Today is Friday, the twentieth of August, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,171

Seventeen days until Labor Day, the next official holiday in the U.S.

The birthday celebrations have taken a bit of a bittersweet turn. The first thing that is causing this is that our dog, Tessie, is not doing well. Over the course of the past week or so, she has developed a condition in her hind legs that is giving her tremendous struggle in walking. It seems like it hurts her, but we are not sure. She hasn’t eaten consistently and, when she has eaten, she has some pretty gross diarrhea. So we aren’t sure what’s in the future for her.

The other thing has to do with our church. There seems to have developed a rift in our fellowship over some opinions that were shared last Sunday, concerning the vaccine and some who have elected to not receive it. That’s all I’m going to say about it, as the situation seems to be being resolved.

In the meantime, we are considering going to the zoo, later today. S has said that she would like to do that, and we haven’t been there in quite some time.

Today is World Mosquito Day. Why on earth would we have a day that celebrates mosquitos?? They answer that question in the link, should you care to read it.

The word for today is mickle. This is an archaic word that means, “great; large; much.”

Today’s quote, from Oscar Wilde, is, “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”

And now for today’s birthdays, right after I get back with another cup of coffee:

1561 Jacopo Peri, Italian composer and singer who wrote the 1st recognized opera "Dafne", born in Rome (d. 1633)
1833 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (Republican: 1889-93), born in North Bend, Ohio (d. 1901)
1890 H. P. Lovecraft, American horror writer (At the Mountains of Madness, Weird Tales), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 1937)
1905 Jack Teagarden [Weldon Leo Teagarden], American trombonist and actor (Meet Band Leaders), born in Vernon, Texas (d. 1964)
1907 Alan Reed, American actor (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and voice artist (Fred Flintstone, Lady and the Tramp), born in NYC, New York (d. 1977)
1918 Jacqueline Susann, American author (Valley of the Dolls), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1974)

1923 Jim Reeves, American country singer and actor (Gun Fury, Kimberley Jim), born in Panola County, Texas (d. 1964)
1926 Frank Rosolino, American jazz trombonist (The Frank Rosolino Sextet), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1978)
1931 Don King, American boxing promoter best known for his association with Mike Tyson and for his unusual hairstyles, born in Cleveland, Ohio
1932 Anthony Ainley, British actor (Doctor Who), born in Stanmore, Middlesex (d. 2004)
1935 Ron Paul, American author and politician (3 times presidential candidate, 1988, 2008, 12), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1942 Isaac Hayes, American musician and composer (Shaft), born in Covington, Tennessee (d. 2008)
1943 Sylvester McCoy, Scottish actor (Seventh Doctor in Doctor Who), born in Dunoon
1944 Graig Nettles, American MLB 3rd baseman (NY Yankees, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians), born in San Diego, California
1946 Connie Chung [Constance Yu-Hwa Chung Povich], American news anchor (NBC, CBS), born in Washington, D.C.
1946 Ralf Hütter, German musician (Kraftwerk), born in Krefeld, Germany
1947 James Pankow, American trombonist, arranger and composer (Chicago - "Make Me Smile"; "Colour My World"), born in St. Louis, Missouri
1948 Robert Plant, English rock vocalist (Led Zeppelin), born in West Bromwich, England
1949 Phil Lynott, Irish rock singer and bass player (Thin Lizzy - "The Boys Are Back In Town"), born in West Bromwich, England. (d. 1986)
1951 Greg Bear, American sci-fi author (2 Hugos, Eon, Eternity), born in San Diego, California
1952 John Hiatt, American singer and songwriter (Have a Little Faith in Me), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
1952 Rudy Gatlin, American country singer (Gatlin Bros-Broken Lady), born in Olney, Texas
1952 Doug Fieger, American singer–songwriter (The Knack - "My Sharona"), born in Oak Park, Michigan (d. 2010)
1954 Al Roker, American weatherman (NBC, Today), born in Queens, New York
1956 Joan Allen, American actress (Peggy Sue Got Married, Tucker, In Country), born in Rochelle, Illinois
1956 Rick Olsen, American rock guitarist (Berlin-Take My Breath Away)
1962 James Marsters, American actor (Spike-Buffy the Vampire Slayer), born in Greenville, California
1966 "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, American heavy metal guitarist (Pantera), born in Arlington, Texas (d. 2004)
1970 Fred Durst, American singer (Limp Bizkit), born in Gastonia, North Carolina
1971 Brad Avery, American musician (former guitarist for Third Day)
1974 Amy Adams, American actress and singer (Arrival, Man of Steel, American Hustle), born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy
1979 Jamie Cullum, English singer-songwriter, pianist and radio presenter, born in Rochford, England
1992 Demi Lovato, American actress (Camp Rock) and singer/songwriter (Unbroken), born in Albuquerque, New Mexico
James Pankow, trombone player, is the writer of this suite of songs
James Marsters


O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.
As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
(Psalms 48:9-10 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Your steadfast, unfailing love
2. for the victory of Your strong right hand
3. for forgiveness, which is central in Your model prayer for us, and central to our very existence
4. for Your great and might acts, both in history and in our lives
5. for loving us, in spite of ourselves

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


We will celebrate and praise you, LORD! You are good to us, and your love never fails.
(Psalms 106:1 CEV)

I pause for a moment to reflect on Your unfailing love, so grateful that Your love never fails, never gives up, and never runs out.


A psalm of Asaph.

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.
(Psalms 50:1-6 NIV)


Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
(Exodus 14:26-31 NIV)


As I read these passages again, I linger, asking the Holy Spirit to guide my meditations and prayers.

The visual of Psalm 50:2 is beautiful to me. God shines forth from Zion, perfect in beauty.

When we read things like Psalm 50, it is easy to allow our misconceptions about God come through. I’ve written before about the dangers of thinking about God in terms of “us vs them.” We get this cockamamie idea in our brains that God is “on our side,” and then we read things like: “Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.”

We then read our preconceived incorrect thoughts about God into those verses and get all self-confident in our “causes” and believe that God is going to come down and wipe out all of “them,” whom we foolishly believe to be the sole source of all the evil in the world.

But here’s the thing. When God does come and send devouring fire before Him and His raging tempest, it’s not going to be pretty or pleasant. And many, if not most, of us are going to be surprised at the results.

I’ve said it before, and I will, no doubt, say it again.

God is on God’s side. And we need to (all of us) do a much better job of making sure that we are on His side.

When Pharaoh chased Israel into the middle of the Red Sea, God came, with a raging tempest. He instructed Moses to stretch his hand back out over the sea so that the walls of water would crash back down, engulfing the Egyptians. “Not one of them survived.”

The words of Moses turned out to be true. “The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.”

What is sad is that what is stated in verse 31, “And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant,” didn’t stick. It lasted only a few chapters, in fact.

So fast-forward a few thousand years. If the fickle human beings that saw, first hand, the miracles of the Lord, couldn’t be faithful to Him and His Word for more than a few days or weeks, how do we expect to do better?

The beauty of all of this is that He knows it. Nothing that we do surprises Him. He knows everything that there is to know about us, and, because He is outside of time, He already knows everything we are going to do before we do it. Therefore, I think it is even safe to say that He isn’t even “disappointed” in us, not the way we tend to get disappointed in one another.

For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
(Psalms 103:14 NLT)

And, in the words of a great Easter song that used to love to sing, “But still He loved me . . .”

Let’s go back to that one prayer that we have. You know the one . . . we usually call it “The Lord’s Prayer.”

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. 

Is it a coincidence that “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” is pretty much right smack in the middle of that prayer? I’d like to think not. I’m not much of a believer in coincidences.

Now, let’s go back up to that bit at the top about some church issues. While I’ve been typing this blog (which has taken most of the morning), people have been talking. There have been multiple conversations, both in texting and verbally. It looks like things are working out, which is good, because we believe that this church is worth preserving. I don’t think any of us simply want to walk away. Forgiveness is central. It is the center of this prayer, and it is the center of our lives.

Honestly, we can’t survive without it.

Father, thank You. Thank You for forgiving us for our sins. Thank You for loving us, when we get so unlovable. Thank You for being faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to You. Thank You that “Your love never fails, it never gives up; it never runs out.” And thank You for giving us the ability to forgive one another. Help us to be stronger, though, and to not be so easily offended. Help us to be stronger for one another; help us to love one another and carry one another’s burdens. Also, help us to reach out when there are misunderstandings, rather than jerking our knees.

Please give us the Christlike ability to deny ourselves and serve others. Give us the commitment to do justice and show mercy. And please show mercy to those who are imprisoned, and give grace to those who minister to them.

"Strong and mighty God,
retrieve holy fear for you from the depths of fright and anxiety.
Make me deeply intimate with your awesome presence and mightily aware of your costly mercy.
Mingle in my heart a holy fusion of reverence,
and trust,
freeing me to lovingly,
willingly yield my all to you.
In Jesus' name,


You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near to me. Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful.
(Psalms 16:11 CEV)

Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.
(Proverbs 20:30 GNB)

The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.
(Psalms 118:22-23 NLT)

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(John 19:28-30 NLT)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Carry Your Pain To God

Good morning. It is Monday Tuesday, August 20, 2013.

Today is Radio Day. Marconi may have played the mamba, but Tesla invented it (the radio, not the mamba). Enjoy some radio today, whether it be airwaves or satellite waves. I’ve really been enjoying my free trial of XM Radio in that new car. But I’m siriusly not paying almost $200 a year for it.

I’ll give you a minute.

Yesterday was the bomb. We had a fantastic day for Stephanie’s birthday. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I think she did. The only downside was that one of the gifts we got her didn’t work. We weren’t paying attention when we ordered a used game for the X-Box, and it turned out to be old X-Box format, not 360, and wouldn’t work on the X-Box 360. Fortunately, we did not pay much for it. We had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, though, where Stephanie, true to tradition, received twenty gifts, one for each year. I will tell you, though, that most of them came from dollar stores. We had lunch at the Pastafina restaurant in Mineral Wells, which is very good. We have this ongoing “relationship” with one of the owners, who also happens to wait on us most of the time. He’s from New York, so you can guess what team he roots for. Then we went back to the house for rest and conversation, after which we had cookie cake.

Stephanie's cookie cake
Stephanie’s cookie cake

Speaking of teams, the Texas Rangers must have gotten the word that it was Stephanie’s birthday, because they beat defeated humiliated the Houston Astros, 16-5 last night. They scored 11 runs in the bottom of the third inning. Felt kind of sorry for the Astros, I must admit. The Red Sox continued the trend, beating Tim Lincecum and the SF Giants, 7-0, out on the west coast. Huzzah!

It was a great day. Now, today, it’s back to work, feeling like Monday, but it’s really Tuesday, which means we get a short week. Double plus! Of course, Thursday will be a big day. Steph is getting her wisdom teeth taken out, and we seem to be getting Trixie “fixed,” this Thursday, as well. That was not intentional, but the lady we bought Trixie from was setting that up, so we’re going to ahead and work it out in the middle of the wisdom teeth event. All we have to do is get Trixie to the lady’s house. At 7am. In Lake Worth. Then go pick her up after work. But they’re paying for it. So, yeah.

We ordered Chinese food for Stephanie last night. They sent a couple of fortune cookies, as is their custom. I opened one this morning. It had three slips of paper in it! That’s unusual. Here is the order in which I read them:

A cheerful message is on its way to you.

You are imaginative in using your skills. Apply this next week.

You will make a name for yourself in the field of entertainment.

Okay, then.

I swear I am not making this up. I’m thinking about taping them on the desk next to the one I received years ago that says, “You shall soon achieve perfection.” Obviously still wating on that one to come true.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 480 BC occurred one of the most famous battles in history as Kind Leonidas and his 7000 men fought against a Persian army of somewhere around 200,000 at Thermopylae, or “hot gates.” This battle has been immortalized in the recent movie 300 which chronicles the battle and the events leading up to it pretty well, I think. One of the more famous lines in the movie appears to have really happened as one Spartan soldier “speculated that the Persian archers were so many that their arrows would hide the sun.” Dieneces (or Diekenes) responded, “Good. Then we shall fight them in the shade.” Here’s how that went down in the movie.

As the battle proceeded, the Spartans killed so many Persians that “the front ranks had to be driven into battle with whips.” Had it not been for a traitor, one Ephialtes, who told Xerxes “of a mountain path through which the Persians could send an encircling force, Leonidas and his army just might have won that battle. As it happened, when Leonidas realized what was happening, he sent all but 300 men home to defend their cities. Hence the title of the movie. He told his men at their last meal, “Breakfast well, for we shall have dinner in Hades.” Despite their valiant and frenzied fighting, all 300 were killed. Nevertheless, Greece did not fall, due to “the naval victory of Salamis the next month.”

There is a monument on the hill where the Spartans made their final stand, bearing an inscription from Simonides of Ceos:

Go, stranger, and to listening Spartans tell
That here, obedient to their laws, we fell.

Today’s birthday is James Marsters, born on this date in 1962. Marsters is most famous for his role as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Here is a clip (looks like someone filmed straight off the TV) of a scene from the bio-episode, “Fool for Love,” in which Spike tells Buffy how he killed a former slayer.

Honorable mentions go to Demi Lovato, 21, Amy Adams, 39, Robert Plant, 65, Isaac Hayes, 1942-2008, H.P. Lovecraft, 1890-1937, Jim Reeves, 1923-1964, Ray Wise, 66, and Jamie Cullum, 34.


Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24
O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.
Psalm 141:1-2
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning, as I look into your words. Make me aware of your presence throughout this day.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Sanctify A Fast.” The scripture is Joel 1-13-14.

Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.

The writings of Joel come at a time of great disaster for Judah. They have experienced locusts, drought, fires, and famine. It looks like a war zone. “Worship services are suspended, because there is not enough grain or wine to make the daily offerings.” But Joel calls the people to to turn their mourning and desperation into a holy cry to God for help. “The discipline of fasting, entered into with a whole heart, imparts a spiritual vulnerability to God.” God will transform the hearts of “those willing to take this radical step toward him.” The prophet calls for the people to gather together in the house of God to direct their laments to God. When we suffer, we have no problem immersing ourselves in our own pain, but we need to carry it into the presence of God. “Authentic turning to God is the only fruitful activity in times of horrible calamity.”

Do we think of fasting as carrying our pain into the presence of God? I confess that I have not truly thought of it in that way. What about the current fast? If you are joining me in this exercise, is there pain that is being carried into his presence? Let us consider that as one of the purposes for fasting.

Father, I love the teaching that I am receiving on this discipline, as it is one that has eluded me greatly over the years. Continue to teach me in this discipline, and today, show me how to carry my pain into your presence in the participation of the discipline of fasting.

I pray for this day. I pray for a good work day for Christi and for me. I pray for your steadfast love to surround Stephanie as she continues to celebrate not being a teenager any more. Teach her your ways, that she may walk in your truth. I pray for our huddle group tonight, that we might get back on track toward our purpose for this group. Bind us together as a small community of faith.

Carry your pain to the presence of God today in your fasting. Don’t try to bear it alone.

Grace and peace, friends.

By the way, the misspelling of the word “waiting” way up there was intentional. Did you catch that?