Never

Today is Saturday, the eighth of January, 2022, in the second week of Christmas.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,312

Fifteen days until Hamilton!

Yesterday was a sad day, as we learned of the deaths of two more entertainment giants. First, I learned that Sidney Poitier passed away at the age of 94. Most people remember him for To Sir With Love, but I remember him more for A Patch of Blue. Minutes after I learned of his passing, I learned that Peter Bogdanovich, director of The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, and Mask, among others, had also passed away, at the age of 82. Both of them died on Thursday.

It was, of course, another great day at the library. In addition to working the computer center, which seemed busier than usual, with more people needing extended help, I was asked to jump over and do some shelving for the last couple of hours. Due to some unusual “projects” going on at the time, the shelving hall had gotten very backed up. There’s a chance that I might be doing a little more of that today, in between my times at the circulation desk. I believe my manager sent out an email asking the circ manager if I could do shelving during my “off-desk” hours.

Of course, I’m totally fine with this. Whatever they need me to do, I’m cool with.

Today, I am due in at 9:30, working until 6:15.

It is currently 45 degrees (which I believe is warmer than yesterday’s high), and is projected to reach 64 later today. It is currently cloudy, but is expected to be clear, this evening. Tonight’s low is expected to be 45. The temp range for the next week seems a bit more “normal” for this time of year, ranging from just below freezing in the morning to as high as 68 one day.

I finished reading A Slow Fire Burning, by Paula Hawkins, last night, and posted my review of it in my other blog. I am currently reading, at the recommendation of one of the librarians, Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins, by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens). This volume contains both stories, along with quite a bit of critical content. I will try to get through all of the critical content after reading the stories. After completing two books in the first week of 2022, I am ahead of schedule on my reading challenge for the year. I’m sure that will not last long.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Little Quiet Moments, by Daryl Madden

In the midst of life
An offer here for free
To take a little moment
To be still and be

A moment to ponder
A change of attitude
Practicing of wonder
To foster gratitude

A moment of dwelling
With our being whole
To open to Spirit
And center the soul

A moment of vision
Perspective to see
Of the infinite ways
That Gods’ blessing me

Little quiet moments
An insight of gleaning
That seem to give the rest
Extra special meaning

This poem inspired by a quote from Fred Rogers: “How many times have you noticed that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?” Please check out more of Daryl’s inspiration and meditative poetry at the link provided above.

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)

Today I am grateful:

1. for books and the authors who write them
2. for all of my new friends at the Hurst Public Library
3. for the fullness of joy in the presence of the Father
4. that I have a part in God's story, no matter how small it may seem
5. that God will never leave us or forsake us

Today, in Symphony of Salvation, by Eugene H. Peterson, we get to the book of Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth was an “outsider,” not born into the faith. “But she came to find herself gathered into the story and given a quiet and obscure part that proved critical to the way everything turned out.”

In the midst of all the great names of faith (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon), we find this ordinary, seemingly random person. You and I, along with Ruth, might find ourselves saying, “Surely there is no way that I can have any significant part on such a stage.”

Of course, Ruth said no such thing, because she wasn’t even aware that there was a stage. But we, as we look back on this story, can easily find ourselves wondering how we, as similarly ordinary people, can possibly have a part in God’s great plan.

Says Peterson, “The book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or ‘out of it,’ as irreplaceable in the full telling of God’s story. We count–every last one of us–and what we do counts.”

“Blessed be GOD! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life.”
(Ruth 4:14 MSG)

As Rich Mullins said, in "Who God Is Gonna Use," 
"You never know who God is gonna use
A princess or a baby
Maybe even you or me."
"Behold, I will do a new thing . . ."
(Isaiah 43:19)

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.
(Job 12:12 ESV)

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 
They are planted in the house of the LORD; 
they flourish in the courts of our God. 
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 
to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. 
(Psalms 92:12-15 ESV)

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
(Proverbs 16:31 ESV)

That Isaiah verse has popped up a lot, since January 1. I suppose that is always a theme for the “New Year,” that God is doing a “new thing.” But then, He is always doing a “new thing,” isn’t He? We read that favorite verse from Lamentations frequently, that talks about His mercies being “new every morning.” We wake up every morning to a new day. And who doesn’t remember the old cliche, from the seventies, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” (Okay, maybe it was earlier than the seventies.)

Cliche as it is, it’s true. Every day is the “first day of the rest of your life.” What do we do about that? And, no matter how old we get (I’m almost 64, now), God can and will keep using us to do “new things.” We are never too old to be a part of God’s great story!

Speaking of “never,” that happens to be today’s prayer word in Pray a Word a Day. Harriet Beecher Stowe is quoted as saying, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

The word “never” occurs in 186 verses in the Bible (in the English Standard Version). The first four of those are in Genesis 8 and 9, when God promises that He will never again destroy the earth in the way that He did in the flood. In Judges 2:1, “the angel of the LORD” says, “I will never break my covenant with you.”

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
(Psalms 34:5 ESV)

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
(Psalms 55:22 ESV)

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.
(Psalms 112:6 ESV)

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
(Isaiah 51:6 ESV)

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)

I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.
(Daniel 6:26 ESV)

The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
(Zephaniah 3:15 ESV)

but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:14 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
(John 6:35-37 ESV)

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:28 ESV)

There are many more occurrences of the word, a number of them more negative. But the point I make, here, is that God has made promises that He will not leave us, and that those of us who believe in Jesus and follow Him, will not be put to shame, cast out, or perish. There are other places where the word “never” is exclusively used in the KJV, but the ESV uses a word such as “not.” Deuteronomy 31:8 is one such place.

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV)

In light of all of those “nevers,” I think it is safe to say that we, as His children, should “never give up,” because it’s “never too late.” You see, if our God is always in the business of doing “new things,” then we are “never” too old to be included in those “new things.” I’m wearing out my ” key, here.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” we’ve all heard. I disagree, because I’m an “old dog” and I learn “new tricks” almost every day.

God is doing a “new thing.” You never know who He is going to use in His plan. Remember, He even used a donkey once (go back and listen to that Rich Mullins song again). He used some real jerks in the story (go back and read about Judges in yesterday’s blog). He used a “nobody” like Ruth to be the great-grandmother of King David, in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

I won’t be in the lineage of a Savior, but I know for a fact that God has used me in peoples’ lives. I am confident that He will continue to do so, even though, in the grand scheme of things, I’m pretty much a nobody. But you know what?

Everybody is somebody to somebody.

Father, I am grateful to know that You will never give up on me. Because of that, I will also never give up on You and what You can do in someone’s life, or in the life of our world and culture. I will never stop calling out to You; I will never stop worshiping You; I will never stop singing and playing my instruments to You. And I believe that, no matter how old I live to be, that You will continue to do new and fresh things within me and those around me.

I continue (because I will never give up) to pray that You will intervene and eradicate the plague that surrounds us. To all appearances, it is getting worse, daily. The country where I live had 850,000 new cases yesterday, a new record. But You know this. I implore You (yes, a fancy word for “beg”) to rid us of this disease, Father. I pray that the cases will stop, that the hospitals and their workers will get some relief. I also pray that people would stop being so mean to one another. Help us to love again, Lord. Help me to do my part, even more than my part, to spread love in this world.

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.

God Can

Today is Wednesday, the first of September, 2021. Welcome to September.

Peace be unto you!

Day 23,183

Five days until Labor Day.

And only one more day until C’s back surgery. I believe we are supposed to be at the surgery center by 7:30 tomorrow morning. So there may not be a blog entry tomorrow, or it may be later than usual, and may look quite different than usual.

I work, today, from 1:00PM – 5:00PM. Yesterday, I spent time in the computer center, learning about helping patrons scan documents, send faxes (apparently, people still do that?), make copies, and use the library computers. Oh, and printing documents. People who don’t have access to personal printers can print documents from a variety of sources, for a small fee.

I’ve got a few things I want to get done before going to work today, so I’d best get a move-on.

Today is Ginger Cat Appreciation Day. We don’t have a “ginger” cat, these days, but we did, once upon a time. Her name was Ginger. Isn’t that original? But any day that has “cat” and “appreciation” in it, I’m a fan of. We have four cats, now. A grey and white mixed breed (Trixie), a Russian Blue, possibly full blood (Rachmaninoff, “Rocky” for short), a Tuxedo mixed breed (Luna), and the newest, a full-blood (no papers) Applehead Seal Point Siamese (Cleoapatra).

The word for today is alma mater (hey, that’s two words). The given definition is, “a school, college, or university at which one has studied and, usually, from which one has graduated.” In addition, it means, “the official anthem of a school, college, or university.” I don’t know if this is still the case, but the official anthem of Mineral Wells High School, when I went there (1972-1976) was sung to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree.” I swear I’m not making that up. The literal meaning of alma mater is “nourishing mother.” I’m sorry, but I don’t think of my high school or my college as my “nourishing mother.”

Today’s quote is from the great Samuel Clemens, whom we know best as Mark Twain. “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” I agree 100%.

The following people (and many others) share September 1 as their birth date:

Johann Pachelbel, 1653-1706
Engelbert Humperdinck, 1854-1921 (the real one)
Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars), 1875-1950
Yvonne De Carlo (Lily Munster), 1922-2007
Seiji Ozawa (conductor), 1935 (86 today)
Lily Tomlin, 1939 (82 today)
Yvonne De Carlo, 1922-2007
Lily Tomlin, 82 years old today

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
(Psalms 55:22 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You will not allow the godly to slip and fall
2. for the protection and peace that You provide
3. for the confidence that encourages us to cast our burdens upon You
4. for Your deep, deep love, that stretches higher than the heavens
5. that in You, alone, my soul finds rest
6. that You can

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

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK FIFTEEN – DAY FOUR

INVITATION

I’m thanking you, GOD, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.
(Psalms 57:9-10 MSG)

During this moment of quiet, I give You thanks, Father. It’s quiet, though, not “out loud in the streets,” but I will be singing Your praises later. I thank You for Your deep, deep, love that stretches higher than the heavens.

BIBLE SONG

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
(Psalms 62:1-8 NIV)

BIBLE READING

The LORD said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
So at the LORD’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites.
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
(Numbers 13:1-3, 26-33 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I enjoy the presence of the Lord, I linger over the words of these passages, searching for truth and inspiration for my soul. My soul remains slightly anxious, over the events still to occur during the rest of the week. My soul needs to be quieted and calmed, because anxiety solves nothing, ever. It is mild, but it is still there.

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.
(Psalms 43:5 MSG)

It is only in the Lord, and Him alone, where my soul can find true rest. It is only in our Father that I can find true peace. So, when I am not experiencing peace and rest, it stands to reason that I am not trusting explicitly in Him. This is true for all humanity.

There are people who have severe mental conditions, in which they experience severe anxiety or depression, which completely immobilizes them. I’m not speaking of that kind of anxiety. I am speaking of the every-day kind of worry and anxiety. My anxieties, this morning, concern not only C’s surgery and well-being tomorrow, but the timing of everything, and the after care of both C and the kitten.

I am sure it will all work out fine. But there is a disconnect somewhere between my brain and my soul.

But it is only in the Lord that I can find rest. So, my soul, find rest in God. Find your hope in Him. Stop worrying about things over which you have no control.

You are my rock and my salvation, Lord. You are my fortress; in the end, ultimately, I will not be shaken. These anxieties are nothing more than bumps in the road.

I will not be like the people of Israel, when Moses sent them into Canaan to scope out the land they were to be given. They came back with wonderful fruit, but they also saw “giants.”

“Here’s the beautiful fruit! The land flows with milk and honey. But the people are really big and scary! We can’t do this!!”

Caleb, alone attempted to stop the insanity. But the men who went with him insisted. “We can’t attack these people; they are stronger than we are!”

The mistake that these people made was in the first word of that sentence. “WE.” It was true, what they said. Those people were stronger than them, bigger than them. But were they bigger and stronger than the God who just delivered them from the Egyptian army, which was also stronger and bigger than them??

When I take my eyes off of the Lord, who alone is my rest and hope, who alone is my rock and my fortress, and begin to fix my eyes on me and my own inadequacies, the same thing happens. I tend to believe that I can’t do it. My “enemy” is bigger and stronger than me! Well, yes. It’s true. My “enemy” is, indeed, bigger and stronger than me.

As is the task in front of me, which is not necessarily my enemy, but simply something that I must navigate through and endure. Maybe I can’t do it, maybe I can. But I know one thing, and I am fully persuaded of it.

God can.

You need no more words than that. Maybe the subtitle of the Bible should be “God Can.” That may be my new favorite combination of words. I don’t know if that exact combination is in Scripture, verbatim, like “But God” is. But over and over and over, the stories in the Bible prove that, even if the exact combination of words is not there, God can!

So take whatever you are facing today and apply these two simple words to it:

Father, You have done it again. I never stop being amazed at the way You come through in moments of doubt and anxiety. I love the way You can work through Your Word, actively, while I am typing away at these blogs. I never know where You are going to take me, but it is always a good place, and a better place than when I started. Thank You for reminding me, this morning, that no matter what is facing me, You can. I can’t. Many times I can’t. There are times when I can, but even then, that is only because of You in my life. It’s all because of You. Thank You, Father, I love You!

Lord, there are many governments and nations that are in need of miracles, today. Immediately, my mind and heart are drawn to Haiti and Afghanistan, as well as the area affected by the recent devastation of Hurricane Ida. I pray for Your presence to be strong in those areas. Move Your available people to rise up and work on behalf of the suffering and oppressed. And show us, who are not in a position to help directly, how we can help remotely, if possible, by some other means than “thoughts and prayers.” But if praying is all we can do, then may Your Spirit enable us to pray with all of our might, that You might hear us.

"God on the move,
teach me how a reckless disobedience originates in mere lack of trust.
Forgive my unbelief that I prefer to call prudence,
my fear that's often masked as good sense.
You call Your church on a world-transforming mission;
give me the eyes of faith to trust You and follow in fearless obedience.
In Jesus' name,
amen."

BLESSING

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
(2 Timothy 1:7 MSG)

We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
(1 John 4:19 MSG)

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!

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
(Hebrews 10:23 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

Set Your Mind

“The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow our minds to dwell upon.” (Dallas Willard)

Today is Monday, January 28, 2019.

Day 22,236

“Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”
Mark Twain, U.S. humorist, novelist, short story author, and wit, 1835-1910.

The word of the day is plexus. It means, “any complex structure containing an intricate network of parts.” (Dictionary.com)

We had a great worship gathering, yesterday morning. I think the music portion went quite well. We also had a really good prayer time before the gathering. Every week, at 9:45, those of us who are part of the worship team (musicians, pastor, Mac person, and anyone else involved) meet in a back room for a few minutes of prayer. Usually, it centers around the morning’s theme, but some mornings, like yesterday, we pray for specific needs for one another.

After church, C went out and got her nails done, then brought Subway home for us for lunch. She got extra salads for both of us, so that’s what we’re having for lunch at work today. Not much else happened yesterday, which is always nice.

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

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Psalm 107:22

Today I am grateful:
1. That I managed to lose more weight last week.
2. That my glucose levels are continuing to improve.
3. For another day to shine.
4. That I have the power to control what I allow my mind to dwell upon.
5. For Dallas Willard and his teachings.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me,
and the light around me turn to night,"
darkness is not dark to you, O Lord;
the night is as bright as the day;
darkness and light to you are both alike.

(The Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 139:10-11)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Set Your Mind On Things Above,” by Dallas Willard.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:2-3

“The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow our minds to dwell upon.”

Let’s focus on that statement for a bit; chew on it.

“The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow our minds to dwell upon.”

Dallas Willard is speaking of what he calls “the renovation of the heart.” He says that our thoughts is where this process begins. “Thoughts are the place where we can and must begin to change.”

It was the opening statement that helped me make giant strides in combating the sin that was so easily derailing me for a large part of my life. Perhaps, deep down, we all know that it is true. But how often do we think about it, and how often do we exercise that power? Generally, the habit is to allow the mind to just run with a thought that pops up. And that running frequently takes us to some extremely dark places.

But if we stop as soon as it starts, and say, “No! I’m not going to allow you to dwell on that!” we can change the course of the entire day!

Dallas Willard was firmly convinced (and there are others who agree) that knowledge is important in the Christian life. There’s a huge difference between knowledge and information, and I don’t have the time to go into that in a thirty minute devotional time. Information is just facts. Knowledge is intimate. Knowledge goes beyond just knowing facts. Knowledge involves experience.

“We still have the ability and responsibility to try to retain God in our knowledge. And those who do so will surely make progress toward him; for if we truly do seek God as best we can, he, who always knows what is really in our hearts, will certainly make himself known to us.”

My challenge for today is to exercise this power. That’s my prayer, too, that I will do so. When that negative thought about someone pops into your head, set your mind on things above. Don’t allow your mind to dwell on it. One way to do that is to intentionally begin to think about something else. That’s one reason I work (although not diligently enough) on Scripture memory. If I’m tempted with “gossipy” thoughts about someone, I should immediately begin quoting Colossians 3:2 to myself. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

It works.

Father, I am grateful beyond words that You have taught me these things. I am grateful for the teachings of Dallas Willard in this regard. Help me to continue doing this today and every day. Help me to set my mind on things that are above.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Soli Deo Gloria!

The Basis of My Security

Today is Monday, January 14, 2019.

Day 22,222

30 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training!

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”
Mark Twain, American author, 1835-1910
BrainyQuote

The word of the day is phatic. It means, “denoting speech used to express or create an atmosphere of shared feelings, goodwill, or sociability rather than to impart information.” (Dictionary.com)

Yesterday morning went, in my opinion, quite well. The setup was great, even though several main people were out. We all kind of pitched in together and got the sound equipment up and working, and it worked the first time! Then, since it was just me on the music, I was done practicing with plenty of time to spare. The actual worship gathering went pretty well. I had a slight rough start because I forgot to turn on my vocal reverb effect, but other than that, I think it went very smoothly.

Now, I have to focus on some wedding music, because I’m supposed to be playing piano at a wedding in must over a month. This will be a first for me. It’s on Friday, February 15.

It’s Monday again, so we start over on the week. As far as I know, there is nothing out of the ordinary happening this week, or next weekend.

Oh. I was 3-1 on my football predictions, for the weekend. The Chiefs beat the Colts 31-13 on Saturday, and the Rams beat the Cowboys 30-22 Saturday night. Yesterday afternoon, the Patriots pretty much destroyed the Chargers 41-28. The only really close game was yesterday evening as the Saints came back from a first quarter deficit of 14-0 to beat the Eagles 20-14. The Eagles had one last chance, but it all ended when a pass slipped through the hands of an Eagles receiver to fall right into the waiting arms of a Saints defender.

I’m going out on a proverbial limb to predict that the Super Bowl will be the Patriots (I’m not making that mistake again!) against the Rams.

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

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

Today I am grateful:
1. That yesterday’s setup and worship gathering went so well.
2. For the beginning of a new week.
3. For the promise of God’s hand in my life as I work to live in His kingdom.
4. For the promise that I need not be anxious for anything in my life.
5. For hope in future grace.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory to the Father, 
and to the Son, 
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be forever. Amen.
Alleluia.

(The Book of Common Prayer)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is The Basis of Our Security, by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
Psalm 18:33

“What is the basis of our security?” That’s a question that may bring up a number of answers: “success, money, friends, property, popularity, family, connections, insurance, and so on.” Many of us may even say that God is the basis of our security. And that may be, to a large degree, true. But then what happens when a job is lost and the money stops coming in? Or when the circle of friends begins to fall apart? Or when our reputations becomes tainted?

“A spiritual life is a life in which our security is based not in any created things, good as they may be, but in God, who is everlasting love.” I like to think that this is at least partially true for me. As Nouwen points out, I may never be completely free from my attachments to this world, but I had, as he says, “better not belong to it.”

“What is the basis of your security? Is it success or money, property or popularity, friends of family, connections or insurance? Or is the Lord your God, who has set you securely on the high places?”

“Lord, may my spiritual life be rooted not in the fleeting security of created things, but in the steadfast security of your will, flowing from your everlasting love for me. Amen.”

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Soli Deo Gloria!

Watchful

Today is January 2, 2019. Ninth day of Christmas.

Day 22,210

42 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
Mark Twain, U.S. humorist and writer, 1835-1910
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is neoteric. It meaans, “modern; new; recent.” Also, “a new or modern writer, thinker, etc.” Welcome to the neoteric year.

Well, it’s been a great year, so far. Haven’t worked a day, yet. But that all changes today. Well, at least the working part. The weather is “iffy,” this morning, but there is currently no ice or snow on the ground. The temperature is right at freezing, and it’s drizzling a bit. I’m not sure what the chance of accumulation is, but it shouldn’t be much, yet. And the temperature should be above freezing by 9:00 AM.

Yesterday was a nice day. Unfortunately, C wasn’t feeling great for a good bit of the day, but we enjoyed our steaks for lunch. C was having some painful gas issues, and is still experiencing some pain, this morning. Hopefully, that will get better. We didn’t do much of anything, as predicted. We watched some TV and I played on the PS4 for a while. Then I watched an episode of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, and finished off the night by reading Ready Player One for about an hour.

I’m pretty sure our plan is to get back to working out at the Y soon, but that may not kick in until next week. I’m sure it will be packed tonight. New Years’ resolutions, and all, you know.

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

You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.”
Isaiah 12:1

Today I am grateful:
1. That there is currently no ice on the roads.
2. That my PTO resets today.
3. That I have a new day to try to walk in God’s Kingdom.
4. That I love to read as much as I do.
5. That C and I both have jobs that are steady and consistent. I may have to work late on Fridays, but at least I get to work.

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord,
to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom:
Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies;
that we, surely trusting in your defense, 
may not fear the power of any adversaries;
through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Peace)

(From Faith That Matters)

In the Morning, Trust God, by Eugene Peterson

O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
Psalm 5:3

“The work of God begins while we are asleep and without our help.” I need to let that statement sink in for a minute. God’s work begins without me and doesn’t need my help. In fact, there are times, when I try to help, that I probably mess things up. Think back to Abraham and Sarah and that mess with Ishmael.

As we go through our day in worship and obedience, God’s work continues. The sacrifice mentioned in this verse is not so much something that I do for God, “but simply setting out the stuff of life for him to do something with.” When we offer these things to God, “we give up ownership and control, and watch to see what God will do with it.”

An important word in all of this is “watch.” We set our lives before Him and watch to see what He will do. “Morning prayer places us before the watchful God, readying us to enter the day watchful for dangers to recede, for the dangerous day to fill with God’s angels.”

“Lord, this early hour I bring to you all of my apprehensions–trusting you, watching you. Amen.”

Father, truly I lay myself before You this morning, and am ready to watch.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Soli Deo Gloria!

The Kingdom Dimensions of Prayer

“God does not save us so that we can cultivate private ecstasies. He does not save us so that we can be guaranteed a reservation in a heavenly mansion. We are made citizens in a kingdom, that is, a society.” We find the language of this kingdom in the Psalms, “which turn out to be as concerned with rough-and-tumble politics as they are with quiet waters of piety.”

Today is Saturday, August September 1, 2018. Day 22,087.

Only TWO days until our Labor Day holiday! The long weekend has begun!

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” Mark Twain, 1835-1910, BrainyQuote

The word for today is palinody, “An ode or song in which the author retracts a view or sentiment expressed in a former poem; (more generally) a recantation or retraction, especially of a formal kind.”

Yesterday being Friday, we wound up, of course, working overtime. I left at 6:00 PM. Stopped at Freebirds on the way home and got us some dinner. C actually got to leave work early Friday for some reason. I’m rather jealous.

We have a successfully installed new toilet!! I know you’re just as excited as I am!

On a less positive note, the Red Sox lamely lost to the Other Sox, last night, 6-1. Pitching seems to be weak, right now, as almost every game, lately, begins with the opposition scoring several runs in the first inning. The Sox have been behind from the start in most of the last ten games. Some of those, they have fought back and managed to win, but not last night. Their record is 93-43, which is nothing to cry about, I understand, but the Yankees are only 7.5 games behind them, with 26 games to go. There is no danger of anyone else catching them, and the only teams with with shots at the wild card are the Yankees, the Athletics, and the Mariners. The A’s could still win the West, which would put the Astros in contention for the Wild Card, but the Sox are 10.5 ahead of the Astros, 12 ahead of the A’s, and 17.5 ahead of the Mariners. I guess what I’m saying is that the Sox are, while not guaranteed, a pretty sure bet for the playoffs, at least. I just don’t want to see them “back in” to them.

The Rangers lost to the Twins, 10-7, to make their record 58-77. They are 24 out in the AL West, 22.5 out in the Wild Card (statistically still a chance), and eight games behind the Angels, who are in fourth place. Their division elimination number is 4.

Teams now officially eliminated are the Blue Jays, the Orioles, and the Royals in the AL. There are no teams eliminated, yet, in the NL. The last place San Diego Padres hold the longest current winning streak, with four consecutive wins. So maybe it’s not just the Red Sox who are struggling, right now.

Today, we don’t have much on the agenda. We’ll go pick up the groceries between 5:00 and 6:00 PM, and I think I might try to get some music stuff done. Tomorrow, R & J are planning to come down for lunch and games or something. Since Monday is a holiday, it will be a nice time, with no pressure to get done by a certain time.

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

(From Where Your Treasure Is), Eugene H. Peterson

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 
“Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 
Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 
You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2

I’m still in chapter one, “The Unselfing of America.”

Eugene Peterson reminds us that the Psalms are edited. It is likely that we do not have them in the exact order that they were written. I remember, when growing up, I thought all of them were written by King David. That is not so. In fact, it appears that we don’t even know the authors of some of them. Psalm 2 is one such Psalm. There is no indication, at the beginning, as to who composed it.

“One hundred and fifty prayers are collected and arranged to guide and shape our responses to God accurately, deeply, and comprehensively.” Practically every feeling we can feel is represented. John Calvin called them “an anatomy of all the parts of the soul” (Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 1). Peterson (as well as others) believes that Psalm 1 and 2 are set as an introduction to the prayer book. “Psalm 1 is a laser concentration on the person; Psalm 2 is a wide-angle lens on politics. God deals with us personally, but at the same time he has public ways that intersect the lives of the nations, rulers, kings, and governments.”

“Psalm 1 presents the person who delights in meditating on the law of God; Psalm 2 presents the government that God uses to deal with conspiratorial plots of people against his rule.” Everything that follows falls somewhere between these two poles.

Unfortunately, in modern America, we have some gaps, because we tend to love Psalm 1 (and others like it) and ignore Psalm 2 (and others like it). Because of this, Peterson has chosen to “reintroduce” Psalm 2 and several others as “source prayers for the ‘unselfing of America.'”

“Praying them,” he says, “or after their manner, breaks through the barrier of the ego and into the kingdom that Christ is establishing.” And if you don’t think we have an ego problem in the Church, just check out the majority of the “worship” songs that we sing. “I, me, my, mine.” Very little “we, us, ours.”

The Psalm were prayed publicly. They may very well have been utilized in private prayer times, but they were, primarily public prayers, prayed in community.

“God does not save us so that we can cultivate private ecstasies. He does not save us so that we can be guaranteed a reservation in a heavenly mansion. We are made citizens in a kingdom, that is, a society.” We find the language of this kingdom in the Psalms, “which turn out to be as concerned with rough-and-tumble politics as they are with quiet waters of piety.”

It is essential that we rediscover “the kingdom dimensions of prayer.”

Father, help us to recover this kingdom dimension of prayer. Help us to re-learn how to pray. While it is important, as Jesus told us, to pray in secret, in a “closet,” it is also important that we pray together, in community. Help us to see the Psalms as our source material for kingdom praying.
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.

Unselfing

Today is Monday, August 27, 2018. Day 22,082.

Seven days until our Labor Day holiday!!

Forty days until Galveston!!!

“The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.” ~ Mark Twain, 1835-1910, The Quotations Page

The word for today is andragogy, “the methods or techniques used to teach adults.”

Yesterday was a nice day, over all. We had some good worship, then S went out with some friends from church to have lunch and get the treat of seeing their horses. C and I loaded up the toilet that wouldn’t fit and took it back to Home Depot, where we swapped for one that will, hopefully, fit. Oddly enough, the one with the smaller rough fit was $20 more. I suppose that is because it is different. It was the only one they had with a 10″ rough fit. All the rest were 12″. Then we went to Mexican Inn in Keller for lunch. It was just okay. Not great. That was probably our last try for that one. The last two times, the food and service have been less than great. The rest of the day, after doing necessary chores like getting trash out to the curb, and so on, was spent relaxing.

The Red Sox lost to the Rays, again, 9-1. I’m trying not to panic. I’m pretty sure it’s the first sweep of the season against the Red Sox. Their record is at 90-42, and the Yankees swept the O’s, so the Sox are now six games up in the AL East. They are off tonight, and play the Marlins tomorrow, at Fenway. Thirty games left.

The Rangers lost to the Giants, 3-1. Their record is 58-74, 23 games out in the AL West, 21.5 out for the Wild Card. Thirty games left. They are not statistically eliminated yet. Their “E number” is nine. That would be for the division. Strange to think, but statistically, they could still win the division. Highly unlikely, but possible.

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

Eugene H. Peterson begins his book, Where Your Treasure Is, with these words: “This is a book about changing the life of America, from the inside out.” This book was written in 1985. Thirty-three years ago! I’ll say right up front that we still have a long way to go to accomplish his goal. In this book, he takes us through eleven different Psalms, for the purpose of “unselfing.”

The “source action” of these changes, of which he speaks, is prayer. The book, he says, is for people Christians “who want to plunge into the center, not tinker at the edge.” The eleven Psalms he has chosen, he believes, shaped the politics of Israel. Peterson believes strongly that these same eleven Psalms could also shape the politics of America.

He has written “to encourage Christians to pray them both as children of God with eternal destinies and as American citizens with daily responsibilities in caring for our nation.”

Chapter one of the book is called “The Unselfing of America.” Perhaps he has made up a new word, here.

Today was simply an introduction to the topic and purpose of the book. Tomorrow morning (as I re-learn how to allocate my morning time), I will launch into the meat with chapter one, and the first Psalm.

(From Where Your Treasure Is), Eugene H. Peterson

Father, as I have read this book, already, it has inspired me to desire to join in this task of “unselfing America.” First, though, I feel like I need to do a better job of “unselfing myself.” So, Lord, help me to work on that, through this day. Help me to “unself.” This falls right in line with my last two days’ devotions, about considering others more significant than myself. That is a big part of unselfing. So let it begin, Father, and help me to see it through.
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.

God Does Not Sleep

Today is Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Day 22,049.

25 days until S turns 25! 25 to 25 on the 25th!

“We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.” ~ Mark Twain, 1835-1910, The Quotations Page

The word for today is blinkered, “narrow-minded and subjective; unwilling to understand another viewpoint.” I have many Facebook friends who are blinkered.

The Red Sox lost, 7-6, to the worst team in baseball. But every dog has his day, right? The Sox, as mentioned yesterday, were briefly forty games over .500 for the first time since 1949. Today, they are 71-32, and five games up on the Yankees. Fifty-nine games left.

The Rangers managed to do something I’ve never seen done before. They were ahead 10-2 after six innings, and lost 13-10. That’s right. And they went into extra innings, to boot! Oh, well. The silver lining in that dark cloud was that Elvis Andrus hit his first career grand slam home run. The Rangers are now 42-60, and 24.5 games out in the AL West. Sixty games left.

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

A Song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 121

I have heard an explanation that the beginning verse means that the Psalmist is looking toward a place from whence danger most likely comes. The hills were places were bandits could easily hide and ambush people in their travels. So, as he looks toward a place of danger, he wonders, “From where does my help come?” But he knows from where that help comes. “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” The Psalmist is confident that his help is in the Lord, and that the Lord will not let his “foot be moved.”

We don’t think of this often, probably, but the truth is that God never sleeps. He does not need sleep, nor does he slumber. Therefore, he is able to keep us safe, night and day. What does it mean to say that the Lord will keep you from all evil? That’s difficult to interpret, because we are certainly vulnerable to “bad” things in this life. But I think the truth is in the second part of the verse, “he will keep your life.” To say that God will preserve my life does not necessarily mean my physical life. After all, we all must die, sometime, unless Jesus returns before that happens. So we must consider that God will preserve our spiritual lives and not allow any evil to come against us in that realm.

Elsewhere in Scripture, we know that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to resist. Please note that the modern, popular idea that “God will not give you more than you can handle” is pure bunk. That myth is not found anywhere in the Bible. However, it is true that, when tempted, I always have a way out.

My life in Christ is firm. It cannot be shaken, no matter what my enemy throws at me. God will hold me. “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep!”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” 
John 6:35-40

The words of Jesus reinforce the words of the Psalmist. Jesus will lose none of those whom God has given him, and will raise them all up on the last day! God will keep your life!

Father, I praise you for your ability to keep me! I thank you that you never sleep, and that you are always watching over us. And you’re not just watching over us from “up there.” You are here with me! You surround me, every minute of every day, daytime and nighttime, because you are never not with me! As the Psalmist said in 139, such knowledge is to high and lofty for me. Or as we might say, today, I can’t wrap my head around that truth! But I don’t have to; I only need accept it in faith and put my confidence in your ability to keep me safe. I praise you, my God!
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.

Prudence

Today is Friday (it sure doesn’t seem like we only worked four days this week), June 1, 2018. Day 21,995.

“A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.” ~ Mark Twain, 1835-1910, The Quotations Page

The word for today is concupiscent, an adjective which means, “lustful or sensual.” Also, “eagerly desirous.”

It seems like I’m feeling a bit better each morning, but it fluctuates, during the day. Yesterday, around lunchtime, I felt terrible, and almost didn’t eat my lunch. But later in the afternoon, I felt better. I still didn’t go work out, though. C went ahead without me, last night, which I certainly did not mind. I felt bad for not going the other nights, but I’m glad she didn’t let me stop her from going last night.

The Red Sox lost to the Astros by the score of 4-2, last night. Their record is now 39-18, still the MLB best by a game and a half. The Yankees did not play last night, which is the reason for the half game. They continue their series in Houston tonight.

The Rangers couldn’t pull off a sweep over Seattle, losing 6-1, but I believe they won the series. That’s always good. You keep wining series, you will move up in the standings. They travel south tonight to play the Angels in LA. Their record is 24-35. They are 12.5 out in the AL West, and sixth from the bottom in MLB standings.

We are having a church picnic tomorrow at a park in Keller. Last weekend, the forecast high for tomorrow was 107-108. As of this morning, we are seeing anywhere from 97 to 103. Still really hot. I plan on spending most of the time sitting in the shade.

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

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; 
they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. 
From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 
and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. 
The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 
In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 
The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

Psalm 104:10-18

The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
Proverbs 14:15

Father, as I ponder the words above this prayer, I ask you that I will always be prudent in considering my steps. Let me not be considered among the simple, who believe everything that gets posted on Facebook or any other social media. May I always give thought to what I accept or believe and, most especially, weight it in light of your holy words. Let my life be a beacon of goodness and compassion in the spirit of Jesus, walking in your kingdom minute by minute, always looking for your presence, wherever I go.
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.

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.