Today is Monday, the sixteenth of August, 2021.
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
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.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
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
ORDINARY TIME – WEEK THIRTEEN – DAY TWO
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)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
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, amen."
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)
(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.