“Prayer Is Suffering’s Best Result”

Today is Monday, May 8, 2017.

Word of the Day

Hypostatize ~ to treat or regard (a concept, idea, etc.) as a distinct substance or reality.

Today is No Socks Day. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could get away with that today. I didn’t wear any socks yesterday or Saturday, can that count?


My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. 
Psalm 71:8
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 71:17
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 15:26-27
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. 
that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. 
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah. 
  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 
God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Psalm 67
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria

(From Living the Message)

Eugene H. Peterson continues on the topic of suffering. He makes note of the last verse of Lamentations, which says, unless you have utterly rejected us, and you remain exceedingly angry with us. (Lamentations 5:22)

It seems very blunt. But also note that this is an expression of prayer, what Peterson calls “the most personal of relationships.” And, indeed, it is. When I am praying, I am the closest to God, because I am involved in intimated conversation with him. I am not just reading off a grocery list of prayer requests. I am pouring out my heart to him.

“Prayer is suffering’s best result. In prayer, God’s anger is neither sentimentally glossed nor cynically debunked, but seized as a lever to pry open the doors of redemption.” The sufferer “does not ask God to think well of him or her, but asks that God will enact redemption.”

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.
2 Corinthians 12:7 (The Message)

Father, when I find myself suffering, even for the simplest of reasons, draw me closer to you in prayer. When I find myself celebrating, no matter what the occasion, draw me closer to you in prayer. May I find myself in the state of “the most personal of relationships” constantly throughout the day. Help me to “pray without ceasing.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Trust Yourself in God’s Hands

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is oenomel, which means, “something combining strength with sweetness.” Pronounced ee-nuh-mel.

Today is No Socks Day, a day in which I will gladly participate. I will be wearing sandals to church this morning. And the rest of the day, as well, as we will be going for pedicures this afternoon, for my wife’s Mother’s Day gift. Yes, I said, “we.” I’m getting one, too.

We had a wonderful visit at my mother’s house, yesterday afternoon. We all got there at close to the same time, visited for a few minutes, then headed to Mesquite Pit for a late lunch. Then we went back to the house for an afternoon of good conversation (and some chocolate, because both mothers got chocolate). It was a very nice day.

We’re getting ready for church this morning. We worship at The Exchange, and our worship gathering is at 10:15 at the Northpark YMCA, 9100 N. Beach, Fort Worth, TX.

I also wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, my wife, and also to any other mothers who might read this.


Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah.
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:1-12

“Every testing is designed to deepen and develop the life of faith.” Here, the Psalmist has a great witness of going through the worst that men can do to him, yet singing and pulsating praise to God. Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

“Almighty God, you rescued from the waters and delivered from fire. Too often, though, I fail to make the connection between what you have done in the glorious past and what you wish to do in me right now. Help me to make the connection through the hours of this day and to sing my joy through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“The Patience of Faith”

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance . . .
Revelation 3:10

“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer.” Our Father aims at something we cannot see. He stretches and stretches, beyond the point of endurance for us, and then continues until he has his goal in sight. Then “He lets fly.”

“Trust yourself in God’s hands.”

“Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.” It is us flinging ourselves “in reckless confidence on God.” God invested all for us, in Jesus Christ; how can we not, then, invest all for him? In faith, we can face anything that life throws at us without wavering. “If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvelous things all the time.”

Father, I pray for this kind of faith. Help me to throw myself on you in reckless confidence, and live a life that wavers not in the face of any difficulty that is cast my way. You are holy love! May my confidence be built on that truth!

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“We Are Far Too Easily Pleased”

Good morning. It is Friday, May 8, 2015. Two days until Mother’s Day.

Today’s Word of the Day, from the OED, is psephocracy. More than likely chosen because they just had elections across the pond, this word means, “The form of government which results from the election of representatives by ballot; the system of government by elected representatives.” Very interesting, as that is pretty much what we have in the U.S., as well.

Today is No Socks Day. I have a friend or two that would like this.

Christi is still coughing up a storm, it seems. She had a rough night, last night. At this point, I’m beginning to be concerned that something serious is going on, as it doesn’t seem to be improving. I’m guessing the antibiotics didn’t fix whatever it is, so it must be viral. The PA told her not to take Nyquil because of its effects on blood pressure. I’m thinking that we need to weigh which one has a worse effect; Nyquil or not sleeping! This brings to mind something that also concerns me about the medical community. Our doctor’s office told her to take Mucinex. The last time I was sick, I went to Minute Clinic and saw a nurse-practitioner, who said she doesn’t like Mucinex. You see, there really is no consensus in the community at all! You get one thing from one doctor and another thing from another doctor. Running is good for you. Running is bad for your back and feet. Well, which is it?? We’ll never know.

In the news of the weird category today, the Texas Rangers have won four games in a row.

Today is Friday, of course, but I have to work tomorrow. I’ll be going in at 7:00 AM, so if there is a blog at all, it will be more like a weekday version without all the weekend “bells and whistles.”


Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Psalm 51:1-4

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5

Jesus, teach me to abide.

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus Sharpens Priorities.”

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

“Following Jesus demands that we sharpen our priorities.” As Jesus traveled around announcing the coming of God’s Kingdom, people had to learn how to focus on the things that were truly essential to life. This meant, sometimes, going beyond “what was good and acceptable behavior.” It meant not settling for good when the best was available. What did C.S. Lewis say? “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (Emphasis mine) Jesus should be our top priority.

In the first of the three passages above, several would-be disciples came to Jesus. He advised them of the cost. Following him might mean not having a bed to lay on at night. A couple of others wanted to give priority to other activities. They weren’t unnecessary activities, but, nevertheless, would have to take second place to following Christ.

In the second passage, seventy disciples returned from a “mission trip” with “glowing reports of successful ministries.” Jesus did rejoice with them, but then told them that they should not rejoice that they had power over demons, but should, instead, rejoice that their “names are written in heaven.

“How often have we ranked earthly success, even in spiritual warfare, above heaven itself?” Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that we should “focus our hearts and minds on things above and give priority to where Jesus is.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

The last passage, which can be somewhat humorous, uses a “family spat” to sharpen priorities. Martha is consumed with household duties, sweeping floors, preparing a meal, and so on. She gets aggravated that Mary does nothing but sit at the feet of Jesus. But Jesus tells her that only “one thing is necessary.” This is “our clearest, sharpest guide for setting our priorities.” What is the “one thing?” “Jesus is it. If he outranks everything else in our lives, then we have discovered that one necessary thing.”

Jesus doesn’t want to stand on the “periphery of our life, accepting leftovers.” He wants us to choose the best over what is merely good. “Only one thing is necessary, to sit at the feet of Jesus and to enjoy him forever.”

Father, forgive me for having many things in front of Jesus. Teach me to make him my one thing. Teach me to seek that holiday by the sea, to choose the best instead of what is merely good.

I pray for this day. As we travel to and from work today, may our passage be smooth and safe. As we work today, may our work go smoothly. May we seek to follow you as we go about our daily activities at work. I pray for Christi’s cough to go away, Lord. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show yourself to her today. Lord, I pray for Rachel, that you would give her confidence in herself. Show your great love to her and Justin today. Keep giving strength to my mother, Lord.

May wee seek that “holiday by the sea” and stop making mud pies.

Grace and peace, friends.


Good morning. It is pre-Friday, May 8, 2014. I’m going in at 7am, this morning, so I must hurry.

Today is No Socks Day. That’s really not fair. Perhaps I can ditch my socks after work. Our pastor will like this. For some reason, he hates socks. 😀

Keep praying for Christi and her jobless situation. I think she might still have a chance at BNSF, but, for some reason, they got concerned about her ability to communicate with the “techies.” But there was never an opportunity for her to talk about that in the interviews. Hopefully, they are setting up another interview to deal with this. The person responsible for setting up interviews at Etherios has been out of the office for a few days, so perhaps that is why she has not heard anything from them.

My status at work is finally fixed, and I am no longer in El Segundo. This means I can do all parts of my receiving job (I’m still not approved to initiate an undeliverable report, but those don’t happen too often). I was very excited yesterday afternoon!


(From The Divine Hours)

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 62:5
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Psalm 93:5
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
Psalm 118:26
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 123

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
Psalm 4:1
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

Psalm 66:16-20
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

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Way of Weakness.”

If you’re like me, and you are sometimes, you really struggle with asking people for help. It is difficult to receive something from someone who seems to have it all together. It makes me feel “unnecessary, unneeded, and (heaven forbid!) WEAK!

But look at how Jesus comes to us! He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7) He comes “in the way of weakness, giving us the chance to love him and making us feel that we have something to give him.” He allowed this image “of a dumb, helpless animal to be applied to himself.”

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6

Father, I know that Jesus was not really “weak.” That is simply an image that he allowed to be placed upon him. The word “meek” describes him much better. Nevertheless, I pray to you that I might not be afraid to appear to be weak. As I work on establishing the true root of my identity (you), my appearance to other people is going to matter less and less. I pray that you continue to work this out in me, and I pray for the wisdom to learn it. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for this day. As I drive in early, I pray for travel safety to and from work. I pray that the day will go smoothly, and that we might get away on time this afternoon. I pray for Christi’s day, that she might get some positive news to keep her uplifted. I also pray that you draw her closer to your heart today. I also pray for Stephanie, that you would show your overwhelming love to her today.

Your grace is sufficient.

Don’t be afraid to appear weak. Cast your cares on him, who cares for you.

Grace and peace, friends.

Cry Out For the Spirit

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, May 8, 2013. 34 working days to go.

Today is “No Socks Day.” Our friend Jacob should like that. He, apparently, hates socks. I’m not a big fan of them, myself. Unfortunately, the will not allow me to wear sandals at work. However, I am not currently wearing socks. So happy No Socks Day!!

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1884, Harry S. Truman was born, “in a small bedroom in his parents’ house in the dusty market town of Lamar, Missouri.” His background was rather unremarkable. He was not well educated; he never attended college. He failed as a haberdasher and barely survived as a farmer for almost ten years before entering politics. He was a “classic ‘machine politician,’ a creature of the corrupt Kansas City party boss, Thomas Pendergast.” He was elected to the US Senate, but even that was “largely engineered by the Pendergast machine.” More “back-room politics” got him nominated to run as Franklin Roosevelt’s vice-president in 1944. When Roosevelt died suddenly in 1945, Truman became President. His association with Pendergast caused Republicans to call him the “reductio ad absurdum of the common man.” He was privately prejudiced against blacks and Jews. However, these were private prejudices, and his public character was that of “uncommon sense and granite integrity.” He kept that famous sign on his desk, “The buck stops here.” He served for almost eight years as President, and achieved the “greatest election upset in American history in 1948.” Who can forget this headline?
Harry Truman
Among his accomplishments: “he authorized the first use of the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan, helped create the United Nations and NATO, initiated the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the Second World War, and let the free world’s confrontation with Communist aggression by authorizing the Berlin Air lift and intervening in Korea.” Truman died on December 26, 1972, just shy of his 89th birthday.

Today’s birthday is Robert Johnson, born on this date in 1911. Johnson was a blues guitar player, and is probably most famous for his alleged deal with the devil from his song, “Crossroads.” Admittedly, Johnson had a technique that has puzzled many over the decades, not the least of which was Eric Clapton, who has been so fascinated with Robert Johnson that he released an entire album of covers of Johnson tunes. Of course, one of Clapton’s most famous songs is Cream’s cover of “Crossroads.” Here is Johnson’s “Crossroads.”

Here is Clapton’s, with Cream.

The circumstances surrounding Johnson’s death, at the age of 27, are very strange, indeed. The cause of his death is unknown to this day. Blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson claims that Johnson was poisoned by a jealous husband, because he had been flirting with the guy’s wife at a dance he was playing. He grew ill over the next couple of days, and reportedly died in “a convulsive state of severe pain” (Wiki). A musicologist, Robert “Mack” McCormick, claims to have tracked down the man who killed Johnson and gotten a confession from him, but would not reveal the identity of the man. True or not, it’s a fascinating story around a fascinating blues legend who inspired many players since.

Honorable mentions go to Oscar Hammerstein I, 1847, Robert Johnson, 1911, Don Rickles, 1926, and Ricky Nelson, 1940.


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
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Psalm 43:3-4
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Psalm 84:10
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2

Father, I pray that you shine this great light on me this morning, as I have walked in darkness. Send out your light and truth and let them lead me today, that I may go to your holy hill. Let me praise you with my whole being this morning, Lord! Teach me something new today; something of you that I have never seen before.

In Touch Magazine led me to John 14:1-4 this morning.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Jesus gives us assurance, here, that our eternal destination is a real place, a tangible place. But the phrase that resonates the most with me, this morning, is the very first sentence. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Oh, how much time we spend in this life doing exactly the opposite of this! How much of your day is your heart troubled? The comfort of Jesus bids us to let that trouble go and rest in him. Our eternal resting place is secure. He is readying it for us and will return someday to take us all there. That calms my spirit; it rests my soul; it causes my heart to not be troubled.

If you recall, yesterday’s reading from Tabletalk Magazine cited Isaiah 61:1-3. Today’s reading leaps over to a passage in Luke, chapter 4. In that chapter, Jesus enters the synagogue, takes a scroll and reads these words:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

He spent the rest of his days on earth proclaiming good news to the poor, liberating the captives, giving sight to the blind, and setting the oppressed free. He continues to do those things today. More importantly, he proclaimed himself to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy!

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “The Appearance of Righteousness.” The scripture reading is from Matthew 23.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. (5-7)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (27-28)

So Jesus talks to the scribes and Pharisees in these verses and we all jump up and cheer, and say, “Yeah!!” Not so fast. What Jesus is condemning, here, is called “hypocrisy;” “playacting.” “The dichotomy between appearance and reality, between word and deed, draws Jesus’ most profound criticism.” And it is a result of practicing the disciplines out in the open, right in front of other people, so that they can see your spirituality. Let’s take a poll: How many people went to church last Sunday morning, sang hymns or worship songs, prayed, listened to the preacher, maybe put some money in the offering plate or bag, and even said “Amen” a few times? How many of the same people had an argument with their family on the way home? Or complained about the preacher’s sermon on the way home? Or, even worse, gossiped about some church member on the way home? We are all really good at putting on a show. (Just so you understand, the finger points back at him who is typing, too.) We all fall so short of the ideal. The point, though, of this reading, is not to make us all feel guilty for being hypocrites, because we all are, at some time. The point is that we need to practice our disciplines in private. We need to pray in our “closets” (I don’t literally pray in a closet . . . it’s dark in there, and I wouldn’t be able to see my pray list). We need to give generously, but quietly. And if we fast, we need to do it in a way that is not obvious.

Here’s an example. Every Sunday morning, a group of people get to the elementary school where The Exchange meets, to unload a trailer and set up the cafeteria for a worship service, a gym for the children’s ministries, and a couple other rooms for nursery and preschool. It’s all done before the “regular” people get there for worship celebration. They have no clue how it happens. They just get there, and this place has been miraculously transformed into “church.” We don’t all stand around saying, “Hey! We did this for you! Look at what we did! We got up early on Sunday morning so you can have church!” We don’t want that! And that’s not why we do it. We do it for Jesus. It’s a service to our King. And we don’t care if anyone else ever recognizes us for it. THAT is what Jesus is talking about!

“Beginners in the spiritual life are apt to become very diligent in their exercises. The great danger for them will be to become satisfied with their religious works and with themselves. It is easy for them to develop a kind of secret pride. . . . But those who are at this time moving in God’s way will counter this pride with humility. They will learn to think very little of themselves and their religious works. Instead, they will focus on how great and how deserving God is and how little it is that they can do for him. The Spirit of God dwells in such persons, urging them to keep their treasures secretly within themselves.”~~John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul

I didn’t have time to get to one of the 19 Mercies yesterday, but I’ll get back to it today. I’ve gotten to number four, which is “Cry Out For the Spirit.” “Only the Spirit of Jesus Christ can accomplish the profound inner realities of a deeper faith, a real conversion of heart, a radical break with sin, a more reckless trust, a more forgiving, loving heart. So I urge you to spend time pleading for more of His Spirit and reading more of His Word.” Unfortunately, many of us think the Spirit will just act in our lives while we sit passively by. But initiative is necessary on our part. I need to cry out for a “mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit” in my life. This should be a continuous prayer in my life, not unlike one I find myself saying more and more, these days, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!” I need to add to this a prayer crying out for more of his Spirit. Coupled with that should be daily doses of reading scripture, with emphasis on the New Testament. Not that we need to throw out the Old, like certain “denominations” do, but the New Testament is where the words and actions of Jesus are, and it is him we are trying to emulate. Can we not spare a few minutes a day, out of our busy lives, to read and meditate on the words of Jesus? Reading his word is still the main way he speaks to us.

Yet, we must not work out of guilt. It’s a fine line, a tricky thing. We are not legalistic about this. I try to pray at certain times every day. But if I don’t have the time or ability to do so, for some reason one day (or even if I forget because of business at work), there should be no guilt. We have to get away from this idea that God is disappointed in us because we didn’t do thus and so and such and such a time. But if we really want his Spirit in our lives, we will do the things that will avail us of that potential. I ran into a lady who is a “life coach” at our church picnic Sunday night. She said something that really made me stop and think about my life. She said that we do the things that we want to do. So if we say, “I really want to lose weight,” her question would be, “Well, why aren’t you, then?” Ummm . . . Yeah. You see, we do exactly what we want to do. If I really want to get closer to Jesus and have more of his Spirit, then I will do the things that are necessary for that to happen.

O God, I seek you, but my heart is fickle.
I believe; please help my unbelief. When all I can do
is want to want You, take my crumb of faith and break it
like bread to feed thousands, beginning, by Your mercy,
with me. You reject no desperate, sinful, seeking child.
You say only and always, Come! I come to you, God.
Pour out Your Spirit on me.
Speak Your words of life to this child.
I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Father, take this day and make it glorious for you. Give me more of your Spirit today. Remind me throughout this day to cry out for your Spirit constantly. Give me your words of life, feeding me with the crumbs of my faith, faith that you gave me to begin with. I thank you for the gifts of faith and repentance, with which I was able to believe in you. As I go through this day, may I do the disciplines that I do secretly, never seeking any kind of recognition or human reward for my actions. When I work, let the things that I do at work be done as offerings to you. Yes, I work to get paid, but there is a higher calling in place, here. Let me work for you; let me glorify you in all that I do. Let everything that I do be done in love.

I rejoice in the assurance of an eternal home with you. I pray that I might live my life in such a way as to point others toward this home. Help me to help others find your peace, that peace that surpasses all understanding. Teach me to, like Jesus, share good news with the poor, liberate the captives, give sight to the blind, and free the oppressed. That all sounds so dramatic. How can I do those things? By your grace; by your mercy; by your Spirit.

May this day bring peace to Christi and me, in our workplaces. May this day be full of you! Give us the grace for today, to meet any challenge head on, and to do our work productively and effectively. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show her your steadfast love today. I also pray for Rachel and Justin (I pray for them every day), as they finish up another semester and get that much closer to achieving their goals. Give them grace and mercy, show them your love and peace.

I pray for extra grace for a family from our “huddle” group today. They are experiencing some true, deep struggles right now. I know I’m not telling you anything new. Father, shower them with your presence today.

There’s a lot of stuff up there. My encouragement today is to find time to cry out for his Spirit in your life. Seek him today, and nothing more.

Grace and peace, friends.