All Is Well

Today is Sunday, the 25th of December, 2022, in the first week of Christmas. It is the first day of Christmas.

May the peace of the Christ-child be with you always!

Day 23,663

Seven days until 2023.

It is shortly after 11:00 AM when I begin this, this morning. It really doesn’t feel like Sunday, but it is. As predicted, yesterday, I did not make it to the 10:00 service, this morning. We were up around 8:30, and shortly after 9:00, I believe, we sat down to open all of our presents. I will update my other blog with the results of that, later, today. Hopefully. For now, I must get on with the important things for the day. However, one gift that I am most excited about is a new Bible. It is one that I can carry with me to my new church, because the use the NRSV in their worship services.


Teach me good judgment and knowledge, 
for I believe in your commandments.
(Psalms 119:66 ESV)

Because either one without the other doesn’t do a body much good.

Lord our God, you have sent light to shine on earth and have revealed your heavenly power in Jesus Christ, so that in spite of all the darkness and evil we may rejoice because we have a Savior. Reveal your power in our day. Let something be done anew toward the building of your kingdom on earth. Let something draw men’s hearts to you to give them light so that they may thank and praise you for all you have done and are still doing to bring the whole world into your hands. O Lord God, let men be moved by the opening of the heavens. May their hearts awaken and their sadness give way to joy in Jesus Christ the Savior. We are your children who are allowed to wait in expectation for you to set everything right. We can know that even in our troubled times your hand is at work to reveal your will, to make your will plain to all generations on earth, as you promised through Abraham. May your name be glorified, O Lord God. May your name be honored, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Daily Prayer from

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:6, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for Christmas; for the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace
  2. for the wonderful morning we have had together, this morning
  3. for the expectation, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, of His eventual return
  4. that our Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us
  5. that darkness has fallen into the dawn of redeeming grace
  6. for this indescribable gift of God!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 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. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

"Glory to God in the highest,
 and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" 

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
(Luke 2:1-20 ESV)
Arise, shine, for your light has come, 
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, 
and thick darkness the peoples; 
but the LORD will arise upon you, 
and his glory will be seen upon you. 
And nations shall come to your light, 
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
(Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV)
The sun shall be no more 
your light by day, 
nor for brightness shall the moon 
give you light;
 but the LORD will be your everlasting light, 
and your God will be your glory. 
Your sun shall no more go down, 
nor your moon withdraw itself; 
for the LORD will be your everlasting light, 
and your days of mourning shall be ended. 
Your people shall all be righteous; 
they shall possess the land forever, 
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, 
that I might be glorified.
 The least one shall become a clan,
 and the smallest one a mighty nation; 
I am the LORD; 
in its time I will hasten it.
(Isaiah 60:19-22 ESV)

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:21 NLT)

Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT)

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!
(Hebrews 9:14 NRSV)

I have no deep words of wisdom, today. I simply encourage all to know this Christ, the Savior of the world, the Light of the world, the glory of the Lord, risen upon us, this day.

The Gospel of Christ is that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, is hear, now, and available for anyone who desires to walk in it.

This baby that we celebrate today became our salvation. Along with the heavenly host of angels, I proclaim, “fear not!”

All is well.

Father, thank You for Your indescribable gift. And thank You for drawing me into Your kingdom, for choosing me to believe, even before the foundations of the earth. Not only did You choose me (and all who would come to believe), You arranged my circumstances so that I would choose You. As I noted, from yesterday’s verse in Psalm 119, You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord!

Saying “thank You,” seems hardly appropriate. May I live my life in such a way as to draw people into Your kingdom. May I demonstrate to people Your great love for all, as I follow the commands of my Savior to love You and love people. May I show them that there is nothing to fear, and that, indeed, in Your kingdom, all is well. In fact, in Your kingdom, things are far better than we could ever imagine.

All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“Pentecost Claims Another Last Word”

Today is Saturday, the second of July, 2022, in the thirteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,487


Dear Father in heaven, you are our God. You rule and guide us, and our trust remains in you even when many needs pull at our hearts and try to draw us into their whirlpool. Protect us, we pray. May your divine hand govern us so that we remain aware of the calling we receive from you and always have a light shining into our lives to show us how to serve you. Let your power work wherever hearts respond to you on this earth, wherever the strength of Jesus Christ is revealed, so that people acknowledge his deeds to your honor. Be with the lowliest and least noticed of your children. Keep them in your hands and enable them to be fellow workers who persevere courageously and confidently until the time when you reveal yourself to all peoples on earth. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
(Proverbs 4:11-12 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the calming presence of God when outside concerns try to draw me in
2. for Wisdom, that leads me along straight paths
3. that God, in Christ, is continuously making things new
4. for ever good and perfect gift that comes from the Father, gifts that are for the Body of Christ, not just for me
5. that God has the last word

And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." 
(Mark 11:22-25 ESV)

Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is new. That should come as no surprise to anyone, as yesterday’s word was “old.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”
(Revelation 21:5 NLT)

There is a constant thread of “new” running through Scripture. For example, the verses leading up to the one above.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
(Revelation 21:1-4 NLT)

The word occurs 292 times in the NLT. Many of those instances are simply a very literal usage of the word; a “new year,” a “new well,” “new wine,” “new clothes,” a “new king,” and so on.

But when we get to the Psalms, we find it referring over and over to a “new song.”

Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.
(Psalms 33:3 NLT)

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.
(Psalms 40:3 NLT)

Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
(Psalms 96:1 NLT)

Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!
(Psalms 98:1 NLT)

Then Ecclesiastes informs us that there is, actually, nothing new under the sun. This, of course, refers to human actions, not what God can do.

Isaiah 40:31 famously tells us that, if we wait on, or trust in, the Lord, we will get “new strength.” And then Isaiah begins this idea that carries on into the New Testament with Jesus.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:19 NLT)

You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard. They are brand new, not things from the past. So you cannot say, ‘We knew that all the time!’ “Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth.”
(Isaiah 48:6-8 NLT)

Jeremiah begins speaking of the “new covenant.”

How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen—Israel will embrace her God.”
(Jeremiah 31:22 NLT)

“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
(Jeremiah 31:31-34 NLT)

Ezekiel speaks of a “new spirit.”

And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20 NLT)

Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD. Turn back and live!
(Ezekiel 18:31-32 NLT)

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
(Ezekiel 36:26 NLT)

Jesus began speaking about “new wine,” and “new wineskins,” and then dropped this bombshell on His disciples.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
(John 13:34-35 NLT)

All throughout Romans, Paul speaks of “new relationship” and “new life.” And it all culminates in the words of Jesus at the end of Revelation, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

All things.

When we finally are ushered into our new Home, everything will be NEW!

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
(1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
(James 1:17 NIV)

It is so important to know that when Jesus says He is making all things new, that means our lives as we live here on earth, as well. I have frequently made mention to the fact that the Kingdom of God is not just a place we are waiting to go to after we die. While there will be a new Home for us, someday, the Kingdom of God is also here, now, available for all who desire to walk in it. And these “gifts” of which Paul speaks are gifts that God gives us now.

Indescribable gifts! Gifts that we might miss if we are too self-absorbed, or, as in the case of many that I see around me, too busy feeling sorry for ourselves or complaining about the state of things.

For example, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. But guess what! Paul says that is for the “common good!” The gift of the Holy Spirit is not to make me look good; it is for the good of all! And our salvation, by faith, is also a gift, “so that no one can boast,” and included in that “gift” are the good works, “which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Good works that benefit others!

Some folks never seem to grasp the fact that it’s not about them. I’m reading a book on worship right now, and one of the main tenets of the book is the author’s feeling that, in recent decades, worship has become too “me-centric.” And if you pay attention to the words of most contemporary worship songs, they are all about “I” and “me.” Even the ones addressed to God tend to focus on the self.

I have gone on record before to say that my absolute least liked worship song of all time is “Reckless Love.” Part of it is for the very reason stated above. In the first verse and chorus, “I” or “me” are referenced ten times. “You” or “God” are referenced nine. And there is no “we” or “us.” I won’t go into the part about leaving the ninety-nine. That bit gets me all riled up.

Anyway. The reason for God’s indescribable gifts, that Paul is so excited about, is for the body to grow and mature. They are for the “common good,” and while they most certainly benefit the individual, the individual is not the main focus.

The Lord is not making things new just for me. He is making things new for US, His body, His Bride.

Furthermore, these gifts, most specifically the Holy Spirit, who came down at Pentecost, are what keeps us going in this world of wreckage. Every time we turn around, things get messier. The last six years, at least in the USA, have been ridiculous, and they are not getting better. Eugene Peterson wonders why we aren’t all cynics, why we haven’t all given up. What is it that “keeps people striving for the best, investing themselves in acts of compassion, giving themselves sacrificially to add to the available beauty, and suffering abuse to witness to the truth?”

The answer he gives is Pentecost. “Because the Holy Spirit is among us and within us.” God is not simply watching to see what will happen. Nor, for that matter, is He surprised or alarmed at the state things are in. “Pentecost means that the invisible is more important than the visible, at any single moment and at any single even that we choose to examine.”

Remember Ezekiel and his “dry bones?” They were all that were left of people who were once laughing and dancing children, who had made love and made plans, who had expressed doubts and sung praises. “The dry bones were all that was left. Sin and judgment on the sin were the last word – at least, that was what it looked like.”

“Pentecost claims another last word.”

Oh, how I love that sentence. It brings tears to my eyes. Why? Because I have been in the place of those dry bones. Not literally, of course, but I have been in a place where my life was a wreck, and I thought it was over. But God had other plans.

“Pentecost claims another last word. Pentecost celebrates the coming together of the bones into connected, sinewed, muscled human beings who speak and sing and laugh and work and believe and bless their God.”

“Pentecost celebrates the great fact that through the Holy Spirit, God puts us together again as praising people, no longer dismembered by remembered into the resurrection body of Christ, which we believe includes the people of God.”

Jesus is making ALL THINGS new!

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

Ah, Lord God! I find myself unable to express the joy and gratitude that I am experiencing this morning. My gratitude is not enough, but, at this point, it is all I have. All I can say is “Thank You!” Yet it isn’t enough for all that You have done. Yes, for me, but even more so, for US! For Your children, for the Body of Christ, Your Church. You, in Christ Jesus, have saved US, not just me! It is not about me. It’s about You, and it’s about US. I pray, dear Father, that somehow, all of Your children would grasp this truth and stop being so self-centered.

Father, I saw a beautiful picture this morning. Two images of the world, the globe, side by side, identical. The caption said, “A picture of earth before and after your opinion.” Such truth, as my opinion has exactly that much effect on anything in this world. My opinion also doesn’t matter when it comes to Your Kingdom, because nothing in Your Kingdom is about me. Keep my mind and heart off of me and on You and Your other children, Lord. Give me that sacrificial spirit and heart, that Pentecostal spirit that is willing to give, to take up my cross and follow Christ.

Let the dry bones come alive!

Thank You, God, for Your indescribable gifts!

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Come and See what God has Done

Good morning! Today is Wednesday, the twenty-second of December, 2021. 12/22/21, a palindrome. It is also the fourth Wednesday of Advent.

Peace of Christ be with you!

Day 23,295

Only three more days until Christmas!

I’m pretty sure that, as of right now, all the Christmas gifts have been delivered, except for one, which is now showing a delivery date of 12/28. Oh, well. Unfortunately, that particular one goes along with three or four of the other gifts. That’s no big deal, though. It will all come together, in due time. And, from past experience with Amazon, it could still change. I know they have, before.

We are talking about plans for Friday and Saturday, at least cooking plans. There’s a lot of cooking to be done, and the bulk of it will happen both Friday morning and Saturday morning. Not on purpose, I wound up with at least forty pounds of ham in the fridge. I ordered two whole hams from Albertson’s, earlier in the week, fully expecting a couple of hams that were approximately twelve pounds each. They delivered two hams that were approximately twenty pounds. Egad! My whole lower shelf in the fridge is filled with ham. And one twenty pound ham would have been plenty for both days. We may give one away. I don’t know.

Today is my last full work day until New Year’s Eve. In fact, my next work day, after today, will be next Tuesday, 12/28. And there is at least one meeting that I will be involved with, today. There is a Circulation staff meeting from 1-2, this afternoon. And then, if it happens, the Adult Services “stand up” meeting is at 2. That manager has been out for a bit, and isn’t scheduled back until 12/30, so that meeting may not happen. My monthly “one-on-one” with her was also scheduled for today, so I’m not expecting that to happen, either.


And Jesus said to him, 
"'If you can'! 
All things are possible for one who believes." 
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 
"I believe; help my unbelief!" 
(Mark 9:23-24 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the belief that God has placed in my heart, even thought it is still tainted with unbelief
2. that God is love and whoever abides in love abides in Him
3. for the security that comes in living as one of His "sheep"
4. for the ability and willingness to lay down my life for my brothers and sisters, just as Christ laid down His life for us
5. for all the things that God has done
Anyone who does not love does not know God,
 because God is love. 
(1 John 4:8 ESV)
So we have come to know 
and to believe the love that God has for us. 
God is love, 
and whoever abides in love abides in God, 
and God abides in him. 
(1 John 4:16 ESV)
By this we know love, 
that he laid down his life for us, 
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 
(1 John 3:16 ESV)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. 
Abide in my love. 
If you keep my commandments, 
you will abide in my love, 
just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, 
that my joy may be in you, 
and that your joy may be full. 
"This is my commandment, 
that you love one another as I have loved you. 
Greater love has no one than this,
 that someone lay down his life for his friends. 
(John 15:9-13 ESV)
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe! 
(Psalms 150:4 ESV)
And it was told King David, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 
And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 
And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 
(2 Samuel 6:12-15 ESV)
A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. 

I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. 
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. 
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. 
As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved." 
By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. 
To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: 
"What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? 
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!" 
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! 
(Psalms 30:1-12 ESV)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" 
Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 
(John 7:37-39 ESV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 ESV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is 
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; 
against such things there is no law. 
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 
(Galatians 5:22-25 ESV)

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



God, come back! 
Smile your blessing smile: 
That will be our salvation. 
(Psalms 80:3 MSG)

As I pause, this morning, I reflect on love. God’s love for us, made evident in the coming of Jesus. Our love for God, made evident in the way we live, as well as how we lay down our lives for the kingdom of God and for one another.


You, LORD, showed favor to your land; 
you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 
You forgave the iniquity of your people 
and covered all their sins.

 I will listen to what God the LORD says; 
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— 
but let them not turn to folly. 
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, 
that his glory may dwell in our land. 

Love and faithfulness meet together; 
righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
 and righteousness looks down from heaven. 
The LORD will indeed give what is good, 
and our land will yield its harvest. 
Righteousness goes before him 
and prepares the way for his steps. 
(Psalms 85:1-2, 8-13 NIV)


"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 
though you are small among the clans of Judah, 
out of you will come for me 
one who will be ruler over Israel, 
whose origins are from of old, 
from ancient times." 

Therefore Israel will be abandoned 
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, 
and the rest of his brothers return 
to join the Israelites. 

He will stand and shepherd his flock
 in the strength of the LORD, 
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. 
And they will live securely, for then his greatness 
will reach to the ends of the earth. 
(Micah 5:2-4 NIV)


As I read these passages again, slowly, I reflect on what the Lord might be saying to me through them. I look for words or phrases that catch my eye or move my heart, allowing my spirit to respond to the Lord in prayer and meditation. I enjoy His presence, this morning, preparing myself for the day ahead.

Father, I cannot get away from these passages on love and laying down our lives for one another. Teach me Your ways, Lord, that I might walk in Your path. Show me how to best lay down my life for the sake of my brothers and sisters and others in this world. Teach me how to love the way You have loved. Just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for me, show me how to do the same for others. In our culture, Father, this has become quite a challenge, over the past couple of years.

Time is short, Father, so I must bring this to a close. You are our great Shepherd, Father, and I am thankful for the security that this brings my soul. I find it easier and easier to obey that often-stated command, “Fear not,” as I find myself resting more and more in Your provision and safety. Thought this world is harsh, I find myself resting in the shadow of Your wings and in the cleft of the rock, where You have hidden me. But even as Job said, Lord, even if You see fit to slay me, yet will I trust You.

I will listen to what You say, Lord, and You promise peace to us. Only let us not turn to folly, Father. Let us not turn to folly and chase after the wind and vanities.

"God of place and time,
You chose the little town of Bethlehem to be the birthplace of David and of David's greater Son.
Make us aware of Your active purpose in our towns and neighborhoods,
so that we see them as places of promise in our time.


"May the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven,
shine on those living in darkness and guide our feet into the path of peace."
(based on Luke 1:78-79)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

Christmas Is THE Gift

Today is Tuesday, December 25, 2018. The first day of Christmas.

Day 22,202

Seven days until 2019!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”
Jesus Christ

The word of the day is Noel. It means, “Christmas.” (

I want to begin by wishing everyone who reads this a joyous Noel! May you be able to experience joy today, no matter what your circumstances.

We had a lovely day, yesterday. C did some more painting in the master bathroom, painting the cabinets dark brown. She also cooked eggs, bacon, and biscuits for “lunch.” That happened after we took my Nord 61 key keyboard and met up with the people who bought it. That went very well. You’re never quite sure how those Craig’s List things are going to work out. Here’s the new one.

This morning has been wonderful. Everyone was up around 6:30 AM. Up, not necessarily, you know, awake. But we had some coffee, exchanged our gifts and then the cooking started. I’ve already cooked my Pull-Apart Crescent Christmas Tree.

I got a few good books to read next year. Two devotional books: Faith That Matters, a 365 day devotional “from classic Christian leaders.” The names on the front include Dallas Willard, Henri Nowen, Frederick Buechner, A.W. Tozer, N.T. Wright, James Bryan Smith, Eugene Peterson, and Brennan Manning. Also, Every Step An Arrival, a 90-day devotional by Eugene H. Peterson. Speaking of A.W. Tozer, I got his book, The Root of the Righteous, which was mentioned several times in a recent book I read, Becoming Dallas Willard. And, finally, a copy of Streams of Living Water, essential practices from the six great traditions of Christian faith, by Richard J. Foster. So I’ve got some good reading already lined up for next year.

I also got three new PS4 games. Vampyr, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption II. There is also a new Red Sox World Series pennant for 2018, and a new set of speakers for my study, to hook up to my computer when I’m recording. There was also much candy for everyone! Good times!

After all the cooking is done, we will pack up the food and presents for Grandma and head to Mineral Wells for the afternoon.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Today I am grateful:
1. For Christmas. And it definitely feels like Christmas, this morning. Except for the fact that it’s 62 degrees outside. 😀
2. That our kids are all here this morning. That includes our son-in-law.
3. For the joy that is filling our home today.
4. For the imminent trip to Grandma’s house.
5. For all the food we will share together later.

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done,
   surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth,
   O King of all the ages.

Who can fail to do you homage, Lord,
and sing the praises of your Name?
   for you only are the holy One.
All nations will draw near and fall down before you,
   because your just and holy works have been revealed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
   as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, The Song of the Redeemed, Revelation 15:3-4)

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 
Isaiah 9:2

I have already stated it, but today is Christmas. The day when the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Not everyone observes the day, but those who do not certainly don’t refuse the day off from work! So it is, most likely, the most universal of “holidays.” And trust me, I am in no way casting judgment on anyone who chooses not to observe “Christmas.”

We also are aware that it is most certainly not the day that Christ was born. I think there is a reason that we don’t know for sure when that happened. You see, we are not told, in Scripture, to commemorate this day. Not once, not ever. In fact, we see no indication in the New Testament that the Christians of that time celebrated the birth of Jesus. There is plenty of evidence that His death and resurrection are remembered, but none to indicate the celebration of His birth. We simply don’t know when it happened.

There are many theories. My favorite is the one that says He was born on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is one of those moving “holidays.” It is the Jewish Day of Atonement. Next year, it will begin on October 8 and end on October 9. It always falls somewhere in late September or early October. The interesting (fascinating, in fact) thing is, in years when it falls in late September, if you count backwards nine months, you wind up quite close to December 25! So, it is quite possible that, today, we are inadvertently celebrating the conception of Jesus!

All of that, of course, is pure conjecture, and holds no relevance whatsoever to what Christmas is all about. Except that, how cool would be if Jesus, the salvation of the world, was actually born on the Day of Atonement??? I mean, seriously! I see that as the kind of thing that God would totally do!

Anyway. It’s Christmas Day. The day that corporate America lives for. The day that the retail world stands or falls on. Gifts are given galore. There are, literally, thousands of dollars worth of gifts in our home, this morning. And all were given with love and thoughtfulness, at least at our house.

But here’s the thing. In the grand scheme of things, Christmas is the gift! In fact, I believe we could capitalize “The.” Christmas is THE gift! A little over two thousand years ago, a baby was born to a virgin. Yes, I believe that. Scoff if you will, it won’t change anything. That baby was God incarnate. The Second Person of the Trinity lowered Himself, condescended, “emptied Himself,” as Paul says in Philippians. He poured Himself into the imperfect frailness that is human skin, with all of its shortcomings and PAINS! He experienced the frustrations of growing up and learning to move around in that body. Then, when He was approximately thirty-three years old, when the fullness of time had occurred, He allowed Himself to be nailed to an instrument of public execution. He was ridiculed, humiliated, and tortured. Then, He not only endured physical death, but He also endured the face of His Father being turned away from Him for a brief moment. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me???”

All of this was THE gift to humanity. The PERFECT gift. And it is yours to receive or reject, even today. I don’t often get all evangelical on here. And there is no sense of emotional manipulation here. I’m not going to lead six verses of “Just As I Am,” and say, “Just one more verse, and if no one comes, we will close.” None of that. Simply presenting the facts as I believe them to be. Jesus Christ died for us, in our place, that we might have access to God, and so that we can live in His Kingdom NOW, not just after we die. I would simply ask you to ponder this, if you have not. See if it is worthy of acceptance.

Christmas is THE gift.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Psalm 107:19-21

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Father, I thank You for the gift. Help me to walk worthy of it.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Soli Deo Gloria

Arise, Shine

Today is Saturday, December 15, 2018. Second week of Advent.

Day 22,192

TEN DAYS until Christmas!!!

“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”
Oswald Chambers, Scottish theologian, 1874-1917

The word of the day is nidus, “a nest or breeding place; especially : a place or substance in an animal or plant where bacteria or other organisms lodge and multiply.” Also, “a place where something originates, develops, or is located.” (Merriam-Webster)

I got a good bit accomplished yesterday. I did not wrap presents, as I thought I might, because C had mentioned we were running out of tape. I had already gone out to run a couple of errands, and did not want to go out again, so I put that task off. I did get my library card renewed (and, of course, checked out two books that I have no extra time to read), and picked up another thing that I wanted. Oh, and got lunch for S and me.

After lunch, I holed up in the study and worked on music for tomorrow. I got some nice sounds set up in my keyboard to play tomorrow. Then, of course, I played games. I’m currently playing Dragon Age: Inquisition on the PS4.

Today, we have to pick up groceries between 2:00 and 3:00 PM. We’ll have lunch or something around that time, as well. I’ll be getting in a bit more practice at some point, as well. I also need to lay down keyboard tracks for another song for my buddy’s album project. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, though. That may have to wait until after Christmas.

The annual Yuleslide event is in Grapevine today, but I elected not to attend, this year. I have stuff I need to do today that is more important. Hopefully, it will work out next year. It’s going to be nice weather for it, today.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

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

Today I am grateful:
1. For a beautiful day outside (I won’t be out much in it, but it will still be beautiful)
2. For opportunities to “sleep in.” I actually made it to 8:00 AM!
3. For time to spend with God each morning
4. For a fun sense of humor
5. That I am able, most of the time, to simply enjoy life

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land;
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise,
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open;
by day or night they will never be shut.
They will call you, The City of the Lord,
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land,
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation,
and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day;
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.”

(The Book of Common Prayer, The Third Song of Isaiah, Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19)

The world sure seems like a dark place, these days. And I’m just thinking about my own country. There are places in this world that are much, much darker than we could ever imagine. There are places where children are taken and forced to fight in armies. There are places where cruel dictators rule with no boundaries. There are places where women and children have no rights whatsoever. And there are places where religious freedom is nonexistent.

But there is a light that has shined upon us. It began shining a little more than two thousand years ago. The glory of the Lord dawned upon us with the birth of Jesus Christ. The Lord has risen and His glory has appeared.

What can this Scripture passage have for us today? Of course, we can celebrate that this light has already come and has shined in our hearts, resurrecting our dead spirits. That’s what we are doing during this season of the year. But look at verse 3 of Isaiah 60. “And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Are we shining so brightly that nations are attracted to our light?

Admittedly, the passage is probably talking about Jerusalem. But I believe strongly that it can be applied to God’s people today, the Church. We are to shine with the glory of Christ. We should be attracting nations with our light. Naturally, there will always be some who are repelled by the light. These are they who Scripture speaks of, who love darkness more than light, who plan their dastardly deeds for the nighttime when no one can see.

Verse 11 speaks of gates that will never be closed. “Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession.” Then, in verse 14, “they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” Yep. Definitely Jerusalem. But wait. Is this the Old Testament Jerusalem, or the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation 21?

“Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” (18-19)

That sounds an awful lot like something “otherworldly.” Something totally new. Even at this very moment, I am overwhelmed with longing for this “New Jerusalem,” whatever shape it may take. I am longing for the cessation of violence, devastation, and destruction. I am longing for the end of sin and shame. I am longing for the Lord to be my everlasting light and my glory.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!!

Father, You have, in a sense, hi-jacked my devotional this morning, and I am perfectly okay with that. I didn’t see it going in this direction at all. I pray for Your light to shine on our nation, on this world, and let that light come through Your Church. I pray that You will take down all who would deceive Your people, and that includes so-called pastors who are preaching politics and power, who are deceiving for financial gain and power. Bring all who would shame Your holy name down. Grant us repentance when we fall short or veer off the path. Show us the truth if we are misunderstanding. Bring Your light to all, and hasten the day when violence, devastation, and destruction are no more.

Grace and peace, friends.