Be Ready

Today is Friday, the 30th of December, 2022, in the first week of Christmas. It is the sixth day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ be with you, always!

Day 23,668

There are two days left in 2022. It is “New Year’s Eve Eve.”

We may or may not have plans for New Year’s Eve. We may have someone over, but that has not yet been determined. I’m not working, though, so it will be a nice, relaxing day.


The law of your mouth is better to me 
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
(Psalms 119:72 ESV)

O Lord God, in exultation our hearts go out to you and your revelation of heaven, your revelation of the Spirit, who can fill our hearts so that we remain steadfast throughout our earthly life. It is still dark on earth. Sin and death hold sway, but we stand unafraid and seek repentance. In spite of all our failures we look to you and know you are our Savior. You send us Jesus Christ in your own glory. The world will be filled with light. Everywhere on earth, even among those who do not know you, the sincere-hearted will come to acknowledge that you, the Father of Jesus Christ and our Father, are God over all the world. You will show your glory to all people so that they may come to you, worship you, and walk in the light, to the everlasting glory of your name. Amen.

And Mary said: 
"My soul praises the Lord 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. 
From now on all generations will call me blessed, 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me – 
holy is his name." 
Luke 1:46–49, NIV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for hope — no matter how dark things seem to get, there is always hope
  2. that Jesus is my savior, in spite of all my failure (hey, that rhymes!)
  3. for quiet mornings with coffee
  4. for new beginnings, as a new year approaches
  5. for the hope of the ultimate “new beginning,” which will last for eternity

"For behold, I create new heavens 
and a new earth, 
and the former things shall not be remembered 
or come into mind. 
But be glad and rejoice forever 
in that which I create; 
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, 
and her people to be a gladness. 
I will rejoice in Jerusalem 
and be glad in my people;
 no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping 
and the cry of distress. 
No more shall there be in it 
an infant who lives but a few days, 
or an old man who does not fill out his days, 
for the young man shall die a hundred years old, 
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 
They shall build houses and inhabit them; 
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 
They shall not build and another inhabit; 
they shall not plant and another eat; 
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, 
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 
They shall not labor in vain 
or bear children for calamity, 
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, 
and their descendants with them. 
Before they call I will answer; 
while they are yet speaking I will hear. 
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; 
the lion shall eat straw like the ox, 
and dust shall be the serpent's food.
 They shall not hurt or destroy 
in all my holy mountain," 
says the LORD.
(Isaiah 65:17-25 ESV)

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
(Matthew 25:13 NRSV)

I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
(Psalms 69:3 NRSV)

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.”
(Luke 12:35-36 NRSV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:3-9 NRSV)

singing, “We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
(Revelation 11:17 NRSV)

As 2023 approaches, there is much anticipation of better things to come. In fact, for the past three years, there has been an air of hope for things to get “better,” as each new year’s day approaches. But have they?

The image that comes to mind, as I consider national and world events, over the course of the past few years, is that of a snowball barreling down the side of a mountain, unstoppable, crushing everything in its path.

My, isn’t that uplifting.

It has become evident to many of us (perhaps not to all, yet) that things are never going back to “normal.” Whatever that is.

In spite of all of this, though, and in spite of my mindset, which might appear to be somewhat cynical to some, I see hope for the future. But that hope is not for the planet, as it is, currently. That hope is for the new creation described by Isaiah, and then later by John the Revelator. God proclaims that He is creating a new heaven and a new earth. The images that we get from both of those sources is stunning and stirring. There are images of an eternal day, where it never gets dark again. In fact, according to Revelation 21:23, the sun or moon are no longer needed, because “for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

But here’s the thing. None of us has a clue when that is coming. Oh, sure, there are people who think they have clues. I have no confidence in them, though. Just recently, for example, there arose a great hubbub because the Euphrates river was drying up.

The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
(Revelation 16:12 NRSV)

“It’s going to be soon!” people cried. Never mind the fact that none of the things that are supposed to happen before that have happened yet. Also never mind the fact that Revelation is not meant to be interpreted literally. But, hey. If you insist on interpreting Revelation literally, then at least do it the favor of keeping things in the right order.

Here’s the thing. We don’t know when Christ is returning. According to Jesus, even He didn’t know!

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
(Matthew 24:36 NRSV)

So if Jesus, Himself, doesn’t know when He is returning, I certainly don’t know, and you certainly don’t know. We aren’t clever enough to figure it out, either.

But what we can do is be ready. Just like those wise virgins at the wedding in that one parable, we can have our lamps trimmed, with plenty of oil, and be ready. I used to have a t-shirt (back in my college days) that said, “Are you ready?” and referenced Luke 12:40. One day, I wore that t-shirt into a store, and a guy who worked there asked me, “What does Luke 12:40 say?”

I had no clue. How embarrassing.

But you can bet that I have known since that day.

“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
(Luke 12:40 NRSV)

I can’t say that I have lived my life, since then, in a constant state of readiness. I like to think that I am ready. But what if God’s plan was complete, and I’m engaged in some “less than holy” activity? I’ll be surprised, won’t I? I mean, I’ll be surprised, anyway, but this would be the worst kind of surprise. We’ve all heard the phrase “caught with your pants down,” right? Or something similar. I dare say we don’t want to be “caught with our pants down” when Jesus returns.

It reminds me of that line in the Paul Simon song, “Call Me Al.” It’s in the second verse:

A man walks down the street
He says, "Why am I short of attention?
Got a short little span of attention
And, whoa, my nights are so long
Where's my wife and family?
What if I die here?
Who'll be my role model
Now that my role model is gone, gone?"
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
All along, along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations

“What if I die here?”

Have you ever been in a situation where, if you died there, unexpectedly, it would be a terrible embarrassment to you and your family?

I have decided that a great “rule of thumb” for life is never go anywhere or do anything where you wouldn’t want to be caught dead.

And I believe that is, in a way, the spirit behind Jesus’s admonition for us to be ready. Because we don’t know when He’s coming. If we knew, we could, you know, wait until the last minute to prepare, and it seems that a lot of us are doing that, anyway. But we don’t know when that “last minute” is, so we’re likely to be caught unready, like the foolish virgins in that same parable.

The picture that is presented to us is so beautiful! The new heaven and new earth is such a beautiful picture that I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to be part of it. I don’t know what we will look like. I don’t know what kind of “bodies” we will have. I don’t know if we will recognize each other as our former identities on earth. But I know it will be beautiful, it will be eternal, and it will be Home.

So I want to be ready. Pants up, arms wide open, lamp trimmed and full of oil, wide awake.

I will say that this went in a totally different direction than I was anticipating.

Father, I praise You for the visions of Isaiah and John, visions that give us such hope for our future in Your kingdom. I pray that You would help us to be ready for the return of Christ, as we do not know when it will happen. Help us, when tempted, to recall the words of Jesus, admonishing us to be wise, wide awake, and ready, so that we are not taken by surprise when that day comes.

It is too easy to become complacent, because of how long it has been. We are tempted to be lazy; we are tempted to not be diligent in prayer and worship, because we fall into the mindset that we have plenty of time to get “caught up” in these things, even though getting “caught up” in prayer is a laughable notion.

Father, You are our everything. The Holy Trinity is our essence of life, our water, our food; everything we need in this life, You have given us. You are our Creator and our Sustainer. To whom else would we turn, Lord? Please keep us awake and diligent. Please keep us ready.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

When You Pray

Today is Wednesday, the thirteenth of October, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,225

Twenty-five days until Daylight Saving Time ends in the U.S.

Whoa, look at the time! It’s already 10:00! Not sure how that happened.

I had a nice evening at “work,” last night. My manager went over tomorrow night’s festivities with me. Since I’m working the Showcase, I’m off today. Things will get back to “normal,” as far as my schedule goes, next week. Oh. Wait. No they won’t. Next week is the city’s annual conference, to which we are encouraged to go. So I will be “working” all day, next Tuesday, from 8:30 to 4:30, attending the conference. I will also get an extra four hours that week, because of that. But I’m only on schedule Tuesday and Friday, next week, so it will still be an easy week.

Heck. All the weeks are “easy,” now.

So it will be the week of October 24 when things finally settle into a “normal” routine. I have asked for Friday, November 19, off. I don’t work Wednesday or Saturday, that week, so we are looking at traveling up to Indianapolis to visit R & J. I’m not sure, yet if we will fly or drive. That seems to be the best option, though, and likely the only opportunity we would have to see them during the holiday season. I guess that means we’d better get some Christmas presents, eh? Haha.

Our lunch at Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes, yesterday, was quite good. We were definitely not disappointed. It’s pricy, but good. C got a ten ounce ribeye (her favorite steak) and I got the blackened red snapper, along with a bowl of ribeye chili. The chili was very good, but maybe not as good as Hoffbrau’s. That was the only thing that wasn’t as good as Hoffbrau, though. C’s steak was near perfection, and my red snapper was, well, “very tasty.” (Bonus points to anyone who gets that reference.) Even my green beans were quite delicious. And the rolls? Wow.

We picked up a bowl of chili and a side of mac n cheese for S, to take home to her. All of that added up to $95 and some change, before tipping. So we won’t be doing that very often. But it was definitely good, and we will, more than likely, return for some other “special occasion.”

C is working from home again, today, although she keeps saying that she probably shouldn’t be. When I ask her, “Why?” she doesn’t really have a good answer, though. It’s just her character and personality. She’s a “go-getter,” kind of like the way Alexander Hamilton is described in the last song of Act One, “Non-Stop.”

The Astros and the Braves both obtained their spot in their respective championship series, yesterday, but the Dodgers tied up the Giants, forcing game five in their NLDS. Since today is a travel day, that game will take place tomorrow. And the ALCS, between the Red Sox and the Astros will begin on Friday, in Houston. Lots of eyes on the spectacular Kiké Hernandez, for Boston. Potential playoff MVP material, there.

Today is Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work & School Day. Well, I’m not going to work or school today, so I can’t do that.

The word for today is empyrean. It’s a noun that means, “the highest heaven, supposed by the ancients to contain the pure element of fire.”

Today’s quote is from Jack Welch, American businessman. “Change before you have to.”

Significant birthdays on October 13:

Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days, 1537-1554
Rube Waddell, American Hall of Fame pitcher, 1876-1914
Lenny Bruce, American comedian, 1925-1966
Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister, 1925-2013
Eddie Mathews, American Hall of Fame baseball player, born in Texarkana, TX, 1931-2001
Paul Simon, American singer/songwriter (Graceland, Simon & Garfunkel), 1941 (80)
Robert Lamm, American keyboardist and songwriter (Chicago), 1944 (77)
Sammy Hagar, American rocker, the "Red Rocker," (I Can't Drive 55), 1947 (74)
John Ford Coley, American musician (England Dan & John Ford Coley), born in Dallas, Texas 1948 (73)
Marie Osmond, American pop singer (Donnie & Marie), 1959 (62)
Nancy Kerrigan, American ice skater (I believe I had her down yesterday, too?), 1969 (52)
Bobby Lamm singing


A Moment Of, by Daryl Madden

A moment of sunrise
Of stunning beauty
A thousand words
Could not describe thee

A moment of silence
Of stillness to claim
A thousand songs
Could not sing the same

A moment of prayer
Completely adored
A thousand sweethearts
Could not love me more

A moment of Presence
With our God to be
With gift of one Word
Of eternity

The best line, for me, in that poem is in the third stanza. “A thousand sweethearts could not love me more” than the love of God. Sure, those words about draining the ocean of ink and filling the sky made of parchment are pretty awesome words, but this . . . this brings it down to a level that the average person can understand. Almost everyone has known the love of a sweetheart. And there are a handful of people who have known the love of more than one. But a thousand? Can you even imagine that much love? Well . . . God loves you even more than that.

I could stop right there. But I’ve gotta get in some Scripture reading, right?

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
(Psalms 28:7 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You are my strength and shield
2. for the amazing love with which You love us; infinite; never-ending; never-failing
3. for the feeling of Your presence in this moment of silence
4. for the gift of Your Word
5. that Elijah, powerful as He was, was just a man, just like me

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



I waited and waited and waited for GOD.
At last he looked;
finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
(Psalms 40:1-2 MSG)

I pause in this moment of silence, silence designed to shut out the noise of the world. All of the praise songs in the world could not hold the same feeling as a moment of silence in Your presence.


Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.”
So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem
when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD.
(Psalms 102:18-22 NIV)


Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”
(1 Kings 18:30-39 NIV)


I have already been made aware of the loving presence of our God, this morning, and am transfixed with wonder at His mighty love. As I sit in that love, I let it influence my reading of His Word.

One of the purposes of God’s Word comes out in Psalm 102. Verse 18: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” Sure, this refers to a specific passage, the verses that come immediately afterward. But surely, we can apply this to the entirety of the Word of God, which has been handed down to us, from generation to generation, that we, who were not yet created when it was written, might praise His Name.

I do so love this story of Elijah v. the prophets of Baal, in 1 Kings 18. I’m somewhat grateful that we skipped the part where he taunts them. I know it’s in the Bible, so it must be okay, but that just seems like “poor sportsmanship” to me. And it reminds me too much of the bulk of my generation that seems to have nothing better to do than mock generations that come after us, especially “Millennials.”

But we pick up a little bit after we left off, yesterday. The Baal-worshipers have had their chance, and their “god” did not respond. Elijah, in his confidence, after repairing the altar of Yahweh, has them drench it with water. Three times. There was so much water that it even filled the trench around the altar.

Then Elijah prayed.

The motivation behind the prayer is very important. “So these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Elijah did not pray in an attitude of vengeance. He did not seek recognition for himself (he even asked that they might know that he was God’s servant). He did not ask God to “smite” them. He simply asked God to let Himself be known to these people.

And God answered.

His fire fell; the sacrifice was consumed; the wood, stones, and soil around the sacrifice was consumed; even the water in the trench was consumed.

Have you ever experienced answered prayer like that?

I’ve had God answer prayers. But never quite like that. And before you cry, “Yeah, but that was Elijah!” I’m going to throw this at you.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
(James 5:17 NIV)

Yes, that was Elijah. But Elijah was just a man, just like me. If he had worn pants, it could be said that he put his pant legs on one leg at a time, just like I do. (I had a coach in Junior High who liked to use that analogy when we were intimated by someone bigger and stronger than us.)

So why do I not experience that kind of prayer result?

I think our initial, go-to answer is that we lack faith. But Jesus tells us that we don’t need that much faith, doesn’t he? “The faith of a mustard seed,” He says. Have you ever seen a mustard seed?

It might very well be that we simply don’t believe enough. And I think that is different from faith. I don’t think I can adequately explain that, but it’s what I believe. The way I sometimes word it is that I most certainly believe that God can do something. That, to me, is faith. I believe that He exists, otherwise I would not pray. So faith is involved in every prayer.

But do I believe that He will do it? There’s the rub. I pray for things, doubting the whole time, whether God wants to do what I’m praying for. But I keep praying, just in case He does want to, or maybe I can convince Him.

There is also the small matter of sin. I’m still a sinner, and there are still things that occupy more of my brain space than God and His Word. Not necessarily “idols,” per se, as I don’t think I worship them. Just distractions.

The important thing is that I don’t give up. I don’t read this story of Elijah and sit back and think, “I could never accomplish that.” First of all, Elijah accomplished nothing! All he did was say words.

It is God who did the accomplishing!

“So, Father, I pray that You would work more strength into my prayers. Not that I might “pray better,” but that my life, between the prayers, would be more conducive to having prayers answered. This gets tricky. It’s not about “works,” because that is not how You save us. Nevertheless, there does seem to be plenty of indication that You do reward us for “works.” The “reward” I seek is that my prayers, offered up on behalf of other saints (and not so saintly folks), would be answered, that they might know that You are the Lord and I am Your servant.

Today, I lift up all governments and leaders in this world, along with the various needs of the world. That’s a lot . . . but You are bigger than all of them combined.

"Consuming fire,
all the teaching and urging and striving in the world won't do;
only Your powerful work can renew my life.
I offer my life as a sacrifice,
but only You can send the fire.
Ignite my life with Your Holy Spirit,
and keep me and Your whole church bright and beautiful,
passionately alive for You.


“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘carefull,’ you find yourselves cared for.”
(Matthew 5:7 MSG)

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
(Matthew 6:5 NIV)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 NIV)

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!

Manifested flesh;
"Mystery of godliness;"
Jesus, Son of God.

Grace and peace, friends

The Perfect Christian

Good morning! It is Monday, October 13, 2014. I’m back from our anniversary weekend, but still not back to work, because I have to work this coming Saturday.

Today is Yorkshire Pudding Day. I’m not really sure what Yorkshire Pudding is, but it sounds delicious.

Well, we had a nice weekend. Yesterday, we celebrated 29 years of marriage. As noted previously, we spent the weekend at Paluxy River Bed Cabins, in Glen Rose, TX. Right from the start, though, there seemed to be something slightly “off” about the weekend. It was unseasonably warm, for starters, hitting temperatures above 90 on both Thursday and Friday. I had something going on around a couple of teeth, that was causing me some mild, yet irritating pain (that’s better now), and there were other factors that made the weekend, while relaxing and special, not as “magical” as some that we have had in the past. We went to the Showbiz Cinema in Granbury on Friday afternoon, to see Gone Girl. The movie was really good, but the theater, not so much. It wasn’t comfortable, it was very crowded (there were people sitting right next to us on both sides), and the theater wasn’t cool! Movie theaters are supposed to be cool! Before the movie, though, we had lunch at a place called “Linda’s Southern Cooking” on the square in Glen Rose. Since they advertised the “best chicken fried steak in town,” we had to check it out. We haven’t had all of the chicken fried steaks in Granbury, but we both agreed that it was definitely better than Babe’s!

Friday night brought a heavy storm to the area, and the power went out for a little over an hour. Since we sleep with a fan running, and I also sleep with a C-Pap machine, it got eerily quiet out there. And dark. Oh, my, it is dark out there when there’s no power. At one point, I went downstairs to look outside, and I could barely see anything on the front porch. It rained so hard that water came in under the French doors upstairs. But once the power came back on, we were able to go back to sleep.

For something different, we drove to Cleburne on Saturday, after having breakfast at Debbie’s, which has a great breakfast buffet on weekends. We drove by Christi’s grandparents’ old house, which had been refurbished and looks quite nice, now. Then we went to a park where Christi’s Granddaddy used to take her when she was a young girl. The park was still there, but, of course, had changed a bit. We got to observe a dog race while we were there, which was cute and fun. It was quite chilly, though, as Friday night’s storms had also dropped the temperature significantly. It never made it above 60 degrees on Saturday! I felt a little sorry for the people running the little festival at the park in Cleburne, as it was the first really cool day of the fall. Christi and I had a nice time walking around, as she relived some old memories.

By Sunday morning, we were feeling very relaxed, and, even though the weekend had some minor flaws, it was still a very nice weekend. Of course, we had pie at The Pie Peddlers. Several times. We’ve become friends with the owners, now, as they recognize us from our many times to visit them. As we talked about things, we reminisced about how little there is on the square, these days. A lot of the shops that we used to enjoy visiting are gone, and more will be disappearing soon, it seems. But, as things go in cycles, perhaps some new ones will pop up to replace them. At least we know, we can always get pie!

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1836 that Theodore Fliedner opened his first deaconess training center, at Kaiserswerth. You probably don’t recognize his name, but I get you recognize the name of his most famous student, Florence Nightingale, who graduated from the school in 1851.

Today’s birthdays include Margaret Thatcher, Sacha Baron Cohen, Marie Osmond, Paul Simon, Sammy Hagar, Kelly Preson, Lenny Bruce, Shirley Caesar, Jane Grey, Rube Waddell, Nipsey Russell, Eddie Matthews, Robert Lamm, and Beverly Crusher.

Simon Garfunkel is a singer/songwriter who was, for many years (and still, in many peoples’ hearts), half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He has enjoyed a long, successful, and diverse career of making music. He turns 73 years old today. Here is their song, “Save the Life of My Child,” from the Bookends album.


(From The Divine Hours)

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

Psalm 103:20-22
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Psalm 30:2-3
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!

Psalm 111:1-4, 7-9
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Lord, I pray that your grace may always precede and follow me,
that I may continually be given to good works;
through Jesus Christ my Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus sees the crowds and has compassion on them. They are “like sheep without a shepherd.” Therefore, he tells his disciples to pray for more laborers to go into the harvest. Note that the Lord must do the sending.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Carnal Man.”

“The carnal man is blatantly in the flesh and lives and walks according to the flesh.” This person tends to live in a state of mediocrity, attempting to be “carefully distributed between flesh and spirit with a watchful eye on both.” He has received the Spirit, but stays in a more embryonic state because he does not subject himself “fully to the domination of the Spirit.” There are other passions and drives that rule his life. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul compares these people to “babies unable to take solid food.” Jean Mouroux calls the perfect Christian “he who does not normally yield to the demands of the flesh, and who is normally docile to the impulses of the Spirit.”

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness
must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

Ephesians 5:3

Father, I have spent part of my adult life being a “carnal man.” I praise you that you delivered me out of that state of being. However, I have yet to attain this idea of the “perfect Christian,” as I still sometimes yield to the “demands of the flesh.” Perhaps I do not “normally” yield, but, nevertheless, I am not submissive enough to the urges of the Spirit, at least not in my opinion. Perhaps you feel differently, I don’t know. I pray that you would help me identify passions and drives within me that are not of the Spirit, but of the flesh. I pray that you would help me be more submissive to the Spirit in all facets of life. It’s easy to yield to the Spirit during a time of prayer or worship, even during a morning devotional. But one we get out into the world, experiencing traffic on the way to work, and the frustrations of daily work life, that submissive spirit fades and we begin to do battle in the flesh. I pray that I would not be so. Help me to be more Spirit-driven throughout all aspects of my life.

I pray for Christi, this morning, as she has not been feeling well since yesterday evening. I thank you for getting her safely to work, and pray that she will be able to get through the day okay. I pray for Stephanie today, that you would give her wisdom and understanding, and show your love to her. May we have some enjoyable times together today. As we all set our sights on being more healthy, I pray that you keep us focused on this, going forward.

Your grace is sufficient.

Is it possible to be a “perfect Christian?” I suppose it depends on the definition you use for “perfect.” If you look at Jean Mouroux’s definition above, it seems possible. May we people who do not normally yield to the flesh, but normally yield to the Spirit.

Grace and peace, friends.

Discouragement Before the Mission

Good morning! It is Saturday, October 13, 2012. Another beautiful morning in Glen Rose, TX!
Today is “International Skeptics Day.” Everyone is probably skeptical about something.

On this date in 1773, the Whirlpool Galaxy was discovered.
On this date in 1775, the US Navy was established.
Birthdays today include Margaret Thatcher, 1925, Lenny Bruce, 1925, Paul Simon, 1941, Robert Lamm, 1944, Sammy Hagar, 1947, Marie Osmond, 1959.

Today, Christi and I are driving to Stephenville to “The Chicken House,” a flea market owned by my high school band director. Good times.

Father, I pray that you continue teaching me about prayer, meditation, and communion with you.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 119:129-136.
129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

131 I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments.

I especially like verse 130. It makes me think of the Beatitude that speaks of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Individual Discouragement and Personal Enlargement.” The verse is Exodus 2:11, which says, Moses…went out to his people and looked on their burdens..
The problem Moses had, here, is that he started trying to “right their wrongs” in his own “righteous indignation.” After that incident, God sent Moses into the desert to tend sheep for a while. After forty years, God appeared to Moses in the famous burning bush. Moses was right, in that he was the deliverer, but first he had to learn communion with God.

We get visions of what God wants. We run ahead, thinking we know what to do, and then wind up in our own desert. We become totally discouraged, than God comes back to us. Not that he ever left, mind you. “We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God.”

I have been in the midst of the “individual discouragement.” I am now in the midst of the “personal enlargement.” I make no boast of my own wisdom or strength. God is all. He is doing it because I finally gave up and let him. We must commune with him before we can do the mission.

Father, I thank you that you have chosen to commune with me! I praise you, now, for the years of discouragement that you took me through, as I struggled with “calling” and grappled with nearly debilitating sin in my life. You carried me through my desert, brought me out the other side, and gave me a task. Now, you are teaching me that task as you commune with me and teach me your ways. I pray that as we continue, I will “open my mouth and pant” with longing for your word, meditating on it day and night. Fill me daily with your Spirit as I lift up prayers to you, based on what your Spirit shows me. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your Truth! Jesus is Truth; may I walk in him!

I pray for this day. Keep us safe as we enjoy this day together. Keep us thankful for your rich blessings. Keep our kids safe back at home, and may they all get along well. I pray that setup for The Exchange went okay without us, this morning.

Your grace is not only sufficient, it is amazing and awesome!

If you are discouraged today, take heart, continue to seek the face of God; he will reveal himself and his task for you.

Grace and peace, friends.