Today is Tuesday, the fifth of October, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,217

Seven days until our anniversary!!

The biggest news since yesterday is the Great Facebook Outage of 2021! It crashed somewhere around 10:00 CDT, yesterday morning, while I was in the middle of composing my blog, and didn’t come back up for at least six hours. But it turns out the only reason I missed it was because I was unable to share my blog post and prayer request post and gratitude list until late afternoon.

It turns out that we can actually live without Facebook.

The other big news is that I FINISHED A DANCE WITH DRAGONS LAST NIGHT!!!

Seriously. That was a true “slog.” If you care, you can read my review on Goodreads. So now, I’m moving on to another book I checked out from the Hurst Public Library, Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. This book contains the entire libretto of the musical, along with notes and stories about its creation and production. I plan to listen along as I read, whenever possible.

Tonight is the Wild Card playoff game between the Red Sox and Yankees, at 7:08 CDT, in Boston. The only place to watch the game, apparently, is ESPN. I work from 4:15 to 8:15, tonight, so I won’t get to watch the beginning. I may actually tune in as soon as I get home.

Today is World Teachers Day. Say a prayer for all the teachers you know, today.

The word for today, appropriately, is inculcate, a verb which means, “to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly.” (emphasis mine)

Today’s quote is from Milton Berle, American comedian. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Significant birthdays on October 5:

Jonathan Edwards, Christian preacher, philosopher, and theologian, 1703-1758
Chester A. Arthur, 21st U.S. President, 1829-1886
Larry Fine, American actor and comedian (3 Stooges), 1902-1975
Ray Kroc, American fast food entrepreneur (McDonald's), 1902-1984
Allen Ludden, American gameshow host (Password) and husband of Betty White, 1919-1981
Bil Keane, American cartoonist (Family Circus), 1922-2011
Bill Dana, American comedian (Jose Jimenez), 1924-2017
Steve Miller, American rocker (Abracadabra, The Joker, Fly Like an Eagle), 1943 (77)
B.W. Stevenson, American singer (My Maria), 1949-1988
Bob Geldof, Irish singer (Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays"), 1951 (70)
Clive Barker, English author (The Damnation Game, Hellraiser), 1952 (69)
Guy Pearce, British-Australian actor (Memento), 1967 (54)
Kate Winslet, British actress (Mare of Easttown, Titanic), 1975 (46)


Grace to you, and peace;
Giving thanks to God for you;
Love is increasing.
(2 Thessalonians 1)

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
(2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I finished A Dance with Dragons last night (egad)
2. for all the saints, as we grow in faith together
3. that our love for one another increases as we walk in Christ
4. that You care nothing for appearances, but examine our hearts
5. that You are my rock and fortress, and bring me the comfort of joy when I experience anxiety

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



He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
(Psalms 33:5 ESV)

I pause, now, to reflect on Your steadfast love, and how it feeds us, the saints, enabling us to love one another and grow in our faith. Thank You, Father!


Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Can a corrupt throne be allied with you— a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.
(Psalms 94:16-23 NIV)


Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
(2 Samuel 6:12-16 NIV)

David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
(2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV)


As I remind myself of Your presence, this morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me through the reading and meditating of Your Word. Teach me, Father, as I read Your Word.

I believe that the question posed in Psalm 94:16 is coming from the unnamed psalmist, not the Lord. In fact, the implication is that it was the Lord who, in fact, helped the psalmist stand against evil. And, as the psalm continues, I believe it is important to note the last verse. It is God that repays them for their sins, not humans.

There are many well-meaning people in the Church who believe it is their mission to rid the world of evil. I don’t see any Scripture that corroborates this opinion. And I see the quest to remove evil from the world as a serious hindrance to the completion of one of our two main jobs, that of loving people.

If we live and walk with the Lord as our fortress and Him as our Rock, we have nothing to fear from evil. This was discussed at some length in our church gathering, this past Sunday, as we discussed 1 John 4:18.

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)

Psalm 94:19 also seems to give us this message as we find joy in the consolation we get from God when we experience anxiety. And, in regards to verse 20, asking if a corrupt throne could possibly be allied with the Lord, we can certainly apply this to any form of human government, and I believe that all human governments of the twenty-first century are corrupt. There is no “throne” in our world today that is allied with God.

Our reading in 2 Samuel picks up where yesterday’s left off. When David saw that the household of Obed-Edom the Gittite was being blessed by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, he decided to go ahead and have it brought home.

One of the first things we see is that it appears to have been carried correctly, this time. I can only assume that, but it looks to be true, as the verse speaks of “those who were carrying the ark.” This implies to me that it was being properly carried by staves, on the shoulders of footmen.

David was so excited that, before they had walked ten steps, even, he was making sacrifices. And then he danced. David danced so hard that he exposed himself. Verse 22 makes it clear . . . David cared not one iota what anyone else thought or how he appeared to any people. He was dancing before the Lord Almighty, and He was the only One who mattered.

David did not care at all that he appeared to be “undignified.”

We create our own anxieties over appearances. Professional workplaces don’t help. If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never fathom why anyone thinks that wearing a suit has any effect whatsoever on your job performance. In fact, I think there should be a special hell for whoever invented the necktie. It serves absolutely no purpose, whatsoever, other than to choke you and make you sweat a little bit more.

God doesn’t care about our appearances. What I wear “to church” has no bearing on my standing before God. We do have the caution in Scripture to not be a stumbling block to weaker brothers and sisters, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

Any energy that I would spend in anxiety over what another human being thinks of me or my appearance, would be better spent in prayer and meditation of Scripture, and in loving my neighbor as myself.

Incidentally, Michal’s reward for being critical of David was that she remained barren to the day of her death. That’s what caring about appearances will get you.

Father, I pray for the same kind of joy that David had, that cares not how it appears to others. Let me look like a fool to others . . . I don’t care. Please replace any anxiety, that might come from worrying over appearance, with joy. I believe I can say, like the psalmist, that, if it were not for Your help in my life, I very well may have dwelt in the silence of death. I’ve made some pretty foolish decisions, along the way. But You have spared me from some of the consequences. I believe that You still have work for me to do, here, and that, as my fortress and my Rock, You will provide the strength in which I can perform that work. As for the wicked and evil in the world, I will rely upon You to take care of them. Give me dancing feet that most certainly can grow from a praying knee.

I pray for a love for and commitment to the communities in which You have placed me. Please equip us to serve in unique ways in our communities and workplaces. I pray that You grant strength to any of Your people who serve in the news media.

"Joyful Jesus,
forgive me for the ways I can reduce life with You to fine worship or stately buildings,
dignified gatherings or efficient organizations,
influence or importance.
I pray that Your church and my life would be reckless with love for You,
captive to the rhythm of Your kingdom joy,
glorying and enjoying You.


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
(Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
(Revelation 7:13-17 ESV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:5 ESV)

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!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.


“. . . human desire with all its emotions cannot compare with the passionate yearning of Jesus Christ.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, July 12, 2014.

Today is Different Colored Eyes Day. If you are one of those rare people who have different colored eyes, this day is all yours! Mine are both green. We once had a cat that had different colored eyes.

Christi’s job seems to have taken a couple of steps backward. It seems they keep throwing more responsibility on her. She’s got a ton of work (not literally, but then who knows how much work weighs?) to do this weekend. I’m telling her she needs to get away from that place (along with the person who hired her). Bless her heart, she hates to give up. “I’m not a quitter,” she says. But I’m afraid the situation cannot be “won.” We shall see, though. I keep praying for God to intervene and bring some peace, calm, and sense into the situation. Perhaps that will happen before it’s all said and done. Or before “the end of the day.” Or any other relatively meaningless cliche I can think of. On top of everything else, she apparently tore a calf muscle while hurrying between meetings yesterday. So, once again, she is in great pain.

Stephanie came home from Megan’s last night. Without Megan. There was much rejoicing. At least between Christi and me. We’re a little weary of the sleepover that wouldn’t end.

The Red Sox won their third straight game last night, while the Rangers lost their sixth straight. The Rangers are currently the worst team in baseball by ten percentage points. The Red Sox are no longer in last place! The Tampa Bay Rays are in last place. There is no way to convey how happy that makes me. I am very close to a point where I dislike the Rays as much as or worse than I dislike the Evil Empire.

Today, we have a few chores that need to get done, then we have church this evening. I now lead the “Anchor” pray time before our service, so I need to do some preparation for that. Tomorrow will probably be the day when Christi tries to get all her work done that she needs to do.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1739, “As David Brainerd is walking through a dark grove to his secret place of prayer, God speaks to him and he has a glorious salvation experience. The twenty-one-year-old will live only eight more years but inspire many others through the diary he pens.” Indeed, his diary was so inspirational that Jonathan Edwards wrote a biography on his life. In fact, Brainerd died at Edwards’s house, after suffering for months from “incurable consumption” (Wikipedia).

Sharing a birthday on July 12 are Bill Cosby, George Washington Carver, Topher Grace, Richard Simmons, Cheryl Ladd, Kristi Yamaguchi, Christine Mcvie, John Petrucci, Henrey David Thoreau, Oscar Hammerstein II, Milton Berle, Andrew Wyeth, Van Cliburn, Kirsten Flagstad, and Curly Joe Derita.

Christine McVie is a singer, most famous for her time as one of the lead singers for Fleetwood Mac. She has returned to the band, and, at the age of 71, is actually touring with them this year. Here is their song, “You Make Loving Fun.”

Van Cliburn was known as one of the world’s greatest piano players for much of his life. He passed away in 2013, and would have been 80 years old today. Here is a clip of him playing some Rachmaninoff Preludes.


I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD.
Psalm 135:1
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Psalm 71:2
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.
Psalm 116:16
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:10-14

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

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
Philippians 1:21-23
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:20-21
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:13

Give thanks today for the hope and promise of the Resurrection!

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Consuming Fire.”

Most of us have been sexually aroused at many points in our lives. Otherwise, a lot of us wouldn’t be here, right? We know the intense passion of what this feels like. Well, “the Scripture and the liturgy of the Christian community say that human sexual arousal is but a pale imitation of God’s passion for his people.” Human love is the best image we have to illustrate the love of God, but it is still inadequate.

“. . . human desire with all its emotions cannot compare with the passionate yearning of Jesus Christ.” The saints “can only stutter and stammer about the reality;” Blaise Pascal had his famous “night of fire” on November 23, 1654, about which he could not speak, but wrote about it on a note, which was sewn into the lining of his clothes, and wasn’t discovered until after he died. Bede Griffiths wrote, “The love of Jesus Christ is not a mild benevolence: it is a consuming fire.”

“It is only the revelation that God is love that clarifies the happy irrationality of God’s conduct and his relentless pursuit.” Who among us has not experienced the irrationality of human love? Even in the face of infidelity, one who truly loves will continue to pursue. Even the anger of Jesus during the act of cleansing the Temple “reveals his keen interest, his frantic involvement in his brothers and sisters coming into right relationship with Abba God.”

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire,
a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24

Consuming Fire
Once again, I am drawn to the beautiful hymn, “The Love of God,” written by Frederick M. Lehman in 1917. The last verse is especially powerful:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Father, may we know and acknowledge your passionate love for us, that love which can not be satisfactorily described by human words or emotions. Help us to know that which is unknowable. I pray for more and more of an understanding of your love, that I might grow closer to you, more intimate with you, as I grow older. I pray that I may know you as I am known by you.

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s calf muscle to heal. I pray that you would relieve her pain. I pray that we can get the things done that need to be accomplished today. I also pray that this evening’s worship service would be exactly that. I pray that we would worship you and love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Give us grace, endurance, and power to serve you in the coming week.

Your grace is sufficient.

Consider the emotion that you feel for the person in your life whom you love the most. Then consider that that feeling doesn’t even come close to the passionate love God has for us.

Grace and peace, friends.

Present In the Darkness

“Experience cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 22, 2014. Nine days until Opening Day.

Today is Goof Off Day. I’m all about that. That’s what weekends are for, right?

We had a men’s gathering last night, hosted by one of our church leaders. The grills were fired up, and we all brought meat. There were steaks, brats, pork, and even some bacon-wrapped jalapenos. It was a great time. Except for the part where I got asked if I was a “liberal” because I don’t like guns. Fortunately, that part didn’t last long. And to be perfectly honest, this is why I’m hesitating about going to the upcoming “men’s retreat” in May. It is being held at our worship leader’s property out at Possum Kingdom. He’s a hunter. There will be lots of guns. I’m not interested in being around guns. At this point, I’m undecided, but leaning towards not going. Besides, we always go to Scarborough Faire on Memorial Day. It’s a “family tradition.”

Christi is still hurting, but getting around. She has not gotten a confirmation, yet, on the next interview with UTSW. I’m going to go up to the Carrollton CEVA location Monday, to see what goes on there and talk about a potential position there. However, I’m still hoping for an offer from the Grapevine Verizon facility. The Carrollton location services the Raytheon account.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1758 that pastor, theologian, scientist, and educator Jonathan Edwards passed away from smallpox. His most famous sermon was probably “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God.” His most well-known book is probably A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, written in 1746.

There are 252 birthdays listed for this date on History Orb. Among them are Chico Marx, Marx Brothers, 1887, Ellin Berlin, wife of Irving, 1902, Louis L’Amour, author, 1908, Karl Malden, actor, 1912, William Shatner, actor, 1931, Roger Whittaker, singer, 1936, Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer, 1948, Matthew Modine, actor, 1959, and Reese Witherspoon, actress, 1976. Oh, one more. Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, 2233. Who knew he shared a birthday with Shatner??

Here is a clip of William Shatner’s World of Warcraft commercial.


(From The Divine Hours)

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

Psalm 96:7-9
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Psalm 62:5
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Psalm 16:1-2
. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

“O God, the source of eternal light:
Shed forth your unending day upon all of us who watch for you,
that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you,
and our worship may give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Hidden God.”

Yesterday’s revelation of God’s presence to Catherine of Siena changed forever the way she would understand or experience that presence. “His word taught her that his presence in the soul is something deeper and holier than she could imagine or feel.” Our feelings cannot touch God; our thoughts cannot measure him. He will always, in a sense, remain hidden in our lives. Here is an important statement, especially for our culture. “Experience cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it.” Ponder that for a few minutes. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. (Brennan writes that “nothing but sin” can separate us, but I disagree with that statement. My sin does not “separate me from Christ.” It definitely hinders my relationship with him, but it does not separate.) He will always be here, in the quiet stillness of our souls, even in the darkness; especially in the darkness.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
Isaiah 30:20

Father, make me aware of your presence, even in the darkness of my soul. Help me to know and believe that you are present all the time, even when there is darkness in my soul, even when I do not feel your present. And just because I might happen to feel your present does not mean that you are more present than you were when I did not feel it. This is a precious truth. We rely too heavily on experience, Father. Let me no longer look to experience, but look to faith; the faith of the certainty of your presence in my spirit, all the time. Help me to celebrate this presence, daily.

I pray for the remainder of this day. As we go out and about, doing the things that we need to do, I pray for safety and peace. I pray for our worship time this evening, that it might bring glory to you and peace to our spirits. Teach us your ways, that we, as a community of faith, might walk in your truth. Teach us to be and make disciples.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grasp the truth that God is always present, even in times of darkness. The fact that you feel him or the lack of that feeling has absolutely no bearing on this truth.

Grace and peace, friends.

Unconditional Love

Good morning. Today is Saturday, May 18, 2013. Christi continues to rest as she recovers from the surgery. She’s beginning to tire of laying on the couch. It seems to be going really well, though, and she is being really good about following all the rules. She has an appointment Tuesday afternoon to go back to the doctor for a followup. In the meantime, Stephanie and I continue to take care of her, and I must say that Stephanie has been exemplary through this. We are very proud of her.

Not much planned for today. A trip to the grocery store, some practice for tomorrow’s worship celebration, and the rest of the day will probably be spent relaxing.

Today is International Museum Day. That’s a little bit of a problem. I love museums, myself. But my family? Not so much. The problem is, I like to look at everything, and read all the signs! Drives Christi nuts. And I can’t say as I blame her. But, if you have a chance, take in a museum today. Jog on over to the Smithsonian. 😀

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1152, one of the great romances of history was united in the marriage of Eleanor of Aquataine and Henry Plantagenet, duc d’Anjou. He was only nineteen, she was 30, but that didn’t seem to matter. Apparently, she was almost six months pregnant when they married. They had eight children together, and a year and a half after their marriage, Henry became King of England, and founded a dynasty that would last more than 300 years. Two of their most famous (or infamous, in one case) children were Richard the Lion-Heart and King John, “England’s most despicable king.”

Today’s birthday is Meredith Wilson, born on this date in 1902. Wilson was the composer responsible for my very favorite musical of all time, The Music Man. Here’s a clip of the “Trouble” scene from the movie, featuring Robert Preston as Prof. Harold Hill.

Honorable mentions go to Omar Khayyam, 1048, Matthew Brady, 1822, Frank Capra, 1897, Meredith Wilson, 1902, Perry Como, 1912, Kai Winding, 1922, Brooks Robinson, 1937, Albert Hammond, 1942, Rick Wakeman, 1949, Jim Sundberg, 1951, Michael Tait, 1966, Tina Fey, 1970, and Francesca Battistelli, 1985.


But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD! Psalm 115:18
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 108:3-4
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:5

Father, as I cry out to you this morning, seeking treasures from your Word, I pray that you will be my refuge and my portion. Let sing praises to you for as long as I live, and beyond. Your steadfast love truly is “great above the heavens,” and your faithfulness stretches to the clouds. Lead me, teach me, guide me in your truth and in your salvation.

In Tabletalk Magazine today, there is a quote from Jonathan Edwards:

Resolved never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life or before the last trumpet blew.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Jesus Humbled Himself.” The scripture reading is familiar, from Philippians 2:5-8.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

It is generally accepted that Paul seems to be quoting an early Christian hymn in this passage. In it, Jesus’s example is singled out as the “premier example of Christian life. Christian spiritual formation is growing in con-form-ity to Christ.” Jesus was equal with God, before he became human. However, he chose to not exploit that status. When it says that he did not count this equality as a thing to be grasped, it means that he did not cling to it. “He did not take advantage of his supreme authority for selfish ends.” He “emptied himself;” he gave himself up for death, for the sake of others. This is a prime example of humble obedience. His reward was that he was exalted and give the name that is above every name (v 9). We see from Jesus that status is not gained by “looking out for number one.” Well . . . maybe it is, depending on who that “Number One” is! The book gives us another quote from Andrew Murray’s book Humility.

“The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised and himself forgotten, because in God’s presence he has learned to say with Paul, ‘I be nothing’ (2 Cor. 12:11). He has received the spirit of Jesus, who did not please Himself and did not seek His own honor, as the spirit of his life.”

Yesterday, as we considered 19 Mercies, by Brennan Manning, we spoke of “The God who is love.” The central message was that God’s love never changes, and that our sin does not cause him to stop loving us, just as our obedience does not cause him to start loving us again. Today, mercy number 9 is “God loves you unconditionally.” “You and I are loved by God unconditionally and as we are.” I want to read that again and let it sink in, because I’m not sure that we truly comprehend the weight of that statement.

You and I are loved by God unconditionally and as we are!

God loves me as I am, not as I should be. He loves me “beyond fidelity and infidelity, beyond worthiness and unworthiness.” He loves me “without caution, regret, boundary, limit, breaking point.” Regardless of what I do or what happens,






“If you took the love of all the best mothers and fathers who ever lived (think about that for a moment)–all the goodness, kindness, patience, fidelity, wisdom, tenderness, strength, and love–and united all those virtues in one person, that person would only be a faint shadow of the love and the mercy in the heart of God for you and me.”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:15-16

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion,

and ran

and embraced him

and kissed him.

And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’

And they began to celebrate.

“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'” Luke 15:11-33

“And they began to celebrate.” The son didn’t even get to finish his “apology.” In fact, there is not even any indication that it mattered if the son was sincere! Do you realize this? He was giving a rehearsed speech! The father didn’t care!! His son had come home.

The great spiritual battle begins–and never ends–with the reclaiming of our chosenness. Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love. Our preciousness, uniqueness, and individuality are not given to us by those who meet us in clocktime–our brief chronological existence–but by the One who has chosen us with an everlasting love, a love that existed from all eternity and will last through all eternity.~~Henri J.M. Nouwen

Father, I am staggered by the repeated thoughts of your unconditional love for us; for me. I have spent years resisting the thought of your love for me. Resisting it because, how could you love someone like me? This kind of love does not compute! This kind of love does not exist in my world. How can I fathom such a love? Yet you have spent the last couple of years gently drilling this concept into me. You have tirelessly, unceasingly poured out this love on me while I, bit by bit, began to see the possibility of such love, while still, at the deepest level, continuing to resist it. I’m still a sinful creature, even though redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Having had so many human relationships, how can I fathom the thought that, when I disobey you, you are not angry? How can this be true? How can you not be disappointed in me? (Never mind the fact that it’s difficult impossible to be disappointed when you already know what we are going to do!)

Mark this day, Father. Today, I give up. Today, I embrace this love! With tears, I throw in the proverbial towel. I cannot fight this love. I can no longer resist it. Do I understand it? No, the the exponentially infinite power! I will never fathom it. But I don’t have to understand; I don’t have to grasp it. I just have to believe that it is true, and I do believe it, yes I do. I praise your name for this unconditional love.

I pray that all around me can know this love and experience this love. I pray, along with Paul, in Ephesians, that everyone I know may “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” Haha! How can I “know” something that “surpasses knowledge??” Ah, Lord God! Fill me up with this amazing love.

Let this day be full of your love, Lord, as I go about the tasks that must be done now. And then, I pray for some relaxation as I take care of my beautiful wife, who loves me more than I deserve.

Grace and peace, friends