From Messy to Magic

Today is Tuesday, the twenty-fourth of May, 2022, in the sixth week of Easter.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,448

It’s Tuesday, so I’ll be working my four-hour shift at the library, tonight, re-shelving books (or magazines and DVDs). There is, of course, a strong likelihood that more books will be added to my “TBR” list. At this point, there is not much likelihood that I will check out anything new. But you never know.

There was no baseball last night. Well, none that mattered to me, anyway. Both the Rangers and Red Sox had the day off. Just for kicks, though, the NY Yankees (29-13) still have the best MLB record, even though they have lost three in a row. They are still chasing win number thirty. The Cincinnati Reds (12-29) still have the worst record. They are also still one game behind the Washington Nationals. The Red Sox now share the longest win streak (five games) with two other teams, the San Diego Padres and the Minnesota Twins. The SF Giants and KC Royals still share the longest losing streak, also five games. The LA Dodgers continue to beat up on their opponents, having the highest run differential, at +97! That is 32 runs higher than the second place Yankees. Wow. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the lowest run differential, at -87.

In the PWBA USBC Queens tournament, I was disappointed that none of my favorites made the final show, which happens tonight. The five ladies who will be bowling tonight, in order of seed are Clara Guerrero, from Columbia, Birgit Noreiks, from Germany, Laura Plazas, from Bogota, Danielle McEwan, from Stony Point, NY, and Hope Gramly, from Aubrey, TX.

Here are some interesting facts. The top seed for the finals, Clara Guerrero, finished 37th of 64 in the qualifying rounds. Birgit Noreiks, second seed, finished 50th in qualifying. Laura Plazas, third seed, finished 63rd out of 64 in qualifying! Danielle McEwan finished third in qualifying, and Hope Gramly finished 22nd. D-Mac was the only top ten qualifier to make the show. One of my favorites, Verity Crawley, from England, finished sixth, over-all, not quite making the show. If I heard correctly, she still gets a payout of $10,000, which isn’t bad for a week’s work. I wish best of luck to all five finalists, tonight. I’ll be recording the show while I’m at work, so I can watch it. I don’t really have a preference as to who wins. But I will say that I really enjoyed watching Ms. Plazas bowl, yesterday, during the last match to determine the final three spots on the ladder. I’m also glad to see someone from Texas, my home state, in the running.


We thank you, dear Father in heaven, for the many times you let us experience that we do not need to despair because of darkness, weakness, or sickness. You hear the desires of our hearts. You love us for all that we love when we love the Savior and when we praise his name. Let us remain in this spirit. Come to us with many proofs of your power, to the glory of your name. Come in the inner quiet of heart through which we are able to grasp what it means for us that you are our Father in Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”
(Luke 4:18-19 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the time of the Lord's favor, when the captives will be released, the blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free; Good News to the poor!
2. that life can get messy, because that forces me to sit still and wait on God, knowing with great confidence that He is in the business of restoring, renewing, reviving, reclaiming, and redeeming
3. that we, the people of God, are also supposed to be in the business of the things in number 2
4. for the Light of the world that overcomes the darkness
5. for the desire to seek after the wisdom that comes from above

Today’s prayer word is “messy.” As I suspected, I can’t find that word anywhere in the Bible. Here’s a quote, though, from the inimitable Audrey Hepburn:

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

There seems to be enough evidence to support that she actually said that. And it’s a remarkable statement, I think. I find that I agree with it. Yet, we, as human beings, are terrible at throwing out people. We give up on people. I see comments on social media almost every day to which I react, “I am certainly glad our Father in heaven doesn’t think that way.”

Life is messy. But that isn’t the final prognosis. Because, you see, we have a God who is in the business of restoring, renewing, reviving, reclaiming, and redeeming. All of these things is accomplished by the work of Jesus Christ, via the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Trinity is involved in all of these things in our lives.

All we have to do is be still and know . . . seriously, we just need to sit still for a moment and consider the work of God, His kingdom that is available right now, for us to walk in. It is at that point that the messy either gets straightened up, or maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t matter any more.

The writer of today’s reading, named Roberta (I suspect it is Roberta Messner), writes of something her sister once said to her. “Don’t fret, Pet. It has to bet better. You gotta have the messy before the magic.”

(From Pray a Word a Day)

I am reminded of the opening line’s of M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Father, I thank You for the messes. It is in those messes where we realize the reality of life, and what Paul meant when he told us to give thanks in all circumstances. I also praise You that You are, truly, restoring us, renewing us, reviving us, reclaiming us, and redeeming us, all the time. All the time, because I keep wandering off the path, which causes You to have to restore me or reclaim me. I ask forgiveness for this, and ask for Your help in keeping me on the path so things don’t get quite so messy.

Sometimes the messes are my fault, and sometimes they are just natural happenings, outside of my control. Help me to be repentant when they are my fault, to change my way of thinking, so that I don’t find myself in those messes. I love when You turn the messes into “magic” or into “marvelous.”

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
(Luke 11:33-36 NLT)

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.”

What a sobering statement by our Savior.

Father, I pray desperately that the “light” that I think I have is really “light,” and not darkness. I struggle with various “truths,” these days, because there seems to be a dearth of truth in this world. So many people out there are talking about “my truth” and “your truth,” as if to imply that there are multiple truths. I believe, with all my heart, that there is only one truth. I’m just not sure that we have found it quite yet. Sure, I know that there are pieces of it that are firmly intact. Jesus is Lord; He has lived, died, and was resurrected, paying the cost for all my sin and paving the way for me to have access to You.

But there are many what I call “peripheral” things that even people within Your Church are arguing over. We are grappling with so many things. If I’m going to be wrong about something, I prefer to err on the side of love, on the side of mercy, especially on subjects that do not, in fact, determine the eternal destination of one’s soul. And contrary to the popular belief of some, most of those issues do not, none of those issues, in fact, determine whether one is a Christian.

Please, Father, give us wisdom, sensibility, and sensitivity when it comes to these things. Help us to love more than we hate. In fact, help us to not hate at all. Have mercy on us, and then show us how to extend that same mercy and grace to everyone else.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

"Love one another;
This is how they know you're Mine;
Love one another."
(Inspired by John 13:34-35)

Grace and peace, friends.

According to His Will

Today is Monday, March 11, 2019. Sixth day of Lent.

Day 22,278

Only TWO DAYS until our Glen Rose trip!!!

Quote of the Day

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”
Kurt Vonnegut, U.S. novelist, 1922-2007
The Quotations Page

Word of the Day

Bathetic ~ characterized by triteness or sentimentalism. (Merriam-Webster)

Yesterday was a good day. Worship was good, and I felt really good about our music. The three of us seem to be gelling more as musicians and worshipers. The message was, as usual, quite good, with part of it focusing on our speech, which has always been an issue for me.

We stopped by Andy’s on the way home and had a treat of frozen custard, then C and I watched a little TV. She took Tessie (dog) to get her nails clipped while I played Metro Exodus on the PS4. Later, I ordered some Asian food for S and me, while C had whatever she wanted (she didn’t want to order anything). Over all, it was a good day.

I only have to work two days, this week, as I’m taking PTO for the rest of the week. C is taking off at noon on Wednesday, after which we will have lunch and pedicures! I love a good pedicure. Go ahead and judge me . . . I don’t care! 🙂 Then we will head to Glen Rose late Wednesday afternoon.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13:5-6

Today I am grateful:
1. For another day of living.
2. For our upcoming relaxation trip.
3. That God hears my prayers.
4. That I am learning to pray better.
5. That God is drawing me closer.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
  abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
He shall say to the LORD,
"You are my refuge and my stronghold,
  my God in whom I put my trust."
He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter
  and from the deadly pestilence.
He shall cover you with his pinions,
and you shall find refuge under his wings;
  his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of any terror by night,
  nor of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the plague that stalks in the darkness,
  nor of the sickness that lays wast at mid-day.
A thousand shall fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand,
  but it shall not come near you.
Your eyes have only to behold
 to see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your refuge,
  and the Most High your habitation,
There shall no evil happen to you,
  neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over you,
  to keep you in all your ways.
They shall bear you in their hands,
  lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and adder;
  you shall trample the young lion and the serpent
            under your feet.
Because he is bound to me in love,
therefore I will deliver him;
  I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
  I am with him in trouble;
  I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
With long life will I satisfy him,
  and show him my salvation.

(The Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 91)

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24

In today’s Daily Guideposts reading, Roberta Messner shared one way in which she discovered the importance of prayer. I won’t go into the details, but the gist of it is that a simple prayer was answered.

When we experience answered prayer, it bolsters our confidence. I have looked at verses like 1 John 5:14-15 for most of my Christian life and wondered if I truly believe this. Do any of us truly believe it? If we do, then why aren’t more of our prayers answered? It’s an ongoing struggle for me. I pray a lot, these days. Sometimes, things work out the way we are praying, sometimes, they don’t.

But the key phrase in the passage is “according to his will.” The writer, John, declares that we have confidence, but the caveat is that we have to ask according to God’s will. This requires a greater intimacy with God than most of us have, I fear. I’ve seen people strutting their confidence, declaring God’s will for them to be healthy and wealthy, have the best car, the best house, and so on. I can’t say for certain, but my feeling is that they don’t get it.

It’s not about material things, and never has been. It’s about relationships; both with God and with others. And with the relationship with God comes the confidence of believing that we are asking according to his will. When I pray for someone to be healed, I have every confidence in the world that God can do it. I just don’t know if he will. I believe that he hears my prayer. I would not pray if I did not believe that.

My life goal is to know God so intimately that I am confident of my prayers being his will. I still have a long way to go. I will say that my Lent project is helping.

Father, I pray that you would help me to know you more intimately. Show me yourself. Each day, may I know you a bit more, that my prayers might hold more confidence and belief. I don’t think my prayers are the most important prayers. There must be thousands of believers whose prayers are “better” than mine. But I believe that you hear my prayers, just as you hear all prayers. I will never quite understand how, but I don’t need to. Help me to love you more, to know you more, to contemplate, to meditate, to simply be in your presence all day long. Then, help me to pray according to your will.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Soli Deo Gloria!