The Dream of Jesus

“The dream of Jesus Christ is the Kingdom of God, and the committed Christian buys into his dream.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Let’s see . . . there’s something special about this day. What was it??

Oh, yeah!! Stephanie is 21 today!!


And for the Tuesday song . . .

Besides being Stephanie’s birthday, it is also Photography Day.

We had a nice evening yesterday, after work. We had not been to Chef Point Cafe in a while (if you click on that link, you can see the “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” feature on the restaurant), so we planned to go last night. We went straight there after work, in order to beat some of the crowd (the parking lost is always over-flowing). The food was every bit as delicious as we remembered it being. They had some new additions, such as “Italian Nachos” for an appetizer. They were absolutely delicious! Then I had “Atlantic Salmon Piccatta” for my dinner. It was truly amazing. But I couldn’t eat it all . . . had to bring some home. After dinner, we went to Braum’s for sundaes.

This morning, Stephanie opened her presents, then listened to Frank Reed, from KLTY wish her a happy birthday. She had happy tears after that. After a little while, we are going out to get pedicures (Stephie wants a manicure, too), donuts at Krispy Kreme, and then, who knows what else? Tonight, we are having a birthday celebration at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Fogata’s.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 1964 that The Beatles kicked off their first American tour, performing at the “Cow Palace” in San Francisco. Their set for that show (as well as the other stops on the tour), which lasted just over thirty minutes, consisted of: Twist and Shout, You Can’t Do That, All My Loving, She Loves You, Things We Said Today, Roll Over Beethoven, Can’t Buy Me Love, If I Fell, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Boys, A Hard Day’s Night, and Long Tall Sally. (In the clip below, I also heard Till There Was You.)

“At other stops on the tour, the Beatles’ performances would last approximately 33 minutes, but the show that night in San Francisco lasted some five minutes longer—not because of any difference in the Beatles’ performance, but because of police intervention to stem the growing pandemonium. Within the first few seconds of the first song that night, at least one radio journalist traveling with the Beatles had been trampled to the ground along with a young female fan who broke a leg in the melee. And thanks to an offhand comment by George Harrison about the group’s favorite candy in the days leading up to the show, the Beatles themselves were pelted with flying jelly beans throughout that night’s set. Though John, Paul, George and Ringo were uninjured, they left the Cow Palace that night by ambulance after their limousine was swarmed by berserk fans. It was a scene that would become familiar to them as they continued on their first historic tour of America in the months ahead.”

Sharing a birthday with Stephanie, we have Justin Nowlin (her brother-in-law), John Stamos, Bill Clinton, Matthew Perry, Christina Perri, Coco Chanel, Veronica Roth, Orville Wright, Kyra Sedgwick, John Deacon, J.J. Hardy, Jonathan Frakes, Gene Roddenberry (El Paso, TX), Ginger Baker, Jim Carter, Ian Gillian, Erika Christensen, Peter Gallagher, Malcolm Forbes, Ogden Nash, Philo T Farnsworth, Willie Shoemaker, Diana Muldaur, Jill St. John, Johnny Nash (Houston, TX), Tipper Gore, Gary Gaetti, Ron Darling, and Jason Starkey (son of Ringo). Wow. Stephanie’s birthday is way cooler than mine!

Ian Gillian was one of the lead singers of Deep Purple during the Ritchie Blackmore years. There seems to be some discrepancy as to whether it is “Gillian” or “Gillan.” I have always spelled it “Gillian.” I could be wrong. Anyway, he’s 69 years old today.


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6

(From The Divine Hours)

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24
O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Psalm 141:1-2
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17

Today’s Gospel reading

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Matthew 4:18-22

I have to confess, I’ve always felt a little bad for Zebedee in this scenario. I can’t help but wonder what his reaction was. I mean, his sons just left him high and dry. So to speak. On a more serious note, the words of Jesus, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” are brief and to the point. Are those words meant for us today? I’m not sure about that. I’ve had more and more questions, recently, about how we should read the Bible, one of those being the popular practice of taking every single word of the Bible and claiming it is written to modern Christians. I just don’t think that is either true or wise. However, we can’t go wrong following Jesus. Whether or not we all wind up being “fishers of men,” depends solely on his plan for our lives.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Dream of Life.”

We all have a dream or vision of some kind, “a vision of life that corresponds to our convictions, embodies our uniqueness, and expresses what is life-giving within us.” This dream “gives definition to our lives and influences the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the words we speak.” We often get distracted by circumstances and temptations, but that dream is still there, prodding our consciousness, nurturing our fantasies and sustaining our will.

“The dream of Jesus Christ is the Kingdom of God, and the committed Christian buys into his dream.”

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him,
and he will act.

Psalm 37:5

I like to include verse 6 with the above quote:

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

And some people believe that verse 4 goes better with it:

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Father, help me to buy into the dream of Jesus. I pray that the desires of his heart will be the desires of my heart in all things. Once again, I seem to have become constantly distracted by the elements of the world around me. I pray that you will direct my heart so that I hear your voice, through the Spirit, every day, only listening to the desires of your heart for me. Your Kingdom is what is important. I pray that we, your Church, will help bring it to earth, however we can. May we be imitators of Christ and show your Kingdom to all who come in contact with us. This doesn’t mean that we all have to be evangelists. There are many ways in which we can share your Kingdom, not the least of which is wrapped up in how we act and how we treat other people, especially when they frustrate us. May the dream of Jesus, your Kingdom, be that which gives definition to my life and influences the decisions that I make, the steps I take, and the words I speak. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.

I pray for this day. May we have a safe and fun time with Stephanie as we celebrate her birthday today. I pray that she will experience great joy today as we try our best to make this day all about her.


May we be committed to the dream of Jesus in our lives.

Grace and peace, friends.

The Humbling of Ahab

Good morning. It is Monday, August 19, 2013. You know what that means, right? Stephanie turns 20 years old today!! Huzzah!!! Happy birthday, Stephanie!! Her mom and I are off work today, to celebrate.

Today is also Photography Day. So get out there with your cameras and phones and stuff and take some pictures.

We had a great time at The Exchange Family Feast last night. Harvest Church was kind enough to lend us one of their rooms so we could have our dinner, which consisted of hot dogs (chili dogs, if desired), chips, desserts, and somebody even brought some homemade barbecue! Craig Alexander, that barbecue was delicious!! Then, out of nowhere, we all launched into a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” for Stephanie. The funny thing is, everyone there seemed to know whose name to say! Could have something to do with the fact that Stephanie has been counting down the days on her facebook page for about 20 days now.

Today, we will be driving to Mineral Wells to visit Grandma and Grandpa (my parents), and celebrating Stephanie’s birthday with them. Lunch will be involved, and I believe there will be presents. That’s pretty much the only thing we have planned for today.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 14 AD, Caesar Augustus died, having suffered for several days with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. He was a month shy of his 76th birthday. According to Suetonius, his last words were, “Livia, do not forget our marriage. Farewell!” (Livia was his wife.) There is much speculation that he was actually poisoned by Livia, though, in order to assure that her son, Tiberius, from a previous marriage, would become Emperor.

Today’s birthday is, of course, Stephanie Bickley, born on this date in 1993. Stephanie has made it to 20 years old, surviving high-functioning autism, high school, and the anger and bewilderment of her parents during all those meltdowns. As we look ahead to more years, we hope and pray for maturity and a future for our baby girl. May God bless her profoundly with his overwhelming, steadfast, and crazy love!

Honorable mentions go to John Stamos, 50, Bill Clinton, 67, Matthew Perry, 44, Coco Chanel, 1883-1971, Kyra Sedgwick, 48, Orville Wright, 1871-1948, John Deacon, 62, J.J. Hardy, 31, Gene Roddenberry, 1921-1991, Jonathan Frakes, 61, Ginger Baker, 74, Ogden Nash, 1902-1971, Ian Gillian, 68, Ron Darling, 53, and Philo T. Farnsworth, 1906-1971.


Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. Psalm 147:1
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. Psalm 28:2
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.
Psalm 92:1-2
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. Psalm 79:13
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23

Father, I give you praises this morning, as it is good for your people to sing your praises. I thank you for the church family that you have placed us in, and the loving compassion that they have toward us and our family. As I declare your steadfast love this morning, I pray for inspiration as I read and meditate on your words. Restore my soul and lead me in paths of righteousness.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Ahab Fasts and Humbles Himself.” The scripture reading is 1 Kings 21:20-22, 27-29.

Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD. Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin.
And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”

We read a lot in the Bible about Ahab and his sinfulness. He didn’t help himself by marrying Jezebel. But here, we see something rare. Ahab, after hearing the words of Elijah regarding his coming punishment, humbles himself and fasts. This was enough to cause the Lord to “postpone his judgment. Surely this is a lesson to us about how God views such discipline.”

How does fasting humble us? How does it free us? It shows us God’s provision for us, for one thing. When we deny ourselves of things that we normally do or have, we are more sensitive to that which the Lord provides for us. I believe that I am also humbled as I stop doing something that I normally do without any thought each day, and begin to do something which requires some thought and purpose, which causes me to focus more on God and his actions toward me.

Here is a prayer from Martin Luther:

“Dear God, why should I be anxious and worry about my body and its
food? How do you raise up the grain on the field and all the fruits? The
world with all its wisdom and power is not able to make a stalk, a tiny
leaf, or a flower. In you I have a Lord who can multiply one loaf as much as
you please, without the aid of a farmer, a miller, or a baker. As you do this
day by day, why should I worry whether you can or will supply my bodily needs! Amen.”

Father, as I continue to participate in this fast that I believe you have led me to, I ask that you cause me to be further sensitive to not only your provision for me in my life, but your love for me and other actions that you have done in my life and the life of my family. Help me to be more sensitive of the needs of others around me as I continue to work on this Intercessory Prayer Ministry. I believe that one of the most important aspects of such a ministry is the sensitivity required to know what to pray, for whom to pray, and when to pray for them. Help me to rely on you for these things, as well as for the reminder to pray for people when they need it. I confess failing in this responsibility recently, and ask for the Holy Spirit to remind me.

I pray for this day as we travel to Mineral Wells. I pray that you keep us safe as we drive, and may we have a wonderful visit with my parents today, as we celebrate Stephanie’s 20th birthday. May your grace and steadfast love overwhelm us today.

We don’t like to be humbled. But if one as powerful and evil as Ahab was can stop what he was doing, humble himself and fast, what prevents us from humbling ourselves before such a loving God?

Grace and peace, friends.