Thank You For My Father

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” – Lucille Ball

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is MacGuffin, which means, “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.”

Today is Fudge Day. This should be a national holiday! You know, so we can all go to Buc-ee’s and get some fudge!

There’s seriously nothing going on, right now. Life is humming along, pretty normally. We are planning to go see my mother Saturday, and then R & J will be coming over on Sunday for Father’s Day.

The Southlake Community Band has a concert appearance coming up on July 3, Sunday evening. We will be playing at the annual Stars & Stripes event According to the schedule, the Swing Band will play at 6, and the concert band will play at 8:15, followed by the fireworks at 9:30.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.

They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name!
Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalm 80:8-19

The people of God are not delicate flowers, “withered in a day by a merciless sun,” or trampled by a “careless boot.” We are the branches of a vine, “tough, tenacious, planted by God,” in spite of any persecution and/or judgment brought on by the world. And we are “brought to final fruition in Jesus,” when he said, “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5).

“Enter my present trouble, God of strength and compassion. Protect me from despair and from faintheartedness. Encourage me with hope. Make me strong in Christ, ‘the one at your right hand’ (Psalm 80:17). Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1

Carol Knapp writes of taking her mother and a neighbor (called Bubbles) to share a meal with their friend Marybeth. Marybeth lived in an assisted living community. Bubbles was ninety, and suffered from macular degeneration. Marybeth was one hundred, and shared the same affliction. During the meal, Marybeth asked Bubbles, “Do you ever get surprises when you eat?” You see, they often couldn’t quite tell what was on their plate.

During the conversation, however, Marybeth said something that profoundly struck Carol. Marybeth, having mostly lost her sight, and being widowed twice, said, “You can never be grateful enough until it’s gone.”

We always try to be deliberate in our thanksgiving, remembering our blessings and thanking God for them, “to appreciate and savor them.” But Marybeth opened Carol’s eyes that day to a piece of gratitude that she had not considered . . . grief. “Far from distancing me from God or showing a lack of faith, grief is a deep expression of thanksgiving for something or someone I am missing.”

When we grieve, we acknowledge the good that God has given us.

A year later, both Marybeth and Bubbles are gone. Carol and her mother miss them both. But they express their gratitude through their grief.

With Father’s Day coming up, this reading strikes a chord in me. While the grief is not quite as heavy as it was, there are still moments of profound sadness, as well as moments where reality doesn’t quite set in. I’m still grieving, though, having lost my father 14 months ago. And in my grief, I thank my God for the years that I had with him, and all that I learned from him.

Daddy and Me--Autumn 1961 back porch

Heavenly Father, I thank you for my earthly father. I miss him, as do my mother, wife, and kids. Not to mention all the friends that he had in his life. In that missing, in that grief, we thank you profoundly and deeply. Help us to be more thankful for things and people that we still have in our lives.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Glad and Generous Hearts

Good morning. It is post-Monday, August 6, 2013.

Today is Fresh Breath Day. Seriously? Okay, on to the next thing. (This must have been sponsored by Scope.)

Something funny and slightly terrifying happened last night. Christi left work late, so Steph and I went to the gym without her. When we got there, I got out of the car and, for some reason, felt my left pocket, which turned out to be empty. The problem with that is, it’s where my wallet was supposed to be! Yep, I left my wallet at home. Instantly, I felt guilt! I was a lawbreaker!! The next thing I felt was slight panic. What if it wasn’t at home?? Then there was more panic. Without my wallet, I can’t buy the Sonic drinks and Subway food on the way home from the gym!!! I did, however, have my phone, with which I called Christi, so she could get the Sonic drinks and Subway food. As for the lawbreaking thing, well, I was just going to have to do that again so we could get home. Fortunately, there were no incidents on the way home. And the wallet was right where I thought it was, so all is well.

Except that 24 Hour Fitness has decided, apparently, to save costs by not using air conditioning in the summer. I’m seriously thinking about checking out Anytime Fitness.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1806, the last in a long line of Hapsburg emperors resigned his title of Holy Roman Emperor. Franz II renounced his title, “believing the imperial title an unrealistic anachronism,” and was, thereafter, “the Emperor of Austria.” Voltaire, of course, said “it was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.” Nevertheless, it both influenced and dominated Europe for many about a millennium after Charlemagne in the year 800. Actually, it was “844 years and 67 emperors.”

Today’s birthday is Lucille Ball, born on this date in 1911. Most popularly known as “Lucy,” Ms. Ball starred in a several sit-coms, the most successful of which was probably I Love Lucy. Here is one of the more famous clips from that show, where Lucy and Ethel work in a candy factory. Lucy passed away in 1989.

Honorable mentions go to Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, Robert Mitchum, 1917-1997, M. Night. Shyamalan, 43, Catherine Hicks, 62, Alexander Fleming, 1881-1955, and Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892.


Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Psalm 96:11-13
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD! Psalm 106:48
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning, as I read and meditate on your words. Keep me focused on you throughout this day. May my day be full of you.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Life Among the Believers.” The scripture reading is Acts 2:46-47.

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

It appears that the early Church members stayed closely connected with their Jewish roots. However, the met in private homes, as well, for “Christian celebration of the Lord’s Supper.” Note their “glad and generous hearts.” Gratitude “is the hallmark of true Christian spirituality.” We need to “understand and act as members who are in unity with one another, charitable to all, and held in high esteem.” There is even a sense of economic responsibility for each other in this community. There is much we can learn from Luke as he describes life in the early Church.

Read this quote from Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to
him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and
discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying
the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the
divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus
Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the
word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure.
And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: they meet
one another as bringers of the message of salvation.”

What a beautiful quote!! I’ve read Bonhoeffer’s book, and it has some pretty amazing insight into the Christian community. As we go about our week, may we consider the benefits of gathering together outside of the normal worship gathering, as smaller communities within the larger one. We need each other more than we know.

Father, I pray that we continue to bond and grow with the small group with which we are involved right now. We had a wonderful experience with our “lifehouse” group before, and that has moved on to something else. We are struggling, I think, to develop the same kind of experience with this current group. I pray that you supernaturally bond us together by the power of your Spirit as we continue to meet together. Show us how to be a true community of faith in Christ.

I pray for this day ahead. I pray for Christi’s doctor visit this afternoon, and hope that it might be the final one, and that she will be fully released. I pray for her time with Stephanie this evening, as she has a free training session at the gym. I pray that it not become a fight for more sessions. Give us wisdom as we try to get our health back on track. Teach us your ways; fill our days with you; surround us with your unfailing, steadfast, overwhelming love!

Your grace is sufficient.

May the Church today be characterized by “glad and generous hearts!”

Grace and peace, friends.

The Motive For Prayer

Good morning. We’re back to Monday. August 6, 2012. Temperatures continue to soar above 100 this week, and are predicted to for the next ten days. But it’s still not as bad as last year, at least not in DFW. Today is “National Root Beer Float Day.” Mmm…been a long time since I’ve had one of those. It’s also “Wiggle Your Toes Day.” Now, all I need is a beach, so I can sit on the beach, drink a root beer float, and wiggle my toes while watching the waves. I’m relaxed already.

On this day in 1945, at 816am, the Enola Gay dropped the world’s first atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. Over 140,000 people died as a result of the bomb. Over 60,000 buildings were destroyed. On this date in 1890, the first execution by electric chair occurred. This day in history is kind of a bummer. Ahh…it gets a little better. Artist Andy Warhol and comedienne Lucille Ball were both born on this date, in 1928 and 1911, respectively. But then director John Hughes died on this date in 2009. Musician Isaac Hays was born on this date in 1942. And on this date in 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel.

Nothing much happened yesterday. We had our worship celebration at church, after which I stayed for a tech leadership team meeting, while Christi, Stephanie, and Scottie went to lunch. After we all got home, Christi and I spent some time working on pool equipment (I had to run to the store to get some hose). After that, were so tired we just pretty much collapsed for the rest of the day. Didn’t even make it to the gym. We’ll get there tonight.

Father, I pray for some inspiration as I read and ponder today. Help me live this day looking to you.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 67. This psalm, composer unnamed, is a simple prayer for blessing and praise.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the people praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!

My Utmost For His Highest
In that day you will ask in my name… John 18:26

We too often consider the cross as something we have to get through. “The Cross stands for one thing only for us – a complete and entire and absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is nothing in which this identification is realized more than in prayer.”
You see, the purpose of prayer, the idea behind it, is not to get answers from God. It is “perfect and complete oneness with God.” If we pray simply because we want answers (or results), we will get “huffed with God.” Oh, sure, we get answers and results, but they aren’t always what we expect or desire.
“At that day…” When we are so identified with Christ, when we have reached that level of intimacy with God, our only expectation from prayer should be that very identification with the prayer life of Jesus Christ. “‘At that day’ you will be so identified with Christ that there will be no distinction.”
“When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to fix the blame on someone else.” That is one of our enemy’s biggest traps. When prayer seems unanswered, there is a “deep instruction” to me, and only to me.

Father, I pray quickly, as time is short. I pray today that my life will be so identified with the prayer life of Christ that all I look for is the prayer itself. I desire not to pray just for answers, simply for results. The purpose for my prayer time should be only to identify with Christ, to relate intimately with you. Let that be my reason for praying.

I praise you today, Lord. I lift up this day to you. May it go smoothly for both Christi and me. I continue to pray for relief for her feet (could it be tied to a back issue). I pray for healing for her and relief from her pain. May our work day to smoothly, with no stress or issues.

Keep me focused on prayer throughout this day, as I go about my daily chores.

Your grace is sufficient.

If you are one who prays, I challenge you to examine your motives today. Do you pray just to get answers? Or do you pray to commune with the Almighty?

Grace and peace, friends.