Love One Another

Today is Wednesday, the fifteenth of September, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,197

Seven more days until the end of Summer!

Some weeks, it is harder to remember what day it is. This week, it seems like today should be at least Thursday, but I have worked two full eight-hour days, so far. Today, I go in at 1:00 PM, and work until 5:00 PM. Then I’m off tomorrow and Friday, and work 9:30 to 6:15 on Saturday.

The October work schedule is out, and I will be working every Friday, 9:15-6:15, every Tuesday, 4:15 PM – 8:15 PM, and then alternating Wednesdays (9:15-6:15), and Saturdays (9:30-6:15). Except for the week of October 11, when I will work Thursday, from 12:00-9:00, instead of Wednesday. There is some kind of special “open house-ish” thing going on that evening, and I have been re-scheduled to work that. I’m not sure what I will be doing that evening.

Going by calendar days, I will still be working 3.5 days on alternating weeks, and 1.5 days the other weeks. Looking at the Hurst city pay calendar, though, the will look like this:

One week will be Friday, Saturday, Tuesday
The other week will be Friday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Since the first of October falls on Friday, for that first week of transition into October, I will be working Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, for a total of thirty-six hours. But, it will still only look like twenty hours per pay week. Confused? Me, too. Makes my head spin.

And it’s still the best job I have ever had. I’m just going to be really tired on Sunday, October 3. Hahaha!

C is continuing to get more activity in her schedule. Yesterday, she rode the recumbent bike for little bit, and then walked all the way around our block. She is hurting pretty bad, this morning, though, so she took a pain pill. Her PT guy advised that she keep taking at least a couple of those a day. Of course, she was trying to not take any at all. Her follow-up appointment is this Friday morning, at 10:30. I will be driving her to that, since I won’t be working. She may decided to return to working, from home only, next Monday.

Today is Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie Day. I have never heard of this pie, and, while I’m not normally a fan of butterscotch, I am intrigued by this pie, especially its origins. You see, it comes from a popular video game called Undertale. The recipe for the pie can be found in the link on the name of the holiday. I doubt that we will try it, because it looks like it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a gazillion WW points. But who knows?

The word for today is repentance. Pretty heavy for a WotD. The given definition is “deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.” However, the etymology of the word defines it as more the changing of direction. The Hebrew word means to turn back, while the Greek word used by Jesus in Mark 1:15 means “think differently; reconsider.” So the idea of being sorrowful became the meaning much later in history.

Today’s quote is from Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

Significant birthdays on September 15:

Marco . . . POLO!!!! Italian explorer, 1254-1324
James Fenimore Cooper, 1st major American novelist (Last of the Mohicans), 1789-1851
Max Factor, Polish-American make-up artist, 1877-1938
Agatha Christie, English mystery writer (Murder on the Orient Express, Hercule Poirot), 1890-1976
Roy Acuff, American country fiddler, singer (Wabash Cannonball), 1903-1992
Nipsey Russell, American comedian, 1918-2005
Norm Crosby, American comedian, 1927-2020
Julian "Cannonball" Adderly, American jazz saxophonist and bandleader, 1928-1975
Gaylord Perry, American baseball pitcher, 1938 (83)
Merlin Olsen, American football player and actor, 1940-2010
Tommy Lee Jones, American actor, 1946, born in San Saba, Texas (75)


Sense, by Daryl Madden

In air that surrounds
We smell with our nose
We feel with our skin
From our head to our toes

With vision were blessed
As we see with our eyes
In our mouth and our tongue
A tasty surprise

In song and in sound
With ears we can hear
With a drawing beyond
Something more does appear

In closing our eyes
Through wisdom God shares
In silence, we still
With a sense of a prayer

Let’s use our five senses
To become aware
In knowing God’s love
That is found everywhere

I chose this poem, today, because of the message of the last stanza. The idea of using all five senses to become aware of God’s love is truly wonderful.

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
(Psalms 7:17 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Your righteousness, displayed in all that You do
2. for Your faithfulness to Your children
3. for the ability to sing praises to Your Name
4. that if we love You, evidenced by us keeping Your commands, Your fullness will dwell with us
5. that, no matter how bad things look out there, there is hope in You

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



Let them praise the name of GOD— it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
(Psalms 148:13 MSG)

I pause in this quiet moment to reflect on the radiance of the Lord, that exceeds anything in earth and sky.


For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph. A song.

God is renowned in Judah; in Israel his name is great.
His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.

From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet—
when you, God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land.
Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.

Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared.
He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.
(Psalms 76:1-3, 8-12 NIV)


After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.
Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. . . . In his anger against Israel the LORD gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.
(Judges 2:6-8, 10-11, 14 NIV)


As I remind myself that I am in God’s presence, I read these passages again, asking the Holy Spirit to direct me in my meditations and prayers.

The psalmist, identified as Asaph, speaks of the renown of God. His name is great, throughout Judah and Israel. He writes of the great works of the Lord, which are what causes His name to be renowned throughout the land.

I am intrigued by verse 8. “From heaven You pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet.”

I simply don’t see that happening today. Even among the people of God, there is little fear of His name; there is little reverence. I’m as guilty as anyone. There is so much noise in our world, how can we possibly hear the “gentle whisper” or the “still, small voice” heard by Elijah? Does God still pronounce judgment from heaven? If so, does the land fear and become quiet?

Again, I see little fear of God, at least not in Western culture.

“He breaks the spirit of rulers; He is feared by the kings of the earth.”

I am going to begin to pray more diligently to see these things come to pass. I fear that we have become too much like ancient Israel, in the book of Judges. After Joshua died, things went downhill, quickly. After Joshua’s generation was “gathered to their ancestors” (that’s a fancy way of saying “died”), “another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel.”

Just pause and consider the tragedy of that statement, and then compare it, perhaps to the USA culture, today. Does the generation that is currently growing up know God and what He has done for us?

This generation in Judges began a tragic habit that is voiced in verse 11: “Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.”

If you keep reading in the book of Judges, you will see this stated over and over and over and over (get the picture?). It’s a vicious cycle. Israel does evil; God turns His back on them; Israel “repents” and cries out; God delivers them; Israel does evil, and so on, ad nauseum.

The Church of God is in a sad state, right now. That’s the “nation” we need to be concerned with. I have said it before, and will say it again. I am much more concerned with what is going on in the Church than I am with what is going on in the USA. The USA will pass away, maybe sooner than later. The Church is supposed to be eternal. We are the Bride of Jesus Christ, and that “marriage” is going to take place, with our without us.

How sad would it be to believe that we are part of this, only to find out we aren’t, because we were following a human being, rather than God’s Holy Spirit?

I am fully persuaded that God will not abandon His Church. There is no “plan B.” There has only been one plan, since before the foundation of the earth. And the Church has two jobs. Anyone who has read my blog in recent weeks knows what those are. For that matter, anyone who is paying attention to Jesus should know what those are.

Love God; love people (love your neighbor as yourself; love your brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ loves us).

That’s it. All of those opinions that so many “Christians” are so proudly proclaiming and defending are useless and pointless, if we are not being obedient to the Lord and performing those two tasks.

And here’s some wisdom from the little book of 1 John. If you aren’t loving your brother, if you aren’t loving others, then you haven’t done the first job.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
(1 John 2:9-11 NIV)

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
(1 John 3:11 NIV)

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
(1 John 3:16 NIV)

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
(1 John 3:23-24 NIV)

Father, I pray for Your people, today. I pray that we would sit up and take notice, that we would begin to act on Your commands and love one another; that we would forsake meaningless opinions and do what is needed in regard to loving our fellow man. My “rights” are nonexistent in Your kingdom. I surrendered those to You when I gave my life to You. Why is this so hard for some to understand? Have mercy, Lord! Show us the way; teach us Your path; teach us Your truth, that we may walk in Your ways. Restore the joy of Your salvation to Your Church, Father, and do away with all of this awful anger that I see everywhere. Help us to not be like Old Testament Israel in unfaithfulness.

"Glorious God,
the moment I give my heart to someone or something apart from You,
I'm breaking the first command,
and all the others soon topple, too.
Keep me looking to You alone,
and honoring You with all my heart.


“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”
(Matthew 5:3 MSG)

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
(John 14:23 ESV)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.

The Purpose of Repentance, Pt. 2

“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”~~Albert Einstein

Today’s word of the day, from, is saporific, “producing or imparting flavor or taste.”

Today is Fancy Rat and Mouse Day. Believe it or not, we have actually had fancy rats for pets in our house. Two different times. They are fun pets. No, really.

I’m sure the burning question in the minds of the dozen or so people who read this is, “How did the dentist appointment go?” Well, I’ll tell you. It was a bad news/good news situation. After getting a couple of X-rays, and the dentist looking in my mouth for about a minute, he said it was too far gone. Not in those words, exactly, but he was unable to restore the crown. There is too much decay in the bit of tooth that is still left. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, due to the location of the tooth, and the fact that, since it was a root canal and is causing me absolutely no pain whatsoever, we can just leave it be for now. He did say that I would, eventually, have to get the tooth extracted. I’m okay with that. It feels weird, of course, but it’s not bothering me, otherwise. I liked the dentist and the people in the office, so I may keep going there, as long as I am working in Carrollton. The office is about fifteen minutes from where I work, so it’s very convenient.

In other news, today is Christi’s birthday!! Yay!! We plan to celebrate tonight by going to Hoffbrau for steaks. Hopefully, they will be saporific. (See what I did there?) I made a cake for her last night, and Stephanie helped a bit. She also ate the left over icing. 😀


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

I’m continuing to look at the purpose of repentance, springing from Martin Luther’s first of The Ninety-Five Theses, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, `Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” At the close of yesterday’s entry, I was discussing legalistic repentance. Luther says that this kind of repentance is “self-righteous because it is essentially an attempt to atone for our own sin.” Most of us would deny this, of course, while continuing to attempt this kind of “repentance.” We would loudly proclaim that Christ died for our sins, all the while continuing to attempt to convince God that we are sorry enough that he should forgive us. Keller says that “this is not confession in Jesus’ name, but in our own name.”

The Gospel, however, reminds us that Jesus has suffered for our sins. We don’t have to repeat this suffering in order to earn God’s forgiveness. Over and over again, the Gospel tells us, in fact, that it is impossible for us to earn God’s forgiveness. I wonder why we try so hard to do that, when all we have to do is “receive the forgiveness earned by Christ.”

Consider 1 John 1:9, one of our favorite verses to quote. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. John does not say that if we confess, God will forgive because he is merciful. God is most certainly merciful, but that is not the reason John gives in this verse. He tells us that God will forgive when we confess because he is just. To turn it around, we can say that it “would be unjust of God to deny us forgiveness because Jesus earned our acceptance.” Keller goes on to say, “All those who are in Christ must and will be forgiven.”

What this understanding does is to transform repentance from being an attempt to atone for our own sin to being a “means of honoring God and realigning our lives with him.”

Make no mistake about it. “Legalistic repentance is destructive.” Consider 2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. “Without a firm grasp of our free justification, we will admit wrongdoing only under great duress, only as a last resort.” (Like when your mother or significant other catches you doing something you shouldn’t be doing, or lying about it.) “We will focus on the behavior itself and be blind to the attitudes and self-centeredness behind it.” We’ve all done this . . . “I resolve to stop doing [insert favorite vice]!” This only addresses the behavior, not the mindset. “We will also take as little blame as possible, reciting all the mitigating circumstances to ourselves and others.” “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Human nature, right?

Hopefully, we can see through this that, if we have the wrong understanding of grace, forgiveness, and repentance, “we can never experience the release and relief of resting in Jesus’ forgiveness.” (Emphasis mine)

All of this from one of Luther’s theses! When we fully realize that we are loved and accepted by God, even with our sins, it becomes easier to admit them. “The more we know we are forgiven, the more we repent; the faster we grow and change, the deeper our humility and our joy.”

Father, my prayer today is almost the same as yesterday. Continue to teach me the value of this kind of life of repentance; to know that I am fully accepted and loved by you, and that, because of the suffering of Christ, I am fully forgiven! I do not need to repeat the suffering in order to atone for my own sin. Indeed, I cannot atone for my own sin, so it is insulting for me to attempt it. That’s it, isn’t it? We surely insult you when we try to make up for or atone for our own sins. A slap in our savior’s face, as it were. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

The Crash of Repentance

Good morning. It seems to be Friday already. That’s one benefit of taking three days of vacation at the beginning of the week. Today is November 7, 2012. Most of us who live in the U.S. know this as “Pearl Harbor Day,” the day that got the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. But did you know that today is also “National Cotton Candy Day?” Who doesn’t like cotton candy? If there was just a way to eat it without getting your fingers all sticky. And your face.

On this date in 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution.
On this date in 1869, Jesse James committed his first confirmed bank robbery.
On this date in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet, along with the Army and Marine Air Forces, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, resulting in a declaration of war on Japan.
Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, was launched on this day in 1972.
On this date in 1984, Christi (Rains) Bickley and I had our first “date.” It was a midnight “Laser Magic” show at the Fort Worth Nobel Planetarium, after our weekly “TGIF” bowling league at Wedgwood Bowl in Fort Worth. I still get “goosies” when I think about that night.

Today’s birthdays include Saint Columba (Irish missionary to Scotland), 521, Richard Sears (yes, that “Sears”), 1863, Ted Knight (actor), 1923, Noam Chomsky (writer), 1928, Ellen Burstyn (actress), 1932, Harry Chapin (songwriter), 1942

Johnny Bench (baseball player), 1947, Tom Waits (singer), 1949, Damien Rice (musician), 1973, Eric Chavez (baseball player), 1977.

It’s probably a very good thing that I went back to work yesterday. I wouldn’t wish the kind of day I had yesterday on my worst enemy, much less the young lady who was sitting in for me during vacation. We had three breakdowns yesterday. I don’t think I’ve ever had three breakdowns in the same day! Hopefully, today will be better.

Christi had a good day, but for some reason, her kneecap started acting up. So I wound up being the only one who made it to the gym last night. I really had to go, though. It’s the only time this week, and I still want to make some serious progress before we head to Cancun. Oh, and Stephanie cleaned her room yesterday. And vacuumed it. I’m going to give you a moment to let that sink in.

She sent me a text message with a picture. I told her that wasn’t her room, and that she took that picture from a catalog. 😀 That’s the best that room has looked since we moved into this house 13 years ago.

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. (Psalm 66:5)
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:7-8)
My God, I pray that you show me something of yourself this morning, that I may indeed “come and see what God has done.”

Today, I’m reading Isaiah 6.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,
12 and the LORD removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.

What an amazing image this is! Isaiah has a vision of God Almighty, sitting on his thronw, “high and lifted up,” surrounded by his seraphim. I’ve always loved Isaiah’s immediate response. I’ve always been amused at people who make claims that Jesus appeared to them during normal activities, such as shaving or something, and how they had a casual conversation with him. To that I say a hearty, “No way!” Even Jesus’s disciples, the men who had spent three years walking with him, fell to their faces when he appeared in their midst after the resurrection. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but it does say that they were “startled and frightened.”) The point is, if you suddenly see a visible manifestation of God, I don’t think you’ll be glib about it. I like Isaiah’s response as translated in KJV. “Woe is me! For I am undone!” In the ESV, it is translated, “I am lost.” Isaiah cannot help but recognize his uncleanness in the presence of one to whom the seraphim shout out, nonstop, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
What we see here, is a sort of commissioning of Isaiah to go deliver a message to the people of Israel. The message would shock most modern-day evangelists. It was actually a counterproductive message. This was a message of judgment.
When I was in seminary, I was told that this chapter presents a biblical picture of what a worship service should look like. I have long since rejected that idea. There is no indication anywhere that we should take this as a model for a worship service. What it does represent to me is the magnificent holiness of God and the proper response to his presence.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is simply called “Repentance.” The scripture reference is 2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Chambers says, “Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God.” I think Isaiah got that in his experience of chapter 6. Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would convict people of sin, and when the Holy Spirit stirs a man’s conscience, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, it is his relationship with God. Note that David, even though he had committed adultery and murder, cried out, Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Psalm 51:4) Conviction, forgiveness, and holiness are marvelously interwoven; “it is only the forgiven man who is the holy man, he proves he is forgiven by being the opposite to what he was, by God’s grace.” Repentance brings me to the point that I can admit that I have sinned. If a man can say that and mean it, then God is truly at work in his life. Otherwise, it is only embarrassment at making a mistake, or even disgust at himself (perhaps because he got caught).

“The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man’s respectable goodness; then the Holy Ghost, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life.” I really like that imagery of the the pains of repentance “crashing into a man’s respectable goodness.” That’s what it takes, you know. We all fancy ourselves to be “good,” don’t we? I mean, what rational person really thinks he is “bad?” But when that repentance, that gift of the Holy Spirit, comes crashing into that false sense of “goodness,” there is a beautifully terrible sight. And the life of the Son of God, manifest in that life, will produce “conscious repentance and unconscious holiness.” It’s important to understand that this is never the other way around. If I am aware of my holiness, I am in trouble. Repentance, a gift from God, is the bedrock of my Christian foundation. If I have forgotten how to be repentant, I am in darkness.

Father, in heaven, hallowed be your name. When I pray this, I pray for me, that I might be transformed to make your priorities my priorities. I pray this that I might be motivated to pursue your holiness and keep you at the center of everything I say, think, and do. May your holiness be severely impressed upon my spirit; on my mind and heart. While I certainly desire to see your name “hallowed” by those around me, I must understand the necessity of hallowing your name, myself. In this, I pray that I would never give another person cause to stumble. I pray that, through me, you would give glory, not to me, but to your own name. Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (Psalm 115:1)

I pray that repentance would be a constant state of being for me, because I’m pretty sure that I sin every day. Probably every hour. So I need to always be in a state of repentance, being aware of my sin, and how it affects my relationship with you. Like Isaiah, I need to recognize both your extreme, infinite holiness, and my extreme unholiness. Yes, I understand that Jesus has made me holy, and for that I am eternally grateful. But, again like Isaiah, I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among an unclean people. Take the fire of the seraphim’s coal and place it to my lips! And then send me forth with whatever message you have. I am your ambassador in my part of the world, whether I act like it or not. There are days when I am a good ambassador, and there are days when I am a sorry ambassador. May your life, Lord Jesus, be lived in me. May the Holy Spirit continue the formation of that life in my life, as I am granted constant repentance. My sense of “respectable goodness” has long been devastated by the crash of repentance.

I pray for this day. Christi is working from home today. I pray that she will have a good day, restful while working, and I pray that you would touch her kneecap and cause it to stop hurting. I pray that Stephanie also have a good day today, with the comfort of having her mother around the house today. Give them some good moments together today. I pray that my work day will be better than yesterday, and that we will not have any issues that hinder our performance.

I thank you, my Father, that you brought Christi and me together 28 years ago. She has blessed my life beyond words.

Has the gift of repentance crashed into your sense of “respectable goodness?”

Grace and peace, friends.

Trust In the Lord

Friday finally got here (one of these days, I might leave my misspellings in here instead of backspacing and typing over them…it would be funny), and boy, am I glad! But, oddly, the week seems to have gone by fairly quickly. Especially the parts where I was sleeping.
Yesterday, some really dark clouds passed over where I work. For about two hours. Nothing. Not a drop. Someone said it “drizzled,” but I never saw it. I walked outside and smelled rain, but didn’t see any. Maybe I forgot what it looks like and it was really there. It did, apparently rain in some places in Fort Worth, though, so that’s good. The best part? It didn’t hit 100 yesterday! Funny, though…the projected highs for the next ten days are all over 100. There are slight chances of thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow. We’ll keep praying.

Today’s Bible readings from Discovering the Bible, by Gordon L. Addington:
Matthew 11:20-30
20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Jesus is pronouncing judgment on cities where he did miracles, yet they refused to repent. Perhaps, Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon would still remain had such miracles been displayed in them.

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

There are some important words here. First, Jesus is thankful that those who suppose themselves to be wise are not given the truths that Jesus is giving to “little children.” Then he declares that he has the authority of the Father. Then notice: “No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” This is very important. There are many people who believe that there are many roads to God. Jesus declares that to be false right here. Jesus Christ is the only way to God. This falls within the concept that either Jesus was exactly who he declared himself to be, or he was a blatant liar, or he was a madman. I choose to believe he was exactly who he claimed to be.
Jesus extends his invitation, not to the strong, but to the weak and weary. He will give us rest for our souls. Who among us is not “heavy laden?” We all labor with something. I am not self-sufficient. I cannot bear the burdens of this life on my own. I need Jesus, and his burden is light. Why is his burden light? Because he is God, and has infinite strength!

Isaiah 7
When Ahaz was king, Pekah king of Israel partnered with Syria to attack Jerusalem. When Ahaz found out, he was afraid. But the Lord sent Isaiah to him to reassure him.
7 thus says the Lord GOD: “‘It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.
8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. And within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.'”

Then the Lord told Ahaz to ask for a sign, “let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz was not willing to put the Lord to the test. So the Lord said he would give a sign anyway. And here was the sign:
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
17 The LORD will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah–the king of Assyria.”

Between the time of Ahaz and the time the prophecy of Christ comes to pass, the land will be devastated. The remainder of the chapter describes the desolation that will come. All which is a foreshadowing of the last judgment. There is much other speculation about this prophecy, which I have neither the time nor the understanding to get into.

Proverbs 3:1-10
There is admonition to remember the teachings that are being taught here, with the reward being a long life of peace. There are a couple of verses in this chapter that have been very popular memory verses over the years:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Pretty good advice. From my experience, when we lean on our own understanding, it usually gets us in trouble. But I think we shouldn’t stop at verse 6. For verses 7-8 continue the thought: Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Then finally, there is promise that if we honor God with our wealth, we will never lack for anything.

In Grace For the Moment, Max Lucado writes about God’s patience. “God is often more patient with us than we are with ourselves.” Well, that pretty much goes without saying, doesn’t it? But as he elaborates, the truth becomes evident. Which of us doesn’t wonder about our salvation when we stumble? When we sin, don’t we begin to doubt our security, wondering if we were truly converted? “If we have the old desires, then we must not be a new creation.” But Max would have us remember Philippians 1:6. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. You see, we are not finished, yet.
Then, right across the page, in the evening reading, Max speaks of God’s forgetfulness. I believe these two go hand in hand. Jeremiah 31:34 says, And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” You see that last phrase? “I will remember their sin no more!” And this is not the only place in Scripture that tells us that fact. God is the God of perfect grace. He forgets sin. Period. “He who is perfect love cannot hold grudges.” God has what Lucado calls “loving forgetfulness.” Talk about good news…

Father, I cannot utter enough words to tell you how grateful I am that you have forgotten all of my sins. It is a beautiful and terrifying thing, all at once, to ponder your nature. It is truly unbelievable that you can do this, but you say you can, and I believe it. Thank you, Father!
I pray that I will follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-8, and trust you totally, with my whole heart and my whole being, rather than leaning on my own understanding. I pray that I will live my life fearing you and turning away from evil.
Lord, I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the only way to you. Therefore, I have given my life to him. I pray that I can live a life worthy of Jesus. Let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through me and make me grow closer to you day by day.

Lord, we thank you for the break in temperature yesterday, along with the rain that fell in some places. We pray that more will come soon, to replenish our water supplies and refresh the earth. We also pray for more relief from the heat as we, hopefully, get close to the end of summer.

I pray for this day, Lord, that it will be a good work day for Christi and for me. I pray for the bowling party tomorrow, that it will be well-attended, and that everyone will have a great time.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Grace and peace, friends.