Specialists in Words

Today is Monday, January 9, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.” – Judy Garland

Word of the Day

Crepitate – to make a crackling sound; crackle. So I guess Rice Crispies crepitate. But, for some reason, “snap, crepitate, pop” just doesn’t flow off the tongue.

Today is Clean Off Your Desk Day. Not going to happen.

Yesterday was okay, but not great. C spent the morning at the hospital, and her step-dad was actually better. However, the doctor that the met with doesn’t believe that he will ever be able to go home. She did not believe that he will fully recover. This doesn’t surprise us, but doesn’t make the opinion any easier. He was fragile before this surgery, to begin with. C is taking this pretty hard, too.

Band practice starts back up tonight, and for a long stretch. It will be good to get playing again. I should have been playing some, already, but haven’t played since the Yuleslide thing, back in December.

And, after our “snow storm,” last Friday, and sub-freezing temperatures over the weekend, the projected high today is 62. It could be almost 80 on Wednesday.

47/84

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Psa 103:1-2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

Psa 16:1-2  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.”

Psa 18:1-2  I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psa 51:7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

(From Living the Message)

Continuing in his theme of “communion” over “communication,” Eugene Peterson writes of the “Gift of Words.” “We need,” he says, “to learn the nature of communion.” Most of the time, when he hear that word, we think mainly of bread and wine (or grape juice if we are Baptist). But there is much more to communion. Remember the definition I shared the other day? “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” Communion is “sharing.” And we do so little of that today, even in the Church. The Church should be experts at communion!

But in order to commune, we have to be willing to let a part of ourselves be exposed. That frightens us. But think about it. “If I stand here mute, you have no idea what is going on with me. You can look at me, measure me, weigh me, test me, but until I start to talk you do not know what is going on inside, who I really am.” But when I talk, if I tell the truth, and you listen, something remarkable happens. Something that was not present before. Communion.

That words that are used deepen the mysteries, they “plunge us into an act of revelation which staggers the imagination, which we never figure out, but we enter into. These words do not describe, they point, they reach, they embrace.”

When we take the time to visit the sick and terminally ill, “the only words that matter are words of communion.” So few people actually use words in this way. In truth, the sick, lonely, and dying are subjected to an “endless stream of cliches and platitudes.” We Christians need to become specialists “in words of communion.”

Pro 25:11-12  The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, And a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger. (The Message)

Father, teach me these words. I have, for too long, used words improperly, to a large degree. Not always, mind you, as there have been times when the Spirit has shone through and the words of communion came out. Perhaps my prayer is not to learn the words, but to learn sensitivity, empathy, discernment on how to use those words. I don’t want to be guilty of using only cliches and platitudes. May your Spirit drive me, lead me, pull me into knowing how to be a “specialist” in words of communion.

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.

Full of Motion and Empty of Life

“I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.”~~Judy Garland
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is favonian, “of or relating to the west wind.” Example: “Our guests relaxed on the patio, watching the sunset and enjoying favonian breezes.”

Today is Visit the Zoo Day. It’s a bit chilly for that, here, today.

We got a good bit accomplished, yesterday. Or perhaps I should say that Christi and my mother got a lot accomplished. Late in the morning, we headed over to Mama’s house, where we visited for a little while. Christi took Mama to the AT&T store, where they got my mother a new cell phone, along with a brand new cell phone number. It didn’t take very long at all. She got a very simple “Go Phone,” flip phone style. She had no interest in a “smart phone,” just something she could use as a phone.

After they got back, we all headed to an old favorite of mine from “back in the day,” a little place called Dairy Mart. I had not been there since high school, probably, which would be about 40 years. The burgers were absolutely delicious, with patties that were obviously made from scratch there at the restaurant. One of the best burgers I’ve ever had. After that, we tried to go to Jitterbeans, but they were closed. 😦 They had, apparently, decided to close Friday and Saturday for Christmas. Can’t really blame them, since they are open seven days a week. It looks like they will be open today, though.

We got back to the house, where we sat for a little bit. Oh, wait. First, we dropped Stephanie off at the hotel, because she was tired. Then we went to the house. The Christi took Mama to WalMart to do a little shopping. Rachel and Justin went back to the hotel, and I just hung out at the house by myself, reading.

This morning, we will be going to First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells for worship, then having lunch at The Mesquite Pit, after which we will try, once again, to hit Jitterbeans for some hot chocolate. It will be even better today, as it is currently 36 degrees, outside, with a projected high of only 46. On a sadder note, there were some pretty bad tornadoes in east and south Dallas, last night. I believe the last report I saw said that eleven people had lost their lives. Many homes were damaged or destroyed. Very unusual December weather, I suppose brought on by the cold front coming through and hitting the warm air.

On this date in:

1831–Charles Darwin embarked on his journey on the HMS Beagle
1932–Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City
2002Clonaid claimed that they had successfully cloned a human being. No verifiable evidence was ever presented

Today’s birthdays include:

1654–Jacob Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician
1822–Louis Pasteur, French scientist
1901–Marlene Dietrich, German actress/singer
1931–Scotty Moore, American guitarist, Elvis Presley
1941–Michael Pinder, British musician, Moody Blues
1944–Mick Jones, British musician, Foreigner
Gust1966–Eva LaRue, American actress, CSI Miami
1972–Matt Slocum, American musician, Sixpence None the Richer
1975–Heather O’Rourke, American actress, Poltergeist
1980–Cas Haley, American guitarist/singer/songwriter
1982–James Mead, American guitarist, Kutless
1983–Cole Hamels, American pitcher
1988–Hayley Williams, American singer, Paramore

Michael Pinder is a keyboard player who was a founding member and original keyboard player for The Moody Blues. He left the group in 1978. Here is a clip of their song, “I’m Just A Singer In A Rock and Roll Band.”

Stephen F. Austin, Gustave Eiffel, Hoagy Charmichael, and Delaney Bramlett are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “What Is Your Aim?”

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

“When you get up in the morning and you face a day, what do you say to yourself about your hopes for the day? When you look from the beginning of the day to the end of the day, what do you want to happen because you have lived?”

I have to confess that, most days, I don’t think that way. I just get up and do what needs to be done. John Piper says that, when we do that, we are “cutting [ourselves] off from a basic means of grace and a source of guidance and strength and fruitfulness and joy.” Based on the above verse from Hebrews, God means for us to “aim consciously at something significant in our days.”

God doesn’t want us to drift aimlessly through our day, like leaves in the wind. This time of year, our yard is covered in leaves. The little boys next door keep coming over to ask if they can rake the leaves for us. I keep saying, “No, let’s wait until the tree is completely bare.” Those leaves probably move around more than anything else out there. Sometimes, they even blow in the front door of the house. “They are full of motion and empty of life.”

God does not desire for me to be that way; aimlessly wandering through my day, at the mercy of whatever circumstances come along. He created me to have a purpose, a focus, and aim for my days.

Father, as a new year approaches, an opportunity that we see as new beginning, may I begin to have purpose for my days, not living them aimlessly. May my life be a life of purpose and focus, but may it be your purpose, not mine.

I pray for peace, comfort, relief, and refuge for people affected by last night’s tornadoes.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

To Help Each Other Understand

Good morning. Today is Monday, June 10, 2013.

Yesterday was a challenging day. The two main pastors of our church have resigned, the lead pastor, Joel Engle, leaving to take the preaching/vision pastor role at Changepoint Church in Anchorage, Alaska.

Yes, I said Alaska.

The other pastor, who started The Exchange with Joel around six years ago, is leaving to explore the option of church planting in the northeast. I think he wants to go to Long Island. He and his wife are in conversation with the Southern Baptist Mission Board in Houston. They have passed the “mantel” on to Jacob Seay, who was already on staff as the Discipleship Pastor. Christi and I believe that Jacob will do an excellent job carrying on as the Lead Pastor for The Exchange. While this is a sad time, and we will miss our friends and leaders, it is also an exciting time, as we believe that God’s work with this church is far from over. The overall spirit of the church seems to be good. There will be some who will leave, of course, and that’s okay. But I’m hearing it told that some who recently left may come back. Who knows? We know that we are staying, though, because we haven’t been told otherwise. We both have a ministry at this church and we have not been released from that.

Our cat, Amber, is home. She seems to be doing much better, but not “out of the woods” yet. She still doesn’t seem to be interested in eating on her own, so we have to hand-feed her. But I did see her drinking some water from a bowl this morning, which was exciting. She also jumped up on the side of the bathtub and got on the bathroom counter this morning, so she is definitely feeling better. She’s purring up a storm and walking around with tail held high, so she’s certainly on the mend.


Today is Iced Tea Day. Since it’s a work day, I will be participating. I have a glass of peach iced tea every afternoon around 4pm.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1190, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, also known as Frederick Barbarossa, drowned while crossing the Calycadnus River in Anatolia. He was determined to go on crusade to the Holy Land, and had begun in 1189. He was Emperor for 35 years, during which he was excommunicated from the Church by Pope Alexander III, because he used his influence to convince a small group of cardinals to elect Victor IV as pope, as well. Victor was declared “anti-pope” and Frederick was excommunicated. After eighteen years, Frederick and Alexander reconciled, and Frederick began his crusade.

There is a German legend that Barbarossa didn’t really die, but sleeps enchanted in “a limestone cave in the Kyffhauser mountains in Germany,” waiting for the opportune time to “restore Germany to greatness.” During WWII, Hitler named his invasion of Russia “Operation Barbarossa.”


Today’s birthday is Judy Garland, born on this date in 1922. Judy was a musical actress, who appeared in over 30 movies, probably most famously as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She was seventeen when that movie released in 1939. She also appeared in “Easter Parade,” “In the Good Old Summertime,” and “A Star Is Born.” It is said that Fred Astaire called her “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.” She died in 1969, at the age of 47 of an accidental overdose of barbiturates.

Honorable mentions go to Howlin’ Wolf, 1910, Elizabeth Hurley, 1965, Leelee Sobieski, 1982, and Tara Lipinski, 1982.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80:7
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. Psalm 71:21

Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself during this brief time of morning devotion. Prepare me, by your grace, to face the day ahead, with its challenges.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Asking for Help.” The scripture reading is from 2 Kings 22.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess. (11-14a)
And she said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods.” (15-17a)
But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.'” And they brought back word to the king. (18-20)

This passage is about Josiah, the young king of Judah. Even though he is king, he “is humble enough to know that he needs to ask for help in understanding God’s will about the book of the law that was found.” His officials had to go outside the court to find this prophet. We must never be afraid to ask for help in understanding what God is speaking to us. That is one of the reasons that we live in community with each other. That is why Christians must heed the words of Hebrews 10:24-25: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. There are too many people who think that we can live this life on our own. No. We cannot. We are not designed that way. We must “be open to hearing the Holy Spirit through anyone around [us], especially those who display the fruit of the Spirit.”

If the King of Judah needed help understanding God’s word, who am I to think that I could grasp it on my own?


Father, may I never grow so arrogant that I fancy myself to have such a complete understanding of your word that I don’t need to ask others for help. As many times as I have read through the Bible, there are still places that get me stuck; there are still passages that I don’t get. I will always need the assistance of someone else, and they may not always be necessarily smarter or wiser than I, but perhaps just have a better understanding of a particular area, and even that, because you have gifted them with that understanding, by your Holy Spirit. I am a firm believer that none of us can understand scripture, but by the help of your Spirit. So I pray that you send your Spirit today, with understanding. Teach me to know your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Give me that “double portion” of your Spirit, just as Elisha asked of his predecessor, Elijah.

I pray for this day. May it be a smooth day for Christi at her work, and I pray that our cat, Amber, will improve drastically today, so that we won’t keep having to hand-feed her. I also pray for Stephanie today, that you will show her your grace and love during this day; help her understand what she reads in your word. I pray for my work day, that it will go well, and that there will not be any anxiety to stress me out. Give me the grace I need to get through this day.

I pray for our church, The Exchange. Give us wisdom and grace to make it through this transition. Show us what you have in store for us in the future. I pray for Jacob Seay, that you will anoint him with a mighty dose of your Spirit, that he might preach and lead us with the power of your Spirit, that The Exchange might become a mighty beacon of your light in our area, and a powerfully worshiping church. I pray for Joel Engle as he heads to Alaska, that he will be successful in his new ministry there. I also pray for Ben Carr, as he talks with the Mission Board. Show him his new path and equip him for the task.

I lift up Cassie Gaines, who spent last night in the hospital with phenomia. I pray for your healing hand on her and for comfort and encouragement for her daughter.

Your grace is sufficient.


Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help in understanding God’s word, or in what direction God might be guiding you. This is what we are here for; this is why we are a community; to help each other understand.

Grace and peace, friends.