From Messy to Magic

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-fourth of May, 2022, in the sixth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,448

It’s Tuesday, so I’ll be working my four-hour shift at the library, tonight, re-shelving books (or magazines and DVDs). There is, of course, a strong likelihood that more books will be added to my “TBR” list. At this point, there is not much likelihood that I will check out anything new. But you never know.

There was no baseball last night. Well, none that mattered to me, anyway. Both the Rangers and Red Sox had the day off. Just for kicks, though, the NY Yankees (29-13) still have the best MLB record, even though they have lost three in a row. They are still chasing win number thirty. The Cincinnati Reds (12-29) still have the worst record. They are also still one game behind the Washington Nationals. The Red Sox now share the longest win streak (five games) with two other teams, the San Diego Padres and the Minnesota Twins. The SF Giants and KC Royals still share the longest losing streak, also five games. The LA Dodgers continue to beat up on their opponents, having the highest run differential, at +97! That is 32 runs higher than the second place Yankees. Wow. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the lowest run differential, at -87.

In the PWBA USBC Queens tournament, I was disappointed that none of my favorites made the final show, which happens tonight. The five ladies who will be bowling tonight, in order of seed are Clara Guerrero, from Columbia, Birgit Noreiks, from Germany, Laura Plazas, from Bogota, Danielle McEwan, from Stony Point, NY, and Hope Gramly, from Aubrey, TX.

Here are some interesting facts. The top seed for the finals, Clara Guerrero, finished 37th of 64 in the qualifying rounds. Birgit Noreiks, second seed, finished 50th in qualifying. Laura Plazas, third seed, finished 63rd out of 64 in qualifying! Danielle McEwan finished third in qualifying, and Hope Gramly finished 22nd. D-Mac was the only top ten qualifier to make the show. One of my favorites, Verity Crawley, from England, finished sixth, over-all, not quite making the show. If I heard correctly, she still gets a payout of $10,000, which isn’t bad for a week’s work. I wish best of luck to all five finalists, tonight. I’ll be recording the show while I’m at work, so I can watch it. I don’t really have a preference as to who wins. But I will say that I really enjoyed watching Ms. Plazas bowl, yesterday, during the last match to determine the final three spots on the ladder. I’m also glad to see someone from Texas, my home state, in the running.


We thank you, dear Father in heaven, for the many times you let us experience that we do not need to despair because of darkness, weakness, or sickness. You hear the desires of our hearts. You love us for all that we love when we love the Savior and when we praise his name. Let us remain in this spirit. Come to us with many proofs of your power, to the glory of your name. Come in the inner quiet of heart through which we are able to grasp what it means for us that you are our Father in Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”
(Luke 4:18-19 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the time of the Lord's favor, when the captives will be released, the blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free; Good News to the poor!
2. that life can get messy, because that forces me to sit still and wait on God, knowing with great confidence that He is in the business of restoring, renewing, reviving, reclaiming, and redeeming
3. that we, the people of God, are also supposed to be in the business of the things in number 2
4. for the Light of the world that overcomes the darkness
5. for the desire to seek after the wisdom that comes from above

Today’s prayer word is “messy.” As I suspected, I can’t find that word anywhere in the Bible. Here’s a quote, though, from the inimitable Audrey Hepburn:

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

There seems to be enough evidence to support that she actually said that. And it’s a remarkable statement, I think. I find that I agree with it. Yet, we, as human beings, are terrible at throwing out people. We give up on people. I see comments on social media almost every day to which I react, “I am certainly glad our Father in heaven doesn’t think that way.”

Life is messy. But that isn’t the final prognosis. Because, you see, we have a God who is in the business of restoring, renewing, reviving, reclaiming, and redeeming. All of these things is accomplished by the work of Jesus Christ, via the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Trinity is involved in all of these things in our lives.

All we have to do is be still and know . . . seriously, we just need to sit still for a moment and consider the work of God, His kingdom that is available right now, for us to walk in. It is at that point that the messy either gets straightened up, or maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t matter any more.

The writer of today’s reading, named Roberta (I suspect it is Roberta Messner), writes of something her sister once said to her. “Don’t fret, Pet. It has to bet better. You gotta have the messy before the magic.”

(From Pray a Word a Day)

I am reminded of the opening line’s of M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Father, I thank You for the messes. It is in those messes where we realize the reality of life, and what Paul meant when he told us to give thanks in all circumstances. I also praise You that You are, truly, restoring us, renewing us, reviving us, reclaiming us, and redeeming us, all the time. All the time, because I keep wandering off the path, which causes You to have to restore me or reclaim me. I ask forgiveness for this, and ask for Your help in keeping me on the path so things don’t get quite so messy.

Sometimes the messes are my fault, and sometimes they are just natural happenings, outside of my control. Help me to be repentant when they are my fault, to change my way of thinking, so that I don’t find myself in those messes. I love when You turn the messes into “magic” or into “marvelous.”

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
(Luke 11:33-36 NLT)

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.”

What a sobering statement by our Savior.

Father, I pray desperately that the “light” that I think I have is really “light,” and not darkness. I struggle with various “truths,” these days, because there seems to be a dearth of truth in this world. So many people out there are talking about “my truth” and “your truth,” as if to imply that there are multiple truths. I believe, with all my heart, that there is only one truth. I’m just not sure that we have found it quite yet. Sure, I know that there are pieces of it that are firmly intact. Jesus is Lord; He has lived, died, and was resurrected, paying the cost for all my sin and paving the way for me to have access to You.

But there are many what I call “peripheral” things that even people within Your Church are arguing over. We are grappling with so many things. If I’m going to be wrong about something, I prefer to err on the side of love, on the side of mercy, especially on subjects that do not, in fact, determine the eternal destination of one’s soul. And contrary to the popular belief of some, most of those issues do not, none of those issues, in fact, determine whether one is a Christian.

Please, Father, give us wisdom, sensibility, and sensitivity when it comes to these things. Help us to love more than we hate. In fact, help us to not hate at all. Have mercy on us, and then show us how to extend that same mercy and grace to everyone else.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

"Love one another;
This is how they know you're Mine;
Love one another."
(Inspired by John 13:34-35)

Grace and peace, friends.

God Is Good

Today is Sunday, the seventeenth of October.

May the peace of God reign in your lives today!

Day 23,229

Twenty-one days until DST ends

Our plans are gaining more traction as we make arrangements to visit R & J, next month, in Indianapolis. We are currently looking at a couple of possibilities for an airbnb house to rent for four nights. Our current plan is to fly out on Wednesday evening, November 17, and return on Sunday, November 21. I would be missing one day of work, Friday the 19th. C would miss two days, Thursday and Friday. It’s a short trip, but C would return to work on Monday, and I would be scheduled back on Tuesday.

Yesterday was a pretty good day at the library. It wasn’t terribly busy, but there were moments when it did get busy. That seems to be pretty normal for a Saturday. I think I registered about six people for new library cards.

The Red Sox made post-season history last night, by blasting two grand salamis in consecutive innings. The phenom Kiké Hernandez also had a solo homer, and the final score was Red Sox 9, Astros 5. So they head to Fenway for tomorrow’s game, tied at one apiece. In the NLCS, the Braves took a 1-0 lead, beating the Dodgers 3-2. They will play again today.

We have our church gathering, this morning, and C and I are planning to attend in person. She is still aching a bit, but the localized pains she was having earlier in the week have subsided quite a bit.

It’s 46 degrees outside, this morning. Lovely weather. Today’s header photo was taken by Paul Militaru.


Breathing and Praying, by Daryl Madden

And all of us breathe
Each moment each day
Sometimes we draw deep
In an intentional way

An entrance to prayer
When we begin
We say to our God
We let you in

Breathing and praying
A new view to see
That with every breath
God is praying in me

So let us acknowledge
This with every breath
For if either one stops
The result will be death

I love this poem, comparing praying and breathing. Both are essential for true life.

For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever.
(Psalms 44:6-8 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Autumn weather
2. for the love of family and friends
3. that You have not rejected my prayer or withheld Your love from me (Psalm 66:20)
4. for Your goodness
5. that we are already walking in Your Kingdom

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



Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
(Psalms 66:20 NIV)

During this quiet moment, I center on the love of God, feeling it deep within my soul.


Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.

Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.
(Psalms 106:1-5 NIV)


How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
(Lamentations 1:1-3 NIV)

Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away.
(Lamentations 1:8 NIV)


As I read through these passages again, I look for words or phrases that stir within me. I pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, as I seek truth and wisdom.

The first thing is the reason given for giving thanks to the Lord. “For He is good; His love endures forever.”

God is good. If you feel compelled to say, “All the time,” in response, feel free. I don’t believe that it is possible to overstate this truth. God is good. In fact, at one point, Jesus even said that God is the only good.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
(Mark 10:18 NIV)

Good is good, and no on is truly good but God. There are people who do good things, true. But we are born into sinfulness. At our very heart, our very nature is wickedness, and even the good things that we are capable of are “filthy rags.”

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

But God is good, AND His steadfast love endures forever. And He does not treat us as we deserve. What we deserve is what humanity received in the days of Noah. Why do I say that? Because we do things that fly back in the face of that great goodness of God. We look at all the good things that He has done for us, and promptly turn away and sin some more. Many among us refuse to acknowledge His goodness, or even acknowledge His existence.

Verse 2 of the psalm (another of the “orphan” psalms) asks a strange question. “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare His praise?” We don’t know who wrote this, but, I mean, that person was proclaiming the might acts of the Lord, right? I can proclaim His mighty acts, as can you who are reading this. Perhaps a different translation can help.

Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him enough?
(Psalms 106:2 NLT)

That gives the question a little more “oomph,” if you will. I can’t list them all; can you? And I certainly cannot praise Him enough. But together, we can, just maybe, come close. I kind of like the way the King James phrases this verse.

Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?
(Psalms 106:2 KJV)

The word that is translated “fully” in the NIV comes out as “all” in the KJV. The Hebrew word, there, can also mean, “the whole.” So we are presented with an impossible task. Who can do it? It’s a rhetorical question designed to remind us of how inadequate we are, in the face of the goodness and steadfast love of God that endures forever.

If we act justly, we are blessed, but then there’s that phrase that makes me stop in my tracks. “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.”


There is a popular phrase that is supposed to help us make decisions. “Always do right.” But do we? Does this mean that there is no hope for us to be blessed?

I choose to think that is not what it means. Because God is good. And His steadfast love endures forever. And He does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10).

At this point, it is almost as if the psalmist throws his hands up in the air and simply says, “Remember me, Lord, when You show favor to Your people.” All I can do is throw myself on the mercy of God, and cast my hope into the sea of His goodness. I don’t seem to be able to stop sinning. And I won’t be able to, until I am fully transformed into the likeness of Jesus, which is an ongoing process that will not be completed until I step over into the other plane, the true and eternal Kingdom of God, the Country of Resurrection and Life.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life,” said Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)

I’m reminded of a song. (What? Again??) This one was recorded by Pam Thum, and is called “Life is Hard (but God is Good).”

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Life is hard, but God is good

I’ve always liked what M. Scott Peck says at the beginning of The Road Less Travelled. While it doesn’t reference the goodness of God, I still believe it is a true statement. “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Here’s the thing. Once we do accept that, and then add to it the fact that “but God is good,” then we step into the Country of Joy, which, according to Dallas Willard, is the “pervasive sense of well-being.”

Father, I praise You for Your goodness. I acknowledge that life is hard, and will continue to be so. But when we focus on Your goodness, rather than the difficulties facing us, it becomes less hard. It becomes bearable. And when we focus on Your goodness together, in numbers, as a community of saints, it doesn’t seem difficult at all. Your goodness overcomes our difficulties; Your steadfast love that never fails, that never gives us on us, and never runs out, brings us gently into the presence of joy, and makes us realize that, in You, in Your Kingdom, things are far better than we could ever imagine. Thank You, Father!

Lord, as we worship You today, in whatever setting we find ourselves, may You give us resurrection hope and joy. Then show us how we can share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus as we travel through our week ahead.

"Fierce God,
I want to run from pain,
hide from sorrow,
and medicate my misery.
When the foundations of my life crumble,
when all that I've put my trust in is pulled out from under me,
help me to cling to the foundation I have in Jesus Christ,
leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 NIV)

Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
(Psalms 71:9 NIV)

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:26 ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV)

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
(Isaiah 35:1-10 ESV)

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV)

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!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

In Paths of Uprightness

Today is Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Day 21,985.

Six days until Memorial Day.

“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” ~ M. Scott Peck (5/22/36-9/25-05) BrainyQuote

The word for today is garrulous, an adjective which means, “given to prosy, rambling, or tedious loquacity : pointlessly or annoyingly talkative.” I have a friend at work who is garrulous.

We didn’t get to the Y last night, as C was feeling somewhat tired and down, physically. She seems to be feeling better this morning, but has a bit of a cough. We’ll see what happens tonight.

The Red Sox didn’t play, last night, but the Yankees did. And, unfortunately, the Yankees are currently playing the Rangers, who are making a tremendous bid to be the worst team in MLB. The Yankees beat them 10-5. This puts the Yankees a half game up on the Sox in the AL East. And makes the Yankees the best team in MLB, for now. Even though the Red Sox have won more games than anyone else, and the Yankees have played three less games than the Sox. It’s all about percentages. The Rangers are now six places away from the worst team in baseball, currently held by the KC Royals. The Royals, White Sox, Orioles, and Reds are vigorously battling it out for that last place, with only a game and a half between the Red and the Royals. The Rangers and Marlins sit another game and a half above the Reds.

The Rangers continue their series with the Yankees tonight, while the Sox begin a series in the Juice Box with Tampa Bay.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! 
The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. 
Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! 
The King in his might loves justice. You have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. 
Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! 
Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the LORD, and he answered them. 
In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them. 
O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. 
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!

Psalm 99

Another “The LORD reigns” Psalm, Psalm 99 proclaims the greatness of God. “He is exalted over all the peoples.” We are called to exalt and worship him, for he is holy.

Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:10-12

Father, you truly lead me in paths of righteousness, for your name’s sake. May I walk with unhampered steps today, and may I run without stumbling. I don’t seriously expect to run very much today, but I’m thinking in metaphorical terms, here. The thing I am asking is that the teaching you have been giving me be lived out in my life today. Guard my heart; put a watch over my mouth that the things I say may not be displeasing to you, and only uplifting to others. Continue to lead me in paths of righteousness and teach me to walk uprightly. All for your name’s sake.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

Psalm 23

Grace and peace, friends.

Life Is Hard, But God Is Good

“Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult not longer matters.”

Today is Saturday, February 25, 2017. Thirteen days until our Glen Rose weekend!

Quote of the Day

“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.” ~ Doug Larson

Word of the Day

Hoary ~ gray or white with or as if with age. My beard is hoary.

Today is Clam Chowder Day. It’s not often that I will choose something over chocolate (it is also Chocolate Covered Peanut Day), but, seriously, if I had the choice between Clam Chowder and chocolate covered peanuts right this second, I would dig into that Clam Chowder! It’s grocery store day. I’m going to have to get some.

We were supposed to have our Night of Worship “missional gathering” tonight, but the leader got the flu this week. I’m not sure when we will have it next. Our next Night of Worship is a week from tonight, March 4.

We have a couple of things to try to get done today. A new tire for C’s car, and she needs to pick up glasses at the eye doctor’s office. S wants to go to Martha’s Mexican restaurant today. She must be feeling better.

Today is the day of the first Spring Training game for the Texas Rangers. They play the KC Royals this afternoon, in Surprise, AZ. The Red Sox played the NY Mets yesterday, and lost 3-2.

37 days until Opening Day!


Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Psalm 84:7
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 
  Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 57:7-11
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:3-5

One of my father’s favorite books was The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. The first two paragraphs of this book present a truth that is so simple, yet so profound.

Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

I believe I latched onto this truth a long time ago, because, to me, it truly no longer matters that life is difficult. I have accepted it. And we, as believers in Christ, can add another phrase to it.

Life is hard, but God is good.

No matter what is happening in your life right now, the truth will never change. God is good. We may shake our fists at him in anger; we may cry out to him in anguish or fear. But he is good. In fact, according to Scripture, he is the only one who is truly “good.”

The Psalms are full of verses that describe this truth.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Psalm 34:6-7
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 
Psalm 34:18
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19
The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 
The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 37:39-40
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

There are many more. But the recurring theme of all of these is that, even though we will face difficulties, struggles, and afflictions, God will deliver us from them. There is never a promise that he will keep us from ever experiencing them.

Life IS hard!

But there are plenty of promises of deliverance out of those troubles.

But God IS good!

Remember this today. Whatever you experience. Or, perhaps, remember it in case you run across another person who is experiencing troubles and afflictions and knows not where to turn.

Life is hard, but God is good.

Father, teach us this truth. The only way we can truly rest in your love, mercy, and grace, is to firmly grasp the truth that, yes, we will encounter trials and difficulties in our lives, but, through them all, you are good. Thank you for being good. Thank you for your promises of deliverance.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Am I Able?

“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

“Ultimately love is everything.” – M. Scott Peck

It is a known fact that Mother Teresa would not “employ” anyone who could not smile from the heart.

The word of the day, from, is sockdolager. The emphasis is on the second syllable, “sok-dol-uh-jer.” It means, “something unusually large, heavy, etc.” It can also mean, “a decisive reply, argument, etc.,” or, “a heavy, finishing blow.”

Today is Sugar Cookie Day. I’m okay with that. I like sugar cookies. I just like cookies, period. I’m not fond of peanut butter cookies, though. I give those to S. I like sugar cookies with icing on them. Like the ones they have at the Great American Cookie Company. I think we need to go to the mall today.

C is going out of town this week. For six days!! Gah! I don’t know what I’m going to do. Well, okay. I do. I’m going to eat too much and play a lot of PS4 games. If I’m wise, though, I will use some of the time to practice trombone, keyboard, and guitar. At this point, I cannot say if I will be wise or not. She’s going to a youth bowling tournament in Indianapolis. It’s the Youth Open Championships, and they are actually going on for three different weeks. C will be there for the first week. She is leaving Tuesday, after work, and then not coming home until Monday night, July 18. I can tell you that I will not sleep well, those nights. I never do when she is gone.

Not much else going on. The Rangers and Red Sox both won, last night, and both by the score of 6-5. That’s strange. Texas remains 6.5 games up in the West, and the Red Sox are still a game behind the Boo Jays, in third place. Also, the Rangers are still the second best team in MLB, but now, they are second to the Giants, not the Cubs. The Cubbies have drifted down to third in MLB. The All Star Game break begins after tomorrow’s games. Maybe I’ll actually watch the game, but I doubt it. I’ve never been a huge fan of the All Star Game. And I have never liked that it determines home-field advantage for the World Series. I have said it before, and I will say it many more times . . . the wild card should NEVER have home-field advantage!


(From Praying With the Psalms)

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Psalm 91:11-13

“Angels are the messengers of God, who carry out his will among men.” We don’t know a lot about them, but there is plenty of speculation about them. Peterson calls them “the reality of God active in the details of human existence.” They are, usually without our knowledge, active in our daily lives.

“I submit myself to your care, merciful Father. I will find in the provisions of this day the evidence of your love for me and the experience of your care for me. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Great Probing

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:19

What would you say if someone told you that? “What do you mean, I am not able to serve the Lord??” The problem is usually that we are relying on something other than God. It’s not that we don’t rely on God, it is more that we don’t rely on him exclusively. We rely on some natural virtue that we might have, or a set of circumstances that we are in.

When I recognize this inability to serve the Lord, I might say, “I cannot live a holy life.” While this is true, I can certainly let Jesus Christ make me holy. this is what the spiritual disciplines are all about; practicing habits which will put me in the place where Christ can come in and make me holy. I cannot make myself holy; I cannot change myself. However, I can deliberately put myself in a position for God to change me and make me holy. “Are you sufficiently right with God to expect Him to manifest His wonderful life in you?”

The people responded to Joshua in verse 21. “No, but we will serve the LORD.” This is a deliberate commitment. If I have something else that I am trusting in, I will never make that commitment. I have to be at the place where he is all I have to trust.

“Dare I really let God be to me all that He says He will be?” This is the important question.

Father, I pray you make me ready to let you do this. Keep working me until I am at a place where I will let you be all that you claim you can be in my life. Teach me until I am able to fully believe everything that your word says about you. And then keep teaching me some more. I never want to stop learning your ways. I never want to stop knowing you more.

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.