Drop Your Differences

We’re Christ’s representatives.
God uses us to persuade men and women
to drop their differences and enter into God’s work
of making things right between them.
We’re speaking for Christ himself now:
Become friends with God;
he’s already a friend with you.
(2 Corinthians 5:20 MSG)

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-third of February, 2022, in the seventh week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,358

It’s currently 23 degrees outside, with “snow showers” imminent. Those are not the kind of “showers” we were supposed to pray for the other day.

It’s 63 degrees in the house, because, when I got home from “work” last night, the heat was not working. I got hold of our usual A/C people, who didn’t have any techs available until this morning. Whoever I was texting with tried their best to help me get it running last night, which involved multiple trips into the attic (and hurting something in my wrist in the process . . . probably a tendon or ligament, I don’t think I broke anything), but to no avail. I couldn’t find the tools I needed to do what is probably a fairly easy fix.

The good news is that our house is “warm-natured” and holds heat quite well. Too well, of course, as it is difficult to keep it cool in the summer. That’s why, after more than twelve hours of no heat, and sub-freezing temperatures, it is still over 60 in the house.

The tech is on his way, though, which is good news, and should be here any minute. Therefore, I am typing this blog on my laptop, in the living room, instead of back in the study. You shouldn’t be able to tell any difference. The difference will be for me, as the laptop has a touchpad, which, try as I might, I have been unable to deactivate, and the slightest bump of it can send the cursor flying off to parts unknown, and has been known to completely eradicate an entire page in a single bound. Wish me luck.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Let your light shine bright;
You are the light of the world;
Give glory to God!
(Inspired by Matthew 5:14-16)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, 
burst into jubilant song with music; 
make music to the LORD with the harp, 
with the harp and the sound of singing, 
with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn;
 shout for joy before the LORD, the King. 
(Psalms 98:4-6 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that our house holds heat really well
2. for the ability to contemplate the presence of God in my life
3. for the message of peace in the Gospel; Jesus really wants us to drop our differences and make things right between us
4. that, in the big picture, God does not play favorites; "the ground is level at the foot of the cross"
5. that, if I delight myself in the Lord, I can "fly;" that is, He will give me the desires of my heart
6. (written at the end) that our heat is on

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I’m continuing with the treatment of the “prayer of prayers,” by Simone Weil, from Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. Today, I’m looking at the simple phrase, “Your kingdom come.”

In this, we are asking for something yet to be accomplished, something that is not yet here. In one sense, we know that the kingdom of God has been here, ever since Jesus walked the earth. But in another sense, it is not yet here, or not yet fully accomplished. This, in itself, is somewhat of a mystery.

In this writer’s view, this involves the coming of the Holy Spirit. And, while she says we are inviting Him, we should not invite in a specific way, “to visit us or anyone else in particular . . . so that our thought of him is an invitation, a longing cry. It is as when one is in extreme thirst, ill with thirst; then one no longer thinks of the act of drinking in relation to oneself, or even of the act of drinking in a general way. One merely thinks of water, actual water itself, but the image of water is like a cry from our whole being.”

Again, this is the musings of what we call a mystic, and they are, at times, ponderous and confusing. However, I think I get this. It is similar, in concept, to what we call contemplation, in which all we do is think about God, Himself, and do not venture into any specific thoughts or requests.

So, to pray “Your kingdom come,” we are simply inviting God, in the form of His Holy Spirit, to be among us.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
(Psalms 63:1 ESV)

We're Christ's representatives. 
God uses us to persuade men and women 
to drop their differences and enter into God's work
 of making things right between them.
 We're speaking for Christ himself now:
 Become friends with God;
 he's already a friend with you. 
(2 Corinthians 5:20 MSG)

I’m telling you that if anyone comes with a different message than this, they are not speaking for God. God is in the business of reconciling. Yes, I know . . . Jesus said that He would divide even families, and He does. But He also comes, in general, to bring peace. And He demands peace and unity within His Church. He wants us to drop our differences and make things right between us.

For God shows no partiality.
(Romans 2:11 ESV)

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
(John 15:12 ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:9-10 ESV)

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
(James 2:1 ESV)

I could wax eloquently (or maybe not so much) for days on this group of verses. But my main message, through this forum, is exactly this, and springs directly from the verse from The Message above that last purple line. God shows no partiality between Jew and Greek, male and female, and so on. Color of skin or country of origin matters not. And, contrary to current popular belief, the USA does not enjoy “favored nation” status with God! And we, the Church of Jesus Christ have a job. That job is explicitly given in Romans 12, above. Philippians 2:3 also adds to that.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
(Philippians 2:3 ESV)

I also like the way The Message puts this.

Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
(Philippians 2:3 MSG)

The prayer word for today is “fly.” Orville Wright (surely I don’t need to tell you who he was) is quoted as saying “If birds can glide for long periods of time, then why can’t I?”

The simple answer is because you don’t have feathers or wings. But that’s not the point of this.

The idea is not so much about physical, literal, flying as it is excelling in something in our lives. Even “excelling” is a suspect word, there. It has to do with ambition and expectation; desire. And it is wrapped up in that little question, “Why can’t I?”

I could personalize this. If Dennis Jernigan can write worship songs, why can’t I? If Dallas Willard could be the quiet, contemplative, peaceful person he was, why can’t I? Of course, we can get carried away with this. There are some things I don’t want to do. Be president, for example. No thank you.

Here are the things I want to do:

  1. Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength
  2. Love my neighbor as myself
  3. Love the community of saints as Jesus has loved us
  4. Spark a love revolution

Why can’t I? The only person holding me back is me.

Father, why can’t I do these things? It certainly isn’t You holding me back. It is me, of course. If I cannot accomplish any of these things, it is because I am holding myself back. However, I do believe that I have made significant progress in these ventures, in the past couple of decades. I thank You for that.

I pray for Your Church today. I pray that we can succeed in doing what Jesus is asking of us, specifically, dropping our differences and making things right between us. Help me to be a leader in this, Father. And that goes back to my list of desires, doesn’t it? For, in order for those things to happen, I have to practice what I preach and “love one another,” unconditionally, the way You love us.

And, Father, help me to get back into the habit of daily praying for Your kingdom to come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

A Thousand More Hallelujahs!

Good morning. Today is Tuesday, the twenty-second of February, 2022, in the seventh week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart today!

Day 23,357

I don’t think the storms we got last night were nearly as severe as expected. In fact, I’m not even sure we got a “storm.” I do remember seeing lightning and hearing thunder, between 9 and 10 last night. But I was not awakened by any wind or rain or anything, during the night. Perhaps I should consult S. She would know.

The winter weather is still coming, though, it appears. The temperature is expected to drop at least thirty degrees between this morning and tomorrow morning, hitting thirty degrees around 6-7 in the morning. And that is supposed to be the high for tomorrow, as the temperature will continue to drop, but only a couple more degrees. The snow or precipitation is not supposed to begin until around midnight tomorrow night, though. So it looks like Thursday will be the worst day of it. There might be some light snow tomorrow afternoon, but the heaviest part looks like it is predicted around 2-3 in the morning, Thursday morning. But, it is supposed to get above freezing Thursday afternoon.

I’m hoping that C will plan to work from home on Thursday, just in case. I don’t work tomorrow or Thursday, so I will be safely bundled up in the house.

I don’t have much planned for today. I have a small grocery delivery coming between 1-2, this afternoon. I will go pick up lunch for me and S, around noon, probably. C has a dinner with work people, this evening, so she will not be home for dinner, tonight. And, of course, I will be roaming the shelves at the Hurst Public Library this evening, from 4-8 PM.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"If you are the Son,"
the devil said to Jesus,
knowing that He was.

"Not by bread alone,
but by words spoken from God.
Worship Him alone!"
(Inspired by Matthew 4)
The LORD reigns; 
he is robed in majesty; 
the LORD is robed; 
he has put on strength as his belt. 
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 
Your throne is established from of old; 
you are from everlasting. 
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, 
the floods have lifted up their voice; 
the floods lift up their roaring. 
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, 
mightier than the waves of the sea, 
the LORD on high is mighty! 
Your decrees are very trustworthy; 
holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore. 
(Psalms 93:1-5 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that our storms last night, if any, were not severe
2. for the intrinsic holiness of the Name of God
3. that, even though that Name transcends us all, it is still accessible to us
4. for "hallelujahs," no matter how often they come, and how quietly they may be uttered
5. for the people who can write songs so full of meaning and inspiration

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I’m continuing to look at Simone Weil’s examination of the “prayer of prayers,” in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. Today, I’m looking at the phrase, “hallowed be Your Name.”

Simone tells us that “God alone has the power to name himself. She also opines that His name is “unpronounceable for human lips.” We might object to this, thinking that He told us His name when He told Moses “I AM” had sent him. And most are aware that this was “YHWH” in Hebrew.

But how many of you have seen a production of the musical “Cats?” In this adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s epic poem collection, cats are said to have two names. One that the humans know, and one that only they know. Yes, I know . . . God is not a cat (or is He?)(settle down, that’s a joke). But is it so far-fetched to think that He has a name or names that we couldn’t possible comprehend or pronounce? I mean, there are no less than a dozen other “names” that He is given, throughout the Old Testament.

And the beauty of this is that, even though the name(s) of God is transcendent to us, we still have access to Him and His name(s). Also interesting is that the name of the Lord is, in itself, holy and holiness. Therefore, to ask for His name to be “hallowed,” is to ask for something that already exists, or already is. I think Simone words this beautifully.

“In asking for its hallowing we are asking for something that exists eternally, with full and complete reality, so that we can neither increase nor diminish it, even by an infinitesimal fraction. To ask for that which exists, that which exists really, infallibly, eternally, quite independently of our prayer, that is the perfect petition.”

I might be, however, of the opinion that that phrase is not so much a “petition” as it is stating a fact. “Our Father in heaven, Your Name is holy.” Or, perhaps, it may even be a petition that His Name be acknowledged as holy throughout the world.

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.
(1 Corinthians 14:1 MSG)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
(Psalms 28:7 ESV)

“You can complain . . . but it doesn’t stop the wind. Just sing along with what’s going on around you.” Advice from the Grandpa of Erika Bentsen, Daily Guideposts writer.

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
(Psalms 32:11 ESV)

Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation.
(Psalms 35:9 ESV)

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
(Psalms 98:4 ESV)

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
(Psalms 105:3 ESV)

Today’s prayer word is a rousing “hallelujah!” The quote, ironically, is from a very popular (and over-covered) Leonard Cohen song.

“And every breath we drew was Hallelujah.”

The word we see as “hallelujah,” is actually two words, in Hebrew. It is most often seen at the beginning and ending of a number of the Psalms; for example, Psalm 150.

Praise the LORD! 

Praise God in his sanctuary; 
praise him in his mighty heavens!
 Praise him for his mighty deeds; 
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
 Praise him with trumpet sound; 
praise him with lute and harp! 
Praise him with tambourine and dance; 
praise him with strings and pipe!
 Praise him with sounding cymbals; 
praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! 

Praise the LORD! 
(Psalms 150:1-6 ESV)

The phrase that is translated “praise the LORD,” is “halal yahh.” That eventually became mashed together to be “hallelujah.” By the way, I knew this before reading today’s reading.

We throw the word around, sometimes, but even so, it is usually a celebratory meaning. I breathe the word, frequently. Sometimes, it could be over something as simple as a traffic light staying green for just a few more seconds. Other times, it might be shouted, when something inspirational happens during a worship time. Says our writer, identified only as “Bob,” “It enlivens my prayers, probably more than any other word. i pray it in good moods and bad, in ecstasy and misery, and it never fails to express my desires and lift my spirits. Hallelujah.”

It’s true. Sometimes, just saying the word can lift the spirits. So it’s definitely a great word to use in our prayers.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, 
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns."
(Revelation 19:6 ESV)

By the way, in case anyone wonders, here is what Cohen said about his song:

“This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can… reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah’.

“The song explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.”

Father, I cry “hallelujah” to You, this morning, in praise to the intrinsic holiness of Your Name. I sing praise to every Name of Yours that I can think of, and to the ones that I do not know and cannot know. I sing praise to You, because You, in Your infinite and absolute holiness, are, nevertheless, accessible to us. You have condescended to treat with us, and we, in no way, shape, or form, deserve this. So, “hallelujah!”

I thank You for the many admonitions that we see to sing and praise Your Name. I keep coming back to this, and am still aware that I need to do more singing. I find it coming back to me, though, as I randomly burst into song, during my days. So thank You for this. I pray that it continues to grow and swell within me, so that I cannot contain it, but it must be released.

I also pray that You help me continue to do what 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, to go after a life of love like my life depends on it . . . because it does! And help me remember that good advice, that complaining doesn’t stop the wind. It really does no good at all. So let us sing “hallelujah!” instead.

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

Hallelujah!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Here’s a different “Hallelujah.”

Grace and peace, friends.

Grace Like Rain

Today is Saturday (I think), February 19, 2022, in the sixth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,354

The main reason for the “I think” up there is that all day yesterday, I kept thinking it was Saturday. But it couldn’t have been, because I was working in the Computer Center, and I only do that on Fridays. After being semi-retired for seven months, I can only surmise that this will not get any better, and just embrace it.

This is my Saturday to work in the circulation department, as well, so I will be at the library from 9:30-6:15 today. The weather should be nice today. It’s cold, at the moment, right at freezing, but is supposed to hit around 65 by late afternoon.

The forecast for next Wednesday and Thursday keeps shifting a little, but still remains with the likely possibility of more freezing rain and/or snow. Currently, it is showing a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning low of 29, a high Wednesday of only 30, a low Wednesday night of 27, a Thursday high of 36, and a Thursday night low of 22. Snow is predicted on Wednesday, and rain and snow on Thursday. Friday, my only full shift next week, is supposed to be partly sunny. I hope that will be the last of “winter” for us.

We have to take S to an evaluation appointment on March 22, as the SSA is requiring more validation of her disability status. This is somewhat frustrating for us, as they verified her status only three years ago. But this is a change, as she is supposed to be beginning to receive benefits from my SSA record. We have plenty of documentation, though, that we have saved over the years, that we plan to take with us.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Love one another;
This is how they know you're Mine;
Love one another."
(Inspired by John 13:34-35)
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! 
For the LORD is a great God, 
and a great King above all gods. 
(Psalms 95:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. the joyful noise of songs of praise
2. for the constant reminder of the command that we are to love one another; love through me, Lord
3. for the grace of God that falls like rain on my thirsty soul
4. for the sunshine today
5. for word games (like Wordle and Dordle and Quordle and whatever comes next)
"You didn't choose me, remember; 
I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, 
fruit that won't spoil. 
As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, 
he gives you. 
"But remember the root command: Love one another."
(John 15:16-17 MSG)
"Let me give you a new command: 
Love one another. 
In the same way I loved you, you love one another. 
This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—
when they see the love you have for each other." 
(John 13:34-35 MSG)

The prayer word for today is “fall.”

My teaching, 
let it fall like a gentle rain, 
my words arrive like morning dew,
 Like a sprinkling rain on new grass, 
like spring showers on the garden. 
(Deuteronomy 32:2 MSG)

We frequently use the image of rain falling to indicate the “falling” of either God’s grace or the Holy Spirit upon us. I have always like this practice, too. Falling rain is not always a good thing, but when I’m comparing the grace of God to rain, I think of a soft spring rain, or a steady shower of rain after a long drought.

I am specifically reminded of one such instance. I don’t remember the year, but I do remember that we, in DFW, had not had any rain for something like eighty or ninety consecutive days. It was either August 19, or very close to that date, and we were at a Texas Rangers baseball game, celebrating S’s birthday. In fact, she was supposed to appear in the birthday line, on camera, between innings. A couple innings before the birthday line was to happen, it rained. And it was a good, heavy rain. As crowds of people headed for the concourse, C and I (and whoever else may have been with us) just sat there and let it drench us. It felt so good.

And that is what it feels like when the grace of God rains down on us. We want to get drenched, and we want it to spill out onto anyone who happens to be around us. This is another reason that Jesus’s commands for us to love one another are so important! How can I possibly contain the grace of God when it falls on me? If it is truly God’s grace that is falling on me, I cannot possibly be selfish; I cannot possibly treat my brother or sister with anything less than love!

"And Hallelujah, grace like rain
Falls down on me
And Hallelujah and all my stains
Are washed away, they're washed away"
(Todd Agnew, Grace Like Rain)

“God, let Your words of wisdom and hope fall on my thirsty soul and revive my spirit. Amen.” ~ “Susanna” in Pray a Word a Day

Yes, Lord, Hallelujah! Let Your grace fall like rain on my soul today, and let it splash over onto anyone who is around me. I’m praising You today for the presence, the constant presence of Your grace. I know it is always surrounding me, even when I don’t feel it, or when I am not aware of it.

I am also thankful for songs of praise, and I ask that You would revive my voice of praise to You. It has been silent for too long. I pray for wisdom for us to know when it is time to begin our Nights of Worship again. I also pray for new songs of praise to be written. Put a new song in my heart and on my tongue!

Thank You for the mild weather, this weekend, and I pray that, perhaps, the winter weather predicted will miss us. But it will be what it will be, and we will live with it, and we will still praise You, whatever comes our way.

I praise You for Your Word, this morning. I thank You for the Word that created all things, and then how that Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and lived and died for the salvation of our souls. I pray that You would help us all to seriously examine the words and deeds of Jesus, that we might mimic them, and, as He said, even do greater things in our own world, today. But first, we have to act like Him, and that kicks us back to the commands that we love one another.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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.

Spirituality On the Fly

Today is Sunday, the thirteenth of February, 2022, in the sixth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,348 (the number of days since I was born)

Today’s header photo is by Paul Militaru, from Romania. Please check out his other photos at the link provided.

It’s a little humorous. I’m sitting here trying to decide what to type. S and I had a good appointment at the eye doctor, yesterday. Her eyes had changed a bit, one more than the other, so we are getting new glasses for her. Mine, on the other hand, had changed hardly at all. In fact, one eye was pretty much exactly the same. So I’m not getting new glasses. However, I have possession of my prescription in case I need new glasses within the next year. S’s will be ready within the standard seven to ten business days.

It’s a big weekend for some. The Super Bowl is today, between two teams that I would consider “underdogs.” If it weren’t for the commercials, I’m guessing that not nearly as many people would watch the game. Some folks, though, just as in baseball, love the sport so much that they will watch a football game, regardless of who is playing. I’m not even that way with baseball. I love a couple of teams, and I do love the sport, but if neither one of my teams is playing, I’m simply not that interested. As for football, it would be impossible for me to care any less than I do. I did indicate, yesterday, who I hope wins, though, so I supposed I could possibly care slightly less.

And tomorrow is the big day pushed by greeting card and candy makers, world wide. It is Valentine’s Day, the day when a bloody massacre is celebrated by being romantic.

Wait, what?

Never mind. As I stated yesterday, C and I hardly even acknowledge that the day exists.

Speaking of C, I think she might be feeling better. She has been coughing less, and has slept pretty well the last couple nights. So well that I think she is still in bed at 10:00.

Speaking of 10:00 AM, we are not having our worship gathering, this morning. Good thing, I guess, since I haven’t even started the “spiritual” portion of the blog. The host’s daughter is at a Disciple Now event at a church close to them, and they are going to attend the service at that church, along with her. I think they were inviting any of us to tag along, or giving the option to Zoom. But since C wasn’t feeling well, I said we would just stay at home, this morning.

That’s enough personal rambling, I think. I’ll be talking to Mama later today, as I typically call her on Sunday afternoons. I’m sure there will be discussion on when she might be coming back over here, and, of course, we are ready whenever she is. We have also ordered a new bed, one just like the ones we got for S and for Mama’s room, except it is a “split King” bed. Split so that C and I can adjust the settings independently of one another. Ours should arrive by this coming Friday, and won’t be, hopefully, interrupted by a winter storm.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Christ, on our behalf,
before the presence of God,
appeared, once for all.
(Inspired by Hebrews 9:23-28)
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. 
Be not wise in your own eyes; 
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 
It will be healing to your flesh 
and refreshment to your bones. 
(Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I am not wise in my own eyes, but I seek the wisdom of the Lord
2. that I am learning to not lean on my own understanding (which, admittedly, is sometimes quite lacking)
3. for the easy yoke and light burden of following Jesus
4. that God remembers that we are dust
5. that the Holy Spirit works in real time

The prayer word for today is “almost.” I find that interesting. “Almost” is not a word that can have many meanings. It is pretty single-minded. It means the same thing as “nearly.”

This is the day that the LORD has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalms 118:24 ESV)

Admittedly, this verse is speaking about the verses immediately preceding it.

The stone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone. 
This is the LORD's doing;
 it is marvelous in our eyes. 
(Psalms 118:22-23 ESV)

It is most definitely a good thing to rejoice in that day, the day that Jesus became the “cornerstone.”

But is it wrong to consider every day that I live as “the day that the Lord has made?” And is it wrong to “rejoice and be glad in it?”

I think not.

How does this go along with the word “almost?” In the context of the reading for the day, written by someone identified only as “Roberta” (I confess that, in my mind, this is a flaw in the concept of the book, because it makes me doubt the authenticity of the stories contained, therein), it means that we need to be sure and make time to do whatever we feel the Spirit leading us to do, and not be “almost followers” of Christ.

I’ve been there. There are plenty of times when I have “almost” followed what Jesus was, I believe, telling me to do. And when that happens, “almost” is synonymous with “not.” In other words, “almost” doing something is the same thing as “not” doing it. Period.

We’ve heard it said, “Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” “I almost helped that hungry, homeless, jobless person.” No. I didn’t help. There is really no such thing as “almost.”

There is no better illustration than sports for this concept. Almost winning is losing. I once read somewhere, “Second place is first loser.” Now, of course, this is balanced out by phrases such as, “The best thing in baseball is winning the World Series. The second-best thing in baseball is losing the World Series.” So “losing” is not always the worst thing that can happen. But it’s still “losing.” “Almost winning” is “losing.”

So, “almost following” is “not following.”

I think I explained this for way too long.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
(Luke 10:27 ESV)

It does occur to me that the concept above could be taken to such extremes that life would be meaningless (or at least futile). The above verse is at the heading of today’s Daily Guideposts reading. Contained in the reading is the content of a church’s revised mission statement.

Connecting All to Christ. Would others know that I follow Jesus if they spent time with me today? Did I thank God today? Did I extend Christ’s kindness today?

To Become Healthy in God. Did I actively seek ways to grow spiritually today? Did I obey the teachings of Jesus today? Did I open my life to be changed by Christ today?

And Courageous in Love. Did I see every person as a child of God today? Did I make someone’s life better today? Was Christ my priority as I used my time, talents, and treasures today?”

I’m not going to bother pointing out the grammatical inconsistencies with those three points. I would have, though, had I been on their “committee.”

While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those questions, trying to live one’s life by those three components and their sub-questions would surely lead to a life of legalistic frustration. I do not believe this is what God wants from us. I mean, Jesus told us to come to Him and find rest! He said His burden is light and His yoke is easy! When well-meaning people work so hard to come up with “mission statements” like that above, they create heavy and hard burdens for people.

Yes, I need to intentionally grow, spiritually. I need to be thankful every day (I, personally, do that on a daily basis in this blog, and I post those points of gratitude on social media, as well . . . not to show people how “spiritual” I am, or how holy I am, but, hopefully, to inspire them to be grateful and positive about life, as well). I need to always try to see people as God’s children and extend kindness.

But there are going to be days, like yesterday, when I fail to do that. I had an encounter with a grocery delivery person yesterday that did not go well. It ended okay, but my reaction was probably not great. I’m not going into details, but it wasn’t really the delivery person’s fault.

But here’s the thing. We can’t go through life beating ourselves up over things like that. We are going to mess up. There are going to be days when we “almost” win; when we “almost” follow Christ (meaning we simply just fall short). And Jesus knows this. He will not be surprised (and, more than likely, not disappointed, either, considering that He already knows all of this, right?).

For he knows our frame; 
he remembers that we are dust. 
(Psalms 103:14 ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in that little verse.

So have I just contradicted myself, today? I don’t think so. I think what has happened here (and I quite enjoy when it does), is that I have worked through something, IRL (in real life), or in real time. I think I learn more when this happens. I’m not just regurgitating things that I have learned or believed for most of my life. Rather, I am thinking through some concepts “on the fly,” as it were. And I believe that the Holy Spirit works in this process.

Father, I thank You and praise You, first of all, that You remember that we are dust. You, above all, are aware that we are imperfect creatures. Not because You created us that way, but because, at some point in the existence of humanity, we chose to take that step of disobedience that made us so. But the point is that You are aware of this. Therefore, You are not surprised when we “almost” succeed at following You and Your commands.

I pray that You help me to not be an “almost follower.” But I also pray that concepts like those written above do not become legalistic measures that lead us down a path of futility and anxiety. Help us to embrace the easy yoke and light burden that Jesus spoke of when He invited us to follow Him. We have made ourselves weary; we have burdened ourselves with heavy loads. Jesus is trying to lighten that for us, and we seem to mess it up, constantly, by trying to create more rules and more burdens and heavier loads to “follow.” We seem to have learned nothing from the Pharisees, it turns out.

Thank You for Your compassion and understanding. I thank You for Your wisdom, too, and the admonishment/encouragement to not lean on my own understanding, but to seek Your wisdom and trust in You with all my heart, and to love You with my whole being. Life would be so much easier if we could simply succeed in those “little” things.

In these tumultuous times, Lord, I pray for “peace, love, and understanding.” I pray that Your people could step back from opinions that might be, in large part, irrelevant, and love, not only one another, but our neighbors, as well, unconditionally, the way that You love us. We need a love revolution, Father.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Give Us A Wave

Today is Thursday, the tenth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today!

Day 23,345

Later today, I will be taking Mama back to Mineral Wells. She has contacted her “handyman” and let him know, so that he can have her water turned back on and make sure that nothing is leaking after the repairs done last week. At this point, we don’t have a timeline as to when Mama will be coming back here, but she certainly will be. There is much to consider, but there is no real hurry, as the house is paid for. It is entirely possible that an estate sale will be arranged, once she decides that she will be staying in Fort Worth.

But that’s a bridge to be crossed later, innit?

Otherwise, there is nothing going on today, of any interest. I’ve got Chicken Ranch Crock Pot soup going, so dinner will be ready, this evening, when I get back home. C has been “under the weather” since yesterday, so she is working from home. She doesn’t feel real bad, nor does she have any fever, but there’s a lot of coughing.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Jesus redeemed me;
A high priest, holy, perfect;
I'm saved completely.
(Haiku inspired by Hebrews 7)
Blessed is the one who considers the poor! 
In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; 
the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; 
he is called blessed in the land; 
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; 
in his illness you restore him to full health. 
(Psalms 41:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that God has directed my heart to be one who "considers the poor"
2. for the great week we have had with my mother here
3. for both the simplicity and complexity of prayer
4. for plenty of water to drink, the real "elixir of life"
5. that, no matter the circumstances, my heart is drawn to praise and worship God

I’m not doing so great at remembering these prayer words, throughout the day. I’ll keep practicing, and will hopefully get better at them. The prayer word for today is “wave.” Wave can be a noun, or it can be a verb. The noun can mean something like the waves coming in from the ocean to the shore, something I am very much in love with. But it can also be an event, such as one of the several “waves” of this pandemic.

The verb form of “wave” typically has a single meaning (I’m sure there are more, but I’m focusing on this one), which is to move your hand or arm back and forth at someone. John McCain was once quoted as saying, “The most important thing for survival is communication with someone, even if it’s only a wave or a wink, a tap on the wall.”

One of the first movements we utilize as babies is waving our hands and arms. Of course, it is mostly random movements, at that point, but it doesn’t take long for us to learn that, when we wave at people, they wave back. Usually. I’m old enough to remember the friendliness of people driving down country roads. It’s typical to wave when you meet someone on one of those roads, even if it is something as simply as raising a couple of fingers from the steering wheel.

Waving at someone acknowledges their existence. People need to have their existence acknowledged. We never outgrow that need. Sadly, we are devolving more and more into a society that ignores one another. And this is exactly the opposite of what Jesus commanded us to do. The prayer in today’s reading says, “Remind us, God, that a wave is one more way to love.”

Obviously, I will not be able to wave at every single person I encounter today. And it would be quite anxiety-inducing to attempt that. And that’s not the point of this. The point is that we need to at least try to acknowledge each other in some way, when possible. The point is to not ignore people. To not get so self absorbed that you don’t see the other person.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

"Look at that man, bloated by self-importance— 
full of himself but soul-empty.
 But the person in right standing before God 
through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, 
really alive."
(Habakkuk 2:4 MSG)
Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, 
Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, 
Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty,
 I'm singing joyful praise to GOD. 
I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. 
Counting on GOD's Rule to prevail, 
I take heart and gain strength. 
I run like a deer.
 I feel like I'm king of the mountain!
(Habakkuk 3:17-19 MSG)

Father, there are prayer concerns on my heart, this morning. I am grateful, though, for the life that I have and the blessings you have given to me and my family. I am thankful that You have grown our hearts toward being considerate toward the poor, the needy, the oppressed, and others.

I want to pray specifically, this morning, for a young man named Zakry. You know the circumstances and the need. I pray for healing for him and for encouragement and comfort for his parents. I also pray for financial blessing for them, as he is requiring much hospital care. Please touch this family with Your love and care, Lord.

I also pray for clear direction in areas where we need it. There are no urgent decisions, necessarily, but decisions will have to be made in the near future, so we pray for wisdom in those.

Remind me, Father, throughout this day, to acknowledge the existence of other souls that I encounter. They all have value in Your kingdom, as they are all created in Your image. You love them, so help me to love them, too, even with just a wave or a nod of the head, something that says, “I see you. You are important.”

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

When the Line Fades

“I long for moments when the line between heaven and earth fades, where I can see the other side from over here.” ~ Ashley Kappel

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, the ninth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you.

Day 23,344

There’s not much going on around here, today. C is working from home, Mama is here and planning to go back to Mineral Wells tomorrow. I have to go in to “work” for an hour today, for a meeting, and I’m planning to cook Pecan Crusted Buttermilk Chicken tonight, for dinner. I have a grocery order scheduled for delivery, around lunch time. That’s about it. Should be a “chill” day.

It was a good evening at the library (starting to sound like a broken record, right?), last night. I really love my library people, and they know it, too. There’s always something to talk about, whether it be music we like or books (imagine that), or, most recently, Wordle. I introduced one of them to Dordle, yesterday. Dordle is like “double Wordle.” Here’s my Wordle score for today:

Wordle 235 2/6*

🟩⬜⬜🟨⬜
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Yeah, I got lucky.

And here’s my Dordle score:

Daily Dordle #0016 5&7/7
⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨 ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜
🟨🟨⬜⬜⬜ ⬜🟩⬜⬜⬜
🟨🟨🟨⬜🟨 ⬜🟩🟨🟨⬜
🟨🟨🟨🟩🟩 ⬜🟩⬜🟩⬜
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟨⬜⬜🟩⬜
⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛ 🟩🟩🟩🟩⬜
⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛ 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
zaratustra.itch.io/dordle

As you can see, Dordle has two words! The way it works is, you type in a word, and it shows up on both sides (two columns of five letters), telling you if that letter is in that word and if it is in the right position. Once you get one of the words right, the rest of the guesses are dark, and it only types in the other word. So far, I have not guessed the second word first.

Dordle hasn’t quite caught on like Wordle, just yet. I have also heard that the NY Times has bought Wordle. If they start charging for it, I’ll quit playing, as I’m sure many others will.

Time for another cup of coffee. Be right back.

I’ve discovered a design that I’m getting on a new t-shirt. It will be ready next week.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

You are here for me;
You will not withhold Your love;
I am here for You.

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
(Psalms 40:11 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for blue skies smilin' at me (not the song)
2. that God is good; He is truly the only One worthy of being called "good"
3. for the freedom that comes when we forgive
4. for the confidence to pray specific prayers, for myself and for others
5. for those times when the veil between heaven and earth seems to fade, and we get a glimpse of the other side

I half-expected today’s prayer word to be “everywhere,” but it is not. It is “free.” Again, I find that this is a word that could mean many things to many different people. The quote by renowned Christian author and Reformed theologian Lewis B. Smedes, says, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness. Forgiveness is an odd animal. Jesus had some things to say about forgiveness.

Pay attention to yourselves!
 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 
and if he sins against you seven times in the day, 
and turns to you seven times,
 saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him."
(Luke 17:3-4 ESV)

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 ESV)

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
(Mark 11:25 ESV)

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

I’ve struggled mightily with that last one, believe me. It almost sounds like it makes our salvation based on “works,” rather than grace. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Today’s topic is “free.” When we free others by forgiving them, we also free ourselves. If I carry a grudge, I’m the one bearing the burden. I also think it is interesting that that passage in Mark doesn’t say anything about repentance. If I’m praying, and I have something against someone else, I’m supposed to instantly forgive them on the spot.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 
"Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly."
 And he said to him, 
"I will come and heal him." 
But the centurion replied, 
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, 
but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 
For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. 
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, 
and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, 
and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 
When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, 
"Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 
And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment. 
(Matthew 8:5-10, 13 ESV)

Read this passage in light of yesterday’s discussion on prayer. Is prayer difficult? There is no answer to that question. Or, perhaps, the answer is, “Yes . . . and no.” The centurion found prayer to be easy. Yet, he did not deem himself worthy to have Jesus under his roof.

We, as stated yesterday, seem to prefer praying for huge things, world-wide things. Or maybe it’s that we subconsciously are praying for things that we know won’t cause us to have to do anything. There’s a thought, huh? I mean, what can I, individually, do about “world peace?” But if I pray for God to feed the hungry, He might impress upon me to take some food to someone, driving me out of my comfort zone.

What is it, though, that keeps me from voicing specific prayer requests? I don’t think it’s fear. But that might be it for some people. The fear being, “What if He doesn’t answer?” My perspective on that is that God will always answer. It just may not be the answer I want. And then I have to deal with disappointment.

There’s a thought that I see, sometimes, in contemporary music, that says, that God will never let you down.

I’m sorry to tell you this (no I’m not), but yes, He will. God will let you down. It’s inevitable. If you follow Jesus correctly, He will disappoint you. He never promised not to.

You see, it’s not about you! It’s not about me! This is one area where the modern church has completely lost its way. Was it yesterday when I read something about people turning God into an object they can use for their benefit? Turns out that’s not so modern is it?

So if I don’t ask God for something specific, I won’t be disappointed, right? But why bother praying at all, then? Why even ask for “world peace?”

Here’s the thing. If I’m going to ask for something specific, I’d best be ready to act when God begins answering, because His answer to that prayer might very well include me doing something. I’m encouraged to “experiment” with prayer, thinking of something to ask God for, over the next week. I’ll try to remember to revisit that, later.

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

GOD is good, 
a hiding place in tough times. 
He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, 
No matter how desperate the trouble. 
(Nahum 1:7-8 MSG)
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; 
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 
(Proverbs 3:24 NIV)
I lie down and sleep; 
I wake again, 
because the LORD sustains me. 
(Psalms 3:5 NIV)
He will not let your foot slip— 
he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel 
will neither slumber nor sleep. 
(Psalms 121:3-4 NIV)

“I long for moments when the line between heaven and earth fades, where I can see the other side from over here.” ~ Ashley Kappel

(From Daily Guideposts 2022)

Father, I echo Ashley Kappel’s sentiment. I long for those moments, when it does seem as though the veil between heaven and earth is thinner, fading, and we get a glimpse of the “other side.” I hope that this experience becomes more common as I draw closer to You.

I praise You for being You . . . You are good, as Jesus said, the only One who can truly be called “good.” You are truly a hiding place, my fortress or strong tower, where I can run and hide when I feel oppressed by our enemy. You are always there to help us, and all we have to do is cry out to You in our desperate need.

I pray for the faith to pray for specific needs, things that are beyond our scope of fulfilling. Help me to believe enough to truly pray for healing, or, as the case may be, for something as small as new shoes. Show me what to pray for, and for whom to pray. And then give me the confidence to come before Your throne. I praise You for the mercy You give. You are mercy, the very embodiment of it.

And help me to always be forgiving. Even if there is no sign of repentance from the other party, help me to release whatever it is that is holding me back. I want nothing between me and Thee. Help me to be truly free, Father, and help me to free others as well. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

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.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Here, There, and Everywhere

Good morning. Today is Tuesday, the eighth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today.

Day 23,343

I’m up early, this morning. Earlier than I would like to be, but it is what it is. However, I am also striving to head back into habits that I practiced, pre-retirement; habits that were having good results in my health journey. One of those was getting up early and having a decent breakfast, first thing, heavy on protein, light on carbs. I’m also going back to tracking my food in the WW app, which I have not been doing consistently since before Thanksgiving.

This also means that I will stop staying up until almost midnight, on nights when I don’t work the next day. I need to stop doing that, anyway, because I’m frequently not able to go back to sleep after C gets up to go to her job.

Today is my half-shift day, working from 4:15-8:15. I will run out and grab some Subway for lunch, for Mama, S, and me, and get something for dinner for them, as well as C. Although this is not a week in which I would be working on Wednesday, there is a meeting that I need to attend tomorrow, so I will be going to the library at 1:45, and staying until 3:00 (or until the meeting is over). The current plan is for Mama to go back to her house in Mineral Wells on Thursday. We don’t know how long she will stay there, before coming back here, but there is no hurry to make that decision, either, as far as I know.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Into Falling Deeper, by Daryl Madden

A time of our prayer
With Savior and keeper
A gift of His grace
Into falling deeper

Deeper into comfort
Knowing of our being
Deeper into rest
Deeper into freeing

Deeper into drifting
Knowing Presence of
Deeper into dwelling
Deeper into love

Deeper into peace
Knowing of the true
Deeper into home
Deeper into You

This expresses so well what I try to do, each morning. Please check out Daryl’s other poetry at the link provided. Here is a haiku that I just wrote, inspired by Daryl’s poem.

The deeper I go,
The calmer is the water;
Drifting into peace.

And as I drift deeper, this morning, I strive to be present in the moment, “here,” as we considered yesterday.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
 Jesus, the Son of God, 
let us hold fast our confession. 
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
 but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, 
yet without sin.
 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, 
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that, because of Jesus, the Son of God, I have confidence to draw near to the throne of grace
2. for the power of prayer in the faith of a mustard seed
3. that God is here, there, and everywhere, present in every person's story, whether they acknowledge Him or not
4. that God willingly bestows blessings, wherever He is
5. for the words of prophets who teach us how to respond to Your presence and Your voice, rather than trying to use You for our own benefit

Today’s prayer word is “there.” Right on the heels of yesterday’s word, “here.” I can’t help myself . . . my first thought was of a Beatles song, “Here, There, and Everywhere.” In fact, as I skim down the page of the reading, the title of that song is included in the prayer for today. I’m skeptical that this was intentional.

The featured verse for today is Psalm 133:3.

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. 
For there the LORD bestows his blessing, 
even life forevermore.
(Psalms 133:3 NIV)

The context of the word, today, in the reading (the author identified only as “Bob”), is good. It is as if he is directing his prayers. “I see someone sleeping on the sidewalk: ‘There, Lord.’ I pull over for an ambulance: ‘There.’ I drive by a church: ‘There.’ I pass a bunch of commuters waiting for a bus: ‘There.'”

He is condensing the verse, “for there the Lord bestows his blessing,” into simply, “There.”

I like this. I have practiced “flash prayers” before, on my previous commute to work. Not consistently, but I have done it. That consists of “flashing” a prayer at cars that I see on the way to work. Each car has at least one person in it, one soul. When you think of all of the cars that you see on the road as souls (not the cars, of course), it changes your perspective. This especially helps when someone in one of those other cars does something stu . . . foo . . . reckless.

As I type this, it dawns on me that I have missed many opportunities to practice this, during my tenure as a part time library aide. Even when I am all alone in the stacks, shelving books, I see people perusing the library. “There” is an opportunity. When I’m assisting people in the computer/media center, “there” is an opportunity. Even if I don’t have to help them, “there” is an opportunity for prayer.

The prayer in the reading says, “Father, bestow Your blessing here, there, and everywhere today. Amen.”

(From Pray a Word a Day)

But he's already made it plain how to live, 
what to do, 
what GOD is looking for in men and women. 
It's quite simple:
 Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, 
be compassionate and loyal in your love, 
And don't take yourself too seriously—
 take God seriously.
(Micah 6:8 MSG)
"On that great day," GOD says, 
"I will round up all the hurt and homeless, 
everyone I have bruised or banished. 
I will transform the battered into a company of the elite. 
I will make a strong nation out of the long lost, 
A showcase exhibit of GOD's rule in action,
 as I rule from Mount Zion, from here to eternity."
(Micah 4:6-7 MSG)

“Left to ourselves, we turn God into an object, something we can deal with, some thing we can use to our benefit, whether that thing is a feeling or an idea or an image. Prophets scorn all such stuff. They train us to respond to God’s presence and voice.”

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

Father, I am contemplating, this morning, the thought that we are quick to pray for something huge, like world peace, but hesitant to pray for something “small,” like a new pair of shoes. What does this say about us? Do we think praying for the “big things” demonstrates great faith?? Or do we foolishly believe that You only care about those big things? Jesus said we could move mountains. We talked about that in our church gathering Sunday. But are we so “mountain-minded” that we neglect the “small things?” I’m kind of “thinking out loud” during this prayer, Father, because I’m not sure I know the answer to these questions.

I do know, though, that my perspective on Your presence needs to be refined. I know You are “here.” I know You are “there.” I know You are “everywhere.” And God, help me and forgive me if I have attempted to “use” You for my own personal gain. I don’t want to do that. Rather, I want You to use me, for Your benefit! Help me to do the things that You have already shown us; to do what is fair and just to my neighbor, to be compassionate and loyal in love, and heaven help me to not take myself too seriously.

May Your Spirit remind me, as I walk around the stacks in the library, tonight, to pray those “there” prayers for people. Everyone in the place has a story; the patrons as well as the staff. I don’t need to know (and may not want to know) those stories. But You know all the stories, and somehow, whether they acknowledge You or not, You are present in those stories.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

No, O people,
 the LORD has told you what is good, 
and this is what he requires of you: 
to do what is right, 
to love mercy, 
and to walk humbly with your God. 
(Micah 6:8 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

He Is For You

Good morning. Today is Friday, December 31, 2021. New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2021, and the seventh day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ be with you.

Day 23,304

I wonder if there are “reverse friggatriskaphobics” who are afraid of Friday the 31st . . .

One more day until 2022! Which is slightly redundant, given my statement in the first paragraph. And, technically, not even a full day. Seventeen hours and twenty-nine minutes, as of the exact time I am typing this paragraph.

Will we be staying up to welcome 2022? I might still be up, but it won’t be for that specific reason. In the grand scheme of things, this is just another day. Nevertheless, I do wish everyone who reads this a blessed, peaceful, and prosperous 2022.

Either later today, or tomorrow, I will share a complete list of my reading accomplishments for 2021. That may actually happen in my other blog, as well. I’m up early, this morning, because I have get to work today. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get my blog done and not be rushing out the door at 9:00.

Today is my day in the computer center, so it should be a pretty good day. Who am I kidding? It would take a major catastrophe to not have a good day, working at the library.

Oh! I almost forgot to say something about our sushi experience, last night. As previously mentioned, we met with some church friends for dinner last night, at Goldfish Sushi, next door to the Hoffbrau Steakhouse in Haltom City. It was amazing! We all go the $22.99 all you can eat deal, so we were all able to share all of the appetizers and sushi. We got an appetizer called “Honeymoon,” which was, essentially, stuffed jalapenos, tempura-fried. They were delicious. Then, we had a variety of sushi rolls, including Crunch Orleans Roll (Crispy crabmeat, Avocado, Crawfish with 4 season sauce), Rainbow Roll (California roll over tuna, salmon, w/tuna, shrimp and Redsnapper, raw fish), Crunch Roll (Crabmeat, Cream cheese, Avocado Crispy crunch with spicy mayo, Eel sauce), Hawaiian Roll (California roll topped Fresh Tuna, raw fish), Spicy Tuna Roll, Watauga Roll (Shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado roll over crab stake spicy mayo, wasabi, eel sauce and crunch), Volcano Roll (California roll topped w/ scallop, crabmeat baked special volcano sauce), and I swear there was one called King Tiger Roll, but I can’t find that on their menu online. There is one called White Tiger that is “Spicy crab, cucumber, avocado roll, top seared white tuna, scallion masago, spicy ponzu sauce.” I’m not sure if that is it or not. Then there was a dessert that was very simple, a small orange (maybe a “cutie” or “clementine”) cut into four pieces with chocolate sauce drizzled on top.

It was all quite delicious. My favorite was the Crunch Orleans Roll and the Honeymoon appetizer, which may only be available on the all you can eat menu, as I do not see that listed as an appetizer on the online menu. The service was also wonderful and friendly. Our friends are regular customers, so that probably helped. Hahaha. I feel pretty certain that we will be back.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Who will roll away
the stone from the entrance of
the tomb of our lives?
(based on Mark 16:3)
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, 
who does not turn to the proud, 
to those who go astray after a lie! 
(Psalms 40:3-4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the "new song" that God has put in my heart and in my mouth
2. that He has caused me to put my trust in Him
3. that the steadfast love and mercies of the Lord, which are "new every morning," actually no nothing of boundaries such as days, hours, weeks, and years
4. for twenty-three thousand three hundred and four days of life (so far)
5. for the hope of wisdom
6. for the hope of the love of God and loving my neighbor as myself

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
(Revelation 22:13 ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Good verses with which to end a year. And while I realize, contextually, that Jeremiah 29:11 is specifically a prophecy to Israel, how can it not be applicable to us who are the “new Israel?” God certainly does not have plans for evil for us. He has a future and a hope planned for all of us who are in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!

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

CHRISTMAS – DAY SEVEN

INVITATION

Shout for joy to Yahweh, all you lands! 
Serve Yahweh with gladness. 
Come before his presence with singing. 
(Psalms 100:1-2 WEB)

I pause, at this moment, to reflect on the grace of God throughout the past year, as well as the promise of hope and His grace into the next. Truly, December 31 is just a day, and January 1 is just another day. The grace and steadfast love of the Lord knows no boundaries such as days, hours, weeks, and years. I am grateful for this.

BIBLE SONG

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

 Lord, you have been our dwelling place 
throughout all generations. 
Before the mountains were born 
or you brought forth the whole world, 
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 

You turn people back to dust, 
saying, "Return to dust, you mortals." 
A thousand years in your sight 
are like a day that has just gone by, 
or like a watch in the night. 
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— 
they are like the new grass of the morning: 
In the morning it springs up new, 
but by evening it is dry and withered.

 Teach us to number our days, 
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; 
establish the work of our hands for us— 
yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalms 90:1-6, 12, 17 NIV)

BIBLE READING

The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 
"'"The LORD bless you and keep you; 
the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."' 
"So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."
(Numbers 6:22-27 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I remind myself that I am in God’s presence, I mull over these passages, reading them again. I pray the prayer of Moses back to God, verbatim, reflecting on its appropriateness for the last day of a year, humanly speaking.

I also take note of that bit about a thousand years being like a day to Him. See the comments in my earlier reflection between the invitation and the bible song. “From everlasting to everlasting You are God.” From eternity past to eternity future, God is the Lord; His majesty is never-ending and His rule will remain, while we will turn to dust. However, it is only our bodies that will return to dust while our souls live on, with those new, glorified bodies that we have yet to even imagine.

Verse 12 is literally the reason that every blog entry begins with how many days I have been alive. Trivial? Perhaps. And, while I confess that I began that with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I still take it somewhat seriously. I have been around a lot of days, but those twenty-three thousand three hundred and four days (it seems larger when it’s typed out) have gone by in a flash. It seems like only yesterday that my family was moving from a rental house to the house where my mother still lives. But it wasn’t yesterday. Ironically, it was November 22, 1963.

Yes, that’s right. The day that C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley died.

I’ll bet that’s not what you expected to see. Of course, we all know what date that is. And those two deaths were overshadowed by the more famous death of JFK.

But I digress.

What is the point, here? Sometimes, I’m not sure. But I think, for me, today, it’s this: God is God from everlasting to everlasting. We are dust; from dust we came, to dust we shall return, and our puny little existence is nothing more than a mote of dust in comparison to eternity. We would do well to consider this. Not so that we feel badly about ourselves, but maybe, just maybe, so we don’t get so cocky. Because mankind has gotten quite cocky, especially in the USA.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I also think it highly appropriate to end the year with the Aaronic blessing from Numbers.

Father, I pray for wisdom for us. I pray that as we all “number our days,” that we may truly “gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom seems to be in short supply in our land, these days. And lest I point any unnecessary fingers, may it start with me. Give me wisdom. Give me the wisdom to know what opinions matter and what opinions don’t. Give me wisdom, today, tomorrow, and for 2022, to know how to love You and love my neighbor as myself. Give me wisdom to know how to love my brothers and sisters in Christ, just as He loved us, and gave His life for us!

I pray for the blessing to be on all who read this blog today (or whenever they read it . . . even if it’s way into next year, may all who read this be blessed with Your richest blessings).

Father, I pray for spiritual renewal for all of Your children. May we know You as never before. May we realize that knowing You is the absolute most important thing we can do; more important than any human-invented “cause,” and infinitely more important than my opinion about anything! May You lead us into repentance as we look back on the past year. May we fully know the knowledge and experience of Your forgiveness.

"Covenant-keeping God,
at the end of another year I thank You for keeping me connected and at home in You through the Holy Spirit by Your free,
unchanging love and by the strong intercession of Jesus.
In Your faithfulness,
continue to preserve and keep me and all Your people from the power of evil throughout the coming year.
In Jesus's name,
amen."

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

"May His presence go before you
and behind you,
and beside you,
all around you,
and within you,
He is with you,
He is with you,
In the morning, 
in the evening,
in your coming,
and your going,
in your weeping,
and rejoicing,
He is for you!"

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Name Alone

Good morning. Today is Thursday, the thirtieth of December, 2021, the sixth day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ be with you today.

Day 23,303

Only two more days until 2022!!

Temperatures continue to be unseasonably warm (albeit comfortable) as we have a projected high of 76 in DFW today. However, the weekend looks like it will be, how you say, “brisk.” No, let’s don’t mess around. It’s going to be freakin’ cold Sunday and Monday mornings. We’re talking in the twenties, and low twenties, at that. In fact, Saturday’s temps will go from a high of 73 to a low Sunday morning of 20! At least the temperature is supposed to get above freezing Sunday afternoon before dropping back down to 24 Monday morning. And both days are slated to be “sunny.”

Not a lot happened, yesterday. I got a package returned to Amazon, via the UPS store, and picked up Sonic drinks while out. There seems to be a growing shortage of Sprite Zero at the Sonics, so C had to drink Diet Coke. We got our grocery delivery from Albertsons and everything was good on that, except they were out of Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar products. No worries. If we run out, we have plenty of Coke Zero. And if we run out of that, we have plenty of water.

C has a prescription ready to pick up at CVS, and I tried to get it yesterday, but the line was wrapped around the building, and she said she didn’t have to have it until Friday. So I will try again today.

We made chili for dinner last night, the first meal we’ve cooked since Christmas. We don’t normally have chili on Wednesday, so that was a departure from our normal schedule. Which is fine, because the “schedule” has been anything but normal this week. So much so that I’m still having trouble remembering what day it is. I do know that tomorrow is Friday, and I am supposed to work. So I will need to get to bed at a more decent time tonight, and get up before 9:00, because I’m supposed to be at work by 9:15. And I don’t want to have to rush through the last blog of the year, right?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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.
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
 Praise befits the upright. 
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; 
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 
Sing to him a new song; 
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 
For the word of the LORD is upright, 
and all his work is done in faithfulness. 
(Psalms 33:1-4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the ability and skill to "make melody to Him," and to sing new songs to the Lord
2. for the steadfast love of the Lord, which endures forever (see Psalm 136)
3. for the promise of Home
4. that only the name of the Lord is worthy to be exalted
5. for the many names of God and what they all mean for us

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
(Psalms 36:5 NIV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 
"I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, 
but will have the light of life." 
(John 8:12 ESV)

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
(John 17:16 ESV)

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of her;
 she shall not be moved; 
God will help her when morning dawns. 
(Psalms 46:4-5 ESV)

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
(Hebrews 13:14 ESV)

"Let not your hearts be troubled. 
Believe in God; believe also in me. 
In my Father's house are many rooms. 
If it were not so, would I have told you 
that I go to prepare a place for you? 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come again and will take you to myself, 
that where I am you may be also."
(John 14:1-3 ESV)
He will come again,
and will take us to Himself;
I long to be Home.

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

CHRISTMAS – DAY SIX

INVITATION

Shout praises to the LORD,
 everyone on this earth. 
Be joyful and sing as you come in to worship the LORD! 
(Psalms 100:1-2 CEV)

As I pause, this morning, I’m reflecting on Home. While there is nothing I can do to hasten my arrival there (it is God’s purpose that keeps me here), I can express my desire to be there, and, hopefully, prepare myself for the eventual transition. Dallas Willard once opined that some people’s transition from this life to the next might be so smooth that they don’t even realize that they “died.”

BIBLE SONG

Praise the LORD. 

Praise the LORD from the heavens; 
praise him in the heights above. 
Praise him, all his angels; 
praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 
Praise him, sun and moon; 
praise him, all you shining stars. 
Praise him, you highest heavens 
and you waters above the skies. 

Let them praise the name of the LORD, 
for his name alone is exalted; 
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.  
And he has raised up for his people a horn, 
the praise of all his faithful servants, 
of Israel, the people close to his heart. 

Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 148:1-4, 13-14 NIV)

BIBLE READING

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 
(Luke 2:36-40 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages again, I look for words or ideas that stir within me, lingering over them, giving them my attention. I pray my life to God, resting in His presence.

In the midst of Psalm 148, such a great panoply of praise, one phrase catches my attention, today. It comes in verse 13: “His name alone is exalted.”

We “praise” a lot of things and people in this world. WE speak fondly of our favorite places, people, foods, books, songs, games, and so on. But there is only One who deserves to truly be worshiped.

He goes by many names. 
YHWH (Yahweh or Jehovah) - I AM
El Shaddai - God Almighty
Adonai
Elohim
El Elyon
El Olam

There are many suffixes to the name, Jehovah. 

Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is Peace
Jehovah Jireh - The Lord will Provide
Jehovah Tsidkenu - The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah Nissi - The Lord is my Banner
Jehovah Sabbaoth - The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah Maccaddeshcem (M'Kaddesh) - The Lord who Sanctifies
Jehovah Rohi - The Lord my Shepherd
Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is there
Jehovah Rapha - The Lord who Heals

I’m sure I have not exhausted the list . . . these are just some of the “bigger” ones, or more well-known names of God.

Consider today . . . who do you need God to be in your life today? Call on the Name of God that you need the most today. Do you need peace? Do you have physical needs of provision? Do you need protection? Do you need healing? Or do you just need to know that He is there? Call on Him, and He will answer. If you seek Him with all your heart, He will hear you and He will make Himself known to you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)

Father, I don’t know if I can truthfully say that I have ever sought You with “all my heart.” For surely, there is always a piece of my heart that longs for the things of this world. Otherwise, I would have ceased chasing after anything sinful, long ago. So I need You to do what Psalm 86:11 asks for. Unite my heart to fear Your Name. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. My heart’s desire is to be whole-hearted toward You, so that I might truly know You and see Your face. I know that, someday, I will see what can be seen of You, in glory, and I truly long for that day, because I grow weary of the fight in this world. Yet I know that I am still here for a purpose, and I want to fulfill that purpose for You. So keep drawing me closer, and keep showing me Yourself, that I might come closer to calling on You with my whole heart.

Your Name, alone, is to be exalted and worshiped. Help me to worship You more faithfully, Father. And for anyone who stumbles across this, today, Lord, I pray that one of those many names of Yours will inspire them to call upon You for whatever they need in Your life. Show Yourself, faithfully, to all who call upon You, that Your name may be glorified, on earth as it is in heaven. I seek no recognition, as I am only a channel of the words that Your Holy Spirit puts in my brain and on my heart. I pray that I am “hearing” correctly, though. Let me never say or do anything that brings dishonor to Your Holy Name!

Father, please give Your children the commitment to do justice and love mercy. I pray for the rights and protection of children in our land and around the world. And, for anyone who is lonely, today, may You, Jehovah Shammah, show Yourself to them as their faithful companion.

BLESSING

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people.
(Luke 1:68 CEV)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(Kyrie)

Grace and peace, friends.