Turn, Turn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Today is Wednesday, the ninth of March, 2022, in the first week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts today.

Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru, from Romania. Please check out his awesome photography at the link provided.

Day 23,372

The A/C and heater people are supposed to arrive, this morning, between 9 and 10. The work should take most of the day. It is currently pretty cool outside, at 36 degrees, but should get up to around 60 by mid-afternoon.

An update on my computer situation. I finally got all of the files moved to Dropbox, but when I opened up the PC, I couldn’t tell which part was which. I’m also not 100% sure which part is making the noise, so I’m not going to try to swap out the hard drive myself. I have talked to the Computer Center manager at the library, so when I go to work Friday, I will take it with me, and he has agreed to look at it. I’ll take the new hard drive with me, as well.

There’s not much else to talk about, this morning. I’m starting a new devotional book, as I finished Symphony of Salvation, yesterday. The new one is also by Eugene Peterson, called On Living Well.

You might notice that I have not addressed world events that are going on. That is intentional. There are plenty of places you can read/hear about that. My purpose here is to present the Word of God in the best way I can, as positively as I can. My goal is encouragement, not discouragement. I know that I occasionally point out issues and shortcomings in the Church. But that is because I love the Church and I want to see her flourish.


Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place -
the Most High, who is my refuge -
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
(Psalm 91:9-10)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the Church, the community of saints, faithful and true 
2. for angels who minister to the saints
3. for Salt of the Sound and their beautiful, inspiring music
4. for the way God works in my devotionals
5. for those times when the things of earth go strangely dim

John Henry Newman speaks of Daniel’s two recorded fasts. The first one, I believe was for ten days, in which neither Daniel nor the three Hebrews we know as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ate any meat or any of the king’s delicacies. The second was for three weeks.

The result of the first fast was that Daniel and his three friends were all stronger and healthier than the king’s people. On the second fast, Daniel was visited by an angel.

Newman keys in on the angel visit, and notes that, when Jesus was fasting in the desert for forty days, He was visited and helped by angels. “And so we too may well believe, and take comfort in the thought, that even now, Angels are especially sent to those who thus seek God.” Newman then takes note that Elijah, as well, was strengthened by an angel. We also have record of Cornelius, the Gentile, being visited by an angel when he was fasting.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
(Psalm 91:11-12)

The devil is well-aware of this promise, says Newman, “for he used it in that very hour of temptation. He knows full well what our power is, and what is his own weakness. So we have nothing to fear while we remain within the shadow of the throne of the Almighty.”

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
(Psalm 91:7)

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands."
(Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:5 ESV)

“The Word was first. The Word was previous to everything else. Before we were conceived and took shape in our mothers’ wombs, before we were born, before anything happened, there was the Word.”

Before anything else existed, sun, moon, stars, trees, flowers, fish, governments, hospitals, schools, “there was the Word.”

I can’t paraphrase this stuff . . . it’s too good.

“If the Word were not first, everything else would have gone awry. If the Word were second – or third or fourth – we would have lost touch with the deep, divine rhythms of creation. If the Word were pushed out of the way and made to be a servant to the action and program, we would have lost connection with the vast interior springs of redemption that flow out of our Lord, the Word made flesh.

“When the Word is treated casually or carelessly, we wander away from the essential personal intimacies that God creates . . . by his Word.” (Emphasis mine)

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

It is the season of Lent. We are “supposed” to give up something. I did see a TikTok by a reverend that I respect and follow, suggesting that, maybe, instead of trying to force ourselves to give up something, perhaps we should try to add something positive, such as trying to pray for a person every day.

But this is a “season,” as indicated in Ecclesiastes 3. Almost everyone is familiar with the next ten verses or so of that chapter. Pete Seeger helped us all with that. The Byrds probably made it more famous than Pete, but he wrote the song.

I’ve read over this many, many times, in my life, but it is always “time” to look them over again. The many “times” or “seasons” that the writer of Ecclesiastes notes are as follows:

A time to for birth and a time for death
A time to plant and a time to reap
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to destroy and a time to construct
A time to cry and a time to laugh
A time to lament and at time to cheer
A time to make love and a time to abstain
A time to embrace and a time to part
A time to search and a time to count your losses
A time to hold on and a time to let go (there's a whole bunch of us who need to learn that one)
A time to rip out and a time to mend
A time to shut up and a time to speak up
A time to love and a time to hate
A time to wage war and a time to make peace
(I used The Message for these)

And, as we work our way through the season of Lent, perhaps giving things up and perhaps adding things, there is one thing that we need to do. We need to “Turn” our eyes upon Jesus. It is always time for that.

Today’s prayer word is “ponder.” Isn’t that fitting, based on what I’ve just written?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 NIV)

“Ponder,” of course, means “to think about.” To think about carefully, to chew over, to meditate. Unfortunately, we tend to ponder over the wrong things, sometimes.

I have to interrupt myself and simply be awestruck over how my Father works these things out, how all of this works together, this morning. The writer of today’s reading, identified only as “Becky,” writes about trying to go to sleep at night, but as soon as her head hits the pillow, she starts pondering her day, her family members, and then the world and the future and . . . well, you get the picture.

In her case, “ponder” is more like “worry.” And I have most certainly been there. But the writer of Philippians would have us ponder different things. And I’m sure, if he were around today, he would agree with the song above the purple line, and say that all of the things in that verse are summed up by saying, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Because, most assuredly, when you do that, the things of earth grow strangely dim.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, help us all to turn our eyes upon Jesus, during these times, so that the things of earth will grow strangely dim. Not that we stop caring, may it never be! But that we stop worrying, fretting, fearing. We are Your children . . . have mercy on us . . . teach us how to obey Your commands to “fear not.” Help us to live Isaiah 41:10 every day, ever minute, throughout all of those many “seasons” listed above. There is NEVER any reason for us to fear, Father!

NOTHING can separate me from Your love in Christ Jesus. None of the things mentioned in those two verse, nor anything else that we could possibly imagine. And, most beautifully, not even my sin can separate me, because of the powerful and efficacious work of my savior Jesus Christ, my Lord! Your Word made flesh, existing before there was anything else, and who will come again to make all things right.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

A Time for Everything

Good morning! Today is Wednesday, the third of November, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your heart today!

Day 23,246

Nine days until C’s birthday!

And we have a birthday gift on the way. Besides the fact that we are taking a trip to Indianapolis the following week (after her birthday), we are getting a new garage door opener soon. I’m pretty sure the one that is currently installed, and not working, is the original one, installed in 1999.

Of course, the next order of business, garage-wise, is getting room to put a car in there. I told C that wasn’t happening for her birthday.

Last night was a fine evening at the library. I got a full cart of books sorted and shelved, and then there weren’t any more in the hall to sort, so I spent the last hour walking the shelves looking for stray books. If we find books that were pulled off the shelves but not checked out (we do prefer that the patrons not attempt to re-shelve them), they are marked “used” in the system and placed in the shelving area for the next day. This tells the librarians that there was at least some interest in the materials . . . someone at least touched them.

Every so often, some “weeding” is done, in which a librarian marks material for removal/discard (the official term is “deaccession”), based on when the last time it was checked out. Marking items “used,” at least shows that there was some interest in them.

While I was there, I discovered, thanks to the help of one of the assistant librarians, that our library holds one copy of the 1963 film, The Haunting, so I checked it out. This black and white film is based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, which I recently finished.

I just remembered that I forgot to post my current read, yesterday. I am currently reading The Divine Embrace, by Robert E. Webber, subtitled, “Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life.” I decided to dig deep into my “want to read” shelf on Goodreads. This was added to my list back in May of 2008. Seriously. That’s how far back my TBR list goes. I still had my copy of the book, too. So I’m reading it, now. I haven’t gotten very far into it, yet, but hope to make some serious progress over the next couple days.

I plan another trip to the grocery store, this morning, probably right after I finish the blog. I do believe it has finally quit raining for a while. I changed my mind. I’ve ordered Albertson’s for delivery, instead. Not leaving the house unless I have to.

Oh, and lest I forget, the Braves won the World Series, dominating last night’s game six with a score of 7-0.

Today is Cliché Day. I want all of you to get out there and give 110% today! Seize the day! And whatever you do, be sure and run upstairs when the chainsaw-wielding maniac is chasing you.

The word for today is maringouin, “a mosquito, especially a large swamp mosquito.” Why?? Why, dictionary.com, do you wish to put that image in my brain??

Today’s quote is from James Thurber, American author. “Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.”

Birthdays on November 3:

Stephen F. Austin, founder and colonizer of Texas, 1793-1836
Bob Feller, American HoF baseball pitcher, 1918-2010
Charles Bronson, American actor (Death Wish, White Buffalo), 1921-2003 (I met him once, in Colorado)
Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie (aka Lulu), Scottish singer (To Sir With Love), 1948 (73)
Dwight Evans, American baseball player (Boston Red Sox), 1951 (70)
Roseanne Barr, American actress and comedienne, 1952 (69)
Jim Cummings, American voice actor (Winnie the Pooh), 1952 (69)
Kate Capshaw, American actress (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), born in Fort Worth, TX, 1953 (68)
Dennis Miller, American comedian (Saturday Night Live), 1953 (68)
Stuart Goddard (aka Adam Ant), English rocker (Goody Two Shoes), 1954 (67)


Be sober-minded;
Cast all your anxieties
On Him who loves you.
(1 Peter 5)

Open to me
the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
(Psalms 118:19 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that You have given me a thankful heart
2. that I am alive and breathing
3. for my job at the library
4. that there is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven
5. that You have given me a love for Your Word

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



Our God forever,
who guides us till the end of time.
(Psalms 48:14 MSG)

As I pause in the quietness of the morning, interrupted only by the amusing cat next to me, who is pawing at the front of the computer, non-stop, I consider the love and grace of God Almighty, who condescends to even think about us. What are we that He is mindful of us? Yet He is, even to the point that He desires for the children to be brought to Him.


Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.
(Psalms 119:129-136 NIV)


There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)


As I read these passages again, perhaps even out loud (in ancient times, Scripture was heard more than seen), I ponder how the Word of God has moved me, this morning. What has connected with my heart? What has my mind observed? I pray these things back to the Lord as I turn my thoughts toward Him and enjoy His presence.

The celebration of the love of God’s Word continues in Psalm 119. I love the thought in verse 131. “I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commands.” Our desire for the Word of God in our lives should supersede any other desire. Reading and meditating on God’s Word should be like breathing to us, just as prayer should be. The love of one flows directly out of the love of the other, perhaps even feeding off of each other.

I love, also, the idea in verse 132, the the Lord always has mercy on those who love His name. Just as, I believe, all who love His name should be sorrowful when His Word is not heeded or obeyed (verse 136).

There is much love and appreciation for the passage from Ecclesiastes. Most people my age are familiar with the song, written by Pete Seeger, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Here’s a beautiful version by him and Judy Collins.

I do love the wisdom of these words. There is, indeed, a time for each of these. The wisdom comes in knowing when those times are. When are the times to weep and mourn; when are the times to laugh and dance? There is way too much tearing down, right now, in our world. We need to do more building up. I love to embrace; I’m a hugger. But the last year has been a time to refrain from embracing. Probably the most difficult is knowing when is the time to speak and time to be silent.

For many years, I’ve loved the last line of the song, “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” But there will not be everlasting peace until we are Home. But we could certainly be striving a little more for it.

Father, there is, indeed, a time for everything. I pray for wisdom to know when those times are. Help me to be, though, one who works more for peace then fighting. I pray that I might be willing to be silent when silence is needed, but also give me the right words when speaking is called for. Help me to be one who builds up more than tearing down. Thank You for the love You have placed in my heart, love for Your Word, love for You. I pray that the thirst for Your Word will always continue, driving me deeper and deeper into it. I pray with great sorrow, that Your Word and commands would be revered more, in this world, today.

I lift up a prayer, this morning, specifically for my aunt, uncle, and cousins. You know the circumstances, Father. Healing is needed and desired, physically and beyond. I pray for Your intervention.

"God for all time,
assure me that no matter the moment,
I belong to You.
Whatever the season -
whether in cold stillness,
budding brightness,
full bloom,
or loss and decay -
I trust all my times are in Your hands.
In my faithful Savior's name,


“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution.
The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.”
(Matthew 5:10 MSG)

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
(Isaiah 58:8-10 ESV)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

May Your light shine in and through me, Father, as “borrowed light.”

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!

Break forth, like the dawn!
Light! Shine out in the darkness!
Gloom! Be as noonday!
(Isaiah 58)

Grace and peace, friends.

This Is the Day That the Lord Has Made

Today is Thursday, May 3, 2018. Day 21,966.

Ten days until Mother’s Day!

It’s the birthday of Pete Seeger (1919-2014). He said, “I came along and was a teenager in the Depression, and nobody had jobs. So I went out hitchhiking, when I met a man named Woody Guthrie. He was the single biggest part of my education.” BrainyQuote

The word for today is forgetive. Now you might be looking at that and thinking, “fawr-get-iv.” That would be wrong. It is “fawr-ji-tiv.” And it means, “inventive; creative.”

C has left for her trip. Her flight leaves at 7:30 this morning, and has a layover in Philly. She will land in Syracuse, NY, this afternoon. She will return around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

The Red Sox beat the Royals, yesterday afternoon, but just barely. Final score was 5-4. But the Sox won the series, and improved their record to 22-8. The Yankees won again, so the Sox stay two games up on them in the AL East. The D-backs lost, so the Sox are back on top for the whole MLB. The Sox have the day off, as they are traveling to Texas to take on the Rangers over the weekend. I have tickets for Saturday night’s game!

The Rangers lost badly to the Indians. Matt Moore melted down early, giving up ten runs in three innings. They lost 12-4, making their record on the season 12-20. The Astros also lost, so the Rangers remain eight games out in the AL West. They have the day off as they await the Red Sox for the weekend series.

I am wrong!! It has been brought to my attention that the Red Sox/Rangers series begins tonight!!

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

A Prayer of David.
Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Psalm 86

Another beautiful Psalm, allegedly a prayer of David. Verse 11 is my “life verse,” which I chose decades ago. “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” I pray this verse almost every day. The second half of the verse is a great prayer, because, typically, our hearts are divided between God and everything else in our lives.

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Here’s another verse that, contextually, means something different than the way we like to use it. The Psalmist is speaking of the day that “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” However, I see nothing wrong with applying this verse to today. And tomorrow. And the day after that. Because every day “is the day that the Lord has made,” and every day is worthy of rejoicing, if we are in Christ.

With that thought in mind, it is also true that we should always take time to stop our busy-ness and, as the popular phrase goes, “smell the roses.” You might not need to literally find roses to sniff, especially if you have serious allergies. But the gist is that we need to slow down, look around, see what is around us. Literally . . . SEE what and who is around us. Pay attention. Observe.

Our pastor has this thing he likes to do. He likes to go sit in a Starbucks and just watch people. He prays for them as he watches. Occasionally, someone will sit down with him. I’ve never actually tried this. For one thing, I’m not a fan of Starbucks. But it wouldn’t have to be there, would it? It could be anywhere. I have, occasionally, spent part of my morning drive praying for people in the cars around me. It’s an interesting exercise, because you truly don’t know anything about any of them. But one thing is for sure; it’s hard to be angry at someone when you are praying for them. So praying for that reckless driver is better than cursing them.

Spend some time today looking around you. Go outside. Look up at the sky. See what God has done. Think about what he has done in your life. Then rejoice in this day that the Lord has made.

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:5

Father, help me to do this today, somewhere. Remind me to step away from whatever I am doing and look for you in my surroundings. Help me to rejoice in this day that you have made, and “be glad in it.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being:
We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit,
that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you,
but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer)

Grace and peace, friends.

Miracle, Not Manipulation

Today is Sunday, July 17, 2016.

“Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.” – Pete Seeger
(From Eduro.com)

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is ambrosial, which means, “exceptionally pleasing to taste or smell; especially delicious or fragrant.”

Today you get two “holidays,” because one of them is just weird. First, though, I’ll point out that today is Peach Ice Cream Day. I love peach ice cream, and, for some reason, it is very hard to find in stores. I’ve gone up and down the Kroger ice cream aisle, and never seem to be able to find any.

Now, for the weird one. Today is Yellow Pig Day. I’m just going to quote what the web site says, because I could never come up with this on my own. “Yellow Pig Day originated in the 1960s when two math students from Princeton spent a long time obsessively analysing the number 17. It seems that they went a little mad eventually, and decided to invent the concept of a yellow pig with 17 toes, 17 teeth, and so forth… Now Yellow Pig Day is an important part of the academic calendar, and is celebrated with cake, carols, parades and general revelry.”

Personally, I prefer the number 19.

The night of worship last night was really good. The house was packed (which, unfortunately, made it much warmer), and there was much visible worship going on, and I have to believe, perhaps even more “invisible” worship. I know that God was lifted high, and Brandon, the guy whose house we were at, had an amazing time leading it. I could tell he would have just as soon never stopped. In fact, when S and I left (I was very proud of her for going), they were still singing. We had been there two hours, though, and she had reached her limit. Plus she was hungry.

So we stopped by Lee’s Grilled Cheese on the way home, and picked up some dinner. It was late, and I was tired, so I didn’t try to do anything productive, other than print out this morning’s worship music. I played Fallout for about 45 minutes, then went to bed.

One more sleep until C comes home!

We are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship at The Exchange Church, and we meet at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach St, in Fort Worth, TX.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the LORD our God will wipe them out.
Psalm 94:16-23

We live in a dangerous world, that seems to be ruled by the “wicked.” We live in a stress-filled world, that seems to be ruled by anxieties. “God has the power to dissolve the cares and dissipate the perils. God’s consolations penetrate the deepest recesses of body and soul and bring an inner health that breaks out in confident cheer.”

“I need your consolations, O God, so that I will see my life held together by the one who created this world and is redeeming it, not victimized by those who ‘contrive mischief by statute’ and walk over anyone who is poorer or weaker than they. Make me strong in Jesus Christ (Psalm 94:20). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Miracle of Belief

. . . and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power . . . 1 Corinthians 2:4

What Paul is saying here, is that “he would veil the power of God if when he preached the gospel he impressed people with his ‘excellency of speech.'” Our belief in Christ is truly a miracle, produced by the power of the redemption, through the Holy Spirit. We are not won over by the flowery speech of men, “but by the sheer unaided power of God.” Yes, the Gospel must be preached, but it is not the personality of the preacher that draws people to Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ who draws people to himself. If I preach the Gospel, and it is because of my preaching that people want to live a better life, they will never get close to Jesus. It must be because they were touched by the miracle of the redemption of Christ.

Father, if and when I get opportunities to “preach” the Gospel, I pray that it would be your power that would draw people to yourself, not smooth talking by me. Let it always be your power of redemption that draws people to Christ. He, himself, said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” It is he who draws, by the power of your Spirit, not us, by the power of our words. Let us never rely on ourselves to see people brought to Jesus. May we never attempt to manipulate someone into the Kingdom!

Come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Sucker Punch

“. . . only a minority who stagger about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure.” ~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Tuesday post-Monday, January 28. It’s 24 degrees outside. I know it’s probably colder in some other places, but to this lifelong Texan, that’s plenty cold enough.

Today is “Blueberry Pancake Day.” IHOP should do some healthy business today. I wonder if they’re still doing “all you can eat pancakes . . .”

I awoke this morning to the news that Pete Seeger has died. He was 94 years old! NINETY-FOUR!! To be honest, I didn’t even know he was still alive, but he was obviously alive enough to do this sometime last year.

Over the course of his long life, Mr. Seeger made some pretty important contributions to folk music. Got himself in trouble a good bit, too, being somewhat of a rebel. I think he may have even hung out with Woody and Arlo Guthrie.

Christi and I made it to the gym last night. We had a good workout and then went to the Subway store that was the subject of a rant from last week. I had finally spoken to an area supervisor, who assured me that the problem had been fixed and invited me to have some free food. Of course, I took him up on that, and we got three free chopped salads last night. The guy who made them is very good at that, too. After we got home, we watched episode one of season 2 of Downton Abbey. There are times when I think Joss Whedon must be directing this show, because every time someone gets happy, they have to spoil it.

Tonight we have our Huddle meeting. At least I think we do. Between all the sickness and sorrow going on in our group, I don’t know how many people will make it. One of the ladies lost her grandpa over the weekend, and one of the guys is about to lose his (had a heart attack on Sunday). The husband of our host had pneumonia last week, plus he’s enduring an unreal amount of stress in the aftermath of his father’s passing. Things are tough right now. Did I mention that the father of one Rachel’s school friends from Glenview Christian School has been diagnosed with stomach cancer? I can’t remember. They’re on their way to Dallas, this morning, to discuss treatments with the doctor. The prayer list is very busy right now.

At 11:39 ET on this date in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Kennedy Space Center. 73 seconds into the flight, the space shuttle exploded, killing everyone on board, including a teacher from New Hampshire, Christa McAuliffe, who had won a competition to get place on the flight team. It would be two years before NASA would send astronauts into space again. The cause of the explosion was a failed plastic O-ring. (Source: History.com) I’m not posting the video. If you really want to watch it, it’s quite easy to find on You Tube.


(From The Divine Hours)

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. Psalm 101:1
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore. Psalm 93:5
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Psalm 119:1

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth:
Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your
peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A Right Response.” When Jesus announced the arrival of the Kingdom of God, the response of the religious leaders was pretty non-committal. They neither proclaimed their belief nor did they announce that Jesus was a fool. The correct response would have been to be “captivated with joy and wonder.” But instead, they waffled around with irrelevant questions: “What about the Romans??” “Give us a sign!” “Why don’t you and your disciples follow the Sabbath laws?” “What about these legal controversies?” “Should we pay taxes to Caesar?” And so on and so on. The next paragraph punches me in the gut.

“Since the day that Jesus first appeared on the scene, we have developed vast theological systems, organized worldwide churches, filled libraries with brilliant christological scholarship, engaged in earthshaking controversies, and embarked on crusades, reforms, and renewals. Yet there are still precious few of us with sufficient folly to make the mad exchange of everything for Christ; only a remnant with the confidence to risk everything on the gospel of grace; only a minority who stagger about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure.”

Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 12:6

Ah, Lord, I fear that my response has been lacking. For, indeed, I have been guilty of engaging in those “earthshaking controversies.” I have participated in crusades (not the killing kind, thank goodness), reforms, and renewals. How many times have I “rededicated my life” to you (is that even really a thing)? But, my God, have I truly ever risked everything for the sake of the “gospel of grace?” Have I staggered “about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure?” I must ponder these things today, Lord. Let not my soul forget what I have read today! Too often, I leave for work and completely forget everything I have read during this time. Do not let that happen to me today! May your Holy Spirit stay with me today, reminding me of the need for joy and wonder in my life. May I ponder the outrageous truth that has come to light in the gospel! Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth!

I pray for this day. May our work day be a good day, and productive. May there be little stress, and may we handle whatever stress and anxiety that comes our way with the grace that you have provided for this day. Keep us safe as we travel in the cold weather this morning. I pray that you show Stephanie the wonders of your love today, drawing her ever closer to you.

I pray for Marty as he visits with the cancer doctor this morning. I pray for Alicia as she buries her mother today. I pray for Summer as she mourns the passing of her grandpa today. I pray for Rob as he prays for his grandpa (who lives in France) today. So much sorrow, Lord! So much pain. May your spirit provide relief and comfort for your people today! Give them strength.

In all this, your grace is sufficient.

I feel like I’ve been “sucker-punched” this morning. Which is one reason I love Brennan Manning so much. God bless you guys who read this.

Grace and peace, friends.