This, Too, Shall Pass

“Apart from me you can do nothing.”

Today is Sunday, March 29, 2020, the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Peace be with you!

Day 22,662

Fourteen days until Resurrection Sunday (next Sunday is Palm Sunday).

Today is R’s birthday! Happy birthday to you! I love you!

C and I went out for a walk, yesterday. That’s allowed, so don’t scold me. We did not come within six feet of another person, while walking. We did see a small group, probably all one family, that were not observing that caution. However, C and I were holding hands, so we weren’t observing it, either. But, hey. We live together, you know. It was a beautiful afternoon, and felt so good to be outside for a little while.

A little while later, though, I started feeling like I was catching a cold. That was a little scary. But C reminded me that we had gone outside and that I’m allergic to outside. Which has always been true, and it is allergy season. How convoluted is that, anyway? That this virus thing coincides with allergy season? The other day, I sneezed three times in a row, at work. I thought everyone was going to panic and make me go home.

I’m better this morning, though, and there was never any fever. I also had some mild to moderate nausea at bedtime. I think it was a combination of stuff that I ate for dinner. I won’t go into detail on that. It was probably a bad combination of things. And it’s also possible that the mayo is “sketchy.”

This morning, The Church at Brandon and Kristin’s House will be meeting on Zoom. As mentioned last week, we discovered, all too late, that Google Hangouts will only allow ten logins per session, so there were some who could not get on. But one of us is a teacher, and the teachers all have a Zoom account to use for school. So we are going to use that. If that turns out to be unethical, I’m willing to foot the bill for a Zoom account for the church. It’s only $15 a month. And hopefully we won’t need it for too many months.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.
(Psalms 146:5)

Today I am grateful:
1. That my hope is in the Lord my God
2. For the occasional rebuke (and encouragement) from the righteous (Psalm 141.5)
3. That I am singing to You, because You have dealt bountifully with me (Psalm 13.6)
4. That You are near, all the time
5. That “this, too, shall pass” (Psalm 42.5)

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies! Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
(Psalms 141:3-5)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalms 115:1)

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)

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
(Luke 18:31-34)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

(Psalms 13:1-6)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give me this bread, that he may live in me, and I in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

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. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
(John 15:5-8)

“As we remain in Jesus and let His words dwell in us, we’re wired to our life source–Christ Himself. ‘This is to my Father’s glory,’ said Jesus, ‘that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples’ (v. 8).”
(Patricia Raybon, Our Daily Bread)

He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.
(Deuteronomy 10:21)

But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.
(Psalms 119:151)

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
(Psalms 145:18)

Have you ever spent an hour looking for your phone, only to discover it was in your hand the whole time? Or lost your glasses, only to find that they are propped up on top of your head (or hanging around your neck on a chain)? These are amusing pictures. But think about our God, for a minute. How often do we search here and there, “hither and yon,” for the Lord? Then we find out that He was right there with us the whole time! He is near, always near.

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.
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? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. 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 42:1-5)

The psalmist’s belief in God is not suffering. However, he misses the experience of meeting with God (v. 2). “Human beings need the sense of God’s presence and love as much as the body pants after water (verse 1).” And, as we are finding out in these times, human beings need the presence of one another, as well. “Meeting” over an Internet app is a “Band-Aid.” It helps. But it’s not the same. I’m not suffering as much as some folks, because I am still going to work. So I have some human interaction during the day, but touching is off limits. No handshakes, no high fives, no hugs, even fist-bumps are “sketchy.” A few of us bump elbows sometimes. I’m not likely to touch my face with my elbow. In fact, I can’t. I’ve tried.

The psalmist, however, finds some encouragement in verse 5. It’s his version of “This, too, shall pass.” And that “is a fact about any condition in this changeful world. . . . Though our good things will inevitably be shaken, a believer’s difficult times will always end as well.”

“Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Prayer: Lord, I praise you for being not just a remote, nebulous force but a living, personal God who can be known. I need your presence and love to sometimes soften my hard heart, strengthen my fainting heart, and humble my proud heart. Amen.”

Father, I rejoice in the truth that “this, too, shall pass.” In the words of the popular song, based on Psalm 42, “You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship Thee.” I long to worship You, again, in the presence of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Zoom is not enough. It will have to do, for now, but I long for the handshakes and the hugs (especially the hugs). Have mercy, O Lord. Let Your lovingkindness flow through us, this morning.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Great Name

Good . . . um . . . probably be afternoon by the time this is done. It is Tuesday, February 2, 2015. Welcome to the Sick Day Edition! 62 days until Opening Day; 17 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Today’s Word of the Day is day-peep. While you might think it has something to do with those marshmallowy candy chickens, it doesn’t. It means, “The first appearance of daylight; the earliest dawn.”

Today is Carrot Cake Day. I’m actually surprised at the origin of this treat, as explained in the link. Apparently, it is still a Christmas Day tradition in the UK.

Okay, so here’s the scoop. I went to work yesterday, and was pretty miserable all day long. When I got home, I did have a low grade fever, around 99.1. It increased slightly, through the evening, peaking at 100.1 right at bedtime. I was having mild chills, but only when I moved around. The sinus congestion was getting more painful, and the coughing, I now know, is not chest congestion, but coughing up the drainage. At least that’s what the Minute Clinic nurse-practitioner told me. She said my lungs were clear.

When I awakened this morning, the temperature was back down to 99.1, but I was not feeling better. So I decided to take a sick day, which I really hate to do, since our company doesn’t give “sick days,” and we have to use our PTO for it. As noted above, around 8:30, I headed for Minute Clinic, which is a part of CVS Pharmacy. It’s actually pretty handy. It’s cheaper than Care Now or the standard doctor’s office, and, unless you’ve got something serious going on, they can handle it just fine. I was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection (no surprises there), which she deemed to be viral, not bacterial, so no antibiotics. She prescribed Flonase and an over-the-counter nasal saline spray, and said that it should clear my system (except for the coughing, which, we all know, can drag on FOR. EV. ER!) in seven to ten days. Since this started up last Friday, I should be at about the halfway point, and should be right at the worst part of it. In fact, when she took my temperature at the clinic, it was 97.something. And, frankly, I don’t feel at all feverish right now. My face still hurts, and there’s a lot of drainage, but the drainage is good. It needs to do that.

As “they” say, “This, too, shall pass.”

Shout out to my parents, who are always praying for me! Love you!! Speaking of them, I would appreciate greatly any prayers for my mother. She will be going to a consultation Friday in preparation for cataract surgery, which is to happen on February 23. Her name is Bonnie.

Since I’m home sick, I have plenty of time for the “bonus content” today. So, let’s have some history!

(Source: This Day In History)

I’m sure I featured this last year on this date, or in previous years, but it will always remain a day of infamy. It was on this date in 1959 (I don’t remember, as I was not yet one year old) that a chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, minutes after takeoff. On that plane were, of course, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. There are varying stories about how Waylon Jennings, one of Buddy’s band members, should have been on that plane. The link above states that Richardson had the flu and convinced Waylon to give up his seat. Ritchie Valens “won” a coin toss for the remaining seat. Buddy Holly was 22; The Big Bopper was 28; Ritchie Valens was only 17. February 3, 1959 has since been called “The Day Music Died.”

Here’s Buddy Holly and the Crickets on the Ed Sullivan Show, January, 1958.

My favorite Big Bopper song, “Little Red Riding Hood.”

And last, but not least, Ritchie Valens, “Donna.”

The day has been immortalized in Don McLean’s song, “American Pie.”

Okay. Now that I’m all emotional, I’ll do some birthdays. Today’s birthdays include Felix Mendelssohn (composer), Horace Greeley (journalist), Gertrude Stein (writer), Norman Rockwell (painter), Pretty Boy Floyd (gangster), James Michener (author), Robert Earl Jones (James’s father, also an actor), Joey Bishop (entertainer), Henry Heimlich (physician), Fran Tarkenton (quarterback), Blythe Danner (actress), Bob Griese (football player), Dave Davies (musician, The Kinks), Morgan Fairchild (actress), Fred Lynn (Red Sox baseball player), Maura Tierney (actress), Warwick Davis (actor), and Isla Fisher (actress).

Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer from the early Romantic period. He was born on this date in 1809. Here is his piece, “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture.”


O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

Psalm 15:1-3

Today’s reading from Solid Joys is “The Greatest Love.”

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
1 John 2:12

For today, the most important phrase in that verse is “for his name’s sake.” We emphasize the fact that God loves, saves, and forgives for his own glory. There are more than two reasons for this, but, for today, we will just look at two of them. The first, and probably most important, is that the Bible also emphasizes this truth. Look at all of these verses.

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Isaiah 43:25
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Psalm 25:11
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!
Psalm 79:9
“Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you.”
Jeremiah 14:7
We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against you. Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.
Jeremiah 14:20-21
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:25-26
. . . your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
1 John 2:12

Another reason that we emphasize this truth is that “it makes clear that God loves us with the greatest love.”

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
John 17:24

There was a trend, earlier on, that seems to have faded somewhat (and I’m very glad about that), that made people what God cares most about. I even read a statement in a popular discipleship book that said that the only thing Jesus cared about is making disciples. (I’m not quoting it directly, because I don’t remember the exact quote, and I no longer have the book.) I question and even rebuke that kind of thinking. We are not supreme, and God loves is in a way that makes not us supreme, “but makes himself supreme.” When we get to heaven, we won’t find a “hall of mirrors, but an increasing vision of infinite greatness.”

“The greatest love makes sure that God does everything in such a way as to uphold and magnify his own supremacy so that when we get there we have something to increase our joy forever — God’s glory.”

What a day, glorious day, that will be!

Father, I pray that you increase my joy in these truths, that you have loved me, saved me, and forgiven me for your own name’s sake, not for any glory that I might attain. May I never attribute any of the mercy and grace that you have given me to anything that I have done. I have never done anything to deserve your mercy, nor will there ever be anything that I could do to increase that mercy! It is all for your glory and for your name’s sake! I praise you for this, Father!

I pray for the rest of this day. Give me rest, that I might heal. I pray for quick recovery from this infection, and that I might be able to return to work tomorrow, so as to not have to use any more PTO. I pray that the rest of the team at work is feeling better, as well, as there were a couple out sick yesterday, as well. I pray that Christi is having a good day at her job today, in spite of developments that are bringing her down. I also pray for a reduction of the family drama that she has been enduring. May Stephanie know your peace, along with your unfailing love.

I lift up a prayer for a young boy named Andrew, Father, who is recently begun experiencing night terrors. May you bring peace to him while he sleeps. Enter into his dreams with the presence of your holy peace. Bring comfort to his mother and father, and help them to know how to help him.

Your grace is sufficient.

Everything that God has done for us is for the sake of his great name.

Grace and peace, friends.