Opportunity Knocks Constantly

Today is Thursday, the twenty-eighth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,513

22 days until S turns 29!

My weather chart for yesterday looks a lot like the day before. The high temp was 103 again. That’s three straight days of 103 for a high. Keep in mind that I am getting my information from the nearest airport which is not DFW Airport, but Meacham Field in Fort Worth. I saw other information, yesterday, which had one more day of 100+ temps than I am showing. I have 32 days total, with a current streak of twelve. Today’s high is predicted to be 102.

We have now had no rain for 54 days. The ten-day forecast promises no relief.

The Texas Rangers kept Jon Gray in the game one inning too long, yesterday, and they lost 4-2 to complete the sweep by the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers are now 43-54, eleven games below .500, somehow still in third place in the AL West. They are still twenty games out of first place (the cheaters lost again), and 9.5 out of the Wild Card race. They begin four-game series in LA with the Angels today.

The Red Sox, after going ahead 6-5, couldn’t hold the lead, and lost to the Cleveland Guardians, 7-6. They are now 49-50, and remain in last place in the AL East, seventeen games out of first place and 4.5 out of the Wild Card race. They have another game with Cleveland today.

The Dodgers have overtaken the Evil Empire (I have been waiting to be able to say that!) by .003 percentage points, with a 65-32 record. While the Yanks have won one more game, they have also lost one more, which accounts for the percentage difference. The Nationals continue to have the worst MLB record, at 34-66. The Chicago Cubs now own the longest win streak, at six games, and the Giants continue to have the longest losing streak, now at seven. The Yankees maintain the highest run differential, at +196, and the Nationals keep the lowest, at -160. The Rangers are now at +3, and the Red Sox are at -16.

Today being Thursday, I will be working from 11:15 to 8:15 in the computer center at the library.


Lord our God, we come into your presence, pleading with you to bring the world what it needs, so that people may be freed from all their pain and enabled to serve you. Let the power of Jesus Christ be revealed in our time. For he has taken on our sin that justice might arise on earth, that all might have life and might see your salvation, which you will bring when the time is fulfilled. Let your power be revealed in the world, and let your will be done, your name be kept holy, and all wrongs be righted in this turbulent and difficult age. O Lord our God, you alone can help. You alone are the Savior of all peoples. In your great mercy you can bring peace. We look to you. And when we consider your Word, we remember the mighty promises you have given, promises which are to be fulfilled in our time. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Now we find that the Law keeps slipping into the picture to point the vast extent of sin. Yet, though sin is shown to be wide and deep, thank God his grace is wider and deeper still! 
(Romans 5:20 Phillips)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the senses, which allow me to have enjoyment in things in this life
2. for poetry . . . there are many poets who inspire me in this world
3. for the many opportunities that will come my way, to serve the Lord, today; may I be faithful and keep my eyes open for them
4. for the intricate connection between prayer and God's Word
5. that our Father will always be accessible to those who walk in Christ

On This Day, by S. Michaels, LightWriters

Let there be a change
the north west wind speaks
the willows drink deep

©2022 S. Michaels
A Season of Singing
(Haiku 5-5-5)

That’s an example of one of the poets who inspires me. Please check out her website for more beautiful imagery and poetry.

So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
(1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV)

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV)

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 KJV)

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:6-9 ESV)

Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
(Psalms 55:17 ESV)

And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.
(Numbers 7:89 ESV)

Opportunity is the word of the day. Opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.”

In the Scripture passages above, there are opportunities galore. Opportunity is something my day is full of. It has been said by someone that “Opportunity knocks but once.” That may be true in some cases, because some great opportunities may only come to us one time. But opportunity, in general, happens constantly. Everywhere I look, if I’m paying attention, opportunity presents itself.

For example, in the Isaiah 55 passage, we are told to “seek the LORD while he may be found.” It’s not like He is hiding from us. He is available for us to find Him. For a season, at least. Seeking the Lord is one way of “making the most of every opportunity.”

Another way of making the most of those opportunities is in prayer. Now, we must be careful to note that that passage in 2 Chronicles, the one that well-meaning Christians love to quote when things are going bad in the nation, is directed to a specific people for a specific time. “My people,” in this case, is Israel. It is fair, as well, to say that “My people,” in this day and age, is the Church (capital C). What is not accurate or true is to think that “My people” represents a particular country, today.

Nevertheless, the encouragement to pray goes out to all people, to everyone who calls the name of Jesus. One of the ways that we seek the Lord (while He may be found) is through prayer. Side note: God will always be found by His own people. The Psalmist recognized that opportunities to pray were constant. In Psalm 55, he speaks of praying “evening, morning, and noon,” which is a way of saying “all the time.”

In Psalm 119:164, the psalmist says, “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.” That information led the Church, through history, to implement “fixed hour prayer.” By the sixth century, the monastic orders had implemented seven fixed times of prayer. Benedict added an eighth time in the sixth century. So they had Matins at midnight, Lauds at 3 AM, Prime at 6 AM, Terce at 9 AM, Sext at noon, None at 3 PM, Vespers at 6 PM, and Compline at 9 PM. Consequently, there was “opportunity” to pray every three hours.

Needless to say, the average Christian who works for a living cannot follow such a rigid schedule. However, it gives us the realization that we can truly, as Paul admonished us, “pray without ceasing.”

And we are not restricted, as Moses was, to a specific place to speak to God. Isn’t that wonderful? We can meet with God whenever and wherever we want, as well as whenever and wherever He wants.

Prayer and God’s word are inseparable. Attempting to experience one without the other will diminish both.

“A prayerful spirit is the spirit to which God will speak. A prayerful spirit will be a listening spirit waiting to hear what God will say.”

“The Word gives you a subject for prayer. It shows you the path of prayer, telling you how God would have you come. it gives yu the power for prayer – courage in the assurance that you will be heard. And it brings you the answer to prayer as it teaches what God will do for you.”

But prayer also prepares our hearts to hear God through His Word.

God should be the aim of my heart, the one object of my desires. Through prayer and His Word, He abides in me, and I in Him.

"Lord, make me willing to be used by Thee. May my knowledge of my unworthiness never make me resist being used by Thee. May the need of others always be remembered by me, so that I may ever be willing to be used by Thee.
"And open my eyes and my heart that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee."
(Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country)
Today's sources:
Pray A Word A Day
Daily Guideposts 2022
Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, I praise You that You are always right there, ready for me to find, and waiting for me to both speak and listen to You. While there will come a time when those who do not believe will no longer be able to find You, You will always be found by us who call the name of Christ.

I thank You for the many, many opportunities that will come my way today. I pray for the readiness to utilize them, and pray for the willingness, as Alan Paton prayed, to be used by You. Every day that I walk into that library, I will be faced with dozens of opportunities to serve You by loving someone. May I be faithful to fulfill that responsibility.

I thank You for Your Word and for prayer, and the way that they are inextricably linked. It is true that prayer prepares me to receive Your Word and all of its benefits, but Your Word also prepares me to pray and gives me subjects for prayer, as well as answers my prayers. I really praise You for the book of Psalms, as it constantly gives me material for prayer, as well as a source of praise to You.

I pray for Your healing in the Church, Father. I pray that You would heal the division that has been brought on by people seeking peace in men rather than You. I pray that we would stop aligning ourselves with politicians and start loving You with all our being and loving one another the way Christ has loved us.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

“When opportunity knocks a pessimist dials 911;
when opportunity knocks an optimist sets the table.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

Grace and peace, friends.

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 Plough.com)
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.