Freedom and Grace

Today is Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Day 21,859.

Dizzy Dean, born on this date in 1910 (died 1974), said, “Let the teachers teach English and I will teach baseball. There is a lot of people in the United States who say isn’t, and they ain’t eating.”

The word for today, from, is decathect, a verb which means, “to withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss.” That’s rather depressing.

The roads, for the most part, appear to be dry and passable, this morning, so I will be heading to work in a while. I will try to get finished a little early and allow myself extra time. The temperature is currently 22 with a wind chill of 15. Baby it’s cold outside.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

A Miktam of David.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16

To be able to say of the Lord, “I have no good apart from you,” indicates a true understanding of what is “good.” I can truthfully say that, were it not for God, my life would not be good. And because of Him, I can say that “the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” I have long loved this Psalm, especially verse 11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
Christianity v. Christianity-and-Water

“The time is always ripe for reunion. Divisions between Christians are a sin and a scandal, and Christians ought at all times to be making contributions towards reunion, if it is only by their prayers. I am only a layman and a recent Christian, and I do not know much about these things, but in all the things which I have written and thought I have always stuck to traditional dogmatic positions. The result is that letters of agreement reach me from what are ordinarily regarded as the most different kinds of Christians; for instance, I get letters from Jesuits, monks, nuns, and also from Quakers and Welsh Dissenters, and so on. So it seems to me that the ‘extremist’ elements in every church are nearest one another and the liberal and ‘broad-minded’ people in each Body could never be united at all. The world of ‘broad-mindedness’ and watered-down ‘religion’ is a world where a small number of people (all the same type) say totally different things and change their minds every few minutes. We shall never get reunion from them.” (“Answers to Questions on Christianity”)

(From The Finishing Touch, Charles Swindoll)

In short, today’s reading, as Charles relates the story of buying a Harley Heritage Softail Classic not too long after his son and new daughter-in-law rode off on one after their wedding, reminds us that not ever moment in life has to be “grim and sober. It’s about breaking another thick and brittle mold of predictability. It’s about enjoying a completely different slice of life. . . . It’s about stepping into a tension-free anxiety-free world where I feel the wind and smell the wildflowers and hug my wife and laugh until I’m hoarse.”

It’s about freedom and grace.

I’ve known far too many people in my life who believe that being a Christian means always choosing the thing that would please you the least. Two job opportunities? Choose the one you like the least. NO!! Life does not have to be like that. I believe, with all my heart, that God wants us to enjoy this life that we have, and to enjoy Him along with it! “In your presence there is fullness of joy!” Not melancholy sadness!

Father, I thank you that I have good in my life because of you. I thank you for the fullness of joy that I can experience in your presence. I do confess that I do not experience this as often as I can/should, but that is my own fault for drifting off the path and acting like I don’t believe you. Help me to be more joyful, and to enjoy your presence, along with the life you have granted me, every day.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

PS . . . I’m not buying a motorcycle.

Hearing the Call

“Happy is the man whom the Muses love: sweet speech flows from his mouth.”~~Hesiod

Today’s word of the day, from, is lacustrine, “of or relating to a lake.”

Today is Nothing Day. Seriously. I’m not making that up. Just a day to do nothing.

And that’s probably exactly what will happen around here, today, at least for me. I had a pretty rough night, last night. I’ll admit that I did stay up past 1:00 playing Fallout 4. But at some point during that time, my stomach started giving me fits. I went to bed, and tried to go to sleep, but kept feeling quite nauseated. Finally, around 2:45 or so, I got up and made a cup of peppermint tea to try to settle my stomach. I fought the nausea until after 4:00, at which point I went back to bed, and was finally able to fall asleep. I woke up at around 9:30. I know, right?? But, try as I might, I could not fall back asleep. I was actually feeling some hunger, so I think I’m going to live. I’ve had a couple cups of coffee, and things are feeling okay in there.

We do have our grocery shopping to do, today, but, other than that, that’s about it. Obviously, I’m a bit late getting started on this. But Christi and I were going over financial stuff, revisiting the budget.

It was on this date in 1970 that Curt Flood filed the lawsuit against Major League Baseball that would ultimately result in what we know, today, as free agency. Read the story at

Today’s birthdays include:

1821–John C. Breckinridge, 14th Vice President of the U.S.
1901–Frank Zamboni, American inventor
1902–Eric Liddell, Scottish runner, inspiration for Chariots of Fire
1908–Ethel Merman, American actress/singer
1910–Dizzy Dean, American baseball player, slud into third
1917–Carl Karcher, founder of Carl’s Jr. hamburger chain
1920–Elliott Reid, American actor
1932–Dian Fossey, American zoologist
1933–Susan Sontag, American writer
1935–A.J. Foyt, American race car driver
1944–Jim Stafford, American singer/songwriter, doesn’t like spiders and snakes
1946–Ronnie Milsap, American singer/songwriter, has daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon
1948–John Carpenter, American film director, escaped from New York
1950–Debbie Allen, American dancer/choreographer, sometime judge on So You Think You Can Dance
1959–Sade, Nigerian-born singer, she’s a smooth operator
1970–Garth Ennis, Irish comic book author, Preacher
1974–Kate Moss, English model
1980–Albert Pujols, Dominican baseball player
1985–Joe Flacco, American football player

Dizzy Dean was a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in the thirties. He and his brother “Daffy,” combined for a total of 49 wins in 1934, a year in which the Cardinals won the World Series. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

Can you tell I miss baseball?

Marshall Field, Carole Lombard, Arturo Toscanini, Ross Bagdasarian (aka David Seville), Ted Cassidy (Lurch), Herbert W. Armstrong, Glenn Corbett, Ennis Cosby, and Andrew Wyeth are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13

If we can trust what we read in the Psalms, we find that it is okay to question God. But we also find that we might not always expect an answer. David doesn’t get an answer to “how long.” But he still arrives at the place of trust in the steadfast love and salvation of God. “God doesn’t open his plan book to the curious eyes of impatient sinners.” What we do get, however, is our God, “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)

“O God, what good would it do me if I did know the answers to the querulous questions with which I badger you? You know what I really need–not more information, but more love; not your timetable, but your presence. Thank you for giving me yourself in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “The Voice of the Nature of God.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Isaiah 6:8

We tend to speak quite a bit about the “call of God.” But what we tend to forget is that which is most important, “the nature of the One Who calls.” We always hear of those select individuals who hear “the call of the sea, the call of the mountains, the call of the great ice barriers.” We must consider that the call expresses the nature of the one calling, “and we can only record the call if the same nature is in us.” it might be good to let that sink in for a minute.

“The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not of our nature.” Each of us has parts of God’s call that works within us, parts that we and no one else can recognize. “It is the threading of God’s voice to us in some particular matter, and it is no use consulting anyone else about it.” This is something profound between the individual and God, alone.

But when God calls me, it is not the “echo of my nature; my affinities and personal temperament are not considered.” If I am considering these things, primarily, and thinking only about what I think I’m best fitted for, I will not hear God’s call. However, if I enter into an intimate relationship with God, such as Isaiah had, then I will hear. “The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says.” All you have to do is listen to conversations at church to grasp this truth. Even in our most attuned state, we still tend to think more about ourselves than what God truly wants for us. “To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered.”

Father, open my eyes, my ears, and my heart to your call. While it’s true that I can say that I’ve heard your call throughout my life, there has always been a tendency to step back into what I think is best, what I think I can do. Stretch me, Father, to do your will. Bring me into that zone of your call, with all my senses awake to you. Teach me to set myself aside so that I may consider you and your purpose for me.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Who Is Jesus To You?

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

We had a good lifehouse meeting last night. At least I think it was a good one. We finished up our study of Tim Keller’s “The Prodigal God” video series. Through this series, I gained a fresh perspective on the parable of the prodigal son.

Got my weigh-in done for the “Biggest Loser Challenge” at work. And I’m off to a good start, already lost three pounds. Huzzah! I’ll be hitting the gym tonight, for sure. Or maybe even going inside and exercising. Ba dum dum.

Today is “National Nothing Day.” A day to celebrate nothing. What else can be said about nothing?

On this date in 1809, Sir John Moore, British General, “fell from his horse, mortally wounded by a French cannonball that had shattered his left shoulder and collarbone.” This happened in La Coruna, a Spanish port, as the army, outnumbered by Napoleon’s army (commanded by Marshal Nicolas Soult), was retreating to be evacuated by a British fleet. He died later that day and was buried the next day “in the central bastion of the fortress.” One day later, the last British soldier was evacuated. While many criticized his actions, some years later his strategic retreat was “recognized for what it accomplished: a severe disruption of Napoleon’s plan to conquer Spain and Portugal.” The French commander, Soult, ordered a memorial monument placed at his grave. In January, 2004, the mayor of La Coruna “dedicated a bronze bust of Moore at his burial site.” (From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

Today’s birthday is Dizzy Dean, born on this date in 1910. Dean was a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Browns. He was known for his crazy antics and as a sports commentator. He was the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in one season. A famous headline, appearing after Dean was knocked unconscious by a thrown baseball, said, “X-ray of Dean’s head reveals nothing.” His command of the English language was notable, as he once stated that a player “slud into third.” When criticized by an English teacher for using the word “ain’t” in broadcasts, he responded with, “Teach, you learn ’em English, and I’ll learn ’em baseball.”

O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. Psalm 54:1-2
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:17
Father, I thank you for your grace and mercy in my life. May you show me something of yourself this morning as I ponder your words.

Today, I’m reading Isaiah 19:5-10.
5 And the waters of the sea will be dried up, and the river will be dry and parched,
6 and its canals will become foul, and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away.
7 There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched, will be driven away, and will be no more.
8 The fishermen will mourn and lament, all who cast a hook in the Nile; and they will languish who spread nets on the water.
9 The workers in combed flax will be in despair, and the weavers of white cotton.
10 Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed, and all who work for pay will be grieved.

The judgment against Egypt continues.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “I Am the True Vine.” The scripture reference is John 15:1-5
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

My spiritual life is “entirely dependent upon God’s grace.” This passage contains one of seven “I am” metaphors that Jesus used to describe himself. In the course of his writing, John shows various divisions among people concerning who Jesus is. These divisions still exist today, as people want to say that Jesus is “simply a good man, model, teacher, prophet, or preacher.” But these “I am” statements force us to ponder, “Is Jesus who he says he is?”

“I am the bread of life.” John 6:35
“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12
“I am the door [or gate]. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
“I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“I am the true vine.” John 15:1

“Is he the Bread of my life? Do I live by his Light? Do I enter through him as the Gate to salvation, or do I keep trying to rescue myself? Do I trust him to Shepherd me? Do I depend on him as the Resurrection, or do I keep trying to lift myself up? Do I let him be the Way for me or do I keep asking for directions? Is he the Truth by which I judge all other lesser truths? Is he my Life, or do I employ entertainments to bring me life? Do I abide in him, cling to him as a branch to a Vine, and draw all my spiritual nourishment from him?”

I am challenged to meditate on one or more of these statements today. What do these statements reveal to me about God? How do they affect my life?

Father, I pray that you would show me truth today as I meditate on these statements of Jesus. Who is he to me? Who are you to me? These are simple questions, but the answers are varied and profound as I think on them. I don’t have time to type all the answers this morning, but I pray that your Spirit will remind me to ponder these things throughout this day. I do you know that you are the “bread” of my life, Lord. I could not survive without you. May I live the rest of this day in the light of your truth.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi’s day (especially these next two) will be smooth. Protect her from anxiety, as it seems that there is another round of layoffs coming. I pray for comfort for friends of hers who have already received the news. I pray for Stephanie’s day today, and that she will feel like going to work out tonight. Draw her heart closer to yours today, Lord. I ask that I would have a smooth day at work today. I thank you that there is no more freezing precipitation in our area this morning. Draw me closer to you today.

I pray for Andy, in California, as it looks as though he may have a job, working at a hotel. I pray that this will go well for him, providing him with a place to live as well as some income.

Think on these phrases of Jesus today. Who is he to you?

Grace and peace, friends.