Watch the Dog

“In times of storm and tempest, of indecision and desolation, a book already known and loved makes better reading than something new and untried … nothing is so warming and companionable.” ― Elizabeth Goudge
(Goodreads)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is alfresco, which means, “out-of-doors; in the open air.” It is usually used in conjunction with “dine.”

Today is Pig In A Blanket Day. Whether they be wrapped in bacon, pastry, or pancakes (which I suppose might count as pastry, as well), they are little bites of deliciousness!

The concert went pretty well, I believe. It was a lot of music, though, and most of us trombones felt like our chops were spent before it was over. We managed to make it through the end, though. Good times. Monday night, we begin preparing for the July 3rd concert, but I will not be there. Christi is leaving Tuesday morning for the USBC convention in Las Vegas, and will be gone until late Friday night, so we want to spend Monday evening together.

We are getting ready to attend our worship gathering, this morning. I will be playing keys again. Our pastor is out of town, so a substitute will be preaching. That’s always interesting. We meet at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N Beach St., in Fort Worth, TX.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah. because they do not change and do not fear God.
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Psalm 55:12-23

The Psalmist’s best friend has betrayed him, but he still finds victory in his troubles. His trust is utterly in God, which gives him freedom from oppression. This is something that we can learn from Jesus.

“Dear God, when I feel betrayed and oppressed, instead of wildly casting about for a way out, lead me into your presence where I can cast my burdens on you and find the peace and renewal I need; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:24

In today’s reading, Stephanie Thompson relates how she gained a better understanding of the word “abide,” which is the theme of Guideposts this year, as well as the them for my devotional year.

She was pet-sitting for a friend, with a Boston Terrier named “Cinderella.” She threatened to rename the dog “Shadow,” as Cinderella would follow in her footsteps, wherever she went. The dog would sit in the chair next to Stephanie as she ate lunch, and get as near to her as possible, when she sat on the couch.

“The day before her owner returned, I was reading. Cinderella jumped into my lap and then climbed onto the arm of the chair. Pretending to ignore her, I watched as sh gingerly put her front paws on my shoulder and leaned her head close to my neck. She rested her face against my cheek, sighed contentedly, and closed her eyes.”

Is that not a perfect picture of how we should seek to abide in Christ? I have often thought of the way dogs seek to get as close to their owners’ face as possible. That is exactly how we should seek the face of God; exactly how we should abide.

Father, my abiding has not been good, lately. Teach me this example from a dog, that I should desire to always be as close to your face as possible.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Spent Out and Crushed

“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Goodreads)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is, appropriately, ado. In noun form, ado means, “Action, activity; work, business; fuss.” You know, as in Much Ado About Nothing.

Today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Hmm? Prithee? “What trick, what device, what starting-hole canst thou now find out, to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?”

Today is Saturday, a more-or-less day of rest around here. Except this afternoon, we have a band concert to go to in Southlake. Not just go to it; I play in it. The Southlake Community Band will be playing at Art In the Square, at Southlake Town Square (I do believe I have been calling it “Center” all week), at 5:30 PM today. I need to spend some time, later today, to get my music in proper order and maybe even practice a bit. What a novel idea.

I can’t think of anything else to write, so I’ll move on to the next thing.

On this date, in 1564, according to tradition, William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon. You can read the rest of the story at History.com.

Today’s birthdays include:

1564 – William Shakespeare, English writer and actor
1791 – James Buchanan, 15th POTUS
1891 – Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer
1921 – Warren Spahn, American baseball player
1923 – Dolph Briscoe, Governor of Texas
1928 – Shirley Temple, American actress
1932 – Jim Fixx, American athlete
1936 – Roy Orbison, American musician
1939 – Lee Majors, American actor
1942 – Sandra Dee, American actress
1949 – Joyce DeWitt, American actress, Three’s Company
1954 – Michael Moore, American filmmaker
1957 – Jan Hooks, American actress/comedian, Saturday Night Live
1960 – Valerie Bertinelli, American actress, One Day At A Time
1961 – George Lopez, American actor/comedian
1977 – John Oliver, British comedian, Last Week Tonight
1977 – Kal Penn, American actor, House
1977 – Andruw Jones, Curacaoan baseball player

Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian composer born on this date in 1891. One of the works that he is well-known for is his children’s work, “Peter and the Wolf.” Here is the march from that piece.

Boris Godunov, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, William Wordsworth, Buster Crabbe, Otto Preminger, Cesar Chavez, Howard Cossell, and Boris Yeltsin are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah.

I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”
Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it;
ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.

Psalm 55:1-11

Perhaps this is exactly why we don’t have wings. We would use them to fly away and escape unpleasant circumstances. There have been many times that I have felt exactly as the Psalmist in these verses. How I would love to fly away and find a quite, peaceful place to rest.

“You know, God, how often I want to get away from it all so I won’t have to face a world that spurns your love and rejects your life. But you also know how to give me courage: I wait for your help in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

“The Worship of the Work”

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:9

This is one of Oswald Chambers’s recurring themes throughout this devotion. “Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work.” Our main concern, as “Christian workers” should be to keep our concentration and devotion on God alone. This will make us as free as a child regarding all other margins of life. If we don’t approach things this way, we will sacrifice the “easy yoke” of Christ, and begin carrying the load on our own neck, by ourselves, which will result in us becoming “spent out and crushed.” There is no freedom in this type of life.

“There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him.” Our main goal and aim is to “pour out a wholehearted devotion to Him,” in whatever he gives us to do.

Father, may I pour out my wholehearted devotion to you. May I constantly concentrate on you, rather than any work that you may have given me to do. Show me the work, but show me yourself more. Let me never be guilty of worshiping the work, and may I always join in with the “easy yoke” of Christ in my life. Let me not become “spent out and crushed.”

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Endless Summer

Good morning. It is Monday, May 18, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is whodunit. This is actually a noun, meaning, “a detective story or mystery story.” Who doesn’t love a good whodunit?

Today is Museum Day. Now, I am a fan of museums, but why does Museum Day have to be on Monday?? I really can’t make it to any museums on Monday.

Just as predicted, about the only thing we accomplished yesterday was getting the grocery shopping done. We “touched” Christi’s mom and step-dad by picking up groceries for them and taking them to their apartment. Then we cooked up some brunch and settled in for a nice afternoon of R&R.

Back to work today, but we get a long weekend, as next Monday is Memorial Day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah.
I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”
Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it;
ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.
For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah. because they do not change and do not fear God.
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Psalm 55

(From Solid Joys)

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2

Today’s reading is “The Light Beyond the Light.”

Summer is coming. Vacations are imminent. Students are out of school. For some of us, summer means absolutely nothing, other than soaring temperatures and electric bills. But for many, summer is synonymous with vacation.

“Jesus Christ is refreshing. Flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched.” Do we forget about Jesus when we go on vacation? While it may, at first, seem like a sort of “freedom” to forego prayers and Bible reading for a while, in reality, what truly happens is that we become shallow, powerless, vulnerable to sin, and preoccupied with trifles and superficial relationships. We lose interest in worship and matters of the Spirit.

“Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer.” He should be pre-imminent in all things, as in Colossians 1:18, even vacations, picnics, long walks, and cookouts. During the summer, just as the rest of the year, Jesus says to us, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

But do we desire his refreshment? Do we desire his rest? Jeremiah 29:13 says, You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Acts 3:19-20 tells us, Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. All too often, we only speak of repentance as turning away. But when we turn away, we must turn to something else. When we turn to Christ, seeking him with our whole heart, we experience “times of refreshing.”

During summer, when many routines stop for a while, we must work extra hard to set our minds on things above, where Christ is. It could be said that “summer” is really just a pointer to the true “sun” that will be for all eternity. Revelation 21:23 gives us a glimpse of this. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Father, help me to seek this light, constantly. Summer really means nothing to me, as I don’t have any kids in public school, any more. I go to work every day, just like the rest of the year. Nevertheless, I pray for the ability to seek Christ daily, hourly, minute by minute, that my times of refreshing may come regularly. Let me not set aside prayer and Bible reading for any length of time, that I might not become shallow, and that worship and spiritual matters may always be important to me. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

I pray for this day, and the week ahead. I pray for safe passage to work and back again. I pray for a good work day for Christi and for me. I pray that her stress level might decrease today. I pray for grace and mercy enough for this day only. Let us look to you for our strength, always. Keep our children in your hands today, giving them what they need most desperately for this day. Continue to hold up my mother, Father.

Your grace is sufficient.

Are you looking for the endless summer? You can find it, but only in Christ Jesus.

Grace and peace, friends.

Living the Beatitudes

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Today is “Culinarians Day.” I sometimes think I would like to be a chef. But then I watch an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. I do like to cook, though, when I have time. I also want to note that I only mentioned first cousins yesterday on my note about “Cousins Day.” There are a lot more that I didn’t mention, and some that I have only found (or found me) within the last couple of years. Thanks to Facebook for that! And thank you, Shirley, for reminding me!

On this date in 1978, the first baby was born that had been conceived by IVF, or “in vitro fertilization.” Otherwise known as a “test tube baby.” The success of this procedure gave many women hope who had previously been unable to conceive. On this date in 1917, Mata Hari was sentenced to die for spying for Germany during WWI. On this date in 1965, Bob Dylan appeared at the Newport Folk Festival. With an electric guitar. They booed him. It was the first time he had done a rock and roll set at this festival. “Like A Rolling Stone” had only been released five days prior to this appearance. On this date in 1992, the 25th Olympiad opened in Barcelona. And on this date in 2000, the Concorde jet crashed. It was the first Concorde crash in the 31 year history of the world’s fastest commercial jet. Although the Concordes returned to service in 2001, they were permanently retired in 2003.


Not much to report on the home level; it’s pretty much been business as usual. We would appreciate prayers for Christi’s feet, though. She’s been having an unusual amount of pain in them, lately, possibly arthritis flaring up, but we aren’t sure. She’s very uncomfortable though.


Today, I’m reading Psalm 55. David begins this psalm with a plea for God to hear him.
Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hid not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy,
because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
(1-3)

As he continues, David speaks of fear and trembling that this situation is causing him, to the point that he wished he could fly away like a dove (v. 6). Eventually, it becomes clear that this trouble has been caused, not by a true “enemy,” but by one who had been a close friend! As far as I know, we never find out who this is directed toward, but it is, nevertheless, tragic. He continues to call out to the Lord, and in verse 22, writes these great words:
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

That is some advice I believe we can all latch onto.


My Utmost For His Highest

Blessed are… Matthew 5:3-10

What is our reaction when we first read these statements of Jesus in Matthew 5? They “seem merely mild and beautiful precepts for all unworldly and useless people, but of very little practical use in the stern workaday world in which we live.” How many times have you heard it said that the Beatitudes aren’t intended to be lived literally? Is that true? Or do we find that they truly contain the “dynamite of the Holy Ghost?” If we allow the Holy Spirit to bring these teachings to our mind during certain circumstances, we suddenly “have to decide whether we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words.” Then Chambers makes a stunning statement. “We do not need to be born again to apply the Sermon on the Mount literally.”

Wait. What?

He says that the literal interpretation is “child’s play.” I’m not sure I go along with that, but I think I see what he means. You see, these teachings are all “out of proportion to our natural way of looking at things…” They cause us great discomfort as we look at them. Not to mention the problem we have when we mistakenly confuse “meekness” with “weakness.” The bottom line is this: these are not a set of rules to live by. That’s a surface-level interpretation of the Beatitudes. And I believe that is what Chambers means when he calls it “child’s play.” No, rather, these statements are a picture of what kind of life we will live when the Spirit is having his way with us.


Father, I pray for your Holy Spirit to have his way with me. My mind is drawn to an old hymn that I used to sing. Actually a couple of them. The first one was called “Let Him Have His Way With Thee.” It was mostly the “refrain” that was working into my brain:
His pow’r can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
‘Twas best to let Him have His way with thee.

As I was thinking of this one, another came to mind, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.”
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me, after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Then the last verse,
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

These hymns express my prayer this morning. In order for me to live out the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, the Spirit must have full sway over my life. You must “have thine own way” in me, and fill me with your Spirit until others can only see Christ living in me. May I wait, “yielded and still” while you “mold me and make me after Thy will!”

I pray for this day, Father. May Christi have a good work day today, and I pray again that you would heal the pain in her feet. I pray that her stress would be minimal today. I pray also that I will have a smooth work day today. Let our deliveries go smoothly, with no issues. May I get my work done efficiently today, and keep me focused on the task at hand. I pray that I can be a witness for you at my work place and everywhere I go. I pray for Stephanie today, that you might show yourself to her today and inspire her to live her life in a way that would be pleasing to you.

Keep me focused and give me clarity today, during my private prayer time.


Read the Beatitudes. Meditate on those teachings of Jesus, then let the Spirit have his way with you. I wonder what the Church would look like if we could all do that…

Grace and peace, friends.