Come . . . Behold

Today is Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.” – Duke Ellington

Word of the Day

Ataraxia – a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity. I like that one. That’s my goal. Ataraxia.

Today is Serpent Day. It’s really less about snakes and more about coming to grips with our fears. “You could spend this time contemplating some of your key life experiences and deciding what lessons they’ve taught you and how you could use this knowledge to improve your life in the future.”

The memorial service yesterday was long, but nice. It seems to have gone very well. The portion at the church lasted just over an hour, as there were two ministers speaking, a couple of songs, and three other people giving a sort of eulogy. I have to confess that one of them didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but perhaps it meant something to the family, so I won’t pass judgment on it.

After the church service, S, Mama, and I drove on out to the cemetery, rather than going in the procession. It turns out that their grave sight is literally a stone’s throw away from my father’s. The graveside service was nice, as well. I learned a lot about this man, yesterday. He was very involved in his community, and well-loved by pretty much everyone. It was nice to reconnect with a couple of family members that I had not seen since high school years. Some of them even remembered me. My friend’s younger brother would not have, as he was only six when we graduated from HS.

S and I got home just before 5:00 PM, quite exhausted from the day. I sat down and opened Facebook, only to be shocked by the news that another of our classmates from 1976 had passed away, yesterday! It was almost too much. Even though I joke about being “old,” we really aren’t, yet.

We have no plans for today, other than work, and then just resting afterward. Tomorrow night is our bi-weekly Night of Worship team gathering, and we will be preparing for the actual Night of Worship, which occurs this Saturday night at 6:00 PM.



Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. Psalm 67:1

Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Psalm 119:164

Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Psalm 25:20-21

I’m out of time, this morning. It seems to have gotten away from me. I will leave with words from Psalm 46. Verse 8 says, Come, behold the works of the LORD! This is not always easy, as plenty of other things demand our attention.

Father, I pray that you would direct me, by your Spirit, to remember to behold your works today, when the traffic and work responsibilities and everything else demands my attention. Let me not forget you and your works, your words, your promises. May I dwell in you and you in me.

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Is Jesus Proud of Me?

“Therefore, there is the possibility of every feeling and emotion that can exist between friends to exist here and now between Jesus and you.”~~A fellow Franciscan, to Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Thursday pre-Friday, August 7, 2014. Only 12 days, now, until Stephanie turns 21.

(The above track is part of a collection called “Suite Thursday.”

Today is Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day. I get a lot of that, at my job. One day, I opened a box that was about two-feet square, and about a foot deep, and all it had in it was four very small parts. There was not even any additional packaging in it.

Christi had more drama with her mother yesterday morning. Her mother called her, actually, before we even got up. It seems she had “fallen,” and had Don call an ambulance to take her to the hospital. The truth is, she only had one more hydrocodone pill left, and she wanted some more. But she went to the same hospital she always goes to, in downtown, where they know her, so they wouldn’t give her any more. Christi wound up having to go pick her up. I’m pretty sure Christi told her that if she keeps doing that, she will be put in a nursing home where she can have 24 hour surveillance. We’ve gone through this behavior before, and thought we had her weaned off of that stuff.

One of our key people is on vacation the rest of the week, so I might have to work late today and tomorrow. But, as my mother used to tell me, “don’t borrow trouble.” Or something like that. So I won’t worry about it, and whatever will be, will be, right?


(From The Divine Hours)

But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
Psalm 68:3
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand;
Psalm 10:12
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
Psalm 21:13
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!
Psalm 98:1
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah.
Psalm 24:7-10

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Between Friends.”

Brennan relates a challenge that a fellow Franciscan once gave him.

“Do you ever reflect upon the fact that Jesus feels proud of you? Proud that you accepted the faith that he offered you? Proud that you chose him for a friend and Lord? Is he proud of you that you haven’t given up? Proud that you believe in him enough to try again and again? Proud that you trust that he can help you? Do you ever think that Jesus appreciates you for wanting him, for wanting to say no to so many things that would separate you from him? Do you think that Jesus can ever be grateful to you for pausing to smile, comfort, give to one of his children who have such great need to see a smile, to feel a touch? Do you ever think of Jesus being grateful to you for learning more about him so that you can speak to others more deeply and truly about him? Do you ever think that Jesus can be angry or disappointed in you for not believing that he has forgiven you totally? He said, ‘I do not call you servants, but friends. . . ‘ Therefore, there is the possibility of every feeling and emotion that can exist between friends to exist here and now between Jesus and you.”

This is very deep stuff, here, and worthy of much meditation.

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.

Isaiah 30:185

Father, forgive me. I confess that I have failed to conceive of Jesus as my “friend,” in this way. Oh, sure, I sing “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” and all those other hymns that talk about Jesus being my friend. I have read the verses over and over again. but have I really ever stopped to consider the things that this Franciscan monk asked Brennan? I dare say not. I am stunned as I sit here reflecting on the above questions, considering that, yes, Jesus is truly my friend, and that he feels the same kind of emotions that I might feel between earthly friends. I have never, ever considered that either you or Jesus might actually be PROUD of me! I have never dared to think that. But could it be true? Is it possible that, when I do the right thing, that you might be proud of me? Just as you are probably disappointed in me when I do the wrong thing? I tend to lean more toward the disappointment side than the proud side. Perhaps that is just human nature. I pray for the Spirit to remind me today that I am a friend of Jesus, and that, yes, it is entirely possible that he might be proud of his “little brother.”

I pray for this day, that we would have safe passage to work and home today. I pray for Christi this morning, as she has something going on at 9am that you know about. I pray for your will in this matter. May your will be done, on earth as in heaven. I also pray for Stephanie today, that you would draw her closer to you and reveal your steadfast love to her.

Your grace is sufficient.


Can it be? Is it possible? Is Jesus actually proud of me?

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It is Monday, October 15, 2012, and we are back to the real world. What a wonderful weekend we had! Once again, if you are close by this place (even if you are not), I would encourage you to check out Paluxy River Bed Cabins, in Glen Rose, Texas. It’s a magical, peaceful retreat from the “real” world.

Today is “National White Cane Safety Day,” so proclaimed many years ago by President LBJ. Be on the lookout for the visually impaired today (as you should be every day).

On this date in 1793, Marie-Antoinette was tried and convicted and sentenced to death the next day.
The Edison Electric Light Company began operation on this date in 1878.
On this date in 1888, investigators receive a letter from Jack the Ripper. It has been called the “From Hell” letter.
Mata Hari was executed in 1917 for being a spy for the German Empire.
On this date in 1956, the computer language Fortran was first shared with the coding community.
Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky became the all time scoring leader in the NHL on this date in 1989.
On this date in 1930, Duke Ellington recorded “Mood Indigo,” his first big hit.

Birthdays today include the Roman poet, Virgil, 70 BC, Friedrich Nietzche, 1844, P.G. Wodehouse, 1881, Mario Puzo, 1920, Barry McGuire, 1935, Linda Lavin, 1937, Penny Marshall, 1942, Jim Palmer, 1945, Richard Carpenter, 1946, Chris de Burgh, 1948, Emeril Lagasse (BAM!), 1959, Sarah Ferguson, 1959.

As we head back to our work week this morning, we are very thankful that we were able to get away for that beautiful weekend. The one down side of the whole thing is that Christi’s leg/foot is hurting again, just as it was before the back injection. This is pretty disappointing. But she has another appointment for followup this week, so we will see what the doctor says. In the meantime, I continue to pray that God would heal this problem.

Father, I pry for a glimpse of your face this morning as I look into your word. Please give me something to make my day a worship celebration to you.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 119:145-152.

145 Qoph. With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.

The intensity of the psalmist’s prayers are seen in the first few verses. I, too, “rise before dawn and cry for help,” each day. I find that this gives me fuel for the day.

In today’s reading from My Utmost For His Highest, called “The Key to the Missionary Message” (remember yesterday’s reading was “The Key to the Missionary”), the scripture verse is 1 John 2:2, which says, He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. “The key to the missionary message is the propitiation of Christ Jesus.” What is “propitiation?” It’s a big word. Basically, it is the act of appeasing. So if Jesus is our propitiation, it means that he has satisfied God for the account of our sins. “The missionary message is the limitless significance of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins, and a missionary is one who is soaked in that revelation.”

The message of the missionary is not the kindness of Jesus, or his goodness, not even the revealing of “the Fatherhood of God.” It is not a patriotic message (the “religious right” in the U.S. really needs to heed that truth), “it is irrespective of nations and of individuals, it is for the whole world.” When the Holy Spirit brings the revelation of Jesus to me, nothing that went before matters whatsoever. My personality does not matter; my preconceived ideas about anything don’t matter; “He brings me into union with the Lord Jesus.”

The missionary is not on task to share his own point of view, he is to “proclaim the Lamb of God.” His task is not to proclaim what Christ has done for him. His task is not to proclaim divine healing, or a “special type of sanctification,” or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. “Paul did not say, ‘Woe is unto me, if I do not preach what Christ has done for me,’ but, ‘Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.'” What is the gospel? “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Father, I pray that I would continue to come to you with the cries of my heart, with the intensity that the psalmist has in Psalm 119. May I continue to rise before dawn to share my heart with you, that you might share your heart with me. I seek your face each day. I seek just the slightest glimpse of the One who is the Creator and Master of all, that I might know your heart for me, for my family, and for all that I know.

As I acknowledge that each of us who call ourselves by the name of Christ are, indeed “missionaries,” I pray that we do not, out of pride or self-interest, blur the message of Christ. May we be clear in the message, “Make the message plain…” Christ is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! He is the propitiation for our sins. May we not be scared away by the “big word,” and try to dumb it down too much, oversimplify it. It’s an easy concept, really. Jesus Christ, by his sacrifice, has appeased your wrath toward us. That’s the message of the gospel, and we should proclaim that cheerfully and clearly in all that we do every day. May we be faithful missionaries.

I pray for this day. I continue to pray that Christi might be healed from this leg and foot pain. There was brief relief with the injection, but the pain is back. I pray for wisdom from the doctor this week. Show him what needs to be done. I pray that Christi will have a great work day today, that there will be some good news when she arrives today. I also pray that you would surround her with your Spirit, absorbing any stress that might come her way today. Do the same for me, as well, throughout this day. Give me peace and wisdom to handle anything that comes my way today with grace. I also pray for Stephanie today, that her heart would be drawn into your heart, giving her peace and knowledge of you during this day.

Oh, missionary, don’t confuse the message. The key is simply this: Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sin! Nothing more, nothing less. May that be the message of the Church of Jesus Christ in today’s world.

Grace and peace, friends.