In Spirit and Truth

Today is Thursday, the 10th of November, 2022, in the 32nd week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,618

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

I am a sojourner on the earth; 
hide not your commandments from me! 
(Psalms 119:19 ESV)

Lord our God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who was and is and is to come, the Almighty, we thank you for this wonderful message, which is meant for us too, even though our lives often seem empty and sad. But behold, you make all things new for each one of us. Even though we have long tormented ourselves, the light of life will dawn at last and we will be able to rejoice. Continue to protect us and our community. Wake us to new life, for you have called us to believe and to endure to the end. Whatever sorrows and hardships may come, we will remain faithful, O Lord our God. This is our promise to you. We will persevere and say joyfully, “Jesus Christ is coming to make all things new.” Amen.

(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the Alpha and Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come
  2. that Jesus Christ will come again to make all things new
  3. for the grace of God, given that we might be able to work through and for Him
  4. for the presence of God, as He gives Himself to us, that we might enjoy Him and find rest
  5. for the true worship of God, in spirit and truth

A Song of Ascents. 

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, 
we were like those who dream. 
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, 
and our tongue with shouts of joy; 
then they said among the nations, 
"The LORD has done great things for them." 
The LORD has done great things for us; 
we are glad. 

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, 
like streams in the Negeb! 
Those who sow in tears 
shall reap with shouts of joy! 
He who goes out weeping, 
bearing the seed for sowing, 
shall come home with shouts of joy, 
bringing his sheaves with him. 
(Psalms 126:1-6 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)


The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
(Psalms 118:24 NIV)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 NIV)


“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:23-24 NIV)


There is potentially a lot to unpack here, this morning. I’m not going to try to exhaust it. But I want to focus on a couple of things.

The Jeremiah passage, which is a favorite of many people, is frequently taken out of context. God is speaking, through Jeremiah, to a people in captivity. If you keep reading, you get to verse 14.

I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
(Jeremiah 29:14 NIV)

I believe, though, that this passage still has something for us. It is not unreasonable to read it and believe that our God has plans to “prosper” us. There is some question as to what the means, of course. The word for “prosper” is the familiar Hebrew word “shalom,” which most people think means “peace.” It does mean “peace,” but it means so much more. Shalom is a rich word. It can mean “safe, well, happy, friendly, welfare,” as well as a few others.

In other words, I think it is safe to say that God is looking out for our welfare. Romans 8:28 seems to agree with this, right? Another favorite verse of many people.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 NIV)

The major thing that God did to look out for our welfare, of course, was Jesus. Two weeks ago, I heard a sermon, brief and simple, that asked the question, “How do I know God loves me?” There were various answers given, but at the end, it was all simplified into one, single word.

“Jesus.”

And this is addressed in Psalm 118, another passage that is frequently taken out of context. While it is true that every day is “a day that the Lord has made,” the psalmist was thinking of one particular day when he wrote that.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 
the LORD has done this, 
and it is marvelous in our eyes. 
The LORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad. 
LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. 
From the house of the LORD we bless you. 
(Psalms 118:22-26 NIV)

Part of this passage will be recognized as being shouted from the streets when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey. And that part that says, “Lord, save us,” which is translated “Save now” in the KJV, becomes “Hosannah!” in the New Testament.

“The LORD has done it this very day!” Or, as some versions translate it, “This is the day that the LORD has made!” What day? The day that the stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone.

This is great reason to follow the advice of Paul in Philippians when he says, “Rejoice!” It is the way that God has provided for our “prosperity;” our welfare; our “shalom.”

Our response to this, in part, is worship. And Jesus says a lot about worship in His conversation with the woman at the well in John 4.

He spoke of three different kinds of worship. First, He told the Samaritan woman that her people worshiped something that they did not know. This correlates, I think, to a lot of marginal Christians, today, who go through the motions of weekly church attendance and “worship,” not really understanding what they are doing. The benefit, if any, is minimal.

He speaks of His own people, the Jews, worshiping “what we do know,” which is the “truth” piece of the equation. This kind of worship tends to be somewhat “clinical” and rigid.

Then He brings the “spirit” into it. This is what Jesus, Himself, is introducing to us. It was not quite there, yet, you see. Jesus said, “a time is coming and has now come.” As soon as He departed the earth (well, a few days later, actually), the Holy Spirit came on the scene.

In today’s world, we see a lot of “spiritual” worship, much of it not at all based in truth. Not that it’s not worship, but it tends to be rather shallow.

Jesus desires, and speaks, here, of a true worship that incorporates both spirit and truth. This does not mean “from the heart, in sincerity.” You can be sincere and not have truth at all.

Here are some words from Andrew Murray:

“Among Christians there are still three levels of worshipers: some, in their ignorance, hardly know what they are asking. They pray earnestly but receive little. Others, with more knowledge, try to pray with all their minds and heart, but do not attain the full blessing. We must ask our Lord Jesus to take us to the third level: to be taught of Him how to worship in sprit and truth.” (From Teach Me to Pray, quoted in Power in Prayer)

There is something mystical and “magical” (sorry/not sorry) about this true worship. There is a piece to it that we will never understand on this side of “glory.” Yet, we must aspire to it in our own worship, both private and corporate.


Father, I thank You for the things that are taught in today’s Scriptures. I praise You for Your desire to “prosper” us, but understand that that doesn’t mean that You want to make us physically wealthy, necessarily. I mean, I have plenty, but that has not always been the case. And that “worldly wealth” doesn’t mean much to me other than a way to help others, when needed. When I understand that the word is “shalom” in that passage, then it increases my understanding of Your desire to care for us completely.

I thank You, as well, with words that leave much to be desired, for that “day” when Jesus was made the Cornerstone. For that Day that You made for us to rejoice and be glad in it. Certainly every day is a day that You have made, a day for me to rejoice. But that day is a “special” day, worthy of much more rejoicing, worthy of us shouting “Hosanna! Save now!” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Thank You, Father! Thank You!

And I thank You for giving us the record of that conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Now, I ask that You help us to comprehend what it means to worship in spirit and truth. Many of us have “truth” and not much “spirit.” Some have “spirit” and not much “truth.” Then there are those who are just there, doing the best they can with their limited understanding, which is pretty much of their own making.

Help us to understand the mystical nature of this worship. Or maybe better, just help us to experience it and know it, and maybe understand it later, when we finally arrive in our eternal rest.

All glory to You, Father, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Everything comes from him; 
Everything happens through him; 
Everything ends up in him. 
Always glory! 
Always praise! 
Yes. Yes. Yes. 
(Romans 11:36 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

Spaces

Today is Friday, the seventh of October, in the 27th week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,584

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that your voice reaches our hearts and that we can say with joy, "We belong to you. We too are yours." We want to lead lives that show we belong to you, never allowing ourselves to be sidetracked, never again giving way to pettiness, always drawing strength from the power of Jesus Christ. Protect our household. Watch over each of us. Protect us all on our way. O mighty God, be with us in the many dangers that surround us, and grant that we may always be joyful because our names are recorded in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
(John 10:14-15 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the opportunity to get away for a weekend and enjoy God’s creation for a few days
  2. for the Good Shepherd; that I know Him, and that He lays down His life for His sheep
  3. that our Father, who is always near, is trustworthy in all things
  4. for spaces of beauty, mercy, prayer, and grace, created by God; may I move into them faiththfully
  5. Lord, I am simply grateful for You, today; Your presence in my life, and the way You encourage me and strengthen me through my feeble, human weaknesses

Move Into That Space, by Daryl Madden

The day is born anew
Light shines on your face
Beauty calls to you
Move into that space

Guilty of your sins
A feeling of disgrace
Rejoicing in His mercy
Move into that space

To hear the still small voice
From your inner place
A drawing into prayer
Move into that space

When heaven calls your name
Depend on His grace
Our joy will be complete
Move into that space

How often does God create a space of beauty and grace for us, invite us into it, and we just don’t move into it? We miss out on so many blessings, sometimes simply by not paying attention to our surroundings. God is here; God is now; He invites us into spaces of beauty, mercy, prayer, and grace! “Move into that space,” my beloved!

Please visit Daryl’s site at the link provided above.


For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”
(1 Peter 3:10-11 ESV)


After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
(Revelation 7:9-12 ESV)

A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD. 

Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you! 
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! 
For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. 

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, 
and the heavens are the work of your hands. 
They will perish, but you will remain; 
they will all wear out like a garment. 
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, 
but you are the same, and your years have no end. 
The children of your servants shall dwell secure; 
their offspring shall be established before you. 
(Psalms 102:1-3, 25-28 ESV)

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)


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

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
(Galatians 6:2-10 ESV)


Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
(John 12:28 ESV)


I may not be in a “space of beauty” this morning, as I am sitting in my usual space, the study, just off of our master bedroom. It is far from beautiful. But I have, somewhat gradually, moved into a space of mercy and prayer and grace, this morning.

I confess . . . I began the day in a bit of anxiety and stress. We started out thinking of things that needed to happen before we leave for Glen Rose, and I began to get anxious. Unfortunately, this is my nature. But God’s nature is otherwise. He bids me trust Him. He bids me not lean on my own understanding. And, in this, as I move into this space of mercy and grace, He will make my paths straight.

In that path, I find instructions, such as we find in Micah. As I walk that path, that the Lord makes straight for me, I am to be doing justice (as much as is in my control), loving kindness or mercy (chesed), and walking humbly with my God.

Walking in humility is hard. I’ve discussed this before, here. There are several Scriptures that sum up that idea, but one is in the blog today, Galatians 6:3.

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
(Galatians 6:3 ESV)

Let us not further deceive ourselves by thinking, “well if I am something and I think I’m something, then I’m okay.” I don’t believe that is what we are supposed to get from that. We are nothing. Without Christ we are nothing. If we are anything, it is because of Christ, and, therefore, have nothing about which we can boast, other than Christ, Himself.

When we enter into that space of prayer, which should be many times in a day, it should be for one purpose, and that purpose is for the glory of God to be seen. Jesus asked the Father to glorify His name. The Father responded, saying that He has, and He will again.

“For this reason Jesus on His throne in glory will do whatever we ask in His name. Every answer to prayer He gives will have this as its object. When there is no prospect of the Father being glorified, He will not answer. As it was with Jesus, our motivation in prayer must be the glory of the Father – the aim, the end, the very soul and life of our prayers.” (Andrew Murray)

So, when we read those passages that say that Jesus will give us whatever we ask, we must understand that there are conditions. One of those, in my mind the main one, is that we be abiding in Him and His Word abiding in us. If this is the case, then we most certainly would not be asking Him to give us something that would not glorify God.

Like a Ferrari, for instance.


Father, I thank You for these spaces of beauty, mercy, prayer, and grace; spaces that are always near me, always waiting for me to move into them. I pray that You give me the spiritual sight to be able to see them and move into them, constantly, that I might walk humbly with You, on the straight path that You have created for me as I trust in You.

So many good things in today’s Scripture readings, Father. I thank You for Your Word and the impact it has on me, daily. I pray that it holds strong in my life, and that the influence will not fade.

I long for the day when I can see You face to face and worship You in person.

And I am especially grateful for the space of beauty to which we will be traveling, later today.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But . . .

Today is Wednesday, the fifth of October, 2022, in the twenty-seventh week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of our Lord be with you, today.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, began yesterday at sunset and continues until sunset today. I believe that it is strongly possible that Jesus was born on this day (not the exact date, of course, because Yom Kippur is a “movable feast”).

Day 23,582

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Mighty God, we thank you for sending your light into all the world to reveal that you are the Father of all, to show us that you are leading them to yourself, the good and the bad, those who are near to you and those who are far away. We thank you that through all this your name may be acknowledged and honored. We thank you that we may live from your hand and that everyone may see your work on earth and be filled with praise. May the light which you have sent to earth in Jesus Christ shine brightly for us and penetrate our hearts so that we open ourselves to it with joy, and worship the Savior. Bless us and give us your Spirit; without your Spirit we can do nothing. May we receive help from you every day. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
(Isaiah 49:6 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that salvation was brought to the Gentiles as well as the people of Israel
  2. that, by His blood, the Lamb of God “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,” and made them “a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10)
  3. that I can “make a joyful noise to the LORD” (Psalm 100)
  4. that if we pray persistently, not losing heart, the Lord hears us and answers
  5. for cool Autumn mornings

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
(Psalms 104:31-32 ESV)


Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:11-14 ESV)

A Psalm for giving thanks. 

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 
Serve the LORD with gladness! 
Come into his presence with singing! 
Know that the LORD, he is God! 
It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, 
and his courts with praise! 
Give thanks to him; bless his name! 

For the LORD is good; 
his steadfast love endures forever, 
and his faithfulness to all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 ESV)

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
(1 Peter 4:9 ESV)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:10 ESV)

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(Hebrews 13:1-2 ESV)


And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. . . . And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" 
(Luke 18:1, 7-8 ESV)

Sometimes, it is difficult to not lose heart. Life is a struggle; this journey of faith is an even bigger struggle. We see things going on around us that are unbelievable.

The ironic thing about this is that people from all sides of life can look at my last statement and agree with it. I have a certain point of view from which I view the world and its events. You may have a different point of view, and yet both of us see things that are beyond belief.

So losing heart can be a real struggle, in this world. But Jesus would have us pray persistently, even to the point that He used a “worldly” judge to illustrate His point. Personally, I don’t believe it is possible for us to annoy God. He’s not like that judge, who finally gave in because the woman just wouldn’t shut up. Our God actually enjoys giving things to His children, not unlike grandparents who love to shower their grandkids with gifts.

How often do we miss that last little question at the end of verse 8, though? “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

I love what Eugene Peterson has to say about this passage. “Prayer, which is simply a conversation with God, isn’t conversation regulated by social or class distinctions. Rather, it’s a conversation in which all men, women, and children, widows and judges, kings and beggars, the literate and the illiterate, poor and rich, the wise and fools, saints and sinners are equals. They are all peers with equal access to God.

“Then Jesus steps out of the story and asks us a question, especially those of us who have gotten so used to not being listened to by anyone of importance that we’ve quit asking God for what we need. What Jesus asks is this: ‘How much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?’ (verse 8).

“Will you and I finally give up and quit praying because the deaf ear of the world has so flattened our expectations of being heard by God? Or will we have the kind of persistent faith the widow had?”

(From Conversations: The Message Bible with its Translator)

I believe there are more questions to be asked. When Jesus returns, will He find the kind of faith that is being hospitable without grumbling? Will He find the kind of faith that attempts to outdo one another in showing honor, rather than demanding it? Will He find brotherly love?

I shared a Loretta Lynn song in my other blog yesterday. I’m not sure who wrote the song, but I’ve heard multiple people sing it, from pure country by Ms. Lynn, to rough blues by Darrell Mansfield. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die.”

When Jesus returns, will He find people who have been willing to die?


Father, I pray that when Jesus returns, if I am still here, that He will find faith. I pray that I will be persistent in prayer, persistent in loving You, persistent in loving my neighbor, and persistent in honoring others above myself. These are hard things for humans, Lord. Human nature wants everything now, without having to wait (at least that’s the way the 2022 humans are). Human nature wants to be first (just look at how we drive, Father). Human nature is all about me, me, me.

I pray that You take this nature away from me. Give me patience that I might be willing to wait and abide; give me love, that I might love You and others; give me joy that nothing can steal; give me peace that passes all understanding; give me kindness in all areas of my life; and may the rest of the fruit of the Spirit be visible in my life, as well. In short, make me willing to die to myself and live to You and You alone.

All glory to You, Father, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Only Jesus

Today is Monday, the third of October, 2022, in the twenty-seventh week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,580

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)


Lord our God, our Father in heaven, we come to you as your children. Bless us, we pray. Bless us especially in days when fear tries to take hold of us. Let your help come down to us as you have promised, the great help in Jesus Christ, who shall come to redeem the whole world. Bless us through your Word. Renew us again and again to stand firm and true to you, for you are our help for redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
(2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting our sins against us
  2. for the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6); O, how I long to see my Savior’s face!
  3. for the account of the transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9
  4. that the Lord has made known His salvation and revealed His righteousness to the nations
  5. for the promises of Jesus regarding prayer

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 
The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. 
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! 
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! 
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! 

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! 
Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
(Psalms 98:1-9 ESV)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
(Psalms 32:8 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)


And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
(Mark 9:2-8 ESV)

"The tendency of all worship to decline from adoration to demand, and from the supernatural to the ethical, shows how strong a pull is needed to neutralize the anthropocentric trend of the human mind, its intense preoccupation with the world of succession, and its own here-and-now desires and needs." 
(Evelyn Underhill, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffen)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
(John 14:12-14 ESV)


Today, I want to focus on that passage from Mark, as well as the quote from Ms. Underhill.

Evelyn nails it, in my opinion, in her quote about worship and how we humans tend to make it anthropocentric. That’s a fifty-dollar word that means we put ourselves at the center. And if anyone has been paying attention to modern worship songs, in the course of the last decade or so, they can see the truth in this. I would dare to guess that at least ninety percent of all contemporary worship songs use the pronouns “I” and “me,” rather than “we” or “us,” and the majority of those songs are also not directed to God, but, rather, address what He has done for “me” or what “I” want from Him.

Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with singing about God to each other. That is part of what corporate worship should be . . . retelling the Gospel story to one another. But there is simply too much “I” and “me” in those songs. We think too much about ourselves.

Sadly, this translates over into our daily lives, as well. Just look at the number of alleged Christians who have been screaming about their “rights” in the past few years.

When we gather to worship God, it should be all about Him.

When Jesus took His “inner circle” up on the mountain with Him, they observed His transfiguration. We are not told what they saw, but I can’t help but wonder if it resembled what John saw in Revelation.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
(Revelation 1:12-16 ESV)

We do know that verse 6 says, “they were terrified.” Terrified is probably one of, if not the, most intense words for “scared.” Quite literally, they were scared speechless. But Peter, being Peter, had to talk anyway, so he blurted out that thing about building tents. One for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus.

Moses appeared, representing the Law. Elijah appeared, representing the Prophets. After Peter spoke, a voice came out of the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Now, there are different ways to emphasize that statement. We could emphasize “listen.”

“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Or, we could emphasize “him.”

“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Based on what happens next, I think the emphasis should be placed on “him.” Why?

And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
(Mark 9:8 ESV)

Beloved, I believe (and trust me, I did not come up with this on my own, it comes from the best sermon on the transfiguration that I have ever heard, by Pastor Kari Malinak of Living Word Lutheran Church, in Grapevine, TX) that this event serves to tell us that Jesus supersedes the Law and the Prophets, and that, from this point forward, we should be listening to Him.

Jesus, Himself, tells us, multiple times in the New Testament, that following His commands fulfills the Law and the Prophets. I’m not saying we should not continue to read and study those. What I’m saying is that if we place more importance on the Old Testament Law than we put on the words of Jesus, we are in error. The voice that came from the cloud (presumably the Father) has told us to listen to Jesus.

So let us live our lives under the influence of Jesus Christ, and let our worship reflect this, as we focus, not on ourselves, but on the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Father, I thank You for Jesus. Those words sound so inadequate. But I don’t know how to express it better. I am thankful for everything that Jesus has done and everything He represents. I thank You for His teachings, His Words, and I thank You for the account of this transfiguration, in which You illustrated to His disciples, and through them, to us, that it is Jesus, and only Jesus to whom we should listen.

Help us to be less like Peter, simply blurting things out when we should be silent. Help us to be more like Jesus in all of our lives. Help us to stop being so self-centered about everything we do, and begin to obey the commands that Jesus gave us, to love You with all of our being, and to love others as ourselves. Help us to fully surrender our “rights,” that we might consider others as more significant than ourselves, as Your Word instructs us to do. Help us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and gentleness.

Mostly, just help us.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Grace and peace, friends.

Kindness

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

Peace be with you!

Day 23,575

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God and our Father, we thank you for all the blessings you have brought into our lives and for everything we still hope to receive from your goodness. We thank you that through your Spirit you will work more and more in us and in all people, so that we are not held back by any human considerations but can go toward a higher goal. Keep us in your care. In all our special concerns may each of us experience your comfort and help, so that we may rejoice with the praise of your name always in our hearts. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 
his love endures forever. 
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— 
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 
those he gathered from the lands, 
from east and west, from north and south.
(Psalms 107:1-3 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the goodness and love of the Lord, which endures forever
  2. for the hope of future grace and future goodness
  3. that God is my refuge and my fortress
  4. for the kindness of God, displayed in Christ Jesus; this inspires kindness in us (at least it should)
  5. for the fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5; may it be visible in me today
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say to the LORD, 
"My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
(Psalms 91:1-2 ESV)

And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
(2 John 1:5-6 ESV)

The LORD reigns; 
he is robed in majesty; 
the LORD is robed; 
he has put on strength as his belt. 
Yes, the world is established; 
it shall never be moved. 
Your throne is established from of old; 
you are from everlasting. 
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, 
the floods have lifted up their voice; 
the floods lift up their roaring. 
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, 
mightier than the waves of the sea, 
the LORD on high is mighty! 
Your decrees are very trustworthy; 
holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
(Psalms 93:1-5 ESV)


This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘”You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
(Matthew 13:13-17 ESV)


Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV)

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV)


Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:24-25 NIV)


Father, today I see the conflict between walking in the flesh and walking in step with the Spirit. I see that we, as Your children, are either doing one or the other. I fully believe that it is possible to waver between the two, from day to day. I pray that I will walk in the Spirit today. Help me to display the fruit of the Spirit, today, and I especially pray for the characteristic of kindness to be more visible today.

You have called us to love one another. Part of loving is showing kindness. One person was quoted as saying “It costs nothing to be kind.” While that may not be 100% true, the sentiment is understood. We must be kind, if we are to be seen as Your children. Help us to crucify our flesh with its passions and desires. Help us to walk in step with Your Spirit, and to pray according to the desires of Your heart.

I pray that the desires of Your heart would be the desires of my heart. The way I get to this is through abiding; abiding in Christ, abiding in Your Word, and they abiding in me. Just as Christ is in You and You are in Christ, let me be found to be in You, as well, and You in me.

Help me to clothe myself, today, with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and humility.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.

In the Watches of the Night

Today is Tuesday, the twentieth of September, 2022, in the twenty-fifth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,567

Only two more days until Autumn begins!! (Which, as has been duly noted, means absolutely nothing in Texas, as it is still 90 degrees outside.)

And, once again, the high temperature for yesterday was two degrees below the predicted high of 95. We are running about six degrees higher than the average for this time of year.

Today’s high is projected to be 96. The record high for this date occurred just last year, at 100 degrees.

C and Mama are currently at Mama’s doctor appointment, as she is seeing a new doctor here in Fort Worth, for the first time. I hope they like him.

I’ll be working my half-day, this evening, from 4:15-8:15, doing shelving. C will be working from home the rest of the day, after the doctor appointment, and I will probably go out and pick up Subway for lunch today.

There were only nine baseball games, yesterday, none of which involved my two favorite teams. However, the Mets, I am told, clinched a playoff berth, yesterday, when they beat the Brewers 7-2. I read that this was their first playoff appearance since 2016. Comparatively, though, six years isn’t such a long time. According to one source, the Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, and they are on track to get a Wild Card spot, this season.

The Astros clinched their division, yesterday, to be the second team that has clinched a division, this season. However, I’m confused, because Seattle has sixteen games left, and they are fifteen games out. So that “clinching” shouldn’t happen until Houston wins their next game or Seattle loses one, as Seattle’s E# is 1. If Houston has clinched, there should be an “E” next to Seattle.

Update: I’ve dug a little more deeply into that situation. If Houston lost the rest of their games (not likely) and Seattle won the rest of theirs (also not likely) they would be tied, in which case the head-to-head record would be used to determine the record. Houston beat Seattle 12-7 this season. So there you go.

The Dodgers won again, so their chance to beat the win record is still alive. They must win fifteen of their last sixteen games. They are, of course, still atop MLB with 102-44. The Nationals and Athletics both lost, so the Nats are still on the bottom, at 51-96. The Mets have a five-game win streak going, and the Pirates, Phillies, and Diamondbacks all have four-game losing streaks. The Dodgers have a run differential of +332, and the Pirates are at -214 (the Nats are at -213).

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord God, our Helper, we thank you for walking among us and for letting many experience your protection. Even when we are dying, you protect and help us so that we need not pass into death but may enter into life. So may our hearts be lifted up to you. Grant that the light in us remains undimmed, and that we may come before you in sincerity. Lord God, create good out of evil. Let light dawn in the darkness. Fulfill your promise, for our hearts are not concerned with human desires but with your promise. You will carry it out, and we will be able to say, "Our faith was not in vain, our hope was not in vain. Lord our God, you have blest us a thousandfold." Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; 
his greatness no one can fathom. 
One generation commends your works to another; 
they tell of your mighty acts. 
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— 
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
(Psalms 145:3-5 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the love of family and friends
  2. for the wonderful works of God, past, present, and future
  3. for my soul that desires to meditate on the Lord in the watches of the night
  4. for the steadfast love of the Lord, which is better than life
  5. for the admonishment to “be still before the Lord”

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; 
my soul thirsts for you; 
my flesh faints for you, 
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
 beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life, 
my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live;
 in your name I will lift up my hands. 
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
 and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
 when I remember you upon my bed, 
and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help, 
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
(Psalms 63:1-8 ESV)

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
(Psalms 119:148 ESV)

“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.”
(Lamentations 2:19 ESV)

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
(Luke 6:12 ESV)

Initially, I am drawn, once again, to the “steadfast love,” or chesed, of God. In this case, the psalmist (reported to be David) says that the steadfast love, or mercy, of God is better than life. This stands to reason, because without that steadfast love, there would likely be no life.

But then I am drawn to the middle verses of this psalm; verses 5-7.

I have been physically satisfied (even beyond satisfied) by “fat and rich food.” This is the comparison that David gives for his soul when he remembers the Lord in his bed at night. He speaks of meditating on the Lord during the “watches of the night.”

This made me remember one of the prayers for Compline from the Book of Common Prayer.

“Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all for your love’s sake. Amen.”

I remember reading a great book about that prayer, by Tish Harrison Warren, called Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep.

I really want to get into the habit of practicing Compline and “examen” before I go to sleep each night. Tragically, I keep forgetting. Examen is the practice of a detailed examination of the conscience, typically done at the end of the day. As a spiritual discipline, though, it goes deeper than just checking the conscience. It examines the day; what went well, what didn’t go well? What could have been better? How did I react to certain situations?

These are the kinds of things that I think about when I consider the “night watch,” or remembering God “upon my bed.” I’ve gotten out of the habit of the “bedtime prayers” that I grew up with. It is something that I really need to get back into.


“Release yourself from the bondage of your own judgment. Love yourself without condition. Love yourself through the walls of defensiveness and the darkness of your deeds. Love yourself beyond whatever you deserve for such is the love of God.” ~ Adolfo Quezada, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin


Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
(Psalms 37:7 ESV)

“Be still” is translated “rest” in the KJV. The Hebrew word is damam, which can be translated “to be dumb,” or “to be astonished,” but also means “cease,” “hold peace,” “quiet self,” “rest,” “be silent,” and so on.

Is this not the same sort of thing that happens when we remember the Lord upon our beds, meditating on Him during the watches of the night?

How many of us go to sleep at night worrying about current events or things that happened during the day that trouble us? And how many times do these worries cause us lack of sleep?

This is one of the purposes of Compline and Examen. To quiet the soul before trying to sleep. One thing I do every night (now that I think about this) is to turn on a meditation app that I have on my phone. It’s called “Abide.” They have great, Scripture-based sleep meditations. I have a set of headband-headphones that I put on (so that it doesn’t bother my wife), and I start one of the meditations. They allegedly last up to forty minutes, but I have yet to make it to the end of one of them.

This isn’t the same thing as purposeful examination of the conscience and the day that preceded, but it certainly can’t hurt anything to fall asleep listening to Scripture.

This verse, though, instructs us to not worry about evildoers or those who prosper. Eugene Peterson translated that verse this way:

Quiet down before GOD, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.
(Psalms 37:7 MSG)

In this, we are shown patience and endurance by the Holy Spirit. Waiting requires great patience; resting in the Lord requires great patience and faith.


Father, help me to wait and rest better. I pray for Your Holy Spirit to remind me, each night, to examine the day, to check my conscience, to see how I could have done better, and also how I could have done worse. Help me to remember You on my bed, and meditate in the watches of the night. If I have trouble going back to sleep, simply draw my thoughts and meditations toward You in prayer.

Thank You for these words of worship and wisdom, and help me to apply them to my life today.

Even so, please come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.” ~ Martin Luther’s Evening Prayer

Grace and peace, friends.

Toward More Humility

Today is Sunday, the eighteenth of September, 2022, in the 25th week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,565

Only four more days until Autumn begins!

We had a great time, last night, as we celebrated a friend’s birthday. There were people there whom we have not seen for quite some time, so, as S commented, it was like a reunion. The food was good, but the fellowship was “gooder.” Our friend loved my gift to her, which was all of the Jim Butcher Dresden Files books that I owned. Four of them were special editions, signed and numbered. I didn’t have quite all of them in physical form, as I had read two or three in ebook form. I believe she has only read the first one, so that should keep her busy for a bit.

Today, we have our church gathering at 10:15-ish, although I’m not sure how many of us will be there. I guess we shall see. As far as I know, there are no other plans for today.

Yesterday was pretty busy at the library. There was a steady stream of patrons, especially in the afternoon, and, at one point, I turned to my co-worker and opined that it sounded like a mall in there. It’s good for the library to have that much traffic, and it makes the day go by faster.

Yesterday’s high got up to 91, the first day over 90 in almost ten days. True to form, though, that was two degrees lower than the predicted high of 93. Today’s high is projected to be 95, and eight of the next ten days have expected highs of over 90.

The Texas Rangers failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities, last night, and lost to Tampa 5-1. This puts them at 63-82 for the season. With seventeen games left, they are in third place in the AL West, 31.5 out of first place, and 17.5 out of the Wild Card race. Their WCE# is 1. They play Tampa again today, at the Juice Box, at 12:10 CDT.

The Bost Red Sox were embarrassed by the KC Royals, last night, losing 9-0. The Royals. A team that is thirty games below .500. Oh, well. The Sox are 70-75 for the season, and with seventeen games remaining, they are 17 games out of first place, which puts their division E# at 1. They are 10.5 out of the Wild Card race, with a WCE# of 8. But if they keep playing like it no longer matters (and it kind of does, still), that won’t last very long. They play the Royals again today, in Boston, at 1:35 EDT.

Houston has now joined the Dodgers in clinching a playoff berth. However, they still haven’t clinched their division, as Seattle still has a slim chance.

The Dodgers won game number 100, yesterday, keeping their chances of breaking the win record alive. Their MLB-leading record is 100-44. They must win seventeen of their last eighteen games to break the record. The Nationals won again, but so did the Athletics, so the Nats stay on the bottom, 1.5 behind the A’s. The Mets, Cardinals, and Guardians all have three-game win streaks going. The Reds, Phillies, Pirates, and Twins are all on three-game losing streaks. The Dodgers now have a +328 run differential, and the Pirates are back on the bottom with -210. There are now eight teams eliminated from any chance of playoffs, the Cubs being the most recent.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you that you have given us your glorious future as the basis for our lives. We thank you that on this foundation we can forget our present troubles and believe that the power of good can move us today to oppose sin, death, and everything evil. Free our hearts from all burdens, and grant that we may have courage to wait patiently for the great help which is to come. Grant that what is happening in the world today may somehow help toward the solution of all the problems. We praise your name, our Father in the heavens. We praise you for the good you do for us each day and for the light you will shed one day on everything on earth, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
(Revelation 21:21-23 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the hope of our future inheritance, that great city that needs neither sun nor moon because the Glory of God gives it light
  2. for the hope of future grace
  3. that God keeps teaching me about humility (obviously, I haven’t gotten it right, yet)
  4. that I have no righteousness of my own, nothing that I can call my own; all belongs to God; all comes from Jesus
  5. for friends and family, and reunions

“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
(John 19:10-12 NIV)

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, 
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; 
but let them not turn back to folly. 
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, 
that glory may dwell in our land. 
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; 
righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, 
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
(Psalms 85:8-11 ESV)

Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.
(Proverbs 22:4 NIV)

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
(1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)


It is interesting to me, how often I keep coming back around to these Scriptures about humility and seeking the good of others. Pride and arrogance are equated with evil and perverted speech. But humility is equated with the fear of the Lord.

How do we get to a place where we can, as Paul encourages us, “pray continually,” or, as the more popular phrase reads, “pray without ceasing?”

“If we seek to pray without ceasing simply because we want to appear very pious, we will never attain to it. It is by forgetting ourselves and yielding our lives to God that our heart’s capacity is enlarged to know God’s will.” (Andrew Murray)

People want to know God’s will for their lives. They don’t know because they aren’t looking for it. It’s right there. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” That’s God’s will for our lives. Or at least part of it.

But we can’t get to that place of praying continually until we embrace the previous Scriptures that instruct us toward humility; until we can “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.”

This comes back to that idea of confusing the struggle, too. When our whole life becomes wrapped up in God, in looking to Christ for our life and righteousness, when we truly realize that we have nothing to call our own, then we are close to being able to grasp the concept of humility and seeking the good of others instead of our own “rights.” Then, maybe we can be successful at the idea of praying continually.

“To forget oneself and to live for God and His kingdom among men leads to prayer without ceasing.” (Murray)


Father, this keeps coming around, and I have to consider the implications for myself. I can’t just point fingers at others without applying the lessons to myself, as well. There is always more that I need to be learning in regard to this journey, and this relationship. You are always here, always near me, always pointing me toward greater humility.

But self gets in the way, so often. I fall to the temptations of pride and arrogance, and begin to think that I am better than someone else because of my beliefs and my practices. But I’m not. I’m no better than anyone. I am not better than the “vilest offender.” I have no righteousness other than the righteousness of Christ in me, and that is pure grace, a gift from You, that no one should haven anything about which to boast.

So keep bringing it up, Father, because I haven’t gotten it right, yet.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
(Proverbs 8:12-13 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Specific Prayer

Today is Saturday, September 3, 2022, in the 22nd week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,550

It is officially the Labor Day weekend, so a lot of people are enjoying a long weekend. C will be one of those. It makes not a lot of difference to me, because I am always off Mondays, and I am scheduled to work today. I find myself wondering if the library will be slow today. I know it will be closed on Monday.

As for my schedule, it is changing next week. And because of the way the city’s pay schedule works, I will be working next Thursday and next Friday. But I would rather do that next week than the following week, because next week is my “light week,” meaning that, were it not for this schedule change, I would only work two days. With the new schedule taking effect, I will work three. If it had been delayed until the following week, I would have wound up working five days in a row. Oh, the horror! Hahaha!

This morning, I am due in at 9:30, and will work until 6:15 PM. I do plan on making burgers for dinner tonight. That reminds me . . . I have to put meat out to thaw. Be right back.

Thanks for waiting.

Yesterday’s high only reached 84, but it’s supposed to hit 93 today. There is little chance of rain, today, but we had a little bit yesterday, to make three consecutive days where we had at least a small amount of rain. According to one website, we have had a little over an inch of rain in the last 72 hours. The record high for today’s date was, once again, 108, back in 2000. You would think that I would remember that year, being that hot, this late. On the other hand, that was 22 years ago, wasn’t it? Egad.

The Red Sox beat the Rangers 9-1, last night. Can we go ahead and say that the Dallas Kuechel experiment is a miserable failure?? The Rangers are now 58-73, still in third place (still by a game and a half) in the AL West, 26.5 out of first place, and 13.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E number is now 5, and the WCE number is 19.

The Red Sox are 65-68, still in last place in the AL East, 14.5 out of first place, and 7.5 out of a Wild Card spot. Their division E number is 16, and their WCE number is 24. The two teams play again this afternoon at 3:10 CDT, in Boston. Texas has 31 games left, and Boston has 29.

The Dodgers have lost three in a row, now, diminishing their chances of breaking the win record. They are at 90-41, still leading MLB. The Nationals still trail the pack with 45-87, but only 3.5 games behind the Athletics. The Seattle Mariners now hold the leading win streak with five wins in a row. The Texas Rangers are at least leading in something, right? They now have the longest losing streak in MLB, at six consecutive games. The Dodgers’ run differential went down, but they are still almost 100 runs better than the next team, with a differential of +278. The Nats remain at the bottom, at -218.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we thank you that you come to help us with your power and might. We thank you that you come to us in our suffering and strengthen us in all we must endure on earth. You help us so that what is good and full of light comes more and more to us and to all people. We thank you and pray that your power, coming from the invisible world into the visible, may continue its quiet working in us until the day when everyone can see Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and into all eternity. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that God sends His strength and power to us, coming from the invisible world into the visible
  2. that He helps us to see what is good and full of light in this world of trouble and distress
  3. that these “light and momentary troubles” are nothing compared to the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all”
  4. for the constant presence of Jesus in my life, and that He will never leave me
  5. for the question that Jesus asks in Mark 10:51, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
(John 10:9-18 ESV)

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; 
you hold my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel, 
and afterward you will receive me to glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you? 
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 
My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:23-26 ESV)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
(Psalms 32:8 NIV)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
(Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
(Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 NIV)


And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
(Mark 10:51 ESV)


Jesus is clear. He is the door. He has already called Himself the way, the truth, and the life. He is not a door; He is the door. He then says, “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.”

But doors serve more functions than just entryway. They also serve as protection. When the door is closed, nothing can get in to harm us. And there is also a great mystery, here. While Jesus is the door, He also goes before us, to lead the way. He can be our access point, while at the same time, never leaving us. Therefore, we have no reason to be afraid.

Once we accept these truths, then we can dig a little deeper and look at this question that Jesus asked the blind man. “What do you want me to do for you?”

I can easily see Jesus asking the same question of us, today?

“What do you want me to do for you?”

What is your answer to that question? I believe that Jesus truly wants to know the specifics, here. “He wants to hear from the man’s lips not only the general petition for mercy but also the distinct expression of his desire. Until he declares it, he is not healed.” (Andrew Murray, emphasis added)


Father, help us to answer this question. Help us to be specific with Jesus when we answer it. It truly helps us to put our specific desires into words. I can speak from experience to say that there have been times when I expressed my desire out loud, it began to sound trivial and selfish. While I certainly believe the truth that You know what we need or desire before we express it, I also believe that You desire to hear us pray specifically.

Thank You for Your constant presence in my life, and that You will never leave me. This brings me great comfort. Would that the Psalm were true, that I truly desire nothing on earth besides You. I find that I have not quite made it to that point, yet, but it is my desire to do so. Help me get there, Father. Decrease my desires for earthly things, that I might only desire You and Your presence.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Everything comes from him; 
Everything happens through him; 
Everything ends up in him. 
Always glory! 
Always praise! 
Yes. Yes. Yes. 
(Romans 11:36 MSG)

Grace and peace, friends.

The Joy of Being in the Light

Today is (I had to stop and thing) Saturday, August 27, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,543

It’s going to be a busy, but fun, day today. We start out with C’s company “picnic,” from 11:00 – 2:00. I put picnic in quotes because it is mostly inside, this year. They are having it at the ITRC facility, and will have food trucks outside (all free for us), bowling available, as well as tours of the museum and Hall of Fame. And, for additional treats, Steel City Pops will be there. I’m sure we will have a limited amount of choices, but I do hope they bring some peach pops.

After the picnic, we will be home for a couple hours, after which we will head to a good friend’s house, where we have been invited for dinner. Mama will be going with us for that. We don’t know what’s for dinner, but feel confident that it will be delicious.

Weather continues to be pretty mild, here, especially for this time of year. Yesterday’s high was 93, which is just shy of the average for that date. The record high for the date is 104. I’ve started looking at multiple sources, and will, going forward, use the record highs and lows from a different source, because it gives a year. But I can only see the current date for that, so today’s record high is 106, back in 2011. I don’t remember much about that year, but it must have been hotter than this year, or at least hotter later, because a lot of the record temps seem to be coming from that year.

The forecast for the next ten days shows three days in the mid-nineties, three in the lower nineties, followed by four days in the upper eighties.

The Texas Rangers won a rare one-run game, last night, beating the Detroit Tigers 7-6. Texas scored all of their runs in the first three innings. As is par for the course, the bullpen (mostly Leclerc) tried to blow it. I really wish they would stop giving the ball to Leclerc. The Rangers are now 58-67 (nine games below .500), still in third place in the AL West. They are 22 games out of first place, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. At this point, I think we are just hoping they can get up to .500 before the end of the season. They play the Tigers again, today, at 6:05 CDT.

The Red Sox ended the Rays’ winning streak, in spite of the Rays surging with four runs in the top of the eighth inning. Final 9-8. Go figure. The Red Sox are now 61-65, still in last place in the AL East. They are 17 games out of first place, and eight out of a Wild Card spot. They play Tampa again today, at 4:10 EDT.

The Dodgers won again, making their MLB-leading record 87-37. The Nationals lost, making their record 42-84, 3.5 games worse than the struggling Oakland team. The Yankees (BOO) and Phillies are both enjoying a five-game winning streak. The Rangers have a two-game streak, currently. The Pirates are finally alone in the losing streak column, having lost six in a row. Nothing has changed in the differential column, other than the numbers on both ends getting higher. The Dodgers are now at +279, while the Nats are -213. The Rangers are now at +17, and the Red Sox at -44.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

We thank you, dear Father in heaven, that you let the light from your face shine into our hearts. Look upon our time, we pray, with your clear, penetrating eyes, and let all people sense that they are watched over by more than they are able to see. Let them realize that a strong God and Father is watching over them. Protect us on our way, and let your light shine ever more brightly, so that in all we do your name is glorified. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Hear my voice when I call, LORD; 
be merciful to me and answer me. 
My heart says of you, 
"Seek his face!" 
Your face, LORD, I will seek. 
Do not hide your face from me.
(Psalms 27:7-9a NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the light of God, the Light of the world, that shines brightly in our lives
  2. that the Lord hears when I call; He is merciful!
  3. for this pilgrimage, this journey into the heart of God
  4. for the ministry of Renovare and their inspirational writings
  5. for the joy of simply being

“As Never Before,” by S. Michaels/Lightwriters

Expect divine reversal
a coming into Promise
a whole new joy in being

©2022 S. Michaels
Always Believe
(Prophetic Haiku 7-7-7)

As I read this little poem, this morning, I was struck with the line about “joy in being.” Such a simple, yet complex thought. Simple, because we should all be blessed with that joy, the joy of simply being. Complex because it’s not as easy as all that. But as we seek His face, as encouraged by Psalm 27, that joy becomes easier to find.

One of my favorite verses in Psalms is 16:11.

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)

You see, as we seek His face (which He is not hiding from us), we will experience that “fullness of joy,” that is found in His presence, and those “pleasures forevermore” at His right hand. These are not at all dependent upon circumstances; in fact they transcend circumstances.

Please check out more of Susan’s beautiful poetry at the link provided above.


I came across an article from Renovare, this morning, written by Rev. Laura Rasmussen. The article is called “Always Look for the Light.” In it, among other things, Rev. Rasmussen talks about pilgrimage. I found this to be very enlightening.

“As a pilgrim, I am journeying to the heart of God. To journey to the heart of God is to journey to that divine spark of light, of life, within me. Pilgrimage is not about arriving quickly and efficiently to the destination, it is about giving space and time, attention and love to the actual journey towards an intended destination.”

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 ESV)

“To walk in the light of Christ,” says Rev. Rasmussen, “is pilgrimage—navigating us to the heart of God.”

Jesus also understands our vulnerabilities, as we walk through this world. There are things that are going to distract us from the Light. Daily life, daily tasks, unexpected circumstances. “It’s not Jesus’ nature to shame us and alienate us in our vulnerabilities. Instead, his nature is to light our way through our vulnerabilities and into the abundance of his life. Jesus is all about bringing us back to the heart of God, to our true self. On the way we are met, loved, healed and transformed in this divine light.”

May the Light of the world illuminate your pilgrimage!


So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”
(John 7:16-18 ESV)

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
(Isaiah 54:10 ESV)

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
(James 1:26 NIV)

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 NIV)

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
(Proverbs 21:23 NIV)

In light of the last three Scripture references, I want to share some words from Henri Nouwen.

"In Jesus, no division existed between his words and his actions, between what he said and what he did. Jesus’ words were his action, his words were events. They not only spoke about changes, cures, new life, but they actually created them. In this sense, Jesus is truly the Word made flesh; in that Word all is created and by that Word all is re-created. 
"Saintliness means living without division between word and action. If I would truly live in my own life the word I am speaking, my spoken words would become actions, and miracles would happen whenever I open my mouth."

And, to kind of wrap all this up, here are some words from Andrew Murray: “We are continually praising or thanking God by our actions and by the manner in which we treat others. At times God cannot hear the prayer of your lips because the worldly desires of your heart cry out much more loudly and strongly.”

Our life, indeed, exerts a profound influence over are prayers. But if we walk in the Light of the world and allow the light from God’s face to shine into our lives, we are delivered from this, and we can pray without hindrance. In that, as we journey on this pilgrimage, we can truly experience the simple joy of being.


Father, I am thankful for the words of all of these people that have been represented here, today. From the poetry of Susan Michaels, to the writing of Rev. Rasmussen, to the words of Andrew Murray and Henri Nouwen, all of it seen through the lens of Scripture and illuminated by the Light of the world, Your Son, Jesus.

I pray for this “joy of being” to be displayed in my life, today, and every day, going forward. Whenever circumstances threaten this, help me to remember that I am on a pilgrimage into Your heart, with the way illuminated by Your light that shines from Your face, which I am constantly seeking. Your face will I seek, O Lord! Do not hide Your face from me!

I praise You for the everlasting nature of Your covenant with us. We walk in the confidence that Your covenant will never be removed from us, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
(Acts 2:42 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Put Your Hope in God”

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

Peace be with you!

Day 23,531

Only FOUR days until S turns 29!

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

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

The Red Sox . . . wait, what??

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

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

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

Today I am grateful:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

“Put your hope in God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


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

Grace and peace, friends.