Let Us Be One

Today is Monday, December 12, 2016. Thirteen days until Christmas!

Quote of the Day

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

Word of the Day

Thrasonical – boastful; vainglorious.

Today is Gingerbread House Day. I’ve already seen a few really nice gingerbread houses. We made one a couple years ago, from a kit that we bought. I’ve never tried to make one from scratch, though. It seems like it might be fun to try sometime.

Yesterday was a tired day, but it went pretty well. The worship gathering went well, but I botched a few chords in “Breath of Heaven.” That was especially disappointing, because during rehearsal, I nailed it. Go figure. We’re supposed to do that one again on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, we still haven’t quite nailed down what we are doing for Christmas Eve. We are pretty sure we will be going to Mineral Wells on Christmas day, and maybe spending Sunday night there. That’s all still up in the air, as well, though.

Tonight, I don’t have band practice, but C has a gathering with some of the ladies from our church. Perhaps I will make some peach ice cream in the ice cream maker C won at the Christmas part, Saturday night.

75 days until the first Spring Training game.
112 days until Opening Day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Monday in the third week of Advent

Psa 103:20-22  Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psa 115:1  Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

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

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Psa 142:5-7  I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.

Right on the heels of proclaiming that no one takes notice of him, David proceeds to state his confidence that, when he is delivered, he will be surrounded by the support of the community of faith. “God’s acceptance and embrace are very often expressed through welcoming words and supportive acts in the community of the people of faith.”

“Lord Jesus Christ, be at my side at the moments I feel isolated and alone. Use my sin-induced loneliness to prepare me for a faith-created community. Lead me to brother and sisters in faith who share a common need and express a shared devotion. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Joh 17:22  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.

What is personality? Chambers defines it as “that peculiar, uncalculable thing that is meant when we speak of ourselves as distinct from everyone else.” Like an island in the ocean, there are depths of personality that are deeper than even we, ourselves, can grasp. Only God can fully grasp each individual personality.

After this point, Chambers launches into some vague psychology that I’m not convinced is 100% accurate, as he differentiates between individuality and personality. It certainly isn’t biblical stuff, but I do get what he is aiming for. The main point, with which I do agree, seems to be that we cannot reach the full potential of our personality until we allow it to be merged with Jesus. When we become captivated by the love of Christ, our personalities merge and we become one, even as Christ and the Father are one. “If you give up your right to yourself to God, the real true nature of your personality answers to God straight away.” We become emancipated from always having to insist on our rights, and we are transfigured. “The transfiguring element is love, personal devotion to Jesus. Love is the outpouring of one personality in fellowship with another personality.”

Father, I see the truth of this reading, and pray for that merging of personalities. This has been in process for decades, now, and I pray for it to continue as I grow in Christ. While each of us is distinct from one another, let us all be one in Jesus. Help me to keep considering that my rights have been forfeited, voluntarily, to you. Let that be right in front of me all day, today, as I go through this Monday workday.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:15, 18)

Grace and peace, friends.

Abandoned for What?

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”~~Jack London
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is canoodle, which means “caress, fondle, or pet amorously.”

Today is Girl Scout Day. For all the cookies.

We had a great time last night. As I was driving home, talking to Christi and Stephanie on the phone, we decided to drive over to Lake Worth and have dinner at Ginger Brown’s Old Tyme Restaurant. We had not been there in probably close to 20 years. It was still as good as we remembered it, and they still give you free cinnamon rolls with every meal. The cinnamon rolls were also as good as we remembered, if not better.

After that, we came home (after stopping at Sonic for drinks), and watched this week’s episode of Major Crimes. Then I played Fallout 4 until mumblemumble o’clock.

I woke up at 7:30! I can’t sleep past 7:30 for some reason. That’s kind of aggravating when you stay up until mumblemumble o’clock playing Fallout 4.

After I finish this, we are going to go get the groceries, then we will pack and head to Glen Rose for three nights! Our favorite place on earth!! Tomorrow is my birthday, which is the reason for this trip. And we decided to switch it up a little bit and stay Saturday-Tuesday, this time, instead of Thursday-Sunday. After all . . . I don’t want to have to come home on my birthday, right? We are very excited, and really looking forward to some pie!!

In the 2016-is-the-year-of-celebrity-apocalypse category, I looked at Facebook yesterday afternoon to have my world severely rattled by the news of Keith Emerson’s death. Keith Emerson was keyboardist and founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, one of my top favorite groups from the seventies. He was 71 years old. To make it worse, it has been revealed that he apparently committed suicide, because he was suffering from some kind of nerve disorder that was affecting his ability to play. My roommate from my seminary days was equally rattled, perhaps even more than me. “Wow!!! I have no words. He was probably the strongest musical influence in my life. The world has changed. It will never be the same. RIP Keith Emerson,” he said. Here is a clip of an ELP performance from 1974 at the famous California Jam. Of course, I was not there, but I watched as much as I could on TV. I remember seeing this, hanging on every note that they played.

Here’s another clip that demonstrates his masterful piano playing. This man was not just a rock musician.

Then today, I learned that Gayle McCormick, lead singer of the group Smith, from the sixties or seventies (I can’t remember), died on March 1.

I’m compiling a list. We’ve lost at least 32 music/acting celebrities so far this year. I’ve probably missed some, too.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Psalm 34:7-10

Just because someone is young does not eliminate them from the possibility of disaster. People who are suffering should not “look enviously at the ‘young lions’ who appear not to have a care in the world.” Our security comes from God. “Wholeness of life is reserved for those who share his life.”

“Father, make me more attentive to the realities of your presence than to the illusions of the world, more trusting in the ‘angels of the Lord’ and less envious of the ‘young lions.’ I wait upon you in my need for the wholeness you promise in Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.”

“Lord, if I could truly wrap my mind around the magnitude of Your grace, I would never be able to get up off my knees.” (Katie Ganshert in Daily Guidposts 2016)

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”
Mark 10:25

Today’s reading is “Abandonment.”

“Our Lord replies in effect, that abandonment is for Himself, and not for what the disciples themselves will get from it.” Chambers cautions us against a “commercial spirit” in our so-called abandonment. You know what he means . . . “I am going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.” But, he says, “Abandonment is not for anything at all. we have got so commercialized that we only go to God for something from Him, and not for Himself.”

This really speaks to me, because I have grappled with this for years. Still grappling, too. “If we only give up something to God because we want more back, there is nothing of the Holy spirit in our abandonment; it is miserable commercial self-interest.”

Father, keep speaking to me about this. It is one of Chambers’s favorite topics, abandonment. And the idea that we typically only give things up because we want something else in return is so spot on. This is pretty much the crux of modern Christianity. Steer us away from this idea, Father, and teach to come to you for you alone. Sure, we will pray for things, and we normally will pray for tangible things. But, in the midst of this, let us also pray to simply have you.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Word Prayer

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”~~Jack London

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is antediluvian, “very old, old-fashioned, or out of date; antiquated; primitive.” I do believe that word is used in Donovan’s song “Atlantis.”

Today is Gingerbread House Day. We built one of those one year, at Christmas time. It was fun, and pretty. Not from scratch, mind you. We bought one of those kits.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I actually got off work on time! Christi had started our Mexican soup in the crock pot before leaving for work, so we had that for dinner, and for whatever reason, it was better than ever, last night.

One of the things we watched last night was a 2005 movie called The Family Stone. It was given to Christi (as well as others on the “Leadership Team”) by her boss at work. It had Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Clair Danes, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, and others. One of those family Christmas movies, it was touching and charming, as well as awkward and disturbing. We really enjoyed it.

Today will be busy. We have a band concert this morning, at 11:00, at the new facility in Southlake, called The Marq. If it doesn’t rain, we will be playing outside in the new amphitheater. If it rains, they said we will be playing inside, somewhere. Today is the grand opening of the facility.

Tonight, we have Christi’s company Christmas Party. I’m not sure where it is, but it will be in a hotel meeting room. Sheraton, or something like that. She knows where it is.

On this date in:

1787–Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the United States Constitution
1941–Adolf Hitler announced his plan to exterminate the Jews

Today’s birthdays include:

1863–Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter
1893–Edward G. Robinson, American actor
1900–Sammy Davis, Sr., American dancer
1915–Frank Sinatra, American singer/actor
1919–Dan DeCarlo, American cartoonist, Archie Comics
1923–Bob Barker, American game show host
1937–Buford Pusser, American law enforcement official, inspiration for Walking Tall
1938–Connie Francis, American singer
1940–Dionne Warwick, American singer
1943–Dickie Betts, American musician, The Allman Brothers Band
1949–Bill Nighy, English actor, NOT the science guy
1952–Cathy Rigby, American gymnast and actress
1952–Sarah Douglas, English actress
1970–Jennifer Connelly, American actress
1970–Madchen Amick, American actress
1975–Mayim Bialik, American actress and neuroscientist, Blossom, Big Bang Theory

Connie Francis is an American singer, turning 77 years old today. She had a number of hits, including “Where the Boys Are,” “Lipstick On Your Collar,” and “Stupid Cupid.” Here’s her song “Who’s Sorry Now?”

Robert Browning, Charles Goodnight, Douglas Fairbanks, Tallulah Bankhead, Anne Baxter, Joseph Heller, Peter Boyle, and Ike Turner are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The next step in Timothy Keller’s framework for daily prayer is called “Word Prayer.” In this, he borrows from Martin Luther, who made it a habit to, after meditating on some Scripture, taking time to “‘pray the text’ before moving on to more free-form prayer.” While meditation, in and of itself, is not prayer, this is a way to move it directly into prayer.

As we discover something within the text we have used for meditation, something that can be used as “a basis for praising, repenting, and aspiring,” we can turn the meditation into prayer, creating a continuous flow within our daily prayer time.

The Psalms are probably the best passages for praying Scripture back to God. Eugene Peterson has written a book called Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer. It’s on my Amazon wish list, and I may buy it after Christmas if no one gives it to me. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading his take on using the Psalms for prayer.

Another great way to pray Scripture back to God is, of course, the Lord’s Prayer, the model given to us by Jesus. Martin Luther suggests personalizing this as we pray each phrase, filling in our own needs and desires as we go.

Father, as you teach me to pray, give me wisdom in using this idea of praying your Word back to you. I ask for guidance from your Spirit as I meditate on Scripture, finding portions that can easily be prayed to you, giving my daily prayer time a better flow. Mostly, I just want to be centered on you as I pray, and using Scripture is a great way to do that.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Am I A Fraud?

Good morning. Today is Thursday, November 22, 2012. Today is Thanksgiving Day. I wish everyone who reads this a very happy Thanksgiving. I pray that you all have at least one thing to be thankful for today. I recently read a quote by Max Lucado that made me ponder my thankfulness (or lack thereof). He said, “What if you woke up this morning and had only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” Obviously, if we took the time to thank God for everything in our lives every day, we would never get anything else done. But it is still something to think about, that attitude of thankfulness. This is something that I’m working on each day. I watched a lot of people begin their yearly daily thanksgiving posts, beginning on November 1. While I won’t deny that it’s a good thing to be thankful, I can’t help but wonder where those posts are the rest of the year. What’s so magical about November, that we can only publicly proclaim our thanks during this one month? For this reason, I purposefully did not start such a list. I want to be thankful every day, and every day, I try to remember to give thanks to God for something in my life, if nothing more than for something as basic as the fact that I am breathing this morning. Yesterday, I remember thanking God for the colors in a tree on my street as I started my journey to work. Today, I am most thankful that my family is together. Rachel and Justin are here, and in a few hours, the five of us will all be in Mineral Wells, having our Thanksgiving meal with my parents.

On a lighter note, today is also, apparently, designated as “National Start Your Own Country Day.” Hmmm…”Bickleyvania.” I kind of like the sound of that…

On this date in 1718, British pirate Edward Teach (aka “Blackbeard”) was killed in a battle of the coast of North Carolina.
On this date in 1869, the clipper Cutty Sark was launched. It was one of the last clippers ever built and survives to this day.
On this date in 1916, Jack London died of kidney disease, at the age of 40.
Ravel’s Bolero premiered on this date in 1928, in Paris. If he had only known…
The U.S. Humane Society was founded on this date in 1954.
On this date in 1963, in Dallas, Texas…(caution…not for the squeamish)

On this date in 1995, Toy Story was released. It was the first feature-length film completely made by CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).

Today’s birthdays include Robert Cavelier de La Salle (French Explorer), 1643, George Eliot (author), 1819, Charles de Gaulle, 1890, Hoagy Carmichael, 1899, Benjamin Britten (British composer), 1913, Rodney Dangerfield, 1921, Geraldine Page (actress), 1924, Gunther Schuller (composer), 1925, Lew Burdette (baseball player), 1926, Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), 1932, Terry Gilliam (the only American member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus), 1940, Jesse Colin Young (musician), 1941, Billie Jean King, 1943, Steven Van Zandt (musician), 1950, Jamie Lee Curtis, 1958, Mariel Hemingway, 1961, Mark Ruffalo and Boris Becker, 1967, Joe Nathan (baseball player), 1974, Karen O (lead singer of the “Yeah Yeah Yeahs”), 1978, Scarlett Johansson, 1984.


The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)
Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning, my rock, my refuge, my shield, and my salvation.


I was moved by a reading from In Touch magazine yesterday. Beginning with Psalm 105:1-5, the writer proceeded to expound on some of the benefits of gratitude.
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.

Gratitude, the act of giving thanks can
Refocus our attention… Our lives are filled with distractions. Perhaps if we began our day with gratitude, we would not get up with the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Relieve anxiety… Most of us know Philippians 4:6-7. … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Thanksgiving shoves aside anxiety and replaces it with peace, not just any peace, but the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding!”
Refresh our relationship… When I’m showing gratitude, it keeps me from thinking that it’s all about me and my needs. I’m focused on God instead of me. That one’s a little tricky, because I’m giving thanks for things that are important to me. Still, I’m giving glory to God for those things.
Reinforce our faith… Remembering God’s past faithfulness boosts confidence in his present and future grace.
Rejoice our spirit… “Thanksgiving is the best way to dig ourselves out of the doldrums of discouragement.”

I thought this was a good list and decided to share it today. It’s not always easy to give thanks. Six years ago today, my best friend from high school and his family buried his niece, who was killed by a drunk driver. They haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving together since. It doesn’t mean that they can’t find something to be thankful for. But sometimes it’s very, very tough.


Today, I’m reading Isaiah 2:6-11.
6 For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
7 Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.
9 So man is humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them!
10 Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty.
11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

What a terrible passage for Thanksgiving, right? Not so fast…maybe not. Perhaps it can make us stop and think about what we allow into our lives. God had rejected his people because they had allowed the idolatrous practices of other lands to permeate their culture. They became attached to their gold, silver, and other treasures. If we are honest, I think we have to admit that, when we get attached to and dependent upon our treasures, we cease being thankful to God for things, because we don’t recognize his provision in our lives. This is a basic definition of idolatry, allowing things to replace God. Eventually, “the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.” “That day?” What day? That is described in the next passage, which I will read tomorrow.


Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Shallow and Profound.” I like that title, it grabs my interest. The scripture reference is 1 Corinthians 10:31. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Haha…that’s an appropriate verse for today, don’t you think?

“Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound.” We like to fancy ourselves as not ever being shallow. This is nothing more than an effort to impress people with the fact that we are what Chambers calls a “spiritual prig.” We run the risk of becoming a “walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow” than we are. Chambers says, “Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.” BAM! Listen, I’ve caught myself falling into this trap before. God has slapped me up side the head, too, when I begin to develop this attitude of pride, thinking that I’m more profound than others. Lately, he’s been keeping me humble, and I’m cool with that.

The appearance of shallowness does not mean that one is wicked, neither does it mean that there is no depth. Remember, “the ocean has a shore,” and is quite shallow for a good distance. All of these so-called “shallow” things, these amenities of life, “eating and drinking, walking and talking, area ll ordained by God.” Jesus participated in these things and did everything to the glory of his Father.

“Our safeguard is in the shallow things.” It is in these things that we anchor ourselves in God. It is in these things where we live. When those deeper things come, they will be given to us “apart from the shallow concerns.” We get so serious…”so desperately interested in our own characters,” that we forget to act like Christians in the shallow areas.

“Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.”

Ouch.


Father, I give you thanks this morning, and pray that you will remind me to give you thanks every morning, and all day, every day. I thank you for my family, and that we are together this morning. I thank you for providing the jobs that we have that enable us to have the meal that is being prepared while I type these words. I thank you for the transportation that we have that enables us to travel to my parents’ house to share this meal with them. I am thankful for godly parents, who taught me to love you and follow you at an early age. I am thankful that you kept me on that path that they showed me, and that it stretches out before me from her to the end of my days and even beyond. You are good, Lord. You are good. May we eat and drink to your glory today.

I thank you that, somewhere down the line, you taught me not to take myself so seriously. I thank you that you showed me the value of being “shallow,” of living in the common-place areas of life with the life that Christ lives in me. I cannot rise above your life. I will not pose as one who is more profound than he really is. Oh, sure, I want to think of myself is intelligent and a “deep thinker.” In reality, I’m just a man who occasionally has a thought. 🙂 I pray that you would inspire me by your Spirit, daily, to lift up those shallow moments to you, walking in them as Jesus did, in the character of Jesus, as he lives in me. Let me glorify you in the mundane, Father, and you will lift me to the divine, sometimes. I pray that I am not, nor ever will be, a fraud.

I pray for this day. May the rest of the preparations go smoothly, and grant us safe travel to Mineral Wells in a little while. I pray for a good time of family fellowship this afternoon, and, most of all, I pray for peace.


“All praises to the one who made it all, who made it all;
All praises to the one who made it all, and finds it beautiful!”

Grace and peace, friends.