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Today is Thursday, October 12, 2017. Day 21,763. Today is the 32nd anniversary of our wedding!

Luciano Pavarotti, who was born on this date in 1935 (died 2007), said, “If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them.”
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The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is interdigitate, which means, “to become interlocked like the fingers of folded hands.”

Today is Pulled Pork Day. I haven’t had breakfast and I’m hungry, so that’s probably why this one caught my attention. Plus the other choices are boring.

Well, the unthinkable has happened. The Yankees beat the Indians in the ALDS. The wild card is going to face the Astros in the ALCS and the team with the best record in the AL has been eliminated. That’s no surprise, though, as it happens frequently. So I guess it’s not so “unthinkable” after all, is it? But it changes my allegiance for the ALCS, and I will be throwing all my cheers Houston-ward. Sorry, Cayman Thorn. And seriously, if it winds up being the Dodgers (who swept their NLDS) and the Yankees AGAIN (they’ve met ELEVEN times in the World Series), I probably won’t even check the scores. You know what? I take that back. I will suck it up and root for the Yankees. Yes, I will. So there.

After I finish this blog and C finished painting, we will head to the grocery store to pick up some food for S so she won’t starve over the long weekend. Then we will head out to Glen Rose, to Paluxy River Bed Cabins, where we will spend three wonderful nights “away from it all.” I can already feel the stress falling off of my shoulders.

Today marks, as previously mentioned, the 32nd anniversary of our wedding. C admits that she barely remembers that day, as she spent the night before in the hospital, suffering from endometriosis, a quite painful condition. She was released in time, though, and the wedding went on. She has since put up with me for those 32 years, saying that they are “thirty of the best years” of her life. We don’t talk about those other two. While I won’t call our love/relationship “unique,” because that word means that there is only one of something and nothing else like it, I do believe that our marriage is special. We have operated for all 32 years under the belief that we are equals in this partnership. Neither one of us assumes authority over the other one, and most decisions are made together. There are times when one of us will defer to the other for a decision. Haha. Truthfully, there are many times when neither one of us wants to make the decision! But we have grown comfortable together, over the years, kind of like wearing your favorite jacket that always feels just right. Not to compare marriage to a jacket, but I sincerely believe that anyone who has been married for this long (or even twenty years) knows exactly what I mean. The love I have for my wife is so deep that it grips my very soul. To try to remove it would rip my soul out of my being. To help celebrate, I offer this song, which has become one of our favorite song in recent years, and we might even consider it “our song.”

The words to this song fit our experience so vividly, it’s weird. It did all begin with the “touch of a hand.” More like a finger. And C’s legs are always a problem for her, specifically knees. In fact, she is having knee replacement on October 31, to get the second knee done. Perhaps, after that, her legs will both work just fine. People do fall in love in mysterious ways. And, “me, I fall in love with you every single day.”

Okay. Enough mushy stuff.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

The Call to Prayer
Let us bless the LORD from this time forth for evermore. Hallelujah!
Adapted from Psalm 115:108
The Request for Presence
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
Psalm 86:16
The Greeting
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
Psalm 32:7
The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 
Psalm 54:4
A Reading
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22
The Morning Psalm
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. 
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! 
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalm 80:1-3
The Gloria
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.
The Lord’s Prayer
Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us-
may your will be done here on earth in
just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge,
and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours-forever-
which is just the way we want it!
(Paraphrased by Dallas Willard)
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon your church the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.†
The Concluding Prayer of the Church
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
Luke 24:38

In today’s reading, Erika Bentsen writes about her experiences in cattle ranching. I normally don’t care for the readings she writes because she feels the need to write about rupturing a disc in her back in every. single. reading. But there’s a lesson in this one that I believe I needed to hear.

As a result of this ruptured disc, she can’t work in cattle ranching the way she once could. She currently does work on a ranch, but was experiencing doubts about her usefulness. Raising cattle had been her life. “Now what?” she asks.

Right as she was having those thoughts a neighbor called about a heifer that was calving, and she needed help/advice. Erika immediately asked how long the heifer had been in labor. The answer, twelve hours, was too long for the calf. Unsure if either could be saved, she rushed to her neighbor’s corral. The calf was still alive, but the cow’s pelvis was malformed. She immediately told the neighbor to call the vet, that they would have to do a C-section on the cow.

The vet arrived in time. Both calf and cow were saved. The neighbor’s words, “If you hadn’t been here, those two wouldn’t be here.”

Here–right where my back problem left me, where there’s less stress, more love, more peace, and more opportunity to help others with the skills I’ve learned.”

Here is where we are. Here is, most likely, where we belong.

I have had a love/hate relationship with my job for several years now. I’m frequently unhappy with management, and have, occasionally, sent out resumes, searching for a new job, closer to home. I drive sixty-plus miles a day, round trip, and am on the road for over two hours a day. Some days, it’s exhausting. The job, itself, isn’t difficult, but it can be quite stressful, at times. But it is where God has me, for now, and I need to be content with that. He has me here for a reason, and, until I accomplish whatever reason that is, I will stay. It’s the right thing to do.

Father, thank you for Erika’s words, today. And even though I have to drive so far, and deal with management that is frustrating, at times (who doesn’t, right?), I commit to you that I will remain here until you move me elsewhere. In the meantime, help me to fulfill your purpose in this job, around these people. Help me to be a light in the darkness, not part of the darkness, itself. Help me to show the atheist that you exist and that you love him. Help me to lead the one who has strayed back to your heart. And help me to do my work fully engaged, not constantly thinking about when my next break or lunch or end of day is.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

The Miracle of Church

“The Holy Spirit descended into the womb of Mary in the Galilean village of Nazareth. Thirty of so years later the same Holy Spirit descended into the collective spiritual womb of men and women, which included Mary, who had been followers of Jesus. It happened as they were at worship on the Jewish feast of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem. The first conception gave us Jesus; the second conception gave us church.”

Today is Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Day 21,657. Six days until our July 4 holiday!

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” ~ E. B. White
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Bonus quote!
“All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.” ~ Harry S Truman, Letter to his sister, Nov. 14, 1947
The Quotations Page

Today’s word of the day is interdigitate. It is a verb, meaning, “to interlock, as or like the fingers of both hands.” I didn’t know there was a word for that!

Today is Happy Heart Hugs Day. I’m all about the hugs. I’m a hugger. If you’re a hugger, this is your day!

I feel much better this morning than I did yesterday. In fact, by bed time last night, I was feeling 100% better. Who knows what was wrong? I may have actually had a touch of something the night before. But I seem to be fine this morning.

It’s bowling d+9*-kl (Um . . . Rocky the cat just jumped on the keyboard). What I was trying to type before I was so felinely interrupted was, it’s bowling night! I’m always excited about bowling night. Sometimes, after it’s over, I’m not so excited. But I’ve been doing pretty good in this league, for someone who hasn’t bowled consistently in close to 30 years. My average should be around 163, or so, tonight.

The Red Sox are back in first place! The Rangers are in second place, but 12.5 behind the Astros, who have won an incredible 52 games already. The only other team that has won over 50 games is the Dodgers.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Psalm 31:23
To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Psalm 28:1
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:13
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
Psalm 25:20
But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 
Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! 
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalm 80:17-19

(From Practice Resurrection)

As Eugene Peterson set out on his search for “church,” he didn’t begin with Ephesians, but it is where he wound up. He began with the book of Acts, “in which the term ‘church’ occurs twenty-four times.” Ephesus is mentioned for the first time in Acts.

One thing that Peterson noticed was the parallel between the birth of Jesus and the birth of the church. I confess that I had never noticed this, but Peterson brings it to light in a marvelous way that only he can do. But there is a great parallel between Luke 1-2 and Acts 1-2. Of course, they were written by the same author, weren’t they?

But God brought our Savior into the world in somewhat “unkingly” circumstances. He could have come to the world and solved all of the hunger troubles. He could have come with a loud, spectacular entrance and filled all the amphitheaters and “hippodromes.” He could have performed circus-like miracle shows. He could have overthrown the Roman government. But he didn’t do any of those things.

Jesus came, by a miracle, “in the form of a helpless infant born in poverty in a dangerous place with neither understanding nor support from the political, religious, or cultural surroundings.”

Our “salvation community” came into the world in much the same way. It was, in fact, miraculous, but under much the same circumstances as the birth of Jesus. While the story in Acts seems somewhat outrageous, that is only if you were in the same room. From the outside, things carried on just as usual, with governments, religious leaders, and culture being largely oblivious to what was happening.

Both of these things happened by what Charles Williams called the Descent of the Dove. “The Holy Spirit descended into the womb of Mary in the Galilean village of Nazareth. Thirty of so years later the same Holy Spirit descended into the collective spiritual womb of men and women, which included Mary, who had been followers of Jesus. It happened as they were at worship on the Jewish feast of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem. The first conception gave us Jesus; the second conception gave us church.”

Father, thank you for the “miracle of church.” I thank you that you chose to send your Holy Spirit, not once, but twice. Once to save us, and the second time, to unite us in Trinitarian Community. I pray for the advancement of that community as the Church. I pray for unity within a body of believers that is, in some cases, intensely divided. Make us one in Christ and in the Holy Spirit, as we seek to walk in your kingdom.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.