It’s Not A Small World, After All

Today is Friday, August 11, 2017. Day 21,701. Only eight more days until S’s and J’s birthday!!

Quote of the Day

“A motion to adjourn is always in order.” ~ Robert Heinlein, Lazarus Long: Time Enough For Love
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Nimbus, a noun, meaning, “a cloud, aura, atmosphere, etc., surrounding a person or thing.”

Today is Play In the Sand Day. Oh, how I would love to do that!!

It’s finally Friday! It seems like this week has dragged on. Of course, it has been the same length as any other week, hasn’t it? I’m not sure if the floor people will finish today or tomorrow. They have about 3/4 of our bedroom and the study to finish. The most challenging part will probably be moving our bed. Everything is looking very nice, though. We are very happy with the choice we made for the new floor.

R & J are coming over Sunday, so we can celebrate J’s birthday this weekend. Next weekend, for S’s birthday, we will be traveling to Mineral Wells on Saturday, spending the night, and attending church with Grandma on Sunday. It’s what S wants to do, so that’s what we will do.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. 
Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Psalm 68:34-35
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:3
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 
Psalm 119:15
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 
The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 
for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12:33-37

(From Practice Resurrection)

Moving into chapter 3, “God and His Glory: Ephesians 1:3-14.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love . . . [this] is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:3-4, 14

“What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.” ~ Frederich Buechner, Godric

In the original Greek text, the “201 words beginning with ‘blessed’ (1:3) and ending with ‘glory’ (v. 14)” comprise a single sentence! One scholar even referred to it as “the most monstrous sentence conglomeration . . . I have ever met in the Greek language” (Markus Barth, Ephesians 1-3, The Anchor Bible). But Peterson says, “Paul is playful, extravagant, and totally engaging as he tells us what is going on in this God-created, Christ-saved, Spirit-blessed world into which we have been born and are now growing up.”

Somehow, in our little lives, we have managed to reduce the world into nice, comfy places in which we feel cozy. “Sin shrinks our imaginations.” But we truly cannot afford to allow this to happen if we are going to really grow up in Christ. Our world is massive, and “If we calculate the nature of the world by what we can manage or explain, we end up living in a very small world.” (Cue Disney music.)

Hah! I know what you’re going to be humming all day, now!

As Eugene Peterson describes Ephesians in language that only he can muster, he says, “Ephesians plunges us into ocean deeps, and we come up gasping for air.” I love this.

Father, take me into your depths as I continue to read this book. Expand my imagination, that truly has been shrunken by both sin and laziness. Open my eyes, my heart, and my soul to see the vast expanse of the world in which I live, that I might truly understand its nature, and more importantly, the nature of this thing we call “church.”
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.

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Be

Today is Wednesday, March 29, 2017. FIVE more days until Opening Day!!

Quote of the Day

“They didn’t want it good, they wanted it Wednesday.” ~ Robert Heinlein

Word of the Day

Vulpine ~ of or resembling a fox. Also, cunning or crafty.

Question of the Day

What is your “spirit animal” and why? I don’t really believe in “spirit animals,” but if I did, mine would be a fox. Why? Because I really like foxes. What other reason do I need?

Today is Manatee Appreciation Day. Apparently, there are enough people who are enthusiastic about manatees to make this a thing, so there you go.

We had storms last night. We were awakened by tornado sirens going off. Well, C was awakened by tornado sirens. I was awakened by C asking, “Are those sirens?” Indeed, they were, so we got up. Well, I got up, and was shortly joined by S, while we watched the TV alerts. Our power never went off, unlike other areas close by, some of which are still without power. There were a couple of tornado warnings in our county, but I never heard of any actual tornadoes. This brings up a question. When did they change the qualifications for “tornado warning?” It used to be that it wasn’t a “warning” until there was actually a funnel cloud on or near the ground. Now, if they see “rotation” in the clouds, they call “tornado warning,” which used to be a “tornado watch,” meaning that conditions were ripe for a tornado. The effect of this is that I no longer take a “tornado warning” seriously. Time was, if they said “tornado warning” in my area, I’m hitting the middle bathroom in the house. Now, I stand by the back door and watch the TV.

Needless to say, I’m sleepy this morning, because we were awake for close to thirty minutes in the middle of the night.

Today is R’s birthday. It’s only fitting, as we had tornado warnings in the middle of the night. That seems to be a common occurrence on R’s birthday. Happy birthday, if you happen to read this!

I’m also way behind, so I’d better get moving.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. 
Psa 109:31  For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death. 

Psalm 109:30-31
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4
“Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (A Song to the Lamb)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 9:2

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12
Be still, and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Father, teach me to be still. There is always so much movement, either of the body or of the mind. Teach me to be still. Teach me to sit and watch; to sit and wait; to wait for you. Teach me to just be.
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.

He Loved Us, First

Today is Tuesday, February 14, 2017. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Quote of the Day

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Word of the Day

Spoony – foolishly or sentimentally amorous.

Today is International Book Giving Day. Originally founded in the UK, this day is all about sharing books with children, especially those who have no easy access to them. C would love it if I would participate in this day. Although I don’t know how many books I have that would be appropriate for children.

Yesterday was a strange day. As the day progress, I found myself inching into depression over some things I don’t feel free to write about here. I texted back and forth with C for a while, which helped, then talked to my mother about it on the way home from work. I skipped band practice. In modern day terms, I had a bad case of “I can’t even . . .”

Hopefully, today will be better. I will make note of one thing that frustrated me a bit. Yesterday morning, I was seeing some Facebook posts about the situation in California with the dam that they were afraid would fail. The top five “news” stories on Yahoo? Grammy awards. It’s hard to be aggravated at Yahoo. They’re just “giving the people what they want.” I haven’t watched the Grammys (or any other industry award show, for that matter) in years. I’m tired of seeing the industry pat itself on the back.

11/48

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD.
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Psalm 135:1, 3, 5

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah.
Psalm 50:2, 6

Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! Psalm 108:2

(From The President’s Devotional)

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11

“Father in Heaven! You have loved us first, help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our souls so that our hearts might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves.” – Soren Kierkegaard, The Prayers of Kierkegaard

“Father, you loved us first. Help us never forget it. And let us bear your love to all whom you have commanded. Amen.” – Joshua DuBois

I echo these two men’s prayers, Father. It is amazing, the love that you have lavished upon us, your children, your people. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!” How can I live up to this love? I cannot. I can only allow your Spirit to reign in me, and spread the love of Jesus around me, wherever I am. So, today, help me to be aware; help me to look around; help me to see where love needs to be spread. Take my pettiness, my judgmentalness, and dash them on the rocks, shattering them to pieces. I would that you would remove any such possibilities, even, from my very being. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Let me walk in your Kingdom, in the easy yoke of Jesus.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Wrestling With God

Good morning. Today is Sunday, July 7, 2013.

Today is Chocolate Day. I know a lot of people who are going to be very happy about that.


Yesterday’s work time was pretty laid back and smooth. The warehouse people rearranged and cleaned up while the other two office employees and I basically spent the whole morning doing transfers in our system. We finished up a little after noon, so it wasn’t bad. The big audit begins tomorrow.

The rest of the day went pretty well. After I got home, we went out for lunch (Fogata’s of course), and then Christi and I went to the grocery store. After that I practiced for a few minutes, getting ready for this morning’s worship celebration, then Christi was doing some stuff for a thing she has this Friday, so I just piddled around for a while. Basically did nothing productive. It was nice. We watched a couple episodes of Warehouse 13 (Amy Acker and Jeri Ryan showed up in one of them!), had a little dinner, then we went swimming for the rest of the night. It was a good day.


(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1937, the event that would eventually be seen as the beginning of the Second World War occurred. In a place called Lukouchaio, “where the railway line from Tientsin joins the Peking-Hankow line” (we’re talking China here, in case you hadn’t figure that out), a brigade of “the Japanese Kwantung Army” was conducting exercises this night. The area had been ceded to Japan for “commercial exploitation.” Suddenly a shot rang out (not sure if it was a dark and stormy night). The Japanese discovered the “dead body of one of their comrades lying near the ancient Marco Polo Bridge.” It is not known who killed the soldier, but this eventually became known as “the China Incident,” and the Japanese made it a casus belli, which basically means justification for war. They presented an ultimatum to China: hand over the northern provinces of Hopei and Chahar, or Japan would act. Chiang Kai-shek, after initial silence, simply responded that no more Chinese territory would be surrendered. A few days later, Japan began invading China as ten thousand troops “crossed over the Great Wall and advanced into Hopei province.” Initially, this was known as the Second Sino-Japanese War, “but in a few years the world would come to see it as the first act of the Second World War.”


Today’s birthday is Robert Heinlein, born on this date in 1907. Heinlein was a Science Fiction author, considered one of the “Big Three” of SF writers, the other two being Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Heinlein’s most famous and probably most popular work is Stranger In A Strange Land, written in 1961. He also authored Starship Troopers, which had a movie made which barely resembled the book. But that’s the way most of them go, isn’t it? Heinlein was the first to be named Science Fiction Grand Master in either 1974 or 1975, depending on which list you look at. He died in 1988.

Honorable mentions go to Ringer Starr, 73, Claire Holt, 25, Michelle Kwan, 33, Satchel Paige, 1906-1982, Doc Severinsen, 86, and Jorja Fox, 45.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONALS

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Psalm 80:1
May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” Psalm 70:4
My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Psalm 108:1

Father, I pray that you teach me to sing and make melody each day of my life. Reveal yourself to me in your Word this morning.


Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Wrestling with God.” The scripture reading is Genesis 32:22-30.

The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

Jacob intentionally created space to be alone, and God joined him there. We don’t know anything more about this late night wrestling match than what we have in this brief passage of scripture. Jacob “prevails” (God let him win, of course), but walks away with a distinct limp and a new name. The name “Israel,” means either “strives with God” or “triumphant with God.” There is a remarkable intimacy that accompanies the mystery of this event. And we also note that the “wrestling stranger refuses to be named.” Sometimes God comes so close to us, and we can’t exactly see “who or what has gotten hold of us. However, after such an encounter we go forward blessed – wounded perhaps, but always changed.”

The word “alone” does not have to strike fear into our hearts. Do you fear being alone? If so, why? Perhaps we all need to have a chat with the Lord about our fears of intimacy and being alone.


Father, I thank you that we can wrestle with you and come away changed. I thank you that you will come to us and have these kinds of encounters with us. I pray that I will not fear being alone; that I will not fear intimacy with you. I pray that you will take my alone times and mold them, shape them, into encounters that will change me each time. Let these times of solitude with you be times of true devotion and intimacy, not just times to piddle around aimlessly. Give me direction in my life as you direct me through these times of reading and meditation. Shape my life, Lord; mold my life. Make me into what you desire me to be.

I pray for this morning’s worship time. Fill us with your Spirit as we play our instruments and use our voices to praise you. Fill the worship place with your presence this morning, your divine presence, that we may see you and know you. Teach us through our pastor as he brings a message to us. May his words be your words.


“Wrestling with God” is always an event that leaves a permanent mark on the believer. It changes lives. Forever.

Grace and peace, friends.