The Sovereignty of God

Today is Thursday, the 2nd of March, 2023, in the first week of Lent.

May the peace of God, that passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!

Day 23,730 (the number of days since I was born)

I am curious if anyone in the community knows what has happened to our photographer friend, Paul Militaru, in Romania. For about a week or so, now, whenever I try to visit his site, I have gotten this:

I am quite concerned about him. And I miss seeing his lovely photos.

I made it to choir practice, after work, last night. I’m glad I did. I enjoy singing with the group, but it makes for a long day. The rehearsals are important, right now, though, because we are planning a cantata for Good Friday, as well as an anthem for Easter morning. There is a Maundy Thursday service, but it doesn’t look like the choir is singing for that.

Yesterday’s work day was fine. Nothing unusual happened, and patrons were cleared out by closing time, so there weren’t any “lingerers” that kept us from closing up on time.

I don’t have much on my agenda for today. I’ll be cooking dinner tonight, since S had no Club Metro event on the first Thursday of each month. I will need to leave the house for a few minutes, at some point, to pick up a prescription, and, of course, to get Sonic drinks.


You are righteous, O LORD, 
and your judgments are right.
(Psalms 119:137 NRSV)

Daily Prayer from

Dear Father in heaven, we ask you from our hearts to give us your peace. Grant that nothing may take your peace from us, and protect us from all that is evil. May we always be mindful that we should serve you in self-denial. May we be faithful on all our ways, looking to the great promise you have given each one of us. Keep us under your protection, as you have always done. We praise and thank you for all that comes to our hearts from you, making us full of trust and certain of your further help. Amen.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13 NRSV)

Today I am grateful:

  • for the support and encouragement that comes from the community of saints
  • that nothing on earth can take away the peace that God gives me
  • for every good and perfect gift that comes from God
  • for God’s sovereignty in this world
  • for the Kingdom of God, which is here, now, available for anyone to enter in; this is the Gospel, the Good News

Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me; 
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.
(Psalms 40:11 NRSV)
My heart is steadfast, O God, 
my heart is steadfast. 
I will sing and make melody.
(Psalms 57:7 NRSV)
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; 
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
(Psalms 55:22 NRSV)

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.

"Most loving Father,
whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things,
to fear nothing but the loss of you,
and to cast all our cares on you who cares for us:
Preserve me from faithless fears and worldly anxieties,
that no clouds of this mortal life
 may hide from me the light of this love which is immortal, 
and which you have manifested to us 
in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you, 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, now and for ever. 
(The Divine Hours - The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2 NRSV)

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
(Ephesians 2:4-5 NRSV)

And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
(1 Kings 8:10-11 NRSV)

“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel according to all that he promised; not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke through his servant Moses. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he not leave us or abandon us, but incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors. Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Therefore devote yourselves completely to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”
(1 Kings 8:56-61 NRSV)

When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.
(1 Kings 2:1-3 NRSV)

I said to you, “Have no dread or fear of them.”
(Deuteronomy 1:29 NRSV)

Set me as a seal upon your heart, 
as a seal upon your arm; 
for love is strong as death, 
passion fierce as the grave. 
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. 
Many waters cannot quench love, 
neither can floods drown it. 
If one offered for love all the wealth of one's house, 
it would be utterly scorned.
(Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NRSV)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”
(Revelation 11:15 NRSV)

I started reading 1 Kings a few days ago, in my journey through the Bible. I have also been reading, along with my Bible reading, a compilation of Eugene H. Peterson’s introductions to the books of the Bible from The Message. The book is called The Invitation: A Simple Guide to the Bible. As he writes about 1 and 2 Kings (in the same chapter), he speaks greatly of God’s sovereignty. “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines. But we have no choice: God is Sovereign. God rules.”

I recently had a brief discussion on Facebook with a college classmate on the subject of free will. This person, who is a marginal believer, at best, is often full of questions about things. I always enjoy reading his questions. On the surface, at times, they might appear mocking, but I don’t believe that is the intent (it might be, sometimes, granted). I think he is thinking. So, even if the thoughts are heading in the wrong direction, I think it is good that he is thinking about them.

On this subject, he is doubting whether we really have free will if all of God’s prophecies have to come true. And here, I’m sure Peterson’s statement that “we have no choice” would further confound him.

Nevertheless, what Peterson says is ultimately true. While individuals have free will (and my pendulum has swung back and forth on the whole free will/predetermination topic . . . I now call myself a recovering five-point Calvinist), as humanity, we are governed by God’s sovereignty in all things.

Peterson asks how we can live this out. "How do we manage to live believingly and obediently in and under this revealed sovereignty in a world that is mostly either ignorant or defiant of it?
"Worship shaped by an obedient reading of Scripture is basic. We submit to having our imaginations and behaviors conditioned by the reality of God rather than by what is handed out in school curricula and media reporting."

In the stories of the Kings, we see failure after failure after failure. It wasn’t God’s idea for the people to have kings. But God, in His sovereignty, allowed them to do so. And it never worked very well at all.

“Human beings, no matter how well intentioned or gifted, don’t seem to be able to represent God’s rule anywhere close to satisfactorily. The books of Kings, in that light, are a relentless exposition of failure–a relentless five-hundred-year documentation proving that the Hebrew demand of God to ‘have a king’ was about the worst thing they could have asked for.”

But here’s the thing. What we also realize as we read through these two books is that “God continues to work his purposes and uses them in the work–doesn’t discard them, doesn’t detour around them; he uses them.” God uses them whether they want to be used or not, whether they even realize it or not.

Hezekiah had a little understanding of this when he said:

And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: "O LORD the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. So now, O LORD our God, save us, I pray you, from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone." 
(2 Kings 19:15-16, 19 NRSV)

Now here is where the “free will” piece comes into play. “God’s rule is not imposed in the sense that he forces each man and woman into absolute conformity to justice and truth and righteousness. The rule is worked from within, much of the time invisible and unnoticed, but always patiently and resolutely there.” (I wish I had had this quote during the aforementioned discussion.)

When we understand God’s sovereignty in our world (and by “we” I mean Christ-followers, because they are the only ones who can truly understand it), “We quit spinning our wheels on utopian projects and dreams.” We can rest in the knowledge that, no matter how bad it looks out there, God is in control.

Now, in God’s sovereignty, He declares Jesus Christ King over His Kingdom. The verse from Revelation 11, up there is future. It is prophecy. The kingdom of this world has not yet become the kingdom of our Lord. But it will.

Jesus was the one who first announced the Kingdom of God in verses like Mark 1:14-15.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
(Mark 1:14-15 NRSV)

He announced it, and, at the end, He will accept the title of King of that Kingdom. In this, He also lets us know that God's rule, God's sovereignty, is "comprehensive, established over body as well as soul, over society as well as individuals . . .
"He just as clearly repudiated the accustomed means by which that rule was exercised: he rejected the devil's offer of a position in the government, rebuked the brothers Boanerges for wanting to call down fire from heaven to incinerate their enemies, ordered Peter to put up his sword, and reassured Pilate that the governor's job was in no danger. Finally, to make sure no one missed the point, he arranged that his coronation take place on a cross."
(These quotes from Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder, quoted in God's Message for Each Day)

By the way, Reversed Thunder may be the best book on Revelation I’ve ever read.

This was long. I apologize for that. If you’re still reading, good on you! 🙂

My point is that, no matter what we see with our eyes or hear with our ears, God is Sovereign, and His Kingdom is alive and well. And His Kingdom, thanks to Jesus Christ, His life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection, is open to all.

Father, I thank You for these truths. I praise You for Your sovereignty in our world. I praise You that Your will will be done, on earth as in heaven. And I am so very thankful for Jesus Christ, who will one day be crowned King over this Kingdom. I cannot wait to be part of that worship service!

All hail King Jesus!! 
All hail Emmanuel!
King of Kings
Lord of Lords
Bright Morning Star
And throughout eternity
I'll sing Your praises
And I'll reign with You
Throughout eternity!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Fickle Feet

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

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

Day 23,613

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


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

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

(Daily Prayer from

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

A Song of Ascents. 

I lift up my eyes to the hills. 
From where does my help come? 
My help comes from the LORD, 
who made heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot be moved; 
he who keeps you will not slumber. 
Behold, he who keeps Israel 
will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The LORD is your keeper; 
the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 
The sun shall not strike you by day,
 nor the moon by night. 

The LORD will keep you from all evil; 
he will keep your life. 
The LORD will keep 
your going out and your coming in 
from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalms 121:1-8 ESV)

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

By wisdom a house is built, 
and by understanding it is established; 
by knowledge the rooms are filled 
with all precious and pleasant riches.
(Proverbs 24:3-4 ESV)
You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

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

Oh, how I long for Home!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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

(St. Teresa of Avila)

Grace and peace, friends.

Heal Us, O Lord

Today is Saturday, the twelfth of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you, today.

Day 23,347

Today’s header image is by Paul Militaru, from Romania. Please check out his lovely photography at the link provided.

Sometimes, I look at the year and shake my head in disbelief. 2022. I remember, as a child, trying to calculate how old I would be at the turn of the century, in 2001. And yes, the new century/millennium started in 2001, not 2000. I’m not even going to argue with you about it. You’re just wrong. Anyway . . . and now, it’s 21 years beyond that.

We were preparing our tax return, the other day, and C needed to know when my driver’s license expires. 2030. What?? Geez.

I think about the technological advances I’ve seen in my lifetime. I consider that today’s youth/teens have never known anything but primarily digital music, or streaming television. Then I think about the advances my parents’ generation has seen.

I remember the first handheld calculators (there was a factory in my home town, by the way). I remember when cassettes and 8-tracks became big, then when CDs obliterated vinyl. By the way, vinyl has been outselling CDs in recent years . . . it’s made a comeback, because people have realized that it actually sounds better than digital music.

But here’s the thing. I’m not stuck in the past. I have embraced the new technology, as much as I can. I confess that I never quite figured out “SnapChat.” But I have ventured into TikTok territory. You can find me here, if you want. I get mildly amused, and a little sad at all the Facebook posts I see from my generation; you know the ones. There’s a picture, perhaps, of an old-school car dimmer switch, on the floorboard, and the question says, “Who remembers these??” And a bunch of my contemporaries all jump on and say, “ME!!” What I take away from this is that they feel a sense of superiority about it.


Enough of that. It’s 2022. Wow. You have heard it said, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I have learned that the second two thirds of that sentence are unnecessary. Time flies. Period.

It was, as usual, a great day at the library, yesterday. Someone brought donuts. Some of them were heart-shaped. Yes, because, as I have just realized, Valentine’s Day is Monday! C and I don’t even really acknowledge Valentine’s Day. It’s not really a thing for us. We don’t buy cards or flowers or candy. Well, we buy candy, but not just for that day. We’ve been buying way too much candy, these days. I will say, though, that we have enjoyed the temporary availability of chocolate covered cherries.

Today, S and I have appointments at the eye doctor. It was supposed to be S and C, but C has some kind of bronchitis or something, and doesn’t feel up to going, so we switched the appointment to me. I’m due for a checkup, anyway, so I’ll do it today. That’s at 12:20.

The rest of the day is wide open. I have a small grocery order scheduled to be delivered between 2 and 4 this afternoon. I’ll likely cook burgers for S and me, tonight. C has already said she doesn’t want one.

It’s colder today. The A/C was on, yesterday, because the temp was supposed to reach 77 degrees (and probably did), but today, the high is, like, 47 or something. So the heat is back on, this morning.

That’s all I got. Oh, wait. The Super Bowl is Sunday. I hope the Bengals win. The only reason I have for that is that I heard their quarterback loves to play chess and has an autographed copy of The Queen’s Gambit. I couldn’t tell you his name, at the moment, if my life depended on it.


A Genuine Prayer, by Daryl Madden

Oh Lord, my need
As day begins
In helping me
Be genuine

My mask, remove
My soul, reveal
Oh Lord let me
Be truly real

And with my friends
Our heart to share
Be vulnerable
And fully here

Oh, let me live
As You see me
A human of

Whose joy is found
With greater view
A life of grace
Through love of You!

Please check out more of Daryl’s wonderful poetry at the link provided.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 
For fear has to do with punishment, 
and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 
We love because he first loved us. 
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 4:18-21 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the challenge presented in those verses above
2. for the reminder that everything I think, say, or feel, and everyone I meet, has to do with God
3. for the promises of healing (but not always the way we think or desire)
4. that, through all the years and experiences of my life, "I still believe"
5. that God doesn't change like our weather

The prayer word for the day is “heal.” Here is a word that typically only has one meaning. The scripture reference may not seem to have anything directly to do with healing, but let’s take a look at it.

‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
(Matthew 22:32 NIV)

The writer of today’s reading cites three different instances where he knows of someone who was miraculously healed. He names “Cheryl,” “Tim,” and “Deb.” Then he goes on to say that, sometimes, he prays to the God of “Cheryl, Tim, and Deb.”

Jesus’s point in that statement (He was responding to a trick question by the Sadducees) was that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not dead, but eternally alive. And not only alive, but physically and spiritually healed from anything that might have afflicted them, while on earth.

I prayed for my dad’s healing for years. He was afflicted with a rare muscular disease called Inclusion Body Myositis, in the Muscular Dystrophy family. He passed away from this disease on April 12, 2015, almost seven years ago. Was my prayer not answered? My prayer was answered, I will confidently say. It was not answered in the way I preferred, because I’m a selfish human. But it was answered in the best way. Yes, I miss my dad. But I believe, confidently, that he is 100% healed. I don’t know what heaven will look like, as we only have glimpses. But I believe that my dad’s muscles are strong and healthy in his “glorified” body, so he has been healed.

Sometimes, people are healed on earth. I also am a firm believer that I will be on this earth until God doesn’t need me to be here, any more. As long as there is a job for me to do, here, I will remain. When that time is over, He will bring me Home.

In the meantime, I will pray for peoples’ healing. Just because my dad wasn’t “healed” in the way I wanted, doesn’t mean that I don’t continue to believe in God’s ability to heal people. In the words of Michael Been and The Call, “I Still Believe.”

"But I still believe
I still believe
Through the pain
And the grief
Through the lies
Through the storms
Through the cries
And through the wars
Oh, I still believe"

(From Pray a Word a Day)

In Symphony of Salvation, Eugene H. Peterson addresses something that I have struggled mightily with. In the chapter on Zephaniah, entitled “Seek God’s Right Ways,” he talks about how some of us tend to look for a “religion that will give us access to God without having to bother with people. We want to go to God for comfort and inspiration when we’re fed up with the men and women and children around us.”


That hits me right between the eyes. You see, I don’t like “people.” And that dislike has gotten even more severe in the last few years. Between the political division and the pandemic (much of which produced even more political division), I am simply fed up with “people.” But Peterson pointedly reminds me that this is not right. I can’t be that way. I mean, how can I obey Jesus’s command to “love one another” if I can’t stand the people I’m supposed to love??

I love this one statement that Peterson makes. “Everything you do or think or feel has to do with God. Every person you meet has to do with God.” This doesn’t mean that every conversation has to include something about God. But what it does mean is that my mind and spirit need to be in tune with this fact and consider that every person that I come in contact with . . . okay . . . how to frame this. I remember Dallas Willard saying something once. I can’t remember the exact quote or even where it was, but he said something to the effect that we need to treat every person as though Jesus is standing between us.

So if I meet someone while I’m at the eye doctor today, and have any kind of interaction, whether positive or negative, I need to act as though Jesus Christ is standing between us; He is in the midst; He is paying attention to the interaction, which means He is listening to what I say about that person or to that person; He is even hearing what I’m thinking about that person!

So if that doesn’t chill your bones, I don’t know what will.

Sounds like I need some “healing,” huh?

Never-changing God, I’m so fickle. I admit it, I confess it. Sometimes, I’m a hypocrite, too. I admit that, as well. I preach love for one another, but then I don’t want to have anything to do with people, in general, because, as Peterson has observed, I just don’t like people very much. They annoy me, they frustrate me, and I don’t understand why they think the way they do.

Heal me, O Lord! I know I’m not right about everything. I may not be right about much of anything. But I do know one thing that I’m right about, and that is that I’m supposed to love You with every ounce of my being, love my neighbor as myself, and love my brothers and sisters the way Christ has loved us. So help me do that.

Take that annoyance and remind me that You are present between me and those other people, all the time. That everything I think about them (even if I don’t speak words) goes through You, because You are aware of it all. Before I think something, let Your Spirit stop me and remind me that the person of which I am thinking is created in Your image, and might just be one of Your children, as well. Remind me that there is always something about their lives that I don’t know, don’t even have a clue about. Release me from judgmentalness! Just chisel that fault out of me. Cleanse my heart and heal me.

I’m grateful for all You do in my life, and pray that this will continue. Just keep teaching me Your ways, that I may walk in Your truth, and in Your kingdom. May my feet be guided down the path of righteousness, true righteousness of faith, based on the words and actions of Jesus, not on some man’s legalistic interpretation of Your Word.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Fear and Delight

Good morning! Today is Saturday, the twenty-third of October, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life today!

Today’s header photo is courtesy of photographer Paul Militaru. Please check out his photography blog.

Day 23,235

Fifteen days until Daylight Saving Time ends.

And it’s only twenty-five days until we fly to Indianapolis! We need to find someone to check up on or stay with our kitties while we’re gone, though.

I had a great day at the library, yesterday. It wasn’t super-busy, and others have said that Friday was usually the slowest day of the week, even pre-pandemic. The computer center had people in it for most of the day, though, and there was a bit of an influx between 5:00 and closing time, at 6:00. The manager says that’s fairly normal, and I figure maybe people have just gotten off work and run over to the library to do whatever they need to do. I’m starting to notice “repeat customers,” too.

When I got to work, yesterday, there were three “candygrams” in my mailbox. One from my manager, one from the assistant director, and one from the Community Services manager who is our director’s boss. That was very nice.

My interlibrary loan book has been extended for another week, so I now have until next Friday to finish it. I might finish over this weekend, but at least my anxiety level about it has been decreased significantly.

Another anxiety decrease/elimination occurred last night when the Red Sox failed to score a run in Game Six of the ALCS, sending the Astros to the World Series. Again. Sigh. In the spirit of the current culture of our nation, I have to assume that, since my team didn’t win, the other team cheated. That’s how we think, now, right?

I’m joking, of course. But there is something awful fishy about how the Red Sox bats just quit working for the last three games. That almost reeks more of game-fixing than cheating on either team’s part. But, in the words of one of the songs from Hamilton, “that’s one less thing to worry about.” I doubt that I will watch any of the World Series, as I couldn’t possibly care less who wins. I guess I could root for Mookie Betts, but that would require me to root for the Dodgers, and I don’t want to do that.

There’s always next year.

C has an old friend from high school coming over today, so I will be hiding away in the study for most of the day. I have a grocery order to pick up at Kroger between 1:00 and 2:00 PM, and might pick up some lunch for S and me, during that time. Otherwise, I have no significant plans for the day.

There are a lot of “holidays” to choose from today. I choose Make A Difference Day. What can you and I do today, to make a difference in someone’s life?

The word for today is verst. “a Russian measure of distance equivalent to 3,500 feet, or 0.6629 mile (1.067 kilometers).”

Today’s quote is from Peter Drucker, American businessman, and I 100% agree with it. “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

Significant birthdays on October 23:

Emmanuel, marquis de Grouchy, French general and marshal (only because I like his name), 1766-1847
Milton "Gummo" Marx, American actor and comedian, 1892-1977
Frank Sutton, American actor (Gomer Pyle, Sgt Carter), 1923-1974
Johnny Carson, American comedian and TV host (The Tonight Show), 1925-2005
Ellie Greenwich, American singer/songwriter (Da Doo Ron Ron, Leader of the Pack), 1940-2009
Pele, Brazilian football player, Player of the Century, 1940 (81)
Michael Crichton, American author (Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain), 1942-2008
Alfred "Weird Al Yankovic" Matthew, American comedian and parody singer, 1959 (62)
Sam Raimi, American filmmaker (Spiderman, Evil Dead), 1959 (62)
Cat Deeley, English TV presenter (So You Think You Can Dance), 1976 (45)
Ryan Reynolds, Canadian actor and comedian (Deadpool, Van Wilder), 1976 (45)
Emelia Clarke, English actress (Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen), 1986 (35)
Ellie Greenwich co-wrote this song
My favorite Weird Al song


Can Be A Prayer, by Daryl Madden

A simple intention
With a heart to care
Feeding the birds
Can be a prayer

A moment of dawning
Of light to appear
Watching the sunrise
Can be a prayer

Feeling so grateful
For food we prepare
Making our breakfast
Can be a prayer

A time of blessing
With God that we share
Any moment we live
Can be a prayer

Isn’t that a beautiful poem?? And so true! Any activity we do can be a prayer, with the right mindset behind it. I believe it may have been Brother Lawrence who said that the most non-spiritual tasks, such as washing the dishes, can be prayer.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
(Psalms 92:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that any activity we do can be a prayer
2. for Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night
3. for the music You have placed in my soul, that I might sing Your praises
4. that, because I fear You and delight in Your commands, I do not fear bad news
5. that, in You, I will never be shaken

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



Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor his loving kindness from me.
(Psalms 66:20 WEB)

I pause, this morning, to give thanks to the Lord for my life and all its blessings. His grace is overwhelming.


Praise the LORD.

Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
(Psalms 112:1-8 NIV)


Then Job replied to the LORD:
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
(Job 42:1-6 NIV)


As I grow more aware of God’s presence with me, I read these passages over again. What speaks to me? What stirs my spirit within me?

The psalm is simply beautiful. It is so stirring. Ironically, if asked to list favorite Psalms, 112 would not come to mind. It should, though.

I do believe that I have a healthy fear of the Lord, and that I delight in His commands. Especially when those commands are boiled down to what Jesus said summed up the law and the prophets. And I also consider myself “blessed.” That is not a boast of my circumstances. Rather, it is a boast of my God. Yes, my circumstances are, for the most part, wonderful. But a lot of that is in my spirit, in my perspective. There are things that could certainly be better. C could be healing better/faster. We could have a better life going for S, with her autism, considering her future.

But here’s the thing. Verse 3: “Wealth and riches are in their house.” This is not, in my opinion, just about money and material goods. The Hebrew word translated “wealth” implies “enough.” And we most certainly have enough. Even with my retirement and going to a part time job, we have enough. We have not had to dip into our savings yet! And that’s with me having to pay over $500 a month for COBRA insurance, until January 1, when I will get on C’s health insurance.

Verse 4: “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.” And verse 5 speaks loudly to me: “Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” This is huge, to me. We have, for many years, now, been generous (C probably thinks I am overly-generous, sometimes) with the blessings we have been given. As stated in the above paragraph, we have enough, more, even, than enough. So, when the opportunities arise, we share that bounty. We tip generously, when we go to restaurants. I try to tip, when I have cash available, grocery pickup/delivery people. They don’t make a lot of money.

Again, I am not boasting of my works. It sounds like I am, but I am only attempting to illustrate the principals being taught. I am boasting in my God and His faithfulness. He keeps His promises. He blesses those who fear Him. And, even when things turn dark, we can see the light, if we focus on Him, rather than on those circumstances. As Job said, a few days ago, “shall we receive good from God, and not trouble?” (I’m sure that’s a terrible paraphrase.)

“Surely,” says verse 6, “the righteous will NEVER be shaken!” (emphasis mine) I don’t know about that part about being remembered forever. Not on earth, at least. But that’s why “story” is so important. I wish I had more stories from my parents and grandparents. That’s one reason to write things down. That’s one reason to pass things down to our children and their children. But we will not be shaken. Not ultimately, not permanently.

Sure, things will happen that shake me, momentarily. But I will bounce back, quickly, eyes on my Father, not my circumstances. And then I will give thanks and sing praises to His name. And because of these things, I can say, confidently, as in verse 7, that I don’t fear bad news. Note: It does not say that I won’t get bad news! It says that we will have no fear of it. There’s a difference.

Remember the words of Dallas Willard. If we are in Christ; if we fear the Lord, and delight in His commands, “this world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” God won’t keep bad things from happening to us, as Tish Harrison Warren observed in Prayer in the Night. He didn’t even keep bad things from happening to Himself! But, in Him, the world is a safe place to be.

I love Job’s response to the Lord in the final chapter of the book. He is humble, as we need to practice. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know,” he said. What would this world look like if more of us were that honest? I don’t know if we need to go as far as despising ourselves, but a measure of repentance would certainly be helpful.

If you keep reading beyond the featured passage, you see that the Lord chastises Job’s “friends.” He says to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” (emphasis mine) Oddly, He does not mention Elihu, the younger of the group, who waited until last to speak.

You will also see, at the end, that all of Job’s fortunes were restored, and then some. Because, throughout all of this testing, Job never waivered in his faith. He questioned, yes. He questioned the reasons that all of these terrible things were happening to him, and requested audience with the Almighty. But never once did he, as his former wife suggested, “curse God and die.”

When we fear God and delight in His commands, we are blessed. Wealth and riches will fill our houses. Good will come to us (when we are generous). We will never be shaken. We will have no fear of bad news.

Father, I praise You with all my being, this morning, for these truths. We all know that “bad” things (by our own definitions) will come in our lives. But if we know You, fear You, and delight in Your commands, those “bad” things will be turned around for good. We will not be, ultimately, shaken. Your grace, Your mercy, Your steadfast love and faithfulness . . . there aren’t enough words for me to thank You and praise You enough. I will sing to You as long as I have breath (and beyond, for I don’t believe I will need breath in heaven). Thank for Your blessings, and I also thank You that You have brought us to a place where we focus on the blessings we have, not on those we don’t have.

Father, I pray for unity and holiness within Your Church. Heal us, O Lord!

"Saving God,
before my very eyes,
visibly portray Jesus Christ crucified.
Humbled before the cross,
seeing Your suffering,
may I die to myself and come alive to You.
As I find life in Your death,
let me taste Your joy in my sorrow.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(Matthew 5:8 WEB)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
(Matthew 25:40 NIV)

Blessed are those who
fear the Lord and find delight
in His commandments.
(Psalm 112:1)

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Love Defends Me

Today is Wednesday, the twentieth of October, 2021

Peace be with you!

Day 23,232

Eighteen days until Daylight Saving Time ends

I actually had a nice time at the Hurst Way Conference, yesterday. It was informative (being that I’m still relatively new to the City of Hurst), and parts of it were quite fun. I made it in time to get breakfast (they served right up until 8:30), which was scrambled eggs, bacon and link sausage, and breakfast potatoes. It was quite good.

I sat at a table with two other part time library aides, as well as my boss, the Adult Services manager. There was also way too much candy on the table, of which we all, obviously under some kind of mind control, ate most of. Lunch was also quite good, consisting of salmon, roasted chicken, some kind of rice, and some broccoli. And a roll. And salad. If you’ve ever taken part in a buffet of this kind, you know the kind of salad, too. You know . . . the one that looks like someone went out in their back yard and gathered leaves? But it was good, especially when doused with Ranch dressing.

There was a fun presentation by a group called Positively Outrageous Service, which is based on a book by the same name. The two gentlemen who presented were Andrew Szabo and Michael Hoffman. They are co-authors of the book, along with T. Scott Gross.

There was a lot of talk about how the city made it through 2020 and the pandemic. The last Conference was two years ago. In fact, everyone in the room received a “Team Hurst Award,” which is, apparently, normally given either to an individual or a department. So we all received a gold-ish coin for that. Everyone also got a City of Hurst t-shirt, and I volunteered to participate in a “Family Feud” game, and received a copy of the game, “Hurst-Opoly,” as well as $100,000. Candy Bar. Hahaha! Oh. And I also won a prize at the end, a dozen “bundtinis” from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I plan to get those one day next week and take them to work with me. The last thing we need in this house is a bunch of mini bundt cakes.

I had started soup in the crock pot before leaving, yesterday morning, so that was our dinner. C and I watched a couple episodes of Midnight Mass on Netflix, our current binge. We have two more episodes left. It is an interesting mix of drama and supernatural, and, so far, doesn’t get overly scary. C hasn’t bailed on it, yet. It has a cool soundtrack, as well.

Then I started watching the ALCS game, Red Sox v. Astros. It was going fine for a while. Then the Astros tied the game in the eighth inning. Then they went ahead by a run in the ninth. Then Alex Cora put Martin Perez in the game to pitch. I should have turned off the TV at that point. But I didn’t. I watched Perez hand four more runs to the Astros on a silver platter before I gave up.

Here’s the thing, for anyone who cares. Perez has never been, nor will he ever be, anything more than a mediocre pitcher. He played for Texas for a while, and was never better than .500, and usually below. Why on earth the Red Sox hired him, I will never know.

Game Five will be this afternoon at 4:08, but Chris Sale is starting. This is an exercise in insanity, in my opinion. Sale has not been himself since he returned to the lineup, but I don’t know what other choice they have. Cora brought in Eovaldi in the ninth inning last night, so he’s not available to start. So I’m not optimistic about the Sox going back to Houston with a lead in the series. But then, I don’t think many of us expected them to get this far anyway.

C is back at the office today, for the second time this week. If she follows her normal schedule, she will work at the office tomorrow and at home on Friday. She went for a somewhat lengthy walk, yesterday, and seems to be okay. If I ask her, she says she is doing pretty good. I doubt, however, that she is pain-free.

Today is Information Overload Day. I’m just going to leave that there.

The word of the day is burgeon. “to grow or develop quickly; flourish.” The Internet seems to burgeon with information, whether accurate or not.

Today’s quote is from Elizabeth Barret Browning, English poet. “Who so loves believes the impossible.”

Significant birthdays on October 20:

Charles Ives, American composer, 1874-1954
Bela Lugosi, Austrian actor (Dracula), 1882-1956
Stuart Hamblen, American singer and composer (This Ole House), 1908-1989
Louis "Grandpa" Jones, American country singer (Hee Haw), 1913-1998
Art Buchwald, American author and columnist, 1925-2017
Joyce Brothers, American pop psychologist, 1927-2013
Mickey Mantle, American HoF baseball player, 1931-1995
Tom Petty, American rock singer/songwriter (American Girl, I Won't Back Down), 1950-2017
Viggo Mortensen, American actor (Lord of the Rings), 1958 (63)
Kamala Harris, US Vice President, 1964 (57)
Juan Gonzalez, Puerto Rican MLB outfielder (Texas Rangers), 1969 (52)
John Krasinski, American actor (The Office), 1979 (42)
It’s actually the rest of the Traveling Wilburys backing him on this video.

Today’s blog header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru, from Romania, who is a wonderful photographer. You can check out his photos in the link on his name. He has graciously allowed me to feature his photos here.


If we are faithless - 
The saying is trustworthy -
He remains faithful.
(2 Timothy 2)

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

Today I am grateful:

1. that I am alive and breathing
2. that "Your name is near"
3. that You have never turned a deaf ear to me, and have always been loyal in Your love for me
4. that no temptation comes against me that I am unable to bear
5. that Your love defends me

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



Blessed be God: he didn’t turn a deaf ear, he stayed with me, loyal in his love.
(Psalms 66:20 MSG)

I pause, now, during this quiet moment, to reflect on His love and the blessings in my life.


Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love.
Let them know that it is your hand, that you, LORD, have done it.
While they curse, may you bless; may those who attack me be put to shame, but may your servant rejoice.
May my accusers be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
(Psalms 109:26-31 NIV)


One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
(Job 1:6-12 NIV)


As I remind myself that I sit in God’s presence, I linger over these passages, looking for words or phrases that move me, catch the attention of my spirit.

In the psalm passage, I see the idea of God holding us up when others falsely accuse us or attack us. But the piece that really sticks out to me is when he asks the Lord to let them know that it was specifically His hand that has done it. And while the psalmist doesn’t specifically state that he is being “falsely” accused, I believe it is implied.

We should not be asking God to vindicate/defend us if the accusations are well-founded. That seems to be something that a lot of folks miss. And there is also a false idea of what it means to be “attacked” or “persecuted,” in my culture.

As far as I have seen, there are no Christians being persecuted in the USA. But there are people who seem to think that, if someone disagrees with them, they are being persecuted. That’s just silly. We must be sure, I believe, that the accusations leveled against us are false. Then and only then can we be justified in asking the Lord to defend us. And then, we want everything to be for His glory, so we ask, along with the psalmist, that it be obvious that it is the hand of God performing the works.

There is debate over the story of Job, as to whether it is a real, literal, historical tale or an allegorical tale. I tend to lean toward allegory, but I will also say that I am not nearly wise enough to know for sure. Either way, though, I believe a clear lesson that is taught in the brief passage we read today is that our accuser, our enemy, has no authority to tempt us or test us, unless it is given him by God.

Satan brought an accusation to the Lord, and the Lord allowed him to test it against Job. Allegory or not, I believe the precept to be true. Nothing comes against me without God allowing it. If Satan has power to tempt me or try me, it is because the Lord has allowed him to do so. But we should note that the Lord forbad Satan to lay a hand on Job. At least at first. Later, He even allowed Satan to afflict Job, physically, but did not allow him to take his life.

The comfort this should give us is knowing that nothing comes against us without the knowledge of our Father. He also knows what we can bear. This is not the same as believing the false teaching that “God won’t allow anything that you can’t handle.” That’s baloney. But 1 Corinthians 10:13 does say, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

God is not surprised. There will never be an instance when God says, “Oh! I didn’t know Satan was going to do that!” He also, by the way, knows when we will fail, but allows this, as well, that we might grow from the experience. The key is that, as noticed in the Haiku above, from 2 Timothy, God is faithful; God is always faithful, even when we are not.

Father, I am grateful for the provision that You place over us; provision that keeps our enemy from having too much power over us. I am comforted to know that nothing comes against me that doesn’t go through You first. I am encouraged to know that You know everything that is coming my way, and that You will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. My fault comes when, even though I can bear it, I sometimes fall under it. For those times, I humbly ask forgiveness, and the opportunity to get back up and go again. But You protect us. You also defend us. As the song says, Your love defends us. Sometimes, we do feel like we are all alone, but Your love defends us. You are the strength of my soul. Your Holy Spirit is the strength of my life.

"Bruising God,
if You haven't abandoned me to chance or fortune,
then help me to understand the suffering of Job,
of this world,
of my life.
I don't know what to do with a God like You -
too free,
too wild,
too beyond my control.
I know You are not safe,
but I trust You are good.


“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
(Matthew 5:8 MSG)

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
(Psalms 138:8 ESV)

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:8-9 ESV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
(Proverbs 3:5 ESV)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

God Is Good

Today is Sunday, the seventeenth of October.

May the peace of God reign in your lives today!

Day 23,229

Twenty-one days until DST ends

Our plans are gaining more traction as we make arrangements to visit R & J, next month, in Indianapolis. We are currently looking at a couple of possibilities for an airbnb house to rent for four nights. Our current plan is to fly out on Wednesday evening, November 17, and return on Sunday, November 21. I would be missing one day of work, Friday the 19th. C would miss two days, Thursday and Friday. It’s a short trip, but C would return to work on Monday, and I would be scheduled back on Tuesday.

Yesterday was a pretty good day at the library. It wasn’t terribly busy, but there were moments when it did get busy. That seems to be pretty normal for a Saturday. I think I registered about six people for new library cards.

The Red Sox made post-season history last night, by blasting two grand salamis in consecutive innings. The phenom Kiké Hernandez also had a solo homer, and the final score was Red Sox 9, Astros 5. So they head to Fenway for tomorrow’s game, tied at one apiece. In the NLCS, the Braves took a 1-0 lead, beating the Dodgers 3-2. They will play again today.

We have our church gathering, this morning, and C and I are planning to attend in person. She is still aching a bit, but the localized pains she was having earlier in the week have subsided quite a bit.

It’s 46 degrees outside, this morning. Lovely weather. Today’s header photo was taken by Paul Militaru.


Breathing and Praying, by Daryl Madden

And all of us breathe
Each moment each day
Sometimes we draw deep
In an intentional way

An entrance to prayer
When we begin
We say to our God
We let you in

Breathing and praying
A new view to see
That with every breath
God is praying in me

So let us acknowledge
This with every breath
For if either one stops
The result will be death

I love this poem, comparing praying and breathing. Both are essential for true life.

For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever.
(Psalms 44:6-8 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Autumn weather
2. for the love of family and friends
3. that You have not rejected my prayer or withheld Your love from me (Psalm 66:20)
4. for Your goodness
5. that we are already walking in Your Kingdom

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



Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
(Psalms 66:20 NIV)

During this quiet moment, I center on the love of God, feeling it deep within my soul.


Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.

Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.
(Psalms 106:1-5 NIV)


How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
(Lamentations 1:1-3 NIV)

Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away.
(Lamentations 1:8 NIV)


As I read through these passages again, I look for words or phrases that stir within me. I pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, as I seek truth and wisdom.

The first thing is the reason given for giving thanks to the Lord. “For He is good; His love endures forever.”

God is good. If you feel compelled to say, “All the time,” in response, feel free. I don’t believe that it is possible to overstate this truth. God is good. In fact, at one point, Jesus even said that God is the only good.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
(Mark 10:18 NIV)

Good is good, and no on is truly good but God. There are people who do good things, true. But we are born into sinfulness. At our very heart, our very nature is wickedness, and even the good things that we are capable of are “filthy rags.”

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 ESV)

But God is good, AND His steadfast love endures forever. And He does not treat us as we deserve. What we deserve is what humanity received in the days of Noah. Why do I say that? Because we do things that fly back in the face of that great goodness of God. We look at all the good things that He has done for us, and promptly turn away and sin some more. Many among us refuse to acknowledge His goodness, or even acknowledge His existence.

Verse 2 of the psalm (another of the “orphan” psalms) asks a strange question. “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare His praise?” We don’t know who wrote this, but, I mean, that person was proclaiming the might acts of the Lord, right? I can proclaim His mighty acts, as can you who are reading this. Perhaps a different translation can help.

Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him enough?
(Psalms 106:2 NLT)

That gives the question a little more “oomph,” if you will. I can’t list them all; can you? And I certainly cannot praise Him enough. But together, we can, just maybe, come close. I kind of like the way the King James phrases this verse.

Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?
(Psalms 106:2 KJV)

The word that is translated “fully” in the NIV comes out as “all” in the KJV. The Hebrew word, there, can also mean, “the whole.” So we are presented with an impossible task. Who can do it? It’s a rhetorical question designed to remind us of how inadequate we are, in the face of the goodness and steadfast love of God that endures forever.

If we act justly, we are blessed, but then there’s that phrase that makes me stop in my tracks. “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.”


There is a popular phrase that is supposed to help us make decisions. “Always do right.” But do we? Does this mean that there is no hope for us to be blessed?

I choose to think that is not what it means. Because God is good. And His steadfast love endures forever. And He does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10).

At this point, it is almost as if the psalmist throws his hands up in the air and simply says, “Remember me, Lord, when You show favor to Your people.” All I can do is throw myself on the mercy of God, and cast my hope into the sea of His goodness. I don’t seem to be able to stop sinning. And I won’t be able to, until I am fully transformed into the likeness of Jesus, which is an ongoing process that will not be completed until I step over into the other plane, the true and eternal Kingdom of God, the Country of Resurrection and Life.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life,” said Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 NIV)

I’m reminded of a song. (What? Again??) This one was recorded by Pam Thum, and is called “Life is Hard (but God is Good).”

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Life is hard, but God is good

I’ve always liked what M. Scott Peck says at the beginning of The Road Less Travelled. While it doesn’t reference the goodness of God, I still believe it is a true statement. “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Here’s the thing. Once we do accept that, and then add to it the fact that “but God is good,” then we step into the Country of Joy, which, according to Dallas Willard, is the “pervasive sense of well-being.”

Father, I praise You for Your goodness. I acknowledge that life is hard, and will continue to be so. But when we focus on Your goodness, rather than the difficulties facing us, it becomes less hard. It becomes bearable. And when we focus on Your goodness together, in numbers, as a community of saints, it doesn’t seem difficult at all. Your goodness overcomes our difficulties; Your steadfast love that never fails, that never gives us on us, and never runs out, brings us gently into the presence of joy, and makes us realize that, in You, in Your Kingdom, things are far better than we could ever imagine. Thank You, Father!

Lord, as we worship You today, in whatever setting we find ourselves, may You give us resurrection hope and joy. Then show us how we can share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus as we travel through our week ahead.

"Fierce God,
I want to run from pain,
hide from sorrow,
and medicate my misery.
When the foundations of my life crumble,
when all that I've put my trust in is pulled out from under me,
help me to cling to the foundation I have in Jesus Christ,
leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 NIV)

Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
(Psalms 71:9 NIV)

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:26 ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV)

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
(Isaiah 35:1-10 ESV)

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Let Them Know . . .

Today is Wednesday, the twenty-second of September, 2021. ‘Tis the first day of Autumn, my favorite season of the year!

Day 23,204

Twenty days until our 36th wedding anniversary!

Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru, a wonderful Romanian photographer. My gratitude to Paul for allowing me to use his photos.

Fall has finally arrived, and has arrived in great style, as it is currently below sixty degrees in DFW, and the projected high is only 82 today. Tomorrow should be similar. There’s a little rain in the forecast, in about a week, but things could always change between now and then.

Yesterday was a great work day. I spent the first four hours in shelving, putting away some new books and DVDs, then pulled some large print books that are slated for probable “deaccession.” That means they will be pulled from library stock and placed in the next Friends of the Library sale. The second half was spent in the computer center, where my role is basically to sit there are wait for people to have questions or problems. There are occasional tasks with which I can assist, as well. I am also thinking about signing up to help with the library’s subscription service, a brain child of one of the media/tech people during the pandemic, while the library was closed to inside service. Each month, three books are chosen by library staff for subscribers, based on a survey they fill out, along with their check-out history (only made available for this service), then the patrons get to rate the books that they are given by the staff. I’ve not only considered signing up to help pick books, but I’ve also considered signing up for the service, itself. Sounds like fun.

Today, I work from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, and then I’m off for the next four days. Next week will be the “tough” week, tough only because of the number of hours I will be working during the calendar week, as my schedule changes to the new schedule I will have, going forward from October 1.

I’ve got a grocery order being delivered from Albertson’s, this morning, with some needed things, mostly watermelon and bananas. Can’t keep a banana in this house! It’s crazy.

At some point, I may have to break down and mow the yard. Maybe tomorrow. Also, in regards tomorrow, C received a text message on Monday, confirming that the Social Security folks will be calling her Thursday morning, in regards to to S’s benefit from my record. That should be interesting.

Today is Hobbit Day, as, apparently, it is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

The word for today is muliebrity, a noun, which means “womanly nature or qualities.” This is appropriate, as today is also Business Women’s Day.

The quote for today, from Eleanor Roosevelt, is “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

Significant birthdays on September 22:

Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, 1290 (did he ever die?)
Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, 1515-1557
Michael Faraday, English scientist, 1791-1867
Charlotte Cooper, British tennis player, 1st female Wimbledon champion, 1870-1966
Tommy Lasorda, American baseball manager, 1927-2021
Toni Basil, American singer (Mickey), 1943 (78)
David Coverdale, British rock singer (Deep Purple, Whitesnake), 1949 (Wikipedia says 1951, making him 70)
Andrea Bocelli, Italian tenor, 1958 (63)
Scott Baio, American actor (Happy Days), 1960 (61)
Catherine Oxenberg, American actress (Dynasty), mother of India Oxenberg, victim of Keith Ranier's NXIVM cult, 1961 (60)
Bonnie Hunt, American actress (Cheaper By the Dozen, Rain Man), 1961 (60)
Tom Felton, English actor (Draco Malfoy), 1987 (34)


Beginning of Fall is here;
Cooler air outside;
Refreshing and renewing.

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
(Isaiah 29:18-19 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Autumn, and the cooler temperatures it brings
2. for the grace that floods my soul, this morning, even though I am undeserving of it
3. for the coming day when all people, all over the world, will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that You are Most High over all the earth
4. for the promise of rest and strength as we return to You in repentance
5. for my life in You, in the truth of Your Gospel, and the strength to share it with others

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



I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!
(Psalms 139:14 MSG)

As I pause here, in the quietness, I consider that You are, indeed, breathtaking! This body, this soul, so marvelously and wonderfully made! I watch my fingers move. I pay attention to my breathing. What marvel; what wonder!


A song. A psalm of Asaph.

O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof,
O God.
See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you,
whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:1-4, 17-18 NIV)


After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.
The LORD’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?” They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.
(1 Samuel 5:1-8 NIV)


As I read these passages again, I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my meditations and prayers, and teach me something for my life today.

I do like the prayer at the beginning of Psalm 83. We should always be praying, I think, for God to not be silent, to not stand aloof, to not turn a deaf ear to us. It’s one of those prayers that seems superfluous, because God has already promised to not do any of those things.

It is we who are fickle, and I believe that praying prayers like this can center our souls, cause us to focus better on the Almighty. If we are asking Him to pay attention, it means we are speaking to Him. It’s a simple though, really, but it is similar to the idea that prayer, in itself, is an exercise in faith. If I had no faith, I would not be bothering to pray. But the fact that I pray indicates that there is at least a grain of sand worth of faith in there somewhere.

It is also interesting that Asaph phrases this psalm in such a way to indicate that it is GOD’S enemies that he is praying against, not his own. “These people are Your enemies, because they are trying to wipe out Your people.” In our day and time, the enemies of God have a different tactic. Mostly, I think, they simply ignore Him or try to prove that He doesn’t exist. All to their own destruction, eventually.

The last verse of the psalm is one of those great prayers that we can always pray, kind of like “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalms 83:18 NIV)

The Lord let the Philistines know that He was Most High in this mildly amusing story from 1 Samuel. The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant. They thought they had won, right?

Silly Philistines.

Even their idol, their false God Dagon, bowed before the ark! That piece of stone or wood was found face down before the ark, the morning after they set the ark next to the idol. They even set it back up, but found it face down again, the next morning, with the head and hands broken off. Interestingly, their superstitions continued to rule them, as the head and hands were laying on the threshold, which caused the worshipers of Dagon to never step on the threshold of the temple again.

What does it say to us when a “god” that isn’t even real bows down to the Most High God? One also wonders why the Philistines continued to worship Dagon.

And then the “bad stuff” started happening. We don’t know the exact nature of it, other than “devastation” and “tumors.” Some wise people among them figured out that all of this was happening because they had the ark.

Ya think?

So they decided to move it. To Gath, another Philistine city. If you keep reading, the people of Gath dumped it on the city of Ekron, who immediately cried out, “”They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” Word gets around.

The amazing thing to me is that there is never any indication that any of these people thought to cry out to the God of Israel for mercy! They just kind of “shooed” Him off, dumped Him on the next town. Actually, today’s reading, in the devotional book, stops before any of the moving around, with the question, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

A similar question looms, today. This God, the Most High God over all the earth, has revealed Himself in many ways. Paul, in the book of Romans declares that He has revealed Himself sufficiently in nature, to the point that no one on earth has any excuse for not believing in Him.

I lean toward agreeing with that thought. I do not, for the life of me, understand how anyone can look around at the beauty of this world (even the dry, arid, desolate places are beautiful in their own way) and not believe in a creator! Personally, I think it takes a lot more “faith” to believe that all of this is just serendipity.

The looming question is “What are you going to do with the God of Israel? What are you going to do with Jesus Christ?” You only have two choices. You can believe in Him, or you can not believe in Him. You can’t just ignore Him. You can try, but it has the same effect as not believing.

C.S. Lewis, I believe, was the first person to propose the idea, concerning Jesus, that you have three choices about Him. Either 1)He is who He says He is, which is God incarnate, the Savior of the world, 2) He is a bald-faced liar, making claims that simply aren’t true, or 3) He is a raving lunatic, a mad-man.

You simply do not have the choice to think that He was a “good teacher.”

He claimed to be God.

He was crucified, He was buried, and He rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven. There are eye witnesses to all of those!

I will proclaim these truths until my dying day.

Father, I pray that someone who does not believe in You will read this blog today. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will surround them as they read, and that they will be drawn into a believing relationship with You, by the power of the blood of Christ. I praise You that You drew me in so many years ago, that You caused me to be born into a believing family, and that You chose me to be one of Your children, before the foundations of the earth. I pray that You will, indeed, let them know that You, whose Name is Yahweh, that You alone are Most High over all the earth!

"Living God,
You are the one true God,
everywhere present,
filled with compassion,
knowing all things,
most wise,
perfectly holy,
always patient,
overflowing with goodness and truth.
All my idols are reflections of my broken self,
and only as I fall down and worship You do I find myself whole again.


“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
(Matthew 5:4 MSG)

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
(Isaiah 30:15 ESV)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Lord, have mercy on us;
Christ, have mercy on us;
Lord, have mercy on us.

Grace and peace, friends.