He Remembered That They Were But Flesh

Today is Wednesday, April 18, 2018. Hump Day. Day 21,951.

The word for today is omnishambles, a noun which means, “a situation, especially in politics, in which poor judgment results in disorder or chaos with potentially disastrous consequences.”

Mark Twain (not his birthday) said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

The sad news of the day is that First Lady Barbara Bush has passed away at the age of 92. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say anything negative about her. Even my most liberal friends are mourning her passing.

We made it to the Y again, last night. I spent 35 minutes on the elliptical machine. We will take tonight off and go back tomorrow for our second “Life Changing Challenge” session. These are free training sessions offered to all members of the YMCA. C and I have elected to do our together.

After all the hype and hoopla, Mookie Betts hit three home runs (becoming the third player in MLB history to have three three home run games before his 26th birthday), the Red Sox pounded Ohtani and the Angels and won 10-1. Ohtani left the game after two innings, giving up three runs, because of a “blister.” A blister named Mookie Betts, perhaps? Hahaha! The Sox are now 14-2, and are the only team in MLB with over .800 percentage. They’re on a pace to win 141 games. Which, of course, is ridiculous. Or is it?

The Rangers won their game, last night, as well, beating the Rays 7-2, making their season record 7-12. They remain in last place, 1.5 behind the Athletics.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. 
So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. 
When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. 
They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. 
But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. 
Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. 
Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. 
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

Psalm 78:32-39

The steadfast love of the Lord becomes more and more obvious through the telling of this history. Yes, he punished his people when they stopped believing and disobeyed. But as soon as they cried out to him, he rescued them. This can be seen again in the book of Judges. Time after time, the tragic sentence is written: “And once again, the people of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.” This resulted in the Lord bringing down another nation against them. But then, they would cry out to him, and he would send another deliverer. Gideon, Deborah, Samson, and so on. God is faithful, even when we are not, and he will always . . . ALWAYS come to our rescue if we sincerely call out to him.

Father, I thank you and praise you for your faithfulness, as it can be seen over and over in the Scriptures, and I can attest from my own life that you are, indeed, marvelously faithful. I fail time and time again, and you are always there to pick me up and put me back on the paths of righteousness, always for your name’s sake! That is the important thing to remember. All that you do is for your own name’s sake. May your Spirit help me to be as faithful to you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

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“Do Not Fear, Only Believe”

Today is Thursday, March 15, 2018. The Ides of March. Day 21,917.

17 days until Resurrection Sunday.

Mark Twain (not his birthday) said, “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” The Quotations Page

The word for today is dekko, a British slang noun which means, “a look or glance.”

The pool heater technician did not show yesterday. I received a call, around 4:30 PM, saying that they had gotten behind and would not make it. My “appointment” was revised to be from 12:00 to 5:00 PM today. Not really happy about that, but what can you do? I guess I won’t be going to see A Wrinkle in Time today, after all. We shall see. I need to practice my songs for Saturday’s Night of Worship, anyway.

We finished up our Redbox movie watching last night, watching Goodbye Christoper Robin. I swear I was crying for the last thirty minutes of the movie, if not more. The story, of course, is based on the real life of A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, who is featured, along with his bear, Winnie the Pooh, in the books that are named after the famous bear. While there are some happy moments in the film, it is far from a happy film. The relationships between Milne, Christopher Robin, and his mother, are strained, at best. In fact, his mother, Daphne (played by Margot Robbie, the only person I recognized), is portrayed as a pretty horrible person.

All that being said, I truly enjoyed the movie. Maybe “enjoyed” is not the right word. I liked it. I appreciated it. It gave me a new understanding and appreciation for some of my favorite children’s stories. I’ve been a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh for decades. The problem is, the stories pretty much ruined Christopher Robin’s life. I won’t say much more about it, here. If anyone reading this is a fan of Winnie the Pooh, I recommend this movie. One interesting bit of trivia: C.R. never took one penny of the money that was earned by the sale of any Winnie the Pooh books/stories. He didn’t want it.

I’ve got two more days of vacation. I’m sure a large portion of it will be spent in front of the PS4, but perhaps some other things will be done, as well. I will definitely practice some songs on the keyboard. Perhaps I will get the trombone out today or tomorrow, and start getting some playing done for Monday’s return to band practice. We don’t have any music to practice, yet, but I’ve got tons of trombone music that I can play, not to mention daily warmups and flexibility exercises. Lip flexibility. Lips. I don’t, like, do splits while playing the trombone or anything like that.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 
He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 
My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 
They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah. 
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 57

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Mark 5:36

“Do not fear, only believe.” Five words. Seven syllables. The middle line of a haiku. A central truth of the Gospel. And, for some reason, a command that we find difficult.

So often I feel like the father of the demon-possessed child who encountered Jesus. Also recorded in Mark. Interesting.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:34

“I believe; help my unbelief!” Perhaps, he might have more honestly said, “I want to believe!” Either way, that father got his prayer granted.

“Do not fear, only believe.” Five words that can change a life. My life, your life, anyone’s life.

Think about what you fear today. Financial problems. Relationship issues. Marital problems. Children problems, grown or not. Health issues. The context of Mark 5:36 is that of the synagogue ruler, Jairus, asking Jesus to come heal his daughter. Jesus is slightly delayed by the woman who sneaked up behind him and touched the hem of his garment, and was healed. When they arrive, people come and tell Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Verse 35) Jesus’s response: “Do not fear, only believe.”

The girl was dead! Would most of us have given up hope at that point?

“Do not fear, only believe.”

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

Father, what more relevant prayer could I offer up, now, than, “I believe; help my unbelief!” There are characteristics in my life that need to be changed, or even eliminated. “I believe; help my unbelief!” Jesus tells me to love and serve my brothers and sisters as you loved us. “I believe; help my unbelief!” I seem to have this idea that, someday, it will all just fall together. But my favorite author tells me different. And Jesus tells me different. I have to do. I have to act. I have to believe. “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

“Meshech and the Tents of Kedar”

Today is Thursday, November 30, 2017. Day 21,812.

25 days until Christmas!

Mark Twain, born on this date in 1835 (died 1910), said, “Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is nostrum, a noun, meaning, “a scheme, theory, device, etc., especially one to remedy social or political ills; panacea.” Also, “a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine,” and, “a medicine made by the person who recommends it.”

Today is Stay Home Because You’re Well Day. I have to say I love this one. Perhaps I’ll try it some day. But not today, because I’m all out of PTO for this year.

We used the new dishwasher last night, and it seems to have worked just fine. Interesting discovery: this washer has a “Sensor” setting, which allows the dishwasher to determine how long it should run based on the volume and dirtiness of the dishes. It takes, on average, two to three hours to run. I thought that seemed like a really long time, but when I consulted the guide book, I discovered that it does, in fact, have a “1-hour” setting, but that setting actually uses more water and energy than the longer cycle. Who knew?? So we will just be letting it do its own thing. It is also very quiet.

C made dinner for us last night, and already had it simmering when I got home from work. She’s doing better, for the most part, and has cut back to only a half pill of pain killer a couple times a day. I’m not sure when she will be going back to her actual work place, but she continues to work from home. The important things are the two appointments, Friday and Monday, at the different heart doctors.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
Psalm 81:1-4
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
Psalm 71:15
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
Psalm 147:7
“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?”
Matthew 6:25-30
You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
Psalm 65:9-13
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.
The Gloria
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.
The Lord’s Prayer

(From Practice Resurrection)

(Pages 133-136)

Eugene Peterson relates a personal experience from his days in Baltimore, where he moved to start a new church. As he sets the stage for this story, he takes note that, in spite of all of Paul’s talk of peace, there was a “conspicuous absence of peace in the world and in his life” as he wrote. Paul wrote (or dictated) Ephesians from a Roman prison cell. While he uses the “broken wall as a metaphor for church that welcomes all, church that is open to all, church that is hospitable to all, he is locked behind the walls of a Roman prison.” From the records that we have, we also know that the first century churches were quite full of contention. So what happened to that broken wall?

Peterson shift to a photo that he has on his desk, an aerial view of a community in the suburbs. Tract homes, each one fenced, each one with a swimming pool in the back yard. He had labeled the photo, “Meshech and the Tents of Kedar.”

Huh?

When he was organizing the church in Baltimore, he was new to the ‘burbs. In his home town, they didn’t have many fences. People were free to walk across each others’ yards, and there was one community pool, where all were welcome. What he realized in this new suburb was that “everyone was a stranger to his or her neighbors.” As he began planning this church, he believed that the hard part would be getting the people to come worship God, and that developing a “sense of community would be easy.”

He was wrong.

“It wasn’t long before I had people worshiping God on Sunday mornings.” It was awkward, at first, to be sure, but people were willingly there. “But getting them interested in each other was another thing entirely. They didn’t want to be neighbors. They wanted to be self-sufficient, independent.” At one point, a newly formed community association had a meeting. Peterson attended, not sure what he would encounter. He was completely taken by surprise. “It was the most contentious gathering of people I had ever attended.” What he eventually realized was that “These people don’t like each other.” They didn’t really know each other, but what they didn’t know, they didn’t like. Every time someone spoke, there was an immediate challenge or refutation. The talk was all rude. (This reminds me a lot of Facebook.)

Now, back to the title of the photo. Remember that? Meshech and the Tents of Kedar. Peterson was taken back to Psalm 120. Verse 5. “Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!” The writer of the Psalm is surrounded by people who don’t want peace, who “hate peace” (verse 6).

That’s how he felt the night of that association meeting. His purpose was to develop community and get people to worship God, but he found himself in a place where “community” was the last thing people wanted.

Father, while I don’t like leaving this on a negative note, I pray that you would continue to work this sense of community into us. I have struggled with this. I barely know my neighbors, and the people who live more than one house away, I don’t know at all. I have been guilty, we have been guilty of that sense of “self-sufficiency,” and our time at The Exchange has changed that. We are still growing in that aspect, and I want to continue to do so. Make us more aware of the interdependence that we, your people, have with one another. We need each other. Help us to know that, and help us to help each other more.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

What Is Church?

“Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines.”

Today is Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Day 21,650. First day of summer.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
― Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Goodreads

The word of the day is duende, a noun meaning, “the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm.” “Even as a child, she had an unmistakable duende that attracted the attention of passersby.”

Today is Make Music Day. So, in the spirit of Mama Cass, “make your own kind of music, even if nobody else sings along.”

Yesterday was a sad day, as we had a young member of our church pass away. It was not totally unexpected, yet we were hoping for some kind of miracle. A thirty-something year old lady passed from complications involving organ failure. She has left behind a husband and two children, a teenage son and younger daughter. If you are of the praying persuasion, please pray for this family as they grieve.

Tonight is our bowling league, but we are still unsure if C will be able to bowl. That will be determined during the day, sometime. I guess she’s waiting on some communication from her doctor as to the next step after the x-rays.

In other news, THE RED SOX ARE IN FIRST PLACE!!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 55:16-17
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 
Psalm 31:1
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:16
Jesus asked, How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:44

(From Practice Resurrection)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1-2

So we arrive at Chapter 1, “The Church of Ephesus: Ephesians 1:1-2.”

Eugene Peterson begins by describing the Church as “the textured context in which we grow up in Christ to maturity.” It’s difficult, though, this thing called church. Many people, in fact, find it to be “the most difficult aspect of being a Christian.” I can’t disagree with that. My wife and I, long ago, learned to really dislike the process of finding a new church. Of course, in Paul’s day, when Ephesians was written, such a thing was unheard of. You simply went to the closest, local gathering of believers in your town.

Why do we have church? “The short answer is because the Holy Spirit formed it to be a colony of heaven in the country of death.” I like that answer. Church is the central theme in the Holy Spirit’s strategy for “providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world.” There will be a lot of quotes as I go through this book, because I just can’t seem to adequately paraphrase Peterson.

Sure, over time, there have been a lot of issues with the church. We have been left with impressions of “bloody fights, acrimonious arguments, and warring factions.” Yes, these have happened, but they do not define church. They might define humans, but they don’t define church, and that is important to understand.

“Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines.” I love that definition. And this “practice of resurrection” is “an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.”

I think I’ll stop there for today.

Father, help me to embrace this life, to practice this resurrection. I haven’t done well at this. I pray for more discipline to have this mindset in me that life, in this world of death, is something to be embraced, to be practiced.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Being Light

Today is Sunday, June 18, 2017. Day 21,647. Father’s Day.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ― Mark Twain
Goodreads

Today’s word of the day is whizzo, an adjective meaning, absolutely first-rate; superb; excellent. It is British slang.

Today is International Panic Day. So today, go ahead. Do panic. Don’t “remain calm.” Or, you could just go fishing, because it’s also Go Fishing Day. It’s also International Picnic Day, which is a little strange, because “picnic” and “panic” are alarmingly similar.

Today is Father’s Day. I wish I had more time to write about this, but since it’s Sunday, I’m pressed for time. And Windows tried to kill my computer yesterday (see yesterday’s entry), and I was planning on writing a bit about that yesterday. Anyway, if my math is correct, and it frequently is not, this is my third Father’s Day without a father. While it is true that the initial pain has subsided somewhat, there is still a great emptiness there. Not just today. Today is just a day. The emptiness is every day. when you “lose” a loved one, if I may be so bold as to state this, the emptiness will always be there. There will always be things that you shared with that person, that you can no longer share with him or her. The radio is a constant reminder, because I will come across a song and think, “My dad would love this song.” I’ll see something about a movie and remember how much he loved that movie. We heard “All Night Long,” by Lionel Richie, while we were in Oregon, and I remembered that it was my dad’s very favorite music video. This memories will never fade. At least I certainly hope that they don’t!

So, today, if you still have a father on this earth, and you have any kind of relationship with him (I understand that there are broken relationships), give him some love. If you are able, give him a big, strong, embrace (more than just a hug), and give God praise for him. And if you are a father, Happy Father’s Day to you! I hope you have a great day and are able to share it with your kids. We pretty much celebrated ours yesterday, and it was great.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5
I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Psalm 142:5
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you,
we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis
At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.
Psalm 75:2
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 
And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

Luke 4:16-22
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” 
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. 
You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.

Psalm 12:5-7
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love,
that through your grace each of us may proclaim your truth with boldness,
and minister your justice with compassion;
for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Living the Message)

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 
Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message)

We are supposed to be “light.” There are an awful lot of “Christians” spreading darkness on social media these days. Let’s put a stop to that, please. Let’s be light.

Father, help me to be light and not darkness. Help my life to be a life of light, mercy, and grace, showing your love to the world around me. Help me to walk in the your Kingdom and in the “easy yoke” of Jesus. Help me to walk in his words and in his steps.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Lead Me In Your Truth

Today is Monday, April 10, 2017. Monday in Holy Week. Six days until Easter.

Quote of the Day

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” ~ Mark Twain

Word of the Day

Widdershins ~ in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction : counterclockwise.

Today is International Safety Pin Day. Don’t ask me, I don’t make these up. “Legend has it that, in 1849, Walter Hunt, the inventor of the safety pin, owed a friend $15 and decided to invent something new in order to earn the money to repay him. He invented the safety pin.”

The Red Sox beat the Tigers, yesterday, 7-5, by coming up with a 4-run eighth inning. Matt Barnes got the win, as they were behind 4-3 when Porcello left the game. The Sox are now 3-2 on the season, in third place in the AL East. They play another game against the Tigers today at 12:10 PM.

The Rangers had what I would consider their first “solid” win of the season, beating the A’s 8-1. Martin Perez got his first win of the season, and the Rangers also got their first series win for the season. They are 2-4 on the season, in fourth place in the AL West. They have the day off today, and will be traveling to the west coast for a series against the first place Angels.

We had a nice day, yesterday. The worship gathering went well, and the afternoon was nice. C went to the grocery store and let me stay home and play Mass Effect. That was totally her idea. We had Subway for lunch while we watched a few TV shows from the DVR, then C took a nap while I played some more. Dinner was leftovers, along with a couple episodes of Criminal Minds.

C isn’t feeling well this morning. Sounds like she’s catching a cold. She’s staying home from work today. I’ve got band practice tonight, as we prepare for our next concert, which will be on April 29 at the Southlake Town Square, for “Art In the Square.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. 
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

Psalm 71:8-9
O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. 
Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!

Psalm 88:1-2
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:4-5
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Psalm 51:10-13
“Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that I, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Father, as we approach the day on which we celebrate your resurrection, may my thoughts be drawn to your journey to the cross. May I have a quietness of reflection, during this week, and help me maintain a depth of love for you, your Spirit, and your Son, as well as for the people that I encounter every day. Teach me your ways that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Dime-Store Reproduction

“But then we are not dealing with the God of creation and the Christ of the cross, but with a dime-store reproduction of something made in our image, usually for commercial reasons.”

Today is Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Four more days until Spring Training games begin!

Quote of the Day

“We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read.” – Mark Twain

Word of the Day

Excoriate – to denounce or berate severely; flay verbally.

Today is Sticky Bun Day. I’m not sure what is the difference between sticky buns and cinnamon rolls. But the article says that sticky buns were originally brought to Pennsylvania by German settlers, and were originally called “schnecken.”

C is safely home, and we got the tire changed out on her car fairly quickly. I bought a full-size tire and wheel at a nearby Discount Tire store, and took it to the airport to meet her. After picking her up, we drove to the remote parking. Turns out, one of C’s work associates was also parked out there, and we gave her a ride. She then followed us to C’s car and actually assisted us as we changed the tire. Fortunately, the lug wrench in my car fit the lug nuts on C’s wheels, and my car also had a jack. The hardest part of the whole operation was working the jack. My car is a 2012 Lexus RX350, and after yesterday’s event, I am 100% certain that the jack had never been used. All of the lubrication on the threads was dried up, and it took all three of us taking turns to finally get it jacked up enough. Next time I take the car in for service, I may see if they can do anything about that.

C was so tired (and hurting quite a bit from all the walking she had to do over the weekend), that we decided to wait until this coming Saturday to get to busted tire replaced. I also did not go to band practice again, choosing to stay home with her. We have two more rehearsals until the Spring concert, which I should be able to make.

Back to work today, to see what kind of mess awaits me from taking a day off.

41 days until Opening Day!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Psalm 32:11

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! Psalm 119:10

“O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into my heart your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

(From Living the Message)

Today’s reading will be quoted in its entirety, as I find it difficult to paraphrase Peterson.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. Psalm 128:4 (ESV)

“‘Fears the LORD.’ Reverence might be a better word. Awe. The Bible isn’t interested in whether we believe in God or not. It assumes that everyone more or less does. What it is interested in is the response we have toward him: will we let God be as he is, majestic and holy, vast and wondrous, or will we always be trying to whittle him down to the size of our small minds, insist on confining him within the boundaries we are comfortable with, refuse to think of him other than in images that are convenient to our life-style? But then we are not dealing with the God of creation and the Christ of the cross, but with a dime-store reproduction of something made in our image, usually for commercial reasons. To guard against all such blasphemous chumminess with the Almighty, the Bible talks of the fear of the LORD–not to scare us but to bring us to awesome attention before the overwhelming grandeur of God, to shut up our whining and chattering and stop our running and fidgeting so that we can really see him as he is and listen to him as he speaks his merciful, life-changing words of forgiveness.”

There is no way I could have re-worded any of that and done it justice. May we ponder these words today as we consider our God.

Stand in awe of God’s Yes. Oh, how he blesses the one who fears GOD! Psalm 128:4 (The Message)

Father, as I go about my day today, constantly remind me to be in awe of you and your majesty. May I not be guilty of “whining and chattering,” or of being too “chummy” with you. May I know you as you truly are and be struck, overwhelmed, by your glory and grandeur. I praise you, God, for who you are and what you have done.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.