Equipped and Empowered

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.”~~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is wormhole, “a hypothetical structure of space-time envisioned as a long thin tunnel connecting points that are separated in space and time.”

Today is . . . oh, boy. Today is Bacon Day. What else do I need to say about that?

Christi finally got her new car, yesterday. While she was picking hers up, I was getting new front tires on mine (I really need to do a better job of rotating those suckers), and then getting the oil changed. Right as Christi was about to leave with her new car, they told there was some kind of recall that had been issued the day before. It delayed her another hour or so, but wasn’t too bad.

I played Fallout 4 some more while I was waiting for her to get home. We watched a few episodes of Criminal Minds while we ate dinner, then Christi went to bed, while I stayed up to . . . you guessed it . . . play Fallout 4. It’s going to be tough going back to work and a regular schedule.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Christi’s new car, sitting right next to mine.
Christi's new car

On this date in:

1903–A fire occurred at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, killing 600 people
1922–The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed
1924–Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galaxies
1948–Cole Porter’s musical, Kiss Me, Kate, opened at the New Century Theatre on Broadway. It would become the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.
1965–Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines
1981–Wayne Gretzky scored his 50th goal of the season in the 39th game, setting a new NHL record
2006–Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging

Today’s birthdays include:

1865–Rudyard Kipling, English writer
1904–Dmitri Kabalevsky, Russian composer
1914–Bert Parks, American TV host
1920–Jack Lord, American actor, Hawaii Five-O
1928–Bo Diddley, American blues musician
1931–Skeeter Davis, American singer
1934–Del Shannon, American singer
1935–Jack Riley, American actor, The Bob Newhart Show
1935–Sandy Koufax, American pitcher
1937–Noel Paul Stookey, American folk singer, Peter, Paul and Mary
1937–John Hartford, American singer/songwriter
1939–Felix Pappalardi, American musician and record producer, Mountain
1941–Mel Renfro, American football player
1942–Fred Ward, American actor, Tremors
1942–Michael Nesmith, American musician, The Monkees
1945–Davy Jones, English singer, The Monkees
1946–Patti Smith, American singer
1947–Jeff Lynne, English musician, Electric Light Orchestra, The Traveling Wilburys
1959–Tracey Ullman, English actress/singer
1976–A.J. Pierzynski, American catcher
1980–Eliza Dushku, American actress, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse
1986–Ellie Goulding, British singer

So today is the birthday of both Michael Nesmith, who turns 73 today (born in Houston, TX), and Davy Jones, who will sadly not be turning 70 today, as we lost him back in 2012. Here is a music video The Monkees singing “Daydream Believer.”

I can’t ignore the fact that it is also Jeff Lynne’s birthday, frontman for Electric Light Orchestra, as well as Tracey Ulmann, British pop singer. Lynne turns 68, and Tracey turns 56.

Richard Plantagenet, Sonny Liston, Melba Rae, Richard Rodgers, Ling-Ling, Maureen Starkey, Jack Nance, Artie Shaw, and Saddam Hussein are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “Outfitted and Empowered.”

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

There will be a lot of talk, over the next couple of days, about the new year coming up. 2016 will arrive in just over 36 hours (as I am typing this, it is 11:44 AM). As Christ has shed his blood for us, fulfilling the eternal covenant, he was raised from the dead by the “God of peace,” and is our “living Lord and Shepherd.”

As we look forward to 2016, we can be confident of two things:

1. God “equips us with everything good that we may do his will.”

2. God “works in us that which is pleasing in his sight.”

These two things are secured for us by the “eternal covenant,” which is also the “new covenant.” The promise of the new covenant is given in Jeremiah 31:33: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The will of God, as we understand it, is not just some words written on papyrus or stone. It is worked in our hearts. The result of this is that “we feel and think and act in ways more pleasing to God.”

We still have to work and use the things with which God has equipped us. Philippians 2:12-13 tells us: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The only way that we are able to please God, to do his good pleasure, is because “the blood-bought grace of God has moved from mere equipping to omnipotent transforming.”

As 2016 approaches, may we understand these things, and allow the will of God to work within us, that we might do what is pleasing in his sight.

Father, I pray for your work in me to increase in the coming year. I have struggled, this year, ever since April. It is time to move forward, to move ahead in your will, and with what you have equipped me for. It is time to stop sitting still. May your equipping in me and your work in me move me toward what is more pleasing in your sight.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Celebration in Suffering

Good morning. I think it’s Monday. December 30, 2013. One more wake-up left in this year. 47 days until pitchers and catchers report. 91 days until Opening day. For all but twelve teams, football season is over.

Today is “National Bicarbonate of Soda Day.” We know this more commonly as “baking soda.” Baking soda has many uses. Just click on the above link to find out about them.

We had a delicious lunch yesterday, with Rachel and Justin, and watched many episodes of Adventure Time on Netflix. Adventure Time is a Cartoon Network production that is very strange and entertaining. It features Jake the Dog, Finn the Human, Princess Bubblegum, Lady Rainicorn, and Marceline the Vampire Queen, just to name a few. After they left, Christi and I watched more Parenthood.

We were planning to go to Mineral Wells today, to do some work around my parents’ house, but Christi just isn’t feeling up to it today. She still has a rough cough and is not feeling well. Plus, today’s high is only going to get to the lower forties, and some of the work is in the back yard. We will see about going on Wednesday or next Sunday, whenever Christi is feeling better.

I just had a brief interruption to go buy the donuts.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1916, the murder of one Grigory Yefimovich Novykh occurred. If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, you don’t recognize that name. Perhaps you recognize the name Rasputin? As the gramophone played Yankee Doodle, Prince Feliks Yusupov offered Rasputin “two cakes laced with cyanide of potassium, along with a similarly doctored glass of Madeira. Yet despite a dosage theoretically ‘enough to kill a horse,’ the intended murder victim, a bearded and brooding holy man, continued to chat calmly with his host.
“After the clock chimed midnight Yusupov could wait no longer. Drawing a revolver, he shot his visitor in the back, knocking him to the ground. but instead of dying the victim rose to his feet and charged out into the garden. There another assassin waited. He shot the holy man twice, and then the two murderers rolled him up in a blue rug and pushed their grisly package through a hole they had carved through the frozen surface of the Moika Canal on the Neva River. When the body was recovered three days later, water was found in the lungs. The murdered man had finally drowned, after surviving both poison and bullets.”

Today’s birthdays are Rudyard Kipling, author, 1865, Jack Lord, actor, 1928, Del Shannon, singer, 1934, Sandy Koufax, pitcher, 1935, John Hartford, country singer, 1937, Paul Stookey, 1937, Mel Renfro, football player in the Landry era, 1941, Fred Ward, actor, 1942, Michael Nesmith, 1942, Davy Jones, 1945, Jeff Lynne, musician, 1947, Tracey Ullman, singer, 1959, A.J. Pierzynski, catcher, 1976, Grant Balfour, pitcher, 1977, and Eliza Dushka, 1980.

Wow, so many to choose from today. Well, Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones were part of a sixties group created for a TV show, called The Monkees. Sadly, Davy left us last year (2012). Here is a video of them “performing” “Daydream Believer.”


(From The Divine Hours)

Psa 103:20-22 Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psa 119:19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!
Psa 56:12-13 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Eph 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than
all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, forever and ever. Amen.

“Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your
incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in my heart,
may shine forth in my life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

Today’s reading in A Year With God is “Celebrating in Times of Suffering.” The scripture reading is Isaiah 51:9-11.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD;
awake, as in days of old, the generations of long
ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who
pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up
the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made
the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to
pass over? And the ransomed of the LORD shall
return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting
joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain
gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

“These words are written to Israel in exile.” The writer calls out to God and remembers His great deeds on behalf of Israel. He also prophesies that the people, “the ransomed of the LORD,” will return to their land, with singing and everlasting joy! As we find ourselves in times of suffering, it is important that we take time to call out to God, remembering that he has done great things for us in the past, and also knowing that he will deliver us in the future! “Reaching for everlasting joy through singing, dancing, and praising is essential even and perhaps especially in times of sadness, because it returns our focus to God.” Here is a quote from Dallas Willard in The Spirit of the Disciplines:

“Celebration heartily done makes our deprivations and sorrows
seem small, and we find in it great strength to do the will of
our God because his goodness becomes so real to us.”

Father, teach us to celebrate, even when we are suffering. There seems to be a lot of suffering in the lives of people whom we are close to. Sometimes, we think we are suffering, but then we see someone else, and realize we are okay. Our trials are minuscule in comparison. Nevertheless, when we are going through a trial, it seems serious; it seems large; and, sometimes, it seems insurmountable. Take us through these trials and sufferings with our eyes fixed on you, celebrating your grace, your mercy, your wonderful deeds in our lives, and throwing ourselves into worship and celebration with abandonment. Would that we could get our eyes off of ourselves long enough to celebrate in all circumstances. Teach us these things, O Lord!

I pray that Christi will begin to feel better today, and that we will be able to get out on Wednesday. I pray for everyone who will be traveling anywhere tomorrow, especially for those who will be out and about after midnight tomorrow night, celebrating a new year as 2014 arrives. Keep people safe. I pray that anyone who partakes too much in the celebrations will find someone else to drive them home. Take us into this new year with our eyes on you, looking ahead, not backwards.

Your grace is sufficient.

If you are suffering right now, in the midst of some kind of trial or tragedy, try to take your eyes off of your circumstances and look up; lift up your head, your redemption draweth nigh. . .

Grace and peace, friends.