“Our Ancestors Have Told Us”

Today is Saturday, the fourteenth of August, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,165

Only five more days until S’s birthday!

Today appears to be Social Security Day. I’m still waiting on mine to be approved.

The word for today is fustian. There are several meanings, but the one highlighted for today is the adjective form, meaning, “pompous or bombastic, as language.”

Today’s quote, by Sydney J. Harris, is, “Happiness is a direction, not a place.”

And now for the birthdays, always obtained from On This Day

1479 Princess Catherine of York, 9th child and sixth daughter of King Edward IV by his wife Elizabeth Woodville, born in Eltham Palace, Greenwich, England (d. 1527)
1586 William Hutchinson, Rhode Island colonist, born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England (d. 1642)
1642 Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, monarch of Florence (1670-1723), born in Pitti Palace, Florence, Tuscany (d. 1723)
1742 Pius VII [Luigi Barnaba Gregorio Chiaramonti], Italian bishop of Imola and Pope (1800-23), born in Cesena, Italy (d. 1823)
1851 John "Doc" Holliday, American dentist, gambler, and gunfighter (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), born in Griffin, Georgia (d. 1887)
1863 Ernest Thayer, American poet who wrote the famous baseball poem "Casey", born in Lawrence, Massachusetts (d. 1940)
1903 John Ringling North, American circus director (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1937-43), born in Baraboo, Wisconsin (d. 1985)
1923 Alice Ghostley, American singer and actress (Bewitched, Designing Women), born in Eve, Vernon County, Missouri (d. 2007)
1930 Earl Weaver, American hall of fame MLB manager (Baltimore Orioles 1968-82, 1985-86), born in St Louis, Missouri (d. 2013)
1940 Darrell George "Dash" Crofts, American singer (Seals & Crofts - "Summer Breeze"), born in Cisco, Texas
1941 David Crosby, rocker (Crosby, Stills & Nash - "Guinnevere"), born in Los Angeles, California
1945 Steve Martin, American comedian, banjo player, author and actor (Parenthood; The Jerk; Roxanne), born in Waco, Texas
1946 Antonio Fargas, American actor (Huggy Bear-Starsky & Hutch), born in The Bronx, New York
1946 Larry Graham Jr., American bass guitar player (Graham Central Station, Sly and the Family Stone), born in Beaumont, Texas
1946 Susan Saint James, American actress (Kate & Allie), born in Los Angeles, California
1947 Danielle Steel, American author (Rememberance, Zoya, Star, Daddy), born in New York City, New York (according to Wikipedia, she is the bestselling author alive)
1947 Maddy Prior, English folk singer (Steeleye Span, Silly Sisters, Carnival Band), born in Blackpool, United Kingdom
1950 Gary Larson, American cartoonist (Far Side), born in Tacoma, Washington
1951 Carl Lumbly, American actor (Cagney & Lacey, Alias), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
1953 James Horner, American film composer (Titanic; Apollo 13; Avatar), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2015)
1954 Mark Fidrych, American baseball player (Detroit Tigers) nicknamed "The Bird", born in Worcester, Massachusetts (d. 2009)
1959 Earvin "Magic" Johnson, American Basketball Hall of Fame point guard, executive (5-time NBA champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, Olympic gold 1992), born in Lansing, Michigan
1959 Marcia Gay Harden, American actress, born in La Jolla, California
1960 Sarah Brightman, English actress and singer (Phantom of the Opera), born in Berkhamsted, United Kingdom
1961 Susan Olson, American actress (Cindy-Brady Bunch), born in Santa Monica, California
1966 Halle Berry, American actress (X-Men: The Last Stand: Monsters Ball), born in Cleveland, Ohio
1983 Mila Kunis, Ukrainian-American actress (Friends with Benefits), born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine
1984 Clay Buchholz, American baseball player, born in Nederland, Texas
Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday
Dash Crofts is playing the guitar
David Crosby wrote this one

That’s a lot of birthdays.

Last night, I had the best night of sleep I’ve had all week, which was nice. I actually slept until almost 8:00 this morning, which is very rare. The sleep study equipment was dropped off at a pack and mail store, yesterday morning, so I will be looking to hear from the doctor’s office, hopefully by the end of next week.

I got an email from the City of Hurst, yesterday, with forms to print and fill out. My orientation will be at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, so I will have the forms filled out prior to that. The forms consist of a W-4 for tax purposes, a direct deposit authorization, and an I-9, to prove I’m legally eligible to work in the U.S.

The grocery order was placed last night, and is scheduled to be picked up between 12:00 and 1:00 this afternoon, and the supplementary order from Albertson’s is scheduled for delivery between 1:00 and 2:00 PM.

I made Pecan-Crusted Buttermilk Chicken last night for dinner, and it was very delicious. It was the first time I did the entire process, from prep to cooking. C usually does the prep on it.

C and S are going to the blood center to give platelets, this afternoon. And that’s pretty much it for today.


“When we have found our own uniqueness in the love of God and have been able to affirm that indeed we are lovable since it is God’s love that dwells in us, then we can reach out to others in whom we discover a new and unique manifestation of the same love and enter into an intimate communion with them.” ~ Henri Nouwen

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
(Psalms 46:1-3 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the affirmation of Your love for us;
2. that You are our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble;
3. that we do not win battles by our own strength, but by Your strength, and by the light of Your face;
4. that everything we do, even the utensils that we use, can be consecrated as holy to You;
5. for the ability to listen, to hear with my ears, to what You have done in our lives.

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



Praise Yahweh, my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name!
(Psalms 103:1 WEB)

I pause, briefly, during this quiet moment, reading over the quote by Henri Nouwen again, thinking of the great love that the Father has lavished upon all of us, His children. I consider the truth that this great love, and the realization of it, enables us to reach to others, and display love to all people, without fear of risk.


For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.

We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago.
With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors; you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish.
It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.
You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob.
Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.
I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.
(Psalms 44:1-8 NIV)


The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ” . . . Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. . . . Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. . . . This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
(Exodus 12:1, 3, 6-7, 11-13 NIV)


As I make myself aware of the presence of the Lord, while attempting to distance myself from available distractions, I read these passages again, looking for specific words or phrases or thoughts that speak to me, today.

The importance of story is emphasized, I believe, in the passage from Psalms. Although the word, itself, is not in the psalm, “story” is an important aspect of our lives. It’s one of the reasons that I love to hear my mother speak of her days growing up in east Texas, with her family. We need to hear from our ancestors, concerning the times before ours.

Sadly, it is often too late before we realize the value of this.

The psalmist, in this case the Sons of Korah, recognized this, in writing, “We have heard it with our ears . . . our ancestors told us.” And note the medium of transmission. We have heard it, they said. Not read, but heard.

Listening is a lost art in Western culture. We have forgotten how to listen. The political climate of the day proves this. No one listens to facts any more; no one listens to truth. One man proclaims something and millions of people just believe it to be true, and no amount of fact-checking can change their minds.

Unbeknownst to them, this is the definition of what makes up a cult.

But never mind that. That’s not what this is about. This is about the value of listening, of hearing. And it is one of the reasons that I enjoy listening to God’s Word being read on the You Version Bible app on my phone (or tablet). Hearing God’s Word is different than reading it. Many portions of it were intended to be read, out loud.

Take Paul’s letters, for example. Those were delivered to a “church” in a specific city, and then circulated around, to different homes and read out loud to the people in each house that made up the “church” in that particular city.

In his book, Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson has a whole section on the value of hearing God’s Word, as opposed to reading words on a page. It’s quite fascinating, actually.

What was it that the psalmist heard? It was the deeds of God Almighty, “in days long ago.” It was the fact that the people of God did not win battles with their swords, or by the strength of their arms. It was the “right hand” of God, His arm, “and the light of [His] face” that won the battles for them.

It was His love that drove it all. Now, go back up there and read that quote from Henri Nouwen again. When we see that we are lovable (and we truly are, according to God), we can, then, reach out to others with that love. And when the light of the face of God is shining upon us (remember that bit in the Aaronic blessing?), any alleged risk that is involved in reaching out to someone else in love, is dissipated . . . it completely dissolves.

The light of the Face of God is . . . I can’t even think of a good word to describe it, so it is indescribable.

So it is God, we see, who gives us victory over our enemy, not our own strength.

And it is God who is about to lead His people out of Egypt in the passage from Exodus. We see them making the preparations for what will forever be known as Passover. And the sign that they are prepared is blood, on the doorposts of their homes.

Father, I thank You for Your strength, for the power of Your right hand and Your arm, and for the light of Your holy face that shines upon us, each day. May we recognize these truths, and the fact that Your love shines down on us, showing us that we are, in fact, lovable, even though we may think we are not. Then help us to take that love and reach out to a shattered, hurting, world with it, knowing that we are secure in You, and that there is nothing that the world can do, ultimately, to harm us.

I pray that we, Your Church, would work for the common good and benefit of all mankind. I pray that “deep care, bold love, and rich community” would be experienced within the Church, by all who make their way into her. I pray for new local churches to be formed and planted by people who know You and Your love. May the light of Your face shine upon us all.

"Saving God,
by the blood of Christ the angel of death passes over us and you set us on the road to freedom.
May the bread and cup of communion always remind me that Christ offered himself so I might go free.
I am so grateful for the freedom from slavery to sin and death that comes through Jesus,
my spotless Passover Lamb.


Yah is my strength and song. He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise him; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
(Exodus 15:2 WEB)

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 61:11 ESV)

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
(Genesis 1:11-12 ESV)

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
(1 Corinthians 3:6 ESV)

And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
(Zechariah 14:20-21 ESV)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

Everything that we do can be considered holy to the Lord, no matter what. Every utensil we use in the process can be considered holy to Him.

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!

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 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

God’s Well-Timed Grace

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 19, 2015.

The Word of the Day, from Dictionary.com, is petrous. Petrous is an adjective, meaning, “noting or pertaining to the hard dense portion of the temporal bone, containing the internal auditory organs; petrosal,” That’s an anatomical reference. It also means, “like stone, especially in hardness; stony; rocky.”

Today is Daiquiri Day (that’s a tough word to remember how to spell). Apparently, this drink was invented in a town by the same name, near Santiago, Cuba. With temperatures hitting triple digits in Texas, it would be a good day for a refreshing Daiquiri.

Our evaluation appointment with Stephanie, yesterday, went very well, we believe. The psychologist with whom we met was very good. I let her know this, too, during the time we spoke to her without Stephanie in the room. She had a very bright, positive, countenance, and was very good at drawing Stephanie out. This was obvious, because, when we talked to her, it seems that Stephanie told her pretty much exactly the same things that we checked off on the form we were given. The psychologist told us that we had given her very good information. It will take about two weeks to get the report, which will let us know if Stephanie is eligible for additional service.

We barely had time to get Stephanie home and get up to church on time, to begin preparations for the evening’s activities. But we made it. The prayer gathering, in my opinion, was extremely good. There were some deep prayers that happened, and I think that there was a strong sense of God’s presence in the room. Our worship gathering was good, as Jacob finished the second part of what I still believe to be the best sermon I have ever heard. He finished talking about Psalm 37:1-7. Last week, the two points were that we need to trust in the Lord and do good, and that we need to delight ourselves in the Lord, which means that we should treasure God above all things. This week’s two points were that we need to commit our way to the Lord, which essentially means wrapping up our entire lives in a bundle and handing it over to him, and don’t take it back. The problem is that tend to be okay with giving everything over, but we frequently take it back when things get iffy. The last point was that we need to be still before the Lord. The passage finished up with the same idea that it began with. “Fret not.”

Today, we have grocery shopping, and then Christi is going to lunch with some friends from Supermedia/Verizon at 1:00, during which time I plan to go see Jurassic World. It also starts at 1:00 at the theater that I currently like to go to.

After all that is done, if we have the energy, we might go bowling. We are also considering joining a bowling league for the fall. We are currently looking at a couple of leagues that are on Sunday evenings, beginning in September.

On this date in 1692, five women (Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, and Rebecca Nurse) were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1879, Doc Holliday killed his first man, after the man shot up his saloon in New Mexico.

Today’s birthdays include Lizzie Borden (took an ax, and so on . . .), Charles Horace Mayo (American surgeon/founder of clinic), A.J. Cronin (Scottish writer), George McGovern (American politician), Vikki Carr (American singer), Brian May (English guitarist/Queen), Beverly Archer (American actress), Lisa Lampanelli (American comedienne), Anthony Edwards (American actor), Benedict Cumberbatch (British actor), Vinessa Shaw (American actress), and Jared Padalecki (American actor/Supernatural).

Brian May, guitar player and co-founding member of Queen, was born on this date in 1647, and turns 68 today. Here is their song “’39,” which, over time, has become my favorite Queen song. Brian May actually sings lead on this song.

Joe Flynn, Lefty Frizzell, and Bill Bright are among those who passed away on July 19.


As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
Psalm 84:6

” . . . those who have true heart religion, and who sincerely serve God, direct their steps to the sanctuary of God, not only when the way is easy and cheerful, under the shade and through delightful paths, but also when they must walk through rugged and barren deserts.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame, p. 201)

(From Solid Joys)

In the midst of my continued reading about prayer, comes this gem from Solid Joys, called, “His Timing Is Perfect.”

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Any kind of ministry that we do is in the future. It may be a decade away, a month away, or it may be mere moments away. The point is, we always have time to fret about our ability to perform ministry. “When this happens, we must turn to prayer.”

“Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry. Timing is everything.”

What if the needed grace came too early? Or, even worse, what if it came too late? Piper lets us in on a translation secret. He says that the more traditional translation (cited above) hides a precious promise. He gives us a more literal rendering of the Greek text. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help.” Rather than simply “grace to help in time of need,” it becomes much more urgent “grace for a well-timed help.”

“The point is that prayer is the way to find future grace for a well-timed help.” The grace that we need always comes from the “throne of grace,” just in time. Our King, who sits on that “throne of grace,” “sets the times by his own authority.”

As we recognize that God’s timing is perfect, we rarely find that it is the same as our timing. Moses wrote in the Psalms, For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. On a global level, we see in Acts 17:26 that God sets the time periods and boundaries of the nations: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. But on a more personal level, in Psalm 31:15, David says, My times are in your hand.

So when we are concerned about the timing of God’s future grace, we must turn to the throne of grace, in prayer. “Nothing can hinder God’s plan to send grace when it will be best for us. Future grace is always well-timed.”

Father, may we truly understand the truth of this little verse, and know that your grace is always perfectly timed. Let us turn to your throne of grace when we are in need, sending up prayers that we might eagerly receive the future grace, that will always come just in time for the need that we will experience. When we relate this to ministry, whatever ours might be, this is nothing short of phenomenal! If we truly believe the truth of this verse, we would never fret about anything relating to ministry. I pray that Christians the world over would know this truth and understand how it relates to them, from the aspect of world missions all the way down to the smallest detail of their lives. Your grace is “well-timed help,” Lord! Hallelujah!

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s safety as she runs errands for us and her parents, as well as for when she drives to Grapevine later for her lunch. I pray that she will have a good time reconnecting with old friends and work associates, many of whom she has not seen in quite some time. I pray for the rest of our day, that we will have some good rest as we prepare for the week ahead.

May your grace rain down on the rest of our family, as well. For Stephanie, as we wait for the results from yesterday’s interviews, for Rachel and Justin, as they go into another new week, and for my mother, as she continues to take care of business in her life. May we all know your well-timed grace each day.

Your grace is sufficient.

Having never seen this particular rendering of this verse before, I am grateful for John Piper’s word today. Even the reading, itself, is “well-timed.”


Grace and peace, friends.

His Temple Is Us

Good morning. It is Pre-Friday, November 8, 2012. Today is “National Dunce Day.” Make of that what you will.

On this date in 1793, the Louvre was opened to the public as a museum.
On this date in 1887, Doc Holliday died of tuberculosis. I’m your huckleberry.
Montana became a U.S. state on this date in 1889. All twelve people became citizens. I made that last part up.
On this date in 1895, while experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Rontgen discovered X-rays.
On this date in 1933, FDR unveiled the Civil Works Administration, an organization that would give jobs to over four million unemployed people.
On this date in 1951, NY catcher Yogi Berra was awarded the American League MVP.
On this date in 1960, John F Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in one the closest presidential races of the 20th century.
On this date in 1966 Lyndon B Johnson signed an antitrust exemption bill that would allow the National Football League to merge with the American Football League.
On this date in 1973, the right ear of John Paul Getty III was delivered to his father, along with a ransom note demanding 2.9 million dollars.
On this date in 1994, Salvatore “Sonny” Bono was elected to the U.S. Congress. I got you, babe.

Today’s birthdays include Julian of Norwich (an English saint), 1342, Edmund Halley (the comet guy), 1656, Milton Bradley (the game inventor, not the baseball player), 1836, Bram Stoker (YEAH!), 1847, Hermann Rorschach, 1884, Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind), 1900, Ivy Bean (look her up), 1905, Christiaan Barnard (heart surgeon), 1922, Joe Flynn (McHale’s Navy), 1924, Patti Page (the singer), 1927, Morley Safer (journalist), 1931, Bonnie Bramlett (singer), 1944, Bonnie Raitt (blues singer/guitar player), 1949, Jerry Remy (baseball player and Red Sox TV announcer), 1952, Rickie Lee Jones (singer), 1954, Leif Garrett (singer), 1961, Gordon Ramsay (Hell’s Kitchen), 1966, Parker Posey (actress), 1968, Tara Reid, 1975, Nick Punto (baseball player), 1977, Azura Skye (actress), 1981.

For some reason, THIS POST got ten hits yesterday. It’s actually funny that, almost every day that I check my stats (don’t judge me, you do it, too), there is at least one search for this cartoon. I guess it’s a very popular Peanuts cartoon.

We took a break from working out last night and cooked at home. It was nice, but we plan to get right back to the gym tonight. We are struggling a little with motivation right now. We’ve been hard at it for 10 months, and, you know, you just get weary. Doesn’t mean we’re quitting, we’ve just hit a little plateau. With the holiday season on us, we have to ramp up so that we don’t gain during all the festivities. Speaking of festivities, it’s 48 days until we leave for Cancun.

I miss baseball.

Father, I pray for a vision of you today, as well as a vision of my purpose and your plan for me in this life.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 140. This psalm of David is a prayer for protection and deliverance from “evil men.” David, as both king and military leader, knows that there are wicked and violent men who plan traps for him, desiring to take his life.

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men,
2 who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah.
4 Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have planned to trip up my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net; beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah.

The first five verses have the appearance of being like two stanzas in a song, which makes sense, since the Psalms are songs. Note the characteristics of evil men. The plan evil things in their hearts, they have sharp tongues, they hide traps and try to trip people up.

6 I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
7 O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah.

David pauses to give some praise to the Lord, declaring that the Lord is his God and the strength of his salvation.

9 As for the head of those who surround me, let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into fire, into miry pits, no more to rise!
11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

David prays for just recompense on the heads of the wicked, praying that their own lies and mischief come back to burn them.

12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.

At this point, David shows that he is not just concerned for himself. He knows that evil men prey on the poor and afflicted, so he prays for justice for them, as well.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “The Unrivaled Power of Prayer.” Note the similarity to yesterday’s title, “The Undetected Sacredness of Circumstances.” Today’s scripture reference comes from the same chapter as yesterday’s, as well, Romans 8. Today it is verse 26, which says, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. I’ve been a “fan” of this verse for many years. There are frequently instances, during my prayer times, that I cannot come up with words to pray, or that I come to a certain person on my prayer list, and I just don’t know what to pray for them. At that point, I turn it over to the Holy Spirit, confessing that I don’t know what to pray for them. I have such a person right now. I also think that there are times that the Holy Spirit may “interpret” our prayers for us. I can’t really back this up, biblically, other than using an interpretation of this very verse. I can picture the Holy Spirit, telling the Father, “That’s not really what he means…what he is really asking for is this…” You know, God knows our hearts. So when we pray, we may not be able to quite articulate what it is we mean. I have every confidence that God hears what we mean more than what we say. That’s why I have no problem asking God for strength, even though he says he’s already given us everything that we need for life and godliness (1 Peter 1:3).

That was all me. Now, let’s see what Chambers says. I believe, along with many others, that when we are “born again,” we are immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In fact, it very well may be simultaneous, but that’s a different discussion. And this Holy Spirit which indwells us gives us power. That is one of his ministries to us. But he also “prays in us prayers which we cannot utter…He expresses for us the unutterable.” Chambers says that God searches our hearts to “find out what is the prayer of the Holy Spirit.”

We know also that scripture says that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Within this “temple,” the Holy Spirit can offer his intercession. If we are living in the Spirit, he will not allow us to use our bodies for our own convenience. Do we recognize this? Am I constantly aware that my body is his temple? Do I remember throughout the day that my “conscious life, though it is only a tiny bit of [my] personality, is to be regarded by [me] as a shrine of the Holy Ghost?” I must guard this conscious part of my life with great diligence. God will take care of the unconscious part, that of which I am not aware.

Father, I confess that I have not done a good job of maintaining my “temple.” This shrine for the Holy Spirit is in disarray. I have failed to be aware of the purpose of my life in regard to the Holy Spirit. I pray for more diligence in this matter. Garrison my imagination, repair this fortress that is my mind and my heart, that the Spirit might be able to successfully intercede in me and through me. I commit to more diligently guarding this shrine. When I pray that you not allow me to mess up this prayer ministry, this is what I mean. And today, you have brought my attention to a very important truth. I thank you for the truth of this verse today, that the Spirit truly does intercede for us, expressing for me the “unutterable.” I thank you for the power that the Spirit gives, both the power to act and the power to pray. I also thank you for remembrances throughout the day that I need to be praying about something, for someone.

I thank you that you know my heart when I pray. You know the intentions of my spirit, even though the words may not adequately reflect them. You also know that, even though I may say the same words every day, they are far from being “vain repetitions!” There are only a few ways to say certain things. If I’m praying for someone’s healing, there are only a certain number of ways to express that. But my heart is sincere. I am not repeating prayers just to repeat them out of ritual. Speaking of ritual, I pray, Father, that, even though this devotional time is a habit, it never become “ritual,” something that is done without feeling or thinking. May your Holy Spirit see to that, keeping this fresh every day. So far, you have done a fantastic job of that! I find your mercies to be new every morning! I find your word to be “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart!” (That verse just hit me so powerfully that I had to take moment and get on my knees and face before God!)

Father, I pray for this day. I pray for healing and relief from pain for Christi. She continues to feel some better, and her doctor appointment is tomorrow. I pray for some good results from that test. I pray for her work day, that you prepare her and enable her to deal with whatever stress may come her way. Keep her mind and heart focused on you today. I pray for Stephanie today, as well. Give her some hope and a purpose for her life. Draw her closer to you during this day. Give me a good work day today, keeping my eyes on you through all things. May I find myself in moments of prayer throughout this day, making those moments of “drudgery” into little times of worship to you. Fill me with your Spirit.

Today’s reading is important to all of us who call the name of Jesus. We must guard our hearts, our minds, and our spirits, so that the Holy Spirit can effectively intercede from his temple, which is us.

Grace and peace, friends.

I Don’t Always Obey, But When I Do, It’s Because…

It’s Thursday morning, July 19, 2012. Today is “National Daiquiri Day.” Make mine strawberry, please. Or peach. Today is also “National Flitch Day.” I know…I’ve never heard of it either. Apparently, this stems from a tradition of giving a “flitch” to a newly married couple that makes it through their first year. What is a “flitch?” It’s an amount of bacon equaling half a pig. It seems to be an English tradition, dating back to as early as 1104. Ron Swanson would like this. He would probably marry someone new every two years just to take advantage of this tradition.

On this date in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was found. It held the key to solving “the riddle of hieroglyphics.” On this date in 1879, Doc Holliday shot Mike Gordon, who was shooting up Holliday’s saloon in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Gordon died the next day. This was Holliday’s first killing.

Not much to report about yesterday. It was a pretty average day in our life, so I’ll get right to the devotional.

Father, I pray for a glimpse of your face today. May your Spirit give me the inspiration I need to get through this day. Just enough grace for today.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 49. There is some great wisdom in this psalm, written by the “sons of Korah.”
Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surround me,
those who trust in their wealth and boast of the the abundance of their riches?
Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever and never see the pit.

Indeed, why should I fear? Why should I fear, and why should I envy? This psalmist doesn’t mention envy, but I do…there is equally no reason to envy those who boast in their wealth. And the reason is given in verses 7-9. All the wealth in the world will not keep you out of the grave! You cannot ransom your own life. However, this psalmist has confidence that comes forth in verse 15. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Another message I get from this psalm is that there is nothing I can do to ransom my own life, but God will take care of that. My life is in his hands, and he has ransomed “my soul from the power of Sheol.”

Finally, in verse 20, he closes with this: Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish. No matter how rich, a man without the wisdom of God is no better than a beast.

My Utmost For His Highest

You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. John 13:13 (The KJV renders “Teacher” as “Master”)

Today’s reading continues on a theme from yesterday, that Jesus “never insists on having authority; He never says – Thou shalt.” However, when his redemption becomes real in me, “I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me.” I see that he is worthy, and it is “only the unworthy in me that refuses to bow down to the worthy.” And believe me, there is plenty of “unworthy” in me! Chambers brings an interesting idea into this, today. He says that God uses people who are a little bit more holy than we are to reveal what is unworthy in us, “until we get under the domination of the Lord Himself, and then the whole attitude of the life is one of obedience to Him.”
We go back to yesterday’s title and the question at the end. Why do I obey? The reason I give is the revelation of how I have grown in grace. Jesus didn’t order people around, like a taskmaster. Yet they obeyed him…because he obviously had authority. We don’t see Jesus face to face; we don’t get the same sense of his otherworldly authority. Nevertheless, it is there.
Chambers throws another loop in here. “Obedience is only possible between equals; it is the relationship between father and son, not between master and servant.” I get what he is saying, although I’m not sure I agree with the semantics. Jesus obeyed the Father because he was the Son, not in order to become the Son. When I obey Jesus, it is because I am his “brother,” not to become his brother. There is a fine line here, but it is significant. I don’t obey in order to become holy. I obey because I have already been made holy.
I stumble, however, over this idea of equality. I do not consider myself equal with Jesus, even though, by merit of the redemption, I have been made his “brother.” On the other hand, in terms of righteousness, his righteousness has been imputed to me, therefore, in that light, we are equal, because we both have the righteousness of Christ. And I’m not traveling one more inch down this path…it’s too confusing. Suffice it to say that, when I obey, my obedience is because I have already been made holy by the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Father, I thank you for the work that you have done in my life, by the power of the Spirit, and by the blood of Jesus. It staggers me to think that I could be equal with Christ. I can’t get my head around that one. However, I do know, and have finally believed that, yes, I am holy because of what you have done in my life. You have erased my sin, cast it into the deepest parts of the ocean, as far as the east is from the west. You have forgiven me, even though I continue to sin. You have made me a “saint.” Therefore, when I obey the words of Christ, it is not out of compulsion, guilt, or a sense of duty. It is because the thing that is worthy and holy within me recognizes that which is worthy in him, and I willingly submit to his authority, which is, ultimately, your authority. I pray that, as I hopefully grow in grace, I will grow also in obedience, especially as I progress down this path of intercession. I know I’ve been throwing that word around a lot lately, but this is where I believe you want me. I struggle with my worthiness; I really do. Sometimes when I pray, I don’t feel worthy to be praying. I don’t feel fit for this task. But I do it anyway, because I believe it is where you want me. May my prayers be effective, Father, and may I be faithful to pray for the lives which you have brought to me in this task. May I never take this lightly or flippantly.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi will have a good day today at her work, and me at mine. May our work day be stress-free today. I pray for Stephanie’s day today, here at home, that she might find time to think upon you and perhaps read your words and pray a bit.

I thank you for some answered prayer that I am seeing.

I ask, now, for focus and clarity as I go into my private prayers. I pray that your Spirit will reach into the depths of my heart and clean out that which is unworthy.

Your grace is sufficient.

While I am unable to grasp the full meaning of today’s reading, I know this. God has, by the power of Jesus, made me holy. And this makes me worthy to obey.

Grace and peace, friends.