Pay It Forward

“Loving your neighbor as yourself is a matter of who you are, not primarily of what you decide to do.”

Today is Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

Day 22,308

Thirty-sixth day of Lent

Twenty-nine days until our Vegas trip

Quote of the Day

“It’s a dangerous business going out your front door.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, British scholar and novelist, 1892-1973
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Flimflam ~ to trick, deceive, swindle, or cheat. (

The Texas Rangers managed to lose a game that they had well in hand, last night. They gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 5-4. The closer, Leclerc, took the loss. They are now 5-6, back in last place in the AL West. They play again tonight at 8:40 in Arizona.

The Red Sox lost their home opener to the Blue Jays, 7-5. Chris Sale got his third loss in the game as the Sox fall to 3-9, in last place in the AL East. They play again Thursday (that seems weird, to have a day off in the middle of the series) at 6:10.

The Seattle Mariners continue to rule baseball, at 11-2, with a percentage of .846. The Cincinnati Reds and KC Royals are holding the bottom at 2-8 (.200), with the Red Sox and Rockies just barely ahead of them. The Rangers are tied with the Yankees, just south of the middle of the pack.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults! 
You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.

Psalm 21:1-2

Today I am grateful:
1. For an opportunity to be with Jesus
2. For time for God to calm my spirit and point me in the right direction
3. For the hope of opportunities to serve someone today
4. That God has had love and compassion for me
5. That I have the ability to pay that compassion forward

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world;
to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord;
and to bestow freedom upon all peoples,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives,
the homeless and the hungry,
and all who are desolate and oppressed,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the bountiful fruits of the earth,
so that in due time all may enjoy them,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to inspire us,
in our several callings,
to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of heart as thy servants,
and for the common good,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.
(The Book of Common Prayer, The Great Litany)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Pay Forward God’s Compassion,” by Dallas Willard.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12

“A person of compassion is one who feels the needs of others and whose compassion is not something that can be turned on and off like a water faucet.” The person who feels this kind of compassion is constantly burdened for others. That is why so many people reject Jesus’s commandment to love others. It takes “resources of personal strength and wisdom in action. Loving your neighbor as yourself is a matter of who you are, not primarily of what you decide to do.”

That’s an important statement, I believe . . . let’s take another look at it.

“Loving your neighbor as yourself is a matter of who you are, not primarily of what you decide to do.”

The thing is, though, that we can only be compassionate if we have, within ourselves, a sort of “well” of compassion that we have received from another person or being. That being, of course, is God. Consider 1 John 4:19. “We love because he first loved us.” And if he had not loved us, we would be unable to love. Keep in mind that the context of 1 John 4:19 is not love God, but loving others. Also, verse 18 says, “perfect love casts out fear.” Consider the role of fear in the parable of the Good Samaritan. “Our experience of God’s love is what allows us, empowers us, to set aside anger, selfishness, lusting, and so on in our relationships to others.”

So let us, indeed, pay forward God’s compassion to us.

Father, I read words like this and I feel so lacking. I have so much work to do in this area. You have had great compassion on me and great love for me. Your lovingkindness toward me has been immeasurable. Yet, I have been so stingy in paying that forward to others. Release my inhibitions, Father. Destroy my fear in the presence of Jesus. Send me out to show compassion on others, that I might demonstrate your great love for me and them, both.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.

Walk Humbly

Today is January 3, 2019. The tenth day of Christmas.

Day 22,211

41 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, English novelist, 1892-1973 (Today is the 127th anniversary of his birth.)

The word of the day is elevenses. It means, “a midmorning break for refreshments.” ( Due to above fact, this makes me quite happy.

At least twice, yesterday, I mistakenly wondered why someone was at work who does not normally work on Mondays. I really don’t like mid-week holidays! Haha!

I made chili for dinner, last night, and it was quite satisfying in this winter weather we are having. C and I watched a recent episode of Saturday Night Live, in which Jason Mamoa hosted. It was bloody awful! Not so much him, I think, as the writing. Mumford and Sons were the musical guest, and they were pretty good, at least.

The weather is still threatening, this morning. When we got up, the temp was 35, though. Raining, but nothing freezing. It is now 36, according to Wunderground, so I’m not worried about ice, at this point.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.”
Isaiah 12:4

Today I am grateful:
1. That we have not had any ice on the roads, these past two days. This gratitude is humble, though, as I realize that not too far west of here, there is ice and snow.
2. That God calls me to be watchful of Him working in my life.
3. For the opportunities to intercede for others.
4. That C remembered, last night, that I needed to order a new sustain pedal for my keyboards.
5. That God knows me.

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father,
you have brought us in safety to this new day:
Preserve us with your mighty power,
that we may not fall into sin,
nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all we do,
direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Grace)

(From Daily Guideposts 2019)

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

John Dilworth wrote today’s reading. He writes of being inspired by a sermon based on the above verse. He says that he began to be “more intentional about God’s expectations” found in the verse. “I began closing my morning prayers by asking God to guide me to act justly in all I do that day, to be kind to all I am with, and to walk humbly with Him all day.” That sounds like a prayer with which you can’t possibly go wrong.

Humility, it seems, may be the key component to each piece of the prayer. Unless we walk humbly with God, can we possibly “be still and know God,” “Wait patiently for Him to renew our strength,” “Love God with all our being,” or “Love others as ourselves?”

If I am walking humbly with God, then I “must become less so He can become more,” just as John the Baptizer said. I plan to echo Dilworth’s prayer this morning, and every morning that I can remember.

Father, guide me to act justly in all I do today; guide me to be kind to all I am with; guide me, most especially, to walk humbly with You.
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.

Soli Deo Gloria!

“In Your Presence, Peace Flows”

Today is Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Day 21,846.

85 days until Opening Day.

J.R.R. Tolkien, born on this date in 1892 (died 1973), said, “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is sacerdotal, an adjective, meaning, “of or relating to priests or a priesthood : priestly.”

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 
many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah. 
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. 
I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah. 
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. 
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. 
Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. 
Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah.

Psalm 3

“In sickness and in hope and tears and sweat and pain. In every moment. You are here. And in Your presence, peace flows.” (Erin MacPherson, Daily Guideposts 2018)

(From The Business of Heaven)
Refreshments on the Journey

“The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” (The Problem of Pain)

(From The Finishing Touch)
How to Waste Time

There are countless books available, these days (and have been for decades), on how to “get the most out of your year, how to increase your efficiency, how to make every moment count, how to invest your time wisely and productively.”

Going against this trend, Charles Swindoll has decided to give us five proven ways to waste our time.

“First, worry a lot.” Start early “and intensify your anxiety as the day passes.” If you can’t come up with enough things on your own, check Facebook. But be sure to include your mistakes and failures, “what you should or could have done but didn’t.” For variety, “worry about things you should not have done but did.” Weight, marriage, job . . . all of these things provide adequate fuel.

“Second make hard-and-fast predictions.” Be as specific as possible, ignoring James 4 (“you do not know what tomorrow will bring”). Swindoll provides an example of Jimmy Hoffa, who, one month before he disappeared, announced, “I don’t need bodyguards.”

“Third, fix your attention on getting rich.” There are plenty of books written about that subject, as well, not to mention “entrepreneurial seminars and high-pressure sales meetings.”

“Fourth, compare yourself with others.” That’s a good one! And it adds fuel to number one, as well. “Not only will you ricochet between the extremes of arrogance and discouragement, you will also spend the time not knowing who you are.”

“Fifth, lengthen your list of enemies. If there’s one thing above all others that will keep your wheels spinning, it’s perfecting your skill at the Blame Game.” You can waste plenty of evenings “reveling in your feelings of hate and bitterness, stewing over those folks who have made your life miserable.”

With these five suggestions, you can “set new records in wasting valuable time.” Plus you won’t have to worry about “being happy, efficient, productive, and contented.”

All in good fun, right? But how many of us do all five of those things on a regular basis? I’m a worrier. I spend plenty of time on number one. But God would have us do otherwise. And while these things sound like “foolish exaggeration,” indeed, we do waste a lot of time on these exact things.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:13-17

Father, I confess that I do waste a lot of time worrying. I also waste a good bit of time judging, which could probably fall into category five. I probably spend a good deal of time in category four, as well. May your Spirit remind me, each day, that you are my provision and protection. You are my source, for all that I need. There is nothing to worry about, ever. In your kingdom, things are much better than I could ever imagine. Remind me of the quote from Guideposts, this morning. “In Your presence, peace flows.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Send Out Your Light

Today is Sunday, March 5, 2017. A “prime” day, if you will. 3/5/2017. Only five more days until our Glen Rose weekend!

Quote of the Day

“It’s a dangerous business going out your front door.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Word of the Day

Salaam ~ a salutation meaning “peace,” used especially in Islamic countries.

Today is Namesake Day. Are you named after someone? I don’t know that my first name came from any of my ancestors, but I share a middle name with my grandfather and uncle. There used to be a lot more significance attached to names, even special meanings sought out. And if you know the story of John the Baptizer, you know that when he was born, when his father said he was to be named “John,” there was a bit of an uproar, as none of their relatives or ancestors had that name. Perhaps you know the person you were named after. Perhaps you can even contact them and celebrate the day with them.

Last night was another amazing Night of Worship. It built in intensity all the way up to the last song. There was actually supposed to be another song, but Brandon and I looked at each other and I said, “I think we’re done.” To do the last song on the set list, I think, would have been somewhat anti-climactic. In fact, after we finished the last song we sang, there were several moments of nothing, pure silence, as we basked in the presence of the Lord. No one could speak. It was pretty incredible.

This morning, we are getting ready for our worship gathering with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach Street, in Fort Worth, TX. We start our gathering at 10:15 AM.

After that, C and I will have to do our grocery shopping, and then chill for the rest of the day, hopefully.

Also, apparently Daylight Saving Time (BOOOO!!!) begins again next Saturday night. So, we are losing a whole hour of our Glen Rose weekend!!! No fair, man. No fair!

Only 29 more days until Opening Day!


Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:7-9
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18:31

“O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant that I, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear my cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Father, this morning, as we head to our worship gathering, and participate in the set-up of all the accouterments of worship, I pray that you will, indeed, “send out your light and your truth; let them the lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” Let us attend your altar, O God, and let us have exceeding joy as we lift up your name, this morning.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Back to work for the new year.

Quote of the Day

Today’s quote is by J.R.R. Tolkien, who was born on January 3, 1892. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Word of the Day

Orcish – Of, belonging to, or characteristic of orcs; suggestive of or resembling an orc. The language of orcs.

Today is Festival of Sleep Day. How unfair is that?? Why does this “holiday” fall on our first day back to work for the new year? Thank goodness it is also Chocolate Covered Cherry Day. I think we might still have some of those in the house, somewhere.

Yesterday seemed like a busy day. After finishing the morning’s blog, C, S, and I went out for lunch, and then drove out to the hospital to visit her step-dad. He is still in ICU at a hospital on the west side of town. We were somewhat shocked when we got there, as he didn’t look well at all. But his son and daughter-in-law were also there, and said that he was actually doing better, but had choked on some soup earlier, which had aggravated his already fragile heart. They had given him some drugs, which had knocked him out, and he had a breathing tube in his mouth. Hopefully, he recovered from that quickly. His son said the doctors were saying that he had actually made great progress.

After returning home, we looked at some recipes for the new pressure cooker which should be arriving tomorrow, then we went to the grocery store to get ingredients for some of those. By the time we got home, it was after 7:00 PM. We snacked for dinner and watched a couple episodes of Black Mirror, a British Netflix original series.



Psa 31:23  Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.

Psa 119:147  I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.

Psa 118:28  You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

Psa 124:8  Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

(From The President’s Devotional)

Psa 4:8  In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

“Don’t play for safety. It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.” – Hugh Walpole, Fortitude

“What does it mean to be safe?

There are different kinds of safety. Physical safety may be the first concern of many. We feel safe under the protection of police, military, and guns. But there are always bigger guns. There is always danger that could break through the barriers of police and military.

Financial safety is important to many. But it hasn’t been so very long since we have seen how delicate and fragile that is. Thousands upon thousands of people lost everything in the stock market collapses in our history, as recent as 2008.

Is it possible to ever feel completely safe? Deuteronomy 33:12 tells us, “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” Of course this does not meant that there will never be any harm that will come to us. “But come what may, we will always be closely quartered with an omnipotent God. We are his beloved, and secure in his arms.” In our Father, we have eternal security. This is something that physical, economic, and emotional stress can never take away from us.

“Dear God, thank you for the safety that comes from your presence in my life. Let me feel that presence closely and be secure. Amen.”

(From Living the Message)

Eugene Peterson is, of course, a writer. He is involved in “story-making.” His allies are novelists and poets, “writers who are not telling me something, but making something.”

It is easy to take shortcuts in the stories of the people around us. As God draws these people into our stories, we fall into the trap of categorizing, rather than “assisting in the development of a character.”

“Instead of seeing each person in my life as unique, a splendid never-to-be duplicated story of grace, unprecedented in the particular ways grace and sin are in dramatic tension, I slap on a label so I can efficiently get through my routines. Once the label is in place I don’t have to look at him and her any more; I know how to use them.”

Then Peterson read some of the great authors and saw how they create, how they see “unexpected depths in the ordinary, the capacities for good and evil in the apparently unconventional!”

Are we guilty of this? I know I have been. We constantly slap labels on people because it’s easier, and we are lazy. It takes work to suss out the “story of grace,” to try to discern the “particular ways grace and sin are in dramatic tension,” so we slap those labels on. Conservative or liberal; Christian or not; disciple or backslider; and so on.

God help us view the possibilities in every person we encounter.

Gal 4:19  Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth.

Father, as I go through this day, help me to see each person through your eyes. I believe that was yesterday’s prayer, as well! Help me to see the possibilities that grace can bring to each person, from the atheist to the gossip, from the dedicated worker to the slacker. Help me to strip away those labels that make things so simple and easy for me. And may I not be a label to someone else, as well. Help us to break the molds, live like Jesus, and see others the way Jesus sees them.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

All Is Grace

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 20, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is hobbit. Who doesn’t know what a hobbit is, right? It is “a member of a fictitious peaceful and genial race of small humanlike creatures that dwell underground.” As far as I know, hobbits were invented by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Today is World Juggling Day. I used to have a set of those vinyl juggling balls, but seem to have misplaced them. I got fairly decent at juggling three of them, but will never be as good as this guy!

The trip to work yesterday was interesting. My GPS sent me down the freeway, instead of across the side roads, and, initially, the trip was extremely quick and smooth. I encountered very little traffic until I got to Grapevine. Then, suddenly, everything stopped. It took me about twice as long as usual to get through Grapevine to Coppell, and on to the 121 access roads going on up to I-35E. Later, I found out what the problem was/is. Lake Grapevine is overflowing into Denton Creek (which I have never heard of), and has caused the closing of at least one major road in the area. 2499, a major thoroughfare, was closed at Grapevine Mills Pkwy and Lakeside Lane, causing backups for miles, which also affected the traffic the main highway, SH121, which is where I was. Fortunately, the first half of my trip went fast enough that this did not make me late for work. The scary thing is that it hadn’t even rained since Wednesday. Of course, it rained a lot on Wednesday. And reports still say that the Trinity River in Dallas is at 37+ feet, and the flood stage is 30 feet! So, even though we have not had any rain in three days, we are still under flood warnings. All that water has to go somewhere!


Today, we will probably try to get the groceries done, as tomorrow is Fathers Day, and we will be in Mineral Wells for most of the day. That means I need to get moving with this here blog and get it finished in a reasonable time.

Today is two months since my father passed away.

On this date in 1214, the University of Oxford received its charter. In 1840, Samuel Morse got the patent for the telegraph. In 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted for the murders of her father and stepmother. In 1948, Ed Sullivan debuted with his show, originally called Toast of the Town.

Today’s birthdays include Jacques Offenbach (French composer), Errol Flynn (Australian actor), Audie Murphy (American Medal of Honor recipient and actor), Chet Atkins (American guitar player), Martin Landau (American actor), Olympia Dukakis (American actress), Danny Aiello (American actor), Len Dawson (American football player), Brian Wilson (American musician, The Beach Boys), Anne Murray (Canadian singer), Bob Vila (American TV host), Lionel Richie (American musician), John Goodman (American actor), Nicole Kidman (Australian actress), and Mike Birbiglia (comedian).

Brian Wilson is 73 years old today, born on this date in 1942. He is best known, of course, as being one of the leaders and co-founders of The Beach Boys. This clip is not Brian Wilson, but it’s about him.


A Maskil of Asaph. O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs.
They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees.
And all its carved wood they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground.
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them!
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.
Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name.
Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts; do not forget the life of your poor forever.
Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!

Psalm 74

(From Solid Joys)

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10

Today’s reading is “Grace is Pardon–and Power!”

“Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.”

Paul describes, 1 Corinthians 15:10, grace as the power that enables him to worker “harder than any of them.” When we make effort to obey God, it is not “an effort done in our own strength.” It is, according to 1 Peter 4:11, the strength that is supplied by God. Whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Paul confirms this way of thinking in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12: To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Note that the works are works “of faith by his power,” and they are done, “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith.” This is the same grace through faith that gives us salvation. Grace saves; grace sanctifies. All is by grace.

Father, thank you for this grace, that first saves me, then enables me to live. Why do I not always avail myself of this grace in my life? I cannot answer this question. I can only pray that I would. May this grace that gives me the power for obedience shape everything in my life. May the desires of my heart become the desires of your heart. Show me the scope of my “mission” in life. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day. As we go to the store and do our errands, I pray for safe travel, and that all things will work out smoothly. May our time together this evening, in prayer and worship, bring glory to you. I pray for safe travel to Mineral Wells tomorrow, to visit my mother. I also pray for safe travel for Rachel and Justin, as they come down from Denton. May our time together be blessed by your presence.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grace is the power for life. Everything we need is wrapped up in the grace of God in Christ Jesus.


Grace and peace, friends.

Divine Grace, Diving Blessing

Good morning. Today is…Thursday? I’m still having trouble figuring out what day it is! Yes. Thursday, January 3, 2013.

Today is “Memonto Mori,” or “Remember You Die” Day. Well, isn’t that cheerful? But, in all seriousness…it’s something we have to face. So, rather than let that be a downer, I choose to look at it as a challenge. Yes. Someday I will die. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe in another 40 years. Only God knows. So I will continue to live the life that he has placed in front of me with as much passion and vigor as I can muster.

On this date in 1463, the great French poet Francois Villon simply vanished. He had been sentenced to be hanged for his involvement in a “bloody fracas” in Paris, but the French Parlement, on this date, reduced his sentence to “banishment for a period of ten years,” so he left the city. Villon spent most of his life as a “roving poet,” hanging with a gang of “thieves and murderers.” In 1455, he killed a priest during a drunken brawl om Saint-Benoit, but was pardoned by the King. He was imprisoned at least three more times after that. According to Great Stories from History, we have no clue what happened to him after January 3, 1463, as there is no more record of him at all. I will note that some records give the date of banishment as January 5. One of his most famous poems is “Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis” (which has several translations, I’ve noticed). The translation I’m quoting from calls it “Ballad of the Ladies of Yore.”
Tell me where, in what country,
Is Flora the beautiful Roman,
Archipiada or Thais
Who was first cousin to her once,
Echo who speaks when there’s a sound
On a pond or a river
Whose beauty was more than human?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?
Where is the leamed Heloise
For whom they castrated Pierre Abelard
And made him a monk at Saint-Denis,
For his love he took this pain,
Likewise where is the queen
Who commanded that Buridan
Be thrown in a sack into the Seine?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?

The queen white as a lily
Who sang with a siren’s voice,
Big-footed Bertha, Beatrice, Alice,
Haremburgis who held Maine
And Jeanne the good maid of Lorraine
Whom the English bumt at Rouen, where,
Where are they, sovereign Virgin?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Prince, don’t ask me in a week
or in a year what place they are;
I can only give you this refrain:
Where are the snows of yesteryear?

Today’s birthday is J.R.R. Tolkien, born on this date in 1892.

Yesterday was an okay day, I guess. When Christi asked me how my day went, I said, “Terrible! I wasn’t in Cancun!” But, truthfully, outside of it taking all morning to get caught up on emails, I guess it was okay. We didn’t go to the gym last night, though. By the end of the work day, I was having trouble staying awake, so we just rested last night. We got in fairly late on Tuesday. Tonight, we plan to hit the gym for our 2013 fitness push. I’m hoping to have as much success in 2013 as I did in 2012.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:2-4
Father, I pray for a glimpse of you during my reading this morning. Give me something to meditate on during this day, as I seek for your presence in my day.

Today, I’m reading Isaiah 16:3-5.
3 “Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive;
4 let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them from the destroyer. When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,
5 then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.”

In chapter 15, Isaiah stated that his soul cried out for Moab, whose fugitives were fleeing to Zoar. In chapter 16, he calls for refuge for their outcasts, allowing them to “sojourn among you.” There is a foreshadowing of Christ in verse 5, as one who “judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.”

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “God Makes A Covenant with Abram.” The scripture reading is Genesis 12:1-3.
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God continues to be in the business of creating new things. This passage is the beginning of the relationship between God and Abram. The promise contained here assures Abram that he will not be travelling alone, “but with God, who is leading him.” The blessings that are given to Abram are things that most of us seek today; “a place to live and thrive, the security of community, prosperity, and prominence.” These things are not “acquired by our own doing, but are gifts from God–divine grace, divine blessing.”

As I seek God’s presence today, I am challenge to reflect on the covenant God made with Abram, and then to look at how he has blessed my family.

“Father God, so often I prefer to dwell on everything in my life that I would like to change rather than thanking you for all of the blessings you have given me and my family. Thank you, Lord, for the tremendous gifts you have given each and every one of us, and especially for the greatest gift of all–that you journey through life with us.”
I can echo that prayer this morning, Lord, as I begin my day with you. I don’t want to focus so much on things that need changing. It seems that the majority of things on my prayer list are things that need changing. Maybe not the majority…but it’s close to half, at least. Help me to focus more on you, while praying for others, looking at your desires for them, identifying with your interests in other people. Help me to find your presence today, during my work day, and even beyond that. Keep me mindful of the covenant relationships that you made in scripture, while relating those covenants to my life today. I believe that we are in covenant together; all of us who are part of the Church, in covenant with you, through Jesus Christ, by your Spirit.

I pray for this day. May it be a smooth work day for Christi and me, as we continue to get back into the groove of the daily drudgery. Thank you for the refreshing of vacation. I pray that you give Stephanie good rest today, as well, and that we will be able to get back to our workout schedule this evening.

Your grace is sufficient.

Covenant and community are important. We need God…we need each other; a recurring theme in the life with God.

Grace and peace, friends.