Ascension Day

Today is Thursday (pre-Friday), the thirteenth of May, 2021, in the sixth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,072

Today, the Church recognizes Ascension Day, the day Jesus ascended into heaven, in the presence of His disciples.

Seven days until our Glen Rose trip!

Today is “Friday” for me, because I’m taking PTO tomorrow. It’s the one-year anniversary of S’s cat, Honey, passing away, and I just thought I would take the day off to be around for her.

We have hot water! C found someone that could come fix it yesterday evening, and they had it fixed and were gone before I got home from work. So I had a hot shower before going to bed, last night. And there’s a little less anxiety in my life, this morning. Actually, the hot water heater problem wasn’t causing that much anxiety. But I won’t deny that there was a little bit, and now that is resolved.


"I cannot produce joy.
I cannot produce peace.
I cannot produce love.

This doesn't mean I have no hope --
just no hope in myself.
Transferring the hope to our Lord --
these are gifts from our Father.

I can turn to God.
I can place my requests at Jesus' feet.
I can submit my will.
I can acknowledge and be grateful for these gifts.

And I can share
his joy,
his peace,
his love,
and his hope."
(Daryl Madden, On a Bench of Wood: Reflections of God's Grace)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • for joy, peace, love, and hope, all of which I get from You
  • for Your faithful love that endures forever, even (and especially) when I turn my face away from You and toward my problems
  • for singing and music
  • for the ascension of Jesus Christ
  • for the coming of the Holy Spirit

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



God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
(Psalms 47:5-7 NIV)

I pause, briefly, in this quiet moment, to reflect on joy, peace, love, and hope.


May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, my soul. Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 104:31-35 NIV)


After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:3-11 NIV)


As I remind myself that I am in the presence of God, I read these passages slowly, lingering on words and phrases phrases that catch my attention. I pray these, along with other things in my life, back to God.

Do I believe that the Lord still rejoices in His works? Why wouldn’t He? I mean, sure His major work, us, has truly fouled things up in this world. But there is still a lot of beauty to behold, and still a lot of good, even in the midst of mankind, the primary “fouler-upper.”

My job, here, is to sing. To sing to the Lord all my life, to sing praises to Him as long as I live. I’ve been working on that a little bit more, lately, as I am fully persuaded that these psalms and Scriptures are not coming into my days by accident. The Holy Spirit is inviting me to sing! So I’m trying to sing more. Hopefully, perhaps I will “sing a new song,” eventually.

I’m also working on the meditation piece a little more, too, hoping that my meditations will be pleasing to Him, as the Psalms consistently hope. This morning meditation is a good start, and I fall asleep meditating on His Word, at night. But there are quite a few hours between those two events, and, truthfully, meditation is lost during a lot of that.

As mentioned yesterday, and above, today is Ascension Day, in the Church. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never even heard of this until I was an “adult,” if that’s what you want to call someone in college. In latter years, I have grown to embrace the various portions of the Church calendar, finding great joy and fulfillment in recognizing some of the special days, especially some of the more-neglected ones, like today.

Why is Ascension Day important? For one thing, had Jesus not Ascended, the Holy Spirit would not have come down. He had to go up so the Spirit could come down. Why? Heck if I know. I’m not God. I just know that this is what Scripture seems to indicate.

So Jesus reigns on high, from what I understand, still in bodily form, maybe even with holes in his hands and side. He sits “at the right hand of the Father,” waiting for that time when He will be sent back to collect His brothers and sisters and take them to the mansions that He is preparing for us.

In the meantime, the Holy Spirit is here, dwelling within each of us, empowering and enabling us to do the ministry that He has given to each of us, according to Ephesians 2:10. What does Acts 1:8 say? We will receive POWER! “Power, power, wonder-working power.” And that’s exactly what those first disciples did in the days and years following that great Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts.

Is it possible for us to do some of those same powerful works? I would like to think it is, and I ponder why we seem unable to do so.

Father, as I walk through this day, may my meditations be pleasing to You. May I sing, from the depths of my soul, let me sing! Let me sing; make me sing; sing for all the days of the rest of my life, however long that may be. And, should it be Your will, give me a new song to sing! And then, Father, empower us! May Your Holy Spirit have His way with and in us! Today and every day, show us Your power anew. Show us Your mighty works; perhaps we have become too complacent and too comfortable in things. Dare I ask for You to shake us up a little?

Most High God,
like the disciples,
I'm left staring at the sky,
mouth wide open in wonder to think that someone like me--
a real human being--
now sits at your right hand,
in glory.
In his physical absence,
comfort me with the knowledge that Jesus has ascended for my good,
governing all things from the heavenly throne.
(Heidelberg Catechism 46)


Go and make disciples of all nations. . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
(Psalms 147:3 NIV)

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
(Psalms 34:17-19 NIV)

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV)

Lord, I pray for those who are grieving, today, both for recent loss, and for loss from either the recent or distant past. Everyone has experienced loss of some kind. May You bind the wounds of the brokenhearted today, and ease their grieving hearts. Help us all to grieve in a healthy way, promoting healing to our hearts. May we not stifle our emotions, but embrace them and walk in them, lifting them all up to You in the process.

Lord, I pray, today, for a deeper grasp and understanding of the Gospel. May it permeate every inch of my being, today, and every day. May my experience as an adopted son of Yours be full, today; may I realize every benefit of being Your son. Make my prayer life more passionate, Father, as I pray for people daily. May my love for those for whom I pray be limitless.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

(St. Teresa of Avila)

Grace and peace, friends!

I Love You

Today is Monday, Monday, the first of February, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,971

It was a nice weekend. And, as always, a little too short. And now it’s February. It’s 35 degrees, this morning, which isn’t terrible; a high projected of 58, and it’s supposed to be clear today. Looking ahead, though, I see that next Sunday morning’s low is predicted to be 27, and Monday morning, 30. Then the rain begins, fortunately after the temp gets back above freezing. But that’s ten days away, and anything could change between now and then.

For a truly lovely story, check out a comment on my previous blog. It relates to my telling of my childhood Bibles that I have on the shelf behind me, in the studio. I’m just going to start calling it “studio.” Maybe if I do that, I will have more of a mindset that it’s here for me to produce music in.

I don’t know of anything special that is due to happen this week. I know that a friend/brother is having a doctor appointment today to get stitches out from his shoulder surgery. If you’re the praying type, lift up a prayer for Brandon today. He’s still in a lot of pain, and doesn’t like taking the pain meds. He doesn’t like how they make him feel. My wife can certainly identify. She will not take hydrocodone.

I guess I’ll get on to the important stuff for the day.


And each morning and evening they stood before the LORD to sing songs of thanks and praise to him.
(1 Chronicles 23:30 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • For friends and family
  • For love; can you imagine if that did not exist?
  • For the power of prayer; may I never underestimate it
  • For the power of words; may my “yes” be “yes” and my “no” be “no”
  • For the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Three in One

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



Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
(Psalms 115:1 NIV)


A psalm of David.

Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
(Psalms 29:1-2 NIV)

The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
(Psalms 29:7-11 NIV)


“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
(Matthew 5:33-42 NIV)


First I want to look at that word, “ascribe.” It’s not a word we use much, these days. What does it mean?

Ascribe – attribute something to; regard a quality as belonging to

The psalmist demands that we regard glory and strength as belonging to the Lord. We must attribute glory to Him, the glory due His majestic Name. This, then, leads to worshiping Him, “in the splendor of his holiness.”

We often speak, I know I have, of wanting to hear the voice of the Lord. Looking at verses 7-9 of Psalm 29, I’m not so sure about that, now. Just remember, it was the voice of the Lord that brought everything we know into existence. How did He create? He said, “Let there be,” and there was.

Jesus continues with his, “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you” sermon. You have to acknowledge that Jesus is shaking them to their very core with these words.

Don’t give an oath at all. If you think about it, an oath is superfluous! If your word is good, if your word is honorable, you should not have to swear by anything! If my word is honorable, all I need say is “yes” or “no.” No swearing needed.

No retaliation. In fact, not only no retaliation, but no resistance! How does that fit in with the current political climate in the United States? It doesn’t. There is a huge chunk of “Christendom” that needs to step back and take a good hard look at its attitude about everything. It is way too caught up in those “footstool” problems and causes.

Jesus finishes this portion with the command to “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” In other words, if you “have it” (and remember the discussion about that word from the other day?) and someone else is in need of it, you should be perfectly willing to give it to them.

Father, I ascribe glory and strength to You, for they are Yours by right and by Your nature. I worship You, this morning, for Your holiness is, indeed, splendid! As I go through this day, Father, make my word honorable and dependable. Help me to only say “yes” or “no,” adding no oaths or swears to my words. Give me presence to think before I speak, as well, so as not to give an answer that I will later want to shrink back from.

I praise You for all that I have in my possession, which I declare is not mine, but Yours. You have been very generous to me and my family, and I declare that I will be generous with that which You have given me. We have money set aside in our “tithe” fund. Show us who needs it, how it can best be used to minister to others.

"Word of Life,
wherever there is truth,
it is yours.
But it can be hard to find
when I'm deluged with words,
questionable claims,
and spin.
Forgive my careless words
that don't promote truth or trustworthiness
and are unconcerned for your glory 
or my neighbor's good.
Make simplicity of speech and candor
in conversations
my testimony,
honest echoes of your truth.
(Heidelberg Catechism 101)


“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26 NIV)

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
(Revelation 22:5 KJV)

You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.
(Psalms 18:28 NLT)

“Surely the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. The sparks of their fire will not glow. The light in their tent will grow dark. The lamp hanging above them will be quenched.”
(Job 18:5-6 NLT)

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20 NLT)

Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.
(1 Corinthians 14:15 NLT)

Jonathan Cahn gets pretty deep and mystical in today’s reading. The subject is love.

Initially, the teacher asks, “What is the number of love?”

The discussion that ensues revolves around what is necessary for love to occur. There is the need of a subject, there is the need of an object, and there is the need of a verb.




Love is one, but love is three. There must be three, or love does not occur.

Side note: Dallas Willard defines “love” as “to will the good of others.” If I love you, I desire the best for you. That is why it is, technically, in correct to say that I “love” a piece of chocolate cake.

God is also three and one. Trinity. Triune. And God is love. One and three at the same time. God, the Father, is the subject; God, the Son is the object; God, the Holy Spirit, represents the verb, the love that emanates from the Father to the Son.

Naturally, this analogy falls apart at some point, as do all attempts to describe God.

“You are beautiful; a terrible, terrible sight.” (Terry Scott Taylor, in Darn Floor, Big Bite)

“The Lover, the Beloved, and the Love itself . . . the triunity of love . . . both three and one at the same time . . . the triunity of God.”

The Mission: Partake of the triunity of love. As God has made you the object of His love, today, make those who don’t deserve it become the object of yours.”

Come closer, and listen to this. From the beginning I have told you plainly what would happen.” And now the Sovereign LORD and his Spirit have sent me with this message. This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.
(Isaiah 48:16-17 NLT)

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 NLT)

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
(1 John 4:16 NLT)

Father, my mind is muddled when I attempt to comprehend the Trinity. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, it eludes my grasp entirely. But I believe, my God, that You are fully One and fully Three, whether I can comprehend it or not. And this idea of love also being three. I do believe that the love that is shared between You Three is unhuman, unearthly, and incomprehensible to the human brain. But I desire to know this Love, Lord. As much as I can handle it, show it to me, and then help me to display it to others with whom I come in contact.

I love You.

Lord, I also pray, this morning, that my gratitude for the Cross of Christ would constantly deepen, as time goes on. May I never take His work for granted, and may my gratefulness never wane. I pray for all who live in poverty, as well as those suffering injustices, either at the hands of governments or individuals. Help us to help them, Lord, in whatever ways we can. I also pray for any who are suffering abuse of any kind (mostly domestic, though, in my mind). May You grant them protection and deliverance. I pray for safety and protection for those who support them and help them, as well.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas – Hope

Today is Monday, January 4, 2021, the eleventh day of Christmas.

Peace be with you.

Day 22,943

Today, we are finally back to a “normal” work schedule. And, while I have most certainly enjoyed the time off, I find myself a little glad to be back on schedule. The challenge is going to be found as I continue to work with my new devotional materials for the new year. I’m still working to nail down the timing.

I’m still mentally dealing with yesterday’s challenge from The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn. He calls them “missions.” It was to step out of old ways, old habits in this new year. I haven’t quite done that, yet. Perhaps an actual plan might be in order.


I want to begin today’s prayers by sharing a poem from fellow blogger Daryl Madden. I have been following his blog for a bit, and find his poems to be quite deep and inspiring. This one, from yesterday morning, is called “Settle Now.” It is my opening prayer for this morning. Shared with permission.

Settle now in stilling
Focus be of here
Emptiness outpouring
In silence, be aware

Settle now in Presence
Focus of the light
Covering so precious
Grace of Your insight

Settle now in dwelling
Focus of the deep
Savor the sweet fragrance
Letting Spirit seep

Rooted now in love
Enwrapped in sacred prayer
Holiness of being
One of soul to share

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



Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)


A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.
LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.


But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


There are a number of words that hit me in this brief passage. “Kindness,” “love,” “mercy,” “grace.” All characteristics of God and/or things He lavishes upon us. And the, at the end, “hope.”

It is very clear here, as well as plenty other places in Scripture, that our salvation is not because of anything we have done. It might even be implied that it is in spite of unrighteous things that we have done.

The Holy Trinity is represented quite sell in this passage. The Father saved us, through the “washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Through all of this, we are justified by His grace, becoming heirs (remember, we read about being heirs a couple days ago), and we have hope!

“Hope” is not just wishful thinking. We use the word differently, in our language. We “hope” we get to go on a trip this year, somewhere. We “hope” for that raise from our employer. But in this case, “hope” is more of an assurance that something is going to happen. One of the definitions of hope is “grounds for believing that something good may happen.” I would replace “may” with “will.”

We have it on good authority, solid ground for believing, that we will experience and possess our inheritance of eternal life. This is true hope!

Father, there are so many words in this passage that thrill me and fill my soul. I will walk away from this session today with that hope, solid in my soul, of eternal life, and the inheritance that awaits me in my eternal Home. I long for that Home, Father, that place where there will never again be pain, tears, loneliness, or sorrow. That place where “evil” will not be allowed to dwell, in any of its forms. I thank You for Your kindness and love, Your grace, Your mercy, and for providing us with this hope.

"God of mercy,
whenever I lose sight of you and my faith falters,
whenever I'm tempted to doubt your heart
or misconstrue your motives,
turn me again to the clearest sign of your generous mercy:
your only Son, Jesus.
Remind me, too, of the sign of my baptism into Jesus,
that I am washed clean and reborn through Christ;
grow me up into all of its promises and blessings.
(Westminster Larger Catechism 167)


“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
(Luke 5:5 NIV)

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
(Luke 11:5-8 NIV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:1-5 NIV)

While [Peter] was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”
(Matthew 17:5 MSG)

One of the ways that Holy Spirit is described in Scripture is with the word “wind.” There is a Hebrew word for that, Ruach. As a simple illustration, if you go outside and walk against a strong wind, it is difficult to make progress, and you get weary faster.

But if you turn around and walk with the wind, progress is much easier, and the wind actually helps you move.

So it is with walking in the Spirit. If we walk in the same direction the Spirit is moving, we will find it much easier to make progress, and we will not get weary. In a way of speaking, when we walk in the Spirit, or with the Spirit, we have the wind at our back.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:8 ESV)

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
(Acts 2:2 ESV)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
(Galatians 5:16-17 ESV)

The Mission: “What part of your life is against the direction of the Spirit? Today, turn it around and start walking with the Wind at your back.”

Father, help me to walk in and with the Holy Spirit today. The Spirit is Holy, so the direction He is moving is toward holiness. Mold my heart and spirit today toward holiness.

Father, I pray for humanity’s role as caretaker of Your creation. May we see You in our world around us, as we go about, doing whatever it is that You have given us to do. Give us eyes to see You and to see Your beauty everywhere we look. I also pray that we would be better stewards of the creation that You have given us.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(Psalms 100:4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the first work day of a new year
  2. For the hope that I have within me, which is the result of Your kindness, love, grace, and mercy
  3. Once again, that You have made me an heir, with an assured inheritance which includes eternal life
  4. For consistency in prayer
  5. For the Wind of the Holy Spirit
May your joys be as bright as the morning,
And your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love.
May you have…
Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
And enough hope to keep you happy.
(An Irish New Year's Blessing)

Grace and peace, friends.

Catch Love

Today is Monday, October 28, 2019. Peace be with you.

Day 22,509

15 days until C’s birthday!

We had a pretty good weekend. Tessie’s (dog) vet appointment went very well, yesterday. She got all of her shots up to date, and checked out great. Slightly overweight, and they recommended a little more exercise. I said we cold both probably do with some of that (meaning Tessie and me). Maybe I’ll start taking her out for walks in the evening.

C and S wound up not going to the ladies’ lunch yesterday, as both of them had pretty bad headaches during our church time. After we got home, though, C and I worked on some meal prep for this week. We’ve never tried this before, but we cooked three different meals and stored them in the fridge for dinners, and there is a portion of each one set aside for S to have for lunch. We cooked one dish in the crock pot all day, and then two in the frying pan and dutch oven. We will see how it all turns out.

The Astros continued their winning, beating the Nationals 7-1 last night. I don’t know what to think about this, as the home team has lost every game, so far. But they return to Houston for game six tomorrow night. The Verlander will be pitching for Houston while Strasburg will toss for the Nats. I might be compelled to watch part of this.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24

Today I am grateful:

1. For the new work week ahead, praying that I will see opportunities to serve.
2. That the Lord will keep my feet from slipping.
3. For the beauty of creation in its vast array.
4. For love.
5. That if I “catch” love and dwell in it, I will be the kind of person who exemplifies 1 Corinthians 13.

You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
Psalm 12:7
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! 
Psalm 80:3
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
Psalm 71:21
Psa 66:8  Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 
who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 
You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; 
you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. 
I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, 
that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 
But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

Psalm 66:8-14, 18-19

(From Faith That Matters)

Catch Love, Dwell in Love, Do Love, by Dallas Willard

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 
or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Dallas Willard has a good point in this reading. He says, and I believe that he is correct, that we typically read this passage and see it telling us to be patient and kind, to not envy or boast, to not be arrogant or rude, and so on.

But if we examine it more closely and see the words as they speak to us, what Paul is telling us is that love does all of these things. Not us. It is love that is patient and kind. It is love that does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It is love that bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. Our duty is to “catch love.” If we can “catch” love, “we then find that these things are after all actually being done by us. These things, these godly actions and behaviors, are the result of dwelling in love. We have become the kind of person who is patient, kind, free of jealousy, and so on.”

So, just as the Proverbs continually tell us to “get wisdom,” 1 Corinthians 13 is telling us to get love, to catch love, because only when we dwell in love will we find that we are the kind of person that will perform these actions and attitudes.

Father, help me to “catch” love today. May I constantly dwell in the love that is in you, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Teach me to have the kind of love that exists between you three members of the Holy Trinity. Then let me display that love to people in my life.
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.

It’s A Matter of the Will

Today is Thursday, December 22, 2016. Only three days until Christmas!

Quote of the Day

“Love is when he gives you a piece of your soul, that you never knew was missing.” – Torquato Tasso

Word of the Day

Crepuscular – of, relating to, or resembling twilight : dim; also, occurring or active during the twilight.

Today is Date Nut Bread Day. It’s pretty much all I can find for December 22. All you Seinfeld fans, just hang on for tomorrow.

We had our Secret Santa gift exchange yesterday. My person seemed to really like the sausage/cheese box I gave. How can you go wrong with snack food, right? I received a box of Kenneth Cole “Mankind” fragrance stuff. It has a tube of hair/body wash, “eau de toilette” spray, and a tube of after shave balm. Not sure what I’m going to do with the after shave balm. If you’ve never seen my picture, I’ve had a beard since college.

Nothing much going on today. Except that we are taking our pastor’s parents out for dinner tonight. We’re going to our old standby, Haufbrau steakhouse.

C had fun at her leadership team event, last night. They went to this place called the Red Door Escape Room, in Southlake. It sounds like a fun place that we need to take R & J to. They put your team in a room, and you have to solve a series of puzzles to “escape.” There’s a time limit, though. If you don’t solve all the puzzles in time, you disappear forever. Oh, wait. That’s not right. They still let you out. Apparently, only 33% actually solve all the puzzles. C and her group were in a “Once Upon A Time” themed room. That sounds like so much fun to me!

65 days until the first Spring Training game.
102 days until Opening Day.


Thursday in the fourth week of Advent

Psa 95:6-7  Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,

Psa 90:12  So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psa 18:2-3  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Psa 101:6  I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Psa 145:14-21  The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

“The diversities of God’s goodness find root in the varieties of human need. Every discovered mercy in God finds application in human want. And every realization of human desire is an invitation to grace.” Beautiful words by Eugene Peterson. No way I could adequately paraphrase.

“Father in heaven, I find my desires and needs an index to your will and promises.
What I long for and require is what you bring to me in your steadfast love.
Purify my desires and satisfy my being with the salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Joh 6:44  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

“When God draws me, the issue of my will comes in at once.” Chambers says we should never “discuss when anyone when God speaks.” What he means by this is that our belief is an act of the will, and any kind of intellectual discussion is pointless. Do not misunderstand. We are to love God with our MINDS, as well as with our hearts. But the action of belief is not based on intellect. “Will I dump myself down absolutely on God and transact on what He says?”

It is a surrender of the will. We do not surrender to “persuasive power.” Rather it is “a deliberate launching forth on God and on what He says until I am no longer confident in what I have done, I am confident only in God.” It is, as they say, “blind faith.” And it must be an act of the will. The growing of the intellectual understanding comes after this.

Father, I praise you because you have been working this in me, this year. I have seen the importance of believing the words of Jesus as much or more than believing in Jesus. Thanks to the writings of some other people that you have place in my life, this year, I am understanding this more and more. I pray that you continue shaping my will to the point that all of my confidence is willfully placed in you and your Word, and none of my confidence is in me or anything I have done or can do. Help me to completely surrender.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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.

Grace and peace, friends.

Love, Love, Love, I Want Your Love

It’s Thursday, May 9, 2013. 33 more work days. (Don’t worry, I’m just counting down the days until the current situation is supposed to end. There is light at the end of this tunnel. I’m counting to the end of the tunnel. I just hope they don’t buy more tunnel.)

Christi is having surgery on her foot next Wednesday morning. Due to my current work situation, I cannot be there. However, our wonderful daughter Rachel will take the duties of transporting Christi to and from the surgery center.

Today is “Lost Sock Memorial Day.” Somewhere out there, millions of socks gather. And that’s just the ones I’ve lost!

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1892, Zita Maria Grazia Adelgonda Michela Raffaella Gabriella Giuseppina Antonia Luisa Agnese was born. Her father was the Duke of Parma, but her family was poor. At the age of nineteen, Zita married Archduke Charles, who was the great nephew of the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. At that point in time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was at peace.

But then Franz-Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. Then the Emperor died in 1916. “Suddenly Zita’s husband was Emperor and she the Empress in the middle of a world war.” In only two years, the war was over, Austro-Hungary had lost, and Charles was forced to abdicate the throne. He died 29 months later. Zita spent 63 years in Switzerland and the U.S., “never relinquishing her claim to a throne that no longer existed.” She died at the age of 96, on March 14, 1989, and was buried in the crypt with 142 other Hapsburgs.

Today’s birthday is Richard Adams, born on this date in 1920. Adam is an English author, most notably for Watership Down, a tale of, well, rabbits. He also wrote The Plague Dogs, and Traveller, a fictional story from the perspective of General Robert E. Lee’s horse. Adams is 93 today.

Honorable mentions go to J.M. Barrie, 1860, Hank Snow, 1914, Glenda Jackson, 1936, Albert Finney, 1936, Tommy Roe, 1942, Richie Furay, 1944, Candice Bergen, 1946, Billy Joel, 1949, and John Corbett, 1962.


O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. Psalm 68:32-34

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11

My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. Psalm 71:15

Father, as I sing praises to you this morning, you who “rides in the heavens,” may you teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Continue to show me those things which you have been teaching me, that I may truly learn them and make them an integral part of my spirit and life.

Today’s Tabletalk Magazine reading comes from Isaiah 65, focusing on verse 17.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

This is the first “explicit biblical reference to the new heavens and earth.” There will be rejoicing forever in this place. A man who is 100 years old will be considered young. And, at the end of the chapter, this place will be so filled with peace “that even the predator and the prey will get along” (v. 25). All of these things will be fulfilled at the final resurrection. And regardless of what kind of “millennial” view you ascribe to, it would be fitting, I think, to summarize Christian eschatology in one phrase: “God is going to make all things right.” This even includes the physical world. “. . . there will be no cause for pain, mourning, or anything else that we dread so much. This is the hope that lies before us, and knowing that all will be set right in the future helps us endure pain in the present.”

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “In My Secret Heart.” The scripture reading is Psalm 51:6

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

What does he mean by “the secret heart?” The reading is brief today, consisting mostly of questions such as that. Is there a connection between what David is praying and the discipline of secrecy that we are examining in this section of the book? The Reformation Study Bible notes say that David is asking for wisdom at the center of his being, the deepest part of himself. The place that we find these things is very secret. In fact, only I (and God) can know what exists there. The best way to learn this wisdom is through private study, meditation, and prayer. Here is an anonymous prayer:

O secret Christ,
Lord of the rose of dawn,
hide me within thy silent peace,
that throughout the turmoil of day,
I may abide within the quiet of the daybreak.

In my “secret heart,” in this secret place . . .

there is peace.

The next segment of 19 Mercies, by Brennan Manning, is called Encounter. Number 5 is called “The Person of Jesus.” For centuries, the question has been asked, “Who is this Jesus of Nazareth?” Councils have been gathered, dissertations written, yet this one truth remains: No one can answer this question for me. And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29) Here is the challenge from Brennan at this point. “Describe the Christ that you have personally encountered on the grounds of your own self. Describe Him as you would to a friend over coffee. Describe not the deity that you have heard about or been taught to believe exists, but only the Christ you have actually encountered.” Then, he asks me to soberly reflect on what my answer reveals to me.

Who is this Jesus? The Jesus that I have encountered is love. I know . . . that sounds cliche. We’ve all heard “God is love.” But wait. Do you really understand this love? This love that doesn’t care where I have been or what I have done. This love that, just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, doesn’t even let me make my “repentance speech,” but, instead, runs down the path to meet me with open arms to say, “Welcome home!” The Jesus that I have encountered brings peace into my life. He brings to me a spirit of abandon, that doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. He teaches me to love others unconditionally (he is still teaching me that, and will be until I take my last breath), just as he did. Yes, this Jesus loves unconditionally. I cannot gain his favor, for he already loves me as much as he ever will. I cannot fall out of his love, for he has given his life to maintain it forever. The Jesus that I have encountered is beautiful, and he loves me forever.

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. Mark 8:27-30

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.~~The Apostle Paul

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
for Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now!”

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for the peace that you have given me, even in these tumultuous circumstances. The peace I am feeling this morning is supernatural; it is truly wonderful. Fill my secret heart with this peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Show me how wide and long and high and deep your love is. I cannot fathom this love. The depth of it is beyond what I can even imagine. And I most certainly am unable to love like that. Teach me to love, Jesus; teach me to love. I want to love like you love. I don’t ever want to harbor any bitterness or resentment toward another human being, ever again. Teach me to love, and teach me to help others find your peace.

I pray for Christi this morning, that she will have a good day at work. I pray for her upcoming surgery, that this will finally fix the issue of the pain that she has been enduring for almost a year. I pray for my work day, that you will help me carry this peace throughout this entire day. Give us both the grace we need to get through this day. Surround Stephanie with your steadfast love, showing her your great and precious promises to be true and reliable.

Teach us to love.

Do you know this Jesus? Who is he to you? Have you known this love?

Grace and peace, friends.

One Teacher

Good morning. Today is Monday, February 18, 2013. It’s Presidents’ Day in the U.S. At some point in the past, someone up in the guvmint decided to combine all the Presidents’ birthdays into one Monday February holiday. For some strange reason, Christi’s company took today off, so I took a vacation day.

In addition to being Presidents’ Day, today is also National Battery Day. I’m hoping that’s the noun “battery.”

We had a nice day yesterday. The worship celebration went very well, I think, and the pastor’s message was a good one, concluding his series on “Love Is…” Yesterday’s message was, in my opinion, a classic. I’m not exactly sure what the title was, but the “Big Idea” was “Love never fails, because God never fails.” The passage for the message was 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, a passage that most church-going people are so familiar with that it may have lost its meaning. However, to revisit that passage and really pay attention to it is important. The first point, from the first three verses, was, “Our actions must be motivated by God’s love, or our life is meaningless.” Joel made this quotable statement: “Loving God and loving people are the only holy motivations.” The second point, based on the more descriptive section, was, “Love is not an abstract foggy concept, but a concrete and clear reality.” So…what is love? Love…
is patient
is kind
does not envy
does not boast
is not arrogant
is not rude
does not insist on its own way
is not irritable
is not resentful
does not rejoice at wrongdoing
rejoices with the truth
bears all things
believes all things
hopes all things
endures all things


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1478, George, Duke of Clarence, was drowned in a “vast butt of Malmsey.” Malmsey is, apparently, a very sweet wine that comes from Greece. George, Duke of Clarence was the younger brother of King Edward IV. Being very ambitious, George had repeatedly plotted to take the crown for himself. In January of 1478, Edward, having had enough of this, had George “tried before the Lords of Parliament and condemned to death for treason.” Edward was hesitant to kill his own brother, but Parliament insisted. “Legend has it that George, terrified of the pain of the axe, requested that he be drowned in his favourite drink. And so it was that, on 18 February 1478, George, Duke of Clarence, was gently lowered into a vast butt of Malmsey, to die with a sweet taste in his mouth.”

Today’s birthday is Johnny Hart, born on this date in 1931. Johnny was the creator of the well-loved comic strip, B.C. Along around 1977, Hart began inserting overt Christian messages in B.C., which created some controversy, and even had individual strips that were not published by some papers. One of the most famous was this Easter strip from 2001.
Hart passed away in 2007, but the comic strip continues, written by Mason and Mick Mastroianni, grandsons of Hart, along with Perri and Patti, his daughters, as well as his wife, Bobby.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24

You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. Psalm 12:7

You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. Psalm 71:21

Father, I pray that you show me something of your greatness today, as I read your Word. Increase my strength today.

Today, I’m reading Isaiah 28:14-22.
14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.
21 For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!
22 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts against the whole land.

The rulers of the land are foolish and arrogant. Have they truly, intentionally, “made a covenant with death?” I don’t know the answer to that question. But by refusing the law of the Lord and scoffing at his prophet, by default, they certainly have. They have made lies their refuge and taken shelter in falsehood, as does anyone who finds shelter anywhere but in God Almighty. The “precious cornerstone,” that which has been tested and proven sure, is Jesus Christ.

Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “One Teacher.” The scripture reading is Matthew 23:1+4, 6a, 7b-8.
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,
3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
6a …they love…
7b …being called rabbi by others.
8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.

I don’t always like pulling pieces of verses, but this one works okay, because it doesn’t change the meaning of the passage. This is part of a discourse that Jesus is giving in the Temple. The scribes and Pharisees are being criticized, even though they studied scripture “in minute detail and memorized huge chunks of it.” But they still did things that were contrary to the messages that they studied. As Jesus’s followers (and learners), we are admonished to not accept titles such as rabbi, father, or teacher, because we have only one teacher. Here is a quote from The Life with God Bible:
“We can often use the Bible in ways that stifle spiritual life or even destroy the soul. This happened to any number of people who walked with Jesus…For many, their very study of the Scriptures prevented them from recognizing who he was and putting their confidence in him (John 5:39-47). And later, Peter speaks in very grim terms of people who can ‘twist’ Scripture ‘to their own destruction’ (2 Pet 3:16)…
“If we want to receive from the Bible the life ‘with God’ that is portrayed in the Bible, we must be prepared to have our dearest and most fundamental assumptions about ourselves and our associations called into question. We must read humbly and in a constant attitude of repentance. Only in this way can we gain a thorough and practical grasp of the spiritual riches that God has made available to all humanity.”

Father, I pray that, as I read your words each day, I will read humbly. Let me not read with some preconceived notion of what I am going to find. May I approach the scriptures daily with a renewed sense of wonder at what I am going to find that day. Even when I read a favorite passage, may I, by your Spirit, be looking for something new, something I have never seen before, rather than simply reinforcing what I already believe. Shake my beliefs to their very core ever time I crack open your Word, because my beliefs are always clouded by the flesh and by my poor judgment. Prune away anything that does not fit your truth. Teach me your ways that I may walk in your truth. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

I pray for the remainder of this day. May it be a day of rest and relaxation, and may Christi and I thoroughly enjoy each other’s company for the rest of this day. I thank you for the opportunity to have days off from work with my wife. I pray your blessings on our day.

Remember, when you read the Bible, we have one teacher. There is nothing wrong with hearing counsel from men, but the ultimate teacher is Jesus Christ. Pray for understanding through the Spirit.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Indescribable Amazing Love of God

Good morning. Friday has arrived! May 11, 2012. This Sunday is Mother’s Day. We have our weekend all planned out. Saturday, we will cook some dinner and take it Christi’s mother’s place, celebrating Mother’s Day and her husband’s birthday (last Sunday) at the same time. Sunday, if the plan holds out, my parents are coming to our house, as are Rachel and Justin, and we will all go out to eat, braving the MD crowds. Good times!
Today is…

National Twilight Zone Day. Or is it? It was on this date in 1934 that the great dust storm swept across a great part of the nation, forcing a migration of people to California. These people, no matter which state they came from were called “Okies.” It is these people that were the subject of The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. It’s a very depressing novel from a very depressing time. It was also on this date in 1997 that the computer Deep Blue defeated Gary Kasparov in a chess match. And one more, for fans of reggae. Bob Marley died on this date in 1981.

Christi has almost quit twice this week. But at least she is able to laugh about some of the stories that she tells. There are things I want to say here, but don’t dare. But as soon as she finds another job…watch out! With as much compassion as I can muster, I am seriously praying for God to take some people down.

We’re getting our house cleaned today. It’s Christi’s Mother’s Day gift from me. She just told me it was the best Mother’s Day gift ever! Better than the X-Box?? (That’s an inside joke.)

Father, I pray that you would surround us with your embrace this morning as I search your words for some inspiration to live this day in the shadow of your grace.

My Utmost For His Highest

…and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:7

Think back to yesterday’s reading…we are supplementing, or adding to, beginning with faith, to which we were to add virtue. This list continued with knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. I like the followup in verse 8: For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then verse 9 tells us that if we lack these qualities, we have completely forgotten that Christ has cleansed us from sin! That should make all of us sit up and take notice.

Chambers is focusing on the “love” today. Most of us don’t even know what we mean any more when we use this word. (It’s frightening to think that this book was originally published almost 80 years ago!) I’ve been thinking about this, lately, too. I’ve decided that I’m going to scale back my usage of the word “love.” According to Chambers, “Love is the sovereign preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that that preference be for Himself.” I think of love being a quality which says that I would be willing to die for something/someone. Keeping that in mind, then, do I love a television show? No. Do I love a car? Certainly not! Do I love a song? No. Do I love my wife and children? Absolutely! Do I love Jesus? Emphatically! Do I love God’s Word? Most definitely! There are even other people that I love. And I love the Church. But Jesus must be first.
In thinking of love, though, I have to realize that God loved me first. And he did not love me because I am lovable. Quite the contrary. According to Romans 5, God loved me when I was most unlovable! Why did God love us? Because HE IS LOVE PERSONIFIED! It is his nature to love! But now…NOW he tells me to do the same! “Love as I have loved you!” “I will bring any number of people about you whom you cannot respect, and you must exhibit My love to them as I have exhibited it to you.” This, as Timothy Keller says, “should humble us down in the dust.”
I need to look carefully at God’s dealings with me. He suffered long with my sin. He was patient with me while I spent years ignoring the Holy Spirit’s pleas to stop my habitual sinning. “The knowledge that God has loved me to the uttermost will send me forth into the world to love in the same way. God’s love to me is inexhaustible, and I must love others from the bedrock of God’s love to me.” These words are like a punch in the gut, aren’t they? Ever been punched in the stomach? I have. You can’t breathe afterwards! This is how I feel after reading these words. They take my breath away! I am ashamed of the lack of love that I have had for my neighbor, especially for some of my brothers and sisters in Christ! God has “loved me to the uttermost!!” I must get down to the “bedrock of God’s love to me” and draw from that perfect love. I cannot love others from my own resources. I do not possess that kind of love. It only comes from the grace of God, the love of God, shed abroad in my heart.

Today’s Bible Readings

John 6; Psalm 16; 2 Samuel 21

In the lengthy chapter of John 6 (71 verses!), Jesus feeds five thousand people and walks on water. Just another day in the life, right? After the walking on water incident, people who had seen the miracles noted that he was no longer on their side of the lake, so they all piled into boats and went to Capernaum, looking for him. There is some important teaching in the remainder of this chapter. For one thing, he speaks of the fact that no one seeks him. I have said this many times before. This is why I don’t believe in “seeker churches.” There are no seekers! Jesus said, No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. God is the seeker, through the Holy Spirit! We cannot just decide to come to God, of our own volition! We must be drawn. Some would object, saying, “Well, the Holy Spirit draws everyone!” That is obviously not true, for not everyone comes to Jesus. Later, he speaks of being the “bread of life,” and proclaiming that, in order to have eternal life, we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. This was a stumbling block to the Jews, who tended to take Jesus literally. Even his disciples struggled with this teaching. But Jesus speaks in metaphor, signifying that, in order to have eternal life, we must accept his work on the cross. Even this, though, was unacceptable to the Jews, who were looking for a conquering Messiah, not a suffering, dying Messiah. Also note that, in this teaching, Jesus is not referring to communion. There are two reasons for this. One, communion had not yet been instituted. Two, if he were speaking of communion, then anyone who received communion would have eternal life. And we know that this is not the qualification to receive eternal life. Simon Peter made another great declaration in verse 68-69: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

In Psalm 16, David says, Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” I don’t have time to count the number of times David speaks of God being his refuge, his fortress, his hiding place. This is only one of the reasons that I love the Psalms so much! And note what he says…”I have no good apart from you!” How we need to realize this! There is nothing good in our lives that exists apart from our Father in heaven! He is the source of all that is good. At the end of this Psalm, David says, You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. I can’t add anything to this. It speaks for itself.

In 2 Samuel 21, David avenges Saul’s killing of the Gibeonites, retrieves the bones of Saul and Jonathan so that they may be properly buried, and then experiences more war with the Philistines.

Father, I thank you for you love that has been shed abroad in my heart. I give you praise because, while I was still a vile, unlovable sinner, you sacrificed Christ for my sins. The patient love that you have expressed for me over 54 years is amazing. “Amazing love, how can it be, that you, my King, would die for me!” My spirit cannot fathom the depths of this love, my God! But I know it’s true, because you have told me, and you have shown me. Father, I pray that, today, I will be able to dig down to the very depths of the bedrock of this great love that you have for me, and live this day in the power of your love! Let me show this love to everyone I see today! May I remember this love whenever I am tempted to get angry or upset; when I am tempted to sin; when I am tempted to have judgmental thoughts about anyone; when I am tempted to do anything that would not be glorifying or honoring to you. “In all I do, to honor you!” You are my King, Jesus! You are my King! May I live like this is truth. Thank you for your love. I can’t say it enough, Lord. I could sit here and type “Thank you for your love” a million times and it would not be enough! I am overwhelmed. May it be my life’s joy and desire to honor you for the rest of my days on earth, and then for all eternity in our final destination!

I pray for this day, Lord. I pray that your love will surface in Christi’s heart today as she deals with the madness at this place where she works. Don’t allow us to feel hatred for people, even in these kinds of situations. These people are sick sinners, Lord, and need your grace and mercy in their lives. While I pray that their influence over Christi will be brought down, I must pray for their souls, too. I pray that you would intervene in their lives and drive them to their knees in repentance for their wicked behavior. This one in particular, Lord, you know. This person’s materialistic greedy nature needs to be shattered. Break her in pieces with your grace, Lord! And let Christi be the one who shows that grace to her. But give Christi the rock solid strength to show that grace. May she, too, be able to reach down into the bedrock of your love in her heart and grasp your love with a firm hand, and fling it into the world around her.

God, let us worship and love you in reckless abandon! Let your love overflow in our hearts!

I’ve got to go…I’ll have to continue this prayer, this doxology, on my drive to work this morning. You are amazing, God!

Oh, the love of God! Find it today. May his Spirit draw you closer!

Grace and peace, friends!

Fan the Flame!

It’s Friday morning, October 28. Three days until Halloween, and my daughter’s wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary!! Of course, I’ll say it again Monday…

The Cards beat the Rangers last night in what may go down as one of the most gut-wrenching games in World Series history. A lot of people are saying it was a great game. No. It wasn’t. It was a terrible game. Both teams made big mistakes. Mistakes don’t make a great game. They may make a game exciting, and maybe even “fun” (if you think having anxiety breakdowns is fun…), but they don’t make it a “great” game. Now, you may be wondering why I’m going on so long about this in what is supposed to be my devotional blog (“Hey, don’t you have another blog for this kind of stuff??). It’s because my wife brought up a very good point this morning. In the middle of our discussion on who is to blame for the Rangers’ loss last night (someone has to be to blame, right?), she ups and says, “Why don’t you blame the guy that hit the home run?”



Why don’t we? When our favorite team loses, we NEVER blame the team that beat us! The manager made a stupid move. The first baseman made 200 errors. The right fielder didn’t play far enough back and missed a fly ball. Someone got caught daydreaming at first base and got picked off. The pitcher threw the wrong pitch to that guy that hit the home run. I don’t know…why do we always blame the people we supposedly love when they lose? Why can’t we just suck it up and say the other team outplayed us (or made less mistakes than we did, in last night’s case)? It’s a very good philosophical question, and I’m going to have to ponder it for a while, as I prepare myself for what very well could be a very disappointing night tonight.

I’m going to spend a good part of today reminding myself…

It’s just a game. A game whose players are making ridiculous amounts of money.

Today’s Bible readings:

2 Timothy 1; Jeremiah 37-38; Proverbs 24:13-22

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (vv. 6-7) These two verses go together, although, verse 7 is usually singled out as a memory verse. The word “fear” could be (and is, in some versions) translated “timidity,” or “cowardice.” Apparently, Timothy had an issue with that. Makes me identify a little more with the guy. But Paul encouraged him to “fan into flame” this gift that he had received, and not be timid about it. God has given us power, love, and self-control. Just gotta find that self-control around here somewhere…where did I put that?
Paul then admonishes Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord (v. 8 ), but to be willing to share in his suffering. There, again, is where timidity can have an effect on you. See, I’m timid. And I’m certainly afraid of suffering. Does this mean I’m ashamed of the gospel? No! And I certainly pray that, should a day ever come where I have to stand up for my faith, even if I might receive bodily harm for it, that I won’t “chicken out.” We have to not let personal comfort take priority over Jesus Christ. That is one reason that we are going to “Rock the Block” with The Exchange Saturday morning. I’m not even sure what this means, but we will be there, somewhere in downtown Fort Worth, ministering to homeless people with food, bounce houses, and other types of entertainment, along with simply being there to listen and share the message of Jesus Christ. I’m a timid person…you wouldn’t think so if you met me, but the thought of talking to total strangers on the street terrifies me. Put a guitar in my hand, and I’ll sing to them all day long. But for this event, I need to find that “power and love and self-control” that God has given us.
In verse 12, Paul gives us what has been another popular memory verse. …which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. But why is he suffering? That is explained in the rest of that sentence. …the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, (vv 10b-11) Paul knows whom he has believed (Jesus Christ) and is convinced that he is trustworthy and faithful. Therefore, he is not ashamed. He is not timid. Paul was anything but timid, that’s for sure.

In Jeremiah 37, Jeremiah is cast into prison because someone accused him of deserting to the Chaldeans (which he wasn’t). He was simply trying to get to the land of Benjamin. After speaking to him, the king placed him in the “court of the guard” and gave him a loaf of bread every day. (v. 21) In chapter 38, he gets thrown into a cistern (probably a deep pit with only a small opening at the top–we would probably think of it as a “well”) because certain people thought that his prophecies were weakening the soldiers’ efforts. They hoped that he would die there. The bottom was muddy and he sank into the mud. One of the king’s eunuchs heard about it and pleaded with the king to rescue him. The king told him to get three men and get Jeremiah out of the cistern before he died. The odd thing about this is that this is the same king that told the other guys to do whatever they wanted with Jeremiah. Zedekiah was, apparently, a bit wishy-washy. The king brought Jeremiah in again and questioned him, demanding that he not lie to him. So Jeremiah, once again, gave Zedekiah the same message that he had been trumpeting for weeks. Surrender to the Chaldeans, and you will be saved. Resist them, and you will die. As a result, Jeremiah was not handed back to the men who wanted to kill him, but remained in the court of the guard until Jerusalem was taken.

A prayer from The Valley of Vision


O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
We hope in your Word.
There we see you, not on a fearful throne of judgment,
But on a throne of grace waiting to be gracious and exalted in mercy.
There we hear you saying,
not ‘Depart you cursed,’
but ‘Look unto me and be saved, for I am God and there is none else.’
They that know your name put their trust in you.
How many now glorified in heaven,
and what numbers living on earth,
are your witnesses, O God,
exemplifying in their recovery from the ruins of the Fall
the freeness, riches and efficacy of your grace!
All that were ever saved were saved by you, and will through eternity exclaim,
‘Not unto us, but unto your name give glory for your mercy and truth’s sake.’
You have chosen to transact all your concerns with us through a Mediator
in whom all fullness dwells and who is exalted to be Prince and Savior.
To him we look, on him we depend, through him we are justified.

May we derive relief from his sufferings without ceasing to abhor sin,
or to long after holiness;
feel the double efficacy of his blood, tranquilizing and cleansing our consciences;
delight in his service as well as in his sacrifice;
be constrained by his love to live not to ourselves but to him;
cherish a grateful and cheerful disposition,
not murmuring and repining if our wishes are not indulged,
or because some trials are blended with our enjoyments,
But, sensible of our desert,
and impressed with the number and greatness of your benefits,
may we bless and praise you at all times.

“…not murmuring and repining if our wishes are not indulged…”

Yes, Lord! I pray that I would stop the murmuring and whining. My desires need to be your desires. As I look to you, Father, I pray that you would give me the desires of my heart, namely that my desires would be your desires. Give me the desires of YOUR heart! “Not to us, but to your name, be the glory,” O Lord! Show me more and more that it is not about me; it’s not about us. It’s all about you. Everything! Lord, take away my timidity and help me to fan into flame the gift that you have given me, by the power of your Holy Spirit. Let me not waste that which you have given me so freely and graciously. I pray that I would be bold and faithful to you, Father. I praise your name this morning.

Lord, I pray for this day. May Christi and I have great days at work, Lord. Give us strength and courage to fight the battles ahead of us. I pray for Stephanie today. Give her grace and mercy. Show her that you are her creator and that you knew what you were doing when you created her. Help us all to understand that you never make mistakes!

Your grace is sufficient.

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Hair Is Like WHAT???

Here we go! It’s Friday morning! I’m ready for this weekend. We’re seriously praying for rain and some relief from the heat here. “Here” is Texas, where we haven’t had rain in…my whole life, I think. I don’t think it’s EVER rained. Of course, my memory doesn’t go back as far as it used to… Seriously, though, the 10 day forecast has nothing under 100 over the next 10 days. But it may get down to 102 next Thursday and Friday. And there is a chance for “isolated thunderstorms” next Friday. It looks as though we will definitely break the record set in 1980 for consecutive days of 100+ temperatures. As of yesterday, we have 34 consecutive days. 1980 saw 42. But 1980 also saw 69 total days of 100+. I sure hope we don’t break THAT record.

Today’s Bible readings from Discovering the Bible, by Gordon L. Addington:
Matthew 8:1-17
1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

On the way down from his teaching, Jesus encounters a leper and heals him. He didn’t just heal him. He touched him. That was unheard of.

5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,
6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.
11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

This is an amazing story. This centurion had great faith. This man was a Roman, too, not a Jew. Verses 11 and 12 are interesting. And easy to gloss right over, too, if you aren’t careful. Jesus shows, here, that there will be Gentiles included in the kingdom of heaven, while many Jews will be “thrown into the outer darkness,” because of their failure to believe in him.

14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever.
15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.
16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Here is the first indication we have that Peter was married. Is his wife ever mentioned? Jesus healed his mother-in-law. Then that evening, he was very busy, as word of mouth got out and people brought all of their infirmities to him.

2 Chronicles 29-30
While I appreciate the effort that Dr. Addington makes to keep things chronological, I’m losing track by bouncing around between Kings and Chronicles.

We begin chapter 29 with Hezekiah beginning his reign. Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and Abijah, who was the daughter of Zechariah the priest. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. The first thing he did was to repair all the damage that Ahaz had done to “the house of the LORD.” He even instructed the priests to consecrate themselves before touching anything. His intent was to restore Judah to its glory before the Lord. After they had consecrated themselves, they gathered up all the “uncleanness” and carried it all to the brook Kidron. (v. 16) It took them eight days to cleanse the the house of the Lord. Chapter 29 finishes with Hezekiah restoring true worship in the temple. In chapter 30, Hezekiah restored the Passover in Jerusalem, after going around and removing all of the false altars that Ahaz had erected. These were also carried and thrown into the brook Kidron. At the end, The whole assembly of Judah, and the priests and the Levites, and the whole assembly that came out of Israel, and the sojourners who came out of the land of Israel, and the sojourners who lived in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy habitation in heaven. (vv. 25-27) Hezekiah was truly a great king.

Song of Solomon 4-6
Chapter 4 begins with Solomon describing his love’s beauty. It’s very graphic, and, at times, amusing. It may not seem quite so romantic to us in modern times to describe our beloved’s hair as “a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.” I don’t think that would gain me any points with my wife. At the risk of being though disrespectful, I want to include a picture that was once published in a magazine called The Wittenburg Door. Yes, I know…”Wittenburg” is misspelled. They did that on purpose. I used to love this magazine and once subscribed to it. I called it the “National Lampoon” of Christianity. So here is an artist’s vision of the description of the bride in Song of Solomon 4.
I especially like the little Winnie the Pooh, holding his honey jar to catch the honey being dripped by her lips. (v. 11) (I truly hope I didn’t offend anyone with this…it’s just a little fun as we try to make sense of what must have been very romantic in its day.)

I like verses 9-10.
9 You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!

Verse 16 concludes with an invitation most sensuous in nature. Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

They are encouraged by the “others” in this tale, in verse 5:1, to “eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!”

Afterward, the bride has another dream, which turns into a nightmare as she cannot find her beloved. As she wanders the streets, she is beaten and bruised by the watchmen of the city. She calls up on the “daughters of Jerusalem” to help her find him, but they devalue his uniqueness. At that point, she begins to describe his beauty to them, in verses 10-16. But after they ask her where he has gone, in 6:1, she returns to her musings of their love as she tells them, My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies. (6:2-3)

One of the things that I like about this book (which contains material which could make you blush) is this, and I agree with Dr. Addington on this one: “One of the benefits of having this book in the canon of Scripture is that it assures us that God and the Bible are not prudish about the delights of love when enjoyed in the context of marriage. This is a picture of an uninhibited couple giving to one another with the blessing of God.”

There is a beautiful story in Fascinating Facts of the Faith about a man named Mitsuo Fuchida. It seems that Fuchida led the first wave of attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Afterward, there was an American POW in Japan, named Jacob JeShazer. He embraced Christianity while in prison. After he was set free, he wrote an essay, “I Was A Prisoner of the Japanese,” in which he described the experience, spoke of his conversion, and publicly forgave his captors. By the providence of God, this essay fell into the hands of Fuchida, who, inspired by it, bought a Bible and became a Christian, as well.
“In 1950, Fuchida met DeShazer, who had returned to Japan as a Christian missionary. DeShazer encouraged Fuchida in his Christian walk. While DeShazer continued to establish churches throughout Japan, Fuchida took on the work of an evangelist, spreading the gospel in Japan and Asian communities in the United States.”

THIS, my friends, is why we can NEVER afford to let national pride supersede our citizenship in heaven! And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Father, I thank you for the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ. I thank you for the healing that he provides, both physical and spiritual. I thank you for the examples that are given to us in Scripture; examples of his compassion and caring for people. Also for examples of great faith that is demonstrated in Scripture, so that we can look and see the results of faith, as it is worked out in our lives. We know from life experience that not every disease is healed. There are certainly times when we would desire healing and it is not granted. We do not understand why. We ask, Lord, that when these times come, you would grant us stronger faith; faith that does not waver when it does not receive what it desires. Faith that understands that you have a bigger picture in mind than we could ever comprehend. Faith that believes the Scriptures when they say, “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of one of his saints.”
I thank you for the depiction of restoration given in 2 Chronicles, in the account of Hezekiah. I believe that we see proof in that passage, that even the most fallen of “churches” can still be restored to true worship, and that the influence of only one man can be extremely effective.
I also thank you for the depiction of romance and intimate love that is given to us in the Song of Solomon. I thank you for my beautiful wife of almost 26 years, Father. I thank you that our love continues to grow and flourish through these years, even in the face of some of the trials and storms that we have been through. I thank you that you are the Rock upon which our “house” is built, and that, because of that, it will stand.
I ask that you would help all Christians to embrace the message of the story about Mitsuo Fuchida. Let us be forgiving. Let us strive to see the evangelization of the world, of all races of people, not just the ones we like. I pray for Christians who have the courage to be spreading the gospel to Muslims, China, and other nations that are more hostile toward Christianity. I pray for their success and safety as they attempt to share the gospel with people who embrace a totally different culture.

Lord, I pray for this day of work ahead. Let Christi have a good day today, and me, as well. I pray for Stephanie as she goes to a sleepover with some new friends from The Exchange Church, tonight. I pray that she will have a great time. I pray for Christi as she goes to visit with her mother and step-father tomorrow morning to try to help them make some difficult decisions. I pray that you would give them the sense to know what is reasonable and what is not.

I continue to pray for rain and relief from the heat, Father. I pray that you would break the weather predictions and bring about unexpected coolness and precipitation.

There are a lot of Christians who truly need to examine their hearts when it comes to other races, religions, and even lifestyles. We are to be a people of grace! A people of compassion and caring. Let it be so.

Grace and peace, friends.