not literally, but then who knows how much work weighs?) to do this weekend. I’m telling her she needs to get away from that place (along with the person who hired her). Bless her heart, she hates to give up. “I’m not a quitter,” she says. But I’m afraid the situation cannot be “won.” We shall see, though. I keep praying for God to intervene and bring some peace, calm, and sense into the situation. Perhaps that will happen before it’s all said and done. Or before “the end of the day.” Or any other relatively meaningless cliche I can think of. On top of everything else, she apparently tore a calf muscle while hurrying between meetings yesterday. So, once again, she is in great pain.

Stephanie came home from Megan’s last night. Without Megan. There was much rejoicing. At least between Christi and me. We’re a little weary of the sleepover that wouldn’t end.

The Red Sox won their third straight game last night, while the Rangers lost their sixth straight. The Rangers are currently the worst team in baseball by ten percentage points. The Red Sox are no longer in last place! The Tampa Bay Rays are in last place. There is no way to convey how happy that makes me. I am very close to a point where I dislike the Rays as much as or worse than I dislike the Evil Empire.

Today, we have a few chores that need to get done, then we have church this evening. I now lead the “Anchor” pray time before our service, so I need to do some preparation for that. Tomorrow will probably be the day when Christi tries to get all her work done that she needs to do.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1739, “As David Brainerd is walking through a dark grove to his secret place of prayer, God speaks to him and he has a glorious salvation experience. The twenty-one-year-old will live only eight more years but inspire many others through the diary he pens.” Indeed, his diary was so inspirational that Jonathan Edwards wrote a biography on his life. In fact, Brainerd died at Edwards’s house, after suffering for months from “incurable consumption” (Wikipedia).

Sharing a birthday on July 12 are Bill Cosby, George Washington Carver, Topher Grace, Richard Simmons, Cheryl Ladd, Kristi Yamaguchi, Christine Mcvie, John Petrucci, Henrey David Thoreau, Oscar Hammerstein II, Milton Berle, Andrew Wyeth, Van Cliburn, Kirsten Flagstad, and Curly Joe Derita.

Christine McVie is a singer, most famous for her time as one of the lead singers for Fleetwood Mac. She has returned to the band, and, at the age of 71, is actually touring with them this year. Here is their song, “You Make Loving Fun.”

Van Cliburn was known as one of the world’s greatest piano players for much of his life. He passed away in 2013, and would have been 80 years old today. Here is a clip of him playing some Rachmaninoff Preludes.


I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

(From The Divine Hours)

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
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:10-14

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

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
Philippians 1:21-23
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:20-21
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:13

Give thanks today for the hope and promise of the Resurrection!

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Consuming Fire.”

Most of us have been sexually aroused at many points in our lives. Otherwise, a lot of us wouldn’t be here, right? We know the intense passion of what this feels like. Well, “the Scripture and the liturgy of the Christian community say that human sexual arousal is but a pale imitation of God’s passion for his people.” Human love is the best image we have to illustrate the love of God, but it is still inadequate.

“. . . human desire with all its emotions cannot compare with the passionate yearning of Jesus Christ.” The saints “can only stutter and stammer about the reality;” Blaise Pascal had his famous “night of fire” on November 23, 1654, about which he could not speak, but wrote about it on a note, which was sewn into the lining of his clothes, and wasn’t discovered until after he died. Bede Griffiths wrote, “The love of Jesus Christ is not a mild benevolence: it is a consuming fire.”

“It is only the revelation that God is love that clarifies the happy irrationality of God’s conduct and his relentless pursuit.” Who among us has not experienced the irrationality of human love? Even in the face of infidelity, one who truly loves will continue to pursue. Even the anger of Jesus during the act of cleansing the Temple “reveals his keen interest, his frantic involvement in his brothers and sisters coming into right relationship with Abba God.”

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire,
a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24

Consuming Fire
Once again, I am drawn to the beautiful hymn, “The Love of God,” written by Frederick M. Lehman in 1917. The last verse is especially powerful:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Father, may we know and acknowledge your passionate love for us, that love which can not be satisfactorily described by human words or emotions. Help us to know that which is unknowable. I pray for more and more of an understanding of your love, that I might grow closer to you, more intimate with you, as I grow older. I pray that I may know you as I am known by you.

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s calf muscle to heal. I pray that you would relieve her pain. I pray that we can get the things done that need to be accomplished today. I also pray that this evening’s worship service would be exactly that. I pray that we would worship you and love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Give us grace, endurance, and power to serve you in the coming week.

Your grace is sufficient.

Consider the emotion that you feel for the person in your life whom you love the most. Then consider that that feeling doesn’t even come close to the passionate love God has for us.

Grace and peace, friends.

Eyes To See As He Sees

Good Afternoon. It’s Saturday, April 20, 2013. I’ve been up a while, so I guess it’s time I got to the important stuff, eh?

There’s a guy tearing up our front door right now. Actually, he’s installing a new one. This is not making Tessie very happy. But she’s calmed down a bit now, and hasn’t barked in a while.

Christi is off on a “ladies’ retreat” in Oklahoma. I miss her. But I think she is having a good time, and it’s pretty up there. They should be back tomorrow afternoon. Stephanie and I went to the gym last night. Tonight, we’re taking in a Rangers game at the ballpark. That should be fun.

Today is Lookalike Day. I don’t think I really have a “celebrity lookalike.” Do you?

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
Okay. This is not a “great” story. On this date in 1889, at 6:30 in the evening (it was Easter Saturday), in the “Austrian border town of Braunau am Inn,” Adolf Hitler was born. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Today’s birthday is . . . have to go with David Brainerd, born on this date in 1718. Brainerd was a missionary who is kind of famous for his journal, which was discovered and published by the Scottish Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Jonathan Edwards wrote a biography about the life of Brainerd, which accounts for much of what we know about him today.

Honorable mentions go to Lionel Hampton, 1908, George Takei, 1937, Peter S. Beagle, 1939, Jessica Lange, 1949.


“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” Micah 4:2
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. Psalm 18:46
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. Isaiah 64:10-11

Father, as I look into your words today and meditate on them, I pray for some vision of you that will keep me in your grace and draw me closer to you.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “My Servant Caleb.” The scripture reading comes from Numbers, various verses in chapters 13 and 14.

13:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.
25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.
27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.
14:1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes
7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land.
8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.
9 Only do not rebel against the LORD.
10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones.
20 Then the LORD said,
22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice,
23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it.
24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.

A big part of serving God is doing his will even when it’s unpopular or goes against the majority. As we get deeper with God, we develop a kind of spiritual sight that sees things as God sees them. In fact, that is one of the prayer requests given to me by one of our pastors, that he would have eyes to see things as God sees them. It is very easy to get swayed by popular opinion and go along with the crowd. But if we are paying attention go God and seeking his truth, we will see as he sees, and we will serve him well by doing his will. God said Caleb had a “different spirit.” May we all have that same different spirit that Caleb had.

Father, I pray for the same kind of spirit that Caleb had. Give me eyes to see things the way you see them, even when it goes against the majority. But give me that spirit so I’m not just going against the majority just to do it. I pray for discernment in my life, as I serve you, that it might be true service, and that my heart might be completely yours.

I pray for the rest of this day, that Stephie and I will have a nice day together, and fun time at the ballgame tonight.

I give you thanks that the other suspect in the Boston bombings was captured last night, and perhaps people can begin to feel safe again. I pray for a change of heart in this young man, that, by some miracle, he might become your servant instead of a servant of destruction and chaos.

May we all have eyes to see things as he sees them.

Grace and peace, friends.