The LORD Hears

Today is Tuesday, November 28, 2017. Day 21,810.

27 days until Christmas!

Berry Gordy, born on this date in 1929, said “Motown was about music for all people – white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone.”

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is harbinger, a noun, meaning, “one that initiates a major change : a person or thing that originates or helps open up a new activity, method, or technology : pioneer.” Also, “something that foreshadows a future event : something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come.”

Today is Giving Tuesday, which always takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The emphasis is on, well, giving. I seem to recall that, for some organizations, charitable gifts are matched on Giving Tuesday.

I think we may finally be getting our new dishwasher today. We were supposed to get it last Tuesday, but the installer had a “family emergency” and had to go elsewhere, so our appointment got re-scheduled. Since it was a holiday week, the first available day was today. I did receive a call last night confirming that our delivery/installation should occur between 1:00 and 4:00 PM today.

C’s knee is getting stronger and doing much better. However, she has an appointment with her cardiologist Friday, and another one with the vascular surgeon, next Monday. Something is definitely going on, in there, so we need to find out what and how serious it is.

We got our Christmas decorations up, in the house, Saturday and Sunday, and a few in the yard. We don’t have lights on the house yet, and may not this year. Our yard mowing guy said he would do them, but we haven’t contacted him about it, yet. We still need to put the ornaments on the tree. Perhaps we will do that tonight.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
Psalm 47:5-8
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
Psalm 50:2
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
Psalm 14:1
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Luke 17:5-6
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
Psalm 34:15-20

Those verse from Psalms, just above the line, spoke volumes to me, this morning. How easily we forget things that we have known, things that have been a vibrant part of our lives. The Bible is so huge and so full of God’s words . . . it seems too easy to forget parts of them. I needed to read Psalm 34 today. It is, of course, a beautiful Psalm by David, and full of truth, comprising twenty-two verses, many of which are “memory verse” material. The ones that speak so loudly to me today . . .

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Verse 4
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Verses 6-8
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.
Verse 15
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Verses 17-19

One more verse has been brought to my attention today.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Father, help us to be “righteous.” We understand that we bear within our bodies and souls the righteousness of Christ. I just don’t feel very righteous, sometimes. May your Spirit remind me of the righteousness of Jesus, imputed unto me. And in doing so, also remind me of these verses from Psalms. When we cry out to you, you will deliver us from our fears, our troubles, healing our crushed spirits and broken hearts. Deliver us from our afflictions, Lord! And may we taste and see that you are good. You are my refuge, and you could not be my refuge if you were not right here with me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

The Themes of Praise

Today is Tuesday, November 29, 2016. Twenty-six more days until Christmas.

Quote of the Day

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

Word of the Day

Quinquennium – a period of five years.

Today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is always set on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which is also the first Tuesday after the feast of materialism known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose is to draw people’s attention away from getting to giving. A lot of organizations will receive double your charitable donation on Giving Tuesday.

We started practicing for our spring concert last night, at band practice. The director is planning a Disney/Star Wars theme for this one. He’s a huge Disney fan. In fact, that’s where he was last night, because he wasn’t at band practice. He got the band director from the middle school where we practice to lead our rehearsal last night. So that was interesting. She was very cheerful and “bubbly.” She also said, “Cool,” a lot. She was probably excited to get to conduct some older musicians, for a change.

We have our monthly Night of Worship this coming Saturday, so it will be a busy weekend, again, as we will meet up during the afternoon to practice. We are having a “special guest” with us, this time, so we might be starting even earlier.

88 days until the first Spring Training game.
125 days until Opening Day.


Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:1-2

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

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 
  Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. 
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Psalm 123:1-3

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Psalm 7:17

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. 
  The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:7-8

“The themes of praise are vast, and the subjects of praise are glorious, but its accents are always individual and personal: a prayer has been answered, a need has been fulfilled, a sin has been forgiven, a life has been made whole.”

“I thank you, dear God, for what you have done in my body and my spirit. I know that heaven and earth cannot exhaust your being nor even contain your wonders, but it is what you do in me that makes me want to praise what you do everywhere for everyone, through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Father, teach me how to praise you better. Remind me of all of those prayers that have been answered, all of those needs that have been fulfilled, my sin that has been forgiven, and this life that has been made whole. Keep those things in the front of my mind every day, that I might be one who is full of praise for you!

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.


“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”~~Abraham Lincoln

Today’s word of the day, from Word Think, is futile. “Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.” As in, “We are Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

Today is Giving Tuesday. This day is set aside on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, to get the “giving season” started. It also serves to try to remind us that there is “more to holidays than consumerism and commercialization.”

It was tough getting back into the swing of things, yesterday, after a four day weekend. And, as expected, we pretty much got a double hit of packages from UPS, since they don’t observe a holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We made a pretty good dent in it, though, and I stayed an extra hour before heading to Southlake for band practice.

It was there that I made a nice discovery. Our regular band director was not there last night, so we had a substitute. He is the only sub I’ve seen, so far, another one of the Southlake band directors. I only know his first name, which is Jay. Hah! Google is a wonderful thing. I just learned that his last name is Bach. Anyway, what I learned is that he did graduate work with Neill Humfeld at East Texas State University in the mid eighties! It was so cool to meet another student of Dr. Humfeld!

Today is Tuesday. Not much else about it. We might get our Christmas tree up tonight. Or we might get back to the gym. Christi put out some of our home decorations while I was at band practice last night. The house looks so beautiful! I love our home during Christmas!


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Prepare the Way.”

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.
Luke 1:16-17

We have entered into a season known as “Advent.” It is the weeks leading up to the day we celebrate as Christmas on December 25. The quoted scripture verses refer to John the Baptist and his preparation for the arrival of Jesus. Advent can do the same for us, today.

Let us not enter into the Christmas season unprepared. Spiritually unprepared, that is. First, we should meditate on the fact that we need a savior. “Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior.” Yes, the Christmas story is beautiful and warm. However, we must consider why there was a need for the story to begin with.

Second, we should engage in “sober self-examination.” John Piper compares Advent to what Lent is for Easter. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24) One of the favorite Christmas hymns says, “Let every heart prepare him room . . .”

Third, we should have “God-centered anticipation,” expectation, and excitement in our homes. As we put up the decorations, let us converse about what they mean and why we put them up. Let us expect Jesus Christ to invade our homes and hearts this season.

Finally, we should search the Scriptures, and even memorize great passages. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:29) “Gather ’round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights.”

Father, as we prepare for Christmas, this year, let it be something magical, made so by your Holy Spirit, as we anticipate what Jesus can do in our lives this season. Let us not approach it unprepared, or even worse, in a blase fashion. Give us excitement and anticipation as we go through Advent, this season.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“Who Do YOU Say That I Am?”

Good morning. It is post-Monday, December 2, 2014. 23 more days until Christmas!

Did you know that European Nutella is stronger than American Nutella?

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day that attempts to remind people that “there is more to holidays than consumerism and commercialism.”

Yesterday was a rough day. We basically got two days worth of freight from UPS, Friday’s and Monday’s. Boss wanted us to stay until 8:00 PM, but that didn’t happen. I left at 6:30, and a couple other first shift people were still there. I will probably try to get in at 7:00 AM today.

Christi made some delicious chili for dinner last night, and I made cinnamon toast for dessert. We watched the “mid-season finale” of The Walking Dead, and the season premier of The Mentalist. I think it might be the last season for The Mentalist, but I’m not sure. I was pretty beat, so we went to bed right after that.

Tonight is our weekly men’s Huddle meeting. Hopefully, I won’t have to work until 6:00 PM again.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1975 that Archie Griffin, a running back from Ohio State, won his second consecutive Heisman Trophy.

Today’s birthdays include Britney Spears, Aaron Rodgers, Lucy Liu, Hernando Cortes, Gianni Versace, Monica Seles, Maria Callas, Cathy Lee Crosby, Christopher Wolstenholme, Rick Savage, Charles Ringling, Brian Lumley, and Meg Griffin.

Britney Spears is . . . oh, come, now. Everyone knows who Britney Spears is! She’s 33 years old today.

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.


(From The Divine Hours)

First Week of Advent

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123:1-2
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
John 3:16-18
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty God, give all of us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the
armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came
to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his
glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Psalm 148:3

Today’s Gospel Reading

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Matthew 16:21-23

First of all, what a slap in the face this must have been to Peter! Here, he thought he was doing a good thing! But Jesus had other ideas, didn’t he? I think there is a deeper message for us, though, that even gets down to our prayer lives. When we set our minds on the things of men, rather than the things of God, we are a hindrance to Christ! When we allow ourselves to constantly be offended by petty little things that we perceive to be “holy and righteous” (for example, whether someone says, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”), are we helping or hurting the “cause of Christ?” What about when we pray for someone? I’ve heard prayer requests such as, “Pray for so-and-so to get out of prison.” What if God WANTS so-and-so to be in prison for a while?? One of the things that I am constantly praying for, in regard to my intercessory prayer ministry, is that the Holy Spirit show me how to pray for people. I don’t always know their deepest need, but God does. I don’t always know if I’m supposed to pray exactly what was requested, or if there is something else deeper that God desires for that person. But I can pray for God to show me. We need to have our minds set on the things of God, rather than on the things of men. Jesus had to go to Jerusalem, be tortured, and die. Peter could not stop this with his selfish thinking, even though he thought he was thinking about Jesus.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Is My Belief My Own?”

This journey that we make, not unlike Abraham’s journey “from Haran to Canaan,” is personal. “Each one of us bears the responsibility of responding to the call of Christ individually and committing ourselves to him personally.” Who do I believe in? “Do I believe in Jesus or in the preachers, teachers, and cloud of witnesses who have spoken to me about him?” Are my beliefs my own, or are they the beliefs of my parents, teachers, preachers, “and Oswald Chambers?” I must decide for myself what I believe. Sure, all of these other people can be good influences, and without the Godly parents that I had, there’s no telling where I would have ended up. But there came a time in my life when it was my responsibility to examine everything that I had heard and been taught over the years, search God’s Word, listen to the Holy Spirit, and decide for myself what I believe! How many people in our churches have no clue what they believe because they are too lazy to examine it for themselves? They just go along with whatever the preacher says (or doesn’t say).

Jesus’s question to Peter–“Who do you say that I am?–is addressed to every would-be disciple.”

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now,
not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work
out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

Philippians 2:12

Father, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I am so very thankful to you that you placed within my heart and mind the desire to suss out my own beliefs for myself, many years ago. There was a definite time when I began to seriously question everything I had grown up believing. Everything. What I came away with is, surely, still not perfect, for we can never understand perfectly until we see you face to face. However, I believe that what I did come away with was closer to Biblical truth than what I started with. Naturally, I retained a good bit of “what I started with.” I would not completely discredit any of the influences that I had along the way, and I am even more thankful for those influences, most especially, my aforementioned parents, Ken and Bonnie Bickley. You placed me in their care, and I believe that they did a marvelous job of leading me to you. There are many others along the way that helped me in this process. But, ultimately, it was up to me and the Holy Spirit. Lest anyone else misunderstand, though, this process is still going on. And it will continue, hopefully, until the day I cross over to meet my Savior. I will never stop examining my beliefs in the face of Scripture. I will never stop listening to others who have gone before me (or even some who are coming behind me), but it will always be my responsibility to know what I believe, and who I think you are.

I pray for this day, that our travel to and from work will be smooth. I pray that we will be able to get caught up at my work today. I pray that Christi’s day will go smoothly. Again, I am so very thankful that you brought her to this job. I pray for Stephanie, today, as always, that you would give her wisdom and understanding, and show yourself to her. Help her to know Jesus as King. Help us all to treat Jesus as King as we live our lives.

Who do YOU say that Jesus is?

who do you say

Grace and peace, friends.