The Lord Is My Helper; What Can Man Do To Me?

Today is Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Day 22,014.

Fourteen days until July 4. Which falls on Wednesday, so we’ll get one day off in the middle of the week.

147 days until Fallout 76!

“That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much.” Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894, BrainyQuote

The word for today is thigmotropism, “oriented growth of an organism in response to mechanical contact, as a plant tendril coiling around a string support.”

We got back to the Y, last night, so that was good. I rode the recumbent bike for a while. It’s good to start getting some movement again.

The Red Sox lost to the Twins, as the bullpen gave up four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Final score, 6-2. The Sox record is 49-25, and they are one game behind the Yankees in the AL East.

The Rangers won their fourth consecutive game, beating the Royals 4-1. Their record is now 31-44. They gained a game and are now eighteen games back in the AL West.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death. 
He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him! 
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones! 
May it be like a garment that he wraps around him, like a belt that he puts on every day! 
May this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD, of those who speak evil against my life!

Psalm 109:16-20

If you’re keeping up with this, you remember yesterday’s prayers of the Psalmist, for all these bad things to happen to this person. Today, we find out why. So we see that, at least, the Psalmist had good reason for his negative feelings about this person.

Always remember that God cares for the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, the refugees. God is a God of love and compassion, as well as justice, and we, as his people, should have the same characteristics as him.

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— 
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.

Psalm 91:9-10

I memorized these two verses, years ago. They became a great comfort to me, as did the whole chapter of Psalms. Is there a promise that, if I dwell in the Lord, nothing bad will ever happen to me? I choose to think that is not the case.

Probably because it all depends on your definition of bad. There is a strong sense, though, of God’s protection in these two verses. And I do believe that, because I have made the Lord my dwelling, that he has protected me from evil all these years. I believe that with all my heart. But what about people who did not have the same experience?

I am not wise enough to have all the answers, but I will hearken back to my statement at the beginning of the last paragraph. It all depends on your definition (and perspective) of what is bad. There are things that happen to humans that other humans decide are bad. But what if they were “good” in the eyes of the Lord? Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” The definition of “precious” is, “of high price or great value; very valuable or costly; highly esteemed for some spiritual, nonmaterial, or moral quality; dear; beloved.” All of those things sound pretty good to me.

My father made the Lord his dwelling and his refuge. Yet, he passed away because of a fall which resulted from a rare muscular disease that he had. Did “evil befall” him? We might be inclined to think so, but perhaps not. He was definitely uncomfortable in his last days, perhaps even in some pain. But I am 100% certain that he never took his eyes off of that prize. And I am certain that his death was precious in the Lord.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

And there it is, Father, in Hebrews 13:6. You are my helper; you are my strength; I will not fear; what can man to do me?
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.


“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is iconoclast. Literally, “image destroyer,” the definition is, “a person who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration,” or, “a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions.” I’m not sure that I ever knew what this word actually means.

Today is Don’t Step On A Bee Day. Especially if you are barefoot.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
Psa 91:15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
Psa 91:16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91:14-16

“All that is prayed for and believed is confirmed in the action of God. God enters our lives and acts in ways that meet every need. Blessings are exchanged.”

“I do love you, O god. And I do need all that you can do for me: deliver, protect, rescue, honor, and save. Thank you for the richness of your promise and the steadfastness in your performance, even in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Spiritual Sluggard

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together. Hebrews 10:24-25

I don’t really want to “mix with the rough and tumble of life.” We all have the capacity to be “spiritual sluggards.” I would rather live a remote, retired life. Personally, I think I would have been a great hermit, living like one of the “desert fathers.” But, “to live a remote, retired, secluded life is the antipodes of spirituality as Jesus Christ taught it.” “Antipodes??” I had to look that one up. It is “the direct opposite of something.”

What happens to our spirituality when we come up against “injustice and meanness and ingratitude and turmoil?” We tend to go to God strictly for peace and joy; “we do not want to realize Jesus Christ, but only our enjoyment of Him.” This goes back to questions asked by Dallas Willard. Do we want God, or do we just want his benefits?

We want to provoke each other, as the KJV put it. We want to “stir up one another to love and good works.” We don’t want physical activity, though. “Active work and spiritual activity are not the same thing.” Sometimes, we make ourselves busy to keep from having to confront our spiritual sluggishness.

“The danger of spiritual sluggishness is that we do not wish to be stirred up, all we want to hear about is spiritual retirement. Jesus Christ never encourages the idea of retirement.”

Father, I pray that I might desire Jesus Christ, and not this idea of spiritual retirement. I confess to being spiritually sluggish at times. I confess that there are many times when I would rather take my spirituality out to the desert and be alone. I know that this is wrong, and not what you desire for me. I confess that, much of the time, I simply do not like being around people, even my spiritual brothers and sisters. I pray that you would bring me out of my introverted shell that I might minister to people, that I might serve people, and that I might serve with people. You have made us a community, and it is my obligation to share in that community. May your Holy Spirit draw me further into that, Father, that I might be who and what you desire me to be.

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.

Am I Able?

“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

“Ultimately love is everything.” – M. Scott Peck

It is a known fact that Mother Teresa would not “employ” anyone who could not smile from the heart.

The word of the day, from, is sockdolager. The emphasis is on the second syllable, “sok-dol-uh-jer.” It means, “something unusually large, heavy, etc.” It can also mean, “a decisive reply, argument, etc.,” or, “a heavy, finishing blow.”

Today is Sugar Cookie Day. I’m okay with that. I like sugar cookies. I just like cookies, period. I’m not fond of peanut butter cookies, though. I give those to S. I like sugar cookies with icing on them. Like the ones they have at the Great American Cookie Company. I think we need to go to the mall today.

C is going out of town this week. For six days!! Gah! I don’t know what I’m going to do. Well, okay. I do. I’m going to eat too much and play a lot of PS4 games. If I’m wise, though, I will use some of the time to practice trombone, keyboard, and guitar. At this point, I cannot say if I will be wise or not. She’s going to a youth bowling tournament in Indianapolis. It’s the Youth Open Championships, and they are actually going on for three different weeks. C will be there for the first week. She is leaving Tuesday, after work, and then not coming home until Monday night, July 18. I can tell you that I will not sleep well, those nights. I never do when she is gone.

Not much else going on. The Rangers and Red Sox both won, last night, and both by the score of 6-5. That’s strange. Texas remains 6.5 games up in the West, and the Red Sox are still a game behind the Boo Jays, in third place. Also, the Rangers are still the second best team in MLB, but now, they are second to the Giants, not the Cubs. The Cubbies have drifted down to third in MLB. The All Star Game break begins after tomorrow’s games. Maybe I’ll actually watch the game, but I doubt it. I’ve never been a huge fan of the All Star Game. And I have never liked that it determines home-field advantage for the World Series. I have said it before, and I will say it many more times . . . the wild card should NEVER have home-field advantage!


(From Praying With the Psalms)

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Psalm 91:11-13

“Angels are the messengers of God, who carry out his will among men.” We don’t know a lot about them, but there is plenty of speculation about them. Peterson calls them “the reality of God active in the details of human existence.” They are, usually without our knowledge, active in our daily lives.

“I submit myself to your care, merciful Father. I will find in the provisions of this day the evidence of your love for me and the experience of your care for me. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

The Great Probing

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:19

What would you say if someone told you that? “What do you mean, I am not able to serve the Lord??” The problem is usually that we are relying on something other than God. It’s not that we don’t rely on God, it is more that we don’t rely on him exclusively. We rely on some natural virtue that we might have, or a set of circumstances that we are in.

When I recognize this inability to serve the Lord, I might say, “I cannot live a holy life.” While this is true, I can certainly let Jesus Christ make me holy. this is what the spiritual disciplines are all about; practicing habits which will put me in the place where Christ can come in and make me holy. I cannot make myself holy; I cannot change myself. However, I can deliberately put myself in a position for God to change me and make me holy. “Are you sufficiently right with God to expect Him to manifest His wonderful life in you?”

The people responded to Joshua in verse 21. “No, but we will serve the LORD.” This is a deliberate commitment. If I have something else that I am trusting in, I will never make that commitment. I have to be at the place where he is all I have to trust.

“Dare I really let God be to me all that He says He will be?” This is the important question.

Father, I pray you make me ready to let you do this. Keep working me until I am at a place where I will let you be all that you claim you can be in my life. Teach me until I am able to fully believe everything that your word says about you. And then keep teaching me some more. I never want to stop learning your ways. I never want to stop knowing you more.

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.

Let the Peace of God Reign

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke

The word of the day, from, is selenotropism. While it has nothing to do with a young, female pop star, what it does mean is, “growth in response to moonlight.”

Today is SCUD Day. No, this is not a day to celebrate scud missiles. We aren’t talking about weapons, here. “SCUD” means, “Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama.” Find a way to escape all of the drama that plagues your life today (especially if you are causing most of it!) and enjoy the funnier side of life.

Of course, it’s difficult to find anything funny when you wake up and discover that there were snipers shooting in downtown Dallas last night. I had no clue any of this was going on until this morning. You see, C was gone to her ladies’ gathering, and I was playing on the PS4, rather than having my eyes glued to Facebook. When she got home, we went straight to bed.

Apparently, in the midst of a peaceful protest, last night, several snipers opened fire on Dallas police. The most recent report I have seen is that five officers are dead, six more are wounded, and one civilian was hit. This is racially driven, and if anyone blames one side or the other, they are foolish. Racism is alive and well, in our country, and growing at an alarming rate. We are returning to the kind of atmosphere that I remember from the sixties.

And what is needed is not Christians posting vitriol on Facebook, condemning and hating. It hurts my heart to see such things. People who claim to follow Christ are posting some of the most mean-spirited and hateful stuff on social media, both about racial issues and about politics. What is needed is the Gospel. In the long run, this is all that matters. And the Gospel is this: The Kingdom of God is here, now, and available to us now. That is what followers of Christ need to be proclaiming. And we need to be doing it as peacefully as we can, and with as much love as we can muster.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.

Psalm 91:7-10

“All the water in the ocean cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside; and all the trouble in the world cannot harm us unless it gains entrance to our hearts.” Faith is the sealant that keeps trouble out of our hearts. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one,” Jesus said in John 17:15.

“I know, great God, that no tribulations I face can separate me from your love, and no evil I encounter can confuse your purposes in me. I thank you for your victory in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Father, this is actually a very appropriate reading for me, today. In the aftermath of what transpired last night, there is ample opportunity for trouble to work its way into my heart. This, combined with all of the stuff we are having to deal with in our lives . . . the pool is leaking, the fence is falling down, the pool heater needs replacing . . . yes, I know these are all “first world problems” and are not worthy of my worry. But they are circumstances that would threaten to break into my heart and wreak havoc, should I allow that to happen. But I am strengthened by your peace. I am protected by the “caulking” of your love and grace, the faith which you have given me. I pray that this remain strong, no matter what happens, and that peace will reign supreme. May your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Come, Lord Jesus! Please.

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.

My Refuge and Fortress

“Never find fault with the absent.” – Alexander Pope

The word of the day, from, is velleity, which means, “a mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.”

This was really tough. Today is Global Forgiveness Day. Why was it tough? Because today is also Chocolate Day! And as much as I love chocolate and anything to do with it, I have to believe that to forgive is better than chocolate. I know . . . the words “better than chocolate” just don’t look right together.

It’s Thursday, already. That’s not a complaint, either. Gotta love these four-day work weeks! C is having dinner with a few ladies tonight, as they are having their semi-regular gathering for confession. It’s a thing they do. I know some of the guys gather on a regular basis for this, as well, but I’m not part of a group like that, at least not yet. I would want to be very picky about who I gather with for something as deeply personal as confession. It would have to be someone I trust fully.

The Red Sox managed to win a series against the Rangers, beating them 11-6 last night. They started off hot and stayed ahead the whole game. Unfortunately, the Boo Jays won again, too, so the Sox are still in third by a half game. The Rangers are 6.5 up on the Astros in the West. In other news, the San Francisco Giants have overtaken the Cubs as the best team in baseball, by two percentage points. The Cubs continue to be three points ahead of the Rangers, so they are now the third best team in MLB.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

Psalm 91:1-6

This is one of my favorite Psalms. In it, we get a variety of the forms that the protection of God takes. He is refuge and fortress. He will cover us with his pinions. What are pinions? I had to look that up. It’s the outer part of a bird’s wing. Under his wings, we will find refuge. The faithfulness of God is a “shield and buckler.” What’s a buckler? Besides being the last name of one of my best friends in high school, it is a small, round shield, worn on the arm. All of these forms of God’s protection deliver us from the “snare of the fowler,” “the deadly pestilence,” “the terror of the night,” “the arrow that flies by day,” and “the destruction that wastes at noonday.” God is our refuge and fortress; what do we have to fear? “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world,” said Jesus, in John 16:33.

“I need your protective help, Almighty God: be to me a refuge and a fortress. Grant that I may be more expectant of your protective care than fearful of the dangers of evil. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

Father, you are my refuge and fortress! You are my protection and my deliverance. Whom shall I fear? But, yet, I do manage to fear! How stupid of me! How could I possibly find anything to fear when you are my deliverance, and you will give me refuge under your “wings?” This Psalm says, “You will not fear the terror of the night!” It doesn’t say “you shouldn’t fear!” It says “will not.” Father, I need your Spirit to embed this truth in my being, so that I will not fear anything that comes against me. Fill me with the trust that comes from being a true disciple, as I walk in your kingdom. Make me aware of your presence throughout this day.

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.

Thinking In the Presence of God

Good morning. It is Sunday, August 16, 2015. Three more days until Stephanie’s (and Justin’s) birthday.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is shill. To shill is “1 : to act as a decoy (as for a pitchman or gambler),” or “2 : to act as a spokesperson or promoter.”

Today is Rollercoaster Day. I love roller coasters. Hard to say what my favorite is, but I am a big fan of the “Wild Mouse” or whatever it might be called in your particular location. I know they had one at Hershey Park, when we went there. The last one that was in the DFW area, that I remember, was at Forest Park, just outside the Fort Worth Zoo, when they used to have a small amusement park there. Here is a POV video that someone made of the one at Hershey Park.

We have a very nice lunch with Lindsey, yesterday. We met her at O.C. Burger and spent a couple of hours catching up on what’s going on with her. We first met Lindsey when Rachel was in college at UTD. They became really good friends, and we kind of treated Lindsey like our daughter from Oklahoma.

Our prayer and worship gatherings went pretty well, last night, although our attendance was a bit down for worship. The message, still from Haggai (chapter 2, now), was one of encouragement in times when we are considering giving up. The key verses, to me were ones when God promised to bring glory to the meager attempts that the people were making to rebuild the temple. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts. (v 9)

After church, we picked up Sonic drinks and food from Taco Bell, and relaxed at home for a while.

Today, the only thing on the agenda is grocery shopping, which we will try to do around noon. That’s my goal for getting finished, this morning.

On this date in 1896, the Klondike Gold Rush was begun when Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmack, and Dawson Charlie discovered gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada. Somehow, ice cream bars resulted. In 1930, the first color sound cartoon was made, by “UB Iwerks.” And, in 1954, the first edition of Sports Illustrated was published. The person on the cover had a horrible season. Okay, I made up that last part.

Here’s that cartoon, called “Fiddlesticks.”

Today’s birthdays include Charles Bukowski (American poet), Fess Parker (American actor), Frank Gifford (American football player/announcer), Robert Culp (American actor), Eydie Gorme (American singer), Julie Newmar (American actress), Lesley Ann Warren (American actress), Kathie Lee Gifford (American actress), James Cameron (Canadian film director), Madonna (American singer), Angela Bassett (American actress), Timothy Hutton (American actor), Steve Carrell (American actor/comedian), Christine Cavanaugh (American voice actress), Vanessa Carlton (American singer/songwriter), Yu Darvish (Japanese pitcher), and Rumer Willis (American actress).

Julie Newmar was born on this date in 1933, and is 82 today. I know her best as “Catwoman” on the sixties TV show, Batman. In my mind, there has never been a better Catwoman.

I wonder if Batman ever got that kiss . . .

Wenceslas, King of the Romans, Jakob Bernouli, John Pemberton, Robert Johnson, Babe Ruth, Margaret Mitchell, Bela Lugosi, Admiral William Halsey, Jr., Elvis Presley, Amanda Blake, Mark Heard, Stewart Granger, John Roseboro, and Bobby Thompson are among notable deaths on this date.


Today’s Bible reading will be Genesis 50, Exodus 1, and Matthew 23.

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 91:16.

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

“Believers will never be exempt from troubles and embarrassments. God does not promise them a life of ease and luxury, but deliverance from their tribulations. . . . He puts much honour [sic] upon them in the world, and glorifies himself in them conspicuously, but it is not till the completion of their course that he affords them ground of triumph.” (p 229)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The last time we visited this text, we saw Martin Luther encouraging meditation as a sort of bridge to prayer. Beginning on page 90, Timothy Keller describes Luther’s method of meditation. Luther treats each passage as a sort of garland. In case anyone doesn’t understand that, a “garland” is a sort of wreath, made from flowers and leaves, either worn on the head, or hung in decoration. So Luther divides each passage into pour parts, or strands of the garland. In the first, he looks for instruction in the passage. What does God demand from us in this passage? “Second, I turn it into a thanksgiving; third, a confession; and fourth, a prayer.” In this manner, each passage becomes “a school text, a song book, a penitential book, and prayer book.”

As we look for the instruction in a text, it might come about that we have to study it a little more to discern the meaning. The example given is, when reading the Ten Commandments, what if one is not quite sure what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain?

Once the instruction is drawn out, how can we turn it into praise or thanksgiving? Then, how can it prompt us to confession and repentance? Finally, in what way does it lead us to petition and supplication? A very specific example is given, using on the first two words of the Model Prayer, “Our Father.”

“For example, if we ponder the very beginning of the Lord’s Prayer–‘Our Father’–it could work like this: As instruction, it shows us that we cannot know God only on our own but must do so in community with others. Jesus did not teach us to pray ‘my father’ but ‘our father.’ We may go on to praise God for all the friends who have helped us in our spiritual journey and for being a God who creates community and bonds of love. We may go on to confess that we do not pray much with others and do not allow our friends to hold us accountable on the consistency of our Christian walk. Finally, we may begin to pray for more close friends with whom we can share our walk of faith.”

While this may seem a bit complicated, it can generate its own energy, if practiced. “It ingeniously forces you off the theoretical plane to consider what that biblical truth you are pondering should actually do to you and in you–how it should lead you to praise God, to repent and change your heart, and also what it should lead you to do in the world.” As this habit is developed, we might even find ourselves turning to it throughout the day, “naturally turning your heart toward God.”

All of this is not quite Bible study, and not quite prayer. Rather, it might be said to be “thinking in the presence of God.”

Father, I pray that your Spirit might lead me to do more of this thinking in your presence. I see this “bridge” between Bible reading and prayer to be a good thing. I frequently find that I struggle to stay focused in prayer, and this is just the sort of thing that might help me. I pray that, each day, you would help me to find a passage to do these four things with, to start my day of prayer. Then, as is suggested, direct my thoughts to that passage throughout the day. Help me to find my delight in you, Lord, above all things.

I pray for this day. Lord, I pray right now, somewhat desperately, to help us through the crisis that has arisen this morning, with Stephanie. I pray for wisdom and understanding for her, and for us, as well. May you intervene in this circumstance and make it turn out for the best. I pray for our errands today, that they will go smoothly, and that we will get good rest during the rest of the day, for the work week coming up.

Your grace is always sufficient.

The four “strands” of meditating on a passage: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession, Prayer. “Thinking in the presence of God.”

Grace and peace, friends.

What We Were Made For

Good morning. It is Saturday, August 15, 2015. Four more days until Stephanie’s birthday!

Today’s word of the day, from, is heliolatry. This is an easy one. It means, “worship of the sun.” We get a lot of that in the summer, especially around the beaches, right? But I jest. That’s not really “sun worship.” I, myself, am not fond of the sun at all. I mean, I appreciate what it does for us, as far as, you know, keeping the Earth from hurtling through space on a trajectory to who knows where, as well as providing a temperature that is livable on the planet. But my skin and the sun do NOT get along at all.

Today is Relaxation Day. However, we have will be busy from noon until at least 7:00 PM, so we will have to “celebrate” relaxation day tomorrow. At least this one fell on the weekend!

I wound up only have to work thirty minutes late, yesterday, so that wasn’t too bad. Christi left when I told her I was leaving, so we got home at close to the same time. She picked up BBQ and I picked up Sonic drinks. We watched several TV shows, then she went to bed, while I stayed up and watched American Mary on Netflix. I’m not going to describe that movie here. It was one of those that makes one quite uncomfortable.

We are having lunch with a friend, this afternoon, so that will be nice. After that, it will be our usual Sunday afternoon/evening activities, with our Anchor Prayer Gathering beginning at 4:45, and our Worship Gathering at 5:45. We will be up at the church around 3:00 or so, to help get things ready.

Tomorrow, other than our normal grocery shopping, I don’t think we have any plans, so it should be a good “Relaxation Day.”

On this date in 1540, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, along with six other classmates, take vows. This would lead to the creation of the Society of Jesus in September. In 1843, Tivoli Gardens opened in Copenhagen, Denmark. It remains open today, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. In 1914, the Panama Canal opened to traffic. On this date in 1935, Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed when their aircraft crashed during takeoff in Barrow, Alaska. In 1941, the last execution occurred at the Tower of London, when Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad, for treason. On this date in 1965,

And on this date in 1969, Richie Havens opened up Woodstock.

Today’s birthdays include Napoleon Bonaparte (French dictator), Sir Walter Scott (Scottish novelist), Charles Comiskey (American baseball owner), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (English composer), Edna Ferber (American novelist), Julia Child (American cook), Rose Marie (American actress), Bobby Helms (American pop singer), Jimmy Webb (American musician), Stieg Larsson (Swedish writer), Debra Messing (American actress), Ben Affleck (American actor and Red Sox fan), Natasha Henstridge (Canadian actress), Kerri Walsh (American beach volleyball player), and Joe Jonas (American musician).

Jimmy Webb is an American songwriter who has written numerous hits for other artists. Among some of his more well-known songs are “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “The Worst That Could Happen,” “All I Know,” and “MacArthur Park.” As you can see his transcends genre.

Here is Glen Campbell’s recording of “Wichita Lineman.”


Today’s Bible reading will be Genesis 48-49 and Matthew 22.

Today’s Psalm reading, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 91:14-15.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”

“Here it is noticeable that God, in declaring from heaven that we shall be safe under the wings of his protection, speaks of nothing as necessary on the part of his people but hope or trust.” (p 228)

(From Solid Joys)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God . . .
1 Peter 3:18

Today’s reading is “What We Were Made For.”

“The gospel is the enjoyment of fellowship with God himself.” This is expressed in the verse, above, by the phrase, “that he might bring us to God.” Pretty much any reason for the gospel leads to this.


  • “We are forgiven so that our guilt does not keep us away from God.
  • We are justified so that our condemnation does not keep us away from God.
  • We are given eternal life now, with new bodies in the resurrection, so that we have the capacities for enjoying God to the fullest.”

We should examine our hearts to see why we want forgiveness, justification, and eternal life. If it is for any other reason than to be with God and enjoy him forever, we need to rethink that. (It doesn’t mean we aren’t forgiven or justified, mind you, but just that perhaps our motivation is off kilter.)

The greatest gift that God has given us, in the gospel, is himself. “That is what we were made for.”

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Father, I pray that my motivations are pure. I pray that the reason that I want forgiveness, justification, and eternal life is so that I can enjoy your presence forever. I can think of nothing better. There is no experience that I have encountered in this life that can compare with simply being in your presence. Let that be my motivation for everything.

I pray for this day. May we have a great time of fellowship with Lindsey, this afternoon. I pray that our prayer and worship gatherings will glorify you and lift you high. I pray also that we will have some good rest afterward, and that tomorrow will be a good day of rest, after we get the necessary errands run.

Thank you again that Rachel was able to pass her thesis defense and can now move on to whatever comes next in her life.

What do you desire most from God?


Grace and peace, friends.

On the Hands of Angels

Good morning. It is Friday, August 14, 2015. Five more days until Stephanie’s birthday!

Tough choice for word of the day, today. I’m going with roister, from the Oxford English Dictionary. Roister is a verb, meaning, “To celebrate or enjoy oneself noisily or boisterously; to behave uproariously.”

Today is Creamsicle Day. It would be a good day for a Creamsicle, being that we are still hitting triple-digit temperatures in the “dog days of summer.” No offense meant to any “pollicle dogs.”

Yesterday was a “red-letter day,” as they are sometimes called. Rachel successfully defended her thesis, and is home free for graduating with her Master’s degree! She can’t actually “graduate” until December, as she has missed the window for the summer graduation, but that is no concern. All she has to do is work on some editing for her thesis, over the weekend, and submit the paper to the university on Monday. She has passed the defense and is clear for graduation! I talked to one exuberant young lady, yesterday afternoon, and was close to tears, myself, as I had been quite anxious since 2:00 PM, which was when the meeting was to start. What is next? She will now work on getting licensed as a therapist, so she can begin to practice.

I had my eye appointment, and it went well. Everything looks fine in there, and I currently do not have glaucoma. However, I will be considered a “glaucoma suspect,” which simply means that they will keep an eye on things (no pun intended . . . well, maybe a little).

I’m looking at the clock, and I am way behind this morning. My computer wanted to update when I sat down, and that took a few minutes.


My Bible reading for today will be Genesis 47 and Matthew 21.

Today’s Psalm reading, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 91:12-13.

On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Let anyone combine together the two considerations which have been mentioned,–our own utter weakness on the one hand, and on the other the roughness, the difficulties, the thorns which beset our way, the stupidity besides which characterises [sic] our hearts, and the subtlety of the evil one in laying snares for our destruction,–and he will see that the language of the Psalmist is not that of hyperbole, that we could not proceed one step did not the angels bear us up in their hands in a manner beyond the ordinary course of nature.” (p 227)

Father, I thank you for the hands of the angels that bear us up and prevent us from being utterly destroyed. I understand that it is only by your grace that I am able to complete a prayer. Were it not for you and your angels, along with the incredibly powerful blood of Christ, I would accomplish nothing of any lasting value on this earth. I am so grateful for your protection and assistance each day. May it never cease.

I pray for this day. May our trip to work and home be safe. May our work day be good and productive. I pray that we not have to work late, this evening. I pray for relief for Christi’s leg pain that started up again. May you bring healing with your loving hands. I pray for Stephanie’s day today, that she know your great love. We are still waiting on results from the MHMR people. May you hasten them, Lord. I give you thanks and praise for Rachel’s success yesterday (as well as the months and years before yesterday). I pray for her future, as she figures out what her next steps are. And I pray for my mother as she goes about her day. If she attends the regular church function, this afternoon, I pray for her to have a joyous time with her sisters in Christ.

Your grace is amazing!

Take some time to thank the Lord for those angels.
Psalm 91 9-12

Grace and peace, friends.

The Bridge to Prayer

Good morning. It is Thursday, August 13, 2015. Pre-Friday.

Today’s word of the day is ambisinister. This one made me laugh. It’s an adjective, meaning, “clumsy or unskillful with both hands.” I suppose it is the opposite of ambidextrous.

Today is International Lefthanders Day. So rock on, all you lefties, southpaws, and so on. Maybe MLB should have a rule. Only southpaws pitch on this day. 😀

We had a nice evening, last night. Nothing really spectacular. We watched the rest of So You Think You Can Dance, along with the summer finale of Major Crimes. Oh, and some friends from church had a baby. From all reports, baby and mother are fine. Not sure about father, though. He looked like death warmed over Tuesday night. 😀

Rachel defends her thesis at 2:00 PM today. If you are of the praying persuasion, all prayers would be appreciated.

I’m going in early this morning, trying to get to work by 7:30, so I can leave at 4:00, to make my 5:30 eye appointment. So, without further ado, I will jump into my devotions.


Today’s Bible reading will be Genesis 45-46 and Matthew 20.

The Psalm reading from Heart Aflame is Psalm 91:7-11.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

“When all these attempts to encourage us have been tried, and God finds that we still linger and hesitate to approach him, or cast ourselves upon his sole and exclusive protection, he next makes mention of the angels, and proffers them as guardians of our safety. as an additional illustration of his indulgent mercy, and compassion for our weakness, he represents those whom he has ready for our defence [sic] as being a numerous host; he does not assign one solitary angel to each saint, but commissions the whole armies of heaven to keep watch over every individual believer.” (p 226)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Martin Luther also has a famous writing on prayer that is in the form of a letter. Luther was famous for his extraordinary prayer life. One of his friends, Veit Dietrich, wrote that Luther was known to spend at least three hours every day in prayer. “‘He speaks with the great reverence of one who speaks to his God, and with the trust and hope of one who speaks with his father and friend,'” wrote Dietrich.

Luther’s barber, Peter Beskendorf, one day asked Luther for a “simple way to pray.” Luther’s response was the letter referred to in this section. As he begins his instruction, Luther “counsels the cultivation of prayer as a habit. He suggested praying twice a day. “‘It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night.'” He also cautioned against thinking that we should take care of some other business first, and then pray. In addition, he encourages us to pray whether we feel like it or not.

Luther then gives some ways to “focus our thoughts and to warm and engage our affections for prayer.” This balances the idea that we need to pray, regardless of how we feel, with the idea of being engaged. After all, prayer is “a lifting of the heart to God” (Lamentations 3:41). Luther goes so far as to suggest that we recite Scripture to ourselves, as preparation for prayer. Let us not get bogged down by thinking that he is suggesting Bible study at this point. This is more meditation and contemplation (words that make some of our more fundamentalist brothers and sisters run screaming from the room). “It is taking words of the Scripture and pondering them in such a way that your thoughts and feelings converge on God.” We could think of it as a bridge between more formal study and prayer.

Father, as I get ready to pray on my morning drive to work, lead me to some Scripture that I might meditate upon, in preparation. Warm my heart; engage my spirit with yours as I go. I desire my prayer to be heartfelt and sincere, rather than a duty, done by rote. I pray for constant communion with you throughout this day, and keep my spirit attuned to yours to the point that, if he brings someone to mind, I am ready and willing to pray at a moment’s notice.

I pray for this day ahead. May our trip to work be safe and smooth. May our work day go well for us. I pray for Christi’s calf muscles, that her pain would be healed. I pray that you would grant her favor, that she would be successful in everything that she does today. I pray for Rachel today, above all days, Father, that you would grant her confidence in herself and in her work, that she would defend her thesis brilliantly, as we know she is able. I pray that she finds favor with her committee and that they deem her work successful. May you also show your great love and affection to Stephanie today. Grant grace to my mother for whatever she encounters on this day.

Thank you for the successful birthing of Kevin and Jacque’s baby last night.

Your grace is sufficient.

We should not fear meditation and contemplation, if done in the proper spirit, for the proper reasons. As a bridge to prayer, there is nothing better.


Grace and peace, friends.

To See His Face

Good morning. It is Wednesday, August 12, 2015. Hump Day.

Today’s word of the day, from, is mellifluous. This is an adjective, meaning, “1. sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding: a mellifluous voice; mellifluous tones,” or “2. flowing with honey; sweetened with or as if with honey.”

Today is Vinyl Record Day! Oh, yeah!! I will go down as one who strongly believes that vinyl sounds better than digital, especially better than digital downloads. While I play most of my music through my phone, these days (linked via bluetooth through my car’s speakers), I believe that a vinyl record, played through a good home sound system, sounds far better than a cd or digital download. Long live vinyl records!

Yesterday was a challenging day. I had to deal with some challenging individuals, and my anxiety level, at one point, was off the charts. However, right before my afternoon break, the lead found a box of goodies in one of our packages (this happens occasionally), and gave me some “Chewy Lemonheads and Friends” candy. There’s almost nothing that can’t be made better with candy.

Our Huddle group went well, and we had some really good discussion. Of course, it didn’t stay quite on topic, but that’s not unusual. Apparently a new triangle was introduced, last week, the “Bible Study Triangle.” I can’t find a graphic for it, but if you can imagine a triangle, the top point is “Observation,” the lower right point is “Interpretation,” and the lower left point is “Application.” Nothing ground-breaking or earthshattering, here. Just another usage of the triangle shape. So we read Acts 1:8 and attempted to take it around the triangle. I think we might have made it all the way to application.

Tonight, neither one of us has an activity, so we will enjoy a, hopefully, quiet evening at home, with either chili or soup and sandwiches for dinner.Tomorrow, Christi has her Huddle, and I have an eye doctor visit at 5:30. He wants to do a field of vision test for glaucoma. I really don’t like those tests. They increase my anxiety level.

Today, my Bible reading will be Genesis 43-44 and Matthew 19. I did, successfully, remember to complete my reading yesterday. I read it during my morning break. That works out nicely, so I will attempt to do that again, today.

The Psalm reading from Heart Aflame is Psalm 91:5-7.

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

“The Psalmist continues to insist upon the truth which we have just adverted to, that, if we confide with implicit reliance upon the protection of God, we will be secure from every temptation and assault of Satan.” (p 225)

(From Solid Joys)

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2

Today’s reading is “My Soul Thirsts for God.”

This beautiful Psalm is made even more so when we realize that the Psalmist is not necessarily thirsting for relief from his circumstances, nor is he mainly seeking to escape from his enemies. While it is most certainly not wrong to pray for these things, we get a glimpse of something far better, here. The Psalmist thirsts for God, himself.

One of the great things that we get from the Psalms is this idea. “We come to love God, and we want to see God and be with God and be satisfied in admiring and exulting in God.”

Another way to translate the end of verse 2 is, “When will I come and see the face of God?” We eventually see an answer to that question. In John 14:9, Jesus says, Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. And in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul speaks of seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

“When we see the face of Christ, we see the face of God.” And when we hear the story of the Gospel, we experience the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

“May the Lord increase your hunger and your thirst to see the face of God. And may he grant your desire through the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Father, increase my desire to see your face, to know your glory through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the image of you. As I read Scripture, may your Spirit point me toward your face and show me the way to know you more. Let me not read solely for the sake of reading. Rather, let me read with the goal of knowing you more, even when I read passages that may not be very interesting. Open my eyes and heart to see things in passages that I have read hundreds of times. Your word is alive; it should never become old to me. Let it live in my spirit, Father. And may I see your face in the face of Christ.

I pray for this day. May our travel be safe today. I pray for Christi’s day, that there be no anxiety or stress. I also pray for her leg/calf muscle that started hurting yesterday. May you relieve her pain, Father. Show your great love to Stephanie, and bring confidence to Rachel, preparing for her thesis defense tomorrow afternoon. May my mother know your joy today.

Your grace is sufficient.

I simply echo John Piper’s closing words, today. “May the Lord increase your hunger and your thirst to see the face of God. And may he grant your desire through the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Grace and peace, friends.