Utterly Meaningless

Today is Sunday, the thirty-first of October, 2021. It is Halloween.

Day 23,243 (the number of days since I was born)

Seven days until Daylight Saving Time ends (fall back . . . you can’t say you weren’t warned!)

There are a number of reasons that today is significant. As already mentioned, it is Halloween. I really enjoy this “holiday” (I don’t really consider it a holiday, because we don’t get the day off from work, if it falls on a work day.), and the celebrations have been going on for a few days, already. I saw some very cool costumes at the library yesterday, as we had a family event yesterday afternoon. My favorite was the son of one of the other library aides (who, next week, will no longer be an aide, but a part time assistant librarian!) who came dressed as a dalek from Dr. Who.

That’s not his costume, of course . . . that’s just an image to show you what a dalek looks like.

Another reason this day is significant is that, 504 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg, thus beginning the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, today is deemed “Reformation Day.”

But, for us, today is the most special because, twelve years ago, today, our oldest daughter, R, got married to J. So we wish them a “Happy Hallowversary” every year on this day!

I think I already mentioned that our church group is not gathering this morning. At this point, I don’t have any plans to attend elsewhere. We will also not be home to hand out candy, this evening, which is probably a good thing, because it means we did not buy any candy, and the last thing we need is overflow Halloween candy laying around our house. Those bite-sized candy bars find a way of always falling in my mouth, you know. Yesterday, at the library, I “accidentally” ate three giant Lemonheads.

We will be going to a friend’s house for “Halloween chili” tonight. That’s one of our favorite events of the year. I think S might even be planning to dress up as a kitten. I might wear my “wizard costume,” which consists of a black trench coat, a felt hat, and a walking stick. Impressive, eh?

There are no other plans for today. And my next shift at the library is Tuesday evening. Did I mention that I got my Covid booster last Thursday? I can’t remember if I did. But I was really tired all day yesterday, and felt a little icky Friday night. But at one point Friday night, I finally got up and took some Advil, so I felt pretty normal yesterday, but just really tired. My left arm is still marginally sore, but not too bad.

The Braves won again, last night, to take a 3-1 lead over the Astros, in the World Series. I’m hoping they can put it away tonight. I suppose I should be more interested in it, if I’m truly a fan of baseball. But I’m not, and it is what it is, right?

I may have forgotten this, yesterday, but I’m still reading The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. I’m close to finishing and should finish it this afternoon.

On to what’s truly important.


Finding Light, by S. Michaels (LightWriters)

October ending
seasons come and go,
the River winds on
Selah (Psalm 19:8)
©2021 S. Michaels
Strong Tower(Haiku/5-5-5 & Psalms/Proverbs Faith Notes)

I will give thanks to you,
among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
(Psalms 108:3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that, though seasons come and go, Your love remains steadfast and sure
2. for the love of family and friends
3. that You are my God and will be my guide, "even to the end" (Psalm 48:14)
4. that the earth is filled with Your love; remind me to look for it every day
5. that I'm not stuck living in the past, but am freely moving forward with You; all praise to You, through the Son and by the Spirit

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



For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
(Psalms 48:14 NIV)

I pause, during this quiet moment, to reflect on my life. It is filled with love, both Yours, and that of family and friends. When I forget about that love, and focus on self and negativity, please remind me of the love.


You are my portion, LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
The earth is filled with your love, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
(Psalms 119:57-64 NIV)


“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
(Ecclesiastes 1:2-5 NIV)

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV)


As I read these passages over again, I look for words or phrases that stir my heart. I either silently, or possibly out loud, repeat them, meditating, forming prayers in my spirit.

I do love Psalm 119, as long as I am not expected to read the entire chapter (176 verses!) in one sitting. Almost every verse in the psalm mentions, in some form or fashion, the Word of God. It is a symphony of praise, and epic poem, to God’s Word. If you have a version in which the chapter is broken up into groups of eight verses, you see a Hebrew letter designated at the beginning of each group.

If you could read Hebrew (I can’t), you would notice that each verse of that group of eight verses begins with that Hebrew letter that is at the top of the section or stanza. Oddly, we do not know who wrote this psalm.

In the section I’m reading today, although the NIV does not feature this, the Hebrew letter is Heth. The KJV shows it as CHETH, which may be more accurate, because each of the verses begins with a word that starts with ch.

I love the thought of God as my “portion” (v. 57). To me, this indicates that God is enough. He is all I need.

I don’t know that I could ever honestly say that I have actually sought the face of the Lord “with all my heart” (v. 58). It is most definitely something to which I aspire, though.

Verses 63 and 64 also speak to me. I consider anyone who fears the Lord and follows His precepts to be my friend. That does not mean that everyone who claims to be “Christian” will be my friend. There are many who use that label who obviously do not either fear God or follow His precepts. And the statement that the earth is filled with God’s love is something that we all need to be reminded of, frequently. I make mention of this in the prayer following today’s invitation.

I always love getting into Ecclesiastes. It’s a fun book to read, even if it is a bit confusing, sometimes. While its authorship is commonly attributed to Solomon, I am not 100% convinced that this is the case. To me, it is not clear who wrote it, and I have no guesses at all as to who else it might have been, other than Solomon.

And you know what? I really don’t care who wrote it. “The Teacher” wrote it. Some (the respectable Matthew Henry included) would argue that the fact that it says “Son of David,” and “king in Jerusalem” prove that it is Solomon, as he fits both of those descriptions. However, the words “king in Jerusalem,” may describe David, not “the Teacher.”

If read in the wrong spirit, one might immediately find Ecclesiastes to be an exercise in futility, and somewhat depressing. I mean, the thought that “everything is meaningless” can be somewhat discouraging, right?

Some translations, such as KJV and ESV, use the word “vanity,” rather than “meaningless.” The Message uses the word “smoke.” I rather like that. The Hebrew word literally means “emptiness” or “vanity,” so those translations are pretty much correct. But another word could be “unsatisfactory.” I like that, too. It could even be said to mean “transitory.”

Why does the Preacher/Teacher say this? He gives examples. We go to work every day. What gain do we get from this? In our modern day, we get paid with the currency of the land. What do we do with that? We pay bills, we buy things. But, ultimately, it is nothing. In fact, in these days, it’s all pretty much pretend money, anyway. I hardly ever see cash, and the only think I use it for, any more, is to tip my Sonic carhop when I’m at one of the few Sonics that won’t turn on mobile tipping.

We have reached an era that, for many of us, cash is “meaningless” or “vanity.” That scares a lot of people who take Revelation way more literally than they should.

The Teacher looks at generations that come and go, while the earth just keeps on turning. I am alive today. I have lived twenty-three thousand, two hundred and forty-three days (it looks a lot longer when I type it). That’s a lot of days. Or is it?

If you take the creation story literally (which I both do and do not . . . don’t hurt yourself trying to figure that out), the earth has been in existence for somewhere between six and eight thousand years. If you believe some scientists, it has been in existence for billions of years.

I’m just going to go with the six thousand number. If that is correct, and it would be the minimum time that the earth and universe have been in existence, that is more than two million days.

That kind of makes my 23,243 pretty petty, doesn’t it?

So I’m alive today. I might live another twenty or thirty years. Or less or more. Only God knows. But then I will be gone. No one knew me before 1958. And very few will remember me after I’m gone. A handful, likely. And when they’re gone, no one will remember me.

Meaningless. Vanity. Everything is utterly meaningless.

The sun comes up; the sun goes down, and then it runs back around so it can come up again. It’s a meaningless cycle.

“Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping . . . into the future.”

And then, the Teacher nails the coffin shut by telling us that there is, quite literally, “nothing new under the sun.”

Hah! He never got to see iPhones, right?

See?? Are you depressed yet??

I’m not, actually. Because I kind of understand where he is coming from and where he is going. But you have to read it all in context, and, frankly, it’s rather unhealthy, mentally, to read only the few verses that are highlighted today, and just stop. That really does leave us in a dark, dark place.

If I look only at these things, then, yes, it can be very depressing. But I do not only look at these things. I can honestly, and happily, in fact, look at all the devices of this world, both physical and not, and proclaim, along with this Teacher, that they are “utterly meaningless,” nothing but “smoke” and mirrors.

In the grand scheme of things, in the broad picture of eternity, everything in this room, where I am sitting, that I can see with my eyes . . . all meaningless. “It’s all gonna burn!” Perhaps these words that I am typing are even meaningless.

Unless, one day, someone happens to stumble across this blog, and it miraculously leads them into a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. At that point, it will mean everything in the world to one person.

And that’s kind of why I’m doing it. One of the reasons that I keep it up. That, and my mother enjoys reading it.

So, while we don’t come up with any firm purpose from today’s reading, we must know that knowing God and His wisdom is what provides the only real meaning in life. What is the meaning of life? As much as I like to say it, it is not, in fact, “42.” It is to know God, and to fear Him. To spread His love to everyone . . . to “pass it on.” It is to follow Jesus Christ into territories that make us uncomfortable, and to set aside many of these things that truly are meaningless and vanity, that we might walk in His Kingdom and follow in His steps.

Father, I praise You, even for the meaninglessness of the material world around me. I do thank You for many of these material things; things which can, in fact, be used to provide meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. But let us not get too attached to these things, which will not survive us for very long. Some of these things may outlast me, physically, but as we live with You for eternity, they will, in fact perish. May we use them wisely and “hold on loosely” to them, always being aware that someone else may need them more than we. Keep me aware of any needs that I might be able to provide with the resources You have provided us. And let us not think to heavily on the thoughts that all is vanity or utterly meaningless, as we might truly find ourselves in a dark place, mentally and emotionally. There is really no reason for us to go there, in light of the fact that our world, our universe, is filled with Your love!

May we, Your people, be filled with resurrection hope and joy. May we all be equipped to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whenever opportunities arise.

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. Amen.

"God of heaven and earth,
what is the purpose of it all?
The endless cycle of life brings with it questions that don't find answers in the available light under the sun.
With You,
I get the larger view beyond this world.
I trust You,
God in heaven,
for everything I need for life under the sun -
including intellectually satisfying answers to my biggest questions.


Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 NIV)

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
(John 17:17 NIV)

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
(John 16:13 NIV)

Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
(Matthew 27:26 ESV)

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;”
(Luke 6:37 ESV)

When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
(Luke 13:12 ESV)

There’s a common word in these three verse, at least in the Greek text. The word that is translated “released,” “forgive/forgiven,” and “freed,” is all one Greek word, “apoluo.” Literally, it means, “to free fully, relieve, release, dismiss.”

So from this fact, we can get the following truth.

“If you don’t forgive, you won’t be released. You’ll stay bound and imprisoned.” But the same word speaks of healing. So forgiveness is linked to healing and the lack of forgiveness to the lack of healing. Those who cannot forgive cripple themselves. And the same word speaks of moving on and being sent forth for the purposes of God. If you don’t forgive, you won’t be able to move on or to let go of the old. Nor will you be able to be sent forth and fulfill God’s calling for your life.”

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

I read those words, and I think of the many people that are close to my age who do nothing on social media other than moan and complain about how things used to be. They are constantly mocking younger generations, thinking themselves to be superior because they know how to write in cursive and can drive a stick shift.

These folks need to wake up! They are stuck in the past, unable to move on, to let go of things that simply don’t matter any more! And they appear so very hateful and angry all the time, with no hint of forgiveness or release. I pity them; my heart hurts for them. I am so very grateful to God that He has allowed me to not get stuck in that mode. I frequently skip over a lot of those “Who remembers _______?” posts that I see on Facebook. Yeah. I remember. But I don’t live there any more. I live in 2021, where nobody needs to know how write in cursive any more. Where the only reason to drive a stick shift is if you have a fancy sports car.

And just to prove I’m not stuck in the past, here is some really nice music that I discovered, this morning. I’m not one of the “old guys” who are constantly saying that all of today’s music is “crap.” Thanks to Derri Daugherty of The Choir, for the recommendation.

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!

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)

Grace and peace, friends.

Humility Trending

Today is Thursday, the twenty-eighth of October, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life, today.

Day 23,240

Ten days until Daylight Saving Time ends.

My day started out dubiously, as I made a cup of coffee. Without putting a cup under the drip. Oops. Hopefully, that’s the worst thing that happens today. And it could have been a much worse mess. The drip tray caught most of it.

This afternoon, we are finally supposed to close on our mortgage refi. It was supposed to be Tuesday morning, but then they realized that there were some forms that I had to sign and send back. Then, last night, there were even more places that I needed to sign and send back. Makes me wonder if these people really know what they are doing.

Yesterday was a good day at the library. It wasn’t terribly busy, it seems, at the circulation desk, so there were side jobs/tasks that got accomplished. I’m still not perfect, though. I was, however, complimented on humility, by one of the assistant librarians who always seems to enjoy working with me. I think she likes that I don’t get all huffy when she points out my mistakes.

And yes, I still make mistakes. Please reference above comment about not being perfect. The thing is, the way the schedule works, since I’m the lone “floater” (which I like being, by the way), I go a whole week at a time without working in circulation, followed by a week where I work two shifts in that department. So there is a lack of continuity, which makes for less consistency, so that makes me more apt to forget little details. The main aspects are easy to remember. But I tend to forget to fill in certain pieces of the information for new patrons. The most common is the birthday field. In my opinion, it’s in a weird place in the system, which makes it easier to forget.

The thing is, though, that the birth date is probably the most important piece to put in, because that is the demographic we use first, to check if someone already has a library account. The other thing I tend to forget is the alternate ID, which would be their driver’s license or other photo ID number.

In my previous job, forms like that, on the computer, had markers on fields that had to be completed. In fact, the software would not allow us toe save the work unless those fields had been filled in. But, in this case, I just need to work on memory. The thing that hurts is that, as previously referenced, I don’t do these tasks on a daily basis.

They don’t seem to be upset about it, though, so that’s good. I keep getting compliments, and people seem to like working with me.

I’m off work today, and have a couple of things I want to get done. There is some laundry to fold, and I think I’ll make a trip to a grocery store. We need bananas. I have already started our dinner, which will be our Chicken Taco Crockpot Soup, tonight.

I am currently reading The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.

Today is Plush Animal Lover’s Day. So is it the animal or the animal lover that is “plush?”

The word for today is sanguivorous. Hah! My spellchecker’s got nothing on that one! It means, “feeding on blood, as a bat or insect.” Or vampire?

Today’s quote is from R. Buckminster Fuller, American inventor. “Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.” This guy died in 1983, and he said that prior to that. Prophet, maybe?

Significant birthdays on October 28:

Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch humanist and theologian, 1466-1536
John Laurens, American soldier, diplomat, and abolitionist, and good friend of Alexander Hamilton, 1754-1782
Elsa Lanchester, British actress (Bride of Frankenstein), 1902-1986
Jonas Salk, American scientist (polio vaccine), 1914-1995
Bowie Kuhn, American lawyer, MLB commissioner 1969-1984, 1926-2007
Dame Joan Plowright, British actress (Dennis the Menace, 101 Dalmatians), 1929 (92)
Charlie Daniels, American country-rock guitarist and fiddler (Devil Went Down to Georgia), 1936-2020
Annie Potts, American actress (Designing Women, Ghostbusters), 1952 (69) (I've always thought she is really cute)
Bill Gates, American businessman, founder of Microsoft, 1955 (66)
Julia Roberts, American actress (Mystic Pizza, Pretty Woman), 1967 (54)
Joaquin Phoenix, American actor (Walk the Line, Joker), 1974 (47)


Spirit Invoking, by Daryl Madden

A prayer of presence
The Spirit invoking
Drenched in Your love
A sacred soaking

The Spirit igniting
The word to devour
In time of beyond
A Holy hour

With soul of surrender
A finding so freeing
The Spirit infuses
A blessed being

Within this new wineskin
The Spirit is swelling
One of becoming
A divine dwelling

Save us,
O LORD our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
(Psalms 106:47 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for reminders of the necessity of humility
2. for the indwelling of Your Spirit
3. for You teaching me humility
4. for Your great love toward us, and Your faithfulness that endures forever
5. for Your heart for the poor and needy, and that You have embedded that care in my heart, as well

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



One day spent in your Temple is better than a thousand anywhere else; I would rather stand at the gate of the house of my God than live in the homes of the wicked.
(Psalms 84:10 GNB)

As I pause, during this quiet moment, I reflect on the reality of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, providing us with strength and wisdom for this life. I pray for the knowledge of His presence.


Praise the LORD, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 117:1-2 NIV)


Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward them for what they have done.

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.

A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;
rescue them, and you will have to do it again.

Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

What a person desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.

The fear of the LORD leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
(Proverbs 19:17-23 NIV)


As I continue in the presence of the Lord, I mull over these passages, looking for truth and wisdom for my life. I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me through the meditations and prayers.

Psalm 117 is short and simple, the shortest chapter in the Bible, and very close to the exact middle of the text of the Bible. There is nothing in it that has not already been said. However, that doesn’t make it any less important. The message is clear and plain. We should be praising God because His love for us is great, and His faithfulness endures forever. It is not possible to overstate those truths.

There are several ideas in this passage from Proverbs that bear looking at. The first, in verse 17, is the idea that Jesus promoted when He made his sheep and goats speech. Remember what He said:

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
(Matthew 25:40 NIV)

This is part of his lengthy teaching on the end of the age, that begins with the somewhat cryptic chapter 24. But Proverbs 19:17 restates this truth. When we are kind to the poor, we “lend” to the Lord. And we will be rewarded. Now, personally, I think it better to be kind to the poor simply because we have a kind heart. But if we do it for the reward, we are still doing something good, even if the motivation is less pure. The point is, we must note that God has a heart for the poor, the neglected, the oppressed. And, since we know this to be true, then we should also strive to have that same heart.

Verse 19 is interesting, because it seems to support the idea of not enabling people. In other words, don’t keep helping someone who will just fall right back into the same trouble. You’ll just have to do it again. Great wisdom and discernment is required, here.

Verse 20 assures us that, if we listen to good advice and accept discipline, we will be considered wise. Notice that our job performance is not mentioned. Where this gives me comfort is in thinking about my work at the library. I listen to advice. I accept discipline, willingly, with a noticeable heart to correct my errors. And yesterday, I was complimented on being humble. Believe me when I say that I am always shocked when someone calls me “humble.”

Verse 21 does not forbid the making of plans. Some might read it that way, but I don’t. What it does do, for me, is remind me that, yes, I can make plans, but it is God’s ultimate plan that will be worked out. If my plans don’t get in the way or are even in agreement with God’s plans, it’s all good. If my plans don’t figure into God’s plans, I had better be willing to change.

That idea reminds me of a preacher story.

In the darkest part of the night, a ships captain cautiously piloted his warship through the fog-shrouded waters. With straining eyes he scanned the hazy darkness, searching for dangers lurking just out of sight. 

Then His worst fears were realised when he saw a bright light straight ahead. It appeared to be a vessel on a collision course with his ship. To avert disaster he quickly radioed the oncoming vessel.

“This is Captain Jeremiah Smith,” his voice crackled over the radio. “Please alter your course 10 degrees south! Over.”

To the captains amazement, the foggy image did not move. Instead, he heard back on the radio, “Captain Smith. This is Private Thomas Johnson. please alter your course 10 degrees north! Over.”

Appalled at the audacity of the message, the captain shouted back over the radio, “Private Johnson, this is Captain Smith, and I order you to immediately alter your course 10 degree south! Over.”

A second time the oncoming light did not budge. “With all due respect Captain Smith,” came the privates voice again, “I order you to alter your course immediately 10 degrees north! Over.”

Angered and frustrated that this impudent sailor would endanger the lives of his men and crew, the captain growled back over the radio, “Private Johnson. I can have you court-marshalled for this! For the last time, I command you on the authority of the United States government to alter your course 10 degrees to the South! I am a battleship!”

The privates final transmission was chilling: “Captain Smith, sir. Once again with all due respect, I command you to alter your course 10 degrees to the North! I am a lighthouse!”


God is the lighthouse. He is not going to change course. I may be a battleship, or I may be a dinghy. I’ve always thought I was a little dingy.


Either way, when my purposes/plans run into the reality of God’s plans, I’m the one who must alter my course.

Today’s reading ends with verse 23 which, once again, stresses the idea of the fear of the Lord, and the impact it has on our lives. And, yes, it is true that the Hebrew word translated “fear” in this instance, can also be translated as “reverence.” Out of all of the translations I look at, though, only one translates the word as something other than “fear.” Just imagine how you would react if you came face to face with Him. Consider if you lived in a country with a King and you wound up somehow meeting him. That is the kind of “fear” we are referring to.

And, in this case, this fear leads to life. It leads to a life of restful contentment, “untouched by trouble.” I don’t see that as a “promise,” per se. I tend to not look at Proverbs as promises. It’s more, I believe, a statement of fact, of consequence. If you do this, then this will happen. If you live with a healthy fear of the Lord, you will have a life of restful contentment and be untouched by trouble.

Does this mean I won’t see trouble? No, no, a thousand times no! But it won’t “touch” me. The KJV, in this verse, says that the person who fears God will not be “visited with evil.” The word “visited,” translated “touched” in the NIV, also has a meaning of oversight, as an overseer. So it means that, if I live my life in the fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom, as previously stated), trouble will not have any mastery over me. It won’t rule my life.

Father, I am grateful for these truths, presented in Your Word today. I thank You for Your great love for us and Your faithfulness that endures forever. I thank You for the heart You have given me, a heart that cares for the poor and is kind to them, which, in turn, equals “lending” to You. I believe I have reached a point where my kindness is not motivated by the promise of reward. Please give me wisdom to know when it is good to help someone and when giving help will only lead to them repeating the action that got them in trouble in the first place. Thank You for teaching me humility. I don’t run around claiming to be humble, of course, because I don’t necessarily think that I am. And I praise You that You have instilled a measure of fear for You in my heart. All glory to You, Lord, through the Son and by the Spirit.

I pray for growth in these areas to continue in my life, especially in humility and holiness. I pray that You would continually uncover idols in my heart. I pray, as well, for Your continued forgiveness, and that You would enable me to extend that same forgiveness to those who have wronged me in some way.

"Self-giving God,
in the interconnected economy of grace You graciously pay off my debt of sin,
so now I owe my neighbor a debt of love.
Yet in making payments of kindness to my neighbor I'm lending to You,
loans that You pay back,
with interest.
It's a generous cycle of grace that I never want to step out of.
In Jesus' Name,


“Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!
(Matthew 5:9 GNB)

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
(Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV)

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
(Matthew 5:41 NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

Interesting . . . more about humility.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10 ESV)

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(Matthew 16:18 ESV)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(Mark 11:24 ESV)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
(Ephesians 4:1 ESV)

There’s a concept being worked out, here, and it is the idea of “living from the future.” This is an interesting thought to me. Here’s what Jonathan Cahn has to say about it:

“Every problem you have will be answered, either in heaven or before. So the secret is to live not from the problem, but from the problem solved, from the answer, before the answer. You must choose to live not from your present crisis, but from its future overcoming, not from your present obstacle, but from its future breakthrough. You’re in a battle. In the future that battle will be won. [I would have worded that differently. In the future the battle IS won, not ‘will be.’] So don’t live from the battle. Live from its future victory. As it is written, when you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and in your asking, give thanks to God. Live from heaven, from the kingdom yet to come, from the life yet to be, even from the you you are yet to become. Fight the won battle, run the run race, accomplish the finished work, start from the finish line, begin from the victory, rejoice now from the joy at the end. Live now from what will one day be, and you’ll live a life of blessing, and victory, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I will be pondering this more throughout this day.

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!

May the LORD richly bless both you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 115:14-15 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

To See His Face

Today is Saturday, the seventeenth of July, 2021.

May God’s peace reign in your life today!

Day 23,137

33 days until S’s birthday

The weekend is here, and there are no extraneous plans. It’s possible I didn’t use that word exactly correctly, but I don’t really care. What I mean is that, outside of our “normal” weekend activities, there are no plans. WW Workshop, this morning, grocery pickup immediately after that, Sonic drinks, church gathering tomorrow, probably Applebee’s for lunch tomorrow. We have a few burger patties left over from last week’s cookout, so S and I will likely have those for dinner tonight.

I have no idea what else will happen.

C has a bit of a sore throat, this morning, so she will not be attending the Workshop. She also has stuff that she wants to do, so there’s that. As mentioned yesterday, the granite has been ordered for the new kitchen countertops. A new sink, stainless steel, has been ordered, as well. Now we are looking at new microwaves, and may have settled on one, a Whirlpool, which is the same brand as the original microwave that came with our house. We are also in the process of choosing a new faucet set for the sink, as well. C also wants a new under-the-cabinet can opener.

In other news, many tears were shed, yesterday, as the reality of R & J’s imminent move to Indiana began to hit. It looks like they will be closing on August 4, and moving as soon as August 6.

I’ve mentioned that I’m taking PTO on Monday. Hopefully, there will be more to share about that Tuesday morning.


Lord, I dedicate this day to You.
May my feet walk only where You want them to walk.
May my eyes see only what You want them to see.
May my ears hear only what You want them to hear.
May my mouth say only what You want it to say.
May my mind think only what You want it to think.

Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
(Psalms 34:21-22 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the possibility of new opportunities.
2. that none of us who take refuge in You will be condemned.
3. for the promise of the time when we will see Your face, and Your name will be written on our foreheads (Revelation 22:4)
4. for the promise that there will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain.
5. that You do not treat us as our sins deserve.

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



The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!
(Zechariah 9:16-17a NIV)

I pause for a moment to simply consider the goodness of the Lord. His beauty is overwhelming; His goodness, never-ending, and His love, unfailing. My mind simply cannot comprehend it all.

BIBLE SONG – PSALM 18:2-3, 6 (NIV)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.

In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.


Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.


As I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord (there have been numerous interruptions, as is normal on a weekend morning), I attempt to center my mind on the Word of God, lingering over the selected passages, and asking the Holy Spirit to guide me to relevant truth for my life, this morning.

Verse 2 of Psalm 18 is one of my favorite places to linger. Here it is in the English Standard Version.

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.
(Psalms 18:2 ESV)

All of these words depict strength. Rock, fortress, deliverer; refuge, shield, horn (that was a word that indicated strength or power, in the Old Testament Hebrew), stronghold.

The psalmist has confidence that all he need do is call upon the Lord, and he will be saved. If you keep reading in Psalm 18, you can see his deliverer’s reaction to his cry for help.

Then, in the passage from Revelation, the first five verses of the last two chapters in the Bible, what a glorious picture we get!

First, heaven and earth, as we know them, have been completely remade. The word “heaven” could simply mean “sky,” in this context, what we frequently refer to as “the heavens.”

Then we get a glimpse of the new Jerusalem, the “Holy City.” The fact that this “Holy City” is decked out like a bride walking down the aisle makes me believe that this is depicting the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Supporting this idea, verse 3 tells us that God will now dwell/abide with His people. This necessarily indicates that this presence of God will be more intense than what we currently experience.

Verse 4 is also glorious and something that true followers of Christ eagerly await. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Then the One seated on the throne declares that He is making everything new.

I cannot over-emphasize the joy that I feel in the depths of my soul when I read these two chapters of Revelation. I recommend that you not just stop with verse 5 of either chapter. If you can find the time, continue reading both chapters. I am especially interested in that tree that bears twelve different types of fruit, one for each month of the year. I suspect that it may be fruit the likes of which we have never seen before.

Probably the most glorious verse of all is 22:4.

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
(Revelation 22:4 NIV)

I highly anticipate that when I see His face, the only thing I will be able to do is fall on my own face, worshiping Him.

Father, I thank You for this vision of our future. Even in apocalyptic, symbolic, language, the words of these two chapters hold such excitement and promise for us! I long to see Your face, and the face of my Redeemer, my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer. But, for now, I will be satisfied simply knowing that You are present with me, wherever I find myself. Continue to ready Your Bride, Lord, for that day when we appear, coming down out of heaven, as the new Jerusalem.

"Welcoming Lord,
the end of the journey will be all too sweet--
no more tears because every7thing sad will have come undone,
no curse because everything lost will have been restored,
no night but only brilliant day,
and as my gracious reward you will make me possess a glory so great that I can't begin to imagine it.
Fill my journey today with the hope of that day.

Lord, please grant us the ability to perform creative and even risk-taking ministry within Your Church. Give us unity and holiness, erasing the gap of division that plagues us now. For all who are enjoying any kind of holiday or leisure, I pray that You presence would be especially strong today.


May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV)

"Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen."
(Anglican liturgy for confession)

he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalms 103:10-12 NIV)

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:5-7 NLT)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

There is a reason that none of our explanations of the Holy Trinity can really help us grasp that truth.

“You can’t use that which is finite to comprehend the infinite.

“You never fit the infinite inside the finite, and you can never fit God inside of your understanding. If you could, then He wouldn’t be God.” (Jonathan Cahn, in The Book of Mysteries)

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
(Isaiah 40:28 NLT)

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
(Romans 11:33 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

Focus On the Light

Today is Monday, the twelfth of July, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,132

38 days until S’s birthday.

So Monday has rolled back around. The weekend seems like it went by really quickly, and it wasn’t very restful. But yesterday was pretty awesome.

The worship gathering portion went well, as we discussed Psalm 34, which is among my favorite chapters of Psalms. Lately, we’ve only been getting through a single chapter, because we have been talking about the previous week, and the things that we want to celebrate or request prayer about. Those times have been really meaningful over the past few weeks.

The cookout afterward continued to heighten the experience. Some folks didn’t show up until after noon, which is fine. One family that has historically worshiped with us came, and we haven’t seen them in quite some time. It was very nice to get to interact with them again. One of our leaders has two adult sons, one married with a toddler, and they all showed up for lunch. It was also great to see them, along with their spouse/girlfriend, and see how much they have grown since the last time we saw them.

The food was great, and I ate way too much. But that was also intentional. I wasn’t “ambushed” or surprised, or anything like that. I counted about 45 points for the experience, and I may have forgotten to count the serving of potato salad and pasta salad that I had. But it was all good.

I know I feel asleep in the recliner at least once, yesterday evening.

But it’s back to the routine today, with a new week beginning. It’s just another “Manic Monday,” as The Bangles once sang.


Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

(St. Teresa of Avila)

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.
(Psalms 34:10 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for a new week, along with the opportunities that will arise to serve; may I not be too wrapped up in myself to catch those opportunities.
2. that I lack no "good thing;" I may not have everything I want, but I find that I am lacking nothing.
3. for the good food and fellowship that we had with our brothers and sisters in Christ yesterday.
4. that I can sing Your praises because You have been good to me.
5. for the equality that will be realized in Your Kingdom.

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



The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!
(Zechariah 9:16-17a NIV)

I pause, briefly, to consider that I am in Your presence, and to give You thanks for yesterday’s fellowship with the community of saints.


For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.
(Psalms 13:1-6 NIV)


Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
(Revelation 5:1-10 NIV)


As I sit in Your presence, my Lord and Father, I ask Your Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and meditations through these two passages. Teach me something, this morning, and then help me to carry it with me throughout my day. I so often forget, by the time I arrive at work.

The Psalmist struggles with his thoughts. I know this struggle. I have wrestled with thoughts, and this comes at any time of day, and involves many different subjects. Sometime it is temptation to sin; sometimes it is frustration caused by a situation at work. There are any number of reasons that could cause this struggle. David’s struggle seems to have been a fear of his enemies.

But in the end, his final proclamation was, “But I trust in your unfailing love.” “The Lord has been good to me.”

We all should be able to end every lament with those statements.

Just as we should be able to sing along with the twenty-four elders and four living creatures in Revelation 5, when they sing the praises of the Lamb. He is worthy of so many things. In this passage, it is specifically to take the scroll, break the seals, and open the scroll. But we could spend the rest of eternity proclaiming the worthiness of the Lamb.

The highlight of this particular song, to me, is the fact that this Lamb “purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” This lines up with Paul’s statements that, in Christ, there is no male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or master. In Him, we are all equally made into “a kingdom and priests to serve our God.”

There is no room for bigotry or prejudice in God’s Kingdom.

Father, I praise You that I can sing Your praises because You have been good to me. I thank You that You have given me eyes to see Your goodness to me. And even though I, just like David, frequently have reason (or at least think I do) to lament, may I always land in the same place David landed in Psalm 13, that I trust in Your unfailing love. I also thank You for the fact that the blood of Christ has bought “persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Lord, please bring this kind of thinking into fruition in Your Church today, especially in the white-supremacy-burdened United States. I pray that You bring down the bigotry that is holding down this nation. I pray for the unity of all nations and tribes as we sing praises to the worthiness of the Lamb.

Lion of Judah,
Lamb of God--
you are worthy to hold the keys of history.
You were unjustly judged and condemned for my sake;
you stood trial in my place and removed the whole curse from me.
With all of heaven,
I worship you,
the judge who is my Savior.
(Westminster Larger Catechism 56/Heidelberg Catechism 52)


May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV)

“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:14 NIV)

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
(Isaiah 12:3 NIV)

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
(Isaiah 55:1 NIV)

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
(John 6:35 NIV)

Every now and then, the reading from The Book of Mysteries just blows me away. Today is one of those days.

“He didn’t take away our problems or remove them from the world. He did something better–He gave us the answer. He poured the answer into the world. You see, salvation is not the absence of sin. It’s the presence of God. Salvation is not the removing of the world’s darkness. It’s the shining of God’s light into the darkness. And by the light, the darkness is driven away. Salvation is the incarnation of God. It’s His presence. It’s Yeshua. It’s the Immanuel Solution.”

“You don’t overcome the darkness by focusing on the darkness. You overcome the darkness by focusing on the light.”

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14 ESV)

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
(Luke 6:27-36 ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:9-21 ESV)

Father, indeed, help us to focus on the light, rather than on the darkness. Too many of Your children are wrapped up in complaining and grumbling about the things that are wrong with this world. I, myself, have also fallen into this trap, from time to time. Help us to proclaim what is right with the world, the salvation that is available in the Gospel, the Kingdom of Heaven that is available for us to walk in here and now! May we push out the darkness by focusing on the Light of the World!

Lord, I pray, this morning for the role of Your people in the care of creation. I lift up all who are involved in the science and engineering of this care, that You would give them all wisdom, that we might all be good stewards of the limited resources that have been provided in this planet.

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.

Be the Work

Today is Tuesday, the first of June, 2021, in the second week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,091

33 days until July 4

Yesterday was a nice day of relaxing. And rain. Lots of rain. We are pretty much saturated, at this point, but there is, apparently, more on the way. Although today’s forecast has less chance, so maybe that pool equipment will get repaired today.

C and I went out together, to the closest Tom Thumb store, because the Internet said that they had twelve varieties of Nick’s ice cream. They didn’t have twelve, but they did have some that we don’t normally see at Albertson’s, and they had much more room in their freezer for it. So we stocked up on Triple Choklad, as well as some flavors that we hadn’t tried yet, like Butter Pecan, Cherry Choklad Flaka (I have no idea what that means . . . I think it might mean “flakes?”), Salted Caramel, and some others. I think we wound up with at least fifteen pints of ice cream.

I am confident that trips to that Tom Thumb may be frequent in our future.

I don’t recall if I mentioned it, but my doctor has approved cutting my blood pressure med in half. I checked it again, yesterday morning, and it was 92/92, so I got C’s pill cutter out (a very handy gadget that cuts pills exactly in half), and cut the rest of my week’s Lisinopril in half. I will check the bp again tomorrow morning, after two nights of only 20 mg of the medication.


Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

(St. Teresa of Avila)

I’m going to be focusing more on this thought, during this week. Provided my brain remembers that I just said that. Hopefully, the Spirit will assist. God is enough, and that makes me enough.

The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
(Psalms 23:1 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for a four-day work week
2. for You Word and what it means to my life; help me to saturate myself in it
3. that, having You in my life, I lack nothing; I have all that I need
4. for the conviction, this morning, to pray more for peace in our land
5. for the stillness in my soul, this morning

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



God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:5 NIV)

I pause, briefly, to meditate on the fact that, having You in my life, I am lacking nothing.


A song of ascents. Of David.

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up— the tribes of the LORD— to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.
There stand the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.
(Psalms 122:1-9 NIV)


Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
(Acts 9:1-6 NIV)

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
(Acts 9:17-19 NIV)


As I read these passages again, in the quiet of the morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to lead me in my thoughts and meditations. I enjoy the peaceful presence of the Lord.

I am immediately reminded of a childhood Sunday School song. “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.'” I’m pretty sure that was all it said. When I was a child, going to Sunday School, we had a bunch of little songs like that, that were nothing but Scripture. They were simple truths, reflected in simple songs.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” This is still quoted today. And while I have no problem praying for the peace of Jerusalem, I tend to look at that, along with the following verses, as an injunction to pray for the peace of our own home land. Jerusalem was the hub of Judaism. What is the “hub” of our own place of dwelling? I live in the United States, so it might be Washington D.C. I also live in Texas, near Dallas, so it might be DFW, or Austin, the state capitol. It might even be Fort Worth, the city in which I live. “May there be peace within your walls.”

Our cities don’t have walls around them, but they have “limits,” or boundaries. Every town has a “city limit.” As I am typing these words, I am actually being convicted that I need to pray more for the peace of the land in which I live, beginning with my home town, expanding all the way to the borders of the USA, and its capitol. I challenge you to do the same.

The only thing I’m going to say about the Acts passage is that we need to pay attention to what God is doing around us. Not many of us are going to have an earth-shaking event like Saul, where we are knocked to the ground and blinded by the Lord. This event began a ministry that literally changed the world. “It is no secret what God can do,” I’ve heart it sung. We simply need to be paying attention.

I’ll confess that I have missed a few opportunities, along the way, and I sincerely regret them. But our God is a God of many chances. He will use us (I know some folks that really don’t like that phraseology, but I don’t mind it) however He can, as long as He wants to. But we do have to be watching and listening.

Father, I pray for peace in our land. May You protect us within the borders of Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas, and the United States. I pray for peace in our capitol, Washington, D.C. I pray for unity within our governing bodies. I believe that with You all things are possible. Even bipartisan leadership that puts the needs of the many before the needs of themselves. I pray for Your Holy Spirit to rain down on our land and bring peace and shower us with Your love, that we might, in turn spread that love over one another. And I pray that it begins with the fingers that are typing these words. “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.”

Help me to watch for places, today, where You are working, no matter how small or how huge. Help me to listen to the gentle whisper of Your Holy Spirit, during my day today.

Arresting God,
as Saul's life was turned upside down the moment he was met by the risen Lord,
meet me every day on the way,
and continue the work of conversion in my life.
As Saul was baptized,
help me to receive again my baptism,
to live wet every day of my life,
as a child of your covenant,
set apart,
scrubbed clean,
and forgiven.
(Belgic Confession 34)


May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
(Psalms 46:10 NLT)

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!
(Psalms 107:29-30 NLT)

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
(Psalms 139:14 NLT)

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.”
(Luke 12:27-31 NLT)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
(Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

“A life spent trying to produce works of righteousness and holiness will never produce them . . . and will be focused on the source of these works–the self. But a life focused on the works of God will be focused on the source of those works–God. So the secret is to not focus on your work for God. The secret is to become the work of God. Cease striving to do the work of God . . . and start letting your life become His work.”

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Father, this goes hand in hand with what I was saying (or, more truthfully, what You were saying to me) about watching and listening to what You are doing. Help me to pay better attention to You and Your works, that I might become Your work, rather than attempting to do Your work.

Lord, strengthen me to follow Your call into my neighborhood and workplace, today. I lift up the peace and well-being of our communities, both physical and spiritual. I pray specifically for blessings on all who work in the agricultural industries today.

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!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends!

Been with Jesus

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-sixth of May, 2021, in the first week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,085

Five days until Memorial Day, the next holiday in the US, and another long weekend!

Yesterday was a pretty good day, over all. I was still quite busy, and am still quite behind on my tasks, but my mindset was better, and I believe I approached issues in a more healthy way. We’ll see if I can continue that trend today.

I don’t have much else to write about, this morning. So I’ll move on in to my devotional.


Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

(St. Teresa of Avila)

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
(Psalms 18:3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the intensity of Your beauty, and the beauty of Your creation, which makes all other issues seem insignificant (footstool problems)
2. that, having You, I lack nothing
3. that Your love toward us is great, and Your faithfulness endures forever (Psalm 117)
4. that, whatever is going on in our lives, God has got it handled
5. that we can reach out and find healing in the hem of Your garment, in Your wings

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



I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
(Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)

I pause, briefly, to quietly consider the truth that, having God, I lack nothing at all, and have no reason to fear anything. This world is a perfectly safe place for me to be. Everything is grace and enwrapped in love.


Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 117:1-2 NIV)


Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:8-13 NIV)


As I become aware of the presence of God, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, I read these passages again, asking Him to move me toward a particular word or phrase, teaching me something about my life in Christ.

The truth of the shortest Psalm is very basic, yet also powerful. The Lord’s love toward us is, indeed, great. So great that He created everything out of love, because He is love. This is why it is said that “everything is enwrapped in love.” And, truly, His faithfulness endures forever.

In the Acts passage, Peter and John are being questioned concerning the lame man that was healed in the previous chapter. They had been asked, “By what power or what name did you do this?”

What we see is their answer. Peter makes the basic and great proclamation in verse 12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

“No other name.”

And then, in verse 13, the greatest compliment that could be paid to someone, in my opinion, is stated.

“They took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Would that people would say that about me! I want to live my life in such a way that people think that about me.

Father, I praise You for Your great love for us and for Your never-ending faithfulness. I thank You for Your marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe, and, truthfully, pretty much bestowed on every creature on the planet, whether they realize it or not! I thank You for the testimony of Peter, that there is, indeed, no other name by which we may be saved than the name of Jesus. I pray that my life will reflect His words, His walk, and His countenance, as I move through my day today. I pray for a level head and spirit, through all circumstances that are already coming my way. May my reactions be holy and Christlike.

Breathe on us,
breath of God;
infuse our everyday lives with a majesty and glory that only comes from your Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
Fill our lives with a boldness that isn't bluster but simply the overflow of your eternal life in us.
(Belgic Confession 11)


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 NIV)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
(Proverbs 22:6 NLT)

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
(Matthew 6:34 NLT)

There seems to be a theme in these verses . . . don’t worry. God’s got it. Let it go.

“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the LORD instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God.”
(Numbers 15:38-40 NLT)

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
(Malachi 4:2 NLT)

Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
(Matthew 9:20-22 NLT)

When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.
(Matthew 14:35-36 NLT)

Interestingly, the word translated “wings” in Malachi 4:2, is “kanaph,” and can also mean a flap of clothing. The word for “fringe” in Matthew is “kraspedon.” According to Jonathan Cahn, the words are interchangeable. So the woman who touched the fringe of His robe, and all the people who touched the fringe of His robe . . . they all found healing in His “wings.”

Lord, may we find healing in Your wings today. Let us not be afraid to reach out and touch You with our infirmities, with our problems, regardless of how insignificant they may be. The smallest of problems can be an unpassable mountain for some, and You are there for us, available for us to reach out and touch You. All glory to You, Father! Breathe on us, Holy Spirit!

Lord, may You and Your blessings be present in all national and local communities, today. I specifically lift up the continent of Africa, today, that You might be present in all things and circumstances there, and be their protector and provider. I pray for all areas of hunger, famine, and poverty today, that none would go hungry. Help us to be Your vessels of provision where we can be, and lead us to those whom we can help.

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!

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends. Shalom Aleichem!

The Face of Jesus

It is Monday, the twenty-fourth of May, 2021, in the first week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,083

Seven days until Memorial Day.

I’m struggling with WordPress, this morning. For some reason, the page to write a new blog post would not load on MS Edge browser. It does work, however, in Google Chrome, so that’s what I’m using, this morning.

Needless to say, this has put me way behind, this morning, so I need to move on in to the devotional. I will reiterate what a marvelous weekend we had, and that our piece of pie was totally worth the extra points, yesterday. We must not have done too badly, because I was about four pounds down from last Wednesday, when I stepped on the scale, this morning.


It makes no sense.
Why should this happen?
And I fall . . .
into your arms, and I learn of your plan.

My prayers are so dry.
It feels as if you're not there.
And I fall . . .
into your arms, and I learn of your faithfulness.

I have been hurt.
I am so bitter.
And I fall . . . 
into your arms, and I learn of your humility.

I make the donation.
I cannot afford it.
And I fall . . . 
into your arms, and I learn of your generosity.

It is so beautiful.
I am filled with awe.
And I fall . . .
into your arms, and I learn of your beauty.

I read of your Word.
I sit in your silence.
And I fall . . .
into your arms, and I learn of your love.

I lend a hand to my brother.
I see the smile on his face.
And I fall . . .
into your arms, and I learn of your joy.

Your body is lifted up before my eyes.
I say amen.
And I fall . . . 
into your arms, and I learn of your passion.

I cherish my memories and regret my mistakes.
I close my eyes at last.
And I fall . . .
into your arms, and I learn of your glory.
(Daryl Madden, "And I Fall," cont., from On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

I will thank the LORD because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
(Psalms 7:17 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the wonderful weekend we had, the refreshing and renewal that took place
2. that we have jobs to which to return, this morning
3. that You have given me a thankful and generous heart
4. for the church community we have
5. for Your care for me, that I might care for myself, and then care for others; help me to see Your face in everyone I meet today

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



I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
(Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)

I pause briefly to contemplate the “new heart and new spirit” that I believe I have received over the past four days, and pray that it was a permanent transformation, to be carried over into this week of work.


The LORD remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron,
he will bless those who fear the LORD— small and great alike.

May the LORD cause you to flourish, both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.
It is not the dead who praise the LORD, those who go down to the place of silence;
it is we who extol the LORD, both now and forevermore.
Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 115:12-18 NIV)


They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 NIV)


As I pause to remind myself that I am in God’s sweet presence, I re-read these passages, asking, inviting, the Holy Spirit to point me to any particular word, phrase, or thought in them, to teach me something about my life in Christ, this morning.

In truth, there is nothing “new” that I find in today’s readings. This is not always a negative thing. It doesn’t mean that I am not paying attention or “listening.” What I do see is reaffirmations. The reading in Acts affirms what our current church model consists of. We meet together, in a home, and we are devoting ourselves to the Word of God, the fellowship, the breaking of bread together (the Supper) and to prayer. Each of those elements of worship is represented every Sunday morning.

Sometimes, there is more fellowship than Word. Sometimes, there is more prayer than anything else. And sometimes, the precious Word of God takes the bulk of the time. But each one happens every time. And this, regardless of the setting or place, is what worship should be. This is what the community of faith should look like. We could, honestly, do better, during the week. We don’t see each other very often, outside of Sundays. Perhaps we need to pray for the Spirit to help us with that.

Father, I thank You that we have this model to follow in our worship times. I thank You for a group of people who believe in Your Church, and want to observe Your commands as simply as possible. Help us to be more of a community outside of the Sunday morning event. Help us to reach out more to one another, to seek out needs to meet, and help one another with whatever is needed. I believe you have given us all thankful and generous hearts, Father. May Your blessings fall on us.

God of wind and fire,
whoever would have guessed that a ragtag band of Jewish Jesus-followers could be bound together into a movement that would turn the world upside down?
Only because of your Holy Spirit,
who is fully God.
Do that work again in our day,
take wildly diverse people who don't naturally fit together,
and make a peculiar and compelling community,
beautiful because of Jesus.
In his name we pray,
(Heidelberg Catechism 53)


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 NIV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
(Matthew 25:40 ESV)

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”
(Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV)

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
(Matthew 9:35-38 ESV)

While I realize that the passage from Matthew 25, the “least of these” passage, speaks of caring for other people, there was an interesting quote in a book I finished over the weekend. The book is called Embracing the Love of God, by James Bryan Smith.

The epigraph for chapter 8, which is called “Caring for Ourselves,” went like this: “What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one to whom your love will be most meaningful — what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus . . . is you?” (Carl Jung)

Just something to think about. How can we care for our brothers and sisters if we do not care for ourselves?

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
(Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
(Matthew 5:44-45 ESV)

Today’s mission: “Live like the sun today, as the light. Shine God’s love on all, regardless of people and circumstances. Shine rather because you’re the light.”

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Oh, yes, Father! Help me to shine with Your light, today. Help me to see Your face (the face of Jesus) in everyone today, regardless of the circumstances. May I care for others as I care for myself, and may I care for myself (and others) as You have cared for me. Thank you, O my Father! All glory to You!

Lord, give Your people a capacity to see You in all things, “every creature a word or book” from You. I pray for the Spirit to work a mighty work in me, in my brothers and sisters, and in the world. I specifically pray, this morning, for all who are “in the forefront of caring for creation.”

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. Shalom Aleichem!

The Lord Reigns

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the sixth of May, 2021, in the fifth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,065

Three days until Mother’s Day. We’ve got cards and gifts.

I have neglected (fancy for “forgotten”) to mention that May is a bit of a special month in my family. It has two somewhat easy to remember birthdays. My grandmother’s (maternal) birthday was May 1. My grandmama’s (paternal) birthday was may 31. In addition, my parents’ wedding anniversary is May 25.

So May is one of those “mixed blessing” months. Good memories, but bittersweet to think about, as all of my grandparents, as well as my father, have passed on to their eternal home.

Not jealous at all. Nope.

Speaking of singing . . . oh, wait, I wasn’t, was I? But I was, yesterday. So go back and read yesterday’s, if you haven’t.

For once, I followed my own advice. I sang. Quite a bit. Not loudly, mind you, and a good bit “under my breath,” as they say. But I sang. Mostly, I sang “What A Beautiful Name.” A James Taylor song might have wormed its way in there, too.

I want to let you know that it made a difference in my day. A huge difference. I skated through yesterday with a great attitude. I don’t even remember getting annoyed at anyone. Not much, anyway. I figure it was mostly the Jesus song that helped, but who knows? Just the act of singing helps. So I’m going to try that again today.

But first I have to get through the morning devotion, and as usual, I’m already behind. So roll on . . .


In the turmoil of the sea, I find safety on my rock.
In the winds of the storm, I find shelter by my rock.
In the heat of the fire, I climb upon my rock.
In the threat of the enemy, I hide under my rock.
In the dark of the night, I find comfort in my rock.

I cling to my rock.
Letting go, I realize my rock is clinging to me.
And having persevered, I am able to share my rock.
(Daryl Madden, in On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
(Psalms 92:1-3 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for my Twisted Pine Mocha Mint coffee; it tastes especially good, this morning
  • for my Rock, upon which I find safety, shelter, protection, and comfort
  • for singing
  • that You reign
  • that there are blessings and harvests that I have yet to realize, and I will thank You and celebrate those before they appear

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



Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. . . . The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
(Psalms 126:2-3 NIV)

I pause briefly to contemplate the joy that filled my soul, yesterday, and encourage the same behavior today.


The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
(Psalms 97:1-6 NIV)

Let those who love the LORD hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.
(Psalms 97:10-12 NIV)


Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20 NIV)


As I linger over these passages, this morning, I strive to enjoy the presence of God. Sometimes, this means simply sitting for a moment, doing nothing else but acknowledging His presence. Breathing slowly. Centering myself on Him. Allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell and point my thoughts in the right direction.

“The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.”

This hearkens back to yesterday morning, as I envisioned the trees and fields rejoicing, yesterday, on my drive to work. I really did that. I plan to try that again, this morning.

I truly believe that God reigns. I believe that all creation sings over this truth, and rejoices in it. I wish that I could hear it. I would believe it would be the most “beautiful noise” I have ever heard in my life.

One thing I am looking forward to, in my longing for Home, is that scene in Revelation 7:

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
(Revelation 7:9-12 NIV)

I know it says that they “cried out.” But is it too much of a stretch to think that they are singing? In fact, in the NLT, Revelation 5:12 does use the word “sang.”

And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
(Revelation 5:12 NLT)

I am fully persuaded that it will sound even better than this, and this gives me the biggest chill bumps ever. Go ahead . . . take ten minutes to listen to this. You won’t be disappointed.

This is a far as I’m getting, this morning. I realize there is much more Scripture to look at, but I am stuck on singing and the Lord reigning. So sing I will, celebrating the reign of our Lord and Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Trinity, One and Three at the same time. More love between the three in one than any one of us has ever experienced in our lives. May He share that love in us today!

Father, praises be to Your Name, this morning. I will sing more. I will sing now, and I will sing again. I will celebrate Your reign; Your blessing and honor, glory and power be unto You, for ever and ever. Amen!

Lord, give me more of a yearning to know You and help me seek Your face more consistently, each day. May I and all around me know the joy of Your great salvation, today! I pray for any of my friends and family who have not yet found faith in You. May I be a channel of blessing in their lives today.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 NIV)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(Mark 11:24 NIV)

One quick thing before I go. Jonathan Cahn, in The Book of Mysteries, reminds us that we should celebrate our blessings before they come. So, remember that today. As you sing about the Lord reigning, consider the blessings that have yet to appear, the harvests that you have not realized, yet, and give thanks for them.

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!

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
(Jude 1:21 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

No Barriers

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the twenty-second of April, 2021, in the third week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,051

28 days until our trip to Glen Rose

I’m already running behind, this morning, thanks to some issues I’m having getting new music uploaded into iTunes. I’ll figure it out, eventually. Rangers won, Red Sox lost. Moving on to the devotions.


God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
(Philippians 1:3 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • for all of you, out there
  • that, the older I get, the less threatened I am by vulnerability
  • for the fellowship of the saints (we need more of this)
  • that when I am in distress, I need only cry out to You and You will answer me and set me free (Psalm 118:5)
  • that all barriers between You and us are removed

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



“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)

I pause, for a moment, to quietly reflect on the grace of God displayed in the people with whom He has connected me.


A song. A psalm of Asaph.

O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.
See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
(Psalms 83:1-4 NIV)

May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:17-18 NIV)


Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
(John 21:1-14 NIV)


As I read these passages again, I consider how the Word of God has moved me, this morning. What word or phrase has stood out to me? What is the Holy Spirit wanting to speak into my life, this morning?

I frequently utter a prayer that is similar to the one in Psalm 83:18, ” Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” How I would love to see God make His name known, in our society, in our culture, in our day.

But it occurs to me that the way He has chosen to do this is through us, His Church. So, if His name is not known throughout the world, who is at fault? Are we too busy with things that truly do not matter? Are we caught up in things that, although they might actually matter, they do not matter most?

Who knows what was going through the minds of Peter and the other disciples when they decided to go fishing again? Nevertheless, Jesus appeared to them in what, according to John, was the third appearance after His resurrection.

Jesus, I believe, is letting His disciples know that He has not abandoned them. In today’s reading, there is no profound teaching event (we’ll get to one of those tomorrow). Jesus just shares breakfast with His “tribe.” It is a beautiful picture of a truth that we fail to recognize, often times.

That truth, I believe, is that, sometimes, it’s okay to just get together with no agenda. Baptists, over time, have been pretty good at this, I think. I can’t speak for other churches, because I’ve pretty much been Baptist all my life. But we would frequently have “fellowships” (we didn’t use the word “party”) where the only activity was eating. Of course there would be a prayer, but that would just be to “bless” the food. I have fond memories of those times. Sometimes there would be games. But there was no teaching, no preaching, just fun and food and fellowship with one another.

These days, we seem to have lost that, at least from where I sit. Maybe it’s because I’m not part of an institutional church, right now. But even our little house church normally only gathers to either have a Night of Worship, or our usual Sunday morning gathering where we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teachings, fellowship, the breaking of bread (the Supper) and prayer.

Jesus met with His disciples that morning, with no apparent purpose other than to simply engage with them. I think we need more of that. And I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that. Something to think about in the days ahead.

Father, I do pray that Your Name will be known around the world, and that people would know that You are the Most High over all the earth. I also pray that You would show us, once again, how to engage with one another, and to just enjoy one another’s company, in Your presence, with no agenda. Show us how to make this happen, Father.

Resurrected Lord,
your crafty Holy Spirit gets into the deepest places of human lives,
loosing locked-down hearts and softening crusty ones. 
You turn evil to good,
overhauling stubborn resistance into a life yielded to you so that I produce good fruit.
I praise you for this surprising good work.
(Canons of Dort 3/4.11)


Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
(Ephesians 6:24 NIV)

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
(Psalms 121:3 KJV)

He gives prosperity to the poor and protects those who suffer.
(Job 5:11 NLT)

In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free.
(Psalms 118:5 NLT)

Here is a truth that we would do well to walk in.

“For those who are in Messiah, there are no more separations, no more judgment, no more rejection, no more shame, no more guilt, no more curse. It means that whatever was separating us from our purpose, our blessing, and our redemption is gone. It means that every barrier separating us from God is removed. It means the way is open . . . the cherubim are gone . . . and we can come home.”

“The Mission: In Messiah all barriers are gone. Move forward this day in that power, through every veil, wall, separation, hindrance, and cherubim.”

After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:24 NLT)

“For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.”
(Exodus 26:31 NLT)

And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
(Mark 15:38 NLT)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(Romans 8:31-37 ESV)

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Father, I praise You for the tearing of that curtain. And, while we may not be able to locate or return to “Eden,” we are “home” in You when we walk in Jesus Christ. Thank You for this truth, and help me walk in this today.

Lord, please bring spiritual renewal to our souls, bestowing deep repentance and gospel-based humility to our lives. I pray that You might bring new relationships with “outsiders” into our lives, but prepare us first.

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.

If We Would Only Listen

Today is Tuesday, the twentieth of April, 2021, in the third week of Easter.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,049

Today is a somber day in our family, as we remember six years ago. My father passed away on April 20, 2015, after falling on April 8. The official cause of death, I believe was cardiac arrest, but it was brought on from complications due to Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), a muscular disease in the family of Muscular Dystrophy.

We would appreciate your prayers for our family, today, as the memories flood back in. Good memories, lead the way, of course, as we celebrate the life we had with him, but the pain is still as real as ever. As many others have learned, time most definitely does not heal wounds. I don’t know who made that up, but it is wrong. The pain becomes more distant, perhaps easier to bear, but it is not “healed.” Nor do we want it to be! What a ridiculous idea! If the pain went away, it would mean we had forgotten the person we loved! Who wants that?

Another thing that makes it more bearable is our belief in Jesus Christ. We believe that my father is safely resting in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that his “wounds” are, indeed, permanently and gloriously healed!

Enough about that. I must move on to the devotions for the day.


“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
(1 Timothy 2:1 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • on this, the sixth anniversary of my father’s passing, for the many years of happiness that we had with him
  • for the legacy of faith that he lived every day
  • for the way he loved, demonstrating daily the love of Jesus
  • for the way Your Spirit speaks to me, teaches me
  • that I am, more and more, satisfied in You

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



“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)

I am pausing to quietly (and joyfully) reflect on how appropriate the above Scripture is on this day! Yes! I believe this!


Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

“But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways,
how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
(Psalms 81:8-16 NIV)


While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
(Luke 24:36-43 NIV)


As I rest in and enjoy the presence of my Lord and Savior, this morning, I look again at these passages, looking for words or phrases that draw my attention. I invite the Holy Spirit to teach me, to speak to me.

“If my people would only listen to me,” says the Lord! I believe that He still says this today, as people, in general, are still stiff-necked and stubborn. But look at some of the results, if we would only listen. Our “enemies” would be quickly subdued; the Lord’s hand would be against our foes; we “would be fed with the finest of wheat,” and with “honey from the rock.”

We would be satisfied.

That’s it. That last one. That’s where I’m landing today.


This hearkens back to an hour-long discussion on Psalm 23, this past Sunday morning. You know the one. It begins with “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need.” (NLT) And then, the next five verses describe how the Lord provides all that you need!

If I have all that I need, another word to describe that is . . . satisfied.

As I grow older, I notice that I am also growing more satisfied. Not because I’m getting more “stuff.” As a matter of fact, my desire for “stuff” has dramatically decreased in the past decade or so. Even as I look around me and see all of the “stuff” in my room, I realize that the “need” for much of it was drastically exaggerated. I don’t really “need” any of it.

I hope this means that I have been listening a little better. I still struggle with it. Quite a bit, as a matter of fact. But it’s better than it used to be.

Are you satisfied in Him? Are you listening?

In Luke 9, the transfiguration of Jesus takes place. The voice from heaven says:

“This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.
(Luke 9:35 NLT)

“Listen to him.”

If we would only listen . . .

Father, I praise You that You have been teaching me to listen more and better. I thank You that my need for more stuff has decreased, over the years. I have come to realize and believe that, for the most part, I need only You and Your grace. I crave Your presence in my life much more than I crave the presence of physical, material goods. I need You more than life, itself, because You are life! Help us to listen, Father! O, please, Lord, help Your Church to be satisfied.

the go-between God,
who can blame the disbelief of the disciples?
If a person dies,
I don't expect to see her walking again or sitting down to a meal.
You bled and suffered,
and were buried,
yet rose from the dead with that same body,
with its healed wounds
and working digestive system.
And with that same body,
you now reign in glory.
With your scarred hands lifted,
pray for me,
(Westminster Confession 8.4)


Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
(Ephesians 6:24 NIV)

Fifty days after the first Passover, Moses received the Law of God, on the mountain. But the people grew impatient while Moses was up there, and began to worship that golden calf and have a party. The result was the death of about three thousand people (Exodus 32).

Fifty days after the Passover when Jesus died, the disciples were gathered together, along with other people who were celebrating the “Feast of Shavuot,” when the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples. The result was the salvation of . . . about three thousand people!

Just something to ponder, this morning. “Three thousand died and, centuries later, three thousand came to life on the same exact holy day.”

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NLT)

The Mission: Instead of struggling to accomplish the will of God, live, move, and be moved by the Spirit of God – and you will fulfill His will.”

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Father, the numbers in Scripture get fascinating, at times, and the truths when these things are pointed out are so, well, mysterious and wonderful. Thank You for the revelation of these things. But may I ponder the deeper meaning, today, more than the really cool thing about the three thousand people. May I walk in Your Spirit, putting more emphasis on this than on trying to live out the letter of the Law. Life is more important than death; life is more powerful than death. Indeed, death has been defeated by life!

Lord, help me heart be committed to the communities in which You have placed me. Help me to serve in unique ways, as You equip me. I pray for those, today, who work in the trade industry.

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!

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.