Let My Words Be Few

Today is Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

Day 22,216

36 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Leo Tolstoy, Russian mystic and novelist, 1828-1910
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is labyrinthine. It means, “complicated; tortuous,” or, “of, relating to, or resembling a labyrinth.” (Dictionary.com)

Well, we didn’t make it to the Y last night. We don’t really have a good reason. We just didn’t do it. Instead, we made chili and watched an episode of Speechless and an episode of Big Bang Theory. That was pretty much it.

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

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:4

Today I am grateful:
1. For the people God has placed in my life, thus far. I’m feeling pretty blessed right now.
2. For the Holy Spirit, who continues to gently nudge me toward a deeper experience with Jesus.
3. For Jesus, who shows me the way to the Father.
4. For the Father, who is always near me, always with me, everywhere I could possibly go
5. For the truth that, no matter how I feel, spiritually or emotionally, all of the above are still true.

Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful
people is governed and sanctified:
Receive our supplications and prayers which we 
offer before you for all members of your holy Church,
that in their vocation and ministry they may
truly and devoutly serve you;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer)

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:2

I’m starting with this verse, but will segue into something else; different, but related, I think.

This verse is the inspiration for a Matt Redman song, “Let My Words Be Few.”

It’s a verse and concept that I keep needing to go back to. You see, I have a problem with letting my words be few. Big problem. My words have gotten me into more trouble than I care to speak of. It’s a constant case of, “Did I say that out loud??”

I think the point of this verse in Ecclesiastes, though, is more about the things we say before, or to, God. Jesus makes a sort of reference to the idea when He tells us not to make rash vows to God. God is in heaven; I am on earth. I will let my words be few.

Now for the segue.

In Every Step An Arrival, by Eugene H. Peterson, today’s reading begins with a verse about Moses.

GOD said to Moses, “Climb higher up the mountain and wait there for me; I’ll give you tablets of stone, the teachings and commandments that I’ve written to instruct them.”
Exodus 24:12 (The Message)

Moses is at his pinnacle, here; the highest point of his life. And I’m not just talking about physical location, either. He’s the leader of the people; he has brought them out of Egypt (with God’s help, of course); he is God’s spokesperson. “He is the key person in the people’s relation with God; he is the key person in God’s relation with the people.”

In all of this, we might make the mistake of thinking that Moses is indispensable. But he is not. He is necessary, but not indispensable. “If Moses had not done it, God would have prepared another.”

So what we need to realize is that the “great thing in this story is not what Moses did but what God did. God calls; God gives; God instructs.” Moses simply answered God’s call and waited for God to speak. Moses “knew how to get out of the way so God could be in the way.”

This is where I believe the two ideas are related. Moses knew how to let his words be few. When he came back down from the mountain, he “gave the people God’s word. He didn’t tell the exciting story of his forty days on the mountain. He did not show a set of slides of the views from Sinai. He was absolutely silent about himself in order that he might talk about God.”

I especially got a kick out of that statement about the slides. I’ve been a part of far too many missionary presentations in my life.

Anyway . . . These concepts are important, especially as we think about gathering to worship. “We come to a place of worship to find out about God, not about man. We are here to get ourselves in relation with God, not to be entertained with religious tales of the saints and sinners.”

May we stand in awe of God today, and let our words be few.

Father, as I go through this day, help me to let my words be few, and to stand in awe of you, as you are in heaven and I am on earth.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Three Threes

Today is Saturday, October 6, 2018.

Day 22,122

Today is Galveston Day!!!!

“Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, The Quotations Page

The word of the day is axilla, “the armpit.” I hope there’s a town named “Axilla” somewhere.

I’ve been working on this post for over an hour already. I keep getting distracted by packing. Because today is the day we leave for Galveston!!! We are so excited for this trip. Galveston is one of our favorite places on the planet, and certainly either our first or second place favorite place in Texas. The other is Glen Rose. I think I have to say Galveston wins, but only because it has an ocean next to it. If Glen Rose had an ocean . . . we’d all be in trouble, that’s what, because it’s in the middle of Texas! Anyway.

Two things for sure that we plan to do while in Galveston. Thursday night, C and I have booked a ghost tour with Dash Beardsley. We have already done two of their tours, and they have been great fun. Then, one unspecified day, at our leisure, we plan on doing one of these Island Treasure Hunts. These are cool “adventures” that are guided by clues and instructions that you get from your smart phone or other device. We’ve done similar things in Fort Worth and Austin, and had great fun.

Of course, we also plan on some shopping around The Strand, and most definitely visiting the candy shop where they make the salt water taffy on the premises. I highly anticipate, however, that the most enjoyed activity (both quantity and quality) will be sitting on the deck or the beach, watching and listening to the ocean waves. I just relaxed some more thinking about that.

We leave this morning and won’t be coming back until next Sunday evening. Eight nights! Then we are taking Monday off from work, as well, to recuperate from all that driving on Sunday.

Let’s see. There was a lot of baseball yesterday, and some of it was a bit more exciting than I wanted it to be. By “exciting,” I mean “gut-wrenching stressful.”

The Dodgers blanked the Braves again, 3-0, to take a 2-0 lead in that series. The Braves have yet to score against them.

The Brewers blanked the Rockies, 4-0, to take a 2-0 lead in that series.

The Astros beat the Indians, 7-2, and lead their series 1-0.

Then there was that Red Sox/Yankees game. Of course, that was the one to which I was referring when I said “gut-wrenching stressful.” The Sox started out scoring early, to take a 5-0 lead. Then Alex Cora took Chris Sale out of the game, and it all started falling apart. The bullpen seemed almost totally incapable of throwing strikes. The first bullpen pitcher didn’t even get out of the last inning that Sale started. Two runs were scored in the sixth, both credited to Sale, then one more in the seventh. It was 5-3, going into the top of the ninth. Cora had brought Kimbrel, the closer, in with one out left in the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Judge was up first, and he promptly crushed an opposite-field homer to right field to make the score 5-4. That was it, though, as Kimbrel did his job for the rest of the ninth. The Sox won 5-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Today, the Sox play the Yankees in Fenway at 7:15 CT, and the Indians play the Astros in Houston at 3:37 CT. The NL is off today, as they are traveling to the other city for tomorrow’s games. Likewise, the AL will be off tomorrow.

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

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:9-11

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

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

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! 
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Psalm 93

As we continue considering the rule of God, it is worth noting that, as we affirm this rule, this reign, this sovereignty of God, “the frequent and disrupting experiences of ‘unrule’ must also be prayed through.” Note the threefold “floods” of verse 3 in the Psalm.

The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.

When floods come, the foundation of the earth remains steady and firm. But nothing else does. The torrents of raging, flooding water can wash away anything. In the great hurricane of 1900, in Galveston, the wind did great damage. But just as damaging was the amount of water that raged through the city as the wind drove the ocean waves (along with torrential rains) into the city. The floods washed away entire houses; they even moved an entire railroad trestle. “The firmament continues, orderly and dependable, but everything between heaven and earth is swept unceremoniously into catastrophe.”

The solid ground, the firm foundation, never gets any headlines. It is the floods that get all the attention. “Dry is our natural state and we take it for granted; wet is an alien state and we panic.”

The flood is also “a master metaphor for anarchy.” We don’t like being told what to do, do we? I think that is true of just about anyone. However, “we fear even more a society in which everyone does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Government is a response to the floods. “If there were no floods there would be no government. Because of anarchy, government is required. If everyone and everything existed in harmonious tranquility, government would be as questionable as the vermiform appendix.”

But then, take note of verse 4.

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty!

The three floods are matched by the might of the Lord on high!

“The anarchical floods are matched by the sovereign Lord. Three times the floods lift up their voice; three times the Lord’s might proves sovereign. These paired triplets resonate through the biblical memory. The devil’s three testings of Jesus are met and defeated by three sovereign words (Mt. 4:1-11). Peter’s three denials are matched by three affirmations of love (Jn. 21:15-19). Paul’s three protestations against his ‘thorn’ are matched by the tripple reassurance, ‘my grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Cor. 12:8-9). Luke gives three renderings of Paul’s conversion, countering his thrice-reported terrorist activities in the early church.”

It is important to note that, “in all these events, God’s sovereignty is not merely asserted, it is experienced.” (Emphasis mine) Furthermore, the truth must be asserted that, “if God is not sovereign, I do, in fact, live in chaos.”

Now, consider all of these things in comparison with the baptism of Jesus. There is a continuity between the floodwaters out of which Noah was saved for mankind to experience a new beginning, and the baptismal waters into which Jesus went and then emerged “for our salvation and established a new covenant.” The Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus might be compared to the dove that delivered evidence to Noah that the waters had receded and new life had been found. “Messiah emerges from the death-dealing abyss and rules over the chaos. ‘Mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!'”

So how does all of this enter into our lives and history? This is seen in the final verse, again, three lines.

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, forevermore.

The decrees are sure and trustworthy. “The waves are subdued by decrees.” They are not countered by more violence. . . . The means by which God’s rule is put into effect is word not muscle, decrees not armies, creative speech not coercive act.” Many would have us meet the world’s violence with violence of our own. This verse tells us differently.

In the second line, “holiness befits your house,” there is that interesting little word “befits.” Peterson says it is a weak translation of a Hebrew word “na’wah.” It means “makes lovely, adorns becomingly.” He says it is “used more frequently in the Song of Solomon than in any other book of the Bible.”

We don’t expect images of loveliness from the concept of rule. Love song lyrics, sure. But not discussions of sovereignty. But God “does not set aside the robes of holy love when he exercises his rule in the mud of human history.”

Finally, we see the line, “O LORD, forevermore.” This affirms the rule of God throughout ordinary time. “This is not God’s rule eternal in the heavens apart from human history but God’s rule working itself out through the calendar. Prayer is not a patient wait for the rule to come into effect at the end of history, it is a patient participation in present rule.” Once again, as Dallas Willard has asserted, the Kingdom of God is here NOW, not something we are waiting to enter when we die.

And, perhaps most importantly, “it does not depend on public acknowledgment.” That, my friends, is huge. God is sovereign whether the atheists acknowledge it or not. “Whether men and women know it or or not, they are now living under God’s rule. Some live in rebellion that can be either defiant or ignorant. Some live in an obedience that can be either reluctant or devout. But not one lives apart from it. It is the premise of our existence.” There is not time when this is not true. There is not one day (Sunday) when God is allowed to rule, and six days when we humans take control of things. “Neither ignorance nor indifference diminishes God’s rule. Day after day “the LORD reigns.”

“Now,” says Peterson, “the symmetry is complete: three lines of anarchic violence countered by three lines of the Lord’s mightier rule, expounded in three lines of the way the rule is administered.”

This is why prayer is seen as “subversive activity.” Think about it. When we pray along the lines of Psalm 93, we are involved in “a more or less open act of defiance against any claim of ultimacy by the current regime.” Our prayers drag the egotism of politics out into the open and begin to do something about it.

“God rules. Prayer develops in us an awareness of God’s rule: his intentions, his ways, his strategies, his commands.” “Patriotism,” on the other hand, “is often only bloated egotism.” That is a huge statement, and I have felt that way about patriotism for a long time. There is no biblical call for Christians to be “patriots.” Yes, we are to be good citizens, but that simply means obeying the laws and looking out for the good of the people around us. “Every natural tie of family and race, every willed commitment to person and nation is finally subordinated to the rule of God.”

I realize this was a bit lengthy, but it finished the discussion of chapter four.

Father, help us to pray rightly, in light of Your rule and Your reign. Help us to correctly acknowledge Your rule over our lives, our history, our future, and our nation and world. You are God; You are sovereign; You are in control; You reign supreme. And to that end I will pray.
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)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Language of Practicing Resurrection

Today is Saturday, September 9, 2017. Day 21,730. 33 days until our 32nd anniversary.

Leo Tolstoy, born on this date in 1828 (died 1910) said, “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”
Brainyquote

Word of the Day

Disport ~ “to amuse oneself in light or lively fashion.”

Today is Teddy Bear Day. Who doesn’t love a soft, cuddly teddy bear? Legend has it that they were so named because President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a small, captured, bear, on a hunting trip. Perhaps the most famous of all teddy bears, or at least my favorite, is Winnie the Pooh.

Naturally, I had to work late, last night. I got out of there around 6:15, not quite two hours of overtime. It wasn’t horrible though. I guess God must be doing something, because I wasn’t angry, this time. While I was on my way home, S & C cooked dinner together! We had this concoction called “Grilled Cheese Pizza,” which uses a couple of sheets of crescent dough with a bunch of Colby Jack cheese in the middle. The recipe calls for pepperoni, but C and S don’t like pepperoni, so we use ground Italian sausage, instead. They did great! It was delicious!

While we were eating, C and I watched the PWBA Tour Championship semi-final and final matches, which featured some of the world’s best female bowlers. Liz Johnson and Kelly Kulick were in it. Sadly, Liz lost in the semi-final match, but it was very exciting. Shannon O’Keefe and Liz wound up having a three frame, single-ball rolloff because they tied at 222 in regulation. Shannon went on to defeat Kelly in the final round. It was pretty exciting.

As soon as I get this finished, we will be heading to Mineral Wells to pick up my mother, to bring her back here for the weekend. R & J will be coming down this afternoon, and we will all share a late lunch. S wants to go to Martha’s Mexican Restaurant. We’ll see where everyone wants to go.

Now for some baseball. The Red Sox beat the Rays 9-3, last night. The Yankees lost, so they increased their lead in the AL East to 4.5 games. The Rangers were the ones who beat the Yankees, so a win for both teams, there! The Rangers battled back from a 5-1 deficit to win, 11-5! Unfortunately, the Twins also won, so the Rangers are still 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot.

The Cleveland Indians have now won sixteen consecutive games. The Diamondbacks finally lost one, and to add insult to injury, it was the Padres who beat them! (The Padres are in fourth place out of five teams.) The Dodgers lost their eighth straight game in this stretch, and are still 1-9 in their last ten games.

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

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Psalm 96:1
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.
Psalm 119:145
Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers;
you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you in the splendor of your temple;
on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you, beholding the depths;
in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

(Te Deum)
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. 
Psalm 85:13
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 
Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 
For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 
I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

John 4:34-38

(From Practice Resurrection)

As we journey down this path of growing up in Christ, we need a language. “The primary language we that we use . . . is prayer.” But our imaginations have to be somewhat renovated before we can truly learn to practice this language. We need “an existential understanding of prayer as an all-involving way of life. It is not a special way of using language for holy things or sacred concerns. It is a way of using language personally in response to and in the presence of God, and in response to and in the company of the saints.” How many of us have ever thought of our conversations with other saints as “prayer?”

If we pay attention to Paul’s language, we see “a syntax in which God is sometimes subject, sometimes predicate, sometimes preposition, sometimes conjunction, sometimes comma, and sometimes period. But always, always, somewhere in the sentence.”

Unfortunately, most of our experience with language “takes place with people who could not care less about our true God-given identity and who have little interest in resurrection.” So gaining fluency in prayer will take some time and “deliberate attention.” In modern terms, one might say we have to be “intentional” about it.

One way to do this is to take notice of the blessings in Scripture. Paul begins Ephesians with a blessing. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (1:3) But these blessings begin at the beginning when God blesses Adam and Eve. Soon, we see that the people whom God has blessed are blessing each other. “Isaac blesses Jacob, Jacob blesses his sons, Moses blesses the twelve tribes.” These blessings “gather to a greatness” in the Psalms, and then they “punctuate the language of Jesus.” The entirety of Scripture is flavored with blessing.

Blessing is the language of Scripture, and blessing is the language of prayer. “We receive the blessing and absorb it into our obedience. It is not long before our language exudes what we are living.”

Every Sunday morning, at the end of our worship gathering, we say the blessing that I post at the end of this blog. It comes from Numbers 6:24-27. It would certainly be easy to just parrot the words, making them essentially meaningless. But each week, I try to think of someone, usually someone in the room, and look in their direction as I say the words. Sometimes, I even go so far as to approach them and make eye contact with them, especially if I know they have been going through a hard time. When I post the words at the end of my blog, I try to think of anyone who might be reading this blog. I know some who read it on a regular basis. Others may just happen upon it, seemingly randomly. That blessing is for you.

Father, I pray that you will continue to teach me this language of prayer and blessing. I have learned, the hard way, that if I don’t keep at it, I lose the ability. It is something that must be habitually and continually practiced. Therefore, I pray that your Spirit will press on me to keep it up. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.
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.

Stop Trying

“You cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus; it is either there or it is not.”

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy
(BrainyQuote)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is puissant. It means, “powerful; mighty; potent.”

Today is Pandemonium Day! What is pandemonium, you ask? Is it radioactive? No. But it might be contagious. Dictionary.com defines it as “wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.” So do something unrestrained today, or let chaos rule. Shouldn’t be hard where I work.

Our prayer gathering went very well, last night. At least, I think it did. There were a total of seven people there, four of which had never attended one, so that was exciting. We spent some time praying for each other (I always start with that, as I feel that it is important for us to that first), and then prayed for a couple of topics that I had written down. It was a good time. S actually came to the meeting with me, and then we stopped at Whataburger on the way home, for some dinner.

Today is Thursday, and C is, of course, still in Indianapolis. The registration and bowling begins today for the Youth Open Tournament. So things get really hectic today. We’re praying that everything works right. The Junior Gold registration begins Saturday, and Jason Belmonte is supposed to be there for that. We really hope that C gets a chance to meet him. He’s a professional bowler that we like. Tonight, I hope to either finish what I started in the study on Tuesday night, or practice some music. Something productive.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Psalm 93

Even the raging of the sea cannot touch the magnitude of the Lord’s majesty. His rule is sure, and cannot be challenged. And if we can be sure about that, then we cannot also be sure of his decrees. “What he says is as sure as what he is.”

“‘God, the Lord, a King remaineth, robed in His own glorious light; God hath robed Himself and reigneth; He has girt Himself with might. Alleluia! Alleluia! God is King in depth and height! God is King in depth and height!’ (John Keble, ‘God, the Lord, a King Remaineth’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Account with Persecution

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39

This is powerful stuff. In this verse, and the surrounding verses, we see the “humiliation of being a Christian.” In the natural world, if a man does not hit back, he is considered a coward, a weakling. But in the spiritual realm, “if a man does not hit back, it is a manifestation of the Son of God in him.” We must take an insult, and not only not resent it (how hard is that!!), but we must display the Son of God by not returning the insult. And here is the key: “You cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus; it is either there or it is not.”

“You cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus; it is either there or it is not.”

What we get from this Sermon on the Mount is that we should do our duty, but then we should also do what is not our duty. “Jesus says if we are His disciples we shall always do these things.” There is no room for us to insist upon our “rights.” We must realize whose honor is at stake. It most definitely is not our own.

I’ve been reading a lot of Dallas Willard, and one of the things he points out is that we cannot simply try to do the things that Jesus lists in the Sermon on the Mount. Many people think that if we can just do those things, then we have succeeded in becoming a disciple. But when we approach it that way, we inevitably fail. We have to practice the disciplines in order to develop our lives so that those things become natural to us. It is not a matter of trying harder! “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” When we have practiced the disciplines, our lives become such that the characteristics of Christ displayed in the Beatitudes will be natural to us. The hard thing becomes not loving our enemies! This is what Jesus means by the “easy yoke.”

“Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right yourself. . . . Never look for justice, but never cease to live it.”

Father, sometimes I feel like a spiritual pinball, bouncing around all over the place. Yet, I am hopeful and excited about where you are leading me. I see a path before me, shining brightly with your grace and love, and I am determined to stay on that path. As I begin to work on these disciplines, I pray for habits to be formed that will shove out other habits that are not good for me. I want to be more like Jesus, and I realize that I can’t do it by simply “trying harder.” I also realize that I can’t do it today. Or tomorrow. It will take the rest of my life, however long that may be. Teach me, Father, as I meditate, pray, study, worship, confess, submit, and serve. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Show me now your way, that I may know you more and find favor with you. Teach me simplicity, show me how to practice solitude. Most of all, show me how to practice your presence in every moment of every day. I want to live like Jesus lived.

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.

A Passionate Spirit

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is ideate, which means, “to form an idea.”

Today is Goth Day. Is that even still a thing? When is Visigoth Day?

(This section has been edited, as I was not in a good place when I originally wrote it.)

We did wind up going to the Night of Worship, last night, and we had a good time. I had to get there at 4:00PM for sound check/rehearsal, and so on. It was a good time, and we certainly worshiped. I think that it pretty much turned out exactly like Brandon (the host) and his wife wanted it to. There were children there running around the whole time, which, at times was distracting, but they also played some rhythm instruments that were available, sometimes even in time with the musicians. Brandon led the first set, with a couple of our other leaders playing behind him. One of our other worship leaders, Terry, led the second set, which I believe was the high point of the evening. There were times he was almost so overwhelmed he couldn’t keep singing! I led a couple of songs after that, “Blessed Assurance,” and “God of Wonders.” One lady told me, this morning, that she was glad I sang “Blessed Assurance.” The last set was some friends of Brandon, and they were good, but we weren’t as familiar with some of their songs.

There were people having snacks, children running around, and just an over-all sense of community, which is really what we are supposed to be all about.

We’re getting ready for church this morning. I’m still not feeling great, but don’t feel worse. I’ll keep loading up on Dayquil, I guess. We worship at 10:15, The Exchange, meeting at the Northpark YMCA, 9100 North Beach St., in Fort Worth. We also have a PAT meeting after church, so I’ll get getting home later in the afternoon.

Oh. The Red Sox and the Rangers both won, and Jackie Bradly, Jr. extended his hitting streak to 26.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.
I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.
Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.

Psalm 69:9-15

“In a sea of religious mediocrity, ardent faith stands out as a lone volcanic island. The sea washes its banks and tries to erode its shores. But however vast the sea, it is no match for the inner fires that explode toward heaven.” (Eugene has such a way with words!)

“O God, I want to develop the passionate spirit that you revealed in Jesus, rich in bold faith and adventurous trust. I want my life to become intense through faith, not flaccid through laziness. Amen.”

Father, I, too, desire the “passionate spirit” that Peterson speaks of. I desire the faith that stands out, especially when the storms of life threaten to erode it and wash it away. Keep teaching me about your kingdom and how to walk in it. I will never be too old to keep learning about Christ and the your kingdom.

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.