Keep Your Memory Bright Before God

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” – Oscar Wilde

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is philodox, “A person who loves or vehemently propounds his or her own opinions; a dogmatic or argumentative person.” Man, I really used to be a philodox. I still have opinions (who doesn’t?) but I’m not nearly as dogmatic and argumentative as I used to be. Grace had a lot to do with that.

Today is Garlic Day. I love garlic. Good thing I’m not a vampire.

Band practice went pretty well last night. We played a lot, as we went through all of the concert music. It should be a good concert. There’s a wide variety of music. It will be Saturday at 5:30, in the gazebo at Southlake Town Center, during the Art in the Square event.

I still haven’t decided if I am going to Mineral Wells tonight or tomorrow morning. My mother’s radiation appointment is (I think) 9:15, so I would have time to get up at the usual time and get to her house in time to take her to Weatherford by 8:30. I’ll probably decide while I’m on the way home from work, this evening.

Christi’s going to the USBC Convention in Las Vegas, next week, leaving Tuesday afternoon, so I may not go to band practice next Monday night. She will be gone until Friday night.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 51:15-19

From the same tear ducts come both tears of joy and repentance. When we fall on our knees, contrite before God, it is not in a fearful way, as an abused animal might cower before its owner, “but an honest openness that is confident of mercy. Penitence and praise are integrated in a single act of devotion.”

“‘Broken, humbled to the dust by Thy wrath and judgment just, let my contrite heart rejoice and in gladness hear Thy voice; from my sins O hide Thy face, blot them out in boundless grace’ (“God, Be Merciful to Me,’ The Psalter, 1912). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“Is It Not in the Least Likely?”

for Joab had supported Adonijah although he had not supported Absalom
1 Kings 2:28

Even though Joab had passed the bigger test by not turning to Absalom during Absalom’s play for David’s kingdom, he still turned to and supported Adonijah. “Always remain alert to the fact that where one man has gone back is exactly where anyone may go back.” What does that mean? It means, don’t think that just because you made it through the “big crisis,” you are now safe from all of the smaller ones.

“Don’t forecast where the temptation will come, it is the least likely thing that is the peril.” Remain alert to what may come after a great spiritual battle. “Keep your memory bright before God.” Beware of “unguarded strength” that can become “double weakness.” Make note that the “Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.”

Father, keep me aware of these things, as I know full well that the enemy’s temptations come hard after a spiritual victory. Help me to keep my “memory bright before God.” Don’t let me fall prey to “unguarded strength,” but keep me always on my spiritual toes, looking out for the least likely thing to cause me struggle.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

To Be Ready

“If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.” ― Kathy Acker

Today’s word of the day, from, is pecuniary, “of or relating to money.” I suppose that’s appropriate, given that today is officially income tax deadline (they extended it for some reason).

Today is Amateur Radio Day, marked by the date of the formation of the International Amateur Radio Union, in 1925.

We had a good morning of worship, yesterday, and I feel like I played well, but I was distracted by the fact that my in-ear monitors weren’t working very well. I think there was a bad connection somewhere. I wound up ditching them for the second half of songs.

The PAT meeting (Pastoral Assist Team) went pretty well, also, I think. We had a lot of laughs while we ate lunch, and then things got serious for a bit as we discussed the impact of Living in Christ’s Presence, by Dallas Willard and John Ortberg.

Today is Monday, so it’s back to work. Plus I have band practice tonight. This is our last rehearsal before our concert this coming Saturday. We’re playing at Southlake’s Art in the Square event, at around 5:30, according to their schedule.

This Wednesday, I am taking the day off to take my mother to her first radiation treatment. It also corresponds to the year anniversary of my father’s passing, so it will be good to be together that day.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

Psalm 51:10-14

“If sin brings us to our knees where God can forgive us, mercy puts us on our feet again so that we can praise God and witness to his ways. Guilt brings us low, but forgiveness lifts us high.”

“I want more, Lord, than just to be relieved of the burden of my sins; I want a new life – a life that participates creatively in your work in the world, a life that shares healing, reconciling, and praising, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)


When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Exodus 3:4

“When God speaks, many of us are like men in a fog, we give no answer.” Moses gave a reply, indicating that he was, at least, somewhere, and was ready. When we are “ready,” it means we have a right relationship with God, and at least some knowledge of where we are, presently. We must not be too busy telling God what we would like to do or where we would like to go.

“Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference.” We mustn’t think that we have a choice in what God puts in front of us, we must be ready to do whatever. Whenever duty arises, we must hear the voice of God in it and be “ready for it with all the alertness of our love for Him.”

Father, I want to be “ready.” I desire that readiness; to be alert and listening for your voice, even in the smallest of things. Let me be ready to do the tiniest thing for you. In some ways, I would rather do the tiniest than the great big thing. But whatever it is, let me be ready.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

A Transaction of the Will

“The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.” – Oswald Chambers

“What we remember from childhood we remember forever – permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.” ― Cynthia Ozick

Today’s word of the day, from, is somaticize, which means, “to convert (anxiety) into physical symptoms.” This is a real thing, too.

Today is Haiku Poetry Day. I actually like Haikus.

“Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense

(Seen on a t-shirt that I own)

It’s raining this morning. Quite a bit, as a matter of fact. That will be good for our new front lawn. It’s also thundering a little, which terribly disturbs our Corgi, Tessie.

Christi got a new laptop yesterday. Three times. It all started when Stephanie’s laptop needed some work done on it. There are keys missing, a couple of the USB ports don’t work, and the screen flashes on and off. It’s under warranty, so we’re getting it fixed. But it will take two to three weeks. So Christi decided to get a new one for her and let Stephanie use her old one until the other one gets fixed. So she brought home a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series. Got it all set up, but the Internet wouldn’t work. It kept saying that the wi-fi was turned off. So we went back to the store and swapped for another one, thinking that that one was just defective. Nope. Same thing happened. I tried messing with it, too, and we simply could not figure out how to get the wi-fi on. The weird thing is that, during the setup process, it was on and saw the ten or so networks that are always in our area. But after setup, nothing. Zilch. Nada.

So she decided to swap it for another brand, as there is obviously something wrong with this batch. She wound up just getting a refund at Best Buy and going to WalMart to get an HP, which works just fine. So, if you’re in the market for a new laptop, avoid the new Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series.

We’re getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We begin at 10:15, at The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, 9100 N. Beach St., Fort Worth, Texas.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Psalm 51:3-9

David’s sin is being expressed so painfully. “Recognition of sin forces an awareness of God and develops an unhesitating trust in God’s mercy.”

“Merciful God, how dependent I am on your mercy! Everything I am and all I do falls short of your glory. Still, you do not condemn me. Gratefully, I live in your grace and experience your forgiveness in Jesus. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“Neck or Nothing”

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
John 21:7

Interesting title for an interesting reading. Chambers asks the question, “Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything?” This happens internally, in the will. There may be many times that we approach something like this externally, but “the real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally.” Now, Chamber says something that is both odd and interesting. “The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.”

“The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.”

But don’t we always look at giving up external things as delivering ourselves from bondage?? This is definitely worth pondering. The external is typically emotional. The transaction of the will occurs internally.

Father, I remember times when I have given up a lot of external things because I thought it would please you. But it never helps. Because that’s not where the heart is. Help me to abandon myself internally to your will and your Gospel. Help me to embrace the words of Jesus internally, that I might put them into practice externally, and, thereby, live out the Gospel, the good news that the Kingdom of God is available to us now.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Living in the Light of the Mountaintop

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” ― Kingsley Amis

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is withy, which means, “willow; a flexible slender twig or branch (as of osier); one whose pliable twigs are used for furniture and basketry.”

Today is Record Store Day. It seems that vinyl is making a serious comeback. I have been of the opinion, for many years, that vinyl sounds more “real” than digital. After all . . . life happens in analog.

It is Saturday. A day of rest, as well as getting things done that need to be done. Who knows what this day will hold? We may go to the new Indian restaurant that opened in the old Fogata’s location. They are having a grand opening buffet for $5.99 today. Christi is currently going out to Penney’s to return some things, as well as stopping by Best Buy to see about getting Stephanie’s laptop fixed. It seems that she has lost both of her “enter” buttons. It’s kind of hard to do anything without those.

I will be playing keys tomorrow, at our worship gathering. I’m pretty excited about being able to do this again. We also have our not-quite-regular PAT meeting after church, during which we will be discussing an audio book that most of us have listened to over the past week or so, called Living in Christ’s Presence. It’s an amazing book, and we will, no doubt be discussing it for a while.

On this date in 1943, the hallucinogenic effects of LSD were discovered by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman. You can read the rest of the story at .

Today’s birthdays include:

1867 – Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer
1889 – Charlie Chaplin, English actor/filmmaker
1918 – Spike Milligan, Irish comedian
1921 – Peter Ustinov, English actor
1922 – Kingsley Amis, English author (quoted above)
1924 – Henry Mancini, American composer
1927 – Edie Adams, American actress
1930 – Herbie Mann, American jazz flute player
1935 – Bobby Vinton, American singer
1939 – Dusty Springfield, English singer
1942 – Jim Lonborg, American baseball player
1947 – Gerry Rafferty, British musician/songwriter
1947 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, American basketball player
1949 – Melody Patterson, American actress, F Troop
1952 – Bill Belichick, American football coach
1953 – Peter Garrett, Australian singer Midnight Oil
1954 – Ellen Barkin, American actress
1965 – Jon Cryer, american actor
1971 – Selena, American Tejano singer
1975 – Sean Maher, American actor, Firefly, Serenity

None of these really stand out to me, so I won’t post any video content. Peter Ustinov was, of course, one of the great, classic actors. Sean Maher was on one of my favorite TV shows, playing Simon Tam, River’s brother. But video clips of Joss Whedon stuff is terribly hard to come by on You Tube.

Marie Tussaud, Alexis de Tocqueville, Arthur Chevrolet, Edna Ferber, and Robert Urich are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

Psalm 51:1-2

Contrasting Psalm 50, which calls out “brittle formalism and stuffy hypocrisy,” Psalm 51 brings us to the tenderness of “penitence and trust.”

“‘Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou biddest me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I com. Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come!’ (Charlotte Elliott, ‘Just As I Am’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“Can You Come Down?”

While you have the light, believe in the light.
John 12:36

We all have those mountaintop moments – moments when we feel “better than our best,” and we all wish that we could always be that way. However, this is not what we were meant to be. “Those moments are moments of insight which we have to live up to when we do not feel like it.” What does Chambers mean by that? We have to remember the feelings that were stirred when we were in that “high hour,” and not allow them to dissipate.

It doesn’t mean we can stay in that “high hour.” We cannot. But we can bring our “commonplace life up to the standard revealed in the high hour.” Whenever we have a moment like that, we should act immediately, and do something. If God shows us a great revelation in a prayer meeting, something we need to do, we need not say, “I’ll do it.” We simply need to do it! “Take yourself by the scruff of the neck and shake off your incarnate laziness.” We need to learn “to live in the grey day according to what we saw on the mount.” In other words, whatever it was that we received in the “high hour” needs to be the attitude in which we live in the normal drudgery of every day life.

Father, I pray that you would bring this to pass in me. I do have those “high hours,” but tend to forget them when I come down to the day-to-day world. Recently, I seem to have had an experience where that did not happen, and it was glorious! I was actually able to live in the normal days in the light of what was given me in the high hour. But even that has managed to dissipate, and I would pray that it continue on. Show me your truth. If I have found favor in your sight, show me your truth, that I may know you and find favor in your sight.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Even One Thing

Good morning. It is Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Oh, no, it’s Wednesday the thirteenth!!

Today’s word of the day from the OED is unobtainium. Haha!! I love this one. “A hypothetical substance that would be highly desirable but is unrealized or unobtainable; a notional substance with exceptional or ideal properties.”

Today is Leprechaun Day. I believe that calls for some Lucky Charms!!

Last night’s Huddle was pretty good. It started out boring and tedious (at least to me, but that probably says much about me), but then, during the last 45 minutes or so, got much better, as we finally all joined some conversation diving deeper into Scripture, meditation, and so on.

Work was okay, rather slow. Christi’s day went better. There was still some stress, but it wasn’t as bad as Monday. In June, Christi gets to go to El Paso with some other people from work, and actually bowl in a tournament! How fun is that?? I’ll be going to my band reunion on the first weekend in June, and Christi will be going to El Paso on that following Monday. I promise to be at the height of mediocrity when it comes to trombone playing on that weekend!


For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 51:16-19

“David now declares that he needed to bring nothing whatever to God but a contrite and humbled heart. The man of broken spirit is one who has been emptied of all vain-glorious confidence, and brought to acknowledge that he is nothing.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame)

(From Solid Joys)

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
Ephesians 1:5

Today’s reading is “At the Bottom of It All.”

This reading is largely comprised of some testimony of the great Gospel preacher, Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon was pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle in London for over thirty years in the 19th century. “His preaching was so powerful that people were converted to Christ every week. His sermons are still in print today and he is held up by many as a model soul–winner.” Here is a piece of his testimony.

When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.

I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths [the doctrine of election] in my own soul — when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man — that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, that clue to the truth of God.

One week–night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it.

The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment — I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so?

Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”

Indeed, how else do we come to read the Scriptures or to know God? We cannot and do not come to this knowledge on our own volition. All too often, errant evangelists will used the analogy of a person drowning in the sea, and compare Jesus to a life preserver, thrown out by a well-meaning rescuer. They will say that all the sinner needs to do is grab hold of Jesus, his life preserver, and he will be saved.

The problem with this, you see, is that, according to Ephesians 2, we were dead in trespasses and sins (v. 1). When is the last time you observed a dead man grabbing onto anything?? When we were dead in our sins, we were powerless to do anything to save ourselves. It is all the work of God, in Christ Jesus, by grace through faith, and even that faith is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (vv. 8-9)

As C.H. Spurgeon has said, I must “ascribe my change wholly to God.”

Father, I praise you that you considered me among your elect, that you drew me to the blood of the cross of Christ Jesus, that I might be saved. I thank you for the life that you breathed into me when I was dead in trespasses and sins. I pray that I might live a life worthy of this calling, that I might work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) I pray for just enough grace and mercy for this day alone, and that I might not be overly concerned with what may happen tomorrow.

May you give us safe passage to and from work today. May you continue to bring your grace and mercy to my family, Christi and Stephanie, Rachel and Justin, and my mother. We thank you for the rain that has filled our lakes back up. I pray that there will now not be damaging floods in the area as the rains continue. I pray for your protection, provision, and direction for your Church, especially the body of believers at The Exchange.

Your grace is sufficient.

We would do well to remember these words of John, the Baptizer: A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. (John 3:27)

Grace and peace, friends.

Loving Our Enemies

Good morning. It is Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

Today’s word of the day from Merriam-Webster is ingurgitate. (Funny, my spell-checker does not recognize it.) This word, in a way, is the opposite of “regurgitate.” It is a verb, meaning, “to swallow greedily or in large quantities : guzzle.”

Today is Nutty Fudge Day. I think I might need to take the day off for that!!

For me, yesterday was a pretty mild day, over all. Work was kind of slow and easy, and the drive both ways was rather nice. For Christi, however, the day was not so great. She had a lot of stress, which ended with a person who reports to her storming out, angry. Hopefully, today will go better.

My mother continues to enjoy her experience with Facebook and her new computer. We need to teach her more about email, such as how to send or reply to an email, and what to do with “spam.”

Tonight is my Huddle night. I don’t recall us having any “homework.”


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Psalm 51:10-15

“By employing the term create, he expresses his persuasion that nothing less than a miracle could effect his reformation, and emphatically declares that repentance is the gift of God. He acknowledges that we are indebted entirely to the grace of God, both for our first regeneration, and, in the event of our falling, for subsequent restoration.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame, p. 133)

(From Solid Joys)

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.
Luke 6:27

Today’s reading is “Why We Should Love Our Enemies.”

Piper gives two reasons.

First, is that loving our enemies reveals the way God is, for he is merciful.

  • For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • (Matthew 5:45)

  • He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
  • (Psalm 103:10)

  • Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • (Ephesians 4:32)

When we live this way, we display an attribute of God.

“The second reason is that the hearts of Christians are satisfied with God and are not driven by the craving for revenge or self-exaltation or money or earthly security.”

When God becomes our “all-satisfying treasure,” we don’t treat others out of our own sense of insecurity and need, “but out of our own fullness with the satisfying glory of God.”

For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Hebrews 10:34

“What takes away the compulsion of revenge is our deep confidence that this world is not our home, and that God is our utterly sure and all-satisfying reward.”

We see in these two reasons the main idea that God is displayed as a merciful and loving God, as well as being “gloriously all-satisfying.” The over-arching reason for all of this is that we glorify God by being merciful. We make God “look great in the eyes of man.”

Father, help me to make these points a reality in my life today. Again, I don’t really have any “enemies.” But there are people with whom I struggle, both at work and in other areas of my life. Help me to treat them in this way, with mercy, and without feeling a need to satisfy my own feeble insecurities. Bottom line, help me to be all-satisfied in you, Lord, that I might not need any kind of satisfaction from my fellow man.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe passage to and from work. I pray that Christi’s day would go better, with little to no stress, and that she would be able to reconcile with her co-worker. I pray for Stephanie, that she would feel better today, as she was complaining of a sore throat last night. May you show your great love to Rachel and Justin today, as they go about their business. Also, I pray for my mother to have the grace she needs to get through this day. Her Bible study is today; I pray that it is a joyous time for her. Take our lives and let them be consecrated, Lord, to thee.

I think that many of us Christians have a long way to go in the topics of today’s readings. I pray that we might get there. Let us love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us.

Grace and peace, friends.

Taste and See

Good morning. It is Monday, May 11, 2015. It might not rain today, for a change.

Today’s word of the day from Merriam-Webster is technobabble. I bet you can figure out what that means. “Technical jargon.”

Today is Twilight Zone Day. I love that show!! “You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

I cannot adequately express what a great day we had yesterday! It got off to a shaky start as we navigated storms between Fort Worth and Mineral Wells. At one point, we had to pull over to the side of the road, because it was raining so hard, we couldn’t see. Rachel had also pulled off, and was understandable frightened of driving into the very dark cloud that was up ahead. We even got hit by a few pieces of hail, but only a little bit of that. After the worst blew over, we continued our trek to the west, driving through intermittently heavy rains. There was standing water on the highway a few times, as we got closer to Mineral Wells.

Once we all got to Mama’s house, we took advantage of the brief period of no rain, jumped back in the cars, and went to Pastafina for lunch. We got there early, so we beat the biggest crowds, and had a great lunch there. Except for Christi, who ordered a medium rare steak and got one that was pretty much well done. In a rare moment, she sent it back for another one. The second one was perfect.

After lunch (during which the intermittent downpours continued), we headed back to the house, where we set up the new laptop and wireless router that we got for my mother for Mothers Day. This also enabled Stephanie to play on her laptop for the rest of the afternoon, as well. We showed my mother some computer basics, set up an email account, as well as a Facebook account for her. Yes, my mother is now on Facebook! Christi also transferred all of the files from the old laptop to the new one.

We had a lot of great conversation during the afternoon, much of which revolved around memories of my father. Mama even read some of his journal entries to us. I’m really thinking that some of his journal might even be publishable, and could be some benefit to anyone who is struggling through something like he struggled through in the last five years. The faith in God that is exhibited in those entries is tremendous!

But it’s Monday again, so back to work for us! Today has the lowest chance of rain for the whole week at 20%, so we are through getting rain, just yet. Palo Pinto Lake, the lake that supplies Mineral Wells with water, was at 7% back in early April. The last report my mother heard, it was at 30%! So that lake rose 23% in less than a month!


Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Psalm 51:8-9

(From Solid Joys)

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Psalm 34:8

Today’s reading is “Go on to the Meal.”

“To you who say you have never tasted the glory of God, I say, you have tasted many of its appetizers.”

Surely you have looked up at the sky; surely you have experienced a much needed hug; surely you have sat in front of a nice, cozy fire; surely you have taken a walk in the quiet of the woods, or sat by a lake, or even had an opportunity to lay in a hammock. Have you experienced the coolness of your favorite drink on a hot summer day?

“Every desire is either a devout or a distorted enticement to the glory of heaven.

“You say you haven’t tasted God’s glory. I say, you have tasted the appetizers. Go on to the meal.”

We have all seen the shadows; let’s move on to the substance. We who have surely walked in the warm rays of the sun need to turn and look at the sun itself (perhaps not literally, as that could damage your eyes). We have heard the echoes of the glory of God; let us tune our hearts to “the original music.”

Where is the best place to do this? The cross of Jesus. “We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

For a concentrated look at God’s glory, we need look no further than Jesus in the Gospels, most especially at the cross. “This will focus your eyes and tune your heart and waken your taste buds so that you will see and hear and taste the glory of the true God everywhere.”

This is what we were created for. Anything less, and we are throwing our lives away. God made us to know his glory. It is to our benefit to pursue this above all else, and with all of our hearts.

Father, help me to see this glory today. I’m sitting here, trying to prepare myself for another week of work, when it seems like I just finished the last one. After a one-day weekend, it is difficult. But it is my lot, and I must accept it; not only accept it, but joyfully! So give me that joy, this morning. Let my drive to work be a time of prayer and reflection upon your glory, most vividly displayed by the cross of Jesus Christ and its benefit to us. Let your grace and mercy outweigh anything that I might find to complain about today. Let me advance past the “appetizers” and “go on to the meal!”

I pray for our day, Father, that we may have safe passage to and from work. May there be no danger of high water in our path today. May Christi’s day be full of your grace as she continues to heal from the coughing. May Stephanie know the glory of your love today, and may that same glory shine down on Rachel and Justin today, as well as my mother in whatever she needs to accomplish.

I pray for your body of believers at The Exchange Church. May you give us direction, provision, and protection during the days ahead.

Your grace is sufficient.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!


Grace and peace, friends.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Good morning. It is Sunday, May 10, 2015. Happy Mothers Day to all you mothers.

Wait . . . that didn’t sound right . . . Oh, well. You know what I mean.

Today’s word of the day from Merriam-Webster is riparian. This is an adjective, meaning, “relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (such as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater.”

Today is World Lupus Day, set aside to raise awareness of this debilitating disease that affects around 5 million people, worldwide.

My work day yesterday was great. I only had to work until noon, and for a good part of that time, there wasn’t much to do at all. So, I guess spending that extra time on Friday evening pays off, except that it still isn’t counted as overtime, because I only worked five hours on Saturday, and had Monday off. So, if you do the math, the company is, essentially, robbing me of hours with the current Saturday schedule policy.

Christi continues to feel better, which is a blessing. She kind of ran herself out of energy yesterday morning, though, so she didn’t go to church with us last night. We’re getting ready to head to Mineral Wells in a little bit, to visit my mother for Mothers Day. I’m running short on time, because I was trying to figure out how to make a CD label for the copy of my dad’s CD that I burned, earlier this morning. I had to give up for now. I’ve got some labels, I’m just struggling with remembering how to put a picture and some text on them.

It was on this date in 1954 that Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock.” It would become the first rock & roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

Today’s birthdays include John Wilkes Booth (assassinated President Lincoln), Karl Barth (theologian), Ariel Durant (historian), Fred Astaire (dancer/actor), Maybelle Carter (musician, June Carter Cash’s mother), Milton Babbitt (composer), Nancy Walker (actress), Pat Summerall (sports broadcaster), Barbara Taylor Bradford (author), Gary Owens (announcer), Dave Mason (musician), Donovan (musician), Mark David Chapman (killed John Lennon), Sid Vicious (The Sex Pistols), Bono (U2 singer), and Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel, All That, SNL).

Kenan Thompson is an actor/comedian that, as far as I know, got his start on a Nickelodeon show called All That. He is now a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live. Here is a classic Kenan and Kel moment from All That, featuring my favorite routine of theirs, “Good Burger.”


Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:6-7

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:18

This is something that we must deal with on a daily basis, I believe. The phrase in the second sentence is very important. “For fear has to do with punishment.” What do we fear in our lives? God has loved us with a perfect love, so do we need to fear him in this way? I believe not. Yes, I know that we are told by Scripture to “fear” God, and I’m still sussing out exactly what that means. But hear this: Jesus Christ took all of the punishment for our sins on himself at the cross. All of them! It is nonsense for us to believe that, if something “bad” happens to us in this life, we are being punished for our sins! Jesus has already been punished for our sins! Why would God do it again? “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” God’s love is perfect. All fear should be cast out.

Father, help us realize your perfect love! Help us to know that, whenever you look at us, all you feel is love, even when we are in the darkest, deepest moment of sin. Jesus took our punishment. There is, therefore, now, no condemnation! Etch that in our hearts, Lord! Engrave it in our minds and spirits, that we might live a life of confidence and victory in you. Your perfect love casts out our fear.

I pray for today, that we, along with Rachel and Justin, would have safe passage to and from Mineral Wells. I pray for our visit with Mama, that we will have a most excellent time of celebrating Mothers Day, while remembering the life of Daddy with joy and happiness. There will, likely, be some tears, but I pray that there will be more joy than tears. I thank you for our family, and the bond that you have given us. May you draw us all closer in your love and grace.

Remember . . . perfect love casts out fear.


Grace and peace, friends.

“He Is Most Glorified in Us When We are Most Satisfied in Him”

Good morning. It is Saturday, May 9, 2015, and I’m up at 5:00 AM. :p

Today’s Word of the Day from the OED is alimental. No, I did not misspell that. It is an adjective, meaning, “Nourishing, nutritious; nutritional.” That’s it.

Yesterday was No Sock Day. Today is Lost Sock Memorial Day! So in honor of all of those lost socks (I read somewhere that it might actually be the washing machine that eats them, rather than the dryer) . . .

Christi and I went out last night and got my mother her Mothers Day gift, and then went to eat at Kincaid’s Hamburgers. We were going to go to Cheddar’s, but they had a line out the front door, and people waiting outside. The burgers were delicious, though, and those crinkle cut fries . . . wow. I think Christi is feeling better, though, as she is not coughing nearly as much. I think she slept better last night, but what do I know? I was asleep, too. 😀

I have to work this morning, and I’m supposed to be there at 7:00, so I had better get moving with this thing.


Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalm 51:5

“The passage affords a striking testimony in proof of the original sin entailed by Adam upon the whole human family. It not only teaches the doctrine, but may assist us in forming a correct idea of it. The Bible, both in this and other places, clearly asserts that we are born in sin, and that it exists within us as a disease fixed in our nature.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “What It Means to Love God.”

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

Psalm 63:1-2

“Only God will satisfy a heart like David’s. And David was a man after God’s own heart. That’s the way we were created to be.”

The essence of loving God is being satisfied in him. Of course, it includes obedience, believing, and thanksgiving. But at the core, to love God is to enjoy him and all that he is. “And it is this enjoyment of God that glorifies his worth most fully.”

Don’t we know this from our own experience? Which do we enjoy more? Someone serving us, or the sweet fellowship of someone we love? I would rather just sit and be with someone than to have them running around doing things for me! (Remember the example of Mary and Martha?)

Here is the keystone of Piper’s writing on this subject: “He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

I can, along with John Piper, say that I have not arrived at a place where I am perfectly satisfied in God. My heart still chases after worldly delights, comforts, and pleasures. But, like Piper, as well as the Psalmist, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

Perhaps our best tool of evangelism would be to try to lure people into this joy of simply spending time with and enjoying God.

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

I’ll finish with this quote from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
“Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

Father, help me to enjoy you more. The last few day’s readings have really spoken to me in this matter. Let my drives to work in the morning be times when I simply enjoy you, loving your presence, allowing your Spirit to wash over me in love, grace, and mercy. What ecstasy it is to know your presence, my God! What joy in knowing that you are with me always! Let that joy be the main purpose of my life. And, lest I be misunderstood, I’m not looking for a “feeling.” I am looking for you, Lord. I cannot adequately express in words what I am seeking, here, but you certainly understand. Let my love for you be made more real by my enjoyment of your presence in my life. Let me satisfy you by being satisfied in you.

I pray for this day. May I have safe passage to and from work today. May Christi continue to get better, and may she be safe in whatever she does this morning. May she experience joy in you today, as well. I pray for Stephanie, that she will know your joy and love you by enjoying your presence. May my mother experience this joy today, Father, and may you continue strengthening her for the journey ahead. We pray for a safe trip to her house tomorrow, and a good visit with her. I pray for Rachel and Justin that you show your great love to them and that you would guide them in their future.

Your grace is sufficient, Lord, and may our joy be full in you.

“He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”


Grace and peace, friends.

“We Are Far Too Easily Pleased”

Good morning. It is Friday, May 8, 2015. Two days until Mother’s Day.

Today’s Word of the Day, from the OED, is psephocracy. More than likely chosen because they just had elections across the pond, this word means, “The form of government which results from the election of representatives by ballot; the system of government by elected representatives.” Very interesting, as that is pretty much what we have in the U.S., as well.

Today is No Socks Day. I have a friend or two that would like this.

Christi is still coughing up a storm, it seems. She had a rough night, last night. At this point, I’m beginning to be concerned that something serious is going on, as it doesn’t seem to be improving. I’m guessing the antibiotics didn’t fix whatever it is, so it must be viral. The PA told her not to take Nyquil because of its effects on blood pressure. I’m thinking that we need to weigh which one has a worse effect; Nyquil or not sleeping! This brings to mind something that also concerns me about the medical community. Our doctor’s office told her to take Mucinex. The last time I was sick, I went to Minute Clinic and saw a nurse-practitioner, who said she doesn’t like Mucinex. You see, there really is no consensus in the community at all! You get one thing from one doctor and another thing from another doctor. Running is good for you. Running is bad for your back and feet. Well, which is it?? We’ll never know.

In the news of the weird category today, the Texas Rangers have won four games in a row.

Today is Friday, of course, but I have to work tomorrow. I’ll be going in at 7:00 AM, so if there is a blog at all, it will be more like a weekday version without all the weekend “bells and whistles.”


Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Psalm 51:1-4

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5

Jesus, teach me to abide.

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus Sharpens Priorities.”

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

“Following Jesus demands that we sharpen our priorities.” As Jesus traveled around announcing the coming of God’s Kingdom, people had to learn how to focus on the things that were truly essential to life. This meant, sometimes, going beyond “what was good and acceptable behavior.” It meant not settling for good when the best was available. What did C.S. Lewis say? “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (Emphasis mine) Jesus should be our top priority.

In the first of the three passages above, several would-be disciples came to Jesus. He advised them of the cost. Following him might mean not having a bed to lay on at night. A couple of others wanted to give priority to other activities. They weren’t unnecessary activities, but, nevertheless, would have to take second place to following Christ.

In the second passage, seventy disciples returned from a “mission trip” with “glowing reports of successful ministries.” Jesus did rejoice with them, but then told them that they should not rejoice that they had power over demons, but should, instead, rejoice that their “names are written in heaven.

“How often have we ranked earthly success, even in spiritual warfare, above heaven itself?” Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that we should “focus our hearts and minds on things above and give priority to where Jesus is.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

The last passage, which can be somewhat humorous, uses a “family spat” to sharpen priorities. Martha is consumed with household duties, sweeping floors, preparing a meal, and so on. She gets aggravated that Mary does nothing but sit at the feet of Jesus. But Jesus tells her that only “one thing is necessary.” This is “our clearest, sharpest guide for setting our priorities.” What is the “one thing?” “Jesus is it. If he outranks everything else in our lives, then we have discovered that one necessary thing.”

Jesus doesn’t want to stand on the “periphery of our life, accepting leftovers.” He wants us to choose the best over what is merely good. “Only one thing is necessary, to sit at the feet of Jesus and to enjoy him forever.”

Father, forgive me for having many things in front of Jesus. Teach me to make him my one thing. Teach me to seek that holiday by the sea, to choose the best instead of what is merely good.

I pray for this day. As we travel to and from work today, may our passage be smooth and safe. As we work today, may our work go smoothly. May we seek to follow you as we go about our daily activities at work. I pray for Christi’s cough to go away, Lord. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show yourself to her today. Lord, I pray for Rachel, that you would give her confidence in herself. Show your great love to her and Justin today. Keep giving strength to my mother, Lord.

May wee seek that “holiday by the sea” and stop making mud pies.

Grace and peace, friends.