Fickle Feet

Today is Saturday, the fifth of November, 2022, in the 31st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ fill your soul today, and may You find rest in Him!

Day 23,613

Today’s cover photo was taken by Paul Militaru, Romanian photographer. Please visit his site at the link provided to see his wonderful photographs.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
(Psalms 119:14 ESV)

Lord God Almighty, whose eyes keep watch over the whole world, we come before you with the evil from our surroundings still clinging to us. Grant that our lives may be in your hands. Give us your strength to find the way, even through suffering and distress. For we are yours, O Lord our God, and you have chosen your people to be strong and to be freed from all evils. Help us, we beseech you. May we know that you are with us and may your Word bring us blessing, to the glory of your name forever. Amen.

(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

The eyes of the Lord are on those who love him, a mighty shield and strong support, a shelter from scorching wind and a shade from noonday sun, a guard against stumbling and a help against falling. 
Ecclesiasticus 34:19, NRSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the strength God gives to find the way, even through suffering and distress and sin
  2. for the assurance that God is with us and that His Word brings us blessing
  3. that the Lord, who watches over us, neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121)
  4. that in His presence, there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11)
  5. for the gift of faith; “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24

But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
(2 Timothy 1:12 ESV)

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.
(Psalms 121:1-8 ESV)

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


By wisdom a house is built, 
and by understanding it is established; 
by knowledge the rooms are filled 
with all precious and pleasant riches.
(Proverbs 24:3-4 ESV)
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)

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:24 ESV)

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
(James 5:15 ESV)


In one way or another, every Scripture verse used today hearkens back to faith.

We have Proverbs 24:3-4 displayed in several places in our home. In fact, it is written in the center of our house, probably on the foundation.

You see, when our house was framed, before any walls or flooring were put up, we had a picnic in the middle of it, one Saturday afternoon. We had compiled a list of verses and planned to write them all over the house. Proverbs 24:3-4 was written in the center of the house. I can’t remember if it is on the foundation or on a frame post. But I suspect it is on the foundation.

Psalm 100:4 is written on the foundation at the front door.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(Psalms 100:4 ESV)

For the record, most of the verses are NIV, because ESV did not exist yet. It was 1999.

Also for the record, we do not claim to possess any great amount of wisdom or understanding. Even my knowledge is suspect. The older I get, the more I know that I don’t know, and even things that I thought I knew might not be right.

For example, does anyone else remember being taught in grade school that our taste buds were in groups on our tongues? Research in recent years has proved that this is not quite the case.

I’m not all that concerned with knowing everything, any more. I’m more concerned with knowing God. I know people who know the Bible through and through. I’m fairly knowledgeable about the Bible, but I know folks who know it much “better” than I. However, I’m not sure they know the Creator all that well.

At church, recently, we sang the song, “Knowing You,” written in 1993 by Graham Kendrick. It has some wonderful lyrics.

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Now my heart's desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know you in your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die

Chorus:
Knowing you, Jesus
Know you, there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord

And in knowing Jesus (and the Father through Him), I am shown the path of life. He makes it known to me, and by faith, I receive it. And in that, I experience that fullness of joy, and begin to experience the “pleasures forevermore” of which Psalm 16:11 speak.

Also in that knowledge, I can experience the power of Isaiah 41:10, and “fear not.”

All of this, as mentioned, requires faith. We know, from Hebrews 11:6, that without faith it is impossible to please God.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 ESV)

This is a very simple truth. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists.” Very simple.

I have long identified with that father from Mark 9. Many times, have I cried out to God, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Because I do believe. I do have faith. I have said many times that I believe that God can do it. But I’m not sure that He wants to or will. And therein lies the difference.

I don’t have it all figured out. My life is far from perfect. My walk with Christ looks a lot like Billy’s path when he walks home from the bus stop.

I’ll get there. But my feet are fickle.


Father, I love You. You know my heart; You know that I believe. You also know that I am merely dust, and You know my imperfections and flaws.

I also know that, in Christ, I am made flawless. I do not understand this mystery, and I’m not holding my breath to understand it. I believe that I will, one day, understand that and every other mystery that comes with this walk of faith, when I am with You in eternity.

I believe that there is nothing more important than knowing You. There are so many things that I used to hold on to; things that don’t really matter to me, any more. What matters is faith; and that faith is a gift from You. I pray that You help me in the areas where my faith is weak.

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

I pray for Your Church, Father, the Bride of Jesus Christ. I pray for those who have fallen prey to manipulations by men. I pray for those who have allowed politics to corrupt their faith. I pray for those who put country and “freedom” over faith and Christ. There will be no “country” in heaven, except for the “country of forgiveness.” I cannot wait, Lord, to worship You in that great congregation that is made up of every tribe, nation, language, and people, and to sing the “new songs” in whatever language You give us.

Oh, how I long for Home!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

Amen.
(St. Teresa of Avila)

Grace and peace, friends.

There Is No Greater Thing

Father,
I seek to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified.
When I take the full measure of your love in the cross,
any worth I might think I have pales in contrast to the beauty and wonder of knowing Jesus Christ.
I find comfort in his wounds and life in his death,
which renders me perfect forever.
Amen.

Today is Friday, the twenty-sixth of March, 2021, in the fifth week of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,024

Nine days until Resurrection Sunday!

C received her second Pfizer vaccine shot, yesterday. Her reaction was a bit stronger than mine, as she has a mild fever, and chills and aches. Forward thinking, she brought her work computer home, and will be staying home today.

S should get her second shot next week, but I’m not sure we have received notification about that, yet.

Yesterday’s work day was as different from the day before as night is from day. It was truly amazing. The “epiphany” that I had in the midst of Wednesday made a world of difference. I’m still just as busy and just as behind, but the attitude was completely different.

And today is Friday! It’s hard to get me down on a Friday. I have no idea what this weekend holds, other than Palm Sunday. I know that we have no plans outside our normal Saturday and Sunday activities.

Baseball season begins soon. I believe Opening Day for MLB is April 1. The Texas Rangers begin the season in Kansas City, so their home opening day (at the new ballpark, which will finally have some fans) will be Monday, April 5.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.
(The Prayer of St. Francis)

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
(Psalms 66:16-20 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • that C has gotten her second COVID-19 vaccine shot
  • for gentle nudges from You, throughout the day
  • that You are my Rock and my Foundation
  • that knowing You, Jesus, is the main purpose of my life
  • that Your Word casts a beam of light on my path

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

LENT – DAY 33

INVITATION

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:17-18 NIV)

I am pausing, this morning, to quietly reflect on the Lord’s goodness in my life.

BIBLE SONG

Of David.

To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
(Psalms 28:1-2 NIV)

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:6-7 NIV)

BIBLE READING

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:4b-14 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I rest in God’s presence, this morning, I reread these passages, searching for words or phrases that reach out to me or move my spirit.

I acknowledge that God is my Rock. He is my Foundation. All other ground is sinking sand. I frequently cry out to Him for mercy, and He hears my prayers. Praise be to God!

He is my strength and my shield! “My heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

The reading from Philippians stresses one thing and that one thing is, as Curly emphasized in City Slickers, the main thing. That main thing is “to know Christ.” Everything that Paul lists off as potential reasons to boast, and his list is long, he considers as garbage. The KJV uses the word “dung.” Everything that I could possibly boast in, compared to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, is a big old pile of poop.

And Paul?!? The mightiest of all New Testament writers? He does not yet claim to have “taken hold of it.” He continues to press forward, “straining toward what is ahead.”

We focus our attention on so many useless things, and, to be fair, some of those are helpful diversions from the issues we face in this world. I spend more than my fair share of time playing video games. But that is my mode of relaxation; it helps me to get over the stress of the work week.

But there are other things that we obsess over that are not so healthy. We get dragged into political junk, conspiracies over this or that. I’m currently reading a book about the Manson murders back in the late sixties. It’s making my head spin. It would be really easy to get drawn into an obsession over that kind of thing.

But obsessions over anything that is not Christ are unhealthy for us. As Paul proclaims, knowing Jesus is the main thing. There is no greater thing, as a song by Graham Kendrick proclaims.

Father, I praise You for being my Rock and my Foundation. I thank You that You hear my prayers for mercy, and other prayers, as well. I echo the sentiment proclaimed by Paul, and sung by Matthew in the above song. Knowing You, Jesus, is the main thing. There is no great thing! May that be the thrust of my life, the goal of my very existence. I love You, Lord!

Father,
I seek to know nothing but Jesus and him crucified.
When I take the full measure of your love in the cross,
any worth I might think I have pales in contrast to the beauty and wonder of knowing Jesus Christ.
I find comfort in his wounds and life in his death,
which renders me perfect forever.
Amen.
(Belgic Confession 21)

BLESSING

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.
(1 John 5:11-12 NIV)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.
(Colossians 2:6 MSG)

With your instruction, I understand life; that’s why I hate false propaganda. By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
(Psalms 119:104-105 MSG)

Father, keep me on Your path, today. Simple and straightforward, teach me to live in what I have learned from You. I have received Jesus Christ, the Master; help me to live in Him and walk in Him. Your Word casts a beam of light on my path, that I may see where I am going. Let me not step out of that beam today! Knowing You . . . there is no greater thing!

Lord, may You give me, today, the ability to deny myself and serve others. I am still praying for more gentleness in everything I think, do, and say. Give me and all of us the commitment to do justice and love mercy. I lift up a special prayer, this morning, for all who are separated or divorced. May You bring comfort to them, peace to their hearts, and, where possible, restoration to broken relationships. All glory to You, Lord!

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!

Grace and peace, friends.

Bible Study

It’s about time Friday got here! Today is Friday, February 15, 2013.

Today is National Gum Drop Day. If all the rain drops were lemon drops and gum drops, oh what a rain that would be. Yes, and it would hurt! Can you imagine lemon drops falling from the sky? I mean, sure, they would be tasty (and frozen, because it’s really cold up there), but they would be like little hail stones, breaking car windows and stuff. Not to mention your teeth, if you were silly enough to stand there looking up with your mouth open. Sometimes, people who write kids’ songs (and Skittles commercials) just don’t think these things through. Now it would be totally different if we just walked out of the house every morning to find a yard full of lemon drops and gum drops. Like those Hebrew children and their manna. That would be way cool. Of course the candy would have dirt on it. And maybe bugs.

Okay…enough about candy! Moving on…


Stephanie had her training session last night, and I worked out on the elliptical again. Tonight, though, Christi and I plan to go to Hoffbrau steak house because they are having their semi-yearly Prime Rib special, and my love loves prime rib! I will do my best to make a healthy choice so as to not undo the progress I’ve made this week.

Christi should get her yearly bonus today. That will be nice. I don’t get those. 🙂 Oh, and we are both off on Monday! Yay!! I’m taking a vacation day because, for some strange reason, Christi’s company gives her President’s Day as a holiday. That will be nice.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1898, the battleship Maine exploded and sank in the waters of the Havana harbor, off the coast of Cuba. She had been sent there to reassure Americans who lived in Spanish-owned Cuba. As Captain Charles Sigsbee recalled, “I was enclosing my letter in its envelope when the explosion came. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was followed by heavy, ominous metallic sounds. There was a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, a list to port. The electric lights went out. Then there was intense blackness and smoke.” 260 of the 350 men on the ship died as the ship sunk. Even though no one knew what had happened, William Randolph Heart began a media campaign, blaming the Spanish, and by April, the Spanish-American war had begun, which the Americans won quite easily. “In the pride of victory, the public began to forget about the Maine. Also forgotten was the fact that for many years no one really knew why she had blown up or who was responsible. But in 1976 a study by the US Navy indicated that the most likely cause was an accidental detonation in the ship’s coalbunker, entirely the fault of the Maine herself and her crew.”

Hmmm…and we think it’s a new thing that the media creates situations out of nothing…in this case the media, spurred on by Hearst, created a war!


Today’s birthday is Matthew Ward, born on this date in 1958. (Hey, we’re only a month apart!) Matthew was the brother in the sibling “Jesus Music” pioneering group, Second Chapter of Acts.


For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Psalm 25:11
Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! Psalm 109:26
Father, I pray for a glimpse of you and your glory this morning, as I lift up my soul to you.


Today I’m reading Isaiah 28:9-10.
“To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”

This appears to be a sarcastic quote from the hardened leaders spoken of in the previous two verses. They are speaking about Isaiah, the prophet.


Today, in A Year With God, we begin a section on the discipline of Study. Study is defined as “The intentional process of engaging the mind with the written and spoken Word of God and the world God has created in such a way that the mind takes on an order conforming to the order upon which it concentrates.” From the time that the Lord laid down the law, study has been an important part of the “with-God life.” The best way to learn more and grow closer to God is to study his written Word. “What we study, what we concentrate on, becomes ingrained in us. Study transforms us from the inside out.” Psalm 111:2 says, Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.

Today’s reading is called “Learning from Scripture.” The scripture reading is 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

While most of us realize the importance of the Bible in our spiritual walk, most of us also realize that we don’t study it enough. I’m right in there with that group. According to Richard Foster, “what Christians today most lack is the study of long passages of Scripture.” I’m challenged by this book to select a long passage of scripture and read it each day over the next ten days, asking the Spirit to illuminate it for me, to show me its meaning. There are different tactics that can be used in this process. I might begin by repetition, reading the passage over several times, perhaps even aloud. Next is concentration, seeking, perhaps, to memorize parts of the passage (or all of it). After this, I might want to consider the interpretation of the passage, perhaps even reading what a commentary has to say about it. The final step would be reflection, thinking on what the passage has taught me.

I’ll think about what passage I want to use during the day today. Then I will embark on this challenge to see how it goes. Right now, I’m thinking about the book of 1 John. But we’ll see.


Father, it is my desire to learn more from you and to grow closer to you. It is also my desire to increase in love, both for you and for all people. It sounds very easy to talk about loving “all people,” but when we realize that “all people” also includes the ones right around us that annoy us the most, that becomes not such an easy task. I pray that, through the study of Scripture, and meditating on what it teaches me, that my love will increase. I have been praying each day that the characteristics of love, as defined in 1 Corinthians 13, would be stronger in my life, and made manifest each day. I still find that this is incredibly difficult sometimes, as the flesh doesn’t want to love that which annoys it. Take my life and mold it to what you want it to be, Lord. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day. I ask that Christi and I would have a good work day today, and that you would protect us by the power of your Spirit. If any challenges come our way, may we immediately look to you for guidance and strength, not resorting to fleshly devices. I also pray for Stephanie today, that you might draw her closer to you.

Your grace us sufficient.


Bible study is an important discipline in the “with-God life.” I will endeavor to meet the challenge to find a way to include more of it in my life.

Grace and peace, friends.