Not My Will, But Thine Be Done

Today is Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

Day 22,161

Fallout 76 arrives today!!!!

Eight days until Thanksgiving!!

“At 18 our convictions are hills from which we look; At 45 they are caves in which we hide.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, US novelist, 1896-1940
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is catastrophize, “to view or talk about (an event or situation) as worse than it actually is, or as if it were a catastrophe.”

There really isn’t much going on in my personal life, to speak of. Oh, wait. I’m taking Friday off to go to my great-uncle’s funeral. I will be going to pick up Mama and bring her to Fort Worth so she can attend the funeral, as well. He was the last of my Grandmother’s siblings. I may have mentioned that.

In case you didn’t hear, we lost a great one this week. Stan Lee passed away Monday, at the age of 95. He was the creator of Spiderman, along with many other Marvel Comics heroes. I was a huge Spidey-fan when I was a kid. He will be greatly missed.

On the same day, the news broke that Kurt Kaiser, songwriter from my youth choir days, had also passed away. He was the writer of one of our favorite songs from back in the day, “Pass It On.” If you’re old like me, and grew up in church, you will know that song.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. 
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.

Psalm 74:16-17

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Psalm 16:7-8

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
Prayer is Not a ‘Gimmick’

“There are, no doubt, passages in the New Testament which may seem at first sight to promise an invariable granting of our prayers. But that cannot be what they really mean. For in the very heart of the story we meet a glaring instance to the contrary. In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not.”

To be honest, Mr. Lewis has raised a point that I never considered before. I had certainly considered that the passages that seem to make prayer a “blank check” sort of transaction were not exactly that, and I had my own explanations of why not. But Lewis has pointed out the most obvious example of why we cannot view those promises in that way. God did not grant Jesus’s most passionate prayer in that hour.

Many people that I have known have scoffed at adding the phrase, “if it be Your will” at the end of a prayer. But Jesus did exactly that, didn’t he? And if Jesus adds “Not my will but Thine be done” at the end of prayer, how much more should we do the same?? After all, our vision is skewed. We do not see the end of the matter the way Jesus did. We don’t always know God’s will, do we? To glibly state that whatever we pray will be granted us by God is, at the least, misguided.

C.S. Lewis is correct, here. Prayer is, indeed, not a “gimmick.” Real prayer is communion with God. It is talking to God and listening to Him. If all we ever do is ask God for stuff, we aren’t really praying. We should talk with God as though what Dallas Willard believed truly happens; that is, that when we begin praying, Jesus walks right up to us and listens to us. Next time you pray, consider that He is sitting right beside you in the room or the car or wherever you are. I promise you, it will change your entire attitude.

I want to close this with a quote from Andrew Murray’s “Power in Prayer,” and excerpt from his book, “The Fullness of the Spirit.”

“Our daily life depends on God’s will, His grace, His omnipotence. Every moment He must work in our inner life and strengthen us by His Spirit in order that we might live as He would have us live. No creature in the natural world can exist for a moment without God’s sustaining power. Our dependence must be entirely on God. He alone can finish the work He has begun in us.”

Father, may I truly interact with You in prayer today, all throughout the day; as I drive to work, as I sit at my workstation, as I interact with co-workers and clients; as I drive home; as I interact with my family. Teach me to pray, Father. Help me to listen to You.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

. . . so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19

Grace and peace friends.

A Desolate Place

Today is Saturday, October 13, 2018.

Day 22,129.

Last full day in Galveston.

“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, U.S. Novelist, 1896-1940, The Quotations Page

The word of the day is chantage, “The extortion of money or other benefit by threats or pressure, esp. by threatening to reveal a damaging or incriminating secret; blackmail; an instance of this.”

Yesterday was a day of mostly relaxing around the house and enjoying the ocean. C and I spent most of the day out on the deck, reading. The temperature was nice, and the breeze blowing off of the ocean made it nearly perfect. C cooked breakfast at some point, I don’t even remember what time.

At 5:15 PM, we headed into the Seawall area for our anniversary dinner at Fish Tales. It was delicious, of course. I will say this, though. The “Coastal Cuisine” at The Gumbo Diner was better than what I had at Fish Tales last night, and about half the price. It was still a nice dinner, though, and C shared her clam chowder with me, and it was also delicious. We came back to the house, and relaxed and read before going to sleep. My mother and I watched a little bit of the NLCS game. When we quit watching, the Brewers were up 6-1. The final score was 6-5, so the Dodgers made it close, but could not prevail. The Brewers are up 1-0 in the series. Their game 2 is today, while the Red Sox and Astros begin their series tonight. I imagine I will be watching that.

Today, we plan on going to The Strand at around 11:00 AM, to catch the salt water taffy being made fresh at La Kings Confectionery. We’ll do a little more shopping in the area, then have lunch at a Mexican restaurant, probably the one called Salsa’s. This is at S’s request, as she is hungry for some Mexican food. We plan on ordering pizza from Mario’s tonight.

Sadly, we must depart our house by 11:00 AM tomorrow. But we do plan to hit up The Gumbo Diner one last time on the way out.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 
for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Psalm 61:1-3

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Mark 6:31

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 
And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:

Luke 6:12-13

David needed a refuge. He was a “man after God’s own heart,” but he needed a refuge, a “strong tower against the enemy.”

Jesus, the Son of God, the incarnation of God Himself, even needed time away from the crowds. Especially when a huge event was about to take place, such as the choosing of the twelve who would be His closest disciples.

Jesus also encouraged His own disciples to “come away by yourselves to a desolate place” for rest.

One of the Spiritual Disciplines is solitude. It is one that I struggle to practice, because I live in an area where it is quite difficult to be alone, even for a few minutes. I can be “alone” in my study in the house, but even there I am still distracted, because I have this thing called a computer on the desk.

The point of solitude, as described by Jesus in Mark 6, is to be by yourself and, if possible, in “a desolate place.” One of the definitions of “desolate” is “solitary, lonely.” So it doesn’t have to be a barren wasteland. Just someplace to be alone and quiet, with no technology or people to distract. Obviously, it would be best to leave the cell phone in the car.

We all need some time to be away. This week in Galveston has been great for that. C and I have both been able to spend some good time alone, just sitting and watching the ocean, appreciating God’s beauty in creation. I have great appreciation for all of God’s creation. I love mountains (the real ones . . . we don’t really have any of those in Texas), but, for some reason, I am drawn more powerfully by the ocean. Perhaps this is because it appears to be infinite. We know it is not, but it looks like it is, as it stretches out across the horizon, with nothing else visible for miles.

It is inviting, yet frightening, just like God. It is beautiful and terrible, just like God. It is deep and wide, just like the love and grace and mercy of God. I guess that’s it. The ocean is the best example in nature, for me, of the characteristics of God.

However, to get back to the point of this, the discipline of solitude is important for us. It was necessary for Jesus; how much more necessary for us!

Father, I believe I have prayed this before, but I’m praying it again, and probably will again. Help me find that place where I can practice solitude and silence before You. Help me find that “desolate place” where I can simply sit and consider You for a time, perhaps meditating on some Scripture that I have memorized. I thank You for this place where we have been for the past week, where we have been able to sit and watch the ocean and consider You. But, like “all good things,” this must end, and we head back to the “normal” life tomorrow. It is there where I need the place of solitude. Somewhere around there is a place I can go to be alone with You. Lead me there.
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.

Who Are You?

Today is Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Day 21,909.

THREE DAYS until Glen Rose!!

F. Scott Fitzgerald (not his birthday) said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
The Quotations Page

The word for today is benighted, an adjective which means, “intellectually or morally ignorant; unenlightened.” Also, “overtaken by darkness or night.”

We didn’t make it to the Y last night, but we were kind of expecting that would happen. We definitely plan to go tonight, though, followed by a Subway dinner, which we will pick up on the way home.

As it gets closer by the day, we get more excited about our trip to Glen Rose. This year, for the first time in many years, C will feel like actually walking, which we plan to do a good bit of. We may even go to the “Dinosaur State Park,” which is just up the road from our cabins. I’m sure there will be pictures, so stay tuned.

One of our plans for the weekend, though, is a pedicure before we leave for Glen Rose. I love a good pedicure. It’s more than just getting toenails trimmed. It’s more about the leg massage and stuff. And I really don’t care what anybody thinks about it.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. 
God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 
They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 
Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? 
There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Psalm 53

For a number of years, now, I have looked at this Psalm (as well as Psalm 14, which is almost identical), and considered that first verse. Perhaps I am reading more into it than is there, but the idea, to me, is that it is the foolish person who declare, with no doubt in his mind, “There is no God.” The one who doubts, we call them agnostics, are not so foolish, because at least he entertains the possibility. The thing is, I can no more prove to you that God exists than you can prove that he doesn’t. I believe, based on more than I have time to type, that he exists, and that he cares deeply for his children. But to outright say, “There is no God” is foolish, because no one can know this for certain.

(From Daily Guideposts 2018)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 
Isaiah 30:21

Who are you?

How would you answer that question?

Many of us would answer the question with what we do. “I’m a musician.” “I’m a project manager.” “I’m a director.”

Why do we have so much trouble defining who we are?

I believe it’s because many of us simply do not know who we are, so we embrace what we do and let that define us. I have worked, in recent years, to stop that.

I am a follower of Jesus. Not to perfection, by any stretch of the imagination. Some days I don’t follow him very well at all. But that’s who I am. I am a God-child, follower of Christ. I’m a lover, not a fighter. What I “do” is pretty irrelevant. Maybe not to my boss, mind you, but in the grand scheme of things. I’m a musician, and maybe that’s more a part of who I am than what I do. I like baseball and books. I spend way too much time playing PS4 games. I could ramble on. But the most important thing that I am is a Christ follower, followed by husband, father, and son (not necessarily in that order).

With that in mind, it also helps describe where I get my guidance. To whom do you look for guidance? Who you say you are gives a clue. To me the main Source of all wisdom, guidance, and strength is God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Proverbs 28:26

Father, I thank you for making me who I am. I pray for more guidance along the way. Direct my paths, make them straight. By your Spirit help me to trust you more than I trust my own “wisdom.” Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Reading With the Heart

Today is Sunday, September 24, 2017. Day 21,745. 18 days until our 32nd anniversary!

F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was born on this date in 1896 (died 1940), said, “Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck.”
BrainyQuote

Word of the Day

Tittle ~ “a dot or other small mark in writing or printing, used as a diacritic, punctuation, etc.”

Today is Punctuation Day. What most people need to do to celebrate this day is to learn how to use apostrophes! Please note that there is no apostrophe in “apostrophes.”

I wound up not going to the escape room event, last night, but C went. She had a good time, and they actually escaped, which is great, because the room they were doing has an eleven percent escape rate! She said the place they went in Euless wasn’t as good as the place we have been in west Fort Worth. Several of their props weren’t working right, and they had to keep calling the attendant to ask them about it.

I might be feeling a little better this morning. I probably could have gone, last night, but I didn’t want to take the chance that I might start feeling worse in the middle of things and taint everyone else’s experience. I definitely don’t feel worse, and feel better than I did yesterday morning.

The Red Sox won again, last night, which was their 90th win of the season. They remain five games ahead of the Yankees, who have also clinched at least a wild card spot for this year’s playoffs. The Rangers lost again, to the last place Athletics, and the Twins won. So the Rangers are 4.5 back from the second wild card spot, with an elimination number of four. This means that any combination of Twins wins and Rangers losses that adds up to four will eliminate them from a chance at 2017 playoffs. They have eight games remaining.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!
Psalm 98:1
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 58:10
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.
Psalm 119:141
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Psalm 71:5
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Matthew 19:13-15
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! 
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.

Psalm 84:1-3
Grant that I, Lord, may not be anxious about earthly things, but love things heavenly; and even now, while I am placed among things that are passing away, hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Living the Message)

“Reading today is largely a consumer activity–people devour books, magazines, pamphlets and newspapers for information that will fuel their ambition or careers or competence. The fast the better, the more the better. It is analytical, figuring things out; or it is frivolous, killing time. Spiritual reading is mostly a lover’s activity–a dalliance with words, reading as much between the lines as in the lines themselves. It is leisurely, as ready to re-read an old book as open a new one. It is playful, anticipating the pleasures of friendship. It is prayerful, convinced that all honest words can involve us somehow or other, if we read with our hearts as well as our heads, in an eternal conversation that got its start in the Word that ‘became flesh.’ Spiritual reading is at home with Homer as well as Hosea.”

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. 
I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

Psalm 119:15-16 (The Message)

Father, please help me to read with my heart as much or more than my head. Help me to ingest and digest everything I read from your Word.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Spent Out and Crushed

“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Goodreads)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is, appropriately, ado. In noun form, ado means, “Action, activity; work, business; fuss.” You know, as in Much Ado About Nothing.

Today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Hmm? Prithee? “What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?”

Today is Saturday, a more-or-less day of rest around here. Except this afternoon, we have a band concert to go to in Southlake. Not just go to it; I play in it. The Southlake Community Band will be playing at Art In the Square, at Southlake Town Square (I do believe I have been calling it “Center” all week), at 5:30 PM today. I need to spend some time, later today, to get my music in proper order and maybe even practice a bit. What a novel idea.

I can’t think of anything else to write, so I’ll move on to the next thing.

On this date, in 1564, according to tradition, William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon. You can read the rest of the story at History.com.

Today’s birthdays include:

1564 – William Shakespeare, English writer and actor
1791 – James Buchanan, 15th POTUS
1891 – Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer
1921 – Warren Spahn, American baseball player
1923 – Dolph Briscoe, Governor of Texas
1928 – Shirley Temple, American actress
1932 – Jim Fixx, American athlete
1936 – Roy Orbison, American musician
1939 – Lee Majors, American actor
1942 – Sandra Dee, American actress
1949 – Joyce DeWitt, American actress, Three’s Company
1954 – Michael Moore, American filmmaker
1957 – Jan Hooks, American actress/comedian, Saturday Night Live
1960 – Valerie Bertinelli, American actress, One Day At A Time
1961 – George Lopez, American actor/comedian
1977 – John Oliver, British comedian, Last Week Tonight
1977 – Kal Penn, American actor, House
1977 – Andruw Jones, Curacaoan baseball player

Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian composer born on this date in 1891. One of the works that he is well-known for is his children’s work, “Peter and the Wolf.” Here is the march from that piece.

Boris Godunov, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, William Wordsworth, Buster Crabbe, Otto Preminger, Cesar Chavez, Howard Cossell, and Boris Yeltsin are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah.

I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”
Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it;
ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.

Psalm 55:1-11

Perhaps this is exactly why we don’t have wings. We would use them to fly away and escape unpleasant circumstances. There have been many times that I have felt exactly as the Psalmist in these verses. How I would love to fly away and find a quite, peaceful place to rest.

“You know, God, how often I want to get away from it all so I won’t have to face a world that spurns your love and rejects your life. But you also know how to give me courage: I wait for your help in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“The Worship of the Work”

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:9

This is one of Oswald Chambers’s recurring themes throughout this devotion. “Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work.” Our main concern, as “Christian workers” should be to keep our concentration and devotion on God alone. This will make us as free as a child regarding all other margins of life. If we don’t approach things this way, we will sacrifice the “easy yoke” of Christ, and begin carrying the load on our own neck, by ourselves, which will result in us becoming “spent out and crushed.” There is no freedom in this type of life.

“There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him.” Our main goal and aim is to “pour out a wholehearted devotion to Him,” in whatever he gives us to do.

Father, may I pour out my wholehearted devotion to you. May I constantly concentrate on you, rather than any work that you may have given me to do. Show me the work, but show me yourself more. Let me never be guilty of worshiping the work, and may I always join in with the “easy yoke” of Christ in my life. Let me not become “spent out and crushed.”

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.