Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But . . .

Today is Wednesday, the fifth of October, 2022, in the twenty-seventh week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of our Lord be with you, today.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, began yesterday at sunset and continues until sunset today. I believe that it is strongly possible that Jesus was born on this day (not the exact date, of course, because Yom Kippur is a “movable feast”).

Day 23,582


Mighty God, we thank you for sending your light into all the world to reveal that you are the Father of all, to show us that you are leading them to yourself, the good and the bad, those who are near to you and those who are far away. We thank you that through all this your name may be acknowledged and honored. We thank you that we may live from your hand and that everyone may see your work on earth and be filled with praise. May the light which you have sent to earth in Jesus Christ shine brightly for us and penetrate our hearts so that we open ourselves to it with joy, and worship the Savior. Bless us and give us your Spirit; without your Spirit we can do nothing. May we receive help from you every day. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
(Isaiah 49:6 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that salvation was brought to the Gentiles as well as the people of Israel
  2. that, by His blood, the Lamb of God “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,” and made them “a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10)
  3. that I can “make a joyful noise to the LORD” (Psalm 100)
  4. that if we pray persistently, not losing heart, the Lord hears us and answers
  5. for cool Autumn mornings

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
(Psalms 104:31-32 ESV)

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:11-14 ESV)

A Psalm for giving thanks. 

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 
Serve the LORD with gladness! 
Come into his presence with singing! 
Know that the LORD, he is God! 
It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, 
and his courts with praise! 
Give thanks to him; bless his name! 

For the LORD is good; 
his steadfast love endures forever, 
and his faithfulness to all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 ESV)

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
(1 Peter 4:9 ESV)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:10 ESV)

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(Hebrews 13:1-2 ESV)

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. . . . And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" 
(Luke 18:1, 7-8 ESV)

Sometimes, it is difficult to not lose heart. Life is a struggle; this journey of faith is an even bigger struggle. We see things going on around us that are unbelievable.

The ironic thing about this is that people from all sides of life can look at my last statement and agree with it. I have a certain point of view from which I view the world and its events. You may have a different point of view, and yet both of us see things that are beyond belief.

So losing heart can be a real struggle, in this world. But Jesus would have us pray persistently, even to the point that He used a “worldly” judge to illustrate His point. Personally, I don’t believe it is possible for us to annoy God. He’s not like that judge, who finally gave in because the woman just wouldn’t shut up. Our God actually enjoys giving things to His children, not unlike grandparents who love to shower their grandkids with gifts.

How often do we miss that last little question at the end of verse 8, though? “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

I love what Eugene Peterson has to say about this passage. “Prayer, which is simply a conversation with God, isn’t conversation regulated by social or class distinctions. Rather, it’s a conversation in which all men, women, and children, widows and judges, kings and beggars, the literate and the illiterate, poor and rich, the wise and fools, saints and sinners are equals. They are all peers with equal access to God.

“Then Jesus steps out of the story and asks us a question, especially those of us who have gotten so used to not being listened to by anyone of importance that we’ve quit asking God for what we need. What Jesus asks is this: ‘How much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?’ (verse 8).

“Will you and I finally give up and quit praying because the deaf ear of the world has so flattened our expectations of being heard by God? Or will we have the kind of persistent faith the widow had?”

(From Conversations: The Message Bible with its Translator)

I believe there are more questions to be asked. When Jesus returns, will He find the kind of faith that is being hospitable without grumbling? Will He find the kind of faith that attempts to outdo one another in showing honor, rather than demanding it? Will He find brotherly love?

I shared a Loretta Lynn song in my other blog yesterday. I’m not sure who wrote the song, but I’ve heard multiple people sing it, from pure country by Ms. Lynn, to rough blues by Darrell Mansfield. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die.”

When Jesus returns, will He find people who have been willing to die?

Father, I pray that when Jesus returns, if I am still here, that He will find faith. I pray that I will be persistent in prayer, persistent in loving You, persistent in loving my neighbor, and persistent in honoring others above myself. These are hard things for humans, Lord. Human nature wants everything now, without having to wait (at least that’s the way the 2022 humans are). Human nature wants to be first (just look at how we drive, Father). Human nature is all about me, me, me.

I pray that You take this nature away from me. Give me patience that I might be willing to wait and abide; give me love, that I might love You and others; give me joy that nothing can steal; give me peace that passes all understanding; give me kindness in all areas of my life; and may the rest of the fruit of the Spirit be visible in my life, as well. In short, make me willing to die to myself and live to You and You alone.

All glory to You, Father, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Suddenly, Perfect Peace

Today is Saturday, the twenty-eighth of May, 2022, in the sixth week of Easter.

May the peace of Christ rain down on you today!

Day 23,452

C has completed one of her rounds of bowling, in Addison, IL, and is scheduled to finish up, this morning at 11:00. After that, she will head to Indianapolis, so we are praying for her safe travels between the two places. She will also be driving back to Chicago for her return flight, because one-way car rentals are quite a bit more expensive.

The Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics, again, 8-5. They scored first, but then Jon Gray gave up five runs in the third. The Rangers then scored in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, to win. Matt Moore got the win in relief, and Dennis Santana got the save. The Rangers are now 21-23, in third place in the AL West, three games ahead of Seattle and four ahead of Oakland. They are only seven games out of first place, and still 3.5 back of the wild card spot. They will play Oakland again, today at 6:07 CDT.

The Boston Red Sox lost 12-8, last night, (to Baltimore) losing a six run lead as the bullpen once again imploded. The Sox are now 21-24, in fourth place in the AL East, 11.5 out of first, and four back in the wild card race. They play Baltimore again, today, in Boston.

The Yankees (33-13) continue to hold the best MLB record. The Reds are still the worst, at 15-30, but are only a half game behind the Royas, who have now fallen behind the Nationals in the race for the worst. The Yankees also have the current longest win streak, at four games. Someone needs to beat the, please, repeatedly, if possible. The are three teams with three game losing streaks: The Miami Marlins, the Cleveland Guardians, and the LA Angels (yay!!). The Dodgers continue to have the largest run differential at +116, while the Pirates bring up the rear with -84. The Rangers are even today, so a win tonight would put them in the plus column. The Red Sox are at +17.

Well, it’s time to go to work. Tomorrow morning, I should have time to recap the standings of the PWBA Twin Cities Open. I will say that Missy Parkin is leading the pack after two qualifying rounds.


Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we may be your children. We thank you that through your Spirit our hearts may know that we are your children. Even when everything around us becomes difficult and we are hemmed in by darkness, we remain your children. Even when we often do not see how we are to go on and everything seems to be taken from us, we remain your children. Even when sin and death surround us and accuse us of being in the wrong, we still remain your children. As your children we entrust ourselves to your hands. In our whole life, in all our work and activity, we dwell in what has come from you, and we rejoice in Christ our Savior. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
(1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I am a child of God, and, consequently, a brother of the Son
2. for the privilege of having conversations with the Creator of the universe
3. that God can act suddenly, without warning, in our lives
4. for the perfect peace that comes by having our minds fixed on the Lord
5. that God is working on my interior so I can do the things on the exterior
For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. 
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 
Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
(Romans 3:20-24 NLT)
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. 
I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. 
He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. 

 My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. 
I am surrounded by fierce lions who greedily devour human prey—whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords. 
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth. 
My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it. 

My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!
 Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. 
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. 
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. 
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.
(Psalms 57:1-11 NLT)

Today’s prayer word is “suddenly.”

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
(Acts 12:7 NIV)

There is at least one more sudden appearance of angels in Scripture.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,
(Luke 2:9 NLT)

Suddenly means “quickly and unexpectedly.” One of the synonyms of suddenly is “instantly.” This is reflected in its usage in those two Scripture verses. However, I am intrigued by the apparent fact that this word “suddenly” doesn’t seem to be in the original texts at all. In every instance that I have looked up, there doesn’t seem to be a Hebrew or Greek word that means that. In many cases, there is a word that is translated “behold” or “lo.”

However, based on the context, I think “suddenly” could be an appropriate translation. Here is the Luke verse in KJV.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
(Luke 2:9 KJV)

The Greek word used here is “idou,” which can be translated, “lo, behold, see.” It seems logical that “look!” might also be appropriate.

All of this really has nothing to do with the idea being presented, here, though, so I apologize for the additional content. And, as a matter of fact, I’m not even 100% sure what idea is being presented. As I read the selection for the day, I’m not convinced that the writer understands the concept of “suddenly,” as she writes, “Then suddenly, in a matter of weeks . . .” I’m sorry, but “in a matter of weeks” is not suddenly, in my opinion.

Suddenly means instantly. It means right now, or, as one dictionary defined it, above, quickly and unexpectedly.

The writer wants to apply this to the struggle of having to wait for something. I prefer to apply it to the idea that God can act at any time, at any moment or second.

It’s kind of like driving in traffic. Who, here, hasn’t been driving when, suddenly, another driver makes an unexpected move, almost causing an accident?

God can act that quickly in our lives. Peter was in jail. Suddenly an angel appeared. The shepherds were watching their flocks. Suddenly the angels appeared. The remaining disciples were huddled in the upper room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in their midst. (I humorously imagine their reaction might have been similar to this.)

And, maybe this can be applied to the subject of waiting. We are, as God’s children, waiting. The disciples of Jesus Christ have been waiting, ever since He ascended back in the book of Acts, for His return. According to Scripture, this will happen, well, suddenly.

It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
(1 Corinthians 15:52 NLT)

So, yes, we wait. And while we wait, we acknowledge that our God can (and, most likely will) act . . . suddenly.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, I thank You for these Scriptures that show us the ways that You can act and appear in our lives. These sudden appearances of angels, as well as Your Son, in the lives of Your people, is encouraging to those of us who wait for You. And I am waiting for You. I am waiting for all of this senseless pain to be over. I’m waiting for all of these temptations to be over; I’m waiting for all of this evil to be over. And I have faith that it will happen, and it will happen suddenly, in the blink of an eye. And that is one reason that all of my blog entries end with the prayer, “even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
(Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
(Psalms 28:7 NLT)

O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
(Psalms 62:8 NLT)

I worry sometimes. Anyone who really knows me would laugh at that statement, as it is truly an understatement. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

I worry, sometimes, about things that probably won’t happen. I make up scenarios in my head, and then worry about the scenarios I’ve made up.

My wife is out of town, right now. Later today, she will be driving a rental car from Chicago to Indianapolis, 180+ miles, somewhere between two and three hours. I’m trying really hard not to worry about her. It’s not that I don’t trust her. I don’t trust the world.

But I do trust our God, and know that there is nothing that can happen to us that can ultimately harm us. And because of verses like Isaiah 26:3, there are definitely times in my life when I have that “perfect peace.” And, when the storms of life are assailing us, that peace can come upon us just as “suddenly” as those angels appeared to Peter and the shepherds. Unexpectedly, out of nowhere, there is peace, because, at some point, we realized that this worry is unfounded. God is in control. My mind is fixed on Him.

(Inspired by Daily Guideposts 2022)

Father, I praise You for this truth. The problem, though, is that I don’t always have my mind fixed on You. You, of course, are fully aware of this truth. So, here I am again, asking You to help me keep my mind fixed on You. I believe it is possible, just as Frank Laubach believed it is possible, to keep You in my mind at all times. I just need to practice that discipline, and not allow my mind to drift. This requires some pretty extreme meditation and contemplation, neither of which I do enough. So I ask You to remind me, daily, that I can, indeed, have my mind fixed on You. Whenever the temptations of the world try to worm their way into my brain, help me to shut them out, or, at least, just push them on through, out the other side. I love Your perfect peace, Father. Thank You for that possibility.

“Prayer is the activity that I am convinced is most human and humanizing.”

Eugene Peterson was always happy when someone asked him to teach them to pray. For one reason, he knew that he now had yet another companion in praying. He desired to be a pastor who prays, and one from whom his congregation could freely request prayer, but he also desired a congregation that prays, from whom he could request prayer, as well.

I like this way that he defines prayer: “the action that starts at the God-center and works out from that.” If we consider, as previously stated, that God initiates all conversations with us, then prayer must truly begin at “the God-center.”

One of the major tasks we have is this: “to acquire facility in working from the interior center to the exterior periphery.” And I really, really like how he uses the word “periphery” to describe the exterior. Because that’s what everything exterior is . . . peripheral. We get a lot more instruction, in life, on how to work the exterior things. We don’t get enough on the interior things, on “being and spirit.”

Dallas Willard used to say that God was more concerned with who we are becoming than what we are doing. And while Jesus’s parable of the sheep and the goats seems, on the surface, to be dealing with things that we do, in reality, it is dealing more with the attitudes, the interior things, that shape those things that we do.

Father, I believe this is true . . . that we need to constantly be working harder on the interior things, things like keeping my mind fixed on You, so that I can experience that “perfect peace.” For when I have peace in my life, rather than worry, I am not paralyzed, and can act and do things that demonstrate, outwardly, that inner peace that I have achieved. So help me to work these disciplines that firm up the interior of being and spirit, so that I can then do the things on the exterior, those things that are peripheral.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

"Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge…and that absence doesn’t bother me because I have got, over the years, a sense of the immense sweep of creation, of the evolutionary process in everything, of how incomprehensible God must necessarily be to be the God of heaven and earth. You can’t fit the Almighty into your intellectual categories. If you want your faith, you have to work for it. It is a gift, but for very few is it a gift given without any demand for time devoted to its cultivation.…Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It’s there, even when he can’t see it or feel it, if he wants it to be there." ~ Flannery O'Connor
(The Daily Dig at Plough.com)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Ancient Paths

Good morning. Today is Monday, the fifteenth of November, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,258

Two days until we fly to Indianapolis!

C and I had a nice time, yesterday afternoon. Right after our church gathering, we headed out to go to Macy’s to see if we could find the two shirts that never made it home Saturday. We did not find the actual shirts, but they were kind enough to allow us to get two more of the same kind, to replace them. While we were there, we also bought me a nice Levi’s jacket, black jean material with fleece lining, as well as a nice set of sheets for our bed. The jacket was about twenty dollars off, while the sheets were seventy-five percent off! Heck of a deal, there. We got $140 sheets for a little over thirty dollars. In addition, since C used her Macy’s card, she got another thirty dollars of “bonus money” that she can spend before December 14.

Today, November 15, is my father’s birthday. He would have been 84 years old, today. He passed away in April of 2015, from Inclusion Body Myositis, a rare muscular degenerative disease, related to Muscular Dystrophy (I think). My enjoyment of baseball has not been the same, since.

It feels like I have a lot to do, today, but I really don’t. Monday is one of my two days that I am always off work, so there are things that I like to get done on Monday. Today, I will make a quick trip to a grocery store, mainly to pick up some ground turkey for our chili tonight. Of course, we need bananas and grapes, too, but I won’t buy too many of those, because we are “leaving on a jet plane” on Wednesday morning. So I just need enough to get us through a couple days.


Lord, I dedicate this day to You.
May my feet walk only where You want them to walk.
May my eyes see only what You want them to see.
May my ears hear only what You want them to hear.
May my mouth say only what You want it to say.
May my mind think only what You want it to think.

And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants,
the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
(Revelation 11:16-18 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. the hope of our eternal reward
2. for the ancient paths; help us to rediscover and walk in them
3. for the calmness in the soul of contentment, as a weaned child with its mother
4. for the memories of life with my father
5. that You work to transform my heart and mind to conform to Your ways
6. that Your blessings are eternal
7. that Jesus has overcome the world; help us to follow Him

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



Your righteousness, O God,
reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with you, O God?
(Psalms 71:19 NLT)

As I pause, during this chilly, quiet morning, I meditate on the promise of reward in eternity, however great or small that reward might be. All of the wonderful things that God has done add up to those final verses in the Bible, that wonderful picture of Home. I pray for endurance, going forward.


A song of ascents. Of David.

My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
(Psalms 131:1-3 NIV)


To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed
so they cannot hear.
The word of the LORD is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
(Jeremiah 6:10 NIV)

“From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the LORD.

This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
(Jeremiah 6:13-17 NIV)


As I read these passages again, slowly, I look for words or phrases that catch my eye or move my heart. I mull over those, repeating them over in my spirit, and pray my thoughts and meditations, my desires and needs and feelings, to the Lord. I rest and enjoy His presence.

There seriously needs to be more of the attitude expressed in Psalm 131. This one, attributed to David, speaks of not being haughty or proud, not being concerned with matters too great or wonderful for me. Perhaps that is one of our biggest flaws as humans, especially in the West. We tend to be overly concerned with things that are too great and wonderful for us to comprehend. We tend to be overly haughty and arrogant.

We need to be more like that “weaned child with its mother.” We need more contentment. And we need, as the “new Israel,” the Church, to put our hope in the Lord (and only in Him), “both now and forevermore.”

We read verses like Jeremiah 6:10 and immediately thing we know who that’s talking about. It’s those other people, that’s who. Those guys over there. It’s not talking about me, or my friends!

We shouldn’t be so quick to assume.

Are we all greedy for gain? Greed has been, and continues to be, a huge problem in this culture. Prices for things have gone up, recently, and people seem too quick to blame the wrong people or groups. The bottom line is greed. And our culture’s systems promote greed.

But when the “prophets and priests” participate in this, it is that much more deplorable. We put Band-Aids on problems and say, “peace, peace,” when their truly is no peace. There is no shame.

The verse that jumps out the most, to me, today is verse 16. And this is where we, the Church, have failed, over the past decades.

GOD’s Message yet again: “Go stand at the crossroads and look around. Ask for directions to the old road, The tried and true road. Then take it. Discover the right route for your souls. But they said, ‘Nothing doing. We aren’t going that way.’
(Jeremiah 6:16 MSG)

I like Peterson’s paraphrase, there. But I also like the NIV, that uses the phrase “the ancient paths.” That’s what one of the books I am currently reading is about. In The Divine Embrace, Robert E. Webber is examining the ancient paths of the spiritual life and comparing them to the way spirituality has “progressed” over the centuries. The Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah, called for the people to look back to the “ancient paths,” find them, and walk in them.

But the people of that day, just as the people of today, said, “Nothing doing. We aren’t going that way.” We seem to think we have a better way.

But, again, we all seem to have this problem thinking that all of these warnings apply to the “other guys,” not us. Humility is needed. And trust me, I point back at myself, too.

Father, as I enjoy and rest in Your presence, this morning, I take heed of the words of Scripture. As I go forward in my life, I seek out these “ancient paths,” with the intention of walking in them, seeking Your face and the best form of spirituality that will benefit both me, and everyone else. As Psalm 86:11 says, “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” That has truly been the prayer of my life for many years, now, and it still is. I am still seeking this truth and this way, all the while acknowledging that Jesus Christ, Your Son, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no way to get to You except by Him. Help me to find and walk in these ancient ways and paths, that I might truly know You and worship You and serve You.

Help us to see You in all things, wherever we are, wherever we look. Help us to listen to You, as well, however You choose to speak to us.

because Your words are life.
Clear out my ears, 
deaf to Your Word because of the din of the world,
and forgive my foolish heart,
too quickly convinced of being the authority on what is right and best.
Let me yield my life to Your Word and walk in Your good way;
transform my mind and conform me to the likeness of the Word, 


And now,
may it please you to bless the house of your servant,
so that it may continue forever before you.
For you have spoken,
and when you grant a blessing to your servant,
O Sovereign LORD,
it is an eternal blessing!”
(2 Samuel 7:29 NLT)

The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
(Psalms 33:5 NIV)

Arise, O LORD;
O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart,
“You will not call to account”?
(Psalms 10:12-13 ESV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

I have said these things to you,
that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart;
I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 ESV)

Arise, O Lord! Show Your mighty arm in our world, today. Let not the wicked continue to have their way among us. I’m not wise enough to be able to weed out “the wicked.” We all have our ideas as to who makes up “the wicked,” Father. Many short-sighted people believe that everyone in a particular political party is wicked. Give us wisdom beyond that, Lord. And help us to remember that it is Your job, along with Your holy angels, to remove the weeds from the harvest, but not until harvest time. We were told, according to Jesus, to not try to do that, lest we damage the harvest at the same time. It is my opinion, Father, that the harvest is being damaged by some foolish people. Help us, Lord! Rise up! Show Your power and strength and might! And give us Your wisdom!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

I have said to you,
that in me you may have peace;
I have overcome.

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Friday, January 22, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,961

Yesterday, I noticed a problem with WordPress. Some of my “reusable blocks” had been corrupted, or something. I was able to edit the ones that were affected, last night, but I had to delete one of them. The problem with that is that it deletes that block in every past blog in which it was used. This is a definite flaw in their system.

I also just noticed that some of the text was gone from my “footstool” entry a couple days ago. That’s sad, because I won’t be able to recreate that. If I continue to notice issues like this, I may be forced to go back to the old “classic” editor for the blog, which will mean more actual html coding. Or I may just stop using reusable blocks, altogether. We shall see.

Friday has arrived, our last day of work for the week. So far, there are no unusual plans for the weekend. We have been collecting socks for homeless people, and I think tomorrow is the day we are supposed to gather all of those up, but at this point, I have no idea how that is supposed to happen. We may all need to drop ours off at one person’s house.


"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
(2 Corinthians 9:11-12 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • For the miracle of my heartbeat
  • For the food I am eating for breakfast
  • For the true fear of God, which is driven by reverence and awe, rather than guilt or punishment
  • That every breath I take is a gift from You; may I breathe deep Your grace and mercy
  • For You, Elohim, and that all that I know about You is infinitesimal, compared to what there is to know.

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



The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
(Psalms 126:3 NIV)


The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:7-14 NIV)


Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:1-8 NIV)


For many years, I have loved the words used to describe God’s Word in the second half of Psalm 19. But this morning, for perhaps the first, I noticed that verse that says the fear of the Lord is “pure.” This helps us understand what it means to fear the Lord, in the right way.

Fear that comes from guilt, that is, fear of punishment, is not “pure.” It is driven by sin. If I am afraid of God in the same way I was “afraid” of my parents after I had disobeyed them, that is not “pure” fear.

The true and correct fear of God is driven by reverence and awe, mostly awe, I would think. For example, if we are smart, we fear the amazing power of a lion or tiger. We may feel safe when viewing them at the zoo or other wildlife preserve setting, but we know their terrible strength, and that they would just as soon eat us. This example, of course, fails just as any earthly example that attempts to define an infinite God . . . I’ve referenced Daniel Amos’s song, “Darn Floor Big Bite” here before. The idea behind the title is a gorilla attempting to describe an earthquake. Terry Scott Taylor’s idea is that man attempting to describe God is pretty much the same.

“You are beautiful; a terrible, terrible sight,” says the song of God.

So, if I am fearing God properly, purely, it is not a fear driven by guilt. And why should it be? Several days ago, I wrote about my past being erased . . . the sins that I have committed, forgiven and erased. Not just covered up; not just pretending they never happened; truly and eternally erased!

Father, I thank You for these truths, and for the psalmist’s descriptions of Your Word, and his demonstration of what true, proper fear looks like. Help my fear of You to be like this fear, pure and everlasting. Help me to remember that You have erased my past sins, like chalk from a chalkboard, gone forever. There is no guilt, there is no more need for shame. There is no need for the kind of fear that Adam felt when he hid from You in the garden. Thank You Jesus! And I thank You that I am, as Jesus said to Nicodemus, born from above, by the Spirit. Now let the Spirit’s wind blow in me as Jesus described!

"Faithful God,
I confess that I'm hopelessly lost trying 
to justify my life,
a posture of heart that leads me
to all sorts of evil,
unable to do good.
But thank you for the joy of new birth
through your Holy Spirit.
Empower me to live as your beloved child today.
(Heidelberg Catechism 8)


For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
(Ephesians 5:8 NIV)

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
(Psalms 73:26 NLT)

Some words to ponder, from Daily Guideposts 2021:

“I was arrogant before the phone call. I had forgotten that I am powerless and God is limitless. I had forgotten that every breath I take is provided by the One who designed and formed me. I do nothing on my own.” (Logan Eliasen)

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”
(Matthew 6:26 NLT)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 NLT)

“In a world defined by anger, our lives are narrowed into bitterness and violence. In a world defined by fear, our lives become anemic and timid. In a world defined by God’s love, the result is eternal life.” (Eugene Peterson, A Month of Sundays)

Today’s wisdom from Jonathan Cahn goes hand in hand with my discussion about God from the Psalms passage.

“The reality of God is so transcendent, so awesome, and so beyond, that there’s no word in any language that can express it. Not even the word God can express the reality of God. The word Elohim is letting you know that whatever you think God is, He’s more than that. No matter how good you think He is, He’s better. No matter how beautiful, majestic, and amazing, He’s more beautiful, He’s more majestic, and He’s more amazing. No matter how awesome you think He is, He’s more awesome than that. And no matter how beyond you think He is, He’s even beyond that. What does Elohim reveal? It reveals that no matter how much you think you know of God, there’s always more to know, so much more . . . and so much more than so much more. So never stop seeking Him. For His Name is Elohim, and of His awesomeness, there will be no end.”

It’s worth noting that the word Elohim, the first word for God used in the first book of the Bible, in Genesis 1:1, is plural.

“The Mission: Today, seek to know God as one who doesn’t know the half of Him. Seek to know Him more, and afresh, as if for the first time.”

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 NLT)

For more reference, read Job chapter 38. I won’t quote the whole chapter here.

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Father, I thank You for these mysteries that continue to have such an impact on my life. Whatever I know of You, compared to what there is to know, is infinitesimal. So, today, I ask that I might know You a little bit more, that I might know more of Your beauty, Your majesty, Your amazingness, and Your awesomeness. May I know You as beyond as You are, as Other as You are, and may I feel comfortable in this. While my fear of You will be driven by awe, let my love for You be just as powerful. And then let that love for You drive my love for others and my service to them.

Lord, I thank You for the call on my life to serve You. May I be faithful to do so in all aspects of my life; in my home, in my community, and at my workplace. Help me, along with all of Your children, work harder to serve the “common good.” I also lift up, today, anyone who might be starting a new career, a new life of some kind. May You show them Your face and kindness in their new venture.

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.

The Footstool

Today is Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,959

Yesterday evening, after dinner, I got on the treadmill again, and walked through a “foresty” path in Costa Rica, ending up at a lovely, blue waterfall. The walk was just under thirty minutes and involved walking intervals, five minutes of more intense walking, followed by two minutes of slower walking, repeating that, and then switching to intervals of one minute intense, two minutes slower, for three more times. The faster walks were around three to three and a half miles per hour, which is a pretty good clip for a walk.

I learned, also, how to keep up with the treadmill on a walk that fast. You have to swing your arms faster. That sounds like it would happen without thinking, but I’m not used to walking that fast, and I’m also not used to walking that fast on a treadmill, which gives you no grace, like solid ground does. I have to be careful, or I will find myself in the bookshelf behind the treadmill.

I’ve scheduled my six-month check up at my doctor’s office. Once again, I am excited to appear there, and show them my progress. There’s the weight loss, and then my blood sugar, in my home tests, has been averaging below 95, which is great. Some mornings, like today, it is even below 90. I’m hoping they will reduce my meds.


Eternal God,
who are the light of the minds that know You,
the joy of the hearts that love You,
and the strength of the wills that serve You;
grant us so to know You that we may truly love You,
and so to love You that we may fully serve You,
whom to serve is perfect freedom,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Prayer to Know God, by St. Augustine)

I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge.
(1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • For a new day in which I woke up, alive and breathing
  • That the Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, in whom I take refuge
  • That Jesus will bring the best to my life
  • My coffee
  • That this earth and its problems is only a “footstool”

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



The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
(Psalms 126:3 NIV)


For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, LORD, my strength.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
(Psalms 18:1-6 NIV)

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
(Psalms 18:16-17 NIV)


On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
(John 2:1-11 NIV)


Psalms like the one above are among my favorites. I love the passages that use language like this, stating that God is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my refuge, and other such words. He is my strong tower; when I stay in His shelter, I am safe and protected from all things. Even pain and death cannot truly harm me.

A word that draws me in, in the passage from John, is the word “best” (verse 10).

Dallas Willard once said that Jesus was the smartest person who ever lived. That’s not something we often consider, but it has to be true. In the case of the Cana wedding, He changed the molecular structure of the liquid in the stone jars. He not only changed the water into wine, it was the best wine that had ever been made.

The Bible doesn’t say that last bit, but I have to believe it is true. If Jesus made it, it would have been the best. At any rate, the master of the banquet declared it was the best wine of the evening.

When we invite Jesus into our lives, as He was invited to this wedding, He will bring the best to our lives. I know . . . this may sound cheesy, but bear with me. Also know that I am not a fan of the concept of “inviting Jesus into your heart.” That idea is found nowhere in Scripture.

When I step into the “easy yoke” with Jesus, at His invitation, I also invite Him to have control over my life, over my circumstances, and over the burdens that I bear. He is the stronger person in this yoke, so my burden immediately becomes easier, lighter. And He proclaimed that His burden is light.

He will bring the best to my life, more than just what is good. Sometimes, we settle for “good” when we could have had “best.” Walking with Jesus will bring us the best of whatever it is that we get.

This doesn’t mean that we will have the best car or the best house. We’re not talking material things, here. However, if my perspective is changed by the Holy Spirit, perhaps the car and house that I have are the “best” . . . for me.

Father, thank You for being my rock and fortress, my refuge to whom I can run and take shelter. Thank You for the “best” that Jesus brings to my life, especially when I acknowledge this and walk with Him in that easy yoke. Help me stay in that yoke with Him, and not step out on my own, thinking I can do an okay job of things. Because inevitably, I will mess it up.

"Joyous God,
I confess my disordered heart seeks out joy
in so many dead ends.
Remind me today of the primary purpose
of my life - 
to glorify you and enjoy you forever.
You make that easy because you have
replaced tired religion with gospel joy.
You are the Lord of the feast.
(Westminster Shorter Catechism 1)


For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
(Ephesians 5:8 NIV)

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
(Mark 10:14 NIV)

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 18:4 NIV)

“God’s acceptance of a man is for God’s own reasons, and he will not be dictated to by our own ideas of who is fit for the fellowship of his house.” (Eugene Peterson, in A Month of Sundays)

Scripture speaks of the earth as God’s “footstool.” Heaven is His throne, and earth, His footstool. Consider this:

“You live in a footstool world. The earth is just a footstool. It isn’t the place on which you can rest all your weight or your well-being. Its possessions are only footstool possessions. Its issues are only footstool issues. Its problems are only footstool problems. And its glory is only a footstool glory. You don’t sit on a footstool; you just place your feet on top of it . . . on top of its problems, on top of its issues, on top of its glories. You rest your feet on it . . . lightly. That’s the way one must live in a footstool world.”

The Mission: Today, see the world and everything in it in a new way, as the footstool world, with only footstool issues, and live accordingly.”

Lord, today, as I walk with Jesus, may I have fellowship with Him, the risen Christ. Help me to be continually mindful of His presence with me. Give me spiritual renewal and refreshment, even throughout the anxieties and burdens of a day at work. May You also strengthen and refresh Your Church.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Eighth Day of Christmas – Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Today is . . . what day is this? I’ve had too many days off in the last few weeks. As if that were possible!

Today is FRIDAY! January 1, 2021! It is New Year’s Day, and the eighth day of Christmas. (In case you haven’t figured this out, there will be twelve days of Christmas, after which Epiphany begins.)

2020 went out with a dreary, cold, rainy day in DFW. C wound up having to work for most of the day, as her company needs to close out their year-end financials. I think she’s going to have to work at least part of today, as well.

We did not stay up until midnight. I’ve seen a new year come in before. They all look pretty much the same, and one day doesn’t really feel any different than the next. I realize I lean toward cynicism, but I prefer to think of myself as more of a realist when it comes to things like new years. That’s one reason that I don’t make “resolutions,” any more. I set some goals. And, yes, there is definitely a difference. A goal is measurable, and should be attainable.

I do have at least a couple of goals for 2021. One is to reach my goal weight by December 31, 2021. As of last Saturday, I have 73.4 pounds to go. Depending on where I land tomorrow morning, I may have lost 100 pounds in 2020. I figure I should be able to lost 73+ more this year. However, I do understand that, the closer I get to goal, the slower the weight loss happens. But that’s my goal.

I’ll give you a quick run-down of WW’s goal setting strategy, which is good for anything in life, not just losing weight.

  1. Be Specific – “When setting a goal, it needs to be specific rather than vague. So instead of ‘I’m going to do more exercise this week’, say ‘I’m going to walk for 30 minutes a day, on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday’.”
  2. Make it Measurable – “How else will you know if you’re hitting the target? So make sure you can measure your goal. If your goal is to start every day with a healthy breakfast, try to track what you eat throughout the day on My Day, so you can visually see progress and keep yourself honest.”
  3. Make sure it’s Achievable – “A goal needs to easily fit in with your real life, which can be chaotic at times, in order to be achievable. Don’t plan to get up early every morning to exercise if you have a week of late nights ahead and will be too tired to get up.”
  4. Keep it Relevant – “A goal needs to be personally relevant to you on a day-to-day basis. For example, if you walk up a big hill every day on your way to work, aim to walk up it without feeling puffed. Goals that are not relevant to you are unlikely to be motivating.”
  5. Do it in Time – “You need to set a time limit to keep yourself accountable and on track. Perhaps you want to run 5km? Set a time limit of how many months it will take you to get there.”

You may have figured out that that makes an acronym that spells “SMART.” Well, there is also a sixth step, which kind of messes up the acronym. It is to Reward yourself. “Each mini goal deserves praise. A reward needs to be something that’s meaningful to you. For example, a massage or those new shoes you’ve had your eye on. Forget buying new runners if you don’t see them as a reward.” But that would spell SMARTR.

I’m setting another goal, this year. It’s a bit of a stretch, and I have done it once before, so I’m going to try it again. Along with joining a 2021 reading challenge on Facebook, I’m setting my reading goal on Goodreads at fifty-two books!! That’s only nine more than I read last year, and an average of one book per week. I believe I can do that.

I’m going to come up with a musical goal for the year, as well, but I don’t quite have that nailed down, yet. I can’t just say “make more music,” because it doesn’t fit into the qualifications of a goal. But that is the end result of what I want to do. It will involve practicing more, writing more, and recording more. There will be more updates on that as it progresses.

There are no real plans for today. We are going to make our favorite chicken dish for our mid-afternoon meal today, along with some corn and green beans. I am going to eat some black-eyed peas (with jalapeños), at some point today. I’m not at all superstitious, but I figure it can’t hurt, right? I like them, and they are zero Smart Points on the WW Blue plan.

I’m sure there will be Sonic drinks, at some point, assuming they are open today. I think they are. New Year’s Day is not a retail holiday.

Enough rambling. Let’s get this year started off right.


The resources that I will be using this year are:

  1. Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year, by Philip F. Reinders (already started on Christmas Day)
  2. Daily Guideposts 2021
  3. A Month of Sundays: Thirty-One Days of Wrestling with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (only a one month devotional, not sure what comes after that, maybe nothing else)
  4. Our Daily Bread (depending on time, I may listen to the day’s selection on the drive to work)
"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)

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



Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)


LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
(Psalms 8:1A, 3-9 NIV)


What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
(Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 NIV)


I think this is a good meditation on which to begin a new year. Never mind what year it is, and never mind how absurd the previous year has been. This is good for any new year.

As I ponder this passage, I sit back and consider some things.

God knows that the human race is burdened. I could go into the reason for this burden, but that’s not the purpose, today. Just suffice to say that God is aware of our burden.

But God (two of my favorite words, when strung together) “has made everything beautiful in its time.” It has reminded me of an old Maranatha Praise song, “In His Time.” I’m not sure when it was written, but I have it on an album that was produced in 1980. I would share a You Tube video of the song, but it might put you to sleep.

In that same verse (verse 11), the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that God has also “set eternity in the human heart.” That’s a ponderous phrase, there. What does that mean? I’m no expert theologian, but I think it means at least a couple things.

I think it means that our hearts look for and long for eternity. My heart tends to not be satisfied with the here and now, but longs for something deeper.

But I also think that it means that our hearts are not finite. To quote Celine Dion, “my heart will go on.” #sorrynotsorry We are not finite creatures. One of my favorite Dallas Willard quotes says, “We are unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.”

Yet, in spite of that, we are unable to truly fathom what God has done, from beginning to end.

So what are we to make of this? Verses 12 and 13 answer this, and I think they answer it quite well. While it is not bad to ponder eternity, I think we would be better off to live our lives in the here and now.

It’s kind of like how we interact with the Kingdom of God. For too long, I thought of the Kingdom of God as some place I was waiting to arrive at when I die. But that’s not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He told us that the Kingdom had arrived. It is here. It is now.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
(Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NIV)

Dairy Queen once paraphrased that in their ads. “Eat, drink, and be merry,” they said. They weren’t so far off.

So, as 2021 kicks off, with a lot of you, like me, being off work for the day (and two more because it also happens to be the weekend), may we consider this. I know there’s a pandemic. I know that the election didn’t turn out the way some of you wanted, and you think the world is going to end because of it. If you are a believe in Christ, please set those things aside for a few minutes and consider that, in the Kingdom of God, things are far better than you could ever imagine.

Then direct your heart toward your Father in heaven, and enjoy whatever it is that He has given you to do with your life. Eat the food that He has provided, be happy and do good while you live. Find satisfaction in your job, as frustrating as it might be.

Here’s the thing. That is well within your control. There are many things that we cannot control in this life. But how we react to circumstances around us is a thing that we can control, even though you may think you can’t. Choose to enjoy your life, rather than complain about it. Choose to be happy; choose to do good.

Eat, drink, and be merry.

Father, I praise You for all that You have brought into my life and the lives of my family, the good and the not-so-good. I am grateful for my life, as it stands today, here and now. I pray for the strength and determination to do what I’m preaching here, today. Help me to choose to enjoy life, enjoy my work, enjoy the food I eat, and to do good while I live. You have placed eternity in my heart, true. But it’s too much to fathom; too much for me to dwell upon for a very long time. So, from time to time, may Your Spirit tug me back into reality and satisfy my heart with what is reality, the here and now. There will be plenty of time to dwell in eternity. I only have a handful of years in this physical life. May I live them well, as I walk in Your grace.

"Maker of heaven and earth,
space and time,
entering this new year I put my hope in you,
trusting that you will provide whatever I need
for body and soul and turn to my good
whatever adversity you send me.
Thank you that you are able to do this
because you are almighty God,
and that you desire to do this
because you are a faithful Father.
(Heidelberg Catechism 26)


“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)

My verse for 2021 will be Romans 12:12.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 NIV)

My verse for life has been, for a few decades, now, Psalm 86:11.

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
(Psalms 86:11 ESV)

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
(Isaiah 43:1-7 ESV)

“Today we push out from the shore into new, uncharted waters. Whatever we face, He’s with us – and He has the power to calm the waves.” (Sheridan Voysey, Our Daily Bread)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
(Psalms 90:2 ESV)

“For I the LORD do not change.”
(Malachi 3:6 ESV)

Lord, in these times of uncertainty, these days of pushing out into “new, uncharted waters,” I take great comfort in these proclamations that You never change. Jesus, You are the same, yesterday, today, and forever. I remember singing that in a crusade song, back in the seventies. The consistency that is You and Your presence is the most comforting thing to me, as we begin a new year in the midst of what appears to be pandemonium. I have never seen such chaos, not in my lifetime. Your presence does and will continue to bring peace and meaning to the world that is falling apart around me. You do not change! Everything else does, but You do not. Because of that, I can enjoy my life and do the work that You have given me to do.

Father, I pray for the growth and health of Your Church, throughout the world. May she prosper in 2021, and may there be a better sense of unity of the Spirit in the Church during this year. I pray for justice in our society, and that Your kingdom will flourish and grow. And I pray for our capacity to know and enjoy Your presence and Your grace.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
(Psalms 95:2-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For Your constant presence in my life
  2. That You do not change, even though everything around us seems to be falling apart
  3. For the admonition, even permission, to enjoy my life and do the good work that You have given me to do
  4. That we have the ability to choose how we will react to our circumstances
  5. That You have the ability/power to calm the raging storm

GOD bless you and keep you, GOD smile on you and gift you, GOD look you full in the face and make you prosper.
(Numbers 6:24-26 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

No Storyless Prayers

Today is Tuesday (seriously, only Tuesday?), September 17, 2019. Blessings to you!

Day 22,468

25 days until Galveston and our 34th anniversary!!

Not much going on, to speak of. Both of my favorite baseball teams were off last night, so there are no scores to report. The Rangers play the Astros tonight, in Houston, with Lance Lynn facing off against The Verlander. The Red Sox play the Giants at Fenway, with Nathan Eovaldi starting. Boston and Cleveland are the only two teams left who have a shot at the Wild Card (besides the two who are currently in the Wild Card spot, that is). Cleveland is only 1.5 games behind Tampa. Boston is 9 games out, so their chances are slim. I suppose, when the playoffs start, I will be pulling for Cleveland, if they make it, or Minnesota if they don’t.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. 
O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. 
When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. 

Psalm 65:1-3

Today I am grateful:
1. That God hears prayer
2. That he atones for our transgressions
3. For the baptism with which I was brought into union with Christ and the Church
4. That is possible to have such an intimate relationship with God that we automatically know what he wants us to do
5. That all prayer is prayed in the story of my life (see the preface to Psalm 3)

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The Book of Common Prayer, Prayers, A Prayer attributed to St. Francis

I should take more time to voice that prayer. It’s not likely that St. Francis really wrote this prayer, as it seems to have originated in the early 1900s. Nevertheless, it is still a beautiful prayer, regardless of who wrote it.

(From Faith That Matters)

All Prayer is Prayed in A Story, by Eugene Peterson

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
Note prefacing Psalm 3

It’s rare that we actually would look at the chapter heading or notes in a devotional reading. But Peterson is on point, here, I believe.

“The life of David is full of incidents like this. Everyone’s life is. Not a palace coup for most of us and, hopefully, not the treachery of a son, but conflict and failure and fear , love and betrayal, loss and salvation. Every day is a story, a morning beginning and evening ending that are boundaries for people who go about their tasks with more or less purpose, go to war, make love, earn a living, scheme and sin and believe. Everything is connected. Meaning is everywhere. The days add up to a life that is a story.

“Psalm 3, its title tells us, is prayed in the middle of a story. All prayer is prayed in a story, by someone who is in the story. There are no storyless prayers. Story is to prayer what the body is to the soul, the circumstances in which it takes place. And prayer is to the story what the soul is to the body, the life without which it would be a corpse. Prayers are prayed by people who live stories. Every life is a story. We are not always aware that we are living a story; often it seems more like a laundry list. But story it is.”

“There are no storyless prayers.” Consider that today when you pray. Allow it to influence those prayers.

Father, I thank you for the story that is my life. When considered all together, it is that story that has made me what I am today. Any change, at any point, for the good or for the bad, would alter where I am at this point in my life. When I pray, help me to look back at that story with some kind of understanding or comprehension, then help me look forward to the rest of the story with great anticipation.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Sunday, September 15, 2019. Blessings to you!

Day 22,466

27 days until Galveston and our 34th anniversary!!

Since it is Sunday morning, time is short. I will say that we had a really good time last night. After we picked up Lori, we went to Saltgrass for dinner, then to the ballgame. The Rangers lost 8-6, with 24 combined hits between the teams. There were quite a few home runs. In fact, I think all of the Athletics’ runs were plated by home runs. We didn’t get home until after midnight, though, as the game lasted almost four hours!

We are getting ready for our worship time, this morning. Today we are “scattered,” still meeting at the same house where our Night of Worship happens. I do believe, however, that it will not be long before we are split into several different homes, perhaps three groups.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 
when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:5-8

Today I am grateful:
1. For another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ
2. For the wonderful time we had last night (even though the Rangers lost)
3. For forgiveness
4. That I can look back and see times in my life when God acted in partnership with me
5. For the benefits of God in Christ Jesus (Psalm 103)

Assist us mercifully, O Lord,
in these our supplications and prayers,
and dispose the way of your servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation;
that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life,
they may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Book of Common Prayer, Prayers, 60. For Protection

(From Faith That Matters)

Never Grow Numb to Your Dynamic Salvation, by Eugene Peterson

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalm 103:2

This might seem a little complex, so bear with me.

Peterson starts out by giving us a Hebrew noun, g’mul, which he says is the word for “benefit.” He says it “is embedded in an action: an action of God is bringing or has brought something to a ripe finish.” Of course, that is what God’s actions do. “They work through the confused complexities of this tangled country of creation and sin to bring us and the country to a completed finish, a whole conclusion.” If we look carefully, we can see the g’mulim (benefits) all around us.

However, it is too easy for us to overlook those benefits, because what we often see before us is incomplete projects, work not finished. We may look inward and see “the work in progress that the God of our salvation is engaged in. But if we ‘forget the benefits,’ we are only aware of our own efforts, our puny self-help efforts at making the best of a bad deal, our haphazard attempts at capitalizing on the chances available to us. If we ‘forget the benefits,’ we slip into what the psychologists label ‘sensory deprivation’ and are deaf, dumb, and blind to the incessant, dynamic, flourishing salvation work that constitutes the dominant action in the country.”

So, let us keep our eyes open for the benefits as we walk with God, that we may not forget them, lest we become solely aware of our own puny efforts. “May we never become casual about all of what Christ has accomplished for us.”

Father, thank you for all your benefits. Help me to stay focused on them and on you, rather than on myself and what is not completed.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Grace and peace, friends.

What Can Man Do To Me?

Today is Thursday, August 29, 2019. Blessings to you!

Day 22,449

Only four days until Labor Day!!

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

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

Today I am grateful:
1. For a good night’s rest to prepare for this day of work
2. For the opportunities to serve that the Holy Spirit gives, as he wills (1 Corinthians 12)
3. For times when I sense the presence of God
4. That, when I trust in God and praise God, there is nothing to fear
5. That “This present world is a perfectly safe place for us to be” (Dallas Willard)

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary
in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in
which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee,
every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride
of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,
patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those
who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the
hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the
children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among
us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to
another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Prayers, 45. For Families)

(From Faith That Matters)

Lord, Repay the Destroyers, by Eugene Peterson

O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!
Psalm 137:8

Psalm 137 is perhaps the most awkward, uncomfortable prayer in our book of prayer known as the Psalms. Many are extremely uncomfortable with the thought of praying such things to God. Verse 9, the last verse of the Psalm, closes with, “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” Not exactly uplifting.

But evil is real. Eugene Peterson says, in this reading taken from his book Answering God, “The life of prayer carries us into difficult country, a country in which we become aware that evil is far more extensive than anything we ever guessed, where malignity has worked itself perversely and deeply into the world’s ways. As [Immanuel] Kant said, ‘Evil is radical.'”

We tend to judge the world based on a kind of moral relativism. “Moralism trains us in making cool, detached judgments. Deep down, the moralist suspects that there are no, at least not very many, real victims. People get what is coming to them.” This is seen in much of the assessments of conservative politics. “The rape victim, the unemployed, the emotionally ill, the prisoner, the refugee–if we were privy to all the deatils we would see that, in fact, ‘they asked for it.'” That is the mindset of the radical conservative, and we have all seen it. Those whose first reaction to a homeless person is to yell, “Get a job!!”

But, says, Peterson, “The Psalms will have none of this. The Psalms assume a moral structure to life, but their main work is not to train us in judgmental moralism but to grapple with evil.”

To throw in a nonbiblical reference as proof, all you need to do to realize that there truly is evil in the world is listen to some “true crime” podcasts, like The Murder Squad. In this podcast, each week, Billy Jensen and Paul Holes talk about murderers and serial killers, some cases solved, others not. In fact, Paul Holes has even written a book called Evil Has A Name.

How do we grapple with evil? Given the evidence of Psalm 137, we have to assume that it is perfectly acceptable to pray for God to repay evil. Note that we are not given carte blanche to deal with it ourselves. But we can ask God to deal with it. In Psalm 137, the Psalmist is asking God to repay Babylon for what they did to Israel. Now, if we know the history, we know that Babylon’s treatment of Israel was, in fact, punishment because Israel forsook God. But we also know, if we have studied scripture, that God would then punish the nation that he used to punish his people. What goes around comes around, and God is just in whatever he chooses to do, whether it makes sense to us or not.

This is a tough reading, because it gets into territory with which we are not comfortable. Nevertheless, it is an important subject. Evil is real. And we grapple with it in prayer, asking God to take care of it. And when our confidence is in God, we have nothing to fear. As Dallas Willard once said, “This present world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” But that is only true if our hope and trust is in the Lord, as the Psalm that is quoted up above this . . . “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?”

Father, I thank you for the examples of prayer that we get from the Psalms. Help me and us to grapple properly with the concept and reality of evil. Help us to never try to take things into our own hands when dealing with evil. May we always take it to you in prayer. And may we not be afraid to pray for you to “repay the destroyers.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Grace and peace, friends.

Beauty In the Wilderness

Blessings to you! Today is Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

Day 22,385

Eight days until July 4

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:12-14

Today I am grateful:
1. For this cat laying on the back of my chair
2. That God honors our pursuit of peace
3. That God helps me to be “strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:7-9)
4. For the metaphors of Psalms that help me in my prayers (Psalm 18, for example)
5. For the times God allows us to be plunged into “wilderness,” where we become more aware of the “mystery of God”

“Heavenly Father, you have promised to hear what we ask in the Name of your Son: Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, The Collect at the Prayers, 2)

(From Faith That Matters)

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Mark 1:12-13

Today’s reading is “Life in the Wilderness,” by Eugene Peterson.

“There are times, no matter how thoroughly we’re civilized, when we’re plunged into the wilderness–not a geographical wilderness but what I’m going to call a circumstantial wilderness. Things seem to be going along just fine, and then suddenly we can’t tell what’s what. “We don’t know what’s going on within us or in another who is important to us; feelings erupt in us that call into question what we’ve never questioned before.” We feel like we’re out of control. “We’re in the wilderness.”

Says Eugene Peterson, “I readily acknowledge that this circumstantial wilderness is a terrible, frightening, and dangerous place; but I also believe that it’s a place of beauty. In the wilderness we’re plunged into an awareness of danger and death; at the very same time we’re plunged, if we let ourselves be, into an awareness of the great mystery of God and the extraordinary preciousness of life.”

We can see things in the wilderness that we can’t see anywhere else. Perhaps we should lean into the wilderness, rather than running away from it.

Father, help me to embrace the wilderness rather than complain about it or run away from it. Help me to see you in the times when I can’t see anything else. Give me peace and calm in times of storm and trouble. Most of all, give me you, in the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Grace and peace, friends.