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.

How We Love

Today is Saturday, November 2, 2019. Peace be with you.

Day 22,514.

Ten days until C’s birthday!

I’m a little late getting this going, this morning. C and I have been discussing some things, and I have been doing some talking with a friend and reliable source of information about recording software. I have previously been using Cubase, and have decided, due to multiple reasons and inspirations, to start using Pro Tools. So I have now bought the software for that. I plan to begin using it, hopefully next weekend.

Speaking of next weekend, we have decided for a number of reasons to cancel our Glen Rose trip, this time. We will, of course, go back next March. But it seems too close to our Galveston trip, and there are things we need to do at home. We’re not canceling our PTO, so we will still have Monday and Tuesday off. I have Friday off, as well, as I will be going to see my doctor for my semi-yearly bloodwork. That leaves me with one more day of PTO to schedule before the year is up. One thing I will do on Monday and Tuesday is learn how to use Pro Tools.

We have our monthly-ish Night of Worship tonight at 6:00 PM. C, S, and I will be showing up at the house around 3:00 PM for set up and rehearsal, and then the hosts graciously feed us dinner every time. I hear they are smoking some pork ribs for us today.

Tomorrow, we are scattered, so we will be heading back to the same house where we have Night of Worship. We are very close, I believe, to being truly “scattered,” where we will be split up into three different homes. Then, right after church, tomorrow, we will head to Mineral Wells to have lunch with my mother.

Today is Deviled Egg Day. Sadly, I don’t think we will be able to have any of those today.

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

Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalm 103:20-22

Today I am grateful:
1. For the weekend to rest up for the work week ahead.
2. For the Night of Worship and prayer we will have tonight.
3. For the recent inspirations I have been having to make more music.
4. For the grace by which I stand.
5. That we are all created in God’s image.

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. 
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Psalm 5:1-3
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 26:3; 30:15
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. 
Psalm 33:11
O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 
in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 
who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 15

Any time I read Psalm 15, it causes concern, and perhaps even anxiety. Because I don’t “walk blamelessly.” Not even close. I don’t do evil to my neighbor, though, nor do I take up a reproach against my friend. But I have to confess that I do, sometimes, slander with my tongue. I try to always speak truth in my heart.

In spite of all of this, though, I believe that my standing in Christ makes me as though I do not do any of these things, and when I do them, I am instantly repentant, seeking forgiveness, both from the Lord and anyone I have wronged or slandered.

I’ve read a couple of things, this morning, that have moved me. First, as I was scrolling through other blogs that I follow, I came across this one, from Pure Glory. In this blog entry, Hazel writes, “How we treat one another reflects our true worship of God. We need to leave our gift at the altar and reconcile with each other. It is time to turn our hearts towards each other. It is not important how others receive our love but for us to love. We are to known as a people who love, without expecting love and acceptance from others. This is worship that pleases God. It is easy to love someone who believes and acts like you do. It is another thing to show love and forgiveness towards those whose value system is different.”

These words prick me to my soul, because I, as I have confessed in the past, struggle with being judgmental toward some of my brothers and sisters, and some co-workers, as well. How we treat one another matters, but how we think about one another matters, as well. Jesus commanded us to love other believers as he loves us. That’s a huge thing. It doesn’t matter what my brother’s politics are. It doesn’t matter what kind of music my sister likes to listen to or worship to. What matters is that, when we take the supper, whether together or apart, we are united by the presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

I wrote a song over the past few weeks, called “Teach Us To Live.” As soon as I get it recorded in a format where I can share it in this blog, I will do so. But the first chorus says this:
“We live in grace, we live in grace;
The country of forgiveness, the country of forgiveness.
Teach us to live in the country of forgiveness,
That we may live in You.”

If I am going to live in grace, in the country of forgiveness, I must treat my brothers and sisters in Christ like we are one in Him. I must love them as Jesus Christ loves me.

Then I read today’s reading from Daily Guideposts. I won’t summarize the reading, but the scriptures begin with a rather obscure prophet, Haggai 1:13.

Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.”
Haggai 1:13

At the end of the reading, was Job 12:10, and Ephesians 4:6. I’m including verses 4 and 5, as well.

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.
Job 12:10
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:4-6

How do these go together?

The Lord is with us. In his hand is the life of every living thing, the breath of all mankind. Just as the song says, he really does have the whole world in his hands. And he is over all, through all, and in all.

I’m also reading a book called Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image, by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. In this book, the doctor, who spent his life treating leprosy patients in India, explores this idea of us being created in God’s image. God is truly “in all,” at least in some form or fashion. While it is true that Jesus only dwells in those who follow him, every human being on the planet bears the image of God, distorted though it may be. Because of that fact, it is important how we treat each other, believers or not.

So as I walk through this life, trying to stay on the path of his kingdom, and trying my best to stay in the easy yoke with Jesus, it is imperative that I look at people around me as if this is true, that they are made in the image of God. That image may be damaged or distorted, even broken. So, then, I need to consider how it can be restored. Obviously, the best way for it to be restored is for them to begin to follow Jesus. But we can’t always start with that, can we? It has to start with me loving them, no matter how “unlovable” they may appear to be.

I’ve rambled a bit, I fear. I hope that my thoughts were coherent, this morning. It all boils down to love and how we treat each other. And right now, the human race is not doing real great at that, especially here in the U.S.

Father, truly teach me to live in the country of forgiveness, resurrection, and salvation, as I walk in your kingdom. Help me to stay in the easy yoke of Christ, especially in the way that I interact with my fellow human beings. I also pray that our time of worship tonight will be pleasing to you, and that people will be moved to worship you like never before.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Grace and peace, friends.

We Are What We Love

“If you love anything at all in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations, and it will eventually break your heart.”~~Tim Keller

Congratulations to the World Series champion Kansas City Royals!

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is ubiquarian, “A person who or thing which is, can be, or seems to be, everywhere at once.”

Today is Deviled Egg Day. When I was a child, I did not like deviled eggs. Now, I love them. So does our youngest daughter, Stephanie.

We had a nice, restful afternoon, yesterday. It seemed like a long day, even though we had church yesterday morning. Actually, that may be why it seemed like a long day. We are getting up earlier than we are used to getting up on Sundays. And, starting at 10:15, we are still finished by 11:30, which gets the afternoon started sooner.

We finished up the day looking for houses to rent for a Galveston vacation next April. We are planning a big deal for next year. We have talked to my mother, as well as Rachel and Justin, and we are going to rent a house big enough for all of us to spend a week in Galveston, Saturday to Saturday. Everyone seems to be really excited about the idea. Of course, that’s still five months away, so we will plan with a cautious, “If the Lord says so, too” attitude.

Back to work this morning, and band practice tonight. However, I do not have a Huddle meeting on Tuesday night, any more, so we will have an extra free night, this week.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

I’m continuing in the chapter on “Awe: Praising His Glory.” We have talked about how praise is necessary to move “beyond abstract knowledge to heart-changing experience.” But why is this true? Why does praise and adoration have such an impact on us? It is because, considering the three types of prayer to be adoration, confession, and supplication, adoration (or praise) “is the one that directly develops love for God.” Augustine has taught that “what we love is basically what we are.” In his commentary on 1 John, he says, “Such is each one as is his love.” Tim Keller puts it this way: “Our most fundamental identity and life behavior is a function of what we love.”

We all seek happiness, and we attach ourselves to that thing which we believe will make us most happy. This is just a human condition; it is how we are. But, because of sin, we “misidentify what will make us happy.” The result of this is what is called “disordered loves.” Either we love what we shouldn’t, or we don’t love what we should. However, the ultimate cause for our unhappiness, or misery, is that we don’t love God most. “If you love anything at all in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations, and it will eventually break your heart.” This is a heavy statement, but I believe it to be true, even (and most especially) in the case of spouses or family members. “Only if God’s love is the most important thing to you will you have the freedom to love your spouse well.”

Another truth is that the things that we love draw us together. In City of God, Augustine believes that “societies are the mutual associations of individuals united by what they love in common.” So, in order to make the most profound changes in people, we must alter what we worship. Ultimately, what we adore will have the most effect on us. “We are what captures our imagination, what leads us to praise and to compel others to praise it.” Our negative emotions and discouragements come from “disordered loves.”

“We must love God supremely, and that can be cultivated only through praise and adoration.”

Father, help me to order my loves correctly. I pray that your Spirit would cause me to love you supremely, more than anything else. More than baseball, more than my family, more than music. May you be the one true and central love of my life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“It is in Giving that We Receive”

Good morning. It is Saturday, November 2, 2013. The Red Sox are in the middle of their World Series Championship Parade in Boston.

Today is “Deviled Egg Day.” I’m down with that. I love me some deviled eggs.


I’ve spent a couple of hours updating my other blog, this morning. If you care to check it out, it is a summary of the last few seasons of the Boston Red Sox, commemorating their 2013 World Series win. You can find it at Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit. I’m still intermittently watching the feed of the parade, as the duck boats are about to enter the Charles River.

Later today, our church, The Exchange, will have its first Saturday evening worship celebration, at 5:45pm. We will be meeting in some rooms that our sister church, Harvest Church, is graciously allowing us to use (for a small fee, of course). The band will be meeting for our first rehearsal at the new location at 4pm this afternoon. We are very excited about this change.

Nothing much else going on today. Christi seems to have a sinus infection, and went to the doctor yesterday afternoon. They gave her some antibiotics, but weren’t sure if it was bacterial or viral. So they may or may not help. She says she is feeling a little better this morning, but I can tell she’s not feeling right. Hopefully, she will be okay for this evening.

I don’t know what we will do tomorrow. It’s going to feel weird not getting up for church on Sunday morning, I’ll tell you that. We may go up to Denton later in the day to take Rachel and Justin out to celebrate their 4th anniversary.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1470, the future Edward V of England was born. This is a rather tragic story. His father, King Edward IV, had “secretly married a ravishing widow five years his senior named Elizabeth Woodville,” in 1464. Six years later, they had a son, followed by another shortly after. The elder Edward passed away on April 9, 1483, and the younger Edward inherited the throne. Being only twelve years old, his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester was made “protector of the realm.” Richard, in order to “ensure their safety,” moved Edward and his brother to the Tower of London. After moving them, he persuaded the court that the ill-advised marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth had, in fact, never taken place, making Edward V illegitimate and, therefore, not King. “On 24 June an assembly of lords duly declared Richard King Richard III, while Edward and his brother were still held in the Tower of London. And, as every schoolchild knows, neither of the young princes was ever seen again.” It is probable that Richard’s agents “secretly smothered the two brothers” in August of that year, but debate still continues as to what actually happened to them. A couple of centuries later, “the skeletons of two young boys were found buried in the Tower,” and were presumed to be the skeletons of Edward and his brother. But no one knows what really happened. King Edward V reigned for 79 days.


Today’s birthdays are Daniel Boone, 1734-1820, Marie Antoinette, 1755-1793, Warren G Harding, 1865-1923, James K Polk, 1795-1849, Lauren Velez, 49, Burt Lancaster, 1913-1994, Stefanie Powers, 71, Ray Walston, 1914-2001, and Carter Beauford, 56.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. Psalm 147:1
Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.
Psalm 106:4-5
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! Psalm 71:1
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. Psalm 119:54

“Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give me grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that I may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Father, as we prepare to gather with other saints this evening, I thank you for the communion and fellowship that you have gathered us into. May we, your saints, experience your joy as we gather. Teach us your ways, that we may walk in your joy and truth.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “In Giving We Receive.” The scripture reading is 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 and 9:6-8.

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints- (8:1-4)
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (9:6-8)

“It is in giving that we receive.” Giving is more powerful than receiving; when we give, we “experience the true scope of our power.” Some people think of being on the receiving end of charity as lessening their dignity, but then, they can reclaim this by turning around and giving to someone else. Keep in mind that we are not referring only to financial giving. There are many forms that giving can take. The best thing that we can do is to be sensitive and observant, noticing when here are needs around us that we might be able to give to fulfill. What we have to give and what is needed always vary. Anyone, no matter how small the resources, can take part in giving.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
St. Francis of Assisi


Father, may you open my eyes as I live, that I may be sensitive to needs around me. I always have something to give, whether it be money, time, or service. I pray that I will be available whenever needed, to meet needs that may arise around me. Teach me to never be selfish with anything that I have, especially since everything I own has been given me by you. May I give out of sense of devotion to you, giving to honor your name, not to honor myself. I thank you for everything that you have given me and my family. Your grace is truly sufficient.

I pray for the events of this day. May our worship celebration tonight be honoring and glorifying to you and your name. I pray for a good number of people to be in attendance, as we lift the name of Jesus high. I pray that everything technical will work properly, and that we can provide a comfortable environment for people to worship you. I pray for the future of The Exchange, that we may proceed in the direction that you have planned for us. Bless your servant Jacob Seay, as he pastors us and preaches to us. May his message be inspiring to us as he teaches your word to us.

I pray for my brother, Craig Beaman, whose church has recently had to close its doors. I lift up all the members of Bethel Church in Weatherford, as they look to the future to see what their next steps will be. I pray for Craig as he deals with this, and ask that you would grant him comfort and encouragement for his future.


Never be afraid to give to bless someone else, for “it is in giving that we receive.”

Grace and peace, friends.