This Is the Air I Breathe

Today is Friday, the twenty-fourth of June, 2022, in the twelfth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,479

I got up early, this morning, because I wanted to get a look at the planet alignment that is going on, right now. I didn’t get a great view, this morning, as it was almost too light out, but I did see Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter. So, right now, we have Mercury, Venus, Uranus, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter all in a straight line. Saturn is up there, too, but couldn’t be bothered to get in line with the rest. Hah! I could see Jupiter and Venus with the naked eye, but not the rest. As I said, it was a little too close to sunrise. I was unable to get a bead on Jupiter with my telescope, but did get a decent view of the crescent moon.

I had a pretty good day at the library, yesterday. There were a few challenges, and I had to consult my manager a couple of times, but it all went well. I’ll be back at the library tomorrow morning, for a Saturday in the circulation department.

Okay. Time to get on with things.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we lift our hearts to you, our help in every need. You do so much for us even in difficult times, letting us always see your light and giving us your help in the many things you want us to bear in your strength, O Almighty God. In the end you will help our age come to your light. Through your great mercy let us receive your Word. Bless it within our hearts, and help us to serve you everywhere we go and in everything we are allowed to do. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. 
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, 
as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, 
so our eyes look to the LORD our God, 
till he shows us his mercy.
(Psalms 123:1-2 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the beauty of the night sky, especially on days like these, when planets are aligned
2. for the mercy of God in giving us His Word
3. for the breath of life, breathed into me daily by the Lord (I'm alive and breathing)
4. that there is no need to worry about tomorrow, for God is already there
5. that God never changes and, having Him, I lack nothing

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
(Mark 7:6-8 ESV)


Today’s word, in Pray a Word a Day, is breathe. Thich Nhat, a Buddhist monk, is quoted as saying, “Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body.”

There will most certainly be some folks who will “lose their minds” because a “Christian” devotional book included a quote from a Buddhist monk about breathing. If you’re one of those people, just scroll on, please.

One of the things that we, as a society, have forgotten how to do is breathe. Obviously, no one really “forgets” to breathe, because that is something we do naturally. Fortunately, the Lord created us with that as a kind of automatic thing. Imagine, if we had to remember to breathe, we would never get anything else done. But we aren’t talking about the natural thing that happens anywhere from 12 to 20 times a minute, for most people.

We’re talking more about how we breathe. We get so stressed out over so many little things, so many “first-world problems,” or, as I have called them in the past, “footstool” problems, that we forget to stop and take a breath for ourselves.

“When that deep pain in my chest starts to rise, for a moment I pause in confusion. What’s going on? Why am I feeling this way? The answer is simple. I didn’t take a breath. I’d let anxiety and stress take over.”

A little over a year ago, I read a book, called Breathe Well, in which the author was of the opinion that we, in the West, have forgotten how to breathe properly. A major cause of this is anxiety, and it begins about the time we start school. The author also believes that technology has hindered our breathing. No surprise, there, right? You can read my review of the book, if you are so inclined, as I have linked it with the title.

While there are certainly aspects of easter religions, such as Buddhism, that we might not want to embrace, we could benefit well from their practices of breathing. When things aren’t going the way we think they should, “Step back. Breathe. Inhale and exhale.” We’ll feel better.

And, in addition, there is certainly no harm in “breathing” a prayer in the process. The Jesus Prayer, for example. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Breathe in: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Breathe out: “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Repeat as needed. I have found that practice to be most beneficial.

After all, what is it that made the first man a “living person?” It was breath.

Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
(Genesis 2:7 NLT)

Father, when anxiety threatens me, when fear knocks at the door of my heart, help me remember to just breathe, to breathe in the breath of Your life and remember that You are in control of all things. When opinions threaten my well-being, or my relationships with others, help me to remember to “Breathe deep the breath of God.”


You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 MSG)

Another reason for us to breathe is that, when it comes to our worries and fears about tomorrow or next week or next month or next year . . . God is already there. I wrote about this a few days ago, and it seems to be an ongoing thread, lately. It’s almost as if God is trying to tell me something. It also makes me worry wonder if things are going to get worse in this country. Like, is God trying to prepare me for something?

But, yeah, since God exists outside of time, as we understand it, whatever future events I’m worried about, God is already there, waiting for me. He’s letting me know that, as Julian of Norwich famously said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” Then, there is also the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila.

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.

Amen.
(St. Teresa of Avila)

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
(Matthew 6:7-8 NLT)

Breathe deep

How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:10-13 NLT)

Breathe deep the breath of God

And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.
(Revelation 21:23-25 NLT)

Breathe deep

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Breathe deep the breath of God


Father, truly we are blessed. Truthfully, having You, I lack nothing, and You are unchanging. You are not a man that You should lie or change Your mind. Humanity is fickle, ever self-seeking and self-centered. You are constant.

It is so very tempting to worry during these days. The world has been dragged through some deep darkness over the past couple of years, and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, just yet. Unless, of course, we can manage to keep our eyes focused on You, in which case, all we can see is light.

I will not allow myself to be worried. There will, no doubt, be temporary periods where I will forget myself, and, for a moment, lost sight of Your control over everything. But You will, also no doubt, restore that sight and renew my faith and remind me that I have nothing to fear. I pray that we who follow Christ, who truly follow Him, will be able to spread the Gospel of peace and love to the world around us. Help us to follow the commands of Jesus, to love You with all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Rumors or Reality

Good morning. It is Wednesday, the nineteenth of January, 2022, in the second week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,323

Only four days until Hamilton! I’ve gotten both emails and phone calls encouraging me to visit the Bass Performance Hall website to see protocols for entering the theater, so it appears to be on schedule.

I’m up before C, this morning. She gets up at 6:45 when she’s working from home. I sometimes sleep until she gets up, but this morning, I was awake, so I got up. I will admit it was a rough night of sleep with the new CPAP machine. It’s different, and I think the pressure is lower. I just have to get used to it. I believe it will get better.

I work from 9:15-6:15 today, in circulation. The schedule has settled back into normality, now, so that’s good. Last night went well, and there were only a couple of carts to be shelved. A third one was added, later, by the tech services folks, but I didn’t have time to get to it.

I’m moving on to the devotional, because I don’t want to run out of time.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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.
"Silent, surrendered, calm and still,

open to the word of God.

Heart humbled to his will.

offered is the servant of God."

“In all that is going on around me, all the movement, all the noise, Can I find a moment of calmness and stillness now, Can I feel God’s presence here,  And surrender myself to it, Opening myself to listen to God’s word?”

Father, still my heart and soul as I enter into Your presence, seeking life and wisdom from Your Word. Guide my meditations, this morning.

And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." 
And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth." 

And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!" 

Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. 
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 
And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 
And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 
The Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field." 
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 
This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 
and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand." 
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 
And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. 
The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 
Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 
(1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51 ESV)

This is a long, familiar, passage of Scripture, often referred to as the story of David and Goliath. Often cited in sporting events, we see an underdog defeating the favorite “champion.” We often celebrate when an underdog wins (unless the favorite was the team we always root for, of course).

But we go deeper into this story. The thing that I take away from it is nestled in verse 37. The faith of David is seen in his statement to Saul. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul had no comeback to this, and simply told David to go, “and the LORD be with you.”

It is easy to see David as being cocky and arrogant in this story. He was young. We really don’t know, I don’t think, how old he was, but they keep calling him a “youth.” The Hebrew word is “na’ar,” which literally means, “a boy” or “a girl,” somewhere between birth through adolescence. But he was old enough to have worked as a shepherd, and he had, reportedly, killed a lion and a bear in that service. And arrogant as he seemed, he credited the Lord with those feats.

And he was ready to give God all the glory in this battle, as well. As we look at the different “players” in this story, Saul, Goliath (and his shield-bearer), David, and God (mentioned eight times), I see God as the most important. That may be obvious to some, but maybe not to others. I believe that the Lord directed that stone, as it flew from the slingshot in David’s hand.

There is an aspect to this story that we don’t, I believe, often consider. In the midst of the miracle, there is something we miss. David was a child. Maybe he was twelve or thirteen. Maybe. But he was most definitely younger, by at least a few years, than the minimum age that we in the U.S. determine a young man or woman old enough to go to war. He grew up in a culture that was well-familiar with battle and war. And he willingly, as a child, went out to fight against and kill a man.

This is not simply some fairy tale, with a glamorous ending. This is life in the trenches, and, perhaps something that should be considered as we ponder the miracle. To me, it is chilling. It is brutal. But, to David, it seems to have been just another day. The reason I even bring this up is because it is far too easy for us, sitting in our easy chairs, to judge others.

I never had to go fight in a war. I was never in the military. I missed out on the draft, by the grace of God, I say. Others weren’t so lucky. Some of my friends enlisted and served willingly. God had other plans for my life. And I am grateful beyond measure that I never had to face any of that. So I read this story, now, from a slightly different perspective, understanding that I don’t truly understand anything about war and its elements. There is also a lot I don’t understand about how God works and the things He does. But I, like David, trust Him to fight my “battles” for me.

Father, in this tale of underdog beats champion, I see Your strength and I see Your purpose. I see Your orchestration of events. But it is easy for me to look at this history, which I have read hundreds of time, and see how You worked through it. In fact, every time I read it, I can see more of You. It’s not so easy to look at current circumstances and feel the same way, because we haven’t seen the outcome. We have no idea what is “around the bend” for us. What I do know, though, is that, as I walk in Your Kingdom, this world is a perfectly safe place for me to be. And, like David, I trust in Your hand to provide and protect me. And, like Job, I can firmly say, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”

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

(From Pray As You Go)

As I quoted a verse from Job, it reminds me of Eugene H. Peterson’s chapters on Job in Symphony of Salvation. I find it interesting that Peterson thought Job to be important enough to dedicate four chapters to the book. The fourth one is called “Entering the Suffering,” and primarily deals with our tendency, as humans, to try to prevent and/or alleviate suffering.

Peterson cautions against doing like Jobs “friends,” who pontificated while believing that they could actually “fix” his troubles, or make him “better.” I addressed that in a previous blog entry.

“We may look at our suffering friends and imagine how they could have better marriages, better-behaved children, better mental and emotional health.” The first thing we need to know is that, regardless of how well-intentioned (or even accurate) our assessment may be, “we don’t really understand the full nature of our friends’ problems.” Never, EVER tell someone, “I know how you fell.”

No. You don’t. Even if you have been through the same thing, yourself, you most certainly DO NOT KNOW HOW THEY FEEL!

A second thing to understand is that they may not want our help or advice. Notice that Job never asked his friends for advice.

There is an ironic third thing to understand. “More often than not, people do not suffer less when they are committed to following God, but more. When these people go through suffering, their lives are often transformed, deepened, marked with beauty and holiness, in remarkable ways that could never have been anticipated before the suffering.” This thought is directed more toward people who have this fallacious idea that God never wants His people to suffer.

So, looking back up there at our natural tendency, which is to prevent or alleviate suffering, perhaps we should not focus on that, but, rather, simply focus on “entering the suffering, participating insofar as we are able – entering the mystery and looking around for God.” Don’t feel sorry for the person who is suffering. “Look up to them, learn from them, and – if they will let us – join them in protest and prayer.”

Granted, it is difficult to know exactly how to follow Job’s lead, here. But we do know that God finally spoke. His answer, though, wasn’t exactly what Job was looking for.

And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: . . . 
Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much!  . . . 
"And have you ever ordered Morning, 'Get up!' told Dawn, 'Get to work!' So you could seize Earth like a blanket and shake out the wicked like cockroaches? . . . 
"Can you get the attention of the clouds, and commission a shower of rain? Can you take charge of the lightning bolts and have them report to you for orders? 
(Job 38:1, 4, 12-13, 34-35 MSG)

The book of Job should be read “prayerfully and meditatively” as we face questions that arise during suffering, when our lives don’t turn out the way we planned or expected. We can ask the questions . . . there is no harm in this. We may get stock answers from “friends,” but we keep asking, maintaining our dignity in suffering. Eventually, we realize that “suffering calls our lives into question, not God’s. The tables are turned: God-Alive is present to us. God is speaking to us.”

“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
(Job 42:5-6 MSG)

Father, may we all stop living by rumors and strive to know You in reality.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I pray that, as I walk through this day, I will be aware of the suffering of people. Perhaps not anyone I encounter directly, but simply knowing that there are people who are suffering. If any of my friends enter into such suffering, help me have the wisdom to enter into it with them, not offering advice or help, but, rather, simply being with them. When things don’t go the way we expect, may Your Spirit enable us to ask hard questions of You, boldly, not unlike David as he faced Goliath, knowing that You can take it, and will not be angered or offended at our questions. Most of all, make Yourself known to us, through all of our life-circumstances, good or “bad.” All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The revelation of GOD is whole and pulls our lives together. 
The signposts of GOD are clear and point out the right road. 
The life-maps of GOD are right, showing the way to joy. 
The directions of GOD are plain and easy on the eyes. 
GOD's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, 
with a lifetime guarantee. 
The decisions of GOD are accurate down to the nth degree. 
God's Word is better than a diamond, 
better than a diamond set between emeralds. 
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring, 
better than red, ripe strawberries. 
(Psalms 19:7-10 MSG)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I have the ability to read, and comprehend what I read
2. for the ability to quiet my soul and know the presence of God
3. that I have learned to trust in the Lord in all circumstances
4. that my life has been relatively free from suffering and has been peaceful
5. for the Word of God and the value it has in my life

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Christmas Thanksgiving

Today is Tuesday, December 22, 2020, in the fourth week of Advent.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,930

Only three more days until Christmas!

And only two more days to work, this week.

Looking at the weather forecast, I just saw something that might be nice. There might be snow on New Year’s Eve!

Yesterday evening, the news broke that country singer KT Oslin has passed away at the age of 78. The report said that she had been battling Parkinson’s and was also recently diagnosed with Covid-19. However, no official cause of death was noted.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

This has been on my heart for several days, now. I put St. Teresa’s prayer here, yesterday, and I really like Margaret Rizza’s arrangement of it. She changes the words slightly.

"Let nothing disturb you;
Nothing distress you;
While all things fade away,
God is unchanging.
Be patient, for with God in your heart
Nothing is lacking,
God is enough."

It’s a beautiful prayer, and full of truth and encouragement, which is deeply needed, these days.

Psalms 66:16 ESV
(16) Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

Today I am grateful:

  1. That with God in my heart, nothing is lacking; He is enough
  2. For the things that He has done for my soul
  3. That You lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
  4. That You, the Creator of the universe, and Most High God, hear the prayers of your servants
  5. That You fill the generous heart with blessings uncountable

Psalms 67:1-2 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
(2) that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Psalms 119:54 ESV
(54) Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.

Psalms 51:10 ESV
(10) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

John 4:23-24 ESV
(23) “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
(24) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Psalms 61:1-5 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;
(2) from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
(3) for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
(4) Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah.
(5) For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

"Purify my conscience,
Almighty God,
by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming,
may find in me a mansion prepared for himself;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV
(14) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
(15) and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
(16) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
(17) that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Luke 6:38 ESV
(38) give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Mark 9:35 ESV
(35) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
(5) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
(6) who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
(7) but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Hebrews 6:10 ESV
(10) For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

1 Peter 5:5 ESV
(5) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Psalms 144:9-15 ESV
(9) I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
(10) who gives victory to kings, who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
(11) Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
(12) May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;
(13) may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
(14) may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
(15) Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

“This hymn marks David’s deliverance from King Saul and perhaps his enthronement.”

In it, we also see the proper response to answered prayer: gratitude and thanksgiving. “A thankful spirit combines humility (because you see God’s answer was a sheer gift) with confidence (because you know a loving God always hears prayer).”

If you look back at the beginning of the psalm, you can see amazement that God even pays attention to us at all (vv 3-4).

Psalms 144:3-4 ESV
(3) O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?
(4) Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

But David doesn’t stop and rest after giving thanks. He keeps on praying; for protection, for prosperity, for justice, proclaiming loudly, “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!”

Above this psalm, there are some other Scriptures upon which to focus. Primarily, the idea of generosity is emphasized. We can pray all day for prosperity, but if we are living our lives with clenched fists, hoarding everything that comes our way while orphans and widows (and anyone else who might fall into similar categories) go needy, God will not give us that prosperity.

Jesus, after telling us not to judge or hold grudges, also told us to give freely. The result of that would be that “it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.

I have experienced the truth of this. As God has moved us to generosity, He has blessed us even more. The only boast is in God, as He is the provider; he is the One who blesses. I don’t boast in my generosity, as even that is a gift from Him.

“Lord, I thank you that there are an infinite number of things to thank you for, if I reflect for even a moment! Now help me to take that time and to give you thanks for your many gifts I take for granted. Then let thankfulness begin to transform all my attitudes, toward you, myself, others, and life. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, I love that You have inspired me to daily gratitude. I remember that this was initially inspired because of people who suddenly get all grateful during November, and then don’t remember to give thanks the rest of the year. I want to be grateful every day. I want to give You thanks all day long, 24/7. Thanks for the little things like breathing; thanks for the simple things like coffee; and thanks for the big things, like grace and mercy. I could, quite easily, do nothing but sit and thank You all day long. But I must do other things, like work, during my day. That, however, does not mean that I cannot also be thankful. Help me remember to breathe little prayers of thanksgiving all day long!

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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.