No Temptation Has Overtaken You That Is Not Common To Man

Today is Saturday, May 13, 2017. One week until our “family reunion.”

Quote of the Day

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Word of the Day

Microcosm ~ a little world; especially : the human race or human nature seen as an epitome of the world or the universe. Also, a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger unity.

There are a number of choices for today’s “holiday,” some more strange than others. I’m going with one of the stranger ones. Today is Leprechaun Day. I love the idea of leprechauns. I also love Lucky Charms, represented by a leprechaun. “It is said that if you catch a leprechaun, he will have to give you his pot of gold, but leprechauns are resourceful when it comes to defending their gold, and they are not easily caught.”

It’s another busy weekend at the Bickleyhouse. Tonight, there is a Southlake Community Band concert that doesn’t begin until 8:00 PM. I have to be there by 7:30, and it should last until around 9:30. Since we only had a couple weeks to prepare for this one, we are basically re-playing our Disney concert from earlier in the year. The next gig is on July 3 for the July 4 festivities.

Tomorrow, of course, is Mother’s Day. Since we are all going to east Texas to visit my uncle and cousins next weekend, we will not be going to Mineral Wells tomorrow to see my mother. She promised that she is fine with that. And the trip to east Texas is part of our Mother’s Day gift to her. R & J will be coming over tomorrow, though to celebrate with C. We will probably order out and have food delivered, rather than fight crowds at a restaurant. We just don’t like doing that scene at all.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 115:18
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:5
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Psalm 108:3-4
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 
  Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. 
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:1-5

(From The President’s Devotional)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

“But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.” ~ Alexander Pope, Moral Essays

“The wave is coming. Its crest high, thundering, overwhelming. We see it from far off and tremble at what it portends. The great wave of temptation.”

This wave comes at us, wanting us to believe that it is undefeatable, that no one has ever survived it. But it lies. Temptation always lies. God tells us that “no temptation has overtaken” us “that is not common to man.” Many people have come before us and survived this wave. “They’ve come out whole. And so will we.”

“Dear God, I know temptation is coming. Give me the mettle to withstand. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)


Father, I have succumbed to temptations many times, as have many other people. But you have always picked me back up on the other side and placed me back on your path, my journey to you. More temptations will come. They will not stop until I finally reach my destination. The thing is, I can’t even imagine what life without temptation will look like. As I continue to train, strengthen me against temptations of all kinds. Grow me to the point that following and obeying Jesus is second nature; to the point that I don’t even have to think about whether I’m going to do something that I ought not do.
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.

Even One Thing

Good morning. It is Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Oh, no, it’s Wednesday the thirteenth!!

Today’s word of the day from the OED is unobtainium. Haha!! I love this one. “A hypothetical substance that would be highly desirable but is unrealized or unobtainable; a notional substance with exceptional or ideal properties.”

Today is Leprechaun Day. I believe that calls for some Lucky Charms!!

Last night’s Huddle was pretty good. It started out boring and tedious (at least to me, but that probably says much about me), but then, during the last 45 minutes or so, got much better, as we finally all joined some conversation diving deeper into Scripture, meditation, and so on.

Work was okay, rather slow. Christi’s day went better. There was still some stress, but it wasn’t as bad as Monday. In June, Christi gets to go to El Paso with some other people from work, and actually bowl in a tournament! How fun is that?? I’ll be going to my band reunion on the first weekend in June, and Christi will be going to El Paso on that following Monday. I promise to be at the height of mediocrity when it comes to trombone playing on that weekend!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 51:16-19

“David now declares that he needed to bring nothing whatever to God but a contrite and humbled heart. The man of broken spirit is one who has been emptied of all vain-glorious confidence, and brought to acknowledge that he is nothing.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame)

(From Solid Joys)

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
Ephesians 1:5

Today’s reading is “At the Bottom of It All.”

This reading is largely comprised of some testimony of the great Gospel preacher, Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon was pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle in London for over thirty years in the 19th century. “His preaching was so powerful that people were converted to Christ every week. His sermons are still in print today and he is held up by many as a model soul–winner.” Here is a piece of his testimony.

When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.

I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths [the doctrine of election] in my own soul — when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man — that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, that clue to the truth of God.

One week–night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it.

The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment — I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so?

Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”

Indeed, how else do we come to read the Scriptures or to know God? We cannot and do not come to this knowledge on our own volition. All too often, errant evangelists will used the analogy of a person drowning in the sea, and compare Jesus to a life preserver, thrown out by a well-meaning rescuer. They will say that all the sinner needs to do is grab hold of Jesus, his life preserver, and he will be saved.

The problem with this, you see, is that, according to Ephesians 2, we were dead in trespasses and sins (v. 1). When is the last time you observed a dead man grabbing onto anything?? When we were dead in our sins, we were powerless to do anything to save ourselves. It is all the work of God, in Christ Jesus, by grace through faith, and even that faith is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (vv. 8-9)

As C.H. Spurgeon has said, I must “ascribe my change wholly to God.”

Father, I praise you that you considered me among your elect, that you drew me to the blood of the cross of Christ Jesus, that I might be saved. I thank you for the life that you breathed into me when I was dead in trespasses and sins. I pray that I might live a life worthy of this calling, that I might work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) I pray for just enough grace and mercy for this day alone, and that I might not be overly concerned with what may happen tomorrow.

May you give us safe passage to and from work today. May you continue to bring your grace and mercy to my family, Christi and Stephanie, Rachel and Justin, and my mother. We thank you for the rain that has filled our lakes back up. I pray that there will now not be damaging floods in the area as the rains continue. I pray for your protection, provision, and direction for your Church, especially the body of believers at The Exchange.

Your grace is sufficient.

We would do well to remember these words of John, the Baptizer: A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. (John 3:27)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Source of Forgiveness

Good morning. It is post-Monday, May 13, 2014.

Today is Lebrechaun Day. Break out those Lucky Charms!!


I’m going in at 7am, today, again. We had one person out yesterday, because this week is his Saturday to work. Being short-handed, as we are, caused us to have quite a few boxes left to receive at going-home time yesterday. Hopefully, we can get those knocked out this morning before UPS arrives again.

There’s nothing else really going on around here, so I’ll get straight to the devotional.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

Psalm 47:5-8
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
Psalm 50:2
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13:3-6

Glory be to God the Father,
God the Son,
and God the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
so it is now and so it shall ever be,
world without end.
Alleluia.
Amen.


Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Demands of Forgiveness.”

“The summons to live as forgiven and forgiving children is radically inclusive. It is addressed not only to the wife whose husband forgot their wedding anniversary but also to the parents whose child was slaughtered by a drunken driver, to the victims of slanderous accusations, and to the poor living in filthy boxes who see the rich drive by in Mercedes. . . ”

This seem humanly impossible, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. “The exigencies of forgiveness are simply beyond the capacity of ungraced human will.” Only “reckless confidence” in Someone greater than us can “empower us to forgive the wounds inflicted by others.” The only place to find this is Calvary.

“Stay there for a long time and watch Abba’s Only-Begotten die utterly alone in bloody disgrace. Watch as he breathes forgiveness on his torturers at the moment of their greatest cruelty and mercilessness. On that lonely hill outside the city wall of old Jerusalem, you will experience the healing power of the dying Lord.”

For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 6:14


Father, I pray for this power to forgive. At this point in my life, I can think of no one that I am holding a grudge against. So I thank you that you have moved in my life with the power of this grace to forgive. May it continue in my life, and may all of us who call ourselves by the name of your Only-Begotten will have the same power. We are a fragile people, Father, and we seem to get our feelings hurt so easily. May this not be so, as we grow closer to you and Christ.

I pray for this day. May your grace flow in and through this day. Give Christi encouragement as she continues to seek a job. Give Stephanie wisdom and understanding in her life, and draw her closer to you. I pray that we will get caught up with the work today, and that my passage to work and home will be safe.

Your grace is sufficient.


Grace and peace, friends.

In the Secret

Good morning. Alas, it is Monday again. May 13, 2013. 5/13/13. All prime numbers. Is 2013 a prime number? Apparently not. It is divisible by 3. 2017, however, is a prime number.

Aaaugh!! I’m doing math!! 😮

Yesterday was a pretty good day, overall. We had a nice visit with my mother, including lunch at Pastafina in Mineral Wells. On the trip home, I activated our new “Up” bands, Christi’s Mother’s Day gift. The UP band, by Jawbone, is a fitness wristband that tracks thins like activity and sleep. There is an app for the iPhone that goes with it. So it tracked my sleep last night. According to mine, I slept 6 hours and 39 minutes last night, of which 4 hours and 56 minutes were “deep sleep.” I was in bed for 7 hours and 5 minutes, and fell asleep in 11 minutes. How does it know??? Today, it will track my steps, and I will try the food tracking piece of the app to see how that works. Supposedly, you can take a picture of a barcode to track what you eat.

Rachel and Justin met us back at the house where we played “Cards Against Humanity” for a couple of hours. Do not play this game. It is a horrible, horrible game. We have never laughed so hard. Ever. Seriously, the game is a blast, but if you are easily offended, don’t even bother. You kind of have to turn off all the filters to play this game.


Today is Leprechaun Day. I wonder if I have any Lucky Charms in the pantry?


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1793, “The Terror” began. The Terror is defined as a “frenzy of republican butchery with which the rabid revolutionaries of the French Revolution cleansed the state of aristocratic blood.” Joseph Fouche would later offer this explanation: “The blood of criminals fertilizes the soil of liberty and establishes power on sure foundations.” Okay. Well, then. The guillotine was raised in the Place de la Concorde, which was built by Louis XV. Some of the victims claimed were Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Philippe Egalite, Charlotte Corday, Danton, Saint-Just, and Robespierre. The following description is most chilling: “During the Terror, thousands of people congregated here daily to see the tumbrels of the condemned arrive. Seated around the scaffold with wine and bread bought from enterprising grocers, the spectators enjoyed the sight and smell of running blood. The notorious tricoteuses [knitting women] sat knitting to the swish of the blade and the cries of terror from those waiting their turn on the scaffold.”


Today’s birthday is Ritchie Valens, born on this date in 1941. Valens is probably most famous for “La Bamba,” but he had other songs, as will, including this recording, “Donna.”

Valens died in the famous plane crash in 1959 that also killed Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson, Jr., aka “The Big Bopper.” This day was also immortalized as “The day the music died” in Don MacLean’s hit song, “American Pie.”

Honorable mentions go to Daphne du Maurier, 1907, Beatrice Arthur, 1922, Roger Zelazny, 1937, Stevie Wonder, 1950, Stephen Colbert, 1964, and Barry Zito, 1978.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Psalm 71:8
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. Psalm 71:17

Father, let my mouth be full of your praise today. Let your word guide me this morning, as I set my path toward your face. Continue to teach me that I might proclaim your wondrous deeds.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Riches Hidden in Secret Places.” The scripture is Isaiah 45:3.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

The Lord is “powerfully and decisively–though hiddenly–engaged everywhere in the reality of the world.” When we acknowledge this truth, our faith’s work is to “relinquish in life, personal and public, all that contradicts the reality and purpose of God and to receive from God what we cannot generate ourselves.” The question is asked, “Why are riches hidden in secret places? How might that make them more valuable?” I believe that the riches that can be mined from God are “hidden” so that we must come to him in private, consistently, in order to find them. The treasures that I have found in his word have been discovered through countless hours of private devotion (yes, there have been some that have come from public preaching, but the most precious have been found in my private times). These treasures are very precious to me, and don’t come easily or quickly. This is what makes them so valuable to me. The following prayer is offered up in the book:
Dear Lord, so often I fall into thinking that my worth is derived from the opinions of others. Teach me to seek riches hidden in secret places, so that I might understand better the joys of your company and your blessings for your sake alone. In your name I pray. Amen.


Truly, Father, I love those treasures which you have revealed to me in the secret places. Because of these things, I know, as the verse above says, that it is you who call me by my name. Keep teaching me these things, as I keep digging in your word. Let these precious times of devotion continue to yield true treasures from your Word and from your heart. Keep me following you so that, with every breath, I will praise you for all of my days.

I pray for this day and for the week ahead. Give us the grace we need to meet whatever challenges come our way today. I pray for Christi’s surgery on Wednesday morning, that it will be successful and permanently fix the problem with her foot. I pray that you will draw Stephanie closer to you today, and surround her with your steadfast love.

I pray for my friend in California, Andy, who has been struggling with nightmares and terrors as of late. I pray that your Holy Spirit would flood him with peace, that he might be able to sleep. I thank you that he has been able to maintain his living conditions. Show him your steadfast love today.


Find treasures from God in the secret places.

Grace and peace, friends.