Be Chill; Be Ready

Good morning. It is Friday, the eighteenth of February, 2022, in the sixth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your life today!

Day 23,353

It’s 25 degrees out there, this morning, but clear and sunny, so there shouldn’t be any issues driving. I should probably check the car for frost, though, before it’s time to leave for work, in case I need to start the car early. That made me think to look at our security camera feeds, which told me that our sync module was offline. So I had to mess with that for a minute. I don’t know what was wrong, but I unplugged it and plugged it back in, and it’s online again. Then I remembered that it’s been a month since I got my new CPAP machine, so I need to switch out the data card for that and send the old one in to the monitoring company, so they can send the data to my doctor’s office.

So, now, it’s almost 8:00 AM, and I need to be ready to leave the house in forty-five minutes (give or take . . . that’s the time I shoot for).

I got some things accomplished in the study, yesterday. The files are caught up (mostly), and the non-essential files have been moved to the garage. I have a small file box to put books in, to take to Half-Price Books at a later date, and the floor is mostly clear, except for a few cables that need to be stored, and a small pile of books that remain from Christmas. I just need to put them away somewhere.

The genealogy class was quite informative, and I got some online resources that I can use. I’m not in a hurry to get deeply into that, but I am interested in it, so this information will be helpful. I might have been the youngest person in the room, outside of the assistant librarian who was hosting the session, who is a year younger than me.

Today, being Friday, I will spend most of my day in the Computer Center, with a probably couple hours roaming the shelves, putting things away. We might actually be able to have our pizza tonight.


Peace and Love, by Daryl Madden

Worries, worries, fear and sin
Help me Lord, come dwell within

Into, into My embrace
Come to find only grace

Fears, fears, drift away
My Beloved let us pray

Settle, settle, now the soul
Let My Spirit, take control

Go, go, let it go
Love complete, I bestow

Rest, rest, here profess
Peace to know, you’re fully blessed

Flow, flow, let it grow
Love and peace, here to know

What a blessing to simply sit and contemplate the Lord speaking these words to me! Please check out more of Daryl’s poetry at the link provided.

That poem goes very well with today’s Radio Free Babylon “Coffee with Jesus” cartoon.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the wonderful words of peace and life that Jesus speaks to me
2. for the creativity and inspiration of other people
3. for the steadfast love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who keeps us as the "apple of His eye"
4. for the promises of God, that He will never let me go
5. for the sweet love of my wife and family and friends

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
(Hebrews 13:1-3 ESV)

Wondrously show your steadfast love, 
O Savior of those who seek refuge 
from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; 
hide me in the shadow of your wings, 
(Psalms 17:7-8 ESV)

Today’s prayer word is “ready.” This, like many others, can mean a number of things. I’m not real good at being “ready” to go on time. Almost every time I’m supposed to be somewhere by a certain time, especially if it is in the morning, I’m practically running out the door. I’m using the word “running” very loosely, here. I don’t run. If you ever see me running, you should probably run, as well.

I don’t care to use the example in the book, today, for this word, as I feel that the father involved was a bit of a bully. But there is a sense in which we are all to be ready. At the beginning, English author Rose Tremain is quoted as saying, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” Actually, I’m not sure I agree 100% with that. I might agree to a degree, though.

Life is not “practice for heaven.” There is a difference between preparation and practice. This could get way more complicated than I want to be, this morning, so I think I’m going to abandon that thought track.

Jesus said these words:

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
(Luke 12:40 ESV)

That’s what I think when I see a prayer word like “ready.” I am preparing myself for an event; and event that I have no clue when it is coming, when it will happen. I will be clear about one thing. I do not believe in a “rapture.” I just don’t see it. I understand where people get it, and there are folks who are smarter than me who do believe in it, and there are folks who are smarter than me who don’t. Just don’t tell me that it is clearly in Scripture. If it were “clear,” there wouldn’t be as much debate about it, would there?

I do, however, believe in a second coming of Jesus Christ, and I believe that is what Dr. Luke is referring to in Luke 12:40. The context of Luke’s passage is similar to when Jesus told the parable about the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom to come for the wedding. Five of them were wise and ready; five of them weren’t. And once that bridegroom appears, it’s all over, time is up.

So we need to be ready. What does it mean to be ready? That’s another thing that is only marginally clear. But Jesus gave us plenty of teaching to live by, and I think that is the key to the answer. In the passage in Luke, we are given the understanding that we need to be watching; we need to be awake, not asleep. This is figurative, of course. Jesus is not telling us that we can’t ever sleep. As I type this, I’m actually kind of surprised that there’s not some crazy “pastor” out there teaching that we can’t ever sleep, because Jesus said not to.

Am I ready? Depends on what day you ask me. Just this week, I can guarantee you that there were days when I was most definitely not ready. Right this second, I would say, yes. But, duh. I’m doing my devotional, so of course my mind is on the things of God. In twenty minutes, when I’m on the road to work, that might change in a few seconds, especially if someone cuts me off in traffic. But if that happens (and isn’t it strange that this seems to be our favorite example of when we get angry at someone?), then I need to hearken back to previous prayer words . . . words like “there” and “shower,” and pray those words for whoever it was that “offended” me.

Father, I thank You for the love that I have in my life; love of my wife, love of my daughters, and love of my friends. These are things that I cannot afford to take for granted, and need to embrace and celebrate. Help me to do better at displaying the same kind of love to others, the love that You have shown to us.

I pray that You continue to speak peace and life into my life, that I might celebrate Your “wonderful words of life” as they grow within me and my spirit. Keep my soul, my heart, and my mind ready, Father. May I be prepared for Jesus to return, appearing when we know not, but confident that He will be appearing again. Let us all be “ready” when that happens, Father, not “asleep,” dabbling in worldly ways that distract us from You and Your presence. This is a challenge, Father, as the world has plenty of attractions.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Some Good News

Today is Thursday, the seventeenth of February, 2022, in the sixth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,352

It’s getting colder outside, by the minute, today. We have already had our high today, of 58. At 8:00 AM, it is 54, and by noon, it should be in the mid-to-low forties. Low tonight of mid-twenties. But there shouldn’t be any more precipitation. They’re saving that for next Wednesday and Thursday, when we will, apparently, be having a second winter. Fortunately, I do not work next Wednesday or Thursday.

Speaking of work, it was a lovely day at the library, yesterday. It seems like it was a bit slow. There was a little activity, early, but even that wasn’t much. We had a little staff gathering at 9:30, to celebrate the birthdays that are happening this quarter. This was my first one of those. I must have not been working the day they had it for the fourth quarter of last year. And my birthday is in March! So it was very cool. Everyone got a little bag of goodies. Someone said it was a “charcuterie cup.”

You can see the chocolate covered pretzels, the club crackers, and a cheese stick. There were also a couple of skewers in there, one containing some fruit, and the other containing some salami and cheese. It was a nice mid-morning snack.

I am off work today, as Thursday is one of my normal off days. However, I will be heading up to the library at 3:00 PM for a genealogy class, called “Genealogy 101.” One of my co-workers, an assistant librarian, is leading it, and I am interested to see what kind of information she might have.

I’ve made a little more progress in the study. I got my plastic file boxes Tuesday evening, and have moved some files to the garage. Now, I just need to go through the stacks that are laying around, and see what needs to be filed and what needs to be shredded. Hopefully, I will get at least some of that done, today.


Showers of blessing;
Oh, that today, they might fall,
Mercy-drops on us!
(Inspired by D.W. Whittle's hymn)

May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!
(Psalms 72:6 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the rain received during the night, last night
2. for "showers of blessing" that fall on us, constantly
3. for the truth of the Gospel, the Good News, that God's kingdom is right here, right now, available to us
4. that "generosity begets generosity" (Mark 4:25 The Message)
5. that the Lord is my Shepherd and I lack for nothing (Psalm 23)

The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here,
(Mark 1:1 MSG)

“Good news.” “The Gospel.” “Euaggelio.” What does it mean? It is not the “bare announcement that God exists.” That’s not news. “Most people in most centuries have believed in the existence of God or gods.”

No, the good news is that “God is here right now, and on our side, actively seeking to help us in the way we most need help.”

“Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”
(Mark 1:15 MSG)

That is the Gospel.

“Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.”
(Mark 4:24-25 MSG)

(From Symphony of Salvation, by Eugene H. Peterson)

You are my Shepherd,
Therefore, I lack for nothing; I have everything I need.
You give me peace and rest by leading me away from 
the hustle and madness of the crowds.
You refresh my soul.
You lead me down the right path,
to the glory of Your name.
Even though my journey takes me through deep darkness,
troubles, and world-wide pandemics,
I will fear no evil,
because You are with me!
Knowing that You are present at all times comforts me.
You bless me right in front of non-believers,
and I will share those blessings with them.
You have chosen me for a purpose,
and anointed me for that purpose.
My cup truly overflows, spilling onto all around me.
Your grace and mercy will follow me and surround me,
all the days of my life, and beyond,
as I dwell in Your house for all eternity.
Thank you, my Savior and my Shepherd!
(My version of Psalm 23)
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? 
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, 
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. 
(Psalms 116:12-14 ESV)

May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!
(Psalms 72:6 ESV)

D.W. Whittle wrote this hymn in 1883.

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come and now honor Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we're confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

Today’s prayer word is “shower.” No, not as in, “Lord, please inspire that guy to take a shower.” More like “scattered showers,” as the weatherman says. And using the context of the verse from Psalms, I think that fits, perfectly.

In the sense of prayer, the word “shower” can be used quite similarly to the way we talked about the word “there” a few days ago. We’re asking for God’s blessings to fall on people. On ourselves. So, as we walk through the day, we could point out a person (or group of people), and, for today, rather than saying “there,” we could say, requesting blessing from God, “shower.”

Father, I am so grateful for the Good News that Your kingdom is here, now, and that we can walk in it. It is not so much the thought that “God loves you and has a full and meaningful plan for your life.” While that is certainly “good news,” the true Gospel is that Your kingdom is right here, right now, and that it is a kingdom of peace and love. I am so thankful for the path of love that You have been walking me down, in the last decade. It has been, and continues to be, challenging, as I am still a creature made of “dust.” I still carry this treasure around in a “jar of clay.” Oh, how I long for the day when this mortal coil is shed and I no longer have to worry about such things.

I am grateful, also, that my cup truly does overflow. There have most definitely been “showers of blessing” in my life. I know that, oftentimes, I take these for granted. More recently, though, I am remembering to be thankful for these. My daily practice of gratitude has helped that, immensely. But, even with that, there are days when I have to think too hard to come up with five things that I’m grateful for. That’s ridiculous. Gratitude should be flowing off of my heart and tongue like an untamed waterfall.

You have made me aware of the truth that “generosity begets generosity.” The older I get, the more generous I am becoming. And, it seems, the more generous I become, the more generous You are! But why would I be surprised at this? Your Word has always taught that this is true, and that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated, even if they don’t treat us that way in return.

So, keep teaching me, Father, every day. Some days, I’m weary. Some days, I am not really feeling like doing these things. But keep me doing them; keep me walking in Your kingdom, even when, and most especially when, I don’t feel like it.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.