Wait. Quietly.

Today is Tuesday, the 8th of November, 2022, in the 32nd week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ remain with you, today!

Day 23,616

Today is Election Day in the U.S. Midterm elections, and very important for both parties. In Texas, we are voting on the governor and a few other important positions. That’s all I’m going to say about that.


Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
(Psalms 119:17 ESV)

Lord our God, we thank you for giving us Jesus Christ, whose words remain living to this very day. You will make his words continually alive so that in the name of Jesus Christ joyful praises are sung to you, Almighty God and Father in heaven. Remember us all. Remember the particular needs of each one of us. Come to the world through the words of Jesus Christ. May his words come as your strong angels to the hearts of many to comfort and restore, to help and do miracles for those in need. May your name be praised through the great and mighty Word, Jesus Christ! Amen.

(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
(John 5:24 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. that those of us who have heard the words of Christ and believed God, who sent Him, have already “crossed over from death to life”
  2. for the Word of God, Jesus Christ, living and active forever
  3. for the steadfast love of the Lord, that I might not only know it and feel it, but drink it in, and pour my own soul into it
  4. that my help comes from the Lord, in His name, and from no human being (appropriate for Election Day)
  5. for the discipline of contemplation; may I do it better and more often

My Love, by Daryl Madden

My is not conditional
Based on what you do
An everlasting spring of life
To refresh your soul anew

Settle in my silence
My embrace, encompass you
Give rise to my voice within
Soak it and flow it through

It is good to think it
It’s great to feel it too
But better to drink it in
Your soul to pour into

So, think, feel and know it
To permeate your view
My child, my beloved
Forever, I love you

I especially love the third stanza, that it is better to drink in the love God, and pour my soul into it. Please visit Daryl’s site at the link provided.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 124:8 ESV)

And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.
(1 John 5:14-15 NRSV)

“Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.”
(Isaiah 38:5 NRSV)

But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind;
(James 1:6 NRSV)

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
(Lamentations 3:26 ESV)

The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
(Isaiah 2:11 ESV)

I am initially stirred by the opening verse, this morning. In case it hasn’t been noticed, I am going through Psalm 119, a verse or two at a time, having been inspired by Andrew Murray to read it and meditate on it more closely.

In this verse, the unidentified psalmist asks the Lord to “deal bountifully” with him. But what is more important is the reason. “That I may live and keep your word.” I find that fascinating and inspiring. How many times have we asked the Lord to bless us, so that we can, in turn, keep His Word? What a beautiful prayer from this psalmist!

Next, I was stirred by the verse that accompanied today’s Daily Prayer, from Plough. I’ve read this verse before, numerous times. But one thing I noticed today was the present tense.

Whoever has heard the Word of Christ and believed the One who sent Him (the Father), what? HAS eternal life. Not “will have.” This person (or persons) “does not come into judgment, but HAS passed from death to life.” (Emphasis added) The second piece is past tense.

It has already happened.

I have heard the words of Christ (not literally, perhaps, although I have heard them being read out loud), and I have believed in the Father who sent Him, therefore, I already possess eternal life. I have passed from death to life. And that life cannot be revoked, it cannot be taken away from me, not even by my own foolishness or stupidity.


Understanding this should tremendously affect the way we live, shouldn’t it? That truth tells me that not very many of us truly comprehend the wonderful truth of those words, myself included.

And from this I can kind of segue into my last topic for the day. Waiting on God, as referenced in that verse from Lamentations. That one comes from Andrew Murray’s book, Waiting on God, quoted in Power in Prayer.

Murray’s book quotes the NKJV which says, “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

There is more in that passage, if you keep reading.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.
(Lamentations 3:26-30 ESV)

It is my belief that one reason that many of us can’t quite grasp the truth that we have already passed from death to life, and that we already possess eternal life is that we aren’t very good at “waiting quietly.” We aren’t good at either half of that phrase.

We don’t wait well, especially these days. All hopes that the pandemic might have “reset” our attitudes has been shattered. People are worse than ever. We don’t wait well. And we most definitely don’t do it quietly. Humanity has gotten louder and more obnoxious than ever. Especially Western humans.

What I believe this verse is speaking of, though, is the idea of what some of the desert fathers call “contemplation.” And contemplation is something that is mostly shunned by modern Western Christians. That’s a shame, too.

What is contemplation? The dictionary defines it well, I think. Contemplation is “the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time.” I love that definition.

Murray speaks of the idea of waiting on God as “a step toward more productive prayer and obtaining answers to our requests.” But he indicates that this is the wrong reason, and that we will “not know the blessing of time with God for the sake of fellowship with Him.”

“But when we realize that waiting on God is a blessing in itself, our adoration of Him will humble us, making the way open for God to speak to us and reveal himself to us.”

In order to do this, we have to, we simply must, shut up and listen. (Murray did not say “shut up,” I said that.)

Again, we simply are not very good at that, these days.

It’s not easy to look thoughtfully at God for a long time. For one thing, we cannot literally look at God, right? Beyond that, though, we have to get away from all distractions. I have found, in my limited success with the discipline, that getting out of the house, into nature, somewhere, is best. It might take some walking. In fact, I firmly believe that one could practice contemplation while walking, as long as one is alone.

Not only must we be away from other people, we must also find a way to get distanced from both cares and joys. And we must not mistake Bible study for contemplation. Nor should we think that prayer is contemplation. Contemplation does not involve talking of any kind.

Do you remember being in love for the first time? Do you remember how all you wanted to do was sit and look into the eyes of the beloved? That’s what contemplation is.

Father, I need help in this. While I love the idea of contemplation, in reality, I have not practiced it very much. I need Your help to do it. To find a place and time, maybe not every day, but at least on a regular basis, where I can simply sit and “look” at You. Not to pray, not to study, not to quote memorized passages of Scripture, but only to look thoughtfully at You for a period of time, and to “wait quietly” on You.

If we can do more of this, we can, perhaps, better understand the truth that we already possess eternal life, and that we have already passed from death to life. Your Kingdom is not something for which we are waiting to experience after death. Truly, what awaits us after passing from this plane of existence will be, I’m sure, beyond all possible expectation. But we have eternal life now. We are already walking in Your Kingdom, whether we realize it or not.

Help us to be quiet; help us to wait; help us to look at You, mouths closed, hearts open and ready for You to work.

And I echo the prayer of the psalmist, Lord. Deal bountifully with me, that I may live and keep Your Word!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

“The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Grace and peace, friends.

Mind Your Own Business!

Today is Tuesday, the 25th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May you find the peace of Christ in your heart today!

Day 23,602


Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)

Lord our God, grant that our spirit may recognize your Spirit and your love, so that our lives cannot be swallowed up by passing concerns but are lifted to something higher. Help us hold fast to all the blessings you have allowed us to experience, the blessings you will certainly continue to give, even though new battles and new troubles are all around us. Send a great light to shine among the many people whose task is to lead the way so that your kingdom may come. Send light so that your name may be honored through our human deeds and you may be known as life for all. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 
John 8:12, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the Light of the world, the Light of life
  2. that our God is in the heavens, and does all that He pleases (Psalm 115)
  3. for the biblical admonitions to be patient, to be silent, and to be slow to anger; Father, please make this come to pass in Your children!
  4. that Paul tells us to mind our own business! (1 Thessalonians 4)
  5. for allergy meds; seriously, ’tis the season

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
(1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV, emphasis added)

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, 
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 

Why should the nations say, 
"Where is their God?" 
Our God is in the heavens;
 he does all that he pleases.
(Psalms 115:1-3 ESV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to keep silence . . . 
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
(Proverbs 17:28 ESV)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
(James 1:19 ESV, emphasis added)

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.
(Mark 9:7 ESV, emphasis added)

“If you keep silent before God and give Him time, He will leave within you impressions that will be as the rays of His glory shining in you.” (Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

I waited patiently for the LORD; 
he inclined to me and heard my cry. . . . 
He put a new song in my mouth, 
a song of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear, 
and put their trust in the LORD. 
(Psalms 40:1. 3 ESV)

It appears that the topic of the day must be being patient, silent, and being slow to anger.

It starts up there in 1 Thessalonians, as Paul admonishes the people to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs.” Isn’t it odd that I don’t hear this preached about very often? I mean, right here in the Bible, Paul tells us to mind our own business!! And to live quietly.

Instead, when I look around me, I see of lot of loud, noisy, meddling.

The trend continues in Ecclesiastes. Listed in all of the things for which there is a time and a season is “a time to keep silence.” Admittedly, yes, there is a time to speak. But it may not be an accident that silence is written first. In truth, do we even have a right to speak if we have not first listened?

How often, in conversation, do you spend the time, while the other person is talking, thinking about what you are going to say next, rather than truly listening to what they are saying. Even worse, how often do we interrupt each other?? I am guilty, I know. It is a hard habit to break.

The writer of Proverbs tells us that a fool who manages to keep quiet is thought of as wise. And our brother James instructs us to be quick to hear (listen) slow to speak (keep silence), and then he adds “slow to anger.” Oh, dang. That James is a real meddler, isn’t he?

Once again, I see the opposite when I look around. Social media outlets are full of loud, angry “Christians.”

I added the verse from Mark, myself. After Jesus was transfigured and the disciples had blurted out their say (because they just had to say something, right?), that voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”


That means stop talking. Be quick to hear, slow to speak.

Wait patiently for the Lord. It’s okay to pray, sure. But wait patiently, and, when applicable, quietly, silently. Stop talking and listen. That is what meditation and contemplation are for. The essence of those two disciplines are silence, which can, itself, be a spiritual discipline.

The reward is worth it. Andrew Murray left out verse 2, and I think it’s part of the reward, as well.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, 
out of the miry bog, 
and set my feet upon a rock, 
making my steps secure.
(Psalms 40:2 ESV)

This is the result of waiting, of patience, of living quietly. That, and the new song in our mouths, a song of praise to our God.

“True patience is so foreign to our self-sufficient nature, yet so indispensable to our waiting on God.” (Andrew Murray, Waiting on God, quoted in Power in Prayer)

“In waiting on God, it is important that we submit not because we are forced to, but because we want to be in the hands of our blessed Father.” (ibid)

Father, I have always had trouble keeping quiet. When I was in grade school, I kept getting separated from the rest of the class because I couldn’t stop talking. Do I really love the sound of my own voice that much? Or do I truly believe that what I have to say is so important?

Nothing is more important than listening to You. And it is impossible to listen when my mouth is running amok. Please help me to obey the admonitions of brothers Paul and James. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and dear God, please help me to be slow to anger. I have gotten better at that in recent years, but I still find myself getting angry over the most ridiculous things. Subway or Sonic got my order wrong. Again! How dare they not be perfect!!!

Grace, Father. Help me to display the same grace that You have displayed to me and all the saints. I cannot be perfect, I know. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

I pray for the patience to wait on You as Scripture teaches. I know the dangers of praying for patience. It’s like praying to have faith increased. As soon as one prays for something like that, one should be prepared for immediate testing. But, in this case, I am praying for the ability to patiently wait on You, and to do so by honoring silence. I believe silence can be sacred. So help me to observe that, and to obey Your commands to us.

I also pray that we would do a better job of minding our own business. We seem to be working real hard to create laws to keep people from doing whatever we disagree with. And we are loudly and angrily expressing our opinions while doing so. I believe this harms the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help us to get back in focus, Lord, to do the things that are really important, which is love You and loving others. Help us to trust You with the rest of it.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

“Oh How I Love Your Law”

Today is Monday, the 24th of October, 2022, in the 30th week of Ordinary Time.

May you know the peace of Christ, that passes all understanding, today!

Day 23,601


Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that with our poor, faulty, sinful, and death-ridden lives we may find shelter in your love. We thank you that we are your children. We thank you that whatever we are, however depressed we are about ourselves and the inadequacy of our own nature, we are still your children. Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Holy Spirit, penetrating our whole nature, our flesh and blood, keeping us firm in faith under all temptation and distress. Give us your Spirit to fill us with hope as we look to the future, to fill us with certainty in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come, whose victory is before our eyes so that we never waver or become afraid. Give us your Spirit so that we may live in this certainty and prepare ourselves more and more for your coming into the world. May we come to know that your loving-kindness is at work today, that in the end your deliverance will come quickly, to the glory of your name. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. 
John 16:27, RSV

Today I am grateful:

  1. new “adventures” in worship and faith
  2. that, in spite of our faults and inadequaces, we are still children of God
  3. for the Holy Spirit, who helps keep us firm in our faith
  4. that the Lord is a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3)
  5. for Psalm 119

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. 

Ah, the thunder of many peoples; they thunder like the thundering of the sea! Ah, the roar of nations; they roar like the roaring of mighty waters! The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm. At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.
(Isaiah 17:10-14 ESV)
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, 
at the presence of the God of Jacob, 
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
(Psalms 114:7-8 ESV)

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
(Psalms 3:3 ESV)

The stone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone. 
This is the LORD's doing; 
it is marvelous in our eyes. 
This is the day that the LORD has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Save us, we pray, O LORD!
 O LORD, we pray, give us success! 

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! 
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
(Psalms 118:22-26 ESV)

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
(Philippians 4:5 ESV)

“We must understand how our communion with the Father is conditioned by the active and personal presence and working of the Lord Jesus. It takes time to become fully conscious of the need we have of Him in every approach to God. But we can have confidence in the work that He is doing in us and assurance of His intimate love and presence as we make intercession.

“So too the Holy Spirit, working in the depth of our heart, is the One who is able to reveal the Son within us. Through Him alone we have the power to know what and how to pray. Through Him we have the assurance that our prayer has been accepted.

“Dear Christian, it is in tarrying in the secret of God’s presence that you receive grace to abide in Christ and to be led by His Spirit. What food for thought–and worship!”

(Andrew Murray, The Best of Andrew Murray on Prayer, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Oh how I love your law! 
It is my meditation all the day. 

Consider how I love your precepts! 
Give me life according to your steadfast love. 

My soul keeps your testimonies;
 I love them exceedingly. 
(Psalms 119:97, 159, 167 ESV)
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, 
to keep your righteous rules.
(Psalms 119:106 ESV)

Psalm 119. It’s the longest chapter in the Bible, in the midst of the longest book in the Bible. If you took a standard Bible, with no concordance or extra material in the back, and opened it up in the exact center, you would be very close to this chapter. You might find yourself in Psalm 119, depending on the version you have.

I have long said that I do not think it to be coincidence that the Psalms are in the middle of the Bible. Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to it as the “Prayerbook of the Bible.” I love the Psalms, and it has been my favorite book of the Bible for many years.

Psalm 119 is an incredible chapter, the more I learn about it. Long ago, I learned that it is an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet. Naturally, that doesn’t show up in our English translations. But it is divided into sections of eight verses each. Each section is headed up by a letter of the alphabet, and I have read that every verse in that section begins with that letter. For example, here are the first eight verses.


Blessed are those whose way is blameless, 
who walk in the law of the LORD! 
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! 
Then I shall not be put to shame, 
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 
I will praise you with an upright heart, 
when I learn your righteous rules. 
I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
(Psalms 119:1-8 ESV)

Here is a screenshot of that segment in Hebrew and English, side by side.

Considering that Hebrew is read from right to left, you can see (I realize it is small, but maybe it will enlarge if you click on it) that each verse begins with the same letter.

Don’t misunderstand me . . . I am far from an expert in Hebrew. I’m not even a “rank amateur.” I just know how to look stuff up.

Another thing that I find fascinating about Psalm 119 is that, out of 176 verses, almost every single verse refers to the Word of God, in some fashion. It might be called precepts, commandments, or law, or any number of other designations.

So what we have here, besides being rather artistic in nature, is a huge work of homage to the Word of God, the very book in which it finds itself in the center.

Andrew Murray has also noticed this. “Those who would like to know how to study the Bible according to God’s will ought to make a careful study of Psalm 119.” (Murray, The Believer’s Daily Renewal, quoted in Power in Prayer) “The Word of God becomes a rich and inexhaustible basis for holding communion with God.” (ibid)

As we meditate on God’s Word, His promises, commands, and precepts, as indicated in Psalm 119, we become more dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit within us, as He reveals Christ to us and in us, as the previous quote by Murray says. We learn more of this God, before whom Psalm 114 tells us to tremble.

I wonder when the last time any of us trembled before God Almighty.

I know it’s been far too long for me.

Heh. I just remembered an old, old commercial for Wolf Brand Chili (still my favorite canned chili), in which an old cowboy says, “Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steamin’ bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Heheh. Well, that’s too long.”

One more quote from Murray (in case you can’t tell, I rather like him). “Begin to work into your morning prayers the devotional life found in this Psalm. Let God’s Word lead you into communion with God every day and before everything else.”

That’s why I’m here, writing this blog, every day.

Father, while I can’t claim to love Your Word as much as the psalmist who penned Psalm 119, I do love Your Word. I love it all, but I especially love the “prayerbook” in the center. And I love Psalm 119, which speaks of one particular psalmist’s own love for Your Word. Thank You for this lengthy discourse on Your Word, Father. Help me to, once again, make it a daily part of my life, going forward.

Help me to love Your law, and meditate on it daily! Help me to love Your precepts, and by them, know and revel in the love that You have for me! Help me to love and obey Your testimonies, Your “righteous rules.”

May these words lead me into intimate communion with You, daily. May these words also lead me into more of a relationship with You, that causes me to tremble in both reverent awe and adoration. I love You, Lord. May that be reflected in everything I do.

Thank You for being a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Help me to make my “reasonableness” be known to everyone. Help me to always be gentle with all people, and to love all people as Christ has loved me.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
(Psalms 119:1 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Living Water

Today is Monday, July 23, 2018. Day 22,047.

27 days until S turns 25!

“Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.” ~ George Eliot, 1819-1880, BrainyQuote

The word for today is affinage, “The process of maturing cheese, usually in a cellar or climate-controlled room.” No there’s a word I can fully support!

Yesterday was a great day. The worship, yesterday morning, went great, in my opinion. Well, at least until the batteries in my wireless mic went dead. But that didn’t happen until after the sermon, for the last two hymns, and I had a great backup vocalist who carried those. But it felt good to be playing and leading. I actually led all the songs from the piano, yesterday, and didn’t take any other instruments with me. Somewhere in the middle of yesterday morning’s service, the pastor suggested that we might want to move the piano closer to center stage. I don’t know if I want to do that or not. We’ll revisit that idea next Sunday morning.

I had lunch, as mentioned yesterday, with the host of our Night of Worship events. I took a couple of rib plates over there, and, after we ate, he took me back into his studio and showed me some tips and tricks in recording with software. He is using Pro Tools, however, which is slightly different from Cubase, which is what I have. I’m waiting on a particular cable to arrive, which I ordered yesterday morning, which will enable me to connect my keyboard directly to the computer. The cable goes from MIDI to USB. It has two MIDI plugs (one in and one out) on one end and a single USB plug on the other end. With that, I can (or should be able to) record directly to the music software on the computer. B has volunteered to come over tomorrow night, if I need, and help me some more.

The Red Sox beat the Tigers 9-1, winning the series, as well as their seventieth game on the season. Their record is now 70-31. For some reason, the Yankees didn’t play, so the Sox have a five game lead in the AL West. They play in Baltimore tonight. It’s not a gimme, but they should win this series.

The Rangers beat the Indians 5-0, taking one of three games from them. Their record is 42-58, and they are 23 games back in the AL West.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! 
Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. 
My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. 
My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. 
Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 
I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. 
Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. 
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

Psalm 119:169-176

Again, the Psalmist asks for understanding, according to God’s word. And I will say again that meditation and reading of God’s word can provide understanding beyond all other sources. Sure, there are many topics that are not addressed, so study of other subjects is certainly necessary. But understanding of life and things of spiritual nature come from God’s word.

I find it interesting that the Psalm closes with a confession of going astray. I can certainly identify, as I have “gone astray” many times in my life. As my friend and I were discussing, yesterday over lunch, we have maintained the righteous path for the duration of our lives, but have strayed off of it many times. God, who is not satisfied to leave us alone, as always brought us back.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14

In this conversation with a Samaritan woman, Jesus declares that even necessary things from our physical life are only temporarily satisfying. The most basic of all human necessities, water, can only satisfy temporarily. We are in the midst of a potentially record-breaking heat wave in north central Texas. We have been having consistent temperatures exceeding 110 degrees! Yesterday evening, it was 110 degrees at 6:45 PM! In the midst of this, I can take a drink of water and be thirsty again in a matter of minutes. I work in a warehouse that is minimally climate-controlled, so it is some relief from the heat. But I am still thirsty frequently, and need to stay hydrated.

We eat food, sometimes until we are uncomfortably stuffed, and we are hungry again in a few hours, even though we sometimes leave a table thinking, “I’m never going to eat again!”

We do things that entertain us, watch movies, TV shows, attend plays and concerts, play games. Yet, within a matter of hours, or even minutes, we’re bored again.

The sinful things that we sometimes stumble into are even less enduring. We all know the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction, and the state of constant yearning that is caused.

Jesus offers this woman “living water.” He offers “water” that is eternally satisfying. And that is because it will “become in [us] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I seek this water, daily. I believe that there is a “once for all” aspect of the living water, as well as a need to seek it daily. There are different kinds of thirst. I hunger and thirst for righteousness on a daily basis. Yet there is an aspect of my thirst that has been eternally satisfied. But, as mentioned earlier, still being 100% human, I tend to stray, and run off after things that only satisfy for a moment. May God have mercy on me and enable me to stay focused on that living water.

Father, I thank you that, early in my life, I took a drink of this living water that Jesus offers. I thank you that it has, indeed, welled up in me to eternal life. I pray for faithfulness and consistency. Give me a focus and a drive that keeps me walking in the right direction, seeking the satisfaction that comes only from my relationship with Christ, and walking in your Kingdom. And, I pray that this spring of living water will overflow so that others around might “get wet.”
Even so, 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.

The Alabaster Box

Today is Sunday, July 22, 2018. Day 22,046.

28 days until S turns 25!

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.” ~ Albert Einstein, 1897-1955, The Quotations Page

The word for today is festinate, which means, simply, “hasten.”

S and I wound up going to the Night of Worship, last night. C got home shortly before we left, and decided that she would stay home and rest. I can’t speak for S, but I had a wonderful time worshiping and praying. It was nice to not be playing, for a change. I feel like that freed me to worship more and focus more on God during the time. We wound up leaving before it was over, as I needed to come home and look over the PowerPoint slides for this morning’s worship at FBC Smithfield.

Both churches will be voting on the merger, two weeks from today. We have found that we can vote in absentia, via email, as long as we send our vote before the actual vote happens. That’s a good thing, because our worship leader and his wife will also be out on August 5.

The Red Sox lost a rare shutout game, last night, as the Tigers beat them 5-0. Their record is 69-31, and they are 4.5 games up in the AL East. The remain the best in baseball, 3.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros, who are being favored by many “experts” to repeat in the World Series.

The Rangers lost to the Indians, wait, what?? 16-3! Now, the Indians are in first place in the AL Central. But they would be in third in the AL East, and fourth in the AL West.

The Orioles continue to hold down the worst spot, 40.5 games behind the Red Sox. They traded their best player during the All Star break. I keep wondering when they will fire Buck Showalter.

We’re getting ready to go worship, this morning. I will be leading worship at FBC Smithfield, and will be, at least through August 5, maybe a Sunday or two after that. If the merge is approved, I don’t know how long it will be before we begin worshiping as one church. Hopefully not too long, as I miss worshiping with my Exchange family. After today’s worship, I will be hanging out with the guy who hosts Night of Worship for a bit, so he can try to teach me some more about using the recording software.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Sin and Shin.
Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words. 
I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. 
I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. 
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. 
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 
I hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I do your commandments. 
My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly. 
I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.

Psalm 119:161-168

Verse 165 presents a great truth. “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” (Emphasis added) Does this mean that if I stumble, I don’t love God’s word? Well, right at the moment, I didn’t, did I? The thing is, if we cherish and meditate on God’s word, the things that would normally make us stumble will not be issues for us. That’s part of the value of Scripture memory, which I have recently rediscovered. Even with that, I still don’t spend enough time going over those memory verses.

I also find verse 168 interesting. The Psalmist says he keeps the precepts and testimonies of God, “for all my ways are before you.” I’m not sure if I’m reading something into this that is not there, but it speaks to me of an essence of fear. If we truly understood that God sees everything we do, think, and say, would we be more careful of the things that we do, think, and say? The next time you are tempted to sin in some way, try considering that God would be right there beside you when you do it. We can’t hide anything from him. It’s the ultimate “Big Brother is watching you,” in a way. Now, I’m certain that God doesn’t really want that to be my motivation for doing good things (or not doing bad things), but it is definitely a start, no?

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
St Mary Magdalen

“It is nice to still be under the care of St Mary Magdalen. . . . The allegorical sense of her great action dawned on me the other day. The precious alabaster box which one must break over the Holy Feet is one’s heart. Easier said than done. And the contents become perfume only when it is broken. While they are safe inside they are more like sewage. All very alarming.” (Excerpt from Letters to an American Lady)

I confess that this is an interpretation that I have never considered, nor have I ever heard anyone else describe it in this way. I like it. I think Lewis has given us something about which to think seriously.

Father, I pray that, as I consider this, that I would, indeed, break my heart over the holy feet of Jesus, and that the contents spilling out would be as sweet perfume to you. May I not hold on to anything in my heart, most especially to sinful desires and practices, as well as any accomplishments of which I might be prideful. I have accomplished nothing outside of you and your power. I have owned nothing that I did not receive from you, other than my own sin. That is the one thing which I can call “my own.” Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. Show me your path, that I may walk in your Kingdom, in the “easy yoke” of Jesus Christ.
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.

Power To Live

Today is Saturday, July 21, 2018. Day 22,045.

29 days until S turns 25!

“If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.” ~ Jack Lemmon, 1925-2001, BrainyQuote

The word for today is actually two words. Time suck, “Something time-consuming; a waste of time.” Our daily meetings at work are a time suck.

I got off work pretty close to on time, yesterday. I think it was just after 5:00 PM when I clocked out, and my normal time to leave is 4:30. Not bad for a Friday.

We’re supposed to be getting a new toilet, this morning, for the front bathroom. The guy was supposed to be here at 8:30, but we haven’t seen or heard from him yet. I’m not too worried, yet, because he is not known for punctuality.

The Red Sox pulled of a close win against the Tigers, last night, winning 1-0. David Price pitched well to get his eleventh win for the season. The Sox are now 69-30 on the season. The Yankees lost to the Mets, so the Sox are now 5.5 up in the AL East!

The Rangers lost a tough battle to the Indians, 9-8 in eleven innings. The Rangers failed to bring a run home in the tenth, after getting the bases loaded with no outs. They are now 41-57 on the season, 23 games out in the AL West.

C is going back to Denton, today, to help R & J clean out their old apartment. Hopefully, the A/C is still on! I plan to go to the Night of Worship tonight, but will not be playing, due to the fact that I’m leading worship every Sunday morning at FBC Smithfield, at least until the merger vote happens. If the merger is approved, I’m not sure what will be happening next, or what the time frame will be.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. 
Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! 
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. 
Great is your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to your rules. 
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. 
I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. 
Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. 
The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Psalm 119:153-160

The Psalmist recognizes the great mercy of the Lord, and asks for continued life from the Lord. Twice, he asks for “life according to your rules,” or, “life according to your steadfast love.” I have to think that, by “life,” he is not referring necessarily to physical life only. When I ask God for “life,” I am asking for spiritual life, my desire being to be closer to him.

(From Power in Prayer, Andrew Murray)
A Manifestation of God’s Power

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:29-31

Peter and John had just been arrested for healing a man. When the authorities realized that they had no grounds to hold or punish them, they threatened them and let them go. The prayer in this passage is part of the prayer that they and their friends prayed when they were reunited after being released.

How often do we pray such things today? The Gospel faces resistance in our day, as well. While we don’t face this kind of persecution in our country (yet), there is much resistance to the truth of Jesus Christ, and that resistance grows as people who claim the name of Jesus continue to do ungodly things and practice bigotry and hatred. Groups like Westboro Baptist Church are making things more difficult for the “real Christians.”

There are countries, however, where being a Christian is illegal. People must worship and pray “underground,” and be concerned about getting caught. If I am not mistaken (and I frequently am), in India, it is against the law to “proselytize.” Missionaries in India must devise subtle and clever ways to spread the Gospel to people. In cases like these, we most definitely should pray for God’s power on these people.

In our own culture, there is, perhaps a danger of apathy. As our pastor has put it, there isn’t a lot of hatred of the church or the Gospel in our country, as much as their is that people just aren’t interested in it. Most people are fine with us worshiping and doing the things we do, as long as we don’t bother them. Dallas Willard once described modern “witnessing” techniques as “bothering people.” There’s a lot of truth to that. I once, during a well-intentioned witnessing training course, observed a man badger a poor youth until he finally prayed “The Sinner’s Prayer” just to get the guy to leave him alone. Sadly, the man I was with rejoiced that this young man had been “saved.”

There is still so much misunderstanding about this. The young man wasn’t any more “saved” than my lawn mower. He just said words. By the way, Scripture knows nothing of a “Sinner’s Prayer.” But that’s a topic for another day.

The point is, we need boldness in our churches. Boldness not just to speak, but to live. Sometimes, we need to shut up and walk, live the Gospel. Words are usually necessary, it’s true. But when “bold words” don’t line up with actions of life, those words will fall on deaf, if not hostile, ears.

What happened after these disciples prayed? The place was shaken; they were “filled with the Holy Spirit.” The power of God came upon them. I need that. I need that power of God, that filling of the Holy Spirit, not just so I can speak, but so that I can live and walk in the Kingdom of God, showing people around me that the Kingdom of heaven is here, now.

Father, give your church boldness and strength; power to live more than power to speak. We speak too much already. Fill us with your Holy Spirit to live out your truth in this world; to show people that your kingdom is here, now, and that they can enter into it and have abundant life, now.
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.

Daily Renewal

Today is Friday, July 20, 2018. Day 22,044.

30 days until S turns 25!

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” ~ Confucius, 551 BC-479 BC, BrainyQuote

The word for today is tummler, “any lively, prankish, or mischievous man.” Also, “a male entertainer, as formerly employed by resorts in the Catskill Mountains, who combined the duties of a comedian, activities director, and master of ceremonies to keep the guests amused throughout the day.”

I think there might have been a baseball game, last night, but it wasn’t Red Sox or Rangers, and it was National League, so it would be impossible for me to care less who played, who won, or what the score was.

Tonight, the Red Sox take on the Tigers in Detroit. David Price will take the mound for the Sox, looking for victory number eleven. The Sox are 68-30, best in baseball, 4.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. Third place is Tampa Bay, eighteen games out! The All Star break used to be considered the half-way point of the season, but the Sox have played 98 games, which leaves only 64 games.

The Rangers take on the AL Central-leading Indians tonight. Martin Perez will lose start for the Rangers. They are playing in Arlington. The Rangers are 41-56 on the season, 22 games behind the Astros, who lead the AL West and are tied with the Yankees for second best in baseball.

The Royals and Orioles are tied for worst, as they continue to battle it out for that “privilege.”

I think C plans to go help R & J clean out their old apartment tomorrow. I’ll be working on music for part of the day, practicing for Sunday’s worship, and, hopefully (if I can get things to work) laying down a couple of keyboard tracks.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. 
I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. 
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. 
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. 
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life. 
They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. 
But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. 
Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.

Psalm 119:145-152

Can I say, along with the Psalmist, that I cry out with “my whole heart?” I’m pretty sure that the answer to that question is “no.” But I do cry out, daily. Sometimes, it might be close to being “whole-hearted.” That’s difficult to say. But, too often, I find my heart divided, which is why I still pray, almost daily, the words of Psalm 86:11, my “life verse.” Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

I find verse 146 interesting. The Psalmist calls for God to save him, but what is the reason? “That I may observe your testimonies.” How many of us have asked God to save or rescue us in order that we might keep his commands? I dare say that most of us pray to be “saved” in order that we don’t go to “the bad place.” But God has bigger plans for us than that!

Verse 151 has an important truth embedded in it. God is near. When we remember that truth, we will live closer to him, walk closer to him, and be better at resisting temptation and forsaking our sin. God is near. God is able. God is good.

(From Power in Prayer, Andrew Murray)
The Power of Daily Renewal

Each morning, we wake up to a new day. At least that’s how we think in the Western world. To the ancient Hebrews, the “day” began at sundown the day before. But that’s a topic for another day. This morning, in a few minutes, the sun will rise. Perhaps it already has. The birds will begin to sing. The day is new.

In the same way, “Awareness of our need for prayer and reading the Word each day is the confession that our inward life needs daily renewal, too. Only by fresh nourishment from God’s Word and fresh communion with God himself in prayer can the vitality of the spiritual life be maintained and grow.” This is why I do this every morning. The primary reason I do this blog is not to see how many people I can get to read it, or to see how many “likes” I get. It is to keep a record of my spiritual life (hopefully progress).

But I am aware that I need this refreshment every single day. Even when I am on vacation, and don’t blog, I still go through the readings of Scripture and devotions, spending some time in prayer.

My spiritual body needs “rest and nourishment” just as my physical body does.

But it must be said that, unless the Spirit of God works through them, even these times of devotion are almost useless. I suppose it never hurts to read the Bible, but if I am not being attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, I will not get much from it. Romans 12:2 emphasizes the importance of being renewed. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. In Ephesians 4:22-23, we are told to “put off your old self,” and then to “be renewed in the spirit of your minds.” Colossians 3:10 tells us that the “new self” is being “renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

“We are to look to the blessed Spirit on whom we can count for daily renewal of the inner person in the place of prayer.”

Father, I pray for this daily renewal. Yesterday, this time left me with a strong desire for more holiness in my life. Did I accomplish that? Maybe; but I have to say that, throughout the day, I know that I forgot. Work tends to do that to me. Help me, today, to reflect more on what I have read, this morning. Help me to remember, during the stress of the work day, that I am yours, that I am daily being renewed in the image of my creator, and that the Holy Spirit is working withing me to produce a holiness as you are holy.
Even so, 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.

The Holy Spirit

Today is Thursday, July 19, 2018. Day 22,043.

31 days until S turns 25! One month away!

“I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.” ~ Dwight L. Moody, 1837-1899, BrainyQuote

The word for today is halcyon, “calm, peaceful;” “happy, golden;” “prosperous, affluent.” It is also apparently, “a bird identified with the kingfisher and held in ancient legend to nest at sea about the time of the winter solstice and to calm the waves during incubation.” Never heard that one before.

We went to the Y last night, finally. I had a good workout on the elliptical. We had our Subway sandwiches before, and will have the rest for lunch today. It looks like we will finish up our peaches from the festival today. We haven’t made anything with them. We’ve eaten them all. And they have been delicious. We have a local farmers market that’s not too far away, and we used to go there to get peaches and nectarines. We may need to start doing that again.

Again, there is only one baseball game tonight, and it really doesn’t matter (at least not to anyone I know). Not only is it not the Red Sox or Rangers, it’s National League. That’s a double-whammy.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. 
You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 
My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. 
Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. 
Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. 
Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. 
Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.

Psalm 119:137-144

The Psalmist recognizes that the Lord is righteous and his rules are right. More importantly, he has tried the promises of God and found them to be true (verse 140). Not only that, he calls them “well tried.” God’s word has been “tried” by myriads of people, over the centuries, and found to be true. I suppose that’s why I am continually baffled by people who will not believe. Then, in verse 143, the Psalmist declares that “trouble and anguish have found me out.” Yes, trouble will always find us. But even in the midst of “trouble and anguish,” he is delighted in the word of God. Once again, in verse 144, he prays for understanding, that he might live.

(From Power in Prayer, Andrew Murray)
The Holy Spirit and Our Holiness

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13

What does the name “Holy Spirit” teach us? One thing is that it is “particularly the work of the Spirit to impart holiness to us and make it our own. The holiness of God in Christ becomes holiness in you because His Spirit dwells in you.” There is a catch, though. How much of the Spirit you have is directly proportional to how much holiness you are willing to have. And, conversely, you can only have as much holiness as you have of the Spirit.

I know. That sounds contradictory. But there is truth to it. We pray for the Spirit, because we want the joy and strength that he gives, but we don’t desire “Him as the Holy Spirit.” We “are not acquainted with His burning purity, His convicting light, His putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and His leading into the fellowship of Jesus, who gave up His will and His life to the Father.”

All of us who call the name of Jesus, who follow him, have the Holy Spirit within us. But we tend to put too little emphasis on the “Holy” part of his name. “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:38) What if we believed that? What if we truly believed that?

Father, teach me to believe. Teach me holiness. May the Holy Spirit work within me today, in the power of holiness, to make every thought, action, and word in me be holy, just as you are holy. I do not want to put too much emphasis on trying to do things on my own. It is not up to me to provide, or muster up, the power to be holy. That still comes from you. But, I confess, lately I have neglected (or forgotten) holiness. Make it real to me, that I might be full of your Spirit in order to do the things, the works that you created in advance for me to walk in.
Even so, 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.

Understanding To the Simple

Today is Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Day 22,042.

32 days until S turns 25!

“It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” ~ Enrico Fermi, 1901-1954, The Quotations Page

The word for today is germiniparous, “Reproducing by means of seeds or spores; designating such reproduction.”

I don’t know much today. It’s too hot to know much. I heard it hit 107 at the DFW airport, yesterday, which is where the “official” temperature is reported. We actually almost went to the Y, last night. In fact, I stopped and got us Subway for dinner, thinking that we were going to go. Then, at the last minute, we decided to stay home. We’ll get back there eventually.

The AL won the All Star game. Again. It went extra innings, and they won 8-6. So now, there are two days without any baseball at all. Another reason I don’t like the All Star break. Oh. Excuse me. There is, in fact, one game Thursday. The Cardinals play the Cubs. Everyone else starts back up on Friday.

I’ve got my song set determined for Sunday’s worship gathering at FBC Smithfield. I’ll be leading with “Here I Am to Worship,” followed by “How Great Thou Art,” “You Are My King,” and, “I Will Rise,” and then, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” after the sermon, and, “My Jesus I Love Thee” if time allows.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. 
I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. 
Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. 
Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. 
Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. 
Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. 
My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

Psalm 119:129-136

Verse 130 proclaims the truth that God’s word gives “understanding to the simple.” You don’t have to be an expert theologian to understand God’s message. Sure, there are parts of it that require some deeper study to grasp, but meditating on the clear truths of scripture can be a great help to anyone. Verse 131 shows the importance of thirsting after God’s word. Jesus gave us some of this in the Beatitudes, when he said that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness “will be satisfied.” Verse 133 is always a good prayer to pray back to the Lord. Keep my steps steady. Don’t let sin rule over me. And as I read verse 135, I realize that I seldom ask God for his face to shine upon me. Perhaps I should try that more often.

Father, I pray for the light that your word gives, that this light may be imparted to me and understanding be given me. I pray for more thirst for your commandments, in the form of meditating on your words. I pray for you to “turn to me and be gracious to me,” and that “your face shine upon your servant.” Show me your ways today, as I walk in this world, that I might truly walk more in your Kingdom than in this world. May every thought be pure; may every action be Christlike.
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.

According To Your Steadfast Love

Today is Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Day 22,041.

33 days until S turns 25!

120 days until Fallout 76!

“A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” J.P. Morgan, 1837-1913, BrainyQuote

The word for today is magisterial, “authoritative; weighty; of importance or consequence; of, relating to, or befitting a master.”

Not much happened yesterday, and there was no real baseball. A home run derby might have happened. Bryce Harper might have won it. There is an All Star game tonight, I think. I won’t be watching it.

Perhaps the Rangers will do the opposite of what they have historically done, and suddenly get better after the All Star Break. I do hope the Red Sox don’t tank. My major complaint about the All Star Game is how it disrupts the flow of the season. They should do it like football, and play it after the World Series is over. In Hawaii. Or Florida.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. 
Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. 
My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. 
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. 
I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! 
It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken. 
Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 
Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.

Psalm 119:121-128

Like the Psalmist, I can easily pray verse 123, “My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.” That is why, at the end of my prayer, every day, I say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” I am longing for the fulfillment of God’s promise. I long for the completion of my own salvation. In the meantime, I need to do a better job of walking closer to him while I’m here, so that, when that day comes, the transition will be almost unnoticeable.

We should all be able to pray verse 124, “Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.” That is only asking for good things. I wouldn’t want to pray, “Deal with me as my actions deserve.” But to pray for God to deal with me according to his steadfast love is only asking for good. Again, “steadfast love” is usually translated “mercy” in the KJV. O Lord, deal with me according to your mercy!

Verse 126, “It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken,” lines up with the way I often feel about our world, today. Why has God allowed this world to go on as long as it has, with fewer and fewer people acknowledging that he even exists. Even many “Christians” in our society are spending more time arguing about politics than they are seeking God’s presence. It is time for him to act. But then, what do I know? He is God, and I am not, so only he knows when it is truly time to act. My job is to love his word, his commandments, and to learn his statutes.

Father, I do long for your salvation, and for the completion of your righteous promise. However, I also acknowledge that I have no real clue as to when the time is right. As weary as I get of this world and its troubles, I will celebrate your presence daily. So deal with me according to your steadfast love and mercy; teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Guide me today, by the presence of your Holy Spirit in my life.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.

(The Gaelic Blessing)

Grace and peace, friends.