Of Kardashians and “The Talk”

“No other culture has been as eager to reward either nonsense or wickedness.”

Today is Saturday, April 15, 2017. Holy Saturday.

Quote of the Day

“What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.” ~ Pearl Bailey

Word of the Day

Sententious ~ abounding in pithy aphorisms or maxims: a sententious book.

Today is Record Store Day. I love the idea of this day, but, thus far, have yet to make it to an actual record store on Record Store Day. I have always loved records. I’ll admit, I jumped on the CD bandwagon, when they came out, but I was sad that they stopped making vinyl so quickly. As I have gotten older, I have decided (and I am not alone) that vinyl sounds better than digital music. You see, life happens in analog. Life is not digital. Therefore, vinyl sounds more real, more authentic, and more “warm.” Digital, while it may be “perfect,” is cold and lifeless.

I actually got off work early yesterday! We literally ran out of work around 3:30 PM, yesterday, so the manager let some of us go home. Because some of us decided to ask if we could. It was nice to get off early on Friday.

The Rangers and Red Sox both lost, yesterday. The Sox lost badly to the Rays, 10-5, with Porcello taking the loss. This puts Boston back at 5-5 on the season, and have dropped to fourth place. The Rangers lost a close one to the last place Mariners, 2-1, with reliever Leclerc taking the loss. Perez got a no-decision on the game. They are now 4-6 on the season, also in fourth place. I know it’s very early in the season, but it is certainly fun to see the Boo Jays in last place with a 1-9 record.

You may notice that I’m rather late posting this, today. This is because I actually slept until 10:00 AM, today!

And, lest I forget, I should mention that, around 8:00-ish this morning, CDT, 1.4 million people watched a giraffe give birth.


Just a word before I start the morning’s verses from The Divine Hours. Today is a somber day in “Christian” history. It is one of the days between the crucifixion and the resurrection. We commemorate the crucifixion on “Good Friday,” although I have believed for several decades that there is no way Jesus was crucified on Friday. But that’s a whole different subject that I don’t want to take the time to address today. This day, however, “Holy Saturday,” is a day without hope for the disciples. Honestly, based on their reactions at the resurrection, they didn’t truly believe the words of Jesus. Even up to the end, I sincerely believe that they were expecting Jesus to do something miraculous, come down off of that cross, and set up his kingdom on earth, right then.

But he didn’t.

He died.

And was buried.

Even Mary, when she and the other women went to the tomb to finish the burial rituals, thought that someone had stolen the body.

So today, Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection, has to be one of the most hopeless days in the history of mankind. We, looking back at the story, go about our lives as though nothing is different, because we know what happens. We have hope. There were eleven disciples and a small band of women who had no hope on this day. Their lives had been shattered. In fact, they were probably hiding, hoping that the authorities couldn’t find them and punish them for their belief in this radical Jesus.

I sincerely believe that we would do well to ponder these things on this, Holy Saturday.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Psalm 71:2
O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
My times are in your hand.

Psalm 116:16, 31:15a
I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
Psalm 31:22
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! 
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; 
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. 
  Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

Psalm 31:1-5
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen. (The Gloria)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:12-14

(From Living the Message)

Today’s reading is “An Odd Phenomenon.”

“The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly.” Eugene Peterson goes on to say that, in the people who are prominent in our culture, there is little to admire, and even less to imitate. Kardashians, anyone? Real wives of wherever? Jersey Shores? “We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs.” We the people are amusing ourselves with trivia and trash. “Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines . . .”

The “odd phenomenon,” to which he refers in the title, is the people with trivial lives who engage in evil acts “in order to establish significance for themselves.” Here’s what happens. Someone attempts to take that jump from obscurity to fame by killing someone important (or at least trying to). Or perhaps by hijacking a plane or holding some people hostage. Anyone remember the name John Hinckley? How about Mark David Chapman?

We then, with the help of the free press, proceed to make heroes out of criminals. “The mass media report their words and display their actions. Writers vie with one another in analyzing their motives and providing psychological profiles on them. No other culture has been as eager to reward either nonsense or wickedness.”

On this day of hopelessness, may we consider the things and people to which we pay attention. A few months ago, the PTBs put a TV in our breakroom. I loathe that TV. I had to buy a pair of noise-canceling headphones in order to enjoy some quiet so I can read during my breaks and lunch. Afternoon TV is horrible. One of the shows that is always on during my lunch break is “The Talk.” I sit in amazement (before and after I use my headphones, mind you) as these people who are either nobodies or has-been celebrities spout their opinions as though it matters what they think. And the audiences, like the sheep that they are, “Ooh” and “Aah,” and “Yes!” and “No!” almost as if on cue. This is where our society has come.

What if we gave Jesus as much attention as we give Kim Kardashian? What if we valued his opinion as much as we value Sharon Osborne’s? What if we came to Jesus instead of people?

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”
John 7:37b-38 (The Message)

Let me just say that I am convicted by this reading. I don’t pander to the “non-celebrity celebrities,” but there is plenty in my life that distracts me from seeking the face of God and following in the steps of Jesus. So may we, together, find the path of truth and righteousness and live that “adventure of goodness,” that we might follow Christ to victory and wholeness. God help us do a better job of keeping our souls.

Father, teach us. Teach me. Teach me how to follow Jesus and leave behind things that are trivial and trashy. Help me to leave behind the things that do not belong in my walk with you. Help me to know the value of things, that I might only keep in my life things that are worthy. I guess what I’m praying is that that verse in Philippians 4 would be true in my life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8, The Message)
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.

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 History.com .

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.

Touch My Heart, O God!

Good morning. It is Saturday, April 18, 2015.

Today’s Word of the Day is wimple. This is a verb, meaning, “to cover with or as if with a wimple : veil,” “to ripple,” or, “(chiefly Scottish) to follow a winding course : meander.” I have a problem with the first definition. I was always taught that you never use the word, itself, in the definition of the word. Of course, “wimple” in the definition is, apparently, a noun. I like the Scottish one, though. So, with that in mind, I will continue to wimple through this blog entry.

Today, of course, is Record Store Day. Vinyl sales are booming, lately, increasing by 52% in 2014. I know I read somewhere that vinyl outsold CDs last year, but I can’t find that statistic right now. Overall album sales have declined, probably due to streaming services such as Spotify and Rhapsody (I, personally, use Rhapsody, but will purchase at least a download if I truly like the artist). 64 percent of the vinyl albums were sold at indie retailers, which is what Record Store Day is all about. So, if you have a chance, go find a record store and enjoy flipping through all of those records. By the way, I still love the smell of an old vinyl record. It’s almost as great as the smell of an old book.

My dad is supposed to get transported to the rehab center in Mineral Wells, this morning. They were going to do it last night, but my mother talked them into waiting until this morning. Good on her!!! It was storming in the area, last night, and the transport vehicle wasn’t going to arrive until somewhere between 8 and 9 PM! Waiting until this morning also works better, because, since we will be driving my mother home, we can stay with her all day today, to help her get settled back into the house and see what she needs us to help her do or get. We are currently waiting on her call to let us know when they are going to come get Dad. The rehab center contracts with a non-emergency transport service to move him.

In other news, the Red Sox and Rangers both won their games last night. The Sox beat Baltimore 3-2, while the Rangers beat Seattle 3-1. The Rangers are tied for second place, with Oakland, and the Sox are still in first place. The Evil Empire is in last place. This gives me great joy, even knowing that is still way early in the season! 😀

On this date in 1981, a professional baseball game was begun in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The game was between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. The game took 33 innings to complete, was suspended at 4:00 AM on April 19, and completed on June 23. The Paw Sox won in the bottom of the 33rd inning, 3-2. It is the longest professional baseball game ever played. Of course, it involved the Red Sox! 😀

No time for birthdays. We’re supposed to leave the house in, like, fifteen minutes.


I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Psalm 34:1-7

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “God, Touch Our Hearts.”

Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched.
1 Samuel 10:26

Think about what is being stated in this verse. God touched their hearts. Not a person; not their wives or children; not their priests; not their best friends. God touched their hearts.

“The One with infinite power in the universe. The One with infinite authority and infinite wisdom and infinite love and infinite goodness and infinite purity and infinite justice. That One touched their heart.”

Can you fathom the “circumference of Jupiter” touching a molecule?

“The touch of God is awesome because it is a touch. It is a real connection. That it involves the heart is awesome. That it involves God is awesome. And that it involves an actual touch is awesome.”

These men did not just hear something. They were not just inspired. “They were not just swayed by a divine influence.” God touched their hearts, and “they were not consumed.”

Would that God would touch all of us in this way!

“O for the touch of God! If it comes with fire, so be it. If it comes with water so be it. If it comes with wind, let it come, O God. If it comes with thunder and lightning, let us bow before it.”

Father, I must hurry. Forgive me for dawdling. But I pray for this touch. Touch my heart in the same way that you touched these men of Saul’s. “O Lord, come. Come that close. Burn and soak and blow and crash. Or still and small, come. Come all the way. Touch our hearts.” Touch my heart intimately. Give me that real connection with you, today. However you choose to do it. I just need your touch.

I pray for this day, Father, that everything will work out smoothly with the transfer of my dad. I pray, still, for healing and recovery. Keep us safe as we drive today. Your will be done on earth, as in heaven. Praises be to your name, O God!

May God touch all of our hearts today.

Grace and peace, friends.

We Live In “Saturday,” But “Sunday’s” Coming!

“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”~~Psalm 27:14
“But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”~~Micah 7:7

Good morning. It is Saturday, April 19, 2014. Some people refer to this as “Silent Saturday.”

Today is pretty well known, now, as Record Store Day. I feel the need to find one.

Not a whole lot has happened since my last entry, seeing as how it was posted after 6pm last night. The Rangers stomped the Other Sox 12-0 in a spectacular pitching display by Martin Perez, who gave up only three hits in the game, and pitched a complete game shutout. The Red Sox, on the other hand, dropped their game to the O’s, 8-4, in yet another display of sub-par offense. Boston is in dead last, but at least they have a better record than the Astros, the Cubs, or the Diamondbacks. Poor Astros. They started out the season by beating the Evil Empire two out of three games, and have only won three games since. Turns out you need more than just Nolan Ryan in your organization.

Today should be a typical Saturday. Grocery store after I finish up here, church later, but then Christi is going out with some of the ladies after church. No telling what kind of trouble Stephanie and I will be able to whip up. 😀

Tomorrow, we plan a trip to Scarborough Renaissance Festival, to see Cale the Juggler, Zilch the Torysteller, The Kamikaze Fireflies, among others.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1854 that a nineteen year old English Baptist preacher named Charles Haddon Spurgeon was called to be the pastor of the New Park Chapel in London. It was one of the city’s largest churches. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today’s featured birthday is Mark “Flo” Volman, born on this date in 1947. Part of the famous team of “Flo and Eddie,” he was part of the sixties group, The Turtles. My favorite song of theirs is “Happy Together.” Flo is the one dancing around with the french horn. 😀


(From The Divine Hours)

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
Psalm 104:34
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!
Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.

Psalm 141:3-5a
I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.

Psalm 119:174-175
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 71:17

“O God, the source of eternal light:
Shed forth your unending day upon all of us who watch for you,
that our lips may praise you,
our lives may bless you,
and our worship may give you glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:14
But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
Micah 7:7

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Science.”

“No believer who is open to all that is true, just, lovely, gracious, and practical (Phil. 4:8) disdains the contributions of science.” Contemporary psychology has brought us much through the “regimen of modern studies and experimentation.” We have learned much about human behavior through the “plethora of periodicals, books, and research programs,” and have made much progress toward “unlocking the inner chambers of the mind.” Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the Church to criticize the realm of science. On the other hand, there is an inherent weakness in trying to attain a higher state of consciousness that is “merely human.”

Psychology and the Christian life can, indeed, coexist, as long as we allow God’s word to light the way. The Gospel points to the Cross of Christ.

Will any teach God knowledge, seeing that he judges those who are on high?
Job 21:22

On this day before we celebrate Resurrection Sunday (our church will be celebrating it this evening), it is natural to contemplate what happened on Saturday. Unfortunately, we have no clue what happened on Saturday, other than the disciples cowering in fear, being forced to face the reality that their teacher was dead. I’m sure their faith was shattered. Sure, Jesus had told them what was coming. I think it’s probably pretty obvious that they did not take him seriously. Until Saturday. Being the Sabbath, there was not much they could do, so they were forced to sit and think about what had happened.

Most of us live our lives in the space of “Saturday.” Even though we are long past the physical resurrection of Jesus, and even though we have the complete text of God’s word to encourage us (the disciples only had the Old Covenant works, since they, themselves wrote part of the New Covenant), we are in a similar state of being as the disciple. How can I say that? Well, Jesus left. He’s gone. He ascended, shortly after the resurrection, to sit at the right hand of the Father. He promised he would come back, that’s true. But that promise has not yet been fulfilled. So, like the original disciples, we wait. (As I write this, I wonder about the time frame of when Judas hung himself. Was it before the resurrection? I believe it would have to be. He must have hung himself on Saturday. Or maybe even Friday evening.) And the difference is, while the disciples waited a day or so (again, I really don’t think Jesus was crucified on Friday, because he said he would be in the grave three days and three nights), we are waiting several thousand years. The longer we wait, the more difficult it is to believe. So much time has elapsed, yet we wait. “Soon,” he said. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20) Not meaning any disrespect at all, I’m thinking that his definition of “soon” is far different than mine! Yet we wait. It’s been a two-thousand-year-long Saturday.

How long, O Lord? How long must we wait?

Nevertheless, I still believe. I am looking for our “Sunday.” It’s not Friday, it’s Saturday. And someday, Sunday’s coming.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus, Maranatha.

Father, we pray for strength as we endure this “Saturday” to end all Saturdays. It is so easy to lose sight of hope, the longer it takes for the promise of Jesus’s return to be fulfilled. I know we have those promises. I have faith that the promises that you and Jesus have made to us will be fulfilled. But when? I know . . . it’s your time. And, based on everything I have read in scripture, it is set, “etched in stone,” as it were. We simply have to wait, and we have to wait with our eyes fixed on you. Ours is not to wonder when; ours is simply to live in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, and realize, as I realized yesterday, that we exist for the sake of Christ. We are his body. May your grace fill us as we live in hope. And as sure as I would love to live to see his return, I will worship and praise you until my last breath on this earth. Millions have gone before me. I am certainly no better than them, and most definitely not nearly as “good” as many of them. We hope in our own bodily resurrection. We wait for our “Sunday.”

I pray for the activities of this day. May our errands/chores go smoothly, and may we consider you as we do them. If we exist for the sake of Christ, then we buy groceries for his sake, too. Whatever we do, we do it for his sake and for his glory. Let this be at the center of our thoughts today. May our worship this evening be true and acceptable in your eyes. May Jacob be full of your Spirit as he preaches the Gospel to us tonight. May we live the Gospel every day.

Father, my thoughts are in a whirl, this day. I am thinking about some things that have never crossed my mind before. I give you thanks for these things, but I also pray that you help me sort through them, by your Spirit’s power. I love you deeply and give you praise for everything that you are to me.

Your grace is sufficient.

To paraphrase a popular Resurrection Day phrase . . . It’s Saturday, but Sunday’s coming!

Grace and peace, friends.