My Refuge and Strength

Today is Monday, the sixteenth of August, 2021.

Shalom Aleichem!

Day 23,167

Only three more days until S’s birthday!! She is so excited. I’m not sure what all we have planned for Thursday and Friday, as both C and I will be off work those two days. I’m thinking that mani-pedis might be involved, though, and it’s been a while since we had those.

Today is Rollercoaster Day! I love rollercoasters! Or at least I used to. I haven’t ridden one in many years, so I may not be able to tolerate them any more. I plan to try again, maybe later this year, because, after losing one hundred and twenty pounds, I should be able to fit under the safety bars again. It’s also Rum Day, which may not go well together with rollercoasters. It’s also Tell A Joke Day, which may not go well together with rum.

The word for today is zugzwang, pronounced [ tsook-tsvahng ]. It’s a chess term, meaning, “a situation in which a player is limited to moves that cost pieces or have a damaging positional effect.” This could, of course, apply to some life situations, as well.

Today’s quote is from Ayn Rand: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” That’s the spirit!

And now for today’s birthdays:

1884 Hugo Gernsback, Luxembourg-born American inventor and sci-fi writer (1960 Hugo), born in Luxembourg (d. 1967)(the Hugo Awards are named after him)
1888 T. E. Lawrence [Lawrence of Arabia], British author, soldier and diplomat famous for his liaison role in Arabia during WWI, born in Tremadog, Caernarfonshire, Wales (d. 1935)
1892 Harold Foster, Canadian-American cartoonist (Prince Valiant), born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (d. 1982)
1892 Otto Messmer, American cartoonist (Felix the Cat), born in Union City, New Jersey (d. 1983)
Side note: What are the odds that those two cartoonists would be born on the same date? And then they died only one year apart. 
1897 Robert Ringling, circus master, born in Baraboo, Sauk County, Wisconsin (d. 1950)
1899 Glenn Strange, American actor (Sam the Bartender-Gunsmoke), born in Weed, New Mexico (d. 1973)(also noted that he played Frankenstein's monster three times)
1910 Mae Clarke [Violet Mary Klotz], American actress (Frankenstein, Waterloo Bridge), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1992)
1913 Menachem Begin, 6th Prime Minister of Israel (1977-80, 81-83) and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner, born in Brest, Belarus, Russian Empire (d. 1992)
1914 Edythe Wright, American big band era singer (Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, 1935-39), born in Bayonne, New Jersey (d. 1965)
1920 Charles Bukowski, German-born American columnist (Notes of a Dirty Old Man) and writer (Hollywood: A Novel) who was described as a "laureate of American lowlife", born in Andernach, Weimar Republic Germany (d. 1994)
1925 Fess Parker, American actor (Davy Crockett, Old Yeller), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 2010)
1928 Eydie Gormé [Edithe Gormezano], American Grammy and Emmy Award winning pop singer ("Blame It On The Bossa Nova"), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2013)
1930 Frank Gifford, American NFL halfback (NY Giants)/ABC sportscaster, born in Santa Monica, California (d. 2015)
1930 Robert Culp, American actor, screenwriter, voice actor, and director (I Spy, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice), born in Oakland, California (d. 2010)
1931 Forrest E. Mars Jr., Candy Manufacturer (Mars), born in Oak Park, Illinois (d. 2016)
1933 Julie Newmar, American actress (Catwoman-Batman, Living Doll), born in Hollywood, California
1935 Betsy von Furstenberg, Nelheim Ger, actress (Machine Calls it Murder)
1939 Eric Weissberg, American singer and musician (Duelling Banjos), born in New York (d. 2020)
1939 Billy Joe Shaver, American country singer-songwriter (When I Get My Wings), born in Corsicana, Texas (d. 2020)
1946 Lesley Ann Warren, American actress (Cinderella, Mission Impossible), born in NYC, New York
1948 Barry Hay, Dutch singer, guitarist, flute and saxophone player (Golden Earring - "Radar Love"), born in Faizabad, India
1949 Bill "Sputnik" Spooner, American rock guitarist (The Tubes - "Talk To Ya Later"), born in Phoenix, Arizona
1951 Eric Bibb, American blues singer-songwriter, born in NYC, New York
1952 Reginald Veljohnson, actor (Carl Winslow-Family Matters, Die Hard)
1953 James "J.T." Taylor, American R&B singer (Kool & The Gang - "Ladies' Night"; "Celebration"; "Joanna"), born in Laurens, South Carolina
1953 Kathie Lee Gifford, American TV presenter (Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Today show), born in Paris, France,
1954 James Cameron, Canadian film director and writer (Titanic, Avatar), born in Kapuskasing, Ontario
1957 Tim Farriss, Australian rock guitarist (INXS - "Kiss The Dirt"), born in Perth, Australia
1958 Angela Bassett, American actress (What's Love Got to Do With It), born in NYC, New York
1958 Madonna [Ciccone], American singer and actress (Like a Virgin), born in Bay City, Michigan

1960 Timothy Hutton, American actor (Turk 182, Ordinary People, Leverage!), born in Malibu, California
1962 Steve Carell, American actor and comedian (The Office), born in Concord, Massachusetts
1972 Emily Strayer (formerly Robison), American country singer, instrumentalist and songwriter (The Chicks, formerly known as Dixie Chicks), born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
1980 Vanessa Carlton, American singer-songwriter, born in Milford, Pennsylvania
1988 Rumer Willis, child of Bruce Willis & Demi Moore, born in Paducah, Kentucky

Leslie Ann Warren
Julie Newmar . . . mrowr!

Whew. That’s a lot of birthdays. Just so you know, there were many more that I did not include. As my wife said, just the other day, the older you get, the more birthdays there are. And, it is interesting to watch the trends. On the page I use as my source, most of the earlier birthdays are royalty figures and political figures. The middle range is filled with actors, musicians, some political figures, and sports figures. The closer it gets to today, the more sports figures there are, and the less of anything else. There are some actors, but few that I have heard of.

So what’s on the schedule for today? Laundry, sweeping, typical housework. I’ve already done one load of laundry and just started a second. I’ll be sweeping later. I also have to fill out the forms to take with me tomorrow to my new employee orientation for the City of Hurst. That’s pretty much it, I think. I don’t, at this point, foresee needing to leave the house for anything.

Yesterday was a little bit stressful on the church front. But we got some things out in the open and had some hard conversations. I think everything will be okay, though. I hope so, at least. I went away from one conversation with deeper thought about why people think the way they do about some things. It doesn’t mean I agree with their way of thinking, but maybe I can appreciate it a little bit more.


Lord, I dedicate this day to You.
May my feet walk only where You want them to walk.
May my eyes see only what You want them to see.
May my ears hear only what You want them to hear.
May my mouth say only what You want it to say.
May my mind think only what You want it to think.

Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
(Psalms 46:8-11 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the anticipation of beginning a new phase of life tomorrow;
2. also for the anticipation of seeing what new ministry opportunities come my way because of the recent life changes;
3. for Your glorious works, visible and evident for all who have eyes to see;
4. that You caused me to be still and know that You are God, and that by waiting patiently for You, I saw Your hand at work;
5. for the promise of the return of Christ, to take us Home.

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



Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
(Psalms 106:1 NLT)

As I pause, briefly, during this still, quiet moment, I have shut off Facebook and email, eliminating the demands for instant attention from those tabs. May my attention be focused on You alone for the next few moments.


For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging

Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(Psalms 46:1-3, 8-11 NIV)


During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.
(Exodus 12:31-36, 50-51 NIV)


As I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord, I linger over these passages, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal aspects of the Lord to me through them. I look for words or phrases that speak to me, perhaps things not yet noticed in previous readings.

The psalm speaks of desolation and destruction (depending on which translation you read) that the Lord brings upon the earth. What terrors can you imagine? What if you observed the earth giving way, mountains falling into the sea, the sea waters roaring and foaming, and great earthquakes? These are probably the worst natural disasters that the Sons of Korah could imagine.

And they asserted that they would not fear, even if they saw these things occurring, because God is their refuge and strength.

I have not seen any of those things, in person. I have read and seen news accounts of things like that happening in other parts of the world. Nevertheless, I have seen catastrophic events in the past eighteen months, the likes of which I have never seen in my lifetime. And I have seen multiple responses to these events, some of which defy reason.

Let me be clear to say that I am not living in fear of any of these things. I trust in the Lord. He is my refuge and my strength. He has also given me science and medicine, and the means to protect myself from some of the catastrophes.

(I just had a flashback to elementary school, when a boy sitting next to me leaned over and asked how to spell “disastrophe.” If memory serves me, which frequently does not, I informed him that that was not a word, and perhaps he meant either “disaster” or “catastrophe.” In retrospect, I think he may have been on to something.)

So when I take advantage of these resources, it doesn’t mean I am living in fear. I am reminded of a “preacher story” that I once heard. A man is stuck on his roof during a massive flood. He prays diligently for the Lord to rescue him. A boat comes by, and he is invited to get it. “No, thanks,” he says. “The Lord is going to rescue me.” A helicopter hovers over him and a ladder descends. “No, God’s got this! He’s going to save me!” says the man. The flood waters rise, and he drowns. When he arrives at the gates of heaven, he’s frustrated. “Why didn’t you save me?” he asks. God’s reply: “What do you mean?? I sent you a boat and a helicopter!!”

Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
(Psalms 46:8 NIV)

Has the Lord brought these things upon us? I’m not wise enough to know the answer to that question. But this I know, and am fully persuaded: He is my refuge and my strength. And I will “be still and know” that He is God, and I will wait patiently for Him to be exalted among the nations.

By the time the Israelites were allowed to leave (driven out is more like it) Egypt, the Egyptians took this God seriously. We will, no doubt, read in a couple of days how Pharaoh’s heart was once again hardened and he pursued them. I am convinced that this was so that he could be eradicated, once and for all, and that God’s people could witness yet another miracle.

The Lord is our refuge and strength. I think I’ve said that once or twice. In most, if not all, of the circumstances we face, we will see that we need not fight, we need only to be still and watch the salvation of our God take place. But we are creatures of action and impatience. We can’t stop and wait. Some of us have more trouble being still than others. Waiting is something that twenty-first century Western man is almost literally incapable of.

Yet, our God commands us to do so. Be still and know. We read Psalm 37 yesterday during our worship gathering. Verse 7 goes like this:

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
(Psalms 37:7 NLT)

I have been recently surprised by God. As C and I began discussing my potential early retirement (I still have trouble believe it), some things looked like they were falling into place. The opportunity to be a school bus driver seemed to have fallen in my lap. The application was made, the interview done, and the job offered and accepted. I immediately put in my notice at work and submitted my application to receive social security benefits.

Then everything came to a screeching halt. You who are faithful readers have seen the story of the DOT physical fiasco. But just when I thought all was lost, there was this job opening at the Hurst Library. Didn’t pay as much, not as many hours, but it also wouldn’t cause my SS benefits to be deducted for making too much money. And . . . hello!! Library!!

I was rewarded for not making a hasty decision when the bus driving job was delayed. I won’t lie. It was scary for a little bit, there. But you also know that story. I start my part time library aide job tomorrow morning.

There is still some waiting going on, however, as I still haven’t heard from Social Security. But they are moving at, as one of the library people quipped during my interview, “at the speed of government.”

Father, I praise You for being my refuge and my strength! I thank You for giving me the faith to wait patiently (well . . . I waited, at least). I have seen Your hand at work; I have experienced the fullness of joy at Your right hand and know that I will participate in pleasures forevermore in Your Kingdom. I ask, now, that You open my eyes to more opportunities to serve You and be a blessing to others in the coming days of my life. At this point, I can imagine that opportunities will be wide open, as I have more time in my life. Help me to not waste it. I also pray that my presence in the library will be a blessing to all I encounter. All glory to You, Father, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Lord, give us the ability and capacity to see You at work in all things, “every creature a word or book from” You. I pray for environmental concerns in our world, but make us cautious, as well. May we not give our environment more attention than we give You, but we also not totally ignore creation. Help us to be good stewards of and enjoy Your creation. It is a beautiful gift from Your heart and Your hand!

"Good God,
thank you that this life is not a random roll of the dice,
but is watched over by your favor and fatherly care.
That's easy to confess when the wind is at my back and the sun is on my face;
give me the same trust in your will when the circumstances of life turn tragic and are tearstained.
Let me understand that even then I am kept by you.
In Christ's name,


You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
(Psalms 16:11 NLT)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
(1 Timothy 4:8 NIV)

pray continually,
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
(Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

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!

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

He Who Made History Happen

Today is Tuesday, August 16, 2016. THREE more days until S turns 23!

Quote of the Day

“The past always looks better than it was. It’s only pleasant because it isn’t here.” – Finley Peter Dunne

Word of the Day

Eponym – A person whose name is or is thought to be the source of the name of something, such as a city or country. “George Washington is the eponym of Washington DC.”

Today is Rollercoaster Day. Since I can’t get out and ride one today, I’ll share a video of one.

I’m not very focused this morning. I really could have used another hour or two of sleep, but here we go.

Practice went well, last night. The work day was pretty uneventful, so that was good. And it’s the second day of a four-day work week for us. Since S’s birthday is Friday, we are taking PTO on that day, so we can spend it with her.

The temperatures have shifted drastically, and today’s high is only projected to be 85. That’s almost twenty degrees cooler than this time last week! Plus we’re getting some much needed rain, too.

Speaking of much needed, the Rangers picked up a win, yesterday, beating Oakland 5-2. This made them the first AL team to win 70 games, and kept them 5.5 games ahead of Seattle, who seems to be on fire, at the moment. The Red Sox got their current streak up to four games, beating the Indians 3-2. They remain in third place, but only one game out of first, which is a tie between Baltimore and Toronto.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 105:43-45

Historically, we see God acting: “protecting, leading, sustaining, promising, fulfilling.” Peterson counts 34 active verbs in this Psalm that have God as their subject. “Our interest in history is not so much in what happened as in who made it happen.”

“Dear Father, while others examine the past for evidence of human accomplishments, gathering material to rationalize pride, give me the ability to see it as a record of your covenant faithfulness, the gracious acts by which all men may experience your love and salvation. Amen.”

Father, you have been historically faithful, not only to me, but to your people throughout all generations. We have consistently failed you in many ways, but you keep us in your care, “protecting, leading, sustaining, promising, fulfilling.” Help me to see all of these things as I look through history, both of the world and my own life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Thinking In the Presence of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s that cartoon, called “Fiddlesticks.”

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

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

I wonder if Batman ever got that kiss . . .

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


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

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

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

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

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your grace is always sufficient.

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

Grace and peace, friends.


“We are not concerned with our own perfection or our own wisdom or even our own happiness. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and we receive from him everything, literally everything, we need to run the race and to make light of the difficulties we have, whatever they are.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, August 16, 2014. I am up early, getting ready to go to work at 7:00am.

Today is Rollercoaster Day. I wish I could be riding roller coasters today. Hershey Park has a lot of them. But it’s a long way to Pennsylvania. . .

I worked an hour late yesterday, mainly just ease the work load for today. There will be a few boxes left to receive, then it will be just make ready for everything that QC has finished checking. I’m hoping I don’t have to work the whole eight hours today. I’ve put in a few hours of overtime that would make up for it if I get to come back home early.

I don’t know if I will make it in time for church this evening. Last time, I was really tired after the Saturday work day. Just have to wait and see.

Christi will be starting the new job on the last Friday in August. The reason for starting on Friday has to do with insurance coverage. She needs to officially start work before the first of September so she can begin her insurance coverage on October 1.

Oops. It’s getting late. . .


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:3
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11-12
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146:5-10

Today’s Gospel reading

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:13-17

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Rise, O Sleeper!”

“One definition of salvation is ‘an ongoing process of becoming increasingly conscious.'” Sadly, many of us sleepwalk through our spiritual lives, in a state of numbness. “Kierkegaard saw that the basic human problem is that all men are bored.”

Jesus calls us to wake up. “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46) “It is daily meditation that leads us to full wakefulness.” We become spiritually mature by “living in harmony with ourselves and with God.” When we take time to meditate, we take our eyes off of ourselves. “We are not concerned with our own perfection or our own wisdom or even our own happiness. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and we receive from him everything, literally everything, we need to run the race and to make light of the difficulties we have, whatever they are.”

Meditation takes the burdens off of our hearts because we become aware that there is only one thing that is truly essential, and that is living in harmony with God. This also makes us realize that we cannot lose.

So then let us not sleep, as others do,
but let us keep awake and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:6

Father, I pray that I can be better at meditation. I spend a lot of time (at least for me) praying every morning, but how much time do I spend in silent meditation. I try to maintain silence after I finish praying on my morning drive to work, but I catch myself talking to myself or some imaginary passenger in the front seat. Teach me to be silent. That seems to be a thing that modern man, at least in our culture, has lost. We seem to, for some reason, fear silence. Teach me to be silent. Teach me to meditate. Teach me that lightheartedness that knows that the most important thing for me is to be in harmony with you through Christ, and to know that I cannot lose, because I am your child.

I pray for this day. May I have safe passage to work and back. I pray for Christi as she does her usual Saturday morning errands. May she experience your peace in the midst of her mundane chores. I pray for Stephanie today, that she will be drawn closer to your heart, and that, as she helps in the children’s activities at church tonight, you will bring her blessing and peace. I pray for tonight’s worship time, that your name will be lifted high.

Your grace is sufficient.

I plan to spend my drive to work this morning in silent meditation on the grace that God has lavished on us.

Grace and peace, friends.