Resurrection Country

Today is Monday, October 2, 2017. Day 21,753. Ten days until our 32nd anniversary!

Don McLean, who was born on this date in 1945, said, “I’ve never done anything but what I wanted to do with my life. I don’t think too many people can say that. I wrote the songs I wanted to write, for me. I had no idea that ‘American Pie’ would relate to anybody.”

Word of the Day

Thimblerig ~ “a sleight-of-hand swindling game in which the operator palms a pellet or pea while appearing to cover it with one of three thimblelike cups, and then, moving the cups about, offers to bet that no one can tell under which cup the pellet or pea lies.”

Today is International Day of Non-Violence. Wouldn’t it be nice? But instead, we wake up to news of possibly at least 50 people dead and over 100 injured at a Las Vegas shooting, last night.

We wound up having a pretty nice day, yesterday. As reported yesterday morning, our Internet was out. But it wasn’t just ours. Apparently Spectrum Internet was out in a large chunk of the country, if not the entire nation. We braced ourselves for a challenging day, but it turned out okay. S was okay through it, as was I. After a good worship gathering, we went out to eat with another family from the church. We tried a place we had not been to yet, called “Meat U Anywhere.” It’s a barbecue restaurant, and it was quite good. It’s interesting, because you don’t order a plate lunch. Instead you order meat by weight, and then buy the sides that you want, also by size. It’s a little pricey, but it was delicious. The one strike against them is that they don’t have any Coca Cola products, so Diet Dr. Pepper is the only diet drink they serve. Besides water. Wait. There was a cooler with some sixteen-ounce bottles in it. Now that I think about it, there may have been some Diet Coke in there. Oh, well. Anyway, I had their sliced brisket and jalapeno cheddar sausage. The sausage was pretty amazing, as was the brisket.

After lunch, I went to the grocery store, while C took a nap. Right before I got home, the Internet came back on. I did what I was already planning to do, which was play Horizon: Zero Dawn on the PS4. After I played for a while, and C painted on a paint by number set she got, we watched the season premier of Saturday Night Live, which was disappointing, to say the least. But, over-all, I would say it was a good day.

Today, there is no baseball. The wild card games are tomorrow and Wednesday, and the ALDS series begins Thursday. Unfortunately, the Red Sox/Houston games on Thursday and Friday will be the afternoon times.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

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
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24
Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us-
may your will be done here on earth in
just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge,
and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours-forever-
which is just the way we want it!

(Dallas Willard)

(From Practice Resurrection)

We have moved into Chapter Five, which will focus on Ephesians 2:1-10.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

With the abrupt transition of “And you were dead,” and, “made us alive together with Christ,” Paul moves us into “resurrection country.” We are no longer looking at it from a distance. We have stepped into it, “our feet on the actual ground.” Looking back at 1:20, God raised Christ from the dead. In 2:6, God raised us up with Christ, as well. “Resurrection defines Jesus’ life; resurrection defines our lives. We were sin-dead; we are resurrection-alive.”

This “resurrection country” is no longer a place that we are looking at from a distance, admiring the landscape. It is now the “land we live in, entering into the detailed intricacies of resurrection living.” It is completely different from the life we are used to. It is also not something that we add to what was already there. It is completely new, making alive what was dead.

Yes, we will bring old habits from our life in the country of death. “And so we require a patient, long-suffering reorientation in the resurrection conditions that prevail in this country, living into the ‘full stature of Christ’ (4:13), our resurrection pioneer and companion.” And, most importantly, Paul begins this reorientation with the word “grace,” in 2:8. We will find that Paul uses this word quite a bit.

Father, thank you for bringing me into resurrection country. Now I pray that you continue to teach me and reorient me into this resurrection life. Thank you for that word, grace.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Logically Connected

Today is Friday, November 25, 2016. Thirty days until Christmas.

Quote of the Day

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss

Word of the Day

Perhapser – A person who says ‘perhaps’ with regard to a particular issue.

Today is Buy Nothing Day. We’ll come pretty close to that, although we may not make it perfectly. If we buy anything today, it will probably be food at a restaurant. Otherwise, we don’t go out on Black Friday. We did that once. And considering that I rarely buy any gifts in stores, anyway, there is no need for me to put myself through that again. That being said, tomorrow, I believe, is Small Business Saturday. I will highlight that again, tomorrow, but I would encourage people to go shop at small, local businesses tomorrow. Avoid the huge “discount” box stores and help out people with franchises or independent businesses.

We had a most wonderful day, yesterday. And, I have to say, as I noted on Facebook, my heart was full. I don’t think the day could have gone any better. Well, I will say there was one way . . . if my father could have been there, it would have been better. Otherwise, it was as close to perfect as possible, I do believe. The food was delicious and we had a wonderful time visiting afterward (while S snored on the couch). C and I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack on the trip there and back (and still didn’t quite finish . . . it’s two-and-a-half hours long).

Today will be a welcome day of rest (tomorrow, too, hopefully). We will probably put up Christmas decorations around the house, and perhaps the tree, as well. The lights have been hung for about a week, as we hired a local guy and his son to put them up for us. As already noted, we will not go out shopping today. We may go out for lunch, but not much more than that. Unless we decide to do our grocery shopping today. Who knows?

92 days until the first Spring Training Game.
129 days until Opening Day.


Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Psalm 69:5

When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Psalm 65:3

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

(From Praying With the Psalms)

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 
  On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 
  For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 
  How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land? 
  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 
  Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!
Psalm 137:1-6

When Israel was in exile in Babylon, they were taunted by their captors to sing their songs. They truly believed that they could not do it, but eventually realized that “their Lord could be as precious to them in Babylon as he ever was in Jerusalem.” Our Father is our Father, no matter where we are, and we can praise him in any circumstances.

“At the very moment, Lord, when I think all is lost,
that there is nothing to be done, that defeat is total,
show me the way of resurrection whereby you can bring new life, new song and new hope.
In my Babylonian moods keep the vision of Jerusalem alive in my heart and teach me new songs of praise. Amen.”

This psalm always makes me think about this beautiful song by Don McLean.

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The title of this reading is The Secret of Spiritual Coherence. Chambers says that “Most of us are not spiritually coherent because we are more concerned about being coherent externally.” What does “coherent” mean? It means, “logically connected; consistent.” It could also mean “harmonious,” or “sticking together.” So if we are spiritually incoherent, it means that our spiritual life is not consistent or logical. Paul had a strong spiritual coherence, which means that his external life could change however it pleased and he was not distressed, “because he was rooted and ground in God.”

If our consistency is not on the ground floor, in the fundamentals, we will be all over the place spiritually. Chambers makes a bold statement. “Restate to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ.” You probably wouldn’t hear that in a modern Seminary class, or in most modern pulpits. But I began doing that many years ago. That is not a boast, please don’t misunderstand me. I held to a system of beliefs, for many years, that included some stuff that just wasn’t biblical. I began tearing that down, or, perhaps God began tearing that down, in the mid to late eighties, and has continued ever since.

“If we get away from brooding on the tragedy of God upon the Cross in our preaching, it produces nothing.” The preaching might be interesting, but it is powerless without the Cross. The Gospel of Jesus Christ states that the Kingdom of heaven is here, now, and available for us to enter, to walk in. That Gospel is nothing without the Cross. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Father, keep me coherent, spiritually. I confess that I spend too much time trying to be externally coherent. Make my spiritual life logically connected and consistent. Make it logically connected to you! Don’t let my spiritual life get sidetracked by non-essentials and controversies. I pray that my spiritual life will not get distracted by external circumstances, like politics and elections. Draw my spirit, my hope, my confidence, and my trust back to you and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me walk in your Kingdom; walking in the easy yoke of Christ.

Even so, come, Lord, Jesus!

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. John 15:4

Grace and peace, friends.

Centering Down

“Living for God finds its foremost expression in prayer. The heart of discipleship lies in commitment and worship, not reflection and theory.” The Spirit that Jesus has given us gives us a way to “live on the surface and out of the depths at the same time.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Sunday, September 7, 2014. 14 more days of summer.

Today is Salami Day. Grab yourself some salami and have a feast!

Well, I seem to have developed another case of cellulitis in my left leg. I have, however, procured some antibiotics to take for it, so it will hopefully be better in a couple of days. I knew something was going on yesterday, but tried to think that it was not cellulitis again. It has been a long time since I have had that.

Yesterday was an okay day, but since I wasn’t feeling well, it didn’t seem like a good day. I was struggling to stay alert during the message at last night’s worship service, but it was a pretty good message, contrasting the different reactions of the “rich young ruler” and Zacchaeus, upon their individual encounters with Jesus. It was the foundational message in a series called “Treasure: Finding the Gospel in our Finances.” The PAT meeting after church went well, but drug on a little longer than I would have liked, as I did not get anything to eat at Rosa’s. I didn’t feel my stomach could handle spicy Mexican food, so I waited until I got home and had a can of tuna.

Christi needs to go back out and get some stuff for her mother that, for some reason, didn’t make it on their list yesterday. Other than that, we are pretty much spontaneous today. We rented Dallas Buyers Club at Redbox, so we will watch that after I finish here. Then while Christi is out, I plan to watch Oculus, which I also rented from Redbox.

It is now a month and five days until our 29th anniversary, and a weekend in Glen Rose. I can hardly wait.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1785, William Fox headed a meeting at Paul’s Head Tavern in London that resulted in the formation of the first Sunday School Society for Britain. The purpose of the Society was “to prevent vice; to encourage industry and virtue; to dispel darkness and ignorance; to diffuse the light of knowledge; to bring men cheerfully to submit to their stations; to obey the laws of God and their country; to make that useful part of the community, the country poor, happy; to lead them in the pleasant paths of religion here, and to endeavor to prepare them for a glorious eternity.”

Today’s birthdays include Buddy Holly, Elizabeth Queen of England I, Corbin Bernsen, Evan Rachel Wood, Gloria Gaynor, Shannon Elizabeth, Toby Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Julie Kavner, Grandma Moses, Anthony Quayle, Harry Sinclair Lewis, Ed Warren, and Susan Blakely.

Buddy Holly was an American singer/songwriter who had a backup band known as The Crickets. He was born on this date in 1936, and died in 1959, in the famous plane crash that also took Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Here is his song, “Oh, Boy.”

And just for kicks, here is a great video made for Don McLean’s “American Pie.”


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

Psalm 86:11

(From The Divine Hours)

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 32:11
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
Psalm 50:2
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Grant me, O Lord, to trust in you with all my heart; for, as you always resist the proud
who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of
your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:1-4

As I begin Matthew 6 (still part of the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus speaks of how we should treat our gifts to the poor. His disciples are instructed to give to charity quietly, without calling attention to themselves. This doesn’t mean all charitable giving should be anonymous. Sometimes, that is impossible. What it does mean, though, is that we don’t do it “before other people.” In addition, it is wrong for church leadership to point out people who have contributed to the ministries of the church, or given sacrificially to help someone else out. We are to “sound no trumpet,” so that we are not praised by others. Jesus warns us that if we call attention to our gift, then the praise of men will be our full reward for the act. We give in secret, so that “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

I once knew a man who took this so literally that he wouldn’t even declare his offerings to the church on his taxes each year. I don’t carry it that far. After all, Jesus also said, “Render unto Caesar,” and so on. 🙂

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Secret Places of the Heart.”

“Living for God finds its foremost expression in prayer. The heart of discipleship lies in commitment and worship, not reflection and theory.” The Spirit that Jesus has given us gives us a way to “live on the surface and out of the depths at the same time.” So we can do our daily, mundane tasks, make plans, have conversations, and be completely cognizant of the day’s demands on us. At the same time, as we live deeply within, “we can be in prayer adoration, thanksgiving, and attentiveness to the Spirit.” Does this sound like something that is just wishful thinking? I can certainly see how we would think that. But I have, albeit not so frequently, experienced this and know that it is possible. It is what I strive for on a daily basis.

Our daily lives have a tendency to be filled with cacophony. But those “secret places of the heart” give us a sort of “sanctuary of praise” in the midst of all that noise. There is a phrase that is used by many who meditate, called “centering down.” This can consist of “a quiet, persistent turning to God while driving, cooking, conversing, writing, and so on.” It can, with practice, become a habit. Brother Lawrence referred to it as “the practice of the presence of God.”

O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.

Psalm 65:2

Father, help me to “center down” daily. I already have developed a habit of praying during my morning drive to work. And after I am finished praying, I try to spend the remainder of the drive in silence. I’m not always successful, as you know. But that time should be spent turning my thoughts to you in preparation for the work day ahead. It would be impossible to spend too much time in this practice. Help me to do it throughout the work day, as well as throughout the rest days. I should always be centering down to turn my thoughts toward you. Help me to “live on the surface and out of the depths at the same time.” My heart’s desire is to always be living in the Spirit, even while I am doing the most mundane things.

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s safety and sanity as she does more things for her mother, who frequently shows no gratitude whatsoever. I pray that Christi is building up treasure in heaven by these selfless acts. I pray for my cellulitis to be well. I thank you for the prayers of the saints. I pray for the rest of our day, that we might have good rest and relaxation, in preparation for the week of work ahead. Let us work from our rest as we practice the rhythm of life in Christ.

Reflections for Ragamuffins

This book has been one of the best devotions I have ever read. I am so grateful for Brennan and his insights during this year. As I work through this next week, I hope to concentrate on living “on the surface and out of the depths at the same time.”

Grace and peace, friends.

Compassion For Self

Good morning. It is Wednesday, “Hump Day,” January 15, 2014.

Today is “Hat Day.” I wear a hat pretty much every day, so nothing new. I usually wear one of those flat, British driving hats. Don’t know what they’re called.

Christi has a doctor’s appointment at 8 this morning. It seems her blood pressure is a tad high. That could explain some of the symptoms she had over the weekend that were attributed to being side-effects of Mobic. Of course, they could also be side-effects of Mobic. Who knows? But she’s going to get it checked out this morning, which I think is a pretty good idea.

We had a good huddle meeting last night. Some good discussion and good topics. It seems that a lot of us struggle with the same concepts in our lives. If we can all be brutally honest with each other, this could be a great growing experience. That’s the hard part, though, isn’t it? We have to learn to trust one another.

It was on this date in 1972 that a song hit #1 on the pop charts that most of us probably know better than the National Anthem. Well, the chorus at least.

The inspiration for the song occurred almost 13 years earlier on “the day the music died.” It was February 3, 1959, when the plan crashed that killed Buddy Holly,
Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. This had such an impact on Don McLean that he wrote this epic poem/song, hoping that he might “earn two or three thousand dollars and make survival for another year possible.” Instead, it propelled McLean to stardom. (Source:

Today’s birthdays are Gene Krupa, drummer, 1909, Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, 1929, Robert Silverberg, SF author, 1935, Captain Beefheart, rock musician, 1941, Ronnie Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1948, Martha Davis, singer (Motels), 1951, Melvyn Gale, cellist (ELO), 1952, Randy White, manster, 1953, Julian Sands, actor, 1958, Drew Brees, QB, 1979, and Matt Holliday, baseball player, 1980.

Ronnie Van Zant was the lead vocalist for Lynyrd Skynyrd in the seventies. He died in a plane crash on October 20, 1977, less than two months after this performance of “Gimme Three Steps.”


(From The Divine Hours)

Psalm 96:2-3 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Psalm 5:3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
Psalm 21:13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
Psalm 96:12 . . . let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Psalm 147:7-11 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles to confess Jesus
as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of
this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the
one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Giving Compassion–Starting with Ourselves.” This is an interesting reading today. He speaks of having compassion for ourselves before we can have compassion for others. “In urging us to compassionate caring for others, Jesus invites us to have compassion for ourselves.” We have to internalize the compassion of Christ before we can break through to showing that same compassion to others. This is kind of a “reverse Catch-22” situation here. “The way of compassionate caring for others brings healing to ourselves, and compassionate caring for ourselves brings healing to others.”

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Father, teach me to be compassionate toward myself so that I can show compassionate caring toward others. I’m not asking to have a sense of too much importance about myself. I am guarded against that. I know that scripture teaches me that I must always consider others to be more important than myself. However, this teaching, I believe, that I must have compassion for self before I can send it out to others, bears some meditation. Teach me how to do this. I have spent many years being down on myself for this, that, and the other, for failures and for willful sins. Teach me to have compassion and let it begin with me. Show me how to work this cycle of compassion, starting with acknowledging your grace and mercy in my life. May you teach us all to be this way, Lord. and may we strive for peace with everyone. Make us holy, Father, through the blood of Christ and the presence of the Spirit.

I pray for this day. I pray that Christi’s doctors appointment will yield some results that will help get her BP down. I pray for her to be able to relax and be less stressed about things. May we all be able to do this. I pray for a good day at my work, and I ask for understanding and growth for Stephanie. Show her the path for her life and future. I pray also for a good workout tonight, as we continue our journey toward healthier bodies.

Your grace is sufficient.

Check your compassion level. Start at home first, looking inward. Ponder this idea that you must show compassion to self before showing it to others.

Grace and peace, friends.

Submission Results in Provision

Good morning. It is Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

Today is “Name Your Car Day.” I’ve done that. My Hyundai Sonata is named “Amadeus.”

My dreams of a 1975 World Series rematch were short-lived, as the Pirates beat the Reds in the NL Wild Card game last night. Oh, well. Tonight’s game features Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card game. I’m not terribly concerned about who wins, but whoever it is faces the Red Sox, starting Friday night. I wonder if I’ll have my new shirt by then. . .

We had a great Huddle group last night. There are changes a-comin’! I can’t really divulge anything yet, but there is going to be a major announcement this Sunday. We (Christi and I) are pretty excited about the future of The Exchange.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1187, after being under Christian rule for just under a century, Jerusalem fell to the Muslims under the leadership of Sultan Saladin. European Christians had captured Jerusalem during the First Crusade. But King Baldwin IV died of leprosy and, instead of passing to his young nephew, the throne was manipulated by Baldwin’s sister Sibylla, who seized the crown and had her husband Guy de Lusignan declared King. Unfortunately, Guy “had neither the intelligence nor the ruthlessness of former Christian rulers” and was lost the city to the Muslim raiders. Interesting fact. . . “To the delighted astonishment of the conquered Christians, Saladin and his men treated them with kindness and courtesy rather than the indiscriminate slaughter that followed the Crusaders’ capture of the city.”

Today’s birthday is Don McLean, born on this date in 1945. McLean is a singer/songwriter who has made many really good records. His most well-known song is, of course, “American Pie,” from the album by the same name. Also on that album, however, is a very fine song, a tribute to the painter, Vincent van Gogh, called, simply, “Vincent.”

Honorable mentions go to Sting, 62, Kelly Ripa, 43, Maury Wills, 81, Groucho Marx, 1890-1977, George “Spanky” McFarland, 1928-1993, Bud Abbott, 1895-1974, Annie Leibovitz, 64, Rex Reed, 75, and Mike Rutherford, 63.

Bonus video. Mike and the Mechanics (Mike Rutherford) singing “The Living Years.”


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 lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. . . Psalm 116:13
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:19
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Psalm 56:10-13

Father, I do praise you, but I am still in the formative stages of trusting you. Yes, even after all these years, I struggle with trusting you. It must be a human thing. But I find myself closer to being able to fully trust you with my whole heart. May your Spirit guide me into that place. I do believe that I can speak that last line of Psalms, above, with clarity and confidence. You truly have “delivered my soul from death,” and you have delivered “my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” I praise you for this, Father. I ask you to guide me into your word this morning and teach me your ways.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Israel Would Not Submit to Me.” The scripture verse is Psalm 81:8-14.

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.”

This seems to be a psalm used on a specific feast day, “perhaps the fall Festival of Tabernacles.” The song celebrates “God’s saving power, particularly noting God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt.” God invites his people to “reap the benefits of his adequacy and generosity.” If we trust him with our whole hearts, we will get all that we need.

In this psalm, “submit” seems to mean “obey.” We know from the Biblical record that Israel, time and time again, failed to obey the Lord, which resulted in many negative consequences, not the least of which was 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, unable to enter “the promised land.” We should be able to learn a lot from Israel’s experience, but I’m afraid we don’t. However, God’s commands are different to us. And that is a totally different discussion that revolves around the words of Jesus Christ. The point of this morning’s reading is that, if we submit to the Lord and follow his ways, obeying his commands, we will be well-provided for.

Father, I pray for a spirit of submission to be prevalent in my life. I know that I struggled with that yesterday, and, after things that were revealed last night, now know that it was in vain that I struggled, because there was no need for the anxiety at all. I love how you are teaching me to trust you, even though it’s uncomfortable at times! I pray that you continue to teach me, as well as all your people, to be submissive to your will. Your plan is the ultimate priority; your plan will come to pass. What I must do is walk in that plan, walk in your truth, walk in your ways. Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day, as always. May we have a good work day, and may we be more aware of the people around us and their needs, not just walking in blindness, stuck in our own little world. Make us people of grace, people of peace. May we help others find your peace, Father. Teach Stephanie your will and your ways, Lord, and draw her closer to your heart.

I lift up a special prayer for our pastor, Jacob, as he leads us into unfamiliar territory. Give him strength and courage to do what you have shown him must be done. I pray that he is hearing you rightly and discerning accurately. Fill him with your Spirit and your truth.

God has shown us the truth; if we fully submit to him, we will be taken care of. Jesus reinforces that truth in Matthew 6:33. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Grace and peace, friends.