That Your Joy May Be Complete

Today is Thursday, the 9th of March, 2023, in the second week of Lent.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,737

I slept late, this morning, until almost 9:00 AM. And I woke up in a bit of a fog. I wonder if that is a sign that I should have gotten up at 7:30, when I was awake for a few minutes. Plus I had a really bizarre dream right before I woke up. So I’ll confess right off the bat that I’m not exactly in a good mental place, this morning.

We may or may not be taking S to her Club Metro tonight. If not, I have a recipe ready to cook for dinner.

C woke up not feeling well, so she is working from home again, today. And that’s pretty much all of I’ve got, so I will see if I can wax spiritual for a few minutes, now.


With my whole heart I cry; 
answer me, O LORD. 
I will keep your statutes.
(Psalms 119:145 NRSV)

Can I ever truly say that I have cried out to God with my “whole heart?”

Daily Prayer from

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you as your children, whom you know how to gather. You have brought us into community with you in a wonderful way, in the midst of a world full of unrest, full of misery, and full of sin. For you know your children and lead them into community with you. You comfort them. You give them strength of faith, and confidence in your rulership and your kingdom, which will prevail over everything evil and deathly that still seems to control humankind. But your dominion reaches far, far beyond. You will keep us in your hands. For the sake of those who trust in you, you will send your grace and your help into the whole world. Amen.

but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • that God, in this world of unrest, misery, and sin, leads us into community, where He comforts us and strengthens us
  • for my morning coffee
  • that God expects us to ask Him for things; if we call to Him, He will show us great things (Jeremiah 33:3)
  • that Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, cares for us
  • for the reason Jesus gave His disciples for asking, that they may receive, “that your joy may be complete”

"Ask, and it will be given you; 
search, and you will find; 
knock, and the door will be opened for you. 
For everyone who asks receives, 
and everyone who searches finds, 
and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
(Matthew 7:7-8 NRSV)
To get wisdom is to love oneself; 
to keep understanding is to prosper.
(Proverbs 19:8 NRSV)
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, 
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. 
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
 listen to my cry of supplication. 
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
 for you will answer me.
(Psalms 86:5-7 NRSV)

Restore us, O God of hosts; 
let your face shine, 
that we may be saved.
(Psalms 80:7 NRSV)
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; 
my soul also, which you have rescued.
(Psalms 71:23 NRSV)
Summon your might, O God; 
show your strength, O God, 
as you have done for us before.
(Psalms 68:28 NRSV)
O LORD, what are human beings that you regard them, 
or mortals that you think of them? 
They are like a breath; 
their days are like a passing shadow. 
Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down; 
touch the mountains so that they smoke. 
Make the lightning flash and scatter them; 
send out your arrows and rout them. 
Stretch out your hand from on high;
 set me free and rescue me from the mighty waters, 
from the hand of aliens, 
whose mouths speak lies, 
and whose right hands are false.
(Psalms 144:3-8 NRSV)
Evening and morning and at noon
 I utter my complaint and moan, 
and he will hear my voice.
(Psalms 55:17 NRSV)

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.

"O God,
who before the passion of your only-begotten Son 
revealed his glory upon the holy mountain:
Grant that I,
beholding by faith the light of his countenance,
may be strengthened to bear my cross,
and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ my Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

The LORD is near to all who call on him, 
to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:18 NRSV)

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
(Jeremiah 33:3 NRSV)

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”
(John 16:24 NRSV)

“With my whole heart I cry,” says the psalmist. I’ve already said that I don’t really think I have ever succeeded in crying out to God “with my whole heart.” Because my heart, just as most people’s, I am confident, is divided; divided between many things. My “life verse” speaks of that.

Teach me your way, O LORD, 
that I may walk in your truth; 
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
(Psalms 86:11 NRSV)

I have prayed that verse so many times, in my life. So, has God not answered it? I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. I believe that my heart is less divided today than it was a decade ago. More and more I am finding that I am more satisfied with just the idea of being with God. That subject has come up several times, recently.

There is a “humility of heart,” of which someone in Renovare spoke, recently, that creates this preference, this desire to be with God more than talking about Him like He’s not in the room.

He is, of course, in the room. But how often do we sit around in our small groups and talk about Him as if He isn’t? And how often, as we sit around and talk about Him, do we get it wrong?

For he knows how we were made; 
he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalms 103:14 NRSV)

Several times, in today’s Scriptures, we are admonished to ask. “Ask, and it will be given to you,” said Jesus. I believe that it is implied, in Proverbs 19:8, that we need to be asking for wisdom, especially if we love ourselves. How else do we “get wisdom?”

Psalm 144 echoes the question of Psalm 8.

When I look at your heavens, 
the work of your fingers,
 the moon and the stars that you have established; 
what are human beings that you are mindful of them, 
mortals that you care for them?
(Psalms 8:3-4 NRSV)

What are we, that God cares for us?? We are mere humans; He is infinitely higher and greater than us! Yet, He does care for us, which is why the psalmists are asking this question! They don’t get it. And if I sit and think about it for very long, neither do I.

The God of the Universe, God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and everything in between, cares for us, puny little things that are like the sands of the seashore.

This is a miracle. And this God, who has come to us in human form as Jesus Christ, bids us ask Him for things.

Psalm 145 declares that this God is near to all who call upon Him. That one does add the condition “in truth.” God is near to all who call on Him in truth. What is truth?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 NRSV)

Jesus is the truth. Therefore, God is near to all who call on Him through Jesus. I am, as far as I can tell, in Jesus. Therefore, when I call upon God, He is near me. I can’t explain how God, who is always here, can be any more near me than He already is. But I will tell you something from experience. It certainly feels like He is more near sometimes than others. Right now, as I am typing this, I feel Hes presence so close to me that is almost disarming. Not in a scary way; in a positive way.

All of the “fogginess” that I started this day with seems to have evaporated. Because I have done what His Word tells me to do. I have called upon Him and He is near me, embracing me, strengthening me, helping me.

Jesus told His disciples that they hadn’t asked anything of Him, yet. Or, rather, that they had not asked anything “in my name,” He said. “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”

What better reason for asking than that one?

Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear/revere Your name! Help me, O God, to call out to You with my whole heart. I suppose it is normal for my heart to be divided. There are many things in this world that I like. Most of them are not harmful. Reading, for example. Playing my video games. but when I pray, Father, I need my heart to be fully Yours. When I am meditating or contemplating Your beautiful presence, I need an undivided heart. Help me to do this; help me to accomplish this. Unite my heart, Lord.

And help me to be more confident in my asking. I believe that I am “in Christ,” and, therefore, when I am asking, calling upon You, I am calling upon You “in truth.” But so often I hesitate to ask. I am unsure of my own motives for asking. So make my motivation for asking be that thing that Jesus told His disciples; that my joy may be complete.

You are good, Lord. You are the only true good. Every good and perfect gift that I receive comes from You. I have nothing in my possession that I can call my own. I have nothing to bring to Your table other than my sin, for, as Horatius Bonar said, that is the only thing that I have that I can call my own.

Take my sin, Father; forgive it. Do that thing You said You would do; forget it; cast it as far as the east is from the west; cast it into the bottom of the depths of the sea. And maybe help me to forget that I did those things, too? Memory is a curse, sometimes.

I praise You, my God, for all that You do for all mankind. You make the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Your compassion flows over into those who even refuse to acknowledge Your existence. All praise and glory to You, Father.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, 
with my whole heart, 
and I will glorify your name forever. 
For great is your steadfast love toward me; 
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
(Psalms 86:12-13 NRSV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Yield to Joy

Good morning. It is Sunday, the eighth of May, 2022, in the fourth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,432

It is Mother’s Day, today, so happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are mothers. If you are not a mother and desire to be, I pray that God would make that come to pass for you, that your joy may be full. If you are missing your mother, today, I pray that God would bring you comfort in this. If your relationship with your mother is, at best, strained, or, at worst, estranged, I pray for comfort in that, as well, and, if possible, resolution.

We will have our worship gathering, this morning, after which I will cook steaks and baked potatoes for lunch (actually, the potatoes will be cooking while we are gone), and then C and I will head out for our couples’ massage.

Hopefully, the Rangers will get to play baseball today. The first of two games is scheduled to begin at 12:35 CDT. The second game, of course, is “TBD,” because we don’t know when the first one will end, do we?

I must move on, because I still have to shower and prepare the baked potatoes.


"O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Fourth Sunday of Easter)
The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. 
He rescues them from all their troubles. 
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
 he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 
The righteous person faces many troubles, 
but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. 
For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; 
not one of them is broken!
(Psalms 34:17-20 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for my mother and all that she taught me, through the years; Happy Mother's Day!
2. for my wife and all she has done for our children, through the years; Happy Mother's Day!
3. that the Lord does, indeed, hear us when we cry out to Him, and will rescue us from all our troubles
4. that I don't always have to be first, and can allow others in front of me
5. that I don't always need a crisis in my life to feel alive; I am alive in the presence of God, celebrating the joy of being in His presence, the "pleasures forevermore" of being at His right hand (Psalm 16:11)
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. 
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?"
(Job 38:2-7 NLT)

So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
(Proverbs 23:25 NLT)

Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.
(Song of Solomon 8:7 NLT)

but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
(Luke 2:19 NLT)

Today’s prayer word is “yield.” This is a word that we, as a culture, don’t like very much, these days. Unless, of course, we are pushing toxic masculinity, demanding that women “yield” to their abusive husbands. But that’s a topic for another day.

Andrew Murray is quoted as saying, “Being filled with the Spirit is simply this–having my whole nature yielded to His power.”

The most obvious example of yielding is the traffic sign.

When we see this sign, we are to give the “right of way” to oncoming vehicles from another direction. The most common case of ignoring these signs occurs when one is exiting the freeway. People already on the access road are normally supposed to yield the right of way to those coming off the freeway. I would opine that the majority of drivers, at least in DFW, ignore this.

But I’m not really here to talk about traffic. This is a spiritual devotional blog. Humanity, in general (and again, I’m almost always speaking in terms of Western culture), doesn’t like to “yield” to anyone. This became so very obvious in the thick of the Covid pandemic, as the simple act of wearing a mask became a hot-bed of political debate, as people (even Christians!) screamed about their “rights” being taken away.

When God commands that we love one another, we must yield. Jesus, in one of His teachings (not exactly a parable, because He wasn’t telling a story, but, rather simply illustrating a scenario) . . . well, I’ll let Him tell you.

“When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! 
“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:8-11 NLT)

This is what yielding looks like. This is what loving one another looks like. I attempt to do this when I drive (sorry, but I’m back in traffic again). I almost always drive with at least two to three car spaces between me and the car in front of me. I am more than happy to let someone else be in front of me.

But we not only have to yield to each other, as we obey God’s command to love one another. We must also yield to God. This is also not easy. We have our own desires, which may or may not be bad, inherently. But our timing and God’s timing don’t always coincide. Everything works better when we yield to the Lord, allowing Him to work His good pleasure in us, which also allows us to do His will and bring Him glory.

There’s a quote, made famous by Chicago Bears running back Gayle Sayers: “The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third.”

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, I thank You that You have given me this spirit that is not concerned with being first. I live in a country of “me-first,” and sadly a large number of Your children have fallen into that trap. I don’t want to be first (I mean, sure, it’s nice, but it is not the desire of my heart, to the detriment of others). I still struggle, sometimes, because I’m still human, and dwell in this mortal coil. So I ask You to help me, always, continue to be yielding, both to my fellow humans, and, more importantly, to You, as You direct me through this life. I am far from perfect, in this, just as I am far from perfect in all areas of life. So help me to yield to Your Spirit in all things.

Have you ever known anyone who loved trouble? I believe I have, as I look back on my life. I don’t. No worries there. Trouble is not my friend. Even the smallest of troubles (for example, I recently had an issue where my PC would not go to “sleep” on its own, after a period of activity) has the potential of causing me great anxiety.

Eugene Peterson writes of a statement a friend of his made a number of years ago. “Do you know something? I have just realized that I like being in trouble. I am more myself when I am in trouble. I do things better.”

Peterson was convinced that many people share that preference. I believe I agree with him. I once had a manager who created emergencies so that he could then be the hero and solve them. I’m not joking about that.

But if you think about it, trouble does stimulate some of us to “be our best.” “Trouble forces us to gather our energy.” We might be standing around bored, not knowing what to do, when a crisis arises, and “suddenly we are alert and excited–alive.”

(Not me. I’m cowering in a corner in a fetal position.)

The Psalms tell us, many times, that God is an “ever-present help in time of trouble,” and that He rescues the righteous from all of his troubles. He never promises that we won’t have trouble. Who doesn’t remember the old classic, “I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden,” by Joe South?

God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is in the business of helping, healing, and delivering. But Peterson, as a pastor, wondered, what about those in between times, when most of the flock doesn’t need helping, healing, or delivering? “Maybe if I do a really good job on Sundays teaching you the moral discipline so that you will stay out of trouble, I won’t have to work so hard during the week! Or is there something else?”

Then, he says, “Many people find a decent, comfortable life like that intolerable, so they create trouble just to keep the action going.” Oddly enough, during his research, Peterson discovered that, during the Nazi bombing of London in WWII, “nearly all of the citizens’ psychological neuroses disappeared. People didn’t have time to be emotionally disturbed: they were in deadly trouble, and they had to do something about it.”

Spiritually, it may be true that we are always in crisis, because we know not the hour of our death. But there is more to life than dealing with crises. Peterson asks the question, “How do we live at our best when we don’t have to?”

And then the reading stops! He doesn’t answer the question!!

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

I’m no Eugene Peterson, that’s for sure, but my answer to that question revolves around the word “joy.” I take great comfort in passages of Scripture like Psalm 16:11.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
(Psalms 16:11 NLT)

I believe that when we learn to live in Christ, embracing this joy of His presence and the pleasures of living with Him, this tendency toward needing crises goes away. This is where contemplation and meditation come into play, as well as the truth of yesterday’s Peterson reading, that spoke of reading the Bible “devoutly,” rather than just academically or superstitiously. When we truly spend time pondering the Word of God, we begin to live and walk in that sense of joy and pleasure, just to be in His presence. It is then that the need for trouble fades; it is then when we truly feel alive, no matter what is happening around us.

Father, I praise You for Your Word, once again. I thank You for that joy that comes from simply being in Your presence, and the pleasure derived from Your presence, as well. I think there are some who are uncomfortable with the idea of getting “pleasure” from You, but I’m not. You have led me down this joyful path, in recent years, and I thank You for this.

I pray for any people who feel that they must be in trouble or have a crisis to truly feel alive. I pray that they might learn to know joy and pleasure, just from being in Your presence.

As we gather to worship You, this morning, no matter where we may be, I pray that Your people would embrace joy and love one another. May we all learn to yield to each other and to You, as we worship You today, and each day. All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
(Psalms 9:2 NLT)

The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
(Psalms 28:7 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

Learning To Live

Today is Tuesday, the fourteenth of September, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,196

Eight more days until the beginning of Autumn!

We wound up having to get a new Keurig, yesterday. We replaced the pod holder, because the bottom needle had broken off of the existing one, but that didn’t fix the problem, as it only worked for a few cups. We actually downgraded ours, though, and didn’t spend quite as much. We got a “K-Select” for ninety-nine dollars. It’s basic. Power switch, a “strong” button, and four cup size buttons. No screen display or clock. C was concerned, at first, because she likes having the coffee maker on when she gets up (whenever she returns to her “normal” routine), but I convinced her that it only takes, at the absolute longest, three minutes to warm up when you turn it on. I think it’s more like two. My first cup, this morning, tastes as good as the ones that the more expensive model made.

Today is my late day. I work from 11:15-8:15. The first half of the day will be spent in shelving, and the second half in the computer center, so I will be going through the closing routine in the CC. Yesterday was probably the most challenging day I’ve had at the circulation desk. I felt less than adequate a few times, but the assistant librarian assured me that I was okay, acknowledging that is so much to learn, and there are a lot of circumstances that aren’t going to come up but once in a blue moon, so remembering those every time is unlikely. She also encouraged me in that there is always someone on hand who can answer my questions. It wasn’t that I made any mistakes, at least that I know of, but it seemed like I needed more help than usual.

It’s mostly me, I know. I want to be perfect, so when I’m not (which is, of course, always), it discourages me. All that being said, it is still the best job I’ve ever had, so it wasn’t that discouraging. I also have to take note of the fact that one lady who has been working there for twenty-four years still has to go ask questions of the manager and assistant librarians.

We apparently got a good, strong rain, yesterday at the house. I have no idea if it rained at the library, as I was inside the whole time, and never heard any rainy sounds. There is a twenty-one percent chance of more today, with a projected high of only eighty-eight degrees.

Today is Gobstopper Day, fascinating, since yesterday was Roald Dahl Day. Of course, jawbreakers have been around much longer than the Gobstopper brand, which was introduced by Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’m a fan of them, myself. One of those things can last for quite a while, in your mouth. Unless, of course, you start chewing, like the owl in the Tootsie Pop commercial.

The word for today is camion. Not real exciting, unless you’re into trucks and stuff. It’s “a truck, as for military supplies.”‘

“It was a wicked, blowy day, and I crept into a wrecked ‘camion‘ and sheltered there, and ate some lunch and slept a little.” (My War Experiences in Two Continents, by Sarah MacNaughton)

Today’s quote is from Honore de Balzac, French Novelist. “It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”

Significant birthdays on September fourteenth:

Margaret Sanger, American nurse and early feminist, 1879-1966
Clayton Moore, American actor (The Lone Ranger), 1914-1999
Walter Koenig, American actor (Chekov - Star Trek), 1936 (85)
Walter Koenig as Chekov
Joey Heatherton, American dancer & actress, 1944 (77)
Sam Neill, New Zealand actor (Jurassic Park), 1947 (74)
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant

Ed King, American rock guitarist, bass player, and songwriter (Strawberry Alarm Clock, Lynyrd Skynyrd), 1949-2018

Ed King, playing guitar on the left in the gold suit
Barry Cowsill, American bassist (The Cowsills), 1954-2005
Amy Winehouse, British singer/songwriter, 1983-2011


Distances, by S. Michaels, LightWriters

Between here
and there we
learn to live
©2021 S. Michaels
(Retro Haiku/3-3-3)

Nine simple syllables that nail, so well, the whole purpose of this life . . . learning to live as a citizen of an eternal kingdom, a “country of life.”

I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.
(Psalms 138:2 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Your unfailing love and faithfulness; I cannot express enough gratitude for these
2. for Your great and precious promises, backed by "all the honor of Your Name"
3. that You are not on any human's side, but on Your side, acting and speaking for the glory of Your great Name
4. that Your Name is near to all people, regardless of nation, tribe, race, sex, or class
5. that You have drawn me into a place where my heart's desire is to sing Your praises forever

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



Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.
(Psalms 148:13 ESV)

I pause, briefly, during the quiet moment, to praise Him for His unfailing love and faithfulness. Simply praying back the words of Psalm 138:2 provides a sense of well-being that is indescribable. Joy abounds.


For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A psalm of Asaph. A song.

We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.

You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity.
When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.
To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.'”

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob,
who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”
(Psalms 75:1-7, 9-10 NIV)


Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
(Joshua 5:13-15 NIV)


As I continue to rest in the presence of the Lord, I linger over these passages a little longer, finding fuel for my life, for my day, that I might walk in His presence and learn to live as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

The Name of the Lord is near; this is always true, for any person, regardless of who they are, where they are, or even what they believe. The deepest, darkest soul of the most bitter atheist would find that the Name of the Lord is near, would they simply open their eyes to see.

When we question God, “How long?” He answers, “I choose the appointed time.” When we try to exalt ourselves, arrogantly, He declares, “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.”

And then verse 9, which I have copied and pasted into an image, and will say, along with Asaph, “As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.”

The passage from Joshua brings home something that is needed for us all to understand, especially those who elevate themselves, arrogantly, to proclaim that God is “on their side.” When Joshua saw this “angel” (Matthew Henry believes that this “man” was actually the Son of God), he asked Him, are you on our side or our enemy’s side?

The answer is very important. “Neither.”

God is not on any human’s side. God is on God’s side. And I will, again, declare this forever, that I will sing praises to Him, and do my dead-level best to be on HIS side.

Father, thank You for these stories that show us Your truth, that You are not on my side, or my enemy’s side, but You are on the side of the Holy Trinity. I pray that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will always stand on Your side. When I stray, when I begin believing, foolishly, that I know better, smack me up side the head until I think straight. Don’t let me stray from Your path, from Your promises, from the glory of Your great Name. Thank You for the songs that You put on my lips, to sing Your praises forever. I look forward, with great anticipation, to the day when I can sing Your praises to Your face.

Lord, help me to follow Your calling into my neighborhood and work place, that I might live a life that shows Your great love to everyone with whom I come in contact. I pray for the peace and well-being of my community, both faith and physical. I pray, specifically, today, for all first responders and people who put their lives on the line, daily, for our protection.

"Sovereign God,
I want to claim You for my cause,
but You will not be made a mascot for my squad;
You call me to Your kingdom.
Rule me by Your Word and Spirit so that more and more I may stand on the holy ground of obedience to You.
In the name of Christ,


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 ESV)

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
(Mark 10:13-16 ESV)

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
(Luke 18:16-17 ESV)

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
(Hebrews 13:1-3 ESV)

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
(Mark 1:35 ESV)

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”
(Mark 10:29-30 ESV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:1-5 ESV)

Father, prune me until there is nothing left that does not love You the way a child loves.

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!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Sing, Sing, Sing, Sing. And Sing.

Today is Tuesday, the seventeenth of August, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life today!

Day 23,168

Only two more days until S’s birthday. The presents still aren’t wrapped. But they’re here.

And today’s the day that I begin my new job as a library aide at the Hurst Library. I am very excited, and somewhat nervous about it. We have our Tuesday alarm set for 6:45 because C works from home on Tuesdays, but I was awake at 5:30, and, even though I tried going back to sleep, I suddenly started thinking about needing something to take notes on, you know, like a notebook. That made me panic and think about making a quick trip to the store to get a notebook. (Not at 5:30, obviously, but later in the morning . . . I’m not supposed to be at work until 11:15.) Then I remembered . . . I have an iPad, with an iPencil, and Evernote on the iPad. Problem solved. But then I started thinking that I needed to make sure that the iPad is charged up before I leave.

No going back to sleep for me, thank you very much.

Anyway, I got all my forms filled out, yesterday. I have to say, though, that they have changed the W-4 forms since I last filled one out, and they are a little more complicated. C and I have also done some math (okay, C did the math, I just listened) and have determined that, at least for the remainder of 2021, it will be cheaper for us, out of pocket, for me to take advantage of the COBRA option, concerning health insurance. COBRA stands for “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.” Which is government-speak for a program that allows you to continue on your previous company’s health care plan, but you pay the difference of what your company was paying for you.

If C adds me to her plan at work, her out of pocket maximum (which she has already met for the year) would instantly more than double. Since she is having back surgery on September 2, this would increase our out of pocket expenses by over $3000. If we are reading things correctly (I still have not received my COBRA information from CEVA, yet), it will cost me $2700 and some change for the rest of 2021 to stay with CIGNA, while it would cost us over $3600 if we switch to C’s insurance. Once the enrolment period opens back up in November, we can add me to hers for 2022.

We also learned, last night, that I’m not even eligible for Medicare until 65. I wasn’t planning to try to get on Medicare, yet, anyway.

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day. We haven’t had a fully black cat since Screamer, but Luna is mostly black.

Or at least half black.

The word for today is minatory. This means, simply, “menacing; threatening.”

Today’s quote is from Marlene Dietrich: “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”

And now for the birthdays:

1786 Davy Crockett, American frontiersman, adventurer and politician, born in Greene County, Tennessee (d. 1836)
1786 Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, mother of Queen Victoria, born in Coburg, Holy Roman Empire (d. 1861)
1838 Laura de Force Gordon, California lawyer, a prominent suffragette, and 1st woman to run a daily newspaper in the US (Stockton Daily Leader, 1874), born in North East, Pennsylvania (d. 1907)
1882 Samuel Goldwyn [Shmuel Gelbfisz], Jewish Polish American movie producer (MGM), born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 1974)
1893 Mae West, American actress and singer (She Done him Wrong), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1980)
1913 Mark Felt, American FBI official and Watergate secret informant known as "Deep Throat", born in Twin Falls, Idaho (d. 2008)
1920 Maureen O'Hara [FitzSimons], Irish actress and singer (Miracle on 34th St, The Quiet Man), Ranelagh, County Dublin (d. 2015)
1933 Glenn Corbett [Glen Edwin Rothenburg], American actor (Route 66, Shenandoah), born in El Monte, California (d. 1993)
1933 Mark Dinning, American pop singer (Teen Angel), born in Manchester, Oklahoma (d. 1986)
1941 Boog Powell, American baseball player (AL MVP 1970), born in Lakeland, Florida
1943 Robert De Niro, American actor (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), born in NYC, New York
1944 Larry Ellison, American businessman (billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation), born in Manhattan, New York
1947 Gary Talley, American rock guitarist (Box Tops), born in Memphis, Tennessee
1949 Sib Hashian, American rock drummer (Boston), born in Boston, Massachusetts
1953 Kevin Rowlands, British rock vocalist (Dexy's Midnight Runners-Come on Eileen), born in Wednesfield, England
1954 Eric Johnson, American guitarist, born in Austin, Texas
1955 Richard Hilton, American heir, father of Paris and Nicky Hilton, born in Los Angeles, California
1958 Belinda Carlisle, American singer (Go-Gos, Heaven on Earth), born in Hollywood, California
1959 David Koresh, American cult leader (Branch Davidians sect), born in Houston, Texas (d. 1993)
1960 Sean Penn, American actor (Mystic River, Milk), born in Santa Monica, California
1967 Kevin Max, American singer (dc talk), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan
1968 Helen McCrory, English actress (The Queen, Peaky Blinders), born in London (d. 2021)
1969 Donald E Wahlberg Jr, American rocker (New Kids-Hangin' Tough), born in Boston, Massachusetts
1983 Dustin Pedroia, American baseball player (Boston Red Sox), born in Woodland, California
Belinda Carlisle is the lead singer. We’re the same age!
Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk, sings a Mark Heard song
One of the best second basemen ever


Ways of our God, by Daryl Madden

Of questions to ponder
No answer to find
The ways of our God
Are beyond our mind

When we go to prayer
A glimpse that You show
A taste of Your nature
For us to know

In depths of our dwelling
Your blessings, outpour
And in the next moment
You gift even more

In heights of our joy
No limit above
As the universe shows
No end to Your love

For how do you measure?
Each moment of time
Goes to eternity

Come, everyone!
Clap your hands!
Shout to God with joyful praise!
For the LORD Most High is awesome.
He is the great King of all the earth.
(Psalms 47:1-2 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the new job beginning today;
2. that there is no end to Your steadfast love;
3. for the limitless blessings You pour out;
4. for the reasons we have to sing Your praises;
5. that we have everything we need for a godly life.

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



Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
(Psalms 106:1 ESV)

As I pause, briefly, during this quiet moment, I consider Your ways, and the truth that they are beyond the comprehension of our minds. May You direct my meditations, this morning.


For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
(Psalms 47:1-7 NIV)


When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”
After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
(Exodus 13:17-22 NIV)


As I read these passages again, slowly lingering, I look for words or phrases that catch my eye or move my heart. I meditate over these and pray my thoughts back to the Lord as I rest in His presence.

There are a couple of words that recur in the psalm. The first is “joy.” I see it twice, once in verse 1, “cries of joy,” and again in verse 5, where it says that God has ascended, “amid shouts of joy.” The first verse is a call for us, for all the nations, to shout to God with those cries of joy.

What is joy, again? It is a pervasive sense of well-being, as defined by Dallas Willard. And when we let lose those shouts of joy, God rises up, He ascends in our midst.

The other word that I see recurring in this psalm is “sing.” Four times, this word is repeated in verse 6, and each time, it is paired with “praises.”

"Sing praises to God,
sing praises;
sing praises to our King,
sing praises."

Then “sing” is repeated once again in verse 7: “For God is King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.”

I have often been convicted, in my spirit, that I do not sing enough; we do not sing enough. It gets worse when we have to have our gatherings over remote access like Zoom. Trying to sing together over Zoom just doesn’t work. There are all kinds of timing issues involved. So it is always good when we are together and we can sing together.

But we don’t just sing together, even though that is the general idea, I think, in these admonitions. We can sing when we are alone, too. Who among us has not belted out our favorite songs, singing along with the radio, caring nothing about who else might be watching as we drive along?

And doesn’t singing, especially singing praises to God, produce more joy?

An idea that speaks to me in the Exodus passage is the idea of presence. While the word, itself, does not appear in the passage, it is indicated by the pillars of cloud and fire. The cloud was their guidance by day, and the fire, by night. These were physical manifestations of the presence of the Lord.

What a comfort that must have been to the Israelites! In our modern times, we must rely on other means to be assured of the presence of God. Yet, by faith, through His grace and the Holy Spirit, we have that assurance.

We also have His “very great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4), that allow us to “participate in the divine nature.” This comes right after the verse that tells us that God has provided everything we need, for “a godly life.” I just got goosebumps reading that verse again.

I have everything I need. Therefore, my default attitude should be singing praises and crying out with shouts of joy to the Lord!

Father, I praise You for the truth that You have provided everything we need for our godly lives, through Your very great and precious promises! This gives us ample reason to praise You in song, and to shout Your praises in joy! Remind us, daily, nay, hourly to do this, Father, that we may not forget. While Israel had the cloud and fire, we have those promises, along with the presence of Your Holy Spirit, who dwells within us. Thank You, Lord!

Lord, help us to hear Your calling to us to serve You and follow Christ into our neighborhoods and work places. May we work together for the peace and well-being of our communities. I also pray, specifically, this morning, for those who work in the health care industry, especially in medicine.

"Ever present God,
I badly want a clear sense of your guiding presence with me.
Help me understand that you have given me something even better than the pillar of cloud and fire -
you have given the Holy Spirit,
your living light and guiding presence.
Teach me how to listen and be led by your Spirit.


You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
(Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
(Psalms 24:3-6 ESV)

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:6 ESV)

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 ESV)

Father, may I have Your wisdom today, seeking Your presence, Your face, and acknowledging You in all my ways.

I pray for our world, today. The pandemic rages on, and people have grown complacent about it, especially in my country. Please heal us, Lord, and take this plague from our midst. Turn our attention toward You again, and away from politics and politicians. Even Your own people, those who claim to follow Jesus, have slipped into this trap, Lord. We care little for those around us and have embraced a form of “patriotism” that has become idolatry. Heal Your Church, Father. Turn our eyes toward Jesus, and Him alone. May we look full in His wonderful, beautiful face, so that the things of earth will grow strangely dim.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Ascension Day

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

Peace be with you!

Day 23,072

Today, the Church recognizes Ascension Day, the day Jesus ascended into heaven, in the presence of His disciples.

Seven days until our Glen Rose trip!

Today is “Friday” for me, because I’m taking PTO tomorrow. It’s the one-year anniversary of S’s cat, Honey, passing away, and I just thought I would take the day off to be around for her.

We have hot water! C found someone that could come fix it yesterday evening, and they had it fixed and were gone before I got home from work. So I had a hot shower before going to bed, last night. And there’s a little less anxiety in my life, this morning. Actually, the hot water heater problem wasn’t causing that much anxiety. But I won’t deny that there was a little bit, and now that is resolved.


"I cannot produce joy.
I cannot produce peace.
I cannot produce love.

This doesn't mean I have no hope --
just no hope in myself.
Transferring the hope to our Lord --
these are gifts from our Father.

I can turn to God.
I can place my requests at Jesus' feet.
I can submit my will.
I can acknowledge and be grateful for these gifts.

And I can share
his joy,
his peace,
his love,
and his hope."
(Daryl Madden, On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • for joy, peace, love, and hope, all of which I get from You
  • for Your faithful love that endures forever, even (and especially) when I turn my face away from You and toward my problems
  • for singing and music
  • for the ascension of Jesus Christ
  • for the coming of the Holy Spirit

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



God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
(Psalms 47:5-7 NIV)

I pause, briefly, in this quiet moment, to reflect on joy, peace, love, and hope.


May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, my soul. Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 104:31-35 NIV)


After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:3-11 NIV)


As I remind myself that I am in the presence of God, I read these passages slowly, lingering on words and phrases phrases that catch my attention. I pray these, along with other things in my life, back to God.

Do I believe that the Lord still rejoices in His works? Why wouldn’t He? I mean, sure His major work, us, has truly fouled things up in this world. But there is still a lot of beauty to behold, and still a lot of good, even in the midst of mankind, the primary “fouler-upper.”

My job, here, is to sing. To sing to the Lord all my life, to sing praises to Him as long as I live. I’ve been working on that a little bit more, lately, as I am fully persuaded that these psalms and Scriptures are not coming into my days by accident. The Holy Spirit is inviting me to sing! So I’m trying to sing more. Hopefully, perhaps I will “sing a new song,” eventually.

I’m also working on the meditation piece a little more, too, hoping that my meditations will be pleasing to Him, as the Psalms consistently hope. This morning meditation is a good start, and I fall asleep meditating on His Word, at night. But there are quite a few hours between those two events, and, truthfully, meditation is lost during a lot of that.

As mentioned yesterday, and above, today is Ascension Day, in the Church. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never even heard of this until I was an “adult,” if that’s what you want to call someone in college. In latter years, I have grown to embrace the various portions of the Church calendar, finding great joy and fulfillment in recognizing some of the special days, especially some of the more-neglected ones, like today.

Why is Ascension Day important? For one thing, had Jesus not Ascended, the Holy Spirit would not have come down. He had to go up so the Spirit could come down. Why? Heck if I know. I’m not God. I just know that this is what Scripture seems to indicate.

So Jesus reigns on high, from what I understand, still in bodily form, maybe even with holes in his hands and side. He sits “at the right hand of the Father,” waiting for that time when He will be sent back to collect His brothers and sisters and take them to the mansions that He is preparing for us.

In the meantime, the Holy Spirit is here, dwelling within each of us, empowering and enabling us to do the ministry that He has given to each of us, according to Ephesians 2:10. What does Acts 1:8 say? We will receive POWER! “Power, power, wonder-working power.” And that’s exactly what those first disciples did in the days and years following that great Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts.

Is it possible for us to do some of those same powerful works? I would like to think it is, and I ponder why we seem unable to do so.

Father, as I walk through this day, may my meditations be pleasing to You. May I sing, from the depths of my soul, let me sing! Let me sing; make me sing; sing for all the days of the rest of my life, however long that may be. And, should it be Your will, give me a new song to sing! And then, Father, empower us! May Your Holy Spirit have His way with and in us! Today and every day, show us Your power anew. Show us Your mighty works; perhaps we have become too complacent and too comfortable in things. Dare I ask for You to shake us up a little?

Most High God,
like the disciples,
I'm left staring at the sky,
mouth wide open in wonder to think that someone like me--
a real human being--
now sits at your right hand,
in glory.
In his physical absence,
comfort me with the knowledge that Jesus has ascended for my good,
governing all things from the heavenly throne.
(Heidelberg Catechism 46)


Go and make disciples of all nations. . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
(Psalms 147:3 NIV)

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
(Psalms 34:17-19 NIV)

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV)

Lord, I pray for those who are grieving, today, both for recent loss, and for loss from either the recent or distant past. Everyone has experienced loss of some kind. May You bind the wounds of the brokenhearted today, and ease their grieving hearts. Help us all to grieve in a healthy way, promoting healing to our hearts. May we not stifle our emotions, but embrace them and walk in them, lifting them all up to You in the process.

Lord, I pray, today, for a deeper grasp and understanding of the Gospel. May it permeate every inch of my being, today, and every day. May my experience as an adopted son of Yours be full, today; may I realize every benefit of being Your son. Make my prayer life more passionate, Father, as I pray for people daily. May my love for those for whom I pray be limitless.

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 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)

Grace and peace, friends!

Calm, Peace, Completeness, and Joy

Today is Monday, October 5, 2020. Peace be with you!

Day 22,852

SIX DAYS until our Broken Bow vacation!

Seven days until our 35th wedding anniversary!

I neglected to mention that yesterday was the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the most famous of the saints. Oh, well. I also neglected to mention that we are now in the 27th week of Ordinary Time. What is “ordinary time,” you ask? It’s the time of the year between Pentecost and Advent, that falls out side of the major “seasons” of Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter.

Yesterday was a marvelous day. After our worship gathering, which went well, C and I cooked our Pecan-crusted Buttermilk Chicken again, which was delicious. We have enough left over for her and I to take for lunch today, as well. Then, C decided she wanted to go for a walk. It was very nice outside, and I decided to join her. So I was able to see the trails on which she likes to walk. She says it’s about three miles. I don’t know about that, but I know I had over eleven thousand steps by the time it was all over. And I made it just fine, which I would not have been able to do, say, back in February.

What a difference 76 pounds makes. That’s more than four regulation sixteen-pound bowling balls.

After the walk, we both headed to our different places in the house to chill and relax for a few hours before bedtime.

We also solidified our plans for this coming Friday, as we plan to go to Mineral Wells to visit my mother, since we are off work that day. I will, no doubt, also make a trip to the Crazy Water store. I still have two full boxes, but I will take advantage of being there, because it’s quite expensive to have it shipped.


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(The Prayer of St. Francis)

Scriptures and Prayers from The Divine Hours

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
(Psalms 95:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the beginning of a truncated work week
  2. For whatever opportunities to serve that will surface this week (may I be faithful to recognize and act on them)
  3. That You have calmed my soul and given me peace
  4. That You will be faithful to complete the work that You have begun in me (Philippians 1:6)
  5. For the joy that You give me

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
(Psalms 84:8 ESV)

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation—
For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.
(Psalms 18:46, 48 ESV)

The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
(Psalms 115:16 ESV)

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:2-12 ESV)

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalms 131:1-3 ESV)

Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.
(Beliefnet, Grant Us Your Salvation)

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.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
"Heavenly Father, Shepherd of Your people,
I thank You for Your servant Francis,
who was faithful in the care and nurture of Your flock;
And I pray that,
following his example and the teaching of his holy life,
I may by Your grace grow into the stature
of the fullness of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.
(The Divine Hours, Concluding Prayers of the Church)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:3-11 ESV)

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 NLT)

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

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

This will be brief (maybe). There are three things that I have noticed in today’s selections of Scripture.

First is that sense of calm and peace that God has given my soul. There is much turmoil outside. Much of it is emotional, but there is so much uncertainty in our nation and in our world, right now. But, as the psalmist says in Psalm 131, my soul is calmed and quieted, “like a weaned child with its mother.”

Second is the promise that God will complete what He has started. This is from Philippians 1. There’s an old song that The Imperials sang that goes, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us; He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown; He didn’t build His home in us to move away; He didn’t lift us up to let us down.”

I have believed, for many years, that I will continue to walk this planet until God is finished with me. He is sovereign, in total control, and I will complete whatever tasks that He has for me before I go Home.

Third, and finally, joy. Joy is tricky. I know I’ve said this before, but joy is not the same thing as happiness. People get those confused. My favorite definition of joy is one given us by Dallas Willard.

Joy is not the mere sensation of pleasure — it is a pervasive, constant, and unending sense of well-being that flows from vision, peace, righteousness, and hope. True joy is robust — even including outright hilarity! We can experience the joy of being in God’s kingdom even in the midst of suffering and loss.”

That’s the long version. The shorter, more succinct, version simply says that joy is a “pervasive sense of well-being.”

And I agree with that definition. Everything is going to be alright. It truly is. Because, in the Kingdom of God, things are far better than I could ever imagine. Another “Willard-ism.”

So there it is. I am calm. I have peace. I have confidence that God will complete what He started in me. And I have joy.

I pray the same for all who stumble into this blog today.

Father, thank You for the joy, peace, calm, and sense of purpose that You have granted me, during this time. I pray for this purpose, that You might fully reveal it to me. I believe that it has begun. I’m not yet sure what it will ultimately look like, but I have a vision . . . a vision of some kind of “love revolution.” I don’t know how far-reaching one 62-year-old man can be. But I do know that You can reach for ever. So use, me Lord, however You want to. Help me start a love revolution.

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 peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:15-17 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Sunday, December 15, 2019. Peace be with you!!

Day 22,557

Ten days until Christmas!!

The third week of Advent!

today is Cat Herders Day. “You’ve probably heard the saying that something is as impossible as “herding cats”, used in reference to a seemingly futile or difficult task. Granted, if you have actually attempted to literally herd a bunch of cats for some reason or the other, you would know exactly how impossible this task actually is.

“All of that said, as far as we know, there’s no one out there who’s actually a professional cat herder. If there were, this day would actually be for those folks. This is a day for everyone who has to face the frustration of trying to manage the unmanageable, anyone whose day to day life involves insurmountable tasks.”

The Exchange Church is “scattered,” this morning. The group that I am leading will be meeting at 7117 Payte Lane in Fort Worth (76182) at 10:15. We meet together to devote ourselves to the Apostles’ teachings, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. We will be starting at 10:15. Come join us if you are in the area!

C and I had a most wonderful time at the USBC Christmas Party, last night. The dinner was good, but the best part was the people. And the karaoke room. That was the biggest hit of the whole evening. The highlights of the evening were the last three karaoke songs. The IT departments big boss got up and did “Bust A Move,” after which most of the IT department (and me) did “Friends in Low Places.” Then a smaller group decided to do “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which everyone else joined with, as well. We had to stop the karaoke because it was time for the final door prizes. Sadly, C did not win any door prizes, this year. But we had such a good time. I was even able to dance a couple of dances with C, one being when they played “our song,” “Thinking Out Loud.”

Today, C has the ladies’ “Cookie Exchange” after our worship time. Not sure what I will have for lunch. She made teacakes for the party. They are delicious! And yes, there are enough left for the party!

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! 
I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Psalm 146.1-2

Today I am grateful:
1. For another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. For the great time we had at the company Christmas party last night.
3. For the “pervasive sense of well-being” we call joy.
4. That joy, unlike happiness, is not dependent on circumstances.
5. For the announcement of the angels in Luke 2.10, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy . . .”

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 
Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies! 
Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.

Psalm 141.3-5
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115.1
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19.14
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2.33-35
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13

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.

“Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2.10-11
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 
let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Psalm 96.11-13
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 12.6
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15.13
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4.4
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Psalm 47.1
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
Psalm 92.4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
James 1.2

Perhaps you have discerned what the topic of the day is.

Perhaps the holiday season brings you sadness, as it does so many people. But we need to understand the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is typically dependent on our circumstances. I was happy that I got a promotion and raise at work. I was happy at the Christmas party last night. I am not happy when the Internet breaks. I am not happy when technology (or anything else, for that matter) does not work the way it is supposed to.

My happiness is dependent on the circumstance at hand. Sometimes I can make myself unhappy just by worrying about things that may or may not happen.

But joy is different. My favorite definition of joy comes from Dallas Willard. He calls joy a “pervasive sense of well-being.” In other words, no matter what circumstances are making me unhappy at any given moment, everything is going to be fine. In fact, says Dallas Willard, when we are walking in joy, “this world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”

When I am thinking rightly, there is not an event that can occur that can take away my joy.

Therefore, this Christmas season, be joyful. Full of joy. It’s okay to be sad. You can be sad and joyful at the same time. And we should be sad if we are remembering loved ones that are not with us during this season. But we can still experience joy in the midst of that sadness, because the Lord is here, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us. So Shout and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs from years gone by.

Father, thank you for joy. I praise you for the truth that, no matter what is happening in my life, I can experience a pervasive sense of well-being because of you, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thank you, God.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Joy of the Lord

Today is Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Day 21,999. Tomorrow’s a significant day!!

12 days until Father’s Day.

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” ~ E.B. White (Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web), 1899-1985, BrainyQuote

“Dance like it hurts,
Love like you need money,
Work when people are watching.”
Scott Adams (Dilbert), The Quotations Page

The word for today is schlimazel, a noun which means, “an inept, bungling person who suffers from unremitting bad luck.” Can you guess where is the only place I’ve ever heard that word?

The back/leg pain is close to the same, this morning, but perhaps slightly better. I seem to have slept better, last night, but still struggle to be able to sleep flat on my back or on my left side. Currently, as I sit in this chair, typing, there is no pain, though. I made it through work okay, yesterday, but every time I had to walk any great distance or stand for more than a couple of minutes, it began to hurt. It would probably be helpful to stay at home for a day, but I’m not going to do that. C is going to the Y tonight, but, barring a miracle (which I certainly believe in), I will not.

There were no baseball games yesterday. Okay, that’s not 100% true, just none that I care about. However, the Yankees split a double header with Detroit, so the Sox are officially in first place by one game, according to the standings.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 
He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, 
the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, 
which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 
saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.” 
When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, 
wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, 
he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, 
saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”

Psalm 105:7-15

Comforting words in this passage, “He remembers his covenant forever.” The Lord does not forget his promises, nor does he fail to keep them. Sometimes, I believe, we misrepresent his promises, especially when we attempt to appropriate ones that were specifically made to Israel. But that’s not a topic for today’s devotion.

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. 
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11-12
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
Ecclesiastes 9:7

The old Dairy Queen commercials used to paraphrase Ecclesiastes: “Eat, drink, and be merry!”

Dallas Willard defines “joy” as “a pervasive sense of well-being.” Joy has nothing to do with circumstances. In fact, joy is present in spite of circumstances, many times. When the joy of the Lord is our strength, nothing can phase us. Sure, we might not be “happy,” but we can be joyful without being happy. Did you know that?

Let us sing for joy, because we take refuge in the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Thank you, Father, for joy. Thank you for constantly reminding me that I can your joy in my life, regardless of my circumstances. Give me that pervasive sense of well-being today. Nothing can harm me, even if my leg hurts when I walk. I can still be joyful. And in your joy, in your strength, this world is a perfectly safe place for me to be. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, and I shall dwell in your house forever.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Better Than You Can Ever Imagine

Today is Friday, May 5, 2017.


Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 
  who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 

Psalm 66:8-9
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 17:7-8
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.

Psalm 118:25-26
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

(From Solid Joys)

In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 
2 Corinthians 7:4

In today’s reading, John Piper gives us seven sources of joy.

1. It is taught by Jesus. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23) “Troubles for Jesus compound your interest in heaven–which lasts a lot longer than earth.”

2. It comes from the Holy Spirit, not from our own efforts, imagination, or even family influences. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

3. It comes from being a part of the Kingdom of God. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

4. It comes through faith, which is believing God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith. (Philippians 1:25)

5. It comes from “seeing and knowing Jesus as Lord.” Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

6. It comes when fellow believers work together to help us focus on joy, rather than “deceitful circumstances.” Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

7. It comes from tribulation. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Can we be like Paul, when he says, “I am overflowing with joy?” He calls for us to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

In addition to this, Dallas Willard points out that, as we become disciples, or students, of Christ, we will, as Jesus said, know the truth, and that truth will set us free. “It will set you free because it will be the realization of how things really are. There’s a lot to smile about. Joy is the final word. ‘My joy I give you,’ Jesus said. Along with his peace and his love came joy. That is based on the reality that things are really better than you can ever imagine as you live in the kingdom of God.” (Living in Christ’s Presence, p. 81)

“Things are really better than you can ever imagine . . .” Think on that for a while!

Father, may I experience the joy of Jesus today as his truth sets me free.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Where Does Joy Come From?

Good morning. It is Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Cinco de Mayo for many people. Well, it’s “cinco de mayo” for all of us, because that just means “fifth of May.” I don’t really observe that, however, not being Mexican, or liking beer at all.

Today’s Word of the Day, from Merriam-Webster, is epigram. This is a noun, meaning, “a concise poem dealing pointedly and often satirically with a single thought or event and often ending with an ingenious turn of thought,” “a terse, sage, or witty and often paradoxical saying,” or, “expression marked by the use of epigrams.”

Today is Ferret Day, a day to celebrate those adorable little creatures first introduced to me in Beastmaster, back in the eighties.

Christi seems to feeling some better today, but is still coughing like crazy. Hopefully, she can get through this soon. I know it’s making her miserable.

Back to work today, and it’s Huddle night, tonight. Hopefully, things can begin to resemble normal again, finally.

My doctor’s visit yesterday, went well. He was very kind and understanding when I explained to him what all had happened in our lives in the past month. He gently encouraged me to get back on track now, which I appreciated greatly. Now, I don’t have to see him again for six months, so maybe I can make some significant progress, health-wise.


Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain,
beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress.
For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor.
By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah.
We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.
As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments!
Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers,
consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation
that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.

Psalm 48

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Seven Sources of Joy.”

I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
2 Corinthians 7:4

Paul’s joy was always enduring, even when things weren’t going well for him. What was the source of his joy?

1. “It was taught by Jesus.” “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)

2. “It comes from the Holy Spirit, not our own efforts or imagination or family upbringing.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness . . .” (Galatians 5:22) “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6

3. “It comes from belonging to the kingdom of God.” For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

4. “It comes through faith, that is, from believing God.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith. (Philippians 1:25)

5. “It comes from seeing and knowing Jesus as Lord.” Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

6. “It comes from fellow believers who work hard to help us focus on these sources of joy, rather than deceitful circumstances.” Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

7. “It comes from the sanctifying effects of tribulations.” Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Paul calls us, in 1 Corinthians 11:1 to be imitators of him, as he imitates Christ. This is also a calling to “earnest prayer,” as this life we are living is a “supernatural life.”

Father, as I go forth into this new day, I pray for this joy to run rampant in my life. I follow (or at least try to) the teachings of Jesus, and know that he taught us joy in trials and tribulations. I believe I have the Holy Spirit, sent to me by Jesus Christ to indwell me and enable me to live this supernatural life. I belong to your kingdom, which brings me joy. I believe in you through Jesus Christ, because of the faith that you have given me. I have seen and know Jesus as Lord over my life. I have many brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow believers, who work together to bring joy to one another. Help me to be one of those joy-workers, Lord. And I have endured tribulation, especially of late.

All of these things should work together to produce joy in my life. Help me to know this joy, to experience this joy, and to work to produce this joy for others, as well. Let us be a joyful people, Father!

I pray for this day. May we have safe passage to and from work today. May you continue healing Christi and move that cough on out of her body. I pray for Stephanie, that she would know your great love today. For Rachel and Justin, I pray for your love to reach into their hearts, and for them to have whatever they need most for this day’s trouble. For my mother, I pray for continued strength, and for mercy and grace enough for this day. Give me grace, as I go into work, and help me to accomplish whatever needs to be accomplished today. I also pray for you grace to cover the application I submitted yesterday. May it find favor, Father.

Your grace is sufficient.

If you are a believer in Christ, all seven of those sources of joy are active in your life. I pray that you experience his joy today!


Grace and peace, friends.