Courteous and Considerate in EVERYTHING

It is Monday morning, the twenty-fifth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,510

25 days until S turns 29!

As the world-wide (seemingly) heat wave continues, we reached 102 in our area, yesterday, for the 29th day of 100+ temps and the ninth consecutive. I have had communication from a blogger in Romania that says it is reaching 42 degrees Celsius in the shade, there. The average temperature for yesterday is high 96, low 73. Yesterday’s low was 81. The record was 104/65. We are still looking at the possibility of two days below 100, this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. There is as much as 35% chance of rain on Saturday, perhaps overnight Friday night. It has now been 51 days with no rain in our area.

C is working from home today, as she has a morning doctor appointment. It is always nice to have her at home. I’m off all day, as I am always off on Mondays, which is also nice.

The Texas Rangers won a game, yesterday, in spite of the bullpen’s efforts to lose it. They were ahead 11-1, at one point. But Garrett Richards gave up four runs in the eighth inning, only managing to get one out, and Brett Martin gave up three in the ninth. Miraculously, Martin Perez managed to get the win. The Rangers are now 43-51 for the season, still in third place in the AL West, twenty games out of first, and seven out of the Wild Card race. They are currently seven games behind Seattle, and they begin a series in that city tonight.

The Red Sox got swept by the Blue Jays. I’m not sure what’s going on, there, but the Sox are now 48-48. Baltimore lost, so they were spared dropping into last place. They are in fourth place, 17.5 out of first, and three games out of the Wild Card race. They begin a series with Cleveland tonight, in Boston.

The Nationals continue to hold the worst record, at 32-65. They did manage to win a game, though. The LA Dodgers still have the longest current win streak, now at eight consecutive games. The Red Sox are the proud owners of the longest current losing streak, at five games. At least they are the best at something. The Nationals also still have the worst run differential, at -162. The Rangers improved to +7, and the Sox dropped to -12.


Dear Father in heaven, Creator of what is good, beautiful, and full of joy so that all may work in harmony with you, we thank you for all the good that comes to us. May we be your children, joined together to serve you. May our life bring joy to others, and may we do good without ceasing through your great, strong love, which moves us, strengthens us, and helps us every day, however hard life may be. May your name be praised throughout the world. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; 
establish the work of our hands for us – 
yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalm 90:17 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for all that is good and beautiful in the world; Lord, help me focus on these things rather than what is bad and ugly
2. for Mondays off
3. for the amazing things that God has done for us
4. for gravity, because without it, I would fly off into space and die
5. for the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi 

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-30 ESV)

I used to believe (and I think this still may be taught in some places) that this passage meant that you’d better not have any “unconfessed sin” in your life when you take the Supper. That is not what this means. This passage is about unity in the Body of Christ, and these four verses must be interpreted in context. A note in the Bible I am reading says “Because some of the believers in Corinth were celebrating the Supper in a way that destroyed the unity it represents, God had brought judgment upon the community.”

Today’s word, in Pray A Word A Day, is “amazing.”

Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!
(Psalms 126:3 NLT)

Amazing. How many times do you use that word in a day? I, just like the writer of today’s reading, probably need to confess that I overuse that word. I’ve lost track of how many books I have given a five-star Goodreads rating, this year. Five stars means “it was amazing.” Yesterday, C and I saw a musical show and it was “amazing.”

Sometimes I think I should stop using that word so much, because the “amazing” things that God does for us cannot be compared with Irving’s Main Stage production of “Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Maybe we need “tenses” of amazing. “Amazinger.” “Amazingest.”

The things that God does for us are the amazingest.

I woke up this morning. C woke up this morning. Mama woke up this morning. S woke up this morning. I have been able to hear music this morning. I can see colors today. Gravity is keeping me from flying off into space. There is air for me to breathe.

Many of God’s amazing works are overlooked daily, aren’t they? That’s one of the reasons that I started my daily gratitude list. And it’s also one of the reasons that, some days, you might see me being grateful for waking up, or for cats, or for coffee, or for air to breathe.

I think this is a good place for this poem.

Beautiful Things, by Daryl Madden

Blessed are they
Who see beautiful things
For its God that they
See everywhere

Blessed are they
Who give beautiful things
For its God’s gift of love
That they share

Blessed are they
Who pray beautiful things
For its God’s way of
Making things clear

Blessed are they
For they’re beautiful things
For its God’s Presence
They’re bringing here

Please check out more of Daryl’s poems at the link provided above.

And when I read that poem, I thought of this song.

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 NIV)

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be a strict order to everything. The word translated “fitting” in the NIV is translated “decently” in the KJV, and is from a Greek word (euschemonos) that literally means “decently, honestly.” Huh. KJV got it right, eh? This lends itself to attitude, not structure.

Now the context for all of this is a lengthy discourse on spiritual gifts, which I won’t get into today. And I rather like Eugene Peterson’s take on it.

Be courteous and considerate in everything.
(1 Corinthians 14:40 MSG)

I mean that really sums it up, doesn’t it? “EVERYTHING.”

Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country) on praying the prayer of St. Francis:

“So majestic is this conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. The world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves. Life is no longer nasty, mean, brutish, and short, but becomes that time that one needs to make it less nasty and mean, not only for others, but indeed also for oneself.”

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
(John 15:7 ESV)

Andrew Murray, in Power in Prayer, says that “Prayer is both one of the means and one of the fruits of our union with Christ.” And, rather than seeing prayer as a means of getting what we want, we should see prayer as “one of the primary channels of influence by which, through us as workers together with God, the blessings of Christ’s redemption are dispensed to the world.”

And the reason for answering prayer, according to Jesus in John 14:13, is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Seriously, this is what everything should be about for us; bringing glory to God. What a life-changing difference it would be if we could all adapt that mindset.

Father, help me to think about prayer the same way Andrew Murray does, here, as well as the way Jesus thought about it, as a way to glorify You, and as a fruit of the union that I have with Christ. And, as I consider the prayer of St. Francis, may my mind be focused on making the world “less nasty and mean,” at least as much as I can in my own little “kingdom.”

And, in doing this, or as a means of facilitating this, help me to obey the words of Paul when he said to “be courteous and considerate in everything.”

Help me to see the beautiful and good things in the world, rather than the mean, nasty, and ugly things. This takes work, because I have, over the years, been trained by our society to see the worst. Lately, it seems that the “church” is taking over that responsibility. Help us to crawl out of that pit, Lord.

You have truly done amazing things for us, and I am beyond grateful for them. Help me to remember these things every day, especially when my mind and heart begin to drift over into the negative things.

Even so, please come soon, Lord Jesus!

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(The Prayer of St. Francis)

Grace and peace, friends.

I Am A Living Channel

“The more we yield ourselves to fellowship with the triune God, the sooner we will gain the courage and power to intercede for others.”

Today is Saturday, June 23, 2018. Day 22,017.

Eleven days until July 4!

144 (gross) days until Fallout 76!

“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” ~ M.C. Escher, 1898-1972, BrainyQuote If you aren’t familiar with the artwork of M.C. Escher, I give you this.

The word for today is skirl, “of a bagpipe : to emit the high shrill tone of the chanter; also : to give forth music.” Also, “to play (music) on the bagpipe.” Here is an example of “skirl.”

As predicted, we had to work until about 6:30 last night, which is two hours overtime. Makes me not like Fridays, very much, you know. There were some positives for the day, though. To begin with, I stopped at Meat U Anywhere and got brisket breakfast tacos for our little group that goes on break together every morning. The group was both surprised and delighted. They all raved over how delicious they were and were thanking me all day. Then, for lunch, one of the guys went out to a place called Fred’s Downtown Philly and picked up philly sandwiches for a bunch of us (we all paid for our own). So lunch was also delicious. On the downside, I think I gained about two pounds, yesterday.

Today, C is painting the front room of the house. After I finish this blog, I will be getting my charts ready for tonight’s Night of Worship. We will go pick up our Kroger Click List between 1:00 and 2:00 PM, and we will be at the NoW host’s home at around 3:30. We’re looking forward to a great night of worship and fellowship.

Tomorrow morning, we will continue our “Summer of Sabbaths” series at our worship gathering, so I won’t be playing. It’s nice to have a break, but I miss playing during the music.

The Red Sox and Mariners duked it out last night with what looked like a low-scoring football game. The Mariners started off quickly, scoring four runs in the top of the first. The Sox answered with five runs in the bottom of the first. Seattle, however, answered right back with two in the top of the second, and four in the top of the fourth. That made the score 10-5, but that would be all for the Mariners. The Sox scored one in the fifth, three in the sixth, and five in the seventh, to win the game 14-10! Nelson Cruz hit two home runs and seven RBIs for the Mariners (remember him? The Rangers let him get away), but J.D. Martinez got his league-tying 23rd home run, along with five RBIs of his own, including the go-ahead run in the seventh. Boston became the first team to win 51 games, but are still a game behind the Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees lost to Tampa, 2-1.

In the AL West, the Astros lost to the the Royals (the team the Rangers just swept, and the second worst team in baseball), 1-0. The Rangers continued their winning ways, winning their sixth consecutive game (Elvis is in the building), beating the Twins by the score of 8-1. Their record is now 33-44, and they are seventeen games back. Seattle has lost five consecutive games. This ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Interesting stat (to me, at least). All of the fifty-plus game winners are in the AL. The closest NL team to them is Milwaukee, with forty-five wins. ALL of the NL leaders would be in third place in either the AL West or the AL East.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day:
Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(From The Book of Common Prayer)

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. 
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. 
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. 
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. 
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! 
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! 

Psalm 111

This would be a great Psalm to read at the beginning of our Night of Worship tonight.

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.

Psalm 73:23-26

Beautiful words from the heart of the Psalmist.

I’m currently reading a small book called Power in Prayer: Classic Devotions to Inspire and Deepen Your Prayer Life. It is a compilation of selections from other books by Andrew Murray. The reading I read this morning is called “The Holy Trinity Manifested on the Earth,” and is from his book, Living a Prayerful Life.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14

While it seems odd to begin a reading with the last verse of one of Paul’s letters, this little verse packs a “Trinitarian” punch. Says Murray, “God is an ever-flowing fountain of pure love and blessedness. Christ is the reservoir wherein the fullness of God was made visible as grace, and has been opened for us. The Holy Spirit is the stream of living water that flows from under the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

In turn, we, God’s redeemed children, are the “channels through which the love of the Father, the grace of Christ, and the powerful operation of the Spirit are manifested on earth and imparted to others.”

The verse above imparts all of this in just a few words.

What also becomes evident is this amazing partnership in which we participate! God has made us partners in dispensing his grace to the world! We spend time in prayer for our own needs, but this is just the beginning. We also have power “as intercessors to bring the grace of Christ and the energizing power of the Spirit upon those that are still in darkness.”

“The more we yield ourselves to fellowship with the triune God, the sooner we will gain the courage and power to intercede for others.” We might need to read that again.

“The more we yield ourselves to fellowship with the triune God, the sooner we will gain the courage and power to intercede for others.”

I believe that we have under-emphasized the Trinity for far too long in our churches. Our pastor has been pretty big on Trinitarian things for a few years. And the more I read Dallas Willard (and others like him) the more appreciation I have for the necessary aspects of the Trinity, as well as the need for Trinitarian fellowship in our churches. Some churches are all about the Holy Spirit and only want the “gifts of the Spirit.” Unfortunately, this is all about public displays and personal recognition for gifts such as the more popular “speaking in tongues” and “prophecy.” Other churches only want to emphasize Jesus and evangelism. Nothing wrong with either one, of course, but there is more to the Trinity. Still other churches overemphasize the Father with hardly any word about Jesus or the Holy Spirit. These become high and lofty, almost ethereal, and virtually, “no earthly good.”

We, as the channels, must be closely connected with the reservoir (Jesus), so that the stream of water (the Spirit) can “flow unhindered through it.” The more our prayers are occupied “with the fullness of Christ and the Spirit who proceeds from Him, the more firmly will we abide in fellowship with Him and the more surely will our lives be full of His joy and strength.”

“God is an ever-flowing fountain of love and blessing, and I, as His child, am a living channel through which the Spirit and His life can flow on earth every day.”

I am a living channel. I must stay connected to the Trinity.

Thank you, Father, for being an ever-flowing fountain of love and blessing. Thank you, Jesus, for being that reservoir of grace, displaying the fullness of the Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being the stream of living water, flowing from the Father, through the Son, into us. Make me a living channel; maintain that flow into me; help me stay connected. Lead me not into temptation and deliver me from evil.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Grace and peace, friends.

Pray Without Ceasing

“Obey the voice of God that calls you to spend time with Him in the stillness of your prayer room so that He may cause His holiness to rest on you.”

Today is Saturday, May 26, 2018. Day 21,989.

Two days until Memorial Day!

“Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.” ~ Herman Wouk (still alive, by the way . . . 102 years old! 103 tomorrow!!) The Quotations Page

The word for today is ferly. I can always count on to have an interesting word of the day. Ferly is a noun which means, “something unusual, strange, or causing wonder or terror.”

I woke up this morning feeling a bit congested, like maybe I’m catching some kind of bronchial crud. I hope not. It’s a holiday weekend, and we are planning to go to the horse race track after church tomorrow. If I don’t feel any worse than I do at the moment, I should be okay. I took Dayquil, and have taken several puffs on an asthma inhaler, as well as my daily dose of Crazy Water, which I don’t normally drink on Saturday. The good news is that I have a long weekend to rest up.

The Red Sox beat the Braves last night, 6-2. Mookie Betts hit his league-leading seventeenth homer in the seventh inning after J.D. Martinez had briefly caught up with him, hitting home run number sixteen in the fourth inning. E-Rod pitched 5.1 innings to get his fifth win of the season. The Sox now stand at 35-16, one game up on the Yankees in the AL East, and continue as the best team in baseball. They continue their series with the Braves this afternoon.

The Rangers beat the Royals 8-4, behind home runs from Choo, Guzman, and Mazara, as well as six innings of solid pitching by Mike Minor. Their record is 21-32, 13.5 games back in the AL West. They continue their series with the Royals this afternoon.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. 
You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. 
For your servants hold her stones dear and have pity on her dust. 
Nations will fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. 
For the LORD builds up Zion; he appears in his glory; 
he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.

Psalm 102:12-17

Says Wisdom,
“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”
Proverbs 8:34-36

Power in Prayer is a devotional-style book of excerpts from works by Andrew Murray, well known for his writings on prayer and the holiness of God. In fact, the chapter I read this morning is called, “The Holiness of God.” It begins by quoting 1 Peter 1:15-16. I added verse 14, because it is part of the sentence.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

“It has often been said that the church has lost the concept of sin and the holiness of God,” writes Murray. Now I can’t find when the book from which this was taken (Living A Prayerful Life) was written, but Murray died in 1917. Can you imagine what he would write now? In this day and age when sin is rarely mentioned in modern churches? In a day when “pastors” like Joel Osteen can pack out a basketball arena?

“In the secret place of prayer we may learn anew how to give God’s holiness the place it should have in our faith and our life.” Murray’s writing emphasizes the importance of not just prayer, but private and secret prayer, in knowing the holiness of God.

“if we remain without any practice of prayer, we make it impossible for God to impart His holiness to us.”

God has shown me, over the past few years, the great importance of prayer in the life of the believer. When Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing,” he’s not just trying to write some cute phrase that we can all quote centuries later. He means it. And there are enough saints who have written important books who also believe it; enough to inspire me to believe that it is actually possible to live a life of prayer without ceasing, a life of constant contact with the Trinity.

Trust me, I have not reached that point, yet. I am far from it. But I recognize the importance and strive toward it.

What we also need to understand is that the phrase “the holiness of God” refers, to a great degree, to his hatred of sin. “If you want to understand what that means, remember that He preferred to see His Son die than that sin should rein in us.”

I am shamed at the quickness, sometimes, of my feet to run into sin. But at least I recognize this. I recognize that God wants to make me holy. And the way that he has devised to make me holy involves the practice of disciplines, one of the most important of which is prayer.

More and more I take prayer seriously. Anyone who calls the name of Christ should do so, as well.

“Pray without ceasing.”

With God’s help, we can accomplish that.

“Obey the voice of God that calls you to spend time with Him in the stillness of your prayer room so that He may cause His holiness to rest on you.”

Father, I thank you for the call to pray as well as for the call to holiness. Forgive me when I sin too easily and do not struggle against it. Through those moments, teach me the importance of prayer and holiness. I seek a depth of intimacy in my relationship with you and all of the Trinity. May you show me more of you, more of Christ, more of the Spirit, in my daily walk with you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Power For the Work

Today is Monday, May 21, 2018. Day 21,984.

Seven days until Memorial Day.

“As a Christian, you forgive, and you feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and you visit the sick and comfort the lonely. If I’m a true follower of my lord and saviour Jesus Christ, I got to do the things you’re supposed to be doing.” ~ Mr. T, born on this date in 1952. (BrainyQuote)

The word for today is adultescent, a noun which means, “a young adult or middle-aged person who has interests, traits, etc., that are usually associated with teenagers.” Haha! I guess, by some peoples’ estimates, that would make me an adultescent!

We had a nice day, yesterday. It started out with a really good rain while we were getting ready for our worship gathering. It was a challenging morning, as we got everything set up and going, though. The person who pulls the trailer up to the front door was late, but we still got everything up and running in time to rehearse our songs and have our small prayer gathering at 9:45.

We departed from our normal steak and potatoes late lunch, yesterday, because C had a meeting to go to at 5:00 PM, about church by-laws and other such stuff. It was about more than that, but I really can’t say anything else at this point in time. While she was gone to her meeting, I finally finished Dragon Age: Origins, the game I have been playing on the X-Box 360 (yes, I still have one of those, and no, I don’t have an X-Bone) since shortly after my birthday. The final battle was a doozy and took me four hours to finish. That, of course, includes dying four or six or twelve times; I lost count. I seriously almost wept when that dragon finally died. (See above word of the day.) I suppose it will be on to Dragon Age II, next, which I also got for my birthday.

Today, it’s Monday again. I suppose C and I will go to the Y tonight, so we’ll be having Subway sandwiches for dinner.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

A Psalm.
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.

Psalm 98

More beautiful praise to the Lord, telling the world to make a joyful noise to the Lord! Even the seas and rivers are to join in with their praise!

“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.”
John 14:12-13

Power In Prayer is a book of excerpts from the great spiritual writer, Andrew Murray. The chapter I read this morning is called “Power for Prayer and Work.”

In this chapter, Murray shows us the difference between Jesus’s opening monologue to his disciples (the Sermon on the Mount), and the final discourse in the closing chapters of the Gospel of John.

In the Sermon, Jesus teaches his new disciples principles of prayer, showing them that they, like children, need to depend on the Father to give them good gifts, and to pray in faith.

In this final discourse, the focus is shifted. Jesus has called them friends, and has told them everything that the Father has given him to tell them. They are now to carry on his work in the world, even doing greater works than he did!

“Prayer is to be the channel through which that power is received for their work. With Christ’s ascension to the Father, a new epoch begins, both for their work and for their life of prayer.”

Those who would work must pray! We get power for our work in prayer. While this may seem like a simple instruction, we cannot overestimate the truth of the matter. If we try to “work” without first praying, even if our work seems successful, it will not be as fruitful as it could or should be.

We are now carrying on the work of those first disciples in our world. And we must, must pray!

Father, thank you for calling me to a life of prayer. But I confess that I do not spend enough time in prayer. Remind me, daily, by your Spirit, that I need to pray. I need planned times of prayer, such as these devotions and my drive time to work, as well as constant, spontaneous prayer, throughout the day. Help me to remember.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Grace and peace, friends.

Power in Prayer

Good morning. Today is Tuesday, April 2, 2013. I don’t have a lot of time this morning, as I have a cardiologist appointment at 8am. So I’m going to have to hurry.

Today is Children’s Book Day. Don’t ever think that you are too old to read a children’s book. There’s nothing like a re-reading of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time to draw you back into a more wondrous time in your life. And remember, the Harry Potter books were originally supposed to be “juvenile fiction.” So grab a copy of Fox in Socks, by Dr. Seuss and just try to read it without giggling your fool head off.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for history and birthdays today.

Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. Psalm 118:19
Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty. Psalm 104:1
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:9

Father, I pray that you will, in fact, open those gates of righteousness for me this morning, that I may enter into the intimacy of your presence, giving thanks and worshiping you. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

In today’s reading from Tabletalk Magazine, called “The Power of Prayer,” the scripture reading is Isaiah 38, focusing on verses 4-6.

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

The text of verse 6 seems to indicate that this actually happened before the events of chapter 37. The power of prayer is seen as Hezekiah prays in both chapters, and the Lord hears his prayers. In both 37 and 38, the Lord promises to deliver Hezekiah and Judah from the Assyrians, a promise which was fulfilled in the latter verses of chapter 37. But in 38, we also see the Lord agreeing to extend Hezekiah’s life for another fifteen years! Isaiah had come to Hezekiah in verse 1 and told him that he would not recover from whatever was afflicting him. (It appears to have been a very serious boil, according to verse 21.) Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly, and the Lord heard his prayer.

As noted yesterday, even when we already have promises from God, it is still perfectly encouraged to pray to him. I pray for things every day, that the Lord has promised to me. Do I believe that God will forget his promises? In the words of Paul, “Heaven forbid!” But I do forget them, sometimes. And I need to be reminded constantly. So perhaps these prayers that I am praying are more for my benefit than for God’s . . .

Father, I pray that you will always keep me praying to you, even though I sometimes pray for things that you have already promised me. Keep your very great and precious promises always right before me as I live my life. May I never forget them, as I am confident that you will never forget them. I have all confidence that you will do what you say you will do. So keep me mindful of that as I lift up my daily prayers to you.

As this day moves forward, I pray that we can get everything accomplished that we need to do. Give us a day without anxiety, as we lift our hearts to you for safekeeping. We cast all of our cares on you, for we know that you care for us.

God hears our prayers and our prayers can have great power. Remember his promises. And if you don’t remember any, find some and commit them to memory.

Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you.

Grace and peace, friends.