What Is God Like?

Today is Sunday, February 24, 2019.

Day 22,263

18 days until our next Glen Rose weekend!!!

Quote of the Day

“There is no stigma attached to recognizing a bad decision in time to install a better one.”
Laurence J. Peter, U.S. educator and writer, 1919-1988

Word of the Day

Halidom ~ a holy place, as a church or sanctuary. (Dictionary.com)

Last night’s Night of Worship was pretty awesome. I managed to get the whole thing on Facebook Live. Here’s the link for it: Night of Worship I’ve set it to “public,” so anyone should be able to watch it.

On a side note, my weather app says there is a chance of snow on March 5.

Not much else happened yesterday. This morning, we are getting ready to go worship again, at The Exchange Church, which meets at 9100 N. Beach Street, at the Northpark YMCA, in Fort Worth, Texas. Our worship gathering begins at 10:15.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah.

Psalm 3:5, 8

Today I am grateful:
1. For another opportunity to gather with the family of God and worship Him.
2. That last night’s Night of Worship went so well. It felt really great to be doing that again.
3. For coffee. Not all gratitude has to be spiritual, you know.
4. That God reveals Himself to us.
5. That we are able to find refuge under His wings.

Lord God,
whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ triumphed over the powers of 
  death and prepared for us our place in the new Jerusalem:
Grant that we, who have this day given thanks for his 
  resurrection,
may praise you in that City of which he is the light,
and where he lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Sundays)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Are You Prepared for God’s Revelation?” by A.W. Tozer.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Romans 1:19

“What is God like? What kind of God is he? How may we expect him to act toward us and toward all created things?” All good questions, and not simply academic. “They touch the far-in reaches of the human spirit, and their answers affect the life and character and destiny.” When we ask these questions in sincerity and humility, they must be pleasing to our Father.

God has provided answers, though not all of them, “not enough to satisfy our intellects and ravish our hearts.” There are answers provided in nature, in the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, His Son.

And these answers do not lie on the mere surface. “They must be sought by prayer, by long meditation on the written Word, and by earnest and well-disciplined labor.”

“God can be seen only by those who are spiritually prepared to receive him. Are you prepared?”

I like to think I am prepared. I believe a good bit of my spiritual life is spent in that preparation. Each morning, I prepare myself to try to receive revelation about God. Some days I do receive; other days, not so much. It seems to depend on how well I remember my morning preparation.

“Lord, help me see, apprehend, and understand the light of your glorious revelation.” Yes, Father. I desire You like yesterday’s deer needs the water. I long for fresh revelation of You each day. Let me not be satisfied with the stale knowledge of yesterday. Show me the path to acquire You daily. Let me find Your fresh, new mercies, each morning.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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)

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Problem Solver Or Person Creator?

It is Saturday, January 5, 2019. The twelfth day of Christmas.

Day 22,213

39 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.

“Expert: a man who makes three correct guesses consecutively.”
Laurence J. Peter, Canadian writer, 1919-1990
BrainyQuote

The word of the day is siderosous. It means, “Star-struck; (also) full of stars, starry.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

I got a couple new “toys” from Amazon, yesterday. One is a new sustain pedal for my keyboard. The one I have been using has begun to squeak at random times. Last Sunday, it started squeaking at a most inopportune time, as I was leading “Revelation Song.” It has some quiet moments in it. It really shook me and disturbed my concentration. So I got a new one. I also got a box for vocals, called “Mic Mechanic 2.” It provides ambience to the vocals, such as reverb and delay. It also has a pitch correction feature (NOT autotune!) that I probably won’t use, as my vocals are usually on pitch.

This morning I’m going to meet with our pastor again, at a nearby Starbucks, to discuss a book we’ve been reading. He’s way ahead of me (I think he already finished it), but that’s okay. It’s called Glittering Vices:A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies. I’ve only gotten through two of the seven vices, but that’s because I’m trying to follow the schedule of the Renovare Book Club.

Later today, I’ll make the usual trip to Kroger to pick up our Click List. I may try to watch the movie Ready Player One, as well. I might even watch some football tonight. I’m not sure about that. The Cowboys are playing the Seahawks tonight in the first round of playoffs. Tomorrow, the Ravens play the Chargers. I’m thinking about watching that game, as well. The Ravens are my favorite football team, for reasons which have nothing to do with football.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:15-16

Today I am grateful:
1. For a pastor that I connect so well with.
2. For a place where we can sit, talk, and drink coffee.
3. That I can go pick up groceries without getting out of the car.
4. For mornings to sit and reflect on life and spiritual things.
5. For opportunities to pray for others.

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world
rested from all your works and sanctified a day of
rest for all your creatures:
Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties,
may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary,
and that our rest here upon earth may be a
preparation for the eternal rest
promised to your people in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Saturdays)

(From Every Step An Arrival, Eugene H. Peterson)
God Is Not A Problem Solver On Call

GOD did to Sarah what he promised: Sarah became pregnant and gave Abraham a son in his old age, and at the very time God had set. Abraham named him Isaac.
Genesis 21:1-3

Birth stories are good for us; they do things for us that we need “over and over and over again.” We tend to do one of two things with God. “One is to flatten him down into the banal and the humdrum. We lose all sense of mystery. We reduce him to morals or platitudes or a genial source of good advice. We lose all sense of the transcendent or the glorious or the beyond.

“The other tendency is to sentimentalize God into diversion or entertainment. We fantasize him and hope for an escape from whatever we don’t like about what is happening to us at the time.”

Peterson says that most people do one of these two things, and “our lives are unchanged.”

But the message of the gospel is that “God invades us with new life, and the life changes what we presently are.” As noted by the title of this reading, God is not “a means by which we solve problems,” or a “means to avoid problems.” Based on most peoples’ prayer requests, that is what the majority of people see God as. He’s a problem solver. Heal this, heal that, I need money, I need this or that problem to go away.

Don’t misunderstand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for these things, and I do it for people on a daily basis! But if that is the sole content of our prayers, we aren’t quite getting something right.

The most important thing God does for us is create new life. “He is not a problem solver but a person creator.” I like that phrase. There are “birth stories” happening all around us every day, if we but simply look and pay attention.

May we not view God as a means to and end, but as a Creator who walks with us through our lives.

Father, I pray for You to “birth a holy awe” in my life today. May I not see You as a “problem solver,” but as one who creates daily in our lives. Help me to see You at work everywhere I look.
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.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Expect From God Alone

Today is Monday, November 5, 2018.

Day 22,152

NINE days until Fallout 76!!

“America is a country that doesn’t know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there.”
Laurence J. Peter, U.S. educator and writer, 1919-1988
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is chumping, “The action or practice of collecting wood or other materials for use as fuel in a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night.”

Yes, ’tis Guy Fawkes Day.

“Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!”

Yesterday was another nice, restful day. C had a wonderful time with the ladies of the church, as they but together some jars of goodies for a women’s shelter, or something like that. I’m not exactly sure where it was going. S and I had lunch, and I spent the afternoon chilling.

That’s about it, since there is no baseball to talk about.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

“Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of thy faithful people is governed and sanctified:
Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before thee for all members of thy holy Church,
that in their vocation nd ministry they may truly and godly serve thee;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer)

(From Power in Prayer, Andrew Murray)
My Expectation Is From Him

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Psalm 62:5-6

God is our only source. From whom or what are we expecting anything? We want to be “good,” but in Matthew, Jesus says, “There is only one who is good.” (Matthew 19:17) Says Murray, “there is no possible goodness except what is received directly from Him.” We desire to be holy. “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2) Says Murray, “there is no holiness except what He breathes in you by His Spirit.” We desire to live and work for God and His kingdom. And we are told in Isaiah 40, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. . . . but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.” (28-29, 31)

There are many out there who would seduce you into putting your trust into churches and doctrines, even preachers or schemes of men. But, says Andrew Murray, “Let the living God alone, and none other but Him, be your hope.”

Father, may I expect goodness and holiness and strength from no one else but You. Let me not seek it within myself, nor let me seek it from other men and their ideas. Let me find it only in You!
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.

Contagious Faith

Today is FRIDAY, September 7, 2018. Day 22,093.

29 days until Galveston!!

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” ~ Laurence J. Peter, 1919-1988, The Quotations Page

The word for today is locavore, “a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally, usually within 100 miles of home.” We are not locavores.

There’s not much news around here, this morning. There was no baseball that I cared about last night, as both of “my” teams were off.

Burt Reynolds passed away yesterday, which was sad news. He was a great actor, and I enjoyed many of his movies. He was 82 years old, and it was stated that he had a heart attack.

I have another song to work on, for the upcoming Night of Worship album. This one is a new original song by our host/leader. Unfortunately, every weekend this month has something going on, so time will be at a premium. Tomorrow is C’s company picnic, which is happening at Six Flags Over Texas. Unfortunately, what is also happening is rain. All day. We’ll see how that goes. Next Saturday (the 15th), we are doing another Night of Worship in Alvord, just up the road about a half hour. The 22nd is our usual Night of Worship at Brandon’s house. The 29th is currently open, but I may be asked to work that day. So . . . busy month.

But that’s okay, because of the second line of this blog.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From Where Your Treasure Is), Eugene H. Peterson

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 
the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. 
Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah. 
Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush— “This one was born there,” they say. 
And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. 
The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah. 
Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

Psalm 87

Peterson points out five births that are called out in this Psalm. You see them in verse 4. Rahab (an ancient name for Egypt), Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush (some versions call it Ethiopia). But wait! These are not people! They are nations! Not only nations, but Israel’s perpetual enemies!

Asks Peterson, “How did these five ancient foes get to be included in a prayerful reflection on the marvels and mysteries of birth? There is only one satisfactory answer, incredible as it sounds: They got there by being born again.”

As the Hebrew people were scattered by persecution and exile, people all over their world begin finding “new life in God.” “The people among whom they were dispersed watched them, observed their way of life, looked over their shoulders as they read and copied their Scriptures, asked them questions about their faith and their God.”

The Hebrew people did not openly campaign to convert others, “but their faith was contagious.” The nations in which they dwelt were “attracted by the dazzling intensities of their worship and were drawn into the maturing pilgrimage of holiness.” In many cases, those people became Jewish.

As Jews who were able came back to Jerusalem each year to celebrate, they began being joined by strangers, “people with the wrong shade of skin, the wrong shape of nose.”

What was the nature of this appeal? “Authenticity: a living God and a passionate people. In every nation in which Jews were living, searching people perceived in the speech and song and prayers of these Jews a revelation of a holy God and evidence of healthy humanity.” Someone watching this pilgrimage that began to look more like the United Nations than a Jewish tribe might well have penned verse 4 of Psalm 87.

Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush— “This one was born there,” they say.

Father, help me to have contagious faith. Help me to live the kind of life that attracts people to You. I confess that I often fail in this. I allow my personal feelings, my judgments, my frustrations, my temptations, and a myriad of other things to distract and deter me. May Your Spirit center me in Your will today, and may I walk in Your Kingdom, in the “easy yoke” of Jesus.
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.

Spirit

Today is Friday, August 18, 2017. Day 21,708. ONE MORE DAY until S’s and J’s birthday!!!!!!!!

Quote of the Day

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

Word of the Day

Confabulate ~ to converse informally; chat.

Today is Bad Poetry Day. In honor of that, here is some Vogon poetry.

Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me,
As plurdled gabbleblotchits,
On a lurgid bee,
That mordiously hath blurted out,
Its earted jurtles, grumbling
Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. [drowned out by moaning and screaming]
Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles,
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts,
And living glupules frart and stipulate,
Like jowling meated liverslime,
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
And hooptiously drangle me,
With crinkly bindlewurdles,mashurbitries.
Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
See if I don’t!

(Much thanks to Douglas Adams!)

So, today, C is taking a half day off (the after lunch half), and will be taking S to have lunch and get a mani/pedi. I wish I could go, but I can’t take today off, as someone else with an important role already had the day off. I don’t really want a manicure, but those fancy pedicures are the bomb diggity, man!

Tomorrow, we will be heading to Mineral Wells for the weekend, to visit Grandma, and go to church with her on Sunday morning. Good times. I also plan to stop by the Crazy Water store and pick up another case or two of that number four Crazy Water. It’s good stuff, and I swear it helped the arthritic pain I was experiencing in my right knee.

The Rangers beat the Other Sox, last night, 9-8. They gained a half game on the wild card because the Angels didn’t play. They also gained a game on the Astros, who lost. So they are tied for third place, with Seattle, 13.5 games out, and 1.5 out of the second wild card spot.

The Red Sox didn’t play, but lost a half game because the Yankees won. They are four games up in the AL East. I’m thinking September could be quite exciting!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Psalm 31:23
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!
Psalm 30:10
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
Psalm 27:4
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 
For what can a man give in return for his soul? 
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:34-38
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, 
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

(From Living the Message)

It’s one of those times I will quote the reading verbatim.

“Spirit is the scriptural word for God sharing his life in our lives. It means that God is not an anonymous somebody ‘out there’ or an idea explained in a book, but a living presence whom I experience in the life I live day by day. God gives himself to me. I receive God into myself. Spirit is God’s gift of himself in my experience.”

When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
Romans 8:11b (The Message)

Father, live and breathe in me today! Help me to know your presence in my life today. Help me to see, feel, and know the presence of your Spirit as I walk through this day. Also, I ask that you help me to notice the people you put in my path today, people that also represent you in this world.
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.

Coffee Mug and Prayer Journal

Today is Saturday, April 1, 2017. April Fool’s Day. TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL OPENING DAY!!!

Quote of the Day

“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

Word of the Day

Plisky ~ a mischievous trick; practical joke; prank. Found primarily in northern Ireland, Scotland, and northern England.

Today is Sourdough Bread Day. I certainly enjoy sourdough bread! “If there’s one thing any sandwich connoisseur knows, it’s that there are few sandwiches that aren’t made better by the addition of sourdough bread.” Yes! I agree! My favorite breakfast sandwich, for example, is Jack in the Box’s “Loaded Breakfast Sandwich,” which is made on sourdough toast.

So it’s Saturday, and here it is almost noon. I got distracted earlier, trying to print and sort music for tonight’s Night of Worship and tomorrow’s worship gathering. I got frustrated by key signature ambiguity, though, and decided to set that aside and finish my devotional time. The Night of Worship will be tonight at 6:00 PM. We will be at the host’s home by 3:00 PM today for set up and rehearsal. I may be taking both my guitar and my keyboard. I’m still vacillating on that.

There’s not much else happening this weekend, which I prefer on weekends with NoW. We thought R & J might come over tomorrow for birthday celebration, but they are going to meet up with us at Mama’s house, next Saturday, which is her birthday! So we will celebrate two birthdays together.

The Rangers shut out the Royals, 3-0, in an exhibition game, last night in Arlington. They play another game today at 1:05.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8
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.
(Agnus Dei)
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the Glory of God the Father.
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
Psalm 31:5
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! 
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! 
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. 
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. 
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. 
I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. 
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. 
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

Psalm 71:1-9

(From Daily Guideposts 2017)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Julie Garmon continues in a series of readings called “Beauty From Ashes,” regarding helping her daughter through a divorce. The new checking account was opened, a grocery list was made. “What happens next, Mom?” asked Katie.

They decided to head to the store and tackle the shopping list. Katie reminisced about times when they had prayed and read the Bible together. She purposed to begin every day in that way, and headed for the stationery area. When Julie asked what she was looking for, Katie replied, “A prayer journal.” She found one she liked, and said, “Now I need a coffee mug.”
“Don’t you want a set of dishes?” (She had left her dishes behind in her haste to get things done quickly.)
“Nope, I only want one mug, and my prayer journal. That’s all I need.”

How often do we find ourselves chasing after “stuff” that we don’t need? Just this morning, I find myself fighting urges to buy new musical instruments. I’ve been playing a lot more, lately, both guitar and keys (as well as trombone). But I don’t need a new instrument. I have everything I need. Sure, a shiny new red keyboard would be fabulous! But I don’t need it.

Katie found what she needed. She had, for all intents and purposes, lost everything. When God is all we have, he is all we need.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. 

Psalm 46:1-2
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:3

Father, you have brought me from a place in my life where I obsessed over stuff. I still have a lot of stuff, but it’s not as important to me as it used to be. I don’t long for things that I don’t have any more. But have I really reached a place where I can say “All I have in you is more than enough?” I fear not. I want to be at that place. My heart’s desire is to be able to say that. You are enough. You are more than enough. “You are my reward, worth living for.” I love you Lord. May I worship you tonight with a passion that I have never felt.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.