Of Evil and the Holy Spirit

Today is Monday, the twenty-sixth of September, 2022, in the twenty-sixth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ abide in you today!

Day 23,573

I’ll be updating Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit immediately following this blog.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we are your children, who come before you and stand in your presence. Be with us and be our light in all situations of life, in all hardships and grief. Be our light, as you have always been. Reveal your power so that the world may know you as we have come to know you. Give us joyful readiness to persevere until your day comes, for the brightness of your day will shine through all darkness and will end all evil, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the descriptions of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; if we consider that Scripture tells us that “God is love,” then we can also associate these same character traits with God
  2. for the brightness of the Lord’s day, which shines though all of the darkness
  3. that the Lord has cast all our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19)
  4. for Jesus’s assurance that the Father will give us the things that we ask for
  5. that the Lord will deliver those who love Him (Psalm 91)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 
(1 John 4:7-11, 20-21 ESV)

It could not possibly be clearer.


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say to the LORD, 
"My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
(Psalms 91:1-2 ESV)
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— 
the Most High, who is my refuge— 
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, 
no plague come near your tent. 
For he will command his angels concerning you 
to guard you in all your ways. 
On their hands they will bear you up, 
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
(Psalms 91:9-12 ESV)
"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
 I will protect him, because he knows my name. 
When he calls to me, I will answer him; 
I will be with him in trouble;
 I will rescue him and honor him. 
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."
(Psalms 91:14-16 ESV)

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13 ESV)

This verse is at the end of the talk wherein Jesus told His disciples, “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (verse 9)

The principle at work, here, is worthy of consideration. “If you then, who are evil,” He said. This might shock us. He just called His disciples “evil.” But we are, at our roots, evil beings. In our unregenerate state, we are, simply put, bad.

This doesn’t mean we are all, you know, serial killers or rapers, or something like that. (For the record, I will no longer use the word “rapist,” after watching a comedian on TikTok say that she thinks the word should be “raper,” which sounds more like “murderer or killer,” as opposed to “rapist,” which sounds like “therapist, artist, or florist.”) We don’t all do terrible, horrible things. But here’s the thing . . . we could.

Don’t ever think that you are not capable of doing some very bad things. We all need to remember that phrase, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

So we are evil, yet we know how to give good gifts to our children. The comparison, then, is made with God. And, in this instance, the “gift” is specifically the Holy Spirit. And this business of asking, seeking, and knocking is none other than prayer. Prayer is what makes it happen.

Andrew Murray says, “Of all the gifts of the early church to which we should aspire, there is none more needed than the gift of prayer–prayer that brings the Holy Spirit into the midst of believers.”

“Prayer,” Murray says, “links the King on the throne with the church at His feet.” I love that line. It’s powerful and true. While it is also true that Jesus Christ is our link to the Father, the means of communication between us is, and always has been, prayer.

The Holy Spirit comes to us in answer to our prayers, and we get our divine strength and power from the Holy Spirit. “Where there is much payer, there will be much of the Spirit; where there is much of the Spirit, there will be ever-increasing prayer.” (Murray)


Father, I am asking; I am seeking; I am knocking. Help me to be more faithful in prayer; more consistent. Bring the Holy Spirit down on Your Church, that we might have the strength and power that is spoken of. Help us to know, to have confidence in Jesus’s words that You will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we ask. Yes, I realize that the Spirit dwells within each of us, beginning on the day when we believe in Christ. But, for some reasons, we lack power, much of the time.

So, while it may not be entirely accurate to ask You to send the Spirit, I know that we need the power and might of the Spirit in our lives. You understand what we mean when we pray, even if our words aren’t quite right. In fact, we have the confidence that it is the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf when we don’t quite know how to voice our prayers.

Thank You for Your great love and infinite mercy, Father. Thank You for the promises that You give us, promises of deliverance for those who love You; promises of safety for those who dwell in Your Word and abide in You. Help us to avail ourselves of these promises, and to abide by the conditions by which they will occur. Help me to abide in You and in the Words of Christ; help me to walk in Him, daily.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
(The Jesus Prayer)

Grace and peace, friends.

Today Forever

Today is Monday, the nineteenth of September, 2022, in the twenty-fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul!

Day 23,566

Only three days until Autumn begins!

The Queen’s funeral is going on, as I type this, and S is in the living room watching it. I suppose it is fitting that it is happening on September 19, which is already a sad day for me, as it is the day that Rich Mullins was killed in an auto accident, twenty-five years ago. This all rather overshadows “Talk Like A Pirate Day.”

We had a nice day, yesterday. The church gathering was good, and we had Applebee’s for lunch afterward. We watched an episode of Call the Midwife (C and Mama have been watching them, but I hadn’t seen any, yet) during lunch, then spent the rest of the day relaxing (after taking out the trash bins).

The high temperature yesterday wound up being three degrees below the predicted high of 95. Does that count as a cold front? That’s four degrees higher than the average for the day. Today’s high is projected at 95 again, as is tomorrow’s. Saturday’s high is 97, and then it begins to drop, going down below 90 for the last three days of the ten-day forecast. Unfortunately, Saturday is the day we plan to take the truck to Mineral Wells to move furniture. Hopefully, the truck doesn’t fall through, this time.

The record high temp for today is, once again, 98, back in 2005.

The Texas Rangers, after losing again to the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3, have been officially eliminated from any hopes of playoff contention for this season. They are 63-83 for the season, with sixteen games remaining. They are 32.5 games out of first place and 17.5 out of the Wild Card race. And they dropped back to fourth place, a game behind the Angels. They are off today, and begin a series with the Angels, in Arlington, tomorrow.

The Boston Red Sox came back with a vengeance and beat the Royals 13-3, yesterday. This puts them at 71-75 for the season, with sixteen games remaining. They are still in last place in the AL East, 5.5 behind the Orioles. They are 17 games out of first place and are now officially eliminated from the division race. They are 9.5 out of the Wild Card race and their WCE# is 8. They, too, are off today, and begin a series in Cincinnati tomorrow.

The Astros and Dodgers are still the only two teams to have clinched playoff berths, and the Dodgers are the only team to have clinched their division.

The Dodgers kept their chances alive with another win, yesterday, to make their MLB-leading record 101-44. They must win sixteen of their remaining seventeen to break the win record. The Nationals and Athletics both lost, so the Nationals remain the worst, at 51-95, 1.5 behind the A’s.

The Mets have the longest current win streak, at four games. The Pirates and Phillies both have four-game losing streaks. The Dodgers now have a run differential of +329, and the Pirates are at -214. The Rangers are at -22, and the Red Sox gained back the nine runs they lost yesterday (plus one) and are now at -34.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God and our Father, we thank you for all the light you let shine on earth to gladden our hearts. Your light shows us how to live in your creation with open eyes and open hearts, accepting in a childlike way all the good gifts from your hand. How much good you send to many sorrowful hearts, and how much strengthening to those in weakness, poverty, and sickness! Grant that we may recognize what comes from you, that we are not cast down in spirit but mount up again and again on wings like eagles. May we learn to say at all times, "Through how much need has not our merciful God spread out his wings to protect us!" Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
(Exodus 19:4-6 ESV)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:30-31 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the light from God that shines to gladden our hearts and strengthen us in our sorrows and weaknesses
  2. that the Lord abounds in steadfast love (mercy) to all who call upon Him
  3. that He is merciful and gracious and slow to anger (shouldn’t we be the same??)
  4. for every good and perfect gift that comes down from the Father of lights
  5. that my thoughts are drawn toward eternity

So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
(John 19:16-22 ESV)

I have frequently wondered about the eternal destiny of Pilate. He was very close to believing, I think. He knew there was something more to Jesus than what was visible.


Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. 
Gladden the soul of your servant, 
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, 
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 
In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. 
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, 
nor are there any works like yours. 
All the nations you have made 
shall come and worship before you, O Lord, 
and shall glorify your name. 
For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth;
 unite my heart to fear your name.
 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, 
and I will glorify your name forever. 
For great is your steadfast love toward me; 
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
(Psalms 86:3-13 ESV)
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, 
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 
Turn to me and be gracious to me; 
give your strength to your servant, 
and save the son of your maidservant.
(Psalms 86:15-16 ESV)

This has long been a favorite psalm of mine, and I can’t remember how long ago it was that I chose verse 11 as my “life verse.” That’s the verse in italics, above. It’s probably been a little over twenty years, because I seem to remember being in this house when I did that, and we have lived her for 23 years, now.

I’m still working, or should I say He is still working, on that united heart bit. And as for giving thanks with my whole heart, I’m still working on that one, too. What I want to focus on this morning, though is that steadfast love that is mentioned in this psalm. The word that is used in the Hebrew language is chesed. The KJV translates that word as “mercy.” The Strong’s entry on that word is as follows: “kindness; by implication (towards God) piety; rarely (by opposition) reproof, or (subjectively) beauty:—favour, good deed(-liness, -ness), kindly, (loving-) kindness, merciful (kindness), mercy, pity, reproach, wicked thing.”

Then verse 15 also tells us that God is merciful and gracious and slow to anger. As I read this psalm, this morning, my thoughts were drawn to questions about our own behavior in this world. If God shows mercy, steadfast love, and is merciful and gracious and slow to anger, are we not directed to be like Him?


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
(James 1:17 ESV)


And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
(1 John 5:11 ESV)

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:28-30 ESV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)

“Eternal life.”

How often do we consider the words “eternal” and “eternity?” The first definition of eternity is somewhat oxymoronic. “Infinite or unending time,” it says. The fact that it includes the word “time” makes me chuckle. I prefer the second definition, which, to me makes it clearer: “a state to which time has no application; timelessness.”

The first thing I always type in this blog is the date. Many people are interested in what “holiday” is featured for the day. Some holidays are official, some not so much. For example, today is “Talk Like A Pirate Day.” Shiver me timbers. I also remember this as the day that Rich Mullins died. It will, from this day forward, be remembered as the day that Queen Elizabeth II was buried.

We remember birthdays. We mark years. I remember significant years in my life.

In eternity, none of those will matter. Eternity will be one infinite day. It will be “today” forever. There will be no more tomorrow, and there will be no more yesterday. Or, perhaps “yesterday” will be remembered as a vague time when we were walking on earth. I have no idea if we will remember this life.

Great. Now my brain hurts.

The burdens of time, these “light momentary afflictions” that we must endure, are temporary. When we worry about them, we do ourselves a grave disservice (no pun intended). We steal joy from ourselves by allowing ourselves to be ruled by them. Yes, we must pay attention, and we must, to a degree, abide by them. It would be to my best interest to be at work on time on days when I am scheduled.

I find some words of Paul in Galatians to be quite interesting.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years!
(Galatians 4:9-10 ESV)

But, then, it is also important to note that, when Paul was writing these letters to the churches, they were all quite sure that Jesus would be returning in a couple of years, at the most.

“Eternal life.” Today forever. My soul rejoices at the hope!


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 ESV)

Andrew Murray focuses on meditation, from this passage. He says, “Through meditation the heart holds and appropriates the Word of God.” The intellect takes in the words when we read, but they must get into the heart, and the way this happens is through meditation.

It is important to meditate on God’s Word because “whatever the heart truly believes, it embraces with love and joy and thus influences the life.”

Meditation was a lost art, for a long time, in modern Christianity. It is still shunned by many well-meaning Christians because of its Eastern implications. But meditation was encouraged, even demanded, as far back as Old Testament times.

But before we try to meditate, we must “present ourselves before God.” You see, the words on the pages of a Bible mean nothing without His presence, without the influence of the Holy Spirit. They are just words. “It has no power to bless apart from Him.” As it brings us into His presence, then we can begin to meditate on it and hide it away in our hearts. This is done in “quiet restfulness,” during which our minds need not expend energy, as we do in “study.”

And then, meditation leads to prayer, as it, by nature, “provides subjects for prayer.” I can attest to the truth of this, as I have many times been led into prayer by meditating on a specific passage of Scripture. In fact, every day, in this blog, I am led to prayer by the passages on which I meditate.

Today, I’m meditating/contemplating/pondering eternity.


Father, my soul rejoices, this morning, as I consider eternal life, and the implications within. Much of what we believe about eternity is speculation, as You have not provided an abundance of information about it. You have told us that there would be no pain, no sickness, and no tears, which is what causes me to question whether we will, in fact, remember our lives on earth. Such knowledge is too high for me, I cannot attain it.

All I know for sure is that I look forward to it with great anticipation. And I know that this eternal life comes from Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Word, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All praise to You for giving us this life, Father, and for drawing us into it as You have.

As we grow closer to the time when this will come to pass, I pray that You draw us away from earthly things that do not matter, special days, years, and even memories. Not that I want to forget loved ones or anything like that. I just don’t want to be focusing on things that relate to time, which will no longer be a factor in our lives. I love the concept that was brought into my mind today, the idea that, when we enter eternity, it will be an endless day, it will be “today” forever.

Even so, please come quickly, Lord Jesus!


He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

No Grounds for Boasting

Today is Monday, September 12, 2022, in the 24th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart today!

Day 23,559

Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru. Please check out his photo site at the link provided.

The weekend was pretty uneventful for us. C and I did make it to our church gathering, yesterday morning, which went pretty well. We picked up food from Lone Star BBQ for lunch, on the way home (and Sonic drinks, of course), watched an episode of the old Avengers TV show (with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel), and the rest of the day was pretty much rest and relaxation.

It was a beautiful day, outside, starting out somewhere around 65 degrees. When we walked outside to head to our house church, it was simply wonderful out there. The high only got to 83, yesterday, although, in the sun, it felt hotter than that. That was one degree below the projected high.

Today’s high is predicted to be 86, with no rain expected. The record high for today’s date, in 2011, was 100. The average high for this date is 89.

I haven’t updated baseball in a bit, as I tend to let time get away from me. However, I have no time restraints today, at all, so here goes. The Texas Rangers managed to win a game, yesterday, beating the Blue Jays 4-1. Martin Perez got the win. The Rangers are now 60-79 for the season, 29.5 out of first place, and 18 out of the Wild Card race. They remain in fourth place in the AL West. Their WCE# is six. Seattle is the only team not eliminated from division contention. The Rangers are a half game behind the Angels. They have 23 games remaining.

The Red Sox managed to string two victories in a row, against the Orioles. They crushed them Saturday, winning 17-4, and had a pitcher’s duel, yesterday, winning 1-0. The only run was scored in the top of the first inning. The Sox are 69-72 for the season, still in last place in the AL East, still 4.5 behind Baltimore. The division E# is 6; they are 16 games out of first place. They are 10 games out of the Wild Card race, and the WCE# is 13. They have 21 games remaining.

Albert Pujols has 697 home runs, passing A-Roid, yesterday, to be alone in fourth place for home run totals. That was a definite landmark, as the closest active player to him is Miguel Cabrera, who has just over 500, and is in 27th place, over all. Nellie Cruz, in 39th place, has 459. The next closest active player is Giancarlo Stanton, in 80th place with 373. Pujols, 42 years old, will likely retire at the end of this season. I am rooting for him to make it to 700. If he could hit 18 more, he would pass Babe Ruth. With only 21 games left, that is unlikely.

The Dodgers have become the first team to clinch a playoff berth. No one should be surprised at this, as they have a MLB leading 96-43 record. With 23 games left, they could still break the season win record. But they must win 21 of those 23 games. Honestly, having already clinched a playoff berth, and only three games away from clinching the division, I doubt they will be struggling to break that record. The Nationals are still on the bottom, with 49-92, two games behind the Athletics. The Tigers, Pirates, Athletics and Nationals are all eliminated from any possible playoff contention.

The Phillies and Guardians both have three-game winning streaks going. The Nationals and Twins both have three-game losings streaks. The Dodgers passed 300, now having a +310 run differential, and the Pirates are on the bottom with -214. The Rangers have -14, and the Red Sox improved to -33.

The Rangers have a double-header set of make-up games in Miami today. They play at 12:10 CDT and 6:10 CDT. Boston doesn’t play today, and begins a series against the Yankees tomorrow night.

Football season has begun, and I don’t care much about that. Dallas lost their first game to Tom Brady, but their defense performed pretty well, holding the Bucs to only one touchdown. Final score 19-3. The bad news is that Dak Prescott was injured in the fourth quarter, and the offense already looked terrible. My favorite NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens (for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with football), beat the Jets 24-9.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, Ruler over the world, whose longing is to see your thoughts and your will in all peoples, we come before you and ask that we may find strength in your Word and never cease to hope for the coming of your kingdom. Even when the world storms and rages, even when earthly kingdoms rise up against each other and everything seems dark, even then be present. Let your kingdom go quietly forward, to the honor of your name. Help us come closer to the goal Jesus has shown us, closer to the time we wait for, the day of his coming when all shall be made new and good through your power, through your Spirit. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains...And the gospel must first be preached to all nations...Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 
(Mark 13:7–8,10, 13 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the strength I get from God’s Word and the hope for the coming of His Kingdom
  2. that when I seek the presence of God, He makes known to me the path of life
  3. that I am in Christ because of God the Father
  4. that Christ has become, to me, wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1)
  5. that I do not have to wait until I am “perfect” to enjoy God’s presence

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. . . . Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."
(John 14:15, 21, 23-24 ESV)

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
(1 Chronicles 16:11 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)

He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
(Psalms 18:33 ESV)

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ESV)


“Him,” in that passage from 1 Corinthians, is God. Because of God we are in Christ, who became all of those things for us. We have no grounds on which to boast. We don’t even have any ground on which to stand, outside of the grace of God.

We are admonished to seek the Lord, to seek His face continually. This is not an easy thing to do. While His presence is always here, we are not always aware of it. I must direct my mind and heart to be seeking His face more often.

But in that presence, then, He shows me the path of life; there is fullness of joy; there are pleasures forevermore. He sets me securely on the Rock, on the high, flat place.

And here’s the thing; a beautiful thing, in fact. “This life is meant for the sinful and weary, for the unworthy and the impotent. It is a life that is the gift of the Father’s love and a life that He will reveal in each one who comes in childlike trust to Him.” (Andrew Murray)

We do not have to wait until we are “perfect” to begin to enjoy this life. We can begin walking in this Kingdom now, immediately!

“Come and yield more fully to God’s way of holiness. Let Christ be your sanctification. Not a distant Christ to whom you look but a Christ who is near, all around you, in you. Not a Christ after the flesh, a Christ of the past, but a Christ who is present in the power of the Holy Spirit. Not a Christ whom you can know by your own wisdom, but the Christ of God who is the Spirit within you.” (Murray)

This is the Christ who bids us love Him and keep His commands, keep his word. His commands are not burdensome, unless we attempt to do them in our own strength. Then they are impossible. But, if we abide in Him, if we seek His face continually, we can do those commands, which are, once again, summed up by

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 ESV)

and

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

and

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35 ESV)


Father, I praise You for bringing me into Christ Jesus. You have guided me for my entire life, longer than I can remember, as I have walked in Your Kingdom. Not perfectly. Not even close. Yet I am still here, still walking. There are days when my walk is a struggle, because I try to step outside of that “easy yoke,” and walk in a direction that is not pleasing to You. Yet You never leave me or forsake me; You never stop loving me. Not only that, but Your love never changes; it does not grow smaller when I stumble, or when I choose badly.

I have no grounds to boast, outside of You. It is because of You and Your providence that I am in Christ, and that I have an inheritance waiting for me. I have nothing that You did not give me. I have no righteousness that Jesus did not provide, nor any sanctification or wisdom outside of Him.

You have revealed Yourself to me, through Jesus. You. through Christ and the Holy Spirit, have made a home in me. All glory to You, through the Son, and by the Spirit!

Now, help me to seek Your face more faithfully and consistently. I am too easily distracted, “far too easily pleased.” Forgive me when that happens and always draw me back to You.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“Most blessed Father, I bow in speechless adoration before the holy mystery of your divine love. Forgive me that I have known and believed in your love so much less than it deserves to be known and believed. Accept my praise for what I have seen and tasted of its divine blessedness. Accept, Lord god, the praise of a glad and loving heart that knows it can never praise you enough.” (Andrew Murray)

Grace and peace, friends.

What I Believe

Today is Monday, September 5, 2022, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your soul today!

Day 23,552

Today is Labor Day in the US, a holiday for many people (not the retail folks, though).

We had a nice thunderstorm with a decent amount of rain, yesterday afternoon. During the storm (we were under a “severe thunderstorm warning,” but it didn’t seem that severe in our location), the temperature dropped from 93 (the high for the day) to 70, in the space of less than an hour. I ventured out to get Sonic drinks between 3:30 and 4:00, and it was very nice outside. According to the site I use to check the amount, we got .38 inch in the last 72 hours. That’s the way I like my rain, not 9.5 inches in, say, twelve hours.

Today’s high is predicted to be 91, and our highs seem to be stuck in the 89-92 zone for the next ten days. The record high for today’s date was, once again, in 2000, at 105. I’m glad I don’t live in Citrus Heights, CA. One source predicts a high of 113 there, today. Egad.

We watched the Elvis movie, yesterday, on HBO Max. It’s a very well-done movie, and the young man who plays Elvis Presley did a very good job. I understand he did a lot of the singing, and also plays piano and guitar. Tom Hanks plays Col. Tom Parker. In this movie, it is coming from Parker’s POV, as he tries to convince us (not successfully) that he is not the villain, here, but that Elvis wouldn’t have existed without him.

I think I might do a separate review of the movie, later.

The Texas Rangers lost the fourth and final game to the Boston Red Sox, yesterday, 5-2. The Sox swept the Rangers. Have the Rangers given up? Or are the Red Sox surging? Hard to say. The Sox may have a slim chance of making the playoffs, and the Rangers have slim to none. The Rangers are now 58-75, soon to be twenty games below .500. The Angels lost, though, so the Rangers are still in third place in the AL West, 27.5 out of first place and 15.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E# is 2, and the WCE# is 15. They have 29 games left, and begin a series in Houston today.

The Red Sox are 67-68, almost back to .500. They are still in last place in the AL East, 13.5 out of first and 7.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E# is 15, and their WCE# is 22. They have 27 games left, and begin an important series in Tampa today.

The Minnesota Twins have caught up with the Cleveland Guardians, as the Guardians have lost five in a row. This is important for Minnesota, as there is currently no team in the AL Central in a Wild Card spot, because they are still locked up by two AL East teams and one AL West team. The Red Sox could knock Tampa out of that spot this week. Here’s hoping.

The Dodgers won again, so their MLB leading record is now 92-41. With 29 games left, they have to win 25 of those to break the 116 win record. The Nationals won again, but still have the worst record, at 47-87. The Mariners continue to win, now having a seven-game win streak. The Rangers, feeling the need to be the “best” at something, are in sole possession of an eight-game losing streak. The Dodgers edge closer to a +300 run differential, now at +294. The Pirates have overtaken the Nationals with the worst run differential, now at -209.

Not much on the agenda for today. Groceries are on the way, I’ve ordered some Crumbl cookies for the family, and we might have Lone Star BBQ for lunch. It’s Monday, so I’ll probably make chili for dinner, this evening. There might be a movie at some point, too.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

We thank you, Father in heaven, that you concern yourself with us and that you bind us to yourself through all your deeds and all your help. We thank you for showing us a way of hope, a way that becomes always clearer, always firmer under our feet. On this way we can defy every evil of this world and time, knowing for sure that everything will come out right and we will all be brought to the great, eternal goal, even though we have to deny ourselves and go through much suffering. Your kingdom must come to the glory of your name, so that all people may live on a higher plane and follow you, the only true help and true life. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that God concerns Himself with us and helps us, showing us a way of hope, which, if we are following Him, becomes ever more clear
  2. that we who long for Christ’s appearing will be awarded a crown of righteousness at the end of the race
  3. that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and, though we physically die, yet we shall live
  4. for the rest that comes with my relationship with Christ
  5. for the example of Jesus and His prayer life

So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
(John 11:3-4 ESV)

Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
(John 11:14-15 ESV)

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
(John 11:21-27 ESV)

We give thanks to you, O God; 
we give thanks, for your name is near. 
We recount your wondrous deeds.
(Psalms 75:1 ESV)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)


All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:27-30 ESV)

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(Matthew 6:33 ESV)


And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
(Mark 1:35 ESV)


“All things work together for good.” When Jesus received word of Lazarus’s (did anyone else grow up hearing people call him “Lasaruth?”) illness, He purposefully delayed His visit. I think it is important to understand this, to comprehend it fully, or at least as fully as it is possible for our human brains.

Jesus let Lazarus die, in order for God to be glorified by raising him from the dead!

Take a few minutes to process this. It’s not unlike the man that was born blind, to whom Jesus restored sight. Jesus declared that it happened that God might be glorified.

There are people who would explain away things like this, try to reason humanistic values into the truth. “My God would never do something like that; He wouldn’t intentionally cause someone pain.”

The Bible says differently. And if you’re not okay with that, then your understanding of God Almighty is somewhat incomplete.

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
(Psalms 115:3 ESV)

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 ESV)

Here’s the thing. God created everything. He created the universe, then He created life on this planet. He may or may not have created life on other worlds. If He has, He hasn’t deemed it necessary to tell us about that.

He has the right to do whatever pleases Him, including things that will glorify Himself. And He is worthy of all of that glory because, as previously stated, He is the Creator. If you create something, it is yours, and it is your right to do whatever you wish with that creation.

Anyway . . . back to Lazarus. He was allowed to die so that the world could see the power of God in resurrection. It was a foreshadowing of what would happen to Jesus, who allowed Himself to die, so that God could be glorified in His resurrection.

And yes, Jesus allowed Himself to die.

“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
(John 10:18 ESV)

And this, again, causes us to consider our thoughts about Jesus. I’ve mentioned this before, and will likely do so again. Any thoughts of Jesus simply being a “good person,” or a “good teacher,” are simply ridiculous, because of the claims He, Himself made. If any “normal” human being said the words in John 10:18, today, he would be locked up as crazy and be forced into therapy.

Either Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be, or He was insane, or He was an outright liar. Those are the only three options.

And if we believe that He was exactly who He claimed to be, then we should be believing His words and obeying His commands.

I do my best, in human terms, to do that. I believe that He was who He claimed to be; I believe His words, believing that He is the resurrection and the life, and that, even though I die, which I will, that I will live on into eternity, after the resurrection. Lazarus died again. He wouldn’t be the only person in history to do so, but there are only a handful of people who would die twice. And Lazarus will live again, after the resurrection, which will occur at the second coming of Christ.

I will remind you that I do not believe in the popular notion of a “rapture.”

I also try my best to obey the commands of Jesus, which are, as previously stated (perhaps ad nauseum to some), to love the Lord with all of our being, lover our neighbors as ourselves, and to love one another (all the saints) the way Christ has loved us.

So that’s what I believe. That wasn’t the original direction this was going to take, but, as any real writer (not that I’m a “real writer,” mind you) knows, sometimes your characters take you into some strange places.

I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, 
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, 
and born of the virgin Mary.
I believe He lived a sinless life and performed many miracles while on earth,
and was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day.
I believe He ascended into heaven (I'm not sure about the descending into hell part)
where He sits at the right hand of God (except for that bit when Stephen was stoned and He was standing up)
until the day He will return to resurrect those who have "fallen asleep,"
and gather up the rest who are still alive
to live with Him in eternity in a new heaven and a new earth, 
wherever those will be.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the unified Church, the Body of Christ,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

That’s mostly the Apostles’ Creed, with some modifications.

I also believe in the rest that comes from following Christ and walking in His easy yoke. He bids us come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest. He does the hardest work, if we will but let Him.


Father, I have lived most of my life believing in You and in Christ. I have believed longer than I can remember. I have loved Your Word since I have been able to read. Sure, there are some times, in the course of my life, that my belief waned, and that maybe I didn’t love Your Word as much as other times. Nevertheless, I still believe, today. In fact, my belief today is stronger than ever, and I praise You for bringing that to pass in me.

My belief and acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit and His power has not been as long or consistent as my belief in You and Christ. That is more complicated, and my “understanding,” if we can call it that, of the Holy Spirit came much later in life. I now, while not necessarily claiming to understand or comprehend, embrace the truth of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all equally loving and directing our attention to the other two. Three in One, God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

I believe that You are the Creator and that You do whatever pleases You. I am very glad that one of the things that pleases You is to commune with us, Your creation, Your people. I am grateful that You condescend to be concerned about us, and that You give us light and life. It is because of this belief that I can read the account of Lazarus without being upset about him being allowed to die so that You could be glorified. You are God; it is all about You, it is not about me or us. It is also about Jesus Christ, Your Son, and His glory.

I thank You for Jesus and all that He has done for us. I feel like I am rambling a bit, today, but there are a lot of thoughts running through my head, and I can’t quite make them all make sense. But another thing I believe is that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me when I do not know how to put my prayers into words. So I have faith that this is happening today.

Help me to be a light in this world of trouble. Help me to follow the commands of Jesus, to love You and to love people, giving them encouragement instead of criticism (oh, how critical I have been in the past . . . my God, I pray for forgiveness for that!). There is more than enough criticism in this world, Father. Help me be light, life, and encouragement to people. Salt and light.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(Traditional Doxology)

Grace and peace, friends.

Words Like Honey

Today is Monday, August 29, 2022, in the 22nd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

Day 23,545

It is one week until our Labor Day holiday in the U.S.

We hit 96 degrees, yesterday, for a high, which was exactly what was predicted. Sadly, our few days below 90 have disappeared from the forecast, with today being 95, and the rest of the ten-day forecast showing low nineties. There are a few days in there where rain is possible, though, so that’s always good.

Today’s agenda includes an exploratory trip to Target for groceries, just to see how they compare to our usual stores. It’s a little farther away from home, which is why we haven’t frequented that store. After we see how this goes (someone recently told us that their grocery prices have come down in recent years and I already see that bananas are even cheaper than Walmart), I may see about signing up for delivery from that store.

We also have at least one more trip to the exotic animal vet, to take Princess (guinea pig) to have her eye looked at again. I’m hoping this will be the last time. At least, today, there should not be a monsoon occurring while we are driving.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, dear Father in heaven, we thank you for all you do in our lives, for you stretch out your hand to us on earth through our Savior Jesus Christ. We entrust ourselves to you, knowing that everything depends on your rule over our lives. It is your rule that enables us to go forward in your strength and in your light, always finding new joy in spite of struggles and temptations. May your mighty hand be with those who call to you, no matter how they may do it. You see into their hearts. You know those who are sincere, and you will send your Savior to bring them out of all evil and darkness. Be with us today and every day. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 
(Hebrews 13:7, 9 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the many teachers of the Word that God has brought into my life over the years, especially the ones who did not offer “strange teachings”
  2. that God, our Father, stretches out His hand to us through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit
  3. for the strength that God gives to go forward, always finding new joy in life
  4. that God, in His greatness, holiness, and unspeakable glory, condescends to converse with us; He listens to us and speaks with us; He loves us and cares about us
  5. for saints who speak gracious words and have soothing tongues; may they speak louder than those who do nothing but complain and express anger

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
(John 8:7 ESV)

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
(Proverbs 15:4 NIV)

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
(Proverbs 16:24 ESV)

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
(Proverbs 18:4 ESV)

Glory in his holy name;
 let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 
Look to the LORD and his strength; 
seek his face always.
(1 Chronicles 16:10-11 NIV)

“Think of God, His greatness, His holiness, His unspeakable glory, and then imagine the inestimable privilege to which He invites His children, that each one of them, no matter how sinful or frail, may have access to God at any time and may talk with Him as long as he would like.” (Andrew Murray)

On top of this, God, through Jesus Christ, has also made numerous promises about hearing and answering the prayers of His children. What joy that should bring us! What an honor to have this privilege and this great salvation!

I speak to my own shame when I say that there should be no more precious place to the saint than the place of private prayer. Yet I spend so little time there. And, at the same time, considering the great privilege and the amazing truth that God desires this conversation with us, how much more important does this make the Proverbs verses quoted above?

If I truly believe in the precious nature and power of prayer, how could I allow my tongue to speak words that are not gracious and soothing? How can I allow my tongue to speak perverse words or complaining words or angry words? If I am seeking His face always, my words, both spoken and typed, in this age of rampant social media, should express that in the most positive ways possible.


Father, as I read and type these words, this morning, I confess that I do not always speak words that are gracious and soothing. While they might not often be “perverse,” they are often judgmental and full of complaint. My purpose, though, especially in regard to social media, remains to spread the Gospel of love and peace, and to attempt to speak words that line up with those Proverbs above.

I am not without sin, so I have no place to throw stones, literally or verbally. Let my tongue and my fingertips be soothing and not perverse (which really just means unreasonable or unacceptable). May my words, both spoken and typed, be like honey, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Let my words be like the deep waters of wisdom that comes from You, as I have no inherent wisdom of my own.

As I pray for people who have requested prayer from me, may I take this quite seriously, and may my life be such that You hear and answer those prayers, and that Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

One Day At A Time

Today is Monday, the twenty-second of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your heart!

Day 23,538

Only fourteen days until Labor Day in the U.S.

Yesterday was about as perfect as it could be. Okay, maybe not quite, but it was still a great day, and the birthday girl was as pleased as she could be, so that makes it perfect.

We got away a little bit late, but still made it to church on time. After the worship service, we touched base with the pastor, got his address, and then headed over to Taqueria La Estrella. Except we couldn’t get into the restaurant, as it was so packed that there wasn’t even a parking place. We had noticed that there was a new Mexican restaurant in the nearby shopping center, so we decided to check it out. It was called Sabor a Mexico. I have just learned that “sabor” means “taste.” So, “Taste of Mexico.”

Our experience was delightful! The food was delicious. C loved the hot sauce, which is how she judges a Mexican restaurant. Mama had the cheese quesadillas, which were delicious, and even a little bit crispy. S had cheese enchiladas with queso sauce, and queso on the rice. Plus we had a bowl of queso.

We love queso.

I had a dish called Pollo Sabor a Mexico (I think . . . it was something like that), which was somewhat fajita-like. Seasoned chicken pieces, mixed with green and red peppers, onions, and jalapenos. It was quite delicious. And C had the chicken enchiladas, which she said were good, but the chicken didn’t have much flavor. Hers was the only slightly negative review.

After lunch, we dropped Mama off at her house, and headed out to the pastor’s house, which is across the Brazos River, west of town. He has a very large place, and has a horse, a donkey, and some rabbits, as well as some dogs and cats. S was able to brush both the horse and the donkey, we all fed them both some treats and some hay, and then S got to walk the horse around (with the assistance of the pastor’s daughter). Then she got to pet a rabbit. Oh, and then they gave us ice cream!

It was a wonderful time, and S claims it was her best birthday ever. We stopped at Andy’s custard shop on the way home, and then, for a final delight, our friend who makes t-shirts had S’s shirt ready, with her newest cat’s picture on it.

We were all exhausted, but it was a most excellent day.

This morning, S and I have to take Princess (Guinea pig) back to the vet to have that eye checked out to see if it is getting better. I will likely not be finished with the blog, so it will be published later, this morning.

Update: We got a good report on Princess. The vet says the eye looks much better. We are to continue the eyedrops and ointment, but only three times a day for the drops and once a day for the ointment. The oral antibiotics can stop.

The Texas Rangers blanked the Twins, yesterday, 7-0. Kohei Arihara allowed only four hits during his six innings, and the bullpen stepped up and finished the job. They are now 55-66 for the season, and are over .500 since Tony Beasley took over as interim manager. They are 22 games out of first place, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. In a rare beyond-the-weekend series, they have a final game with the Twins tonight at 6:10 CDT, in Minnesota. Then they head over to Colorado for a two-game series with the Rockies.

The Red Sox lost to the Orioles, 5-3, which means they lost the series. They are now 60-62 for the season, in last place in the AL East, fourteen games out of first place, and six out of a Wild Card spot. They are off today, and begin a series with Toronto tomorrow, in Boston.

The Dodgers, etc. etc.. 84-36, +264 run differential. Nationals, etc. etc.. 41-82, -209 run differential. Cardinals still now have a seven-game winning streak. Miami, providing the only change in today’s stats, now has a four-game losing streak. The Rangers are back in the positive in run differential, with +4. And the Red Sox have sunk to -37.

The weather, yesterday, held out long enough for us to get the critter visits over with. It started raining on us, on the way home, sometimes heavily. When we got home, we saw that it had rained some, but nowhere near as heavily as we drove through. However, sometime around 9:00 PM, last night, the monsoons began, and they are still going on. It rained heavily both to and from the vet clinic, this morning, and is still pouring. Flash flood warnings are in effect all around. The receptionist at the vet’s office said, “All the prayers are being answered all at once.” That’s a pretty good assessment, in my opinion.

Yesterday’s high was 87, and we got about three or four inches of rain. We have had over 4.5 inches already, today. The record high for yesterday’s date is 105. Today’s high is expected to be 78. Overnight, there is only a 24% chance of more rain.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, as the deer pants for refreshing water, so our souls long for you, O God. Our souls thirst for you, for the living God. We stand in your presence and pour out our hearts to you. We bring before you everything that is painful to us, all our suffering and needs. We also bring you all our hopes and the many proofs you have given us that our lives need not go to ruin but can be directed to greater things. May the light of your Spirit shine on us today and always. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God.
 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When can I go and meet with God? 

Why, my soul, are you downcast? 
Why so disturbed within me? 
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, 
my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 42:1-2, 5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for rain
2. for a good report on Princess, the guinea pig
3. that I stand before You, in grace, and can pour out my heart to You, being confident that You will direct me to greater things
4. that our Father will provide enough for just this day; may we be faithful to trust Him for tomorrow
5. that God is slow to anger (and expects us to be, as well)

The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(John 5:15-18 ESV, emphasis added)

And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”
(Zechariah 7:8-14 ESV)

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
(Proverbs 14:29 ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”
(Exodus 16:2-4 ESV)

As we read the Biblical accounts, we see that God’s people, unfortunately, have a bad history of grumbling. And, if we keep reading, we see that there were even some who disobeyed this simple command to gather only enough for one day.

In Zechariah, God’s people were told to do a number of things, many of which are echoed by Jesus in His words, and many of which fall under the category of “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Render true judgments
Show kindness and mercy to one another
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor
Don't devise evil against another in your heart

How are God’s people doing at those things, in our modern day?

Then, in Proverbs, we see that whoever is slow to anger has “great understanding.” God, as it turns out, is slow to anger.

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
(Nahum 1:3 ESV)

If God Almighty is slow to anger, should we not be, as well? Considering that we are supposed to be like Him?

As God began to tell Moses about this strange new food that would be appearing on the ground, each morning, He told Moses to tell the people that there would be just enough for each day. “Enough for that day: Such was the rule for God’s giving and man’s receiving of provision in the wilderness. It is still the law in all the dealings of God’s grace with His children.” (Andrew Murray, Power in Prayer)

How long must we deal with our current affliction? Only one day at a time, says God. His grace is sufficient, His provision is sufficient for one day at a time.

“Only today is ours; tomorrow is the Father’s alone.” (Murray)

“Accept, enjoy, and fulfill with your whole heart the part you have to perform this day. His presence and grace enjoyed today will remove all doubt as to whether you can entrust tomorrow to Him as well.” (Murray)


Father, there is so much in Your Word that teaches us this truth that You provide us enough for just this day. Your instructions to Moses; Jesus’s teachings on faith and trusting You and not worrying about tomorrow; Jesus’s model prayer, telling us to ask for our “daily bread” for today, for just this day.

How it must hurt Your own heart to see how small our faith is, just like those Israelites who didn’t pay attention and tried to store up extra manna for the next day. We ruin today’s joy be worrying about things that may never come, or by not trusting that You are fully able to provide enough for today, and then again, enough for tomorrow’s “today.”

You have told us that You will do this, and, it is my belief, that by telling us to pray for this day’s daily bread, Jesus implies that You will answer that prayer and provide it.

You, O Lord, are indeed slow to anger. How well I know this, personally. I pray that You would work in our hearts, that we might be slow to anger, as well, and, thereby, display great understanding about things, in general. I know too many people who seem to be angry about everything. This displays a great lack of understanding. And, as for me, I know that, the older I get, the more I know that I don’t know.

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. You are truly my Shepherd, and I can live this life without lack because of this. In Your presence, there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand, there are pleasures forevermore.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

“Put Your Hope in God”

Today is Monday, the fifteenth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,531

Only FOUR days until S turns 29!

In spite of the forecast, we only had a high of 99, yesterday, for our fifth consecutive day of below-100 temperatures. The record high for that date is 102. The ten-day forecast now only shows three days at 100 or higher (today being one of those), and, toward the end of the ten days, there are three days below 90! In addition, we have a chance of rain Thursday morning, as well as August 22-24.

The Texas Rangers now have a two-game winning streak, as they beat the Mariners 5-3, yesterday, also winning the series. They are now 51-63 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, still a half game ahead of the Angels. They are 23 games out of first place and 9.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They begin four game home series against the Athletics, tonight, followed by an unusual four-game away series against the Twins, which goes from Friday to Monday. The Rangers have 48 games left in the season.

The Red Sox . . . wait, what??

The Red Sox BLANKED the Yankees, last night, on ESPN, 3-0! They are now 57-59 for the season, still in last place in the AL East, 15.5 out of first place, and 4.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They won the series against the Yankees. Things are looking up. They are off today, and begin a three game series in Pittsburgh tomorrow night. This is followed by a weekend series in Baltimore, which could turn out to be an important series for both teams. The Sox have 46 games left.

As it stands today, Toronto, Seattle, and Tampa Bay have the three Wild Card spots.

The Dodgers lost a game, but are still the best MLB team, with a 79-34 record. The Nationals also lost, and remain the worst team, at 38-78. The Braves now have the longest winning streak, at six games, while the Athletics continue with the longest losing streak, at eight games. The Dodgers have outscored their opponents by 247 runs, while the Nationals have been outscored by 210. The Rangers are now at -2, and the Sox improved to -32.

In about an hour and a half, S and I will be leaving to take Princess (guinea pig) to the vet to have her eye checked out, and also for a possible ear infection. The birthday girl has requested Lone Star BBQ for dinner tonight, so our traditional Monday night chili will be postponed for the second week in a row. Last week, we put it off because of my colonoscopy. We had a late lunch, and I didn’t feel like cooking that night.

I don’t have any other plans for the day, other than folding some laundry and probably running the robot vacuum.

Oh, and I might mention that our son-in-law’s birthday is the same day as S’s. So cards are being mailed today, to him. He already has his main gift, which arrived Saturday. Or maybe yesterday. I’m not sure, actually.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we praise your name because we are allowed to bear witness to what we see and hear, to all the good you have given us. May we become firmly and faithfully united, awaiting the glorious day when your almighty hand will be victorious and will bring an end to the many evils among us. On that day you will be praised throughout all nations and everything will be clothed anew, to the glory of your great name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.
(Colossians 1:3-6a NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the community of saints and the love that is shared between us
2. for the hope stored up for us in heaven
3. for the promise that all tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain will be wiped away in eternity
4. that God hears His people when they call, and rescues them from all their troubles
5. for the true freedom that comes in Christ, and the "easy yoke" of Jesus

Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
(John 1:50-51 ESV)

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 43:5 NIV)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
(Revelation 21:4 NLT)

The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
(Psalms 34:17 NLT)

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign LORD rescues us from death.
(Psalms 68:19-20 NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
(Galatians 5:1 NLT)

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
(1 Samuel 12:23 ESV)


In the first Scripture passage, above, Jesus tells one of His new disciples, “You will see greater things than these.” That was both a promise and an encouragement.

The psalmist, in Psalm 43, questioned his own soul. “Why are you downcast?” he asked his soul. Perhaps this is a question that we might ask ourselves, when we find ourselves waxing pessimistic.

I’m a pessimist, at heart. I’m always expecting the worst. I’ve gotten better, over the years, but I find myself worrying over situations that may or may not even happen. And when I have an event coming up, especially one I’m not looking forward to, I might even lose sleep over it. I have a friend who is much, much worse about that then I.

What is the solution? The psalmist answers his own question. “Put your hope in God.”

While that may seem over-simplified, it is worthy of consideration. There is great hope in God and in His promises. Consider the next verse, the one from Revelation. Therein, we find the promise that God will utterly wipe out things like tears, death, sorrow, and pain. I find great comfort in this, not so much for myself as much as in regard to loved ones who have gone on before me.

“Put your hope in God.”

Back to the Psalms. The Lord hears His people; He rescues them from all their troubles. He carries us in His arms; He rescues us from death!

“Put your hope in God.”

And then Jesus gives us that bit about His “easy yoke.” What does that even mean? The further forward in time we go, the more difficult this may be for younger generations to grasp. The “yoke” was a wooden bar that went across the shoulders of two oxen, who pulled the plough to till the ground.

If we step into that yoke with Jesus, He basically shoulders the brunt of the load, because He is infinitely stronger than we. And He says that His yoke is “easy.” If it is easy for Him, then it should be beyond easy for us, if we allow Him to take the load.

“Put your hope in God.”

Ironically, even if we put ourselves in this yoke with Jesus, He has set us free. It is in joining ourselves with Him that we become free. I realize that this seems like foolishness to the “natural man,” but there is great truth and wisdom here. It is when we separate ourselves from Christ and His “easy yoke” that we place more burden and bondage upon ourselves.

“Put your hope in God.”

So my prayer today, is that I, along with all of you, the community of saints, can walk in this freedom, this “easy yoke” of Jesus, and dispense with our pessimism, our negative thinking, our worrying that things are going to go badly.

Things probably are going to go badly. That’s one thing that God never promised wouldn’t happen. But, in the end, things will be (and are) better in His Kingdom than we could ever imagine.

Today's sources:
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Pray a Word a Day
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, help us to put our trust in You. You have given us all of these great and precious promises, these wonderful words of life from Jesus, and yet we somehow insist on wallowing in our distress and pessimism, worrying about things that may not even happen. Have mercy, Father. Help us to put our trust in You.

Give us more of a desire for fellowship with You, that we might spend more time in prayer, both for our fellow saints, and for a deeper knowledge and intimacy with You. Deliver us from our self-made troubles, Lord. Not all of our troubles are self-made, but many of them are.

You wait to shower us with blessings, and all that is needed is for us to turn our faces toward You, open our arms and hearts and hands to You and receive. I know this sounds a lot like “name-it-claim-it,” but You know my heart, and You know that is not what I mean. I’m not talking about material wealth, although that blessing is not ruled out. I’m simply referring to the blessing of walking in life with You, in that easy yoke of Jesus, and walking in true freedom; freedom from doubt; freedom from worry; freedom from legalistic meanderings that yank us off of the true path of freedom in You.

Help us, O God, to truly put our hope in You.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
(Psalms 33:18-19 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Intimate, Spiritual, Personal, and Uninterrupted

Today is Monday, the eighth of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,524

Only eleven more days until S turns 29!

We only hit 99 degrees, yesterday, for the second consecutive day of under-100 temps! The record for yesterday’s date was 105. Today’s high is predicted to be 101, but that is followed by five straight days of below-100 highs. The bad news is that Wednesday’s chances of rain have dropped.

The colonoscopy prep is going fine, I suppose. I just drank my second dose about thirty minutes ago, and am waiting for it to take effect. I’m working on my second glass of water, as I am required to drink two 16-ounce glasses within an hour of the dosage. After 8 AM, this morning, I am not allowed anything to drink or eat. The procedure is scheduled for noon, and I am due to arrive at 11 AM. My post-procedure lunch is going to be legendary.

The Texas Rangers lost the series finale with the Other Sox, 8-2, to split the four-game series. They are now 48-60 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, still 21 games out of first place, and now ten games out of a Wild Card spot. They have today off, and will begin a three-game series in Houston tomorrow.

The Red Sox seem to hitting a new low, as they lost to the Royals again, 13-5, yesterday. So they lost that series, 3-1. In spite of all of this, they are still only two games below .500, at 54-56, but they remain in last place in the AL East, 16.5 games out of first place, and now five games out of a Wild Card spot. They also have today off, and will begin a series against the Braves tomorrow in Boston.

The LA Dodgers continue to roll along as the best MLB team, at 75-33. The Washinton Nationals continue to stumble as the worst MLB team, at 36-74. The Dodgers also have the best ongoing win streak, now at eight games (the Cardinals are right behind them with seven). The Nationals and Yankees (HAH!) still share the longest current losing streak at five games. The Dodgers, for the hat trick (trifecta?), continue to have the best run differential, now at +226, while the Nationals have a reverse trifecta with the worst run differential of -196. The Rangers have dropped back into the negative with -1, and the Red Sox have dropped to -30.

It’s Monday, so I’m off work today (the main reason that the procedure was scheduled for today), and it’s my “light” week, so I only work tomorrow evening and all day Thursday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we come before you in the great name of Jesus Christ. We thank you that while we are still living on earth you give us hope and joy in this great name. May something be born in us through your Spirit to make us of one mind with Jesus Christ. In all our relationships with others may we learn that it is better to submit in patience than to dominate, better to serve than to rule, better to be the weakest than to bring pressure to bear on others. Give us this attitude. Let this attitude arise in many so that they may be Christians not only in their words and thoughts, but Christians at heart, loving their neighbors and at one with the Savior on every step of the way. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 2:3-5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that it is "better to submit in patience than to dominate, better to serve than to rule" (Plough.com Daily Prayer)
2. for the possibility of having the mind of Christ
3. that Jesus is the exact imprint/representation of the nature/character of the Father
4. for the great works that we can do because of our faith in Christ
5. for the disciplines of meditation and contemplation, by which we truly come to a more intimate knowledge of our Father

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV)

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
(Isaiah 64:8 ESV)

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
(Psalms 43:3 ESV)

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 
(John 14:1, 12 ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
(Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)

Do I believe in Jesus, or do I just believe in the documents that I have read about Him?

In some ways, all I have is those documents. But that’s not 100% true, because I have His Spirit, which is not contained in any document or building. Nevertheless, I don’t have the benefit of those first disciples, who walked with Him personally.

How is it possible that we (whoever believes in Christ) will do the same works as Jesus did, and even greater works?

Through the faith that leads us to know that Christ and the Father are one, so are we in Christ, and Christ is in us.

“It is this intimate, spiritual, personal, uninterrupted relationship to the Lord Jesus that manifest itself powerfully in our lives today, and especially in our prayer lives.” (Andrew Murray)

And how do we experience this? By allowing God the time to reveal Himself and His will to us during our times in the secret place of prayer. Also by bowing down to Him in worship. “Allow our Lord to take full possession of you and to show you how you may live and walk in abiding fellowship with Him. . . . It has not entered into the heart of man what God can do for those who love Him.” (Murray)

Today's sources:
Pray a Word a Day
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, I thank You for the knowledge of You that You have given me. Yet I pray for more. I want to know You more, know You better, know You as You know me. I realize that this will not be fully possible until I stand before You, someday. Nevertheless, I pray for it now.

I pray to know the faith that comes from the understanding of the relationship between You and Christ and the Holy Spirit. I pray that this will manifest itself powerfully in my life, and in the lives of all of Your people, as we navigate the treacherous waters of life, in this day and age.

I confess that I struggle with the possibility of doing “greater works” than Jesus did. I have always struggled with that, wondering how on earth we could possibly do anything greater than Jesus did. And then, right after that statement, He told His disciples that if they ask anything in His name, He will do it.

Father, I desire that “intimate, spiritual, personal, uninterrupted relationship” with Jesus that brother Murray talks about. Help me to accomplish that, to maintain it, and to let it work its way within me, daily. But I never want to do “greater works” for my own name’s sake. My name is nothing. The name of Jesus is everything.

May I have the mind of Christ as I engage in relationships in this world, knowing that it is better to “submit in patience than to dominate, better to serve than to rule.” It is better to appear to be weak and follow the commands of Christ, than to appear to be strong and fail in the quest of loving one another.

And finally, Father, I am grateful for Your provision in my life, and that You have created within me the spirit of a cheerful giver, making us generous with the resources with You have provided. We are aware and believe strongly that we have nothing that You did not give us. Therefore, we are generous with that which You have provided.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
(John 14:15 ESV)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

God’s Goodness – Greater Than Our Failures

“Anyone who is truly faithful will know that the goodness of his Beloved is greater than his own failures.” ~ Hadewijch of Antwerp

Today is Monday, the first of August, 2022, in the eighteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,517

Eighteen days until S turns 29!

We had a pretty good day, yesterday. I finished a PS4 game that I had been playing for a long time. It was one of the most difficult games I have ever played, but I stuck with it and finished the story. Then, later, I finished a book, as well.

The Texas Rangers beat the Angels 5-2 to win the series. So they are back, again, at nine under .500, 46-55. They are still in third place in the AL West, still twenty games out of first, and 7.5 out of the Wild Card race. The trade deadline is tomorrow evening, and I’m waiting with great apprehension to see if they trade Martin Perez, the only decent starting pitcher they have, right now. Maybe that’s not fair . . . Jon Gray is pretty decent, but Perez has been stellar, this season. They begin a home stand, this evening, with a three game series against the Orioles. That should be interesting, seeing how the O’s have been surging, recently.

The Boston Red Sox managed to win one game out of three against the Milwaukee Brewers, winning yesterday 7-2. The Red Sox lost or tied every single series in the month of July. They are 51-52 for the season, still in last place in the AL East, eighteen games out of first, but only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race. That AL East division is something, this year. They begin a series this evening, unfortunately, against the cheaters in Houston.

The Dodgers continue to have the best MLB record, by percentage, at 68-33. The Nationals, back to losing, still have the worst record, at 35-68. The New York Mets have the longest current win streak, at six games, and the Pirates are still on that losing streak, now at seven games. The Evil Empire, though, still has the best run differential, at +207, and the Nationals remain on the bottom with -168. The Rangers are at +11, and the Red Sox are at -17.

Today being Monday, I am home all day, as I always have Monday off.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, bless us all through your Spirit, that we may find certainty of heart in community with you under your rulership. May we keep this certainty, whatever course our lives may take, whatever battles and suffering may come to us, for we belong to you and you rule and guide us as your children. Watch over all who are still far away from you but who long for you. Watch over all who are good-hearted and sincere, even if they often do not understand you. Protect them, and let your kingdom come so that your will is carried out more and more by the many who feel compelled to seek for you and for the goodness and truth which are your will. May we and many others serve you with our whole lives. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
However, as the scripture says, "What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him." But it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit. 
1 Corinthians 2:9–10a, TEV

Today I am grateful:

1. that I finished a really hard video game, yesterday (not everything in life is spiritual, you know)
2. that I inherited a love for reading from my parents, and they nurtured that within me
3. that God watches over all of us, even those who refuse to acknowledge Him
4. the God has blessed us in Christ "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3)
5. that the goodness of God is greater than my failures

So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.
(2 Kings 13:20-21 ESV)

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
(Isaiah 49:16 NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT)

I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
(Psalms 116:1 NLT)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
(Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:9-15 ESV)

“Anyone who is truly faithful will know that the goodness of his Beloved is greater than his own failures.” ~ Hadewijch of Antwerp

That quote from Hadewijch of Antwerp is a game changer. How often do we wallow in our failures, believing that we have somehow managed to mess up God’s plan for our lives?

Beloved, we are not that powerful.

We need to take to heart so many different verses from God’s Word that reassure us. In Isaiah 49, the people of God thought that God had forsaken them and forgotten them. Part of His reply was verse 26, in which the Lord says, “I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”

The passage in 1 Peter 5 assures us of His care for us, and reminds us that “at the right time,” if we humble ourselves before Him, He will lift us up. Humility and patience are necessary, both of which seem to be in short supply in our culture, these days. We are then admonished to give all our worries and cares over to Him, because He cares for us. It’s a simple word, “all.” The Greek word is pas. The meaning is given as, “including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole:—all (manner of, means), alway(-s), any (one), × daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no(-thing), X thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.”

So, what part of “all” do we not understand?

And guess what!! When Paul says that God has blessed us with “every spiritual blessing,” it’s the same Greek word. Pas! All!

“Life and blessing are inseparably intertwined. Abiding in Christ means abiding in the heavenly places and in all the spiritual blessings with which God has blessed us in Him. Faith in Christ is meant to be nothing less than unceasing dependence and fellowship with Him and receiving from Him every grace the soul can possibly need.” (Andrew Murray)

Just as I need air for my physical life, I need fellowship with Christ for my spiritual life. And God, in Christ, has provided me with everything I need. It is truly possible, as Dallas Willard wrote a book about, to live a “life without lack.”

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psalms 34:1 ESV)

If we believe we are lacking in something, perhaps we need to spend more time in the “adoring worship of the Holy Trinity. It is upon God the Father, who has blessed us in Christ Jesus that our expectations rest. It is in Christ that blessing is to be found if we continue in close and unceasing fellowship with Him. It is through the Holy Spirit that the presence of the Father and Son in divine power can be known and experienced.” (Andrew Murray)

Through this, though, let us not underestimate the importance of forgiveness. And I speak of our forgiveness of others more than God’s forgiveness of us. That forgiveness is also inseparably linked to our spiritual lives, as Jesus stated at the end of His “model prayer.”

Today's sources:
Pray a Word a Day
Daily Guideposts 2022
Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emelie Griffin
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, I recognize the need to be in continuous fellowship with Jesus, for my own good. I know, in my mind, that You have blessed us with all the spiritual blessings we need in order to have a great life and relationship with You. The question becomes, how do I so easily forget this on a daily basis? How do I get so caught up in things that simply do not matter?

Oh, they might matter right at the moment, as somethings do. But they do not matter in the “big picture” of spiritual life with You. They are small things, “footstool problems.”

So help me to be more aware of this, and to always be, in some way, worshiping You, the Son, and the Spirit, in my life.

I thank You that You have given us everything we need. I praise You that Your great, infinite goodness is bigger and more powerful than any of my failures. That one is really huge, because I know that there have been times when I foolishly believed that I had messed up Your plan for my life. But I know that You are much wiser and have infinite knowledge, so there’s no way that could happen.

Thank You for the way You care for us, and help us to always cast those cares upon You, rather than trying to carry the weight of them ourselves.

Also, please help us to always be forgiving toward others. I cannot pretend to completely comprehend those frightening words of Jesus, concerning forgiveness. But I do, to a degree, understand the importance of extending grace to others, just as You have extended grace to us. That parable about the guys who owed money to another is pretty clear about that.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Courteous and Considerate in EVERYTHING

It is Monday morning, the twenty-fifth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,510

25 days until S turns 29!

As the world-wide (seemingly) heat wave continues, we reached 102 in our area, yesterday, for the 29th day of 100+ temps and the ninth consecutive. I have had communication from a blogger in Romania that says it is reaching 42 degrees Celsius in the shade, there. The average temperature for yesterday is high 96, low 73. Yesterday’s low was 81. The record was 104/65. We are still looking at the possibility of two days below 100, this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. There is as much as 35% chance of rain on Saturday, perhaps overnight Friday night. It has now been 51 days with no rain in our area.

C is working from home today, as she has a morning doctor appointment. It is always nice to have her at home. I’m off all day, as I am always off on Mondays, which is also nice.

The Texas Rangers won a game, yesterday, in spite of the bullpen’s efforts to lose it. They were ahead 11-1, at one point. But Garrett Richards gave up four runs in the eighth inning, only managing to get one out, and Brett Martin gave up three in the ninth. Miraculously, Martin Perez managed to get the win. The Rangers are now 43-51 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, twenty games out of first, and seven out of the Wild Card race. They are currently seven games behind Seattle, and they begin a series in that city tonight.

The Red Sox got swept by the Blue Jays. I’m not sure what’s going on, there, but the Sox are now 48-48. Baltimore lost, so they were spared dropping into last place. They are in fourth place, 17.5 out of first, and three games out of the Wild Card race. They begin a series with Cleveland tonight, in Boston.

The Nationals continue to hold the worst record, at 32-65. They did manage to win a game, though. The LA Dodgers still have the longest current win streak, now at eight consecutive games. The Red Sox are the proud owners of the longest current losing streak, at five games. At least they are the best at something. The Nationals also still have the worst run differential, at -162. The Rangers improved to +7, and the Sox dropped to -12.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, Creator of what is good, beautiful, and full of joy so that all may work in harmony with you, we thank you for all the good that comes to us. May we be your children, joined together to serve you. May our life bring joy to others, and may we do good without ceasing through your great, strong love, which moves us, strengthens us, and helps us every day, however hard life may be. May your name be praised throughout the world. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; 
establish the work of our hands for us – 
yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalm 90:17 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for all that is good and beautiful in the world; Lord, help me focus on these things rather than what is bad and ugly
2. for Mondays off
3. for the amazing things that God has done for us
4. for gravity, because without it, I would fly off into space and die
5. for the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi 

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-30 ESV)

I used to believe (and I think this still may be taught in some places) that this passage meant that you’d better not have any “unconfessed sin” in your life when you take the Supper. That is not what this means. This passage is about unity in the Body of Christ, and these four verses must be interpreted in context. A note in the Bible I am reading says “Because some of the believers in Corinth were celebrating the Supper in a way that destroyed the unity it represents, God had brought judgment upon the community.”


Today’s word, in Pray A Word A Day, is “amazing.”

Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!
(Psalms 126:3 NLT)

Amazing. How many times do you use that word in a day? I, just like the writer of today’s reading, probably need to confess that I overuse that word. I’ve lost track of how many books I have given a five-star Goodreads rating, this year. Five stars means “it was amazing.” Yesterday, C and I saw a musical show and it was “amazing.”

Sometimes I think I should stop using that word so much, because the “amazing” things that God does for us cannot be compared with Irving’s Main Stage production of “Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Maybe we need “tenses” of amazing. “Amazinger.” “Amazingest.”

The things that God does for us are the amazingest.

I woke up this morning. C woke up this morning. Mama woke up this morning. S woke up this morning. I have been able to hear music this morning. I can see colors today. Gravity is keeping me from flying off into space. There is air for me to breathe.

Many of God’s amazing works are overlooked daily, aren’t they? That’s one of the reasons that I started my daily gratitude list. And it’s also one of the reasons that, some days, you might see me being grateful for waking up, or for cats, or for coffee, or for air to breathe.

I think this is a good place for this poem.

Beautiful Things, by Daryl Madden

Blessed are they
Who see beautiful things
For its God that they
See everywhere

Blessed are they
Who give beautiful things
For its God’s gift of love
That they share

Blessed are they
Who pray beautiful things
For its God’s way of
Making things clear

Blessed are they
For they’re beautiful things
For its God’s Presence
They’re bringing here

Please check out more of Daryl’s poems at the link provided above.

And when I read that poem, I thought of this song.


But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 NIV)

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be a strict order to everything. The word translated “fitting” in the NIV is translated “decently” in the KJV, and is from a Greek word (euschemonos) that literally means “decently, honestly.” Huh. KJV got it right, eh? This lends itself to attitude, not structure.

Now the context for all of this is a lengthy discourse on spiritual gifts, which I won’t get into today. And I rather like Eugene Peterson’s take on it.

Be courteous and considerate in everything.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 MSG)

I mean that really sums it up, doesn’t it? “EVERYTHING.”


Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country) on praying the prayer of St. Francis:

“So majestic is this conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. The world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves. Life is no longer nasty, mean, brutish, and short, but becomes that time that one needs to make it less nasty and mean, not only for others, but indeed also for oneself.”


If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:7 ESV)

Andrew Murray, in Power in Prayer, says that “Prayer is both one of the means and one of the fruits of our union with Christ.” And, rather than seeing prayer as a means of getting what we want, we should see prayer as “one of the primary channels of influence by which, through us as workers together with God, the blessings of Christ’s redemption are dispensed to the world.”

And the reason for answering prayer, according to Jesus in John 14:13, is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Seriously, this is what everything should be about for us; bringing glory to God. What a life-changing difference it would be if we could all adapt that mindset.


Father, help me to think about prayer the same way Andrew Murray does, here, as well as the way Jesus thought about it, as a way to glorify You, and as a fruit of the union that I have with Christ. And, as I consider the prayer of St. Francis, may my mind be focused on making the world “less nasty and mean,” at least as much as I can in my own little “kingdom.”

And, in doing this, or as a means of facilitating this, help me to obey the words of Paul when he said to “be courteous and considerate in everything.”

Help me to see the beautiful and good things in the world, rather than the mean, nasty, and ugly things. This takes work, because I have, over the years, been trained by our society to see the worst. Lately, it seems that the “church” is taking over that responsibility. Help us to crawl out of that pit, Lord.

You have truly done amazing things for us, and I am beyond grateful for them. Help me to remember these things every day, especially when my mind and heart begin to drift over into the negative things.

Even so, please come soon, Lord Jesus!


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)

Grace and peace, friends.