All Creation Sings

Good morning! It is Sunday, the twenty-sixth of December, 2021, the second day of Christmas.

The peace of Christ be with you!

Day 23,299

Only six days until 2022!

Yesterday was a lovely day, for the most part. The one thing that was a bit of a “downer” was that S’s stomach was upset for most of the day. It’s never fun to be feeling sick on Christmas.

We had our morning gift-unwrapping via live Zoom with R & J, which was great fun. Eventually, I may run down everything I got for Christmas, but I’ll need to have everything in front of me, or have pictures of it all, which I have not done yet. C is still asleep, so I don’t want to open the study door, because it goes into the bedroom and I don’t want to bother her. I will say that the highlight of the gifts was the trombone kazoo that C found for me. There’s quite a story behind that.

The trombone kazoo

After the gifts were unwrapped, C cooked a couple of dishes, and we left some at home, because S did not go to Mineral Wells with us. Remember, her stomach was upset. And this was genuine. Sometimes, she just doesn’t want to go, but this time, she really didn’t feel well. Trust me, there was evidence.

We had a great visit with Mama in Mineral Wells. We started out with another Zoom visit with R & J, and Mama opened her present from them. I don’t remember everything that she got from them, but there were a couple of LED nightlights, which I thought were very cool and decorative. I may consider getting something like that for our home.

We decided to go ahead and have lunch before opening our other presents to each other. It was a nice lunch, more ham, corn casserole, green bean casserole, rolls, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, fudge, pecan pie, and I’m probably forgetting something.

We surprised Mama with a new 42″ Amazon Fire TV for her den. Amazon just started marketing those, this year, and I was excited to be able to get one for her. We use the Fire Stick in our TV and love it. The new Fire TV basically does the same thing, but it’s built into the TV. We also started an Amazon Prime account for her so she can have Prime Video alongside her Netflix. We successfully got her cable hooked up to the TV, so she can now watch all of her favorite things on a full-sized TV instead of having to watch Netflix on a tablet.

This morning, our house church will not be meeting. I had thought about trying to visit the Anglican church I had visited before, but I won’t be finished in time. Their service begins at 10:00 AM, and it is currently 9:43. I slept until almost 8:00, this morning.

C is off for the whole week. She will likely have to log on to work a few times, but won’t have to go to the office until next year. It’s my “light” week, meaning that I’m only scheduled to work Tuesday night and Friday.


"God of grace and truth,
make me whole,
a person of integrity who heals and makes peace.
I pray for eyes that see what's best in others,
a graceful and candid mouth,
hands that never twist but hold up truth,
a heart that aims to encourage,
and feet that pursue my neighbor's best.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, 
and give thanks to his holy name.
 For his anger is but for a moment, 
and his favor is for a lifetime. 
Weeping may tarry for the night, 
but joy comes with the morning. 
(Psalms 30:4-5 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the wonderful celebrations we had with our family
2. for the joy that we celebrate during this season
3. that I can cast my anxiety on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7)
4. that we are a people called to peace, who can comfort one another in our afflictions
5. for the admonition and ability to let the Word of God dwell in us, richly
6. for my imperishable inheritance, waiting to be revealed to me
7. that darkness will never overcome the light

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
 who comforts us in all our troubles, 
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
since as members of one body you were called to peace. 
And be thankful.
(Colossians 3:15 NIV)

There’s a progression here, that I can appreciate. First, we can cast our anxiety on the Lord. He can take it. He can hold, on His “shoulders,” the anxiety of the entire planet. He cares for us, and will gladly take our anxiety from us, if we would only surrender it. Second, we can comfort one another in our troubles (some versions say “afflictions”). Anxieties are certainly troubles. I know people who struggle with anxiety. It can most certainly be an “affliction.” We can comfort each other in these afflictions. The reason we can do so is that we have been comforted by our Father in our own afflictions, and, perhaps, surrendered our anxieties to Him. Third, we can let the peace of Christ reign in our hearts. We have been called to peace. This seems to be a thing that a lot of us struggle with comprehending. While it may be true that “peace” is not necessarily the absence of conflict, we should, in my opinion, most certainly not be involved in creating conflict.

I do like what comes next in Colossians 3, which is a wonderful chapter, in its entirety anyway. If you keep reading after verse 15, you get this:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, 
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, 
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 
And whatever you do, in word or deed, 
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:16-17 ESV)

I’ve been trying to pay more attention to the thought behind that first line. We need to let God’s Word dwell in us, “richly.” I used to think this meant we had to do things like memorize it and study it intensely, knowing all of the ins and outs of Scripture, backwards and forwards, even learning some of the Greek and Hebrew nuances.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with knowing all of these things, I don’t believe that is what it means to allow the Word of God to dwell in us. I like the mentality that is presented in the likes of Eugene Peterson’s book, Eat This Book. This is also the idea that has been presented in the devotional book that has been the main thrust of my devotions this year, Seeking God’s Face. It’s this concept of lectio divina, or “divine reading.” This involves four stages (I don’t always manage to do all four of them). The first is simply reading this passage(s) at hand. The second is to meditate or reflect on the words that have been read. This is where I begin to catch certain words or phrases that stir within me or catch my eye. We sometimes use the phrase “jumps out at me.” During the meditation/reflection phase, we focus on those particular words or ideas.

The third stage is response. This is the piece where I pray back to God the things that He has “nudge” me with, during the reading and reflection. It is in this stage where we might also have questions to ask God about the passages that we have read.

The final stage, and, truthfully, the one that I fail to complete most often, is the contemplation stage. This is the stage where we rest in silent contemplation of the things that have been learned and/or prayed during the time. Nothing else should happen during the contemplation time. Of course, the brain will be active. It is impossible to simply shut it off. But we can direct it, and simply sit in silence, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and minds, regarding the things we have read. The difference between this phase and the reflection/meditation phase is that, in this phase, we are not specifically pondering a particular word or phrase or idea. We are allowing God, via the Spirit, to direct the process.

This, in my opinion, is the best way to allow the Word of God to dwell in us, richly.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
According to his great mercy, 
he has caused us to be born again to a living hope 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 to an inheritance that is imperishable, 
undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 
who by God's power are being guarded through faith 
for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 
(1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 
"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
(Revelation 21:1-4 ESV)

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



A psalm of thanksgiving. 

Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth! 
Worship the LORD with gladness.
 Come before him, singing with joy. 
(Psalms 100:1-2 NLT)

As I pause, in quietness, this morning, I reflect on the joy of the season, and the admonition in the above Scripture, to both worship in gladness and to sing with joy.


A psalm. 

Sing to the LORD a new song, 
for he has done marvelous things;
 his right hand and his holy arm 
have worked salvation for him. 
The LORD has made his salvation known 
and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 
He has remembered his love 
and his faithfulness to Israel; 
all the ends of the earth 
have seen the salvation of our God. 
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, 
burst into jubilant song with music; 
make music to the LORD with the harp, 
with the harp and the sound of singing, 
with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn— 
shout for joy before the LORD, the King. 

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, 
the world, and all who live in it. 
Let the rivers clap their hands, 
let the mountains sing together for joy; 
let them sing before the LORD, 
for he comes to judge the earth. 
He will judge the world in righteousness 
and the peoples with equity.
(Psalms 98:1-9 NIV)


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
He was with God in the beginning. 
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 NIV)


As I read these passages again, I reflect on them, looking for ways in which God’s Word has moved me. I ponder what has connected with my heart and mind, and respond in prayer to the Lord, finally turning my thoughts to Him and resting in His presence.

Father, as I ponder these things, I know that singing “a new song” is something of which You are more than worthy! You are worthy of every song we could ever sing, new and old alike. As a song says, You are even worthy of every breath that we could ever breathe. As the Psalm says, You have made Your salvation known and revealed Your righteousness to the nations. And yet, the “nations” seem to be unable to see. Open their eyes, Father! Open their eyes, that they might see Your great salvation and Your awesome righteousness, and begin to worship You! But in the meantime, until the people do it, let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains sing for joy; let all creation sing!

I ponder the incomprehensible truth that Jesus was with You from the beginning, and that all things were made through Him. I do not understand this; I confess. I also confess that I don’t need to understand it. I revel in the truth; I see the glory; I feel the majesty; in Him is LIFE, the LIGHT of all mankind! Darkness will never overcome this light!

Father, as I look around me and see this creation, all of which was created through Jesus, present with You for all eternity, help me to see and savor the majesty, the wonder, the beauty, and the complexity of it all.

almighty God,
how did Your hands,
which flung galaxies into elegant orbit,
become the awkwardly uncontrolled hands of a newborn?
How does Your eternal being get inseparably woven into time-bound humanity?
While the how of Your incarnation widens my faith,
may the wonder of why You've done this for me bring deep joy today.


“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people."
(Luke 1:68 NLT)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Living Out the Faith

Good morning. It is Wednesday, Hump Day, September 18, 2013. (This doesn’t bode well. I’ve had to backspace four times already, to correct typing errors.)

Today is “National Cheeseburger Day!!” Now, there’s a holiday I can fully support!! Sonic should be running a special today.

We had our Huddle group last night, which went well. We spent at least half of the time getting caught up on each other’s lives, as it seems that it has been well over a month since we have sat down together. Then we talked about what God seems to be teaching, or at least trying to teach, each one of us.

The Texas Rangers won a game last night. Quite decisively, too. They got ahead early and stayed ahead the entire game to beat the Rays, 7-1, and regain a tie in the Wild Card race. Unfortunately, the Athletics won, as well, so no ground was gained in the division race, which, although still statistically alive, is virtually decided. The Red Sox dropped one to the Orioles, but since Tampa lost, their number to clinch the division went down to three. It’s an exciting, nail-biter of a September, folks! I have to confess that one the most fun pieces is that the Evil Empire is in fourth place.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in AD 96, the Emperor Domitian was done in “at the hands of his own wife and servants, to the contentment of the Senate and the joy of dozens of his subjects who feared for their lives.” Ah, those wacky Roman Emperors. Domitian was the son of Vespasian, who was actually a great emperor, and the brother of Titus, who was also a good emperor. But Domitian plotted against Titus during Titus’s two year reign. When Titus fell ill, Domitian ordered his servants “to leave him for dead even while he was still alive, thus accomplishing passive fratricide.” When he became emperor, Domitian was, at first competent. “But he soon showed his inherent sadism by frequently sequestering himself in his office to catch flies and stab them to death with his pen.” As he grew older, and became “paunch and bald,” he became “increasingly autocratic, insisting on being addressed as dominus et dens (master and god).” He also took for a mistress his niece (the daughter of Titus) Julia. The historian Suetonius wrote that Domitian’s “lack of funds made him greedy, and fear of assassination made him cruel.” He would condemn people to death for the most trivial reasons and was convinced that everyone was plotting against him.

Today’s birthday is Kerry Livgren, born on this date in 1949, in Topeka, Kansas. Livgren was one of the founding members of the rock group Kansas. Later in his career, after exploring many cultic religions, Kerry became a Christian. He did a couple of solo albums, after which he formed the group, AD. Here is a clip from their album, Time Line, called “Tonight.”

Honorable mentions go to Frankie Avalon, 74, Greta Garbo, 1905-1990, James Marsden, 40, Ryne Sandberg, 54, June Foray, 96, Holly Robinson, 49, Leon Foucault, 1819-1868, and Fred Willard, 74.


Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared. . . Psalm 76:11
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
Psalm 119:169-170
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. Psalm 54:6
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Father, your words truly are sweet to me, “sweeter than honey to my mouth.” I pray that, as I read them, that I might “digest” them, fully understanding whatever you have to show me today, and every day.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Be Chaste and Self-Controlled.” The scripture reading is Titus 2:1-8.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Paul’s directions to the younger women tell them to love their husbands and to be chaste (the ESV renders that word “pure”). Obviously, he is not referring to abstaining from sexual activity. There are specific moral demands being made on the Christians that Titus leads. Our faith is not simply something we believe in, but something we do. We act on our faith. The world should be able to look at our lives and see a difference. This is what Paul’s goal is in these instructions. Purity of life, being self-controlled, “integrity, dignity, and sound speech. . .” All of these things combine to give the Christian a different appearance on the outside that validate the faith that is possessed on the inside.

How can we embody this concept of purity in our lives? We probably all need to ask God to help us love him, our neighbors, and ourselves more completely. We need to live our faith.

Pray Without Ceasing: A Thirty-One-Day Course, by Andrew Murray

What to Pray: For the Descent of the Holy Spirit on All Christendom

. . .having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:5
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”‘” Revelation 3:1

“There are millions of so-called nominal Christians–Christians
in name only. They say they are Christians, but they deny
the power of God. Their lives are dull and without spiritual vitality.
Formality, ritual, performance, worldliness, ungodliness,
rejection of service for Christ, ignorance, and indifference all
describe this group. We pray for the lost, but do we also pray for
those bearing Christ’s name who are in worse shape than some
who do not claim the name of Christ in any form?
“If we think much about it, we would say it is a severe problem
and an issue that needs a great amount of work and prayer.”

How to Pray: In Deep Stillness of Soul

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1

“Prayer has its power in God alone. The nearer a man comes
to God, the deeper he enters into God’s will. The more he takes
hold of God, the more power he has in prayer.
“God must reveal himself. We as mere men must take time to
receive this revelation. If it please Him to make himself known,
He can make the heart and mind very conscious of His presence.
Our posture must be that of reverence, of quiet waiting and
“As you intercede for all those for whom Christianity is a social
pastime, be still before God and know His mind and heart. You
will receive the power and understanding that is needed to pray
with passion for these who are as lost as the pagan.”

Father, I lift up the ones who are described in this reading. May your power fall on all who claim the name of Christ, but do not take it seriously. I would rather seem them become serious than to completely fall away, indicating that they never completely latched onto the faith in the first place. I have friends who fit into this category. Unfortunately, I am out of contact with them, and hope that perhaps they have been drawn back into your heart by your Spirit. I plead with you, that your Spirit might fall on these people, drawing them into closer fellowship with you.

I also pray that we would all look deeply into our own lives and seek your power to live the faith that we claim to believe. We have been discussing, lately, why we don’t look very different from the world in our modern culture. We need your Spirit to exhibit power in our lives. We need to live what we believe. We need the life of Christ to be strong within us. Fill us, Lord! Fill us!

I pray for this day, that Christi and I will have a good work day. Please protect her from anxiety at work. I’m not asking you to make her day easy, but just to cause her to hold onto you during times that would cause anxiety. Give her your strength as she works. I pray the same for me, that I might have the strength of your Spirit during the work day, being able to do all things that are asked of me with efficiency and excellence. I pray that you draw Stephanie closer to you today, and show her your grace and steadfast love.

Your grace is sufficient.

May we seek to be steadfast in living out our faith, loving others as ourselves, and may we consistently lift up those for whom Christianity is just a name, a “social club.”

Grace and peace, friends.