I Just Want to Celebrate

Today is Thursday, the thirty-first of March, 2022, in the fourth week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,394

This will be my last Thursday to be off from work, as my schedule will officially change, beginning tomorrow. Going forward, I will be off on Fridays and be working from 11:15-8:15 on Thursdays, in the Computer Center. This is all happening because one of our CC aides got a second job, which is being rather uncooperative in regard to his schedule in Hurst, and the other CC aide really didn’t want to work on Thursdays. She is very grateful that I was able to step in and work on Thursdays.

For me, it’s only a mild inconvenience to switch, as it means I will be working two evening shifts a week, and three consecutive days, every other week. This mild inconvenience is offset by having a four-day-weekend every other week. Actually, it is virtually five days, because I don’t go to work until 4:15 on Tuesdays.

I have my vein clinic doctor appointment, this morning, at 10:15. I got an email from them, yesterday (actually Tuesday evening, I think), that outlined what this visit will cost. I’m not sharing it here, but I almost canceled the appointment when I saw it. However, my wife (have I mentioned she’s an angel?) said I should go ahead and do it, because it seems necessary for my health and well-being.

After the appointment, I plan to have lunch with C, since the doctor’s office is in Arlington, which is also where C works. We will probably go to Fred’s Downtown Philly.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
In the light of His glory and grace

And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
(Luke 9:35 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the many blessings in my life, too numerous to count
2. for the preeminence of Christ in all things
3. for celebrations that call to remembrance the things that God has done in our lives
4. for the "chutzpah" of the woman in Matthew 15, that shows us that we don't always need to be prim and proper when we pray
5. that God listens

Today’s word for prayer is “celebrate.” There is a lot of that in Scripture, actually. While the word, itself, only occurs in the Bible about a dozen times, the sentiment is there more frequently, especially in the Old Testament, as the people of Israel are commanded to observe various festivals throughout the year.

“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.”
(Exodus 12:14 NIV)

Of course, the number of occurrences of the English word depends on which translation you are reading. It occurs more in the NIV than in the ESV, and only three times in the KJV. The writer of today’s reading, known only as “Michelle,” claims it appears sixty-eight times. I’m not sure which version she is reading, because the NIV only shows it around fifty-five.

All of that is irrelevant, of course.

Celebration is even considered one of the classic spiritual disciplines. The reason for celebration is remembrance. All of the festivals that the ancient Hebrews were expected to observe were to commemorate something that God had done for them. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas (which is commanded, nor even suggested, nowhere in the Bible, by the way). We celebrate His resurrection at Easter (also not commanded or suggested, but the first century Christians shifted their day of worship to the first day of the week, because of Jesus’s resurrection). When we celebrate birthdays, we remember the day that a loved one was born.

Michelle suggests celebrating God’s abundance in our lives, “in a way that would strengthen my journey of faith.” And, while the discipline is considered a “corporate” discipline (one observed by a group or gathering), I believe we can easily celebrate on our own. All that is needed is to have a little “Thank You, God” party.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
(Isaiah 49:13 ESV)

That sounds like a celebration to me! And here’s the ultimate celebration, one that I cannot wait to participate in.

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:11-14 ESV)

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
(Revelation 7:9-12 ESV)

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." 
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 
But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." 
And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 
She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 
Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." 
And her daughter was healed instantly.
(Matthew 15:21-28 ESV)

Eugene Peterson says, “the woman had chutzpah.” I like that. That is a word that means, “extreme self-confidence or audacity.” She got Jesus’s attention.

“Maybe we don’t have to compose ourselves into postures of reverence before we pray. Maybe we don’t have to know very much about the strategies of salvation before we appeal for help. [Remember yesterday’s prayer word?] Maybe when we feel excluded from the rich banquet of life that everyone else seems to have such easy access to, we need to push our way into the room – elbow our way to the head table and demand at least a portion of the leftovers.

“This is not the polite approach to Jesus that we are taught by our pastors and parents, but it worked once.

“Maybe it will work again.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I thank You for these words today, especially “celebrate.” I know I need to celebrate more. All of Your children (well, most, anyway) need to celebrate more. There is too much whining and complaining going on in the midst of Your people. One looking in from the outside might question whether we have any faith in You at all! Help us to celebrate, to remember the great and marvelous works You have done in, through, and for Your people, throughout history.

You parted the Red Sea as You delivered Your people from Egypt. You split the Jordan River in half so that Your people could enter the Promised Land. You made water come from a rock, and manna appear out of nowhere. You dropped the walls of Jericho like they were made out of paper mâché. You made an axe-head float. I could go on and on and on, and that’s what celebration is all about; remembering those things.

Most importantly, You gave us Jesus, and You displayed the most awesomely wonderful power ever when You raised Him from the dead and lifted Him up to heaven, right in front of His disciples.

Celebrate. I just want to celebrate. Help me to do that today. And I pray for things in my life that will remind me to celebrate. Should I go walking outside, in the midst of nature, put something in front of my eyes that will cause me to remember and celebrate. But also keep my eyes open so that, when You do that, I will see it.

I look forward to joining those multitudes depicted in Revelation and shouting/singing glory to You for all of eternity. That’s the ultimate celebration.

And Father, please give me the “chutzpah” of that woman from Matthew 15. Not that I want to ever be rude or presumptuous in prayer, but also to know that, sometimes, all I have to do is cry out, “help!” Thank You for listening.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Collect for Daily Devotions)

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Wednesday, the thirtieth of March, 2022, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ rain down on you today!

Day 23,393

I just realized that I published this without adding any personal stuff, but I didn’t really have anything to add, today, anyway. So straight on to the devotional.


Come to God,” by Daryl Madden

God welcomes us
With a sunrise’s beauty
Come receive His love
Welcome Him into me

God’s seeking us
In gifts everywhere
Come find His love
With our soul, be aware

God’s calling us
With opportunities
Come share His love
With the lost and needy

God’s wanting us
In Him to be
Come be His love
For eternity

What a beautiful invitation, especially that last stanza. There is, I fear, much misunderstanding surrounding God and His purposes. He desires us to be “His love for eternity.” Please check out more of Daryl’s inspirational poems at the link provided above.

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, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 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.
(Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the simplicity of the love of God; how deep and how mighty, yet how simple
2. that I am alive and breathing
3. that God is our help and our shield (Psalm 33:20)
4. for the easy yoke of Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)
5. that God will do what He says He will do

Today’s prayer word is “help.” And the quote at the top comes from a book that I have had on my TBR list for a while, now.

“This is a hard planet, and we’re a vulnerable species. And all I can do is pray: Help.” ~ Anne Lamott, in Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers..

The writer, known only as “Bob,” says that “help” is “the most instinctive prayer we ever prayed.” And the God of the universe, to whom we pray is “our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).

And then there’s this cool Beatles song, too.

(From Pray a Word a Day)(Except for, of course, The Beatles)

For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
(Psalms 72:12 ESV)

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV)

Do you see it in there? Not only can we cry out to God for “help,” but we are also responsible, even obligated to “help” others.

Many times in our lives, in our walk with Christ, we feel unworthy. We feel the condemnation (even though God clearly tells us there is none) because of serious wrongs that we have done. Even though we have known Christ’s redemption, and know in our minds that He has forgiven us, we still struggle with this deep remorse. And the remorse is fitting, because the Spirit of God has awakened this within us.

But we must, says John Wesley, “transcend it in trust.” The Spirit has given us these words:

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
(Job 19:25 ESV)

Interestingly, Wesley’s translation has the word “vindicator” instead of “Redeemer.”

The Spirit also gives us these words:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 ESV)

In that faith, we are set free from the bondage of past sins. And remember these beautiful words, as well:

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
(Psalms 103:11-12 ESV)

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Eugene Peterson reminds us that we are invited, by our Father, “to leap, to live, and to love: to leap from the visible uncertainties of self to the invisible certainties of faith, to live intensely instead of eagerly and dully, and to love directly and personally and not secondhand.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, there are certainly times in my life when all I could do was pray, “Help!” And You answered; You helped, just as You promise You will. My life, my hope, and my trust are all built on the foundation that You will do what You say You will do. If I trusted my own faithfulness or steadfastness, my life would have been over years ago. But I trust Your faithfulness, Your steadfast love, and Your promises. I trust in who You are and what You say You will do.

You are my help and my shield; You are my Rock and my salvation, my Redeemer and my Deliverer. I praise You, my God. And now, help me to go out into this day, to leap into faith, to live intensely and to love directly, all in the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(Traditional Doxology)

Grace and peace, friends.

In Solitude, But Not Alone

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-ninth of March, 2022, in the fourth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today!

Day 23,392

As expected, my work schedule is changing, pretty much immediately. It’s not a terribly drastic change, and there is only a mild down-side to it. I was asked, yesterday after noon, if I would consider switching from Fridays to Thursdays for my every-week Computer Center shift. I will be working from 11:15AM to 8:15PM every Thursday, going forward. The down-side to this is that it will be two nights a week that I basically don’t have any family time. But, I now have Fridays off, and every other week, I will have a four-day weekend! Of course, it is also true that every other week I will be working three consecutive days, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

As this is beginning right away, I will be off this Friday, but will not work Thursday until next week, as I already have twenty hours scheduled for this pay period. The pay week begins on Fridays, so for the next pay week, I will be working Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday for my twenty hours. Another bonus is that I will now be off for Mama’s birthday, which is a week from this Friday!

C and I enjoyed the couples massage so much that we are scheduling one for Mother’s Day.

And today is R’s birthday. Happy birthday to R!


"God of grace and truth,
make me whole,
a person of integrity who heals and makes peace.
I pray for eyes that see what's best in others,
a graceful and candid mouth,
hands that never twist but hold up truth,
a heart that aims to encourage,
and feet that pursue my neighbor's best.

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
(Numbers 23:19 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that "God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind" (Numbers 23:19)
2. for times of solitude, essential for re-energizing the spirit
3. for Biblical accounts of dreams and visions
4. that there is no condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus
5. that nothing, not even my sin, can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (see number 4 if you doubt that)

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
(Matthew 23:12 ESV)

Today’s prayer word is “solitude.” To me, this is not so much a word to be used in prayer as it is a condition that is helpful to prayer. Solitude is one of the classic spiritual disciplines, going hand in hand with silence, meditation, and prayer.

I find the quote at the beginning of the reading to be interesting. “The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.” (Voltaire)

The thing is, when we observe solitude, we are not truly alone. To be certain, there are no other humans around, and, hopefully, we can find a place where the outside noise is either at a minimum, or purely nature sounds. I can sit in my back yard and be in solitude, but there is a lot of noise around. Even so, I am not “alone,” because my Father is with me, via the Holy Spirit.

Here’s another thing about solitude. My wife and I have sat in canvas chairs, on the banks of the Paluxy river, in Glen Rose, and I have felt “solitude.” So, yes, I believe that solitude can be observed or practiced, even in the presence of another.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
(Mark 1:35 NIV)

At about that same time he climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God.
(Luke 6:12 MSG)

In the Luke passage, I believe solitude is implied. We see, in the life of Jesus, that He spent both time with people, and time alone with God. Both are important. As a mostly introvert (INFJ), I can recognize this, but being around a lot of people is tiresome for me, especially when I don’t know some of them. The INFJ person is energized by alone time, but also prioritizes people and emotions.

So solitude is important, not just for introverts, but for anyone who desires discipline in their lives, especially discipline regarding prayer and meditation.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

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.
(Psalms 104:33-34 NIV)

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
(Joshua 1:8 NIV)

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
(Psalms 77:11-12 NIV)

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
(Psalms 119:147-148 NIV)

These are also verses that go well with the concept/discipline of solitude.

I’m reading, in Spiritual Classics, an excerpt from a book by John Wesley, called The New Birth. In this excerpt, said to be from Chapter 3, he is discussing sin and condemnation. We are all familiar with the popular verse from Romans 8.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 ESV)

And, when we read the Old Testament, we see all kinds of sacrifices and provisions for unintentional sin, sin that might occur either by accident, or simply out of ignorance. But for intentional sin, or flat-out disobedience, there doesn’t seem to be any provision.

I like what Wesley has to say about this. “Believers who are weak in faith may be overcome by these assaults; they may become inordinately angry or think badly of others with only a very slight concurrence of the will.” God will show us, in such cases, that we have “acted foolishly,” and convince us that we have “swerved away from the perfect law, from the mind which was in Christ.” As a result, we will feel “grieved with a godly sorrow and lovingly ashamed before God.” However, there is no need, he says to feel condemnation! “God does not charge them with folly, but has compassion, even ‘as a father has compassion on his children’ (Ps. 103:12).” We have the confidence to say,

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!
(Isaiah 12:2-3 NLT)

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

“Most of life consists of what we cannot usually see. Dreams and visions are means of seeing the reality that is inaccessible to our senses.”

Thus begins a reading by Eugene Peterson, called “On Dreams and Visions.” He goes on to describe the implements that we use to see very small things (microscopes) and things very far away (telescopes). But, he says, “we use dreams and visions to see the truth.”

For modern Christians like me, this is a difficult thing to “wrap my head around.” Sure, I’ve had dreams. But not the kind, at least as far as I know, that reveal truth. And, to my knowledge, I have had no “visions.”

Nevertheless, this world fights to “externalize us.” In other words, it wants to “diminish the rich interiors of our lives and reduce us to what we can see and pick up and buy.” Even the most well-meaning Christians fall prey to the extravagance of showy production “worship services” with flashing lights, smoke machines, and loud, boisterous music.

“We define ourselves by what we can put on a job description. God gives us dreams and visions so that we have access to the whole thing: the world for which Christ died, the whole person in whom Christ lives.”

The Bible is full of accounts of dreams and visions: Abraham, Jacob, Balaam, Solomon, Mary, and Joseph, to name a few. I have to ask, why would it be different for me, for us? I read about these remarkable events, and my life deepens and my world changes a little bit.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

And, I come around, full-circle again, to the prayer word.


Solitude, which accompanies and enhances the discipline of meditation and contemplation, which is where we know the strength of God, His great salvation, His awesome forgiveness (and lack of condemnation), our hope, our success and prosperity (not necessarily material, mind you), and reflection on His wonderful and mighty deeds, both in our own lives and in history. And solitude, where the possibility of dreams and visions increases.

Father, I’m not worried about dreams and visions. In the same way that I’m not all that concerned that I don’t witness astonishing miracles that people in biblical times saw. I do wonder, sometimes, why we do not see those, but it does not shake my faith, any more than questioning things that I grew up believing shakes my faith, because that has happened, as well. I guess it could be said that, for me “deconstruction” is nothing new . . . I’ve been doing that since I got to college, and here I am today, with faith as strong as ever.

I praise Your marvelous and holy name that there is no condemnation for my sins, even for those of outright, blatant disobedience, because of the fact that I am in Christ Jesus. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel sorrow for those sins, or shame because of my failure. Those are the same thing as condemnation. I firmly believe that my sin does not separate me from You (there are some who still teach that, and I think they are wrong). But I thank You that Your Holy Spirit is there to convict me and remind me when I do fall into doing/saying/thinking things that a follower Christ should not do/say/think.

I thank You for the times of solitude that I am able to find. Sometimes, they are simply the act of sitting here, alone in my study, reading Your Word, meditating on Your truth, and praying to you. My favorite times are when I can get away from all the technology and noise and simply sit outside somewhere and observe Your creation while contemplating Your presence and Your glory. Thank You for those times and those places. I pray that we will be able to escape to one of them, soon.

I will say, though, Father, that, should You choose to bless me with dreams and/or visions, I would welcome them. I would welcome anything in my life that would draw me closer to You, both in body and in spirit.

All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

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.


Good morning. Today is Monday, the twenty-eighth of March, 2022, in the fourth week of Lent.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,391

Yesterday was a weird day, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Very interesting that it came on the heels of such a great day.

I have an appointment for my referral to the podiatrist, this morning at 10:30, and am supposed to be there by 10:00. I’m only going because my doctor’s office wants me to check in with one. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with my feet. Other than they’re tired from supporting all of this weight for so many years.


Be Ready” by Daryl Madden

In our daily journey
Souls will appear
Let the thought be ready
That God sent them here

To be fully present
With an open ear
With a humble heart
And a soul that cares

One of heavens vision
Of ways beyond here
Let the voice of the Spirit
Of love, let us share

A blessing of calling
Let us be aware
To always to ready
To be there with a prayer

I am moved by a couple things in this poem. First, the idea that any souls I encounter during this day may have been sent there by God. Second, that I need to be fully present with them, with an open (see the prayer word for today!) ear, humble heart, and a soul that cares. Please check out more of Daryl’s poems at the link provided.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the mercies of God, fresh and new every morning
2. that God has made me more "open" in recent years
3. that I am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do things that He has created beforehand for me to do (but I have to be "open" to the possibilities) (Ephesians 2:10)
4. that, in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation for us who believe
5. that You do not intend for our lives to be flat, boring, and listless, but full of Your life and love

The prayer word for today is “open.” (Isn’t that ironic, considering Daryl’s poem above?) Open can be a verb, as in “open the eyes of my heart, Lord.” Open can also be an adjective, as in, “I have an open heart,” or “our door is open,” or, “and now I come to you, with open arms.”

The reading has a quote from the Dalai Lama at the heading. “An open heart is an open mind.” While I respect the Dalai Lama, that is just not true. The heart and the mind are two completely different things. Perhaps it should say, “An open heart begins with an open mind.”

I believe that the context presented would have the word being an adjective, today. We, as human beings, in general, need to be “open.” While there are certainly things that we should not be open to, we should be more open, generally. And there are ways in which openness is indicated (or the lack thereof). Body posture reveals a great deal. Are your arms crossed? Whether we mean it or not, that is a “closed” posture. The reading even goes so far as to indicate that keeping our lips slightly open when we are not speaking conveys a more open attitude. Interesting. Whether or not that is true, you can certainly convey openness or closedness by the shape of your mouth and lips while someone else is speaking.

My life has been more open for the last decade or so. I was more closed-minded before that. In many ways, I can identify with Bob Dylan’s song, “My Back Pages,” with the famous line, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” I’m more open; my opinions are constantly evolving, as I am presented with fresh evidence. And yes, my theology changes along with that. There are, of course, certain theological truths about which I am not open to change. The Holy Spirit will see to that, I trust.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

The writer of today’s reading, Jerusha Agen, speaks of a time when she was leading a Bible study in a county jail. She was open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and, in a moment when she truly had no earth-shaking “theological” answers, opened her mouth and words came out; words that ministered to and inspired a woman who had suffered serious trauma in her life.

We are, indeed, His workmanship, and we created to do good works, “which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” But we have to be “open” to those possibilities before we can walk in them.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

(From Daily Guideposts 2022)

Today, Eugene Peterson asks the question, “Has life gone flat on you?” Sounds like the beginning of a commercial, doesn’t it? I would imagine he rather intended it that way. Have I surrendered my dreams? It happens, says Peterson. “Morals get flabby. Goals lose their magnetism. Imagination goes slack.” Goodness knows I have experienced that!

But we were not “created to live listlessly.” We are not “fated to boredom.” (I, myself, have even opined, in the past, that boredom is rather sinful.) “God did not design this marvelous creation and invest us with eternal hungers and thirsts with the expectation that we would sit around and in fatigued voices ask, ‘What’s next?'”

Jesus tells parables that wake us up “to the central vitalities of life, the realities that provoke intensity and participation and commitment. His example prompts us to live upward toward God, to live on tiptoe, to live in such a way that our lives increase and develop with the energies of God’s grace.”

And here is yet another concept to which we need to be “open.” I need to be open to having my static life challenged. Granted, since last July, it has been anything but routine. I’m still struggling to get a handle on this retirement business. But I have not come close to realizing the full potential of the possibilities, and have frequently caught myself sinking into a sort of boredom. So I have some things to ponder today.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, thank You for challenging me, today. I am grateful that You have worked to open me up more, in recent years. I am grateful that You have opened my heart, my mind, and my spirit to more love, and, more recently, to the idea of a love revolution. Please keep pushing me in that direction.

But I also pray that You would push me further toward more creativity, and help me to live in a more “upward” way toward You, even, as Peterson said, “on tiptoe.” Help me to live expectantly, not flat and listlessly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I might be composing more music and playing more, but I can’t help but think that that would be my primary outlet. Prayer will figure into this, as well, I suspect. I see prayer as a mighty place where imagination can figure in, heavily.

I believe in the truth of Ephesians 2:10, and have for many years. Help me be more open to seeing the possibilities around me, of the good work that You have created in advance, for me to walk in and through.

Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.


We need to “develop lives that connect what God did in the past with what he will do in the future. Will we live in spasms and jerks, in fits and starts, in fads and fashions? or will we live coherently and organically, believing that God will complete what he has begun? The expectant command is for us to love.”

Today is Saturday, the twenty-sixth of March, 2022, in the third week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,389

I’ve been looking forward to this day for a couple weeks. Why? Because, today, C and I are going out to “celebrate” my birthday, which was two weeks ago. She had to work that weekend, and I had to work last Saturday, so we now have this Saturday to get out and do some things.

She has one thing planned for us that is a surprise. After that, we will have lunch and then head to Grapevine for a couples’ massage. I’m really looking forward to that. I have no idea where we will have lunch, nor do I really have a clue what the first activity will be. I do know that it’s not axe-throwing.

Next week will be busy, but not bad. I have a podiatrist appointment Monday morning, and a vein clinic appointment on Thursday morning. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, so there is something going on every day. It will be okay, though.

My schedule may change slightly, going forward. One of the aides who works exclusively in the Computer Center got a job at the Irving library. he is not quitting Hurst, but may have to shift hours some, which may leave a whole in Computer Center coverage. Not sure what that will look like, just yet. But my manager told me yesterday about it, during our monthly one-on-one. It won’t increase my hours, and it sounds like the sixteen hours a week in circulation will stay the same, so I may not be doing shelving every Tuesday. We shall see.

Speaking of my manager, who is the coolest ever, well, let me give a tiny bit of back story. We have posters spread around the library, that simply have the word “READ” on them, featuring various celebrities holding books. There is one in particular, on the back wall in the non-fiction section, that I had expressed interest in having, should they ever change them or replace them. I believe I expressed said interest multiple times.

When I arrived at work, yesterday, there was a rolled-up poster in my inbox.

My boss is awesome! And yes, I might have a bit of a “crush” on Rachel McAdams.


"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Collect for Daily Devotions)

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
(Matthew 5:15-16 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for this lovely Saturday and its forthcoming events
2. that we, followers of Christ, are to be light in this world; go forth and shine!
3. that our relationship with God gives us dignity; may we extend that same dignity to our fellow human beings!
4. for the expectancy that God is going to move and that He will finish what He started
5. that I am loved, and that you are loved; YOU ARE LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Today’s prayer word is “light.” Now, there is a word that is replete with meaning. I mean, how many different meanings can you think of for the word “light?” In this case, it refers that that which obliterates the darkness.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
(Ephesians 5:8 NIV)

Now, what I find interesting in this verse (and admit having not noticed it before) is that the verse, at least in my favorite translations (ESV, included) states that the recipients of the letter WERE darkness and ARE light. This is a state of being, not a characteristic that was possessed. NLT and MSG indicate that the people were once full of darkness, but now have light. Honestly, I’m not a Greek scholar, so I don’t know which one is correct.

But the idea that one could be so full of darkness that one actually becomes darkness, and the resulting change of knowing Christ is that one actually becomes light . . . that idea appeals to me, greatly. And we have the admonition, that is pretty much the same in each translation, “Live as children of light.”

The writer, known only as “Becky,” speaks of entering a friend’s home, shrouded in darkness, as the friend wallowed in depression, and throwing open curtains to allow the light in. I like that example.

“Maybe that’s what Jesus wants me to do – throw open the curtains for others, allowing His light to illuminate the darkness around them.” I like that. But here’s what that doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean noisily and hatefully expressing our opinions in the name of “right” or “light.”

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
(1 John 1:5 ESV)

But, the following is also true:

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8 ESV)

And . . .

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
(1 John 4:16 ESV)

So don’t go trying to be “light” without also being “love.”

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
(Psalms 133:1 ESV)

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

Two are better than one, 
because they have a good reward for their toil. 
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. 
But woe to him who is alone when he falls 
and has not another to lift him up! 
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, 
but how can one keep warm alone? 
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, 
two will withstand him—
a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)

So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
(1 Corinthians 12:24-26 NLT)

As God’s people, we should live lives of expectancy. Instead, a large number of us seem to live lives of reaction. We react to circumstances around us, and we are not reacting well. We are complaining and whining about minor inconveniences, as though we believe the world is about to end. It may be about to end, but that is not because gas prices hit $4 a gallon again.

God’s typical movement is to approach us. He “comes,” He does not “leave.” He comes and He speaks, and we need to be awake to this truth.

We need to “develop lives that connect what God did in the past with what he will do in the future. Will we live in spasms and jerks, in fits and starts, in fads and fashions? or will we live coherently and organically, believing that God will complete what he has begun? The expectant command is for us to love.”

And then this:

“We ought to cultivate the skills that equip us to live in cheerful anticipation of what God will do tomorrow. Will we live anxiously, complaining and querulous, because we don’t have all we want or because we don’t know what is coming next? Or will we live in confident joy, sure that God’s next move will be a good one? The expectant command is for us to rejoice.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

So let’s pull this all together, here. We are light. We are expected to imitate Jesus in being the “light of the world.” We are also supposed to be love, as God is love. So we can be light, removing the darkness, not by violence and fighting, but by shining and loving! When you turn on a lightbulb in a room, there is no fighting or violence. There is no explosion, and there is no noise. The lightbulb simply and quietly shines.

Father, oh, Father! My heart is full of praise and expectation in this moment! You have filled me with light, and love! Thank You for the Light of the world, Jesus! And thank You for infusing us with that same Light, so that we might also be light in this world. I pray for us, Your children, Lord, that we might truly shine as light, blocking the darkness. But remind us, oh, please remind us, that we do not accomplish this with violence and fighting, but simply by allowing Your light to shine through us.

I pray for unity within Your Church, Lord. And I desperately pray that, if there are those who will not be unified, that they would just leave. I’m serious. I would love to see the ones who insist on fighting, complaining, and whining, just get out. Let them go start their own “church.” Let Your Church be filled with people who want to live and walk in the words of Jesus Christ, loving You and loving others as themselves. Let the witch hunters and haters be brought down, Lord. There is no place for hatred in Your kingdom!

That being said, I would rather see said folks repent and begin to shine and love.

Help me to live a life of expectancy, being awake to Your coming and speaking in my life, being filled with love, fully believing that You will finish what You started, both in me and in this world/universe, and rejoicing, believing that what You are going to do next will not only be good, but will be excellent and praiseworthy!

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Do You Want To Be Healed?”

Good morning. Today is Friday, the twenty-fifth of March, 2022, in the third week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ reign in your spirit today!

Day 23,388

Yesterday, I believe, was quite successful. Our trip to Mineral Wells and back was safe and smooth. There was no mail to pick up at the Post Office, nor was there any in the mailbox at the house. It appears that the forward order has already gone through, so Mama’s mail should begin appearing at our house soon.

She got her taxes taken care of, which is another box checked off, another thing that she doesn’t have to worry about any longer (until next year, of course). I also made it known that I would be more than happy to drive her back to MW, next year, so the same person can prepare her taxes. It’s not that far to drive.

We got the car loaded up with some big things. We got Mama’s favorite chair, a recliner. That one presented a brief challenge, as it took me a few minutes to get the back separated from the bottom. I also got her TV, as well as her favorite lamp that sat behind her chair. We are looking into mounting the TV on a wall in her room. We’ll figure it out somehow. The room may need to be rearranged, which certainly would not be a problem.

We also picked up some more of her clothes and odds and ends around the house, such as favorite mugs for coffee and stuff like that. Oh, and we retrieved the cable and Internet boxes to send back to Suddenlink, which we will handle tomorrow.

We were quite tired when we got back to Fort Worth, but it was a good trip and “good tired,” because we felt that we had accomplished a great deal.

Today is my day to work in the Computer Center, so I will be at the library all day. It also appears that we may be having Freebird’s for dinner again, tonight. It used to be a Friday tradition, so we may return to that. We really like them, and they don’t have to be unhealthy.


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)

The end of the matter; all has been heard. 
Fear God and keep his commandments, 
for this is the whole duty of man. 
For God will bring every deed into judgment, 
with every secret thing, whether good or evil. 
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the good trip that we had to Mineral Wells, yesterday
2. that all who follow Jesus are on level ground at the foot of the Cross
3. that the Lord is my Shepherd, and I lack for nothing
4. that Jesus knows what we are capable of and gives us the strength to  be our best
5. for second chances (and third, and fourth . . .)

Today’s prayer word is “favorite.” This one has me scratching my head, so let’s see what they are getting at. The Scripture references is one that is quite popular.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

I sense that this is a rare case where the word is presented in a sort of “negative sense.” That being that our God does not play favorites. I believe, and I think the Bible backs this up, that we are all equal in His eyes. Yes, we are all gifted differently, but the fact that I have musical talent while someone else has the talent to write a novel or fix the electricity in my house or work on an automobile doesn’t mean that one is favorited over another.

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
(Acts 10:34-35 ESV)

I have heard it said that “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.” This means that we are all in equal standing when it comes to our relationship to God. No doubt someone will have a question about this that I cannot answer, and I will always admit it when I can’t. I don’t make up answers. I will, if applicable, always say, “I don’t know.” But I do believe that, in regard to our standing in Christ, with God, we are all on level ground.

And, while that verse in Jeremiah was written to a specific people, I also believe that it applies to use today. And by “us,” I mean people who follow Jesus, not a country. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:18-19 ESV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
(Psalms 23:1 ESV)

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)

I almost didn’t paste that whole passage from Matthew, but then I thought, maybe someone needs to see that today. So there it is.

Our God is our provider. It’s easy to say when things are going great. But then, when you take a look at events through your life, you can see the places where He was working to provide for today, decades ago. For example, we moved into this house twenty-three years ago, this July. We are the only people who have lived here, as we watched it being built. Not a “custom” home, but still, it was built for us. It is a “ranch-style” house, meaning that it is a single story house. Don’t ask me why that’s called “ranch-style.” I don’t know. (See? Not afraid to say that.)

During the time that we were looking at homes in this area, we considered two-story houses. But we decided to stick with a single story house.

Fast forward a decade or so. C began having serious knee issues, and has, subsequently, had two knee replacements. She would not have been able to navigate stairs. And now, twenty-three years later, my mother has moved in with us, and there is no way she would be able to handle stairs, as she has significant knee/leg issues.

Some would shrug this off as coincidence. But I don’t believe in coincidence. I don’t believe in “luck.” I believe that God’s hand was involved in the decision making that we did twenty-three years ago, and we had no clue.

Some might also claim that this is evidence that God plays “favorites,” because not everyone appears to be so blessed. Let me assure you, we have our share of issues. And I know of people who seem to have more than their share. But I’m not the One who decides what the “fair share” is. And I’m not the One who knows how much anyone can handle in their lives.

And, no, I’m not embracing the fallacy that “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” However, God does know the extent of our faith, so He knows how far we can be tested and still survive.

And this has rambled far more than I intended. Sorry about that.

My whole point in this is that God provides, whether it be physical needs or spiritual needs. And, as long as He is my Shepherd, I shall lack for nothing.

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
(John 5:6 ESV)

This verse is in the middle of the passage where Jesus heals the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Eugene Peterson writes a reading around this verse, and in the reading, at first, he seems to be somewhat unkind, as he points out how little there is to admire in the “people who are prominent in our culture.” At further glance, though, it is explained. He does not pull any punches, however, as he assesses our culture.

“We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People, aimless and bored, amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines.”

When we turn to Scripture, Peterson notices, to see what it means to be a “real man” or a “real woman,” we find “neither splendid moral examples nor impeccably virtuous models to imitate” (except, of course, for Jesus). “Abraham lied. Moses murdered and complained. David committed adultery” (and also murdered). “Peter blasphemed. Jacob cheated. What we find, in fact, is not a perfection but a confrontation. Each person is challenged by God to live in a uniquely glorious life of faith in relationship with him.”

When Jesus asked the invalid at Bethesda if he wanted to be healed, the man answered with excuses. “I don’t have anyone to help me,” he whined. Sound familiar?? Here is a man who was “accustomed to living half a life. He had adjusted himself to the average.” As we hear what might be self-pity in his answer, we might also even hear him blaming someone else for his plight.

Jesus would have none of it.

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
(John 5:8 ESV)

“Jesus commands our best and thrusts us into lives of excellence that we never knew we had the strength or capacity to embrace.” He knows “what we are good for. And with a word, he can make us good at it.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

This reminds me so much of some very famous words by C. S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory.

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Father, I acknowledge that I all-too-often fall into the habits that Peterson writes about here, and that C. S. Lewis also writes. I am, it seems, far too easily pleased, much of the time. And in this, I ask for Your forgiveness and thank You for Your patience and long-suffering with me. It seems that Your patience is infinite, but that is, perhaps, because You know the outcome and are manufacturing a life for me that will end in the result that You want. For I believe in Your sovereignty over all aspects of life.

May I never be one to answer with self-pity or even worse, blame others, when I am experiencing difficulty. When Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” may I be quick to answer to something appropriate and truthful, not something silly or vague.

I thank You for the way You are present in all of our lives. I thank You for Your providence, throughout the life of our family, and the way we can look back and see Your hand so active in all things. Sure, You allowed me to stray from the path, from time to time, but You always brought me back, and preserved many wonderful things in my life. The blessings are beyond counting. My gratitude soars.

I pray for the future that we have here. While I want to pray for comfort, I also want to pray to not be too comfortable. In the words of one of the Scripture writers, I pray that I have enough, that You not let me have too much, so that I don’t forget You, and that You don’t allow us to fall into lack or want, so that we profane Your name in other ways. My faith is in You alone, Father.

I thank You that the biblical examples are flawed characters, just like us, so that we can’t look at them and claim that they are too far beyond what we can believe or accomplish. Through all of them, we see how strongly Your grace and mercy works in all circumstances, and that You can take the most messed up life and fix it so that it can glorify You.

All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Remember That You Are Dust

Today is Thursday, the twenty-fourth of March, 2022, in the third week of Lent. I have it on good authority that Lent is halfway through. Easter is on April 17, so that seems about right.

May the peace of Christ flood your soul today!

Day 23,387

Yesterday was a fantastic day, for the most part. C worked from home, so we were all here. Our new stand-alone pantry was delivered, mid-day, and C and I assembled it, yesterday evening. It looks very nice and fits exactly where we wanted to put it. My stock of Crazy Water fits nicely on the bottom shelf, and we cleaned out several of the shelves in the kitchen pantry, making room for cans and whatnot that we brought from Mama’s house, last week.

Today, I am driving Mama back to Mineral Wells to take care of a couple of tasks that must be done right away. Well one of them has to be done right away, and the other is somewhat pressing. C successfully got her Suddenlink Internet and cable canceled last week, so we need to retrieve the boxes from Mama’s house and send them back to Suddenlink. That’s the main reason for this trip. In addition, Mama needs to stop by her accountant’s office and pay some tax money to finish that process for the year. She also has a few more things at the house that were forgotten last Saturday.

C’s company is doing something special for the directors today. She doesn’t know what, other than they will be having lunch “outside.” The last time I remember something like this, they were all taken to see the latest Star Trek movie. So I’m thinking it will be something fun, at least.

That’s pretty much all I have, so I’ll get into the devotional for the day.


"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Morning Collect for Daily Devotions)
Cast your bread upon the waters,
 for you will find it after many days.
 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, 
for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. 
(Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I am alive and breathing; seriously, I'm just happy to be alive today
2. that, in spite of everything around us, as I walk in the Kingdom of God, this world is a perfectly safe place for me to be (that's a Dallas Willard-ism)
3. that I am perfectly comfortable with remembering that I am dust, and to dust I shall return
4. for my sense of humor, and the fact that laughter exists
5. for the life that I have, and for God's admonition to enjoy it (Ecclesiastes 8:15, "eat . . . drink, and . . . be merry")

Today’s prayer word is “humor.” I’m sure there are people out there who think that there is no place for humor in prayer. I’m not so sure I agree with that. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t.

While I acknowledge that prayer is serious business, I also know (or at least strongly believe, I guess) that God has a sense of humor. Once again, just look at the platypus or giraffe.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying “Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.” I love that quote. And this is why, as a general rule, I have never been that fond of crass humor. I like humor that makes me think. I even like when I have to examine a joke (or Facebook meme) for a few seconds before I laugh.

Oh, and I seriously love puns. So much.

So how can humor fit into prayer? I don’t, for example, think I need to be telling jokes to God. But who knows? The problem is, you can’t tell Him one that He hasn’t heard, right?

Me: Hey, God, stop me if You've heard this one!
God: Stop.

Or maybe, just maybe, He might say, “I’ve heard it, but go ahead, anyway.” That’s the kind of Father I picture Him as.

No, I think that, while there are times when we should agonize in prayer, maybe even sweat drops of blood (I’ve never done that), there are also times when our spiritus should be lighter than air when we come before the Father, and there might even be a tinge of humor in our lightheartedness. It’s never to say that we don’t take it seriously. But maybe we need to not take ourselves so seriously?

(From Pray a Word a Day)

For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
(Ecclesiastes 12:7 NLT)

The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
(Psalms 22:26 NLT)

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
(1 Corinthians 15:43-44 NLT)

People make up a lot of stuff about what “heaven” will look like and what our bodies (there seems to be some indication that there will be bodies) will look like. But it’s all speculation, because we really don’t have a lot of information about it. There’s probably a reason for that. As much as I long for Home, can you imagine what that longing would look like if I knew what kind of body I’m going to have, or what that “mansion” will look like?

Or maybe it’s not going to be quite what we imagine, and we might be disappointed, and our longing for it would diminish.

Back to the idea of not taking ourselves to seriously, I love the thing that the minister says when he or she rubs ashes in the shape of a cross on someone’s forehead (I’ve never done this, but hope to next year). “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” That’s what that verse in Ecclesiastes says.

This is not to produce a sense of hopelessness in us. I can see how it might. “Oh, I’m just dust, and there is no hope for me to improve on that.” No. I don’t believe we are supposed to think like this. I think it is to force us to remember that we are not the center of the universe. I am stuck, for now, in this “mortal coil,” this body. While I don’t go along with Gnosticism that says all flesh is evil (and, yes, there is still a remnant of that thinking, even in today’s evangelical church), I do know (or at least believe strongly) that this flesh is yet to be redeemed. It will be, though, someday, and Scripture seems to indicate that I will have some kind of “glorified body.”

(Scripture also tells us that the Church is the Body of Christ, and I have no idea what that is going to look like “when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.” What if we are all joined together, spiritually, into one “physical body,” of which Jesus Christ is the “head?” What if we are all joined into one body that is the Bride? But that’s not a topic I’m prepared to tackle today.)

We are beloved of God. We cannot possibly overemphasize this. But we are also dust, and to dust we shall return. If I die today, and fifty years later, someone digs up my casket, they will not find this body. They will find nothing but bones (and I’m not even totally sure about that) and dust. My body will be “buried in brokenness,” but it will, one day, be raised in glory. For now, it is just dust, and I need to remember that.

And, I need to, as the writer of Ecclesiastes has so eloquently told us, enjoy my time on this earth, in this sack of dust, jar of clay, meat-suit, or whatever you want to call it, and do whatever my hands find to do with all my might, and “eat, drink, and be merry.”

And, to cement these ideas, even further, here is what I read from Eugene Peterson, today, in a reading called “To Be, to Do.”

“Just to be, just to do – these are the two great gifts of God, the foundations of every other gift. We need to return to these two great capacities again and again and cultivate them.

“The events of daily life need to be placed in perspective by a deep sense of prayer, by learning how to be before God. Then, as reality closes in on us, we will perceive each event as the working of the Holy Spirit, carefully designed for our particular needs. Every event is a touch of the living finger of God, which is sketching in us – body, soul, and spirit – the true image of his Son, which the Father originally gave to us and is restoring.”

“Events of daily life need to be placed in perspective . . .” What better statement can be made for this day and this hour in our world? Our culture, these days, tends to look at every event as world-ending. Gas prices went up, so everything is over, it’s all terrible. But that’s because we Americans tend to think it’s all about “me.”

Guess what.

It’s not.

We all need to stop, breathe, and head for that “deep sense of prayer,” and learn “how to be before God.”

And remember that we are dust.

Father, I am happy, this morning. I am happy to be reminded that I am dust, and to dust I shall return. I am comfortable with my dustiness. I do not take myself too seriously (ask me again when the Internet breaks, though). I know that I am deeply flawed, and that this body will be buried in its brokenness, some day. I rejoice in the promise (I fully embrace this promise with my whole imagination) that that broken body will be raised again in glory, someday! Hallelujah!

And because of this, I do try to look at live events, and world events, in the perspective of one who has entered in the depths of prayer, and is still learning how to be before You. I don’t have it down, yet, and acknowledge that I never will, not until I stand (or probably fall on my face) before You. Father, I thank You for this perspective that You have given me. I praise You that You have molded my heart and arranged the events of my life so that I have come to this place on this day, and that my mind and spirit take in this information and believe it and embrace it.

I am astounded that every event is a touch of Your living finger on both my life and on the fabric of this world. Don’t ever let me go, Lord. I will stray again, I’m sure. My feet will chase after something that is not on the path, and You will gently (or maybe not-so-gently) bring me back to it. I trust in You implicitly, Father, for You will always do (or allow) whatever is best for me and You.

So help me, Father, to display this knowledge and to reflect it in my daily life. Help me, the next time the Internet breaks (that’s my best example of when I tend to freak out), to put that event in perspective, to look at the “big picture,” and to see that things like that (like most things) are simply “footstool problems.”

All glory to You, Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Come Quickly, Lord, to Help Me”

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-third of March, 2022, in the third week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart today.

Day 23,386

Yesterday turned out to be a very good day. We got S to her appointment early, and the doctor was ready, so we started early. The setting was a bit unexpected, being in an old office building in The Stockyards of Fort Worth. He had a single room office on the second floor, down a narrow hallway from the elevator. However, the man was charmingly friendly, and upbeat, reassuring us from the start that there would likely be no change in S’s status with the SSA.

There was a brief “interview,” for which C and I were allowed to stay and help with answers. After that, though, there was some testing, for which we had to leave the office. He said it would be a couple of hours, so we set off walking back to Main St., to see if we could find some coffee and breakfast. It was windy and cold, and C didn’t wear a jacket. She was in long sleeves, but it was still chilly. We found a place called The Biscuit Bar. The first place we went into was just a coffee shop, with no real food offerings. It smelled really nice, though.

The Biscuit Bar was just okay. The menu looked good (although a bit pricey), but their coffee machine was on the fritz, so they only had plain black coffee (which was all we wanted, but still not a good thing), and they only had one kind of soda available. There were a lot of “out of order” signs on their self-serve devices. The food was just okay. It wasn’t hot at all, and my tots were practically room temperature. We definitely would not go back there.

After breakfast, we looked for a place to shop, but none of the shops opened until 11:00 AM, and it was just after 10:00. So we headed back to the office building and sat in chairs across the hall from the office. We hadn’t been there long when I got a text from the doctor saying that they were almost finished. He gave us a verbal report when we went back in, and not much had changed. S’s IQ was actually a few points lower, but that is because, he explained, she is older than the last test. The level didn’t actually declined, there is just a bigger gap between her age and the level at which she is performing. Ironically, she spells at a collegiate level, and can read words at an eleventh grade level. However, her comprehension and math skills are at about fifth grade.

He saw no reason for her status to change, going forward. That is good news. So, hopefully, she will begin receiving her SS benefits from my record soon, and we will get her on Medicare.

We had a late lunch, and then I went to my evening shift at the library, which was pretty nice. I’m off today, and not planning to do much at all. I even slept until almost 8:00, this morning.


A Holy Invitation,” by Daryl Madden

It’s so beautiful
A Holy invitation
Of us to reflect
On our Lord’s creation

A practice so important
To be aware and find
Precious little moments
To draw unto divine

For its these little moments
As rain drops fill the sea
That prepare the soul
For greater ones to be

So draw close to Him
Through nature of a prayer
With vision of His view
A taste of heaven here

Please check out Daryl’s other poems at the link provided.

And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”
(Matthew 20:32-33 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for good results from S's evaluation, yesterday
2. for a day with no real "agenda" today
3. for that question from Jesus, "What do you want me to do for you?"
4. for the constant presence of God in my life
5. for the knowledge that I can be "strong and courageous" when I am doing the work that He has set forth for me, knowing full well that He will never leave nor forsake me

Today’s prayer word is “come.” The thought is a prayer for Jesus to come help us.

But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
(Psalms 22:19 NIV)

This is not the only place where that phrase occurs.

Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me.
(Psalms 40:13 NIV)

You probably have noticed that I close out every day’s prayer with these words.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

We know that God is not removed from us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, we do not always feel that presence. It is not unthinkable nor unacceptable to need to pray that prayer, “Come quickly, Lord, to help me.” And, in fact, simply taking a deep breath, closing one’s eyes and whispering, “Come,” can be helpful.

This is good to remember when circumstances become overwhelming. I have been also known to breathe the “Jesus prayer,” multiple times a day.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

While it does not contain the word or request to “come,” it has, in my opinion, the same effect.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
(1 Chronicles 28:20 NIV)

Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.
(Proverbs 19:15 NIV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

After we pray for the Lord to come quickly and help us, our typical response should not be to just sit and wait. There are times when that is acceptable, when we need to simply “be still and know.” But most of the time, we should either get busy working or keep working on whatever it is we are doing. David reminds Solomon to be strong and courageous, but also adds the phrase “do the work.” And it is possibly Solomon who tells us later,

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.
(Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 ESV)

You may say, “that’s easy for you to say, you’re retired!” True, but I still “work.” I have work to do, around the house, and I have my wonderful part-time job at the library, which, as delightful as it is, is still “work.” But I also have the “work” of being faithful to God and proclaiming my gratitude each day. This, too, is “work” that we need to be about. Each of us has different “work” to do, and it isn’t always about the nine-to-five that gets you your paycheck.

So, after you pray to God to come quickly and help you, get busy doing the work that He has for you to do. And be “strong and courageous” about it, because He is with you.

I love what Eugene Peterson says in the short reading called “The Unspeakable Ordinary.” And, once again, this hearkens back to the mention of Brother Laurence, the other day, and his pots and pans.

“We do not become more spiritual by becoming less material. The life of faith takes place where there are rocks and water.” Our lives of faith are mixed in with everything else in our lives: “violence and sex and greed and commerce and government.” Life is unspeakably ordinary, for most of us, and this is where we meet God. We do not become more spiritual by trying to extricate ourselves from this life. The life of faith is quite ordinary.

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

I haven’t taken a look, yet, this week, at the selection on Fasting in Spiritual Classics. This segment is from William Law (1686-1761), and Anglican Priest who lived during the Enlightenment. His most famous writing is called A Serious Call To A Devout and Holy Life.

In this book, Law makes a distinction, in the idea of “private prayer,” to say that “Private prayer . . . does not suppose that no one is to have any witness of it.” He strongly encourages that we should allow near relations to witness our devotion. Then he uses the same word that Augustine used, “ostentation.” Let me look that up again. It means, “pretentious and vulgar display, especially of wealth and luxury, intended to impress or attract notice.” I have added the emphasis.

We are not to “make public ostentation to the world of our fasting,” says Law. So, the idea of “private prayer” or “private fasting” has more to do with the motivation and heart behind it than it does to do with who witnesses it.

Law brings up the record of Cornelius, from the book of Acts. “Now that this fasting was sufficiently private and acceptable to God appears from the vision of an angel with which the holy man was blessed at that time.” Yet, Cornelius’s family and household servants must have been aware of this fasting, “and were made devout themselves by continually waiting upon him, that is, by seeing and partaking of his good works.”

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:16-18 ESV)

And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.'”
(Acts 10:30-31 ESV)

We must not allow legalism to turn Jesus’s words into absurdity. Law even adds what seems to be a bit of humor (in my opinion) when he says, “For if no one was to fast in private or could be said to fast in private but he that had no witnesses of it, no one could keep a private fast but he that lived by himself.”

Oddly, it may be the case that Law used the Gentile Cornelius as his example because the legalists of his day might be inclined to not accept Cornelius as acceptable to God. This might cause Law’s modern readers (you and me) to take a step back and examine our own tendency to legalism. .

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Father, I rejoice in the truth that You will never leave nor forsake me, and that I can be “strong and courageous” as I tend to the tasks that You have placed in my life, be they as mundane as sweeping floors and washing pots and pans. Nevertheless, when I begin to feel overwhelmed by anything at all, remind me, by Your Holy Spirit, that all I need to do is whisper “come quickly to help me” and You are right there with me.

I thank You for the example that William Law has given us, in regard to private prayer and fasting, because it sheds “new” light on the subject. Help me to not ever be ostentatious in my prayer or fasting. May it never be for the vulgar purpose of impressing or attracting notice. Keep me humble, Father.

As I walk through the rest of this day, may I find myself resting in Your love and mercy, rejoicing that Your mercies are “new every morning,” and that Your faithfulness is great. I love You, Lord.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Blessed in Time

Today is Monday, the twenty-first of March, 2022, in the third week of Lent.
May the peace of Christ be upon you today.

Day 23,384

I missed that yesterday was the Vernal Equinox, or the first day of Spring, in which both daylight and dark were exactly equal. From this point until the Summer Solstice, which will be Tuesday, June twenty-first, the days will grow longer.

Yesterday was a pretty lazy day around here. C and Mama rested a bit, since they worked really hard on Saturday.

Today, I have a doctor appointment at 10:00, for my yearly checkup. I haven’t been since last February, because of various life circumstances, the most major being that I retired right at the end of July. I was supposed to go see them in August, but I wasn’t sure what my health insurance was going to look like, or what my weeks would look like, as I was still looking for a part-time job to supplement my SS. So here I am, in March, finally going back.

I originally had an appointment scheduled for two weeks ago, March seventh, but canceled postponed that one because a plumber was supposed to come to the house that same morning. And I got a call last week to tell me that the PA that I had scheduled with would be out today, so I’m now scheduled to see a NP (Nurse Practitioner). The downside of this appointment is that I have gained at least forty pounds since last November. Oh, well. “It is what it is,” as “they” say. Whoever “they” is.

I do plan to get back on track, though, and perhaps “facing the music” in today’s checkup will be the impetus for that.

Tomorrow, we take S to a doctor for evaluation as to her disability status for the SSA. And then, on Wednesday, it’s back to Mineral Wells to pick up Mama’s cable box and Internet modem so we can send them back to Suddenlink. C and her successfully got that service canceled yesterday. One more thing marked off the list.


"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for my health; I have some issues, but for the most part, I am quite healthy
2. for God's provision in the life of my family, and our willingness to share His generosity with others
3. for my "lucky" (or "blessed") life
4. for today, this moment, which is truly all I have
5. for the community of saints, as we share in each other's blessings and burdens, and as we care for one another

Today’s prayer word is “time.” This is a good one. Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” It seems to be verifiable that she said this, but even if it wasn’t her, it’s still a good thought.

Time is relative. We are familiar with the phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” A half hour with a good friend will go much faster, in your mind, than, say, a half hour with your hand on a hot stove. Ultimately, thirty minutes is thirty minutes, but perception is everything. The days and years really are not going by faster than they did when I was ten years old, but they seem to be.

Chicago famously said, “Does anybody really know what time it is?” Well, yes. Maybe. Unless it’s Daylight Saving Time, or it’s not, or we’re in a different time zone than we are used to. Greenwich Mean Time has been established as the standard, so someone knows what time it really is. It’s 1:25 PM. Unless you use military time, then it’s 1325. But for me, it’s 8:25 AM, because I’m six hours behind the standard.

In a conversation with John Ortberg about spiritual health, Dallas Willard told him that he needed to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” That is one of my favorite Willardisms. If you hurry, it means your concentration is on the time, you are watching the clock. Ironically, there are two reasons for watching the clock. One is if you are in a hurry, and you are checking constantly to see how much time you have left before you need to be somewhere or do something or finish something. The other is if you are waiting for someone or something, and they are running late. In the first case, time seems to go faster; in the second, it seems to crawl.

But, in reality, it is all going at the same, constant speed, one second at a time. Which is, by the way, how we got so old. One second at a time.

Regret looks back and worries about past decisions. But “Yesterday is gone.” Worry and anxiety fret over things that haven’t happened yet. But “Tomorrow has not yet come,” and those things may or may not even happen.

“We have only today.” We have only this moment. The only “time” that truly exists is this moment. Everything else is speculative.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7 NIV)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2 NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

These verses speak volumes to us. The world would look vastly different if we could manage to obey them.

Eugene Peterson’s reading today, in On Living Well, is short. It is called “The Good Life.” It features a word that I often try to avoid using, but based on the footnote, can more easily accept.

“Christians launch daily into lucky lives – lives of amazing grace, surprised by joy, where they count blessings. They are not easy lives. They are not cozy lives. Christians go to work exploring and experiencing all the details of new life that Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection pour into them through the Holy Spirit. They are not explained lives, making neat or perfect sense, but they are good lives, robust with a goodness the Christians did not earn. Lucky.”

You might have guessed the word. “Lucky.” You see, I do not believe in “luck,” being defined as random chance. However, the footnote says that the context of Peterson’s word, “lucky,” comes from the Greek word, makarios, which has more of a meaning of “blessed” or “happy.” In fact, “makarios” is the very word used at the beginning of each of the Beatitudes. “Blessed.”

And indeed, my life is blessed, or, as Peterson would call it, “lucky.” it is not easy, it is not always cozy. It is seldom neat, nor does it always make sense. But it is blessed.

Father, I thank You for today, for this moment. Help me to make the most of each moment, realizing that it is really all I have, all that I can call “now.” Help me to, as Michael Card, once said, “know You in the now.” Ease my mind from worry or anxiety about the future, as it has not yet happened, and worry steals moments from today. Help me to not have regrets over the past, as it is gone, already happened, and cannot be changed, so that also steals moments from today. Help me to, rather, celebrate this day.

Thank You for my brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world. I pray for more sense of unity withing the Church, and that we would be more accepting of one another, as we experience differences in opinions of matters that may actually not be that important. Help us to realize that the one thing that truly matters is our walk with Christ and our love for You and our love for one another. Also help us to bear one another’s burdens, as well as sharing in one another’s victories.

Thank You for my blessed life, my “lucky” life. Truly I count myself blessed beyond my wildest imaginations. Thank You, Lord.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Romans 15:5-6 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.


Today is Sunday, the twentieth of March, 2022, in the third week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,383

C and Mama spent the bulk of yesterday in Mineral Wells, and filled up my car with stuff from Mama’s house. They got her mail picked up and started the process for changing her address, although, they said, it will take a few weeks for that to fully take effect. They will continue to hold her mail at the post office until that time.

That’s okay, because we will need to continue making trips back there for a while, and some of them will need to be on weekdays (probably Mondays and/or Thursdays), because there are tax things that need to be taken care of, and maybe bank things, and who knows what else, that must be done during business hours.

So now begins the process of deciding what needs to be kept and what can be given away or sold in an estate sale. While this seems stressful and anxiety-inducing on the surface, we also know that there is really no hurry. Our main concern, though, is keeping the house secure. There are people who will be helping with this, keeping an eye on the place, in Mama’s absence.

We have lots of extra food around the house, now, which is kind of funny. I believe C unloaded Mama’s refrigerator, and they gave a lot of the food to one of Mama’s friends that stopped by. They also cleared out the pantry, so ours is kind of overflowing. C and I just had a conversation about possibly getting a set of shelves or a stand-alone pantry thing to put next our freezer that is in the “dining room” area. Actually, we just ordered one. It will be here Wednesday. Which is perfect, because I am off on Wednesday of this week.

Our house church will not be meeting, this morning, and I’m not sure what I’m doing. I have considered going back to the Lutheran church, this morning, but my friend, Jacob, has just gotten back from a trip to Peru, early this morning, and likely will not be there. Of course, I’m not going for him, right. And, seeing as it is almost 10:00 right now, I’m likely not going to make it to Grapevine by 11:00.

But I’ve got to get this finished first, right?


Lord, I dedicate this day to You.
May my feet walk only where You want them to walk.
May my eyes see only what You want them to see.
May my ears hear only what You want them to hear.
May my mouth say only what You want it to say.
May my mind think only what You want it to think.
In the day of prosperity be joyful, 
and in the day of adversity consider: 
God has made the one as well as the other, 
so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
 In my vain life I have seen everything. 
There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, 
and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. 
Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. 
Why should you destroy yourself? 
Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. 
Why should you die before your time? 
It is good that you should take hold of this, 
and from that withhold not your hand, 
for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them. 
(Ecclesiastes 7:14-18 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the great day that C and Mama had yesterday; it seems they had a really good time and got a lot accomplished
2. for the peace in my heart, this morning
3. that my God will never leave me or forsake me; ever; under no circumstances
4. that, because of His presence, I am able to "enjoy" the tasks set before me
5. that I have the Word of God "hidden" in my heart (Psalm 119:11)

Today’s prayer word is “enjoy.”

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
(Ecclesiastes 3:22 NIV)

I’ve liked this verse for many years, now, and agree with the sentiment. I’ve been spending a bit of time in Ecclesiastes, lately, because that’s where my Bible-reading plan has me, right now.

And putting those two words together, “enjoy” and “work,” is almost oxymoronic. In the words of the person who wrote the reading, “It’s not really work if it’s something I enjoy.” This is pretty much how I feel about my “job” at the Hurst Public Library. Oh, sure, there are aspects about it that aren’t exactly fun (like shelving children’s picture books, which are mostly shelved on floor-level), but as I told my good friend, Rick, the other day, when he dropped by, “I’m living the dream!”

I did not enjoy my work before that. The only thing I enjoyed about the job I retired from was some of the people that I worked with. And they are the only people I miss about working there. Most people are probably stuck in that situation. But we don’t have to be, because our “enjoyment” of something is largely in our head (or heart). Remember Brother Lawrence, whom we talked about earlier, this week. He’s the guy who found peace and enjoyment washing dishes and cooking meals for other monks at the abbey. He found that, in the right frame of mind, even washing pots and pans could be worship.

Such is our lot in life, says the writer of Ecclesiastes. And it is better to enjoy it, and “eat, drink, and be merry,” than to complain and fret about it.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 ESV)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 ESV)

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20 ESV)


Never is listed as an adverb (I confess I did not know that). It means, “at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever.” “Not at all.” Synonyms include, “Under no circumstances,” and “on no account.”

The three members of the Holy Trinity have sworn to us that they will never leave us. Jesus told His disciples (and through them, us) that He would always be with them.

Moses told Israel, in Deuteronomy, that the Lord goes with them, and would not leave them or forsake them. And the Lord, Himself, said to Joshua that He would be with him wherever he went.

This, of course, if we believe it (and I do), great cause for encouragement. It gives purpose to life; it eases anxiety (unfortunately, as we are still human, it doesn’t eliminate it entirely because we are fickle and unfaithful creatures).

One way in which I believe that the Lord never leaves me is in the many ways His Word affects my life. I believe (and this is, I admit, somewhat mystical) that the things I read in His Word lodge themselves in my mind, heart, and spirit, never to depart. I might forget a verse I have read, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in there, somewhere, etched on my heart.

In Sunday School, as a child, probably before I could read, I learned “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). Literalist fundamentalist legalists would have you believe that that verse strictly refers to Scripture memorization. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with memorizing Bible verses. In fact, it is very helpful. but I no longer believe that that is all that verse refers to.

Because I believe that, any time I read from the Bible, it becomes “hidden” in my heart. And one other thing: what, or perhaps more correctly, WHO is God’s Word? Jesus. Jesus is the Word made flesh. And have certainly hidden Jesus in my heart. And Jesus is never going to leave me or forsake me. Therefore, God’s Word is solidly etched into my heart.

And knowing this is a great aid to doing what was discussed above that purple line. It is much easier to enjoy the tasks set before me when I remember this truth. God is with me when I’m washing pots and pans, when I’m cooking dinner, when I’m sweeping the floor, doing laundry, or shelving children’s picture books.

Father, I praise You for Jesus, Your Word made flesh. I thank You that He is “hidden” in my heart, by way of the Holy Spirit, and that, because of this, will never leave me or forsake me. This promise from You is life-changing. It gives hope for all kinds of circumstances, just knowing that You will never forsake me, that You always be with me, wherever I go. It also causes caution, because it also means that, should I go someplace where I should not be, You would also be there with me.

I thank You for that word “never” in those promises. I am also grateful for that word “enjoy” and the suggestion in Ecclesiastes that we should simply enjoy our lives, along with whatever we find ourselves doing with our hands, because that is our “lot in life.” We are, I am, where You have placed me. I have no concern to change my circumstances. Oh, sure, I dream. Who doesn’t? But they are nothing more than dreams, and I find myself more and more content with where I am, every day, thanks to You and Your presence in my life. And that You will never leave nor forsake me makes it that much simpler to enjoy my life and not fret about things, especially things over which I have no control.

Father, I pray for our world, today. In many ways, it seems like the entire world is burning, right now. Things appear to be awful, pretty much everywhere, and people are all looking for someone to blame. Help us to deal with the circumstances in the best possible way. Help us to not fret over things that do not directly affect or endanger us. Yet. But keep us mindful that You are in control, no matter how on fire everything seems to be. From outward appearances, it looks like chaos, and looks like a snowball rolling down a hill with no chance of stopping. And we very well may be close to the return of our Savior . . . we don’t know, we can’t know, because according to Him, HE doesn’t even know. Only You know.

And I trust You.

So there.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.