“We are not concerned with our own perfection or our own wisdom or even our own happiness. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and we receive from him everything, literally everything, we need to run the race and to make light of the difficulties we have, whatever they are.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, August 16, 2014. I am up early, getting ready to go to work at 7:00am.

Today is Rollercoaster Day. I wish I could be riding roller coasters today. Hershey Park has a lot of them. But it’s a long way to Pennsylvania. . .

I worked an hour late yesterday, mainly just ease the work load for today. There will be a few boxes left to receive, then it will be just make ready for everything that QC has finished checking. I’m hoping I don’t have to work the whole eight hours today. I’ve put in a few hours of overtime that would make up for it if I get to come back home early.

I don’t know if I will make it in time for church this evening. Last time, I was really tired after the Saturday work day. Just have to wait and see.

Christi will be starting the new job on the last Friday in August. The reason for starting on Friday has to do with insurance coverage. She needs to officially start work before the first of September so she can begin her insurance coverage on October 1.

Oops. It’s getting late. . .


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:3
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11-12
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146:5-10

Today’s Gospel reading

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:13-17

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Rise, O Sleeper!”

“One definition of salvation is ‘an ongoing process of becoming increasingly conscious.'” Sadly, many of us sleepwalk through our spiritual lives, in a state of numbness. “Kierkegaard saw that the basic human problem is that all men are bored.”

Jesus calls us to wake up. “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46) “It is daily meditation that leads us to full wakefulness.” We become spiritually mature by “living in harmony with ourselves and with God.” When we take time to meditate, we take our eyes off of ourselves. “We are not concerned with our own perfection or our own wisdom or even our own happiness. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and we receive from him everything, literally everything, we need to run the race and to make light of the difficulties we have, whatever they are.”

Meditation takes the burdens off of our hearts because we become aware that there is only one thing that is truly essential, and that is living in harmony with God. This also makes us realize that we cannot lose.

So then let us not sleep, as others do,
but let us keep awake and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:6

Father, I pray that I can be better at meditation. I spend a lot of time (at least for me) praying every morning, but how much time do I spend in silent meditation. I try to maintain silence after I finish praying on my morning drive to work, but I catch myself talking to myself or some imaginary passenger in the front seat. Teach me to be silent. That seems to be a thing that modern man, at least in our culture, has lost. We seem to, for some reason, fear silence. Teach me to be silent. Teach me to meditate. Teach me that lightheartedness that knows that the most important thing for me is to be in harmony with you through Christ, and to know that I cannot lose, because I am your child.

I pray for this day. May I have safe passage to work and back. I pray for Christi as she does her usual Saturday morning errands. May she experience your peace in the midst of her mundane chores. I pray for Stephanie today, that she will be drawn closer to your heart, and that, as she helps in the children’s activities at church tonight, you will bring her blessing and peace. I pray for tonight’s worship time, that your name will be lifted high.

Your grace is sufficient.

I plan to spend my drive to work this morning in silent meditation on the grace that God has lavished on us.

Grace and peace, friends.

Speak, For Your Servant Is Listening

Good morning. Today is Mond Tuesday, May 28, 2013. It only seems like Monday, because we didn’t work yesterday, and I’m up at my usual time to head to work today. But it’s Tuesday. Post-Monday.

We had a great time yesterday, as we “celebrated” Memorial Day by doing not much of anything. We didn’t grill out. *GASP* No, we didn’t. In fact, we didn’t cook at all. We ordered out, and Rachel and Justin graciously went and picked up our O.C. Burgers. And they were oh, so delicious! Then we watched several episodes of Arrested Development, season 4, on Netflix, which is the only place it is available. I have never seen such a hilarious, totally “out there” comedy in my life. Ron Howard must be crazy, but I think he is also a genius. There is one scene where Michael Bluth actually meets Ron Howard in the show. Howard is in a room full of little red-headed boys carrying fishing rods around. He says something about being in the middle of casting for “The Andy Griffith Show.” I nearly fell out of my chair.

That little boy is, of course, Ron Howard. He also played Winslow in The Music Man. More people probably know him as Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. What’s even funnier is that Henry Winkler plays a lawyer in Arrested Development.

Anyway, after watching a bit of TV, we all moved to the breakfast table where we played another round of “Cards Against Humanity.” Again, I tell you, don’t ever play that game. Not unless you are willing to turn off all your filters and become a horrible person. And you want to laugh your fool head off.

Rachel and Justin went home, I drove to Sonic to get us drinks, and we spent the rest of the evening watching more TV. Christi and I watched “Motive,” a new series for the summer where they show you who the killer is at the beginning of the show. So we know what happened and who did it; we spend the rest of the episode figuring out why. It features Kristin Lehman as Detective Angie Flynn, and we like her a lot. The only person in the show I’ve heard of before is Lauren Holly, who played a deputy sheriff in “Picket Fences.” After watching an episode of “Motive,” we watched what I assume was the season finale of “New Girl.”

Today is Amnesty International Day. What’s that mean? It’s a day set aside to help people become more aware of human rights issues, which is the main cause of Amnesty International.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1358, “about 100 hate-filled peasants armed themselves with pitchforks, knives and clubs and attacked the nearest noble manor, burning it to the ground and killing the owner and his family.” These peasants came from the village of St. Leu, about 25 miles north of Paris. These peasants were referred to as “Jacques Bonhomme” by the nobility of France, and they were tired of sleeping on straw and eating only bread and onions. The thread of violence became known as “the Jacquerie,” and lasted only a month, but destroyed around 150 castles and manors in France. They were led by one Guillaume Callet, and in one case “a wife and her children were forced to watch a knight roasted on a spit and then to eat his flesh.” Charming. At one point, the village peasants joined with insurgents from Paris under the banner of Etienne Marcel. There may have been as many as 100,000 peasants on the march. Finally, though, as a mob surrounded the royal family in the market of Meaux, a force led by Gaston Phoebus de Foix attacked and slaughtered them, which led to the peasant force being crushed the next day by an army led by Charles the Bad of Navarre, at Clermont-en-Beauvaisis. The “Jacquerie” was over by the end of June. Guillaume Callet was decapitated and Etienne Marcel was killed by one of his own men, thinking he had sold out to the enemy.

Today’s birthday is John Fogerty, born on this date in 1945. Fogerty, who is a solo act these days, was part of the brother team that made up Credence Clearwater Revival, back in the late sixties and early seventies. Here is a clip of John performing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” in a live setting.

Honorable mentions go to P.G.T. Beauregard, 1818, Ian Fleming, 1908, T-Bone Walker, 1910, Jerry West, 1938, Gladys Knight, 1944, Lynn Johnston, 1947, Kirk Gibson, 1957, Kylie Minogue, 1968, Ekaterina Gordeeva, 1971, and Jhonny Peralta, 1982 (and yes, his name really is spelled that way).


O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:15

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12

Father, I pray that you do open my lips today, that my mouth can declare your praise. Open my eyes, that I might see the wondrous things in your word this morning.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Here I Am.” The scripture reference is from 1 Samuel 3.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. (1-5)
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. (10-11)
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. (19-20)

It is both startling and telling that God called Samuel instead of one of Eli’s sons. Of course, the more we learn about Eli’s sons, the more we understand. But it is worth noting that it is not always “the experienced, the educated, and the privileged” that are God’s chosen vessels. In fact, all of those had wandered away from the ways of God, so God chooses a child. “It is a characteristic of this God, who chooses the second-born Jacob rather than the firstborn Esau and the politically and economically weak Israel rather than the rich and powerful Egypt, to align himself with such figures.”

Here is a prayer from the book: “Father God, you who call the last people anyone would expect, here I am. As underqualified as I feel to do anything for your world, help me to do the work for which I was created. Give me the courage to hear and answer your call. Speak, for your servant is listening. Amen.”

Father, I echo this prayer today. I desire that you would continue to equip me to do the work to which I have been called by you. Continue to help me discern and understand this work, for it seems to be ever changing. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name, that I might give you thanks and praise your holy name forever. May I be sensitive to and always seeking your guidance in this life and in this world.

I pray for this day. May my work day go smoothly and without incident. Keep me focused as this account winds down. I pray for Christi’s doctor visit this afternoon, that she might be released to be able to walk in the boot, and that she can, if she desires, return to work tomorrow. I pray that the healing is ahead of schedule. Thank you for a willing daughter to take her to these doctor visits. I also pray for Stephanie today, that she might be drawn closer to you and find hope in your word.

May we all open our ears today and hear what God speaks into our lives.

Grace and peace, friends.