Strength in Prayer

“Prayer is the way that all of the things we believe in and that Christ has won for us actually become our strength.”~~Timothy Keller

Good morning. It is Saturday, September 19, 2015. Three weeks until we go to Playa del Carmen!

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is incandescent. This adjective has several meanings. It means, “white, glowing, or luminous with intense heat,” “marked by brilliance especially of expression,” “characterized by glowing zeal : ardent,” “of, relating to, or being light produced by incandescence,” or, “producing light by incandescence.” I’m particularly fond of the second one.

Today, of course, is Talk Like A Pirate Day. It happens every year on September 19. Arrr.

Something else that happens every year on September 19 is the anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins. It has been eighteen years since he was killed in an auto accident. My favorite song of his (or set of songs, perhaps), is “I See You,” which segues into “Step by Step” at the end of The World As Best As I Remember It, Vol. 1. Someone has made a beautiful video with those two songs as the background music. You can find it on You Tube.

I wound up working until 7:30 last night. Ugh. And a few people were still there, working, when I left. I really think I need to find a new job. But that’s not easy, these days, so I’ll have to stick it out until something better comes along.

I actually slept until after 9:00, this morning, which is unusual. According to my Fitbit Flex, I got nine hours and fifteen minutes of sleep! Today, we’ll do the grocery shopping, and our usual church activities. There are a few things on the agenda for tomorrow, one of which is Christi trimming my hair and beard. It’s long overdue, I must admit. I’m starting to resemble Santa Claus.

The Rangers lost to Seattle last night, but the Astros lost, as well, so the Rangers continue to be 2.5 games up in the AL West. At this point, the Wild Card race is still very close in the American League.

On this date in 1692, Giles Corey was pressed to death in the Salem witch trials. On this date in 1881, President James Garfield died of wounds suffered on July 2. In 1934, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested for the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindgergh, Jr. In 1952, the U.S. barred Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country. In 1957, the first American underground nuclear bomb test occurred. In 1959, Nikita Khrushchev was barred from visiting Disneyland. In 1970, the first Glastonbury Festival was held. In 1982, the first recorded emoticons were posted by Scott Fahlman on the Carnegie Melton University Bulletin Board System. They were 🙂 and 😦 .

Today’s birthdays include Leon Jaworski (American Watergate special prosecutor), Ferry Porsche (Austrian automobile pioneer), Sir William Golding (English writer), Duke Snider (baseball player), Adam West (American actor), Brook Benton (American singer), David McCallum (Scottish actor), Brian Epstein (English music manager, The Beatles), Paul Williams (American composer), Bill Medley (American singer/songwriter, The Righteous Brothers), Mama Cass Elliot (American musician), Freda Payne (American singer/actress), Joe Morgan (American baseball player/announcer, born in Bonhom, TX), Jeremy Irons (English actor), Twiggy (English model), Lita Ford (American musician), Ken Rosenthal (American sportswriter), Cheri Oteri (American actress/comedian), Jim Abbott (American baseball player), Jimmy Fallon (American actor/comedian), and Sara and Tegan Quin (Canadian musicians).

There are a couple of favorites of mine in the list today. Mama Cass Elliot was one of The Mamas and the Papas. She was born on this date in 1941. They had quite a few hits in their heyday, but my favorite song of theirs didn’t get a lot of airplay. It’s called “I Call Your Name.” Here’s a clip of them performing that song at the Monterrey Pop Festival. I swear Mama Cass must be high as a kite.

Adam West was born on this date in 1928, making him 87 years old today. For me, he is most famous for his role in the sixties TV show, Batman, where he, of course, played Batman. Most recently, he has played himself as the Mayor in Family Guy. Here is a short clip from one of the Batman episodes where Batman dances. You can briefly see Frank Gorshin (The Riddler) stick his head up out of a trap door in the parking lot.


Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 104:27-28.

These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

“Now if he supply wild and brute beasts with sustenance in due season, by which they are fed to the full, his blessings will doubtless be to us an inexhaustible source of plenty, provided we ourselves do not hinder it from flowing to us by our unbelief.” (p 263)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The next touchstone under “What Prayer Gives” is “Strength–Prayer as Spiritual Union with God.”

J.I. Packer writes, “Prayer is a means to energy. Spiritual alertness, vigor, and confidence are the regular spin-offs from earnest prayer on any subject. The Puritans spoke of prayer as oiling the wheels of the soul.”

As Christians, it is said that we are united with Christ. John 15 describes us as being grafted into a vine, the vine being Christ. The result is to be that we appear to be more and more like Christ, the true Vine.

In Ephesians 6, a famous passage, we are told by Paul to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. The metaphor that follows has been vigorously preached for hundreds of years. “The basic idea is that all the benefits of Christ’s salvation–pardon, peace, God’s love for us–that have been objectively secured for us must be personally appropriated for daily life.” These things are all abstractions “until they are inwardly received for our actual use.”

How do we do this? In Ephesians 6:18, Paul “comes out of the metaphor and says,” praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Many people try to list prayer as part of the “armor” that is referred to in the previous verse, but that simply doesn’t work. Each of the other items is associated in some way with a piece of armor; the helmet, the breastplate, the belt, the sword, the shoes, and so on. “When he comes to the end, he just says pray, pray, pray in the Spirit, pray with alertness, pray all kinds of ways, pray all the time.”

“Prayer is the way that all of the things we believe in and that Christ has won for us actually become our strength.”

Father, may your Spirit remind me daily that prayer is necessary to appropriate my spiritual armor each day. I so often forget to consider this, and head out the door in a state that might as well be naked. And when this happens, I eventually fail in some way, during the day. Help me to strengthen myself with prayer each day. My desire is that prayer be like breathing; something that is absolutely necessary for life, and that I do not have to struggle to remember to do. I don’t have to tell myself to breathe. In fact, I have to make myself not breathe, for example, when under water. May prayer be like this, to the point that I don’t have to remind myself to do it.

I pray for this day, Father, that our errands would be done safely and joyfully. Yes, joyfully. There are things that must be done, and they are, at times, unpleasant, but let us approach them with joy, your joy. Keep us safe as we go. May our worship and prayer gatherings today be fruitful, engaging, and glorifying to you. And give us rest for the new week that approaches.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Prayer brings strength. And it helps us put on our “armor,” which has been provided by the Lord.

Grace and peace, friends.

God’s Well-Timed Grace

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 19, 2015.

The Word of the Day, from, is petrous. Petrous is an adjective, meaning, “noting or pertaining to the hard dense portion of the temporal bone, containing the internal auditory organs; petrosal,” That’s an anatomical reference. It also means, “like stone, especially in hardness; stony; rocky.”

Today is Daiquiri Day (that’s a tough word to remember how to spell). Apparently, this drink was invented in a town by the same name, near Santiago, Cuba. With temperatures hitting triple digits in Texas, it would be a good day for a refreshing Daiquiri.

Our evaluation appointment with Stephanie, yesterday, went very well, we believe. The psychologist with whom we met was very good. I let her know this, too, during the time we spoke to her without Stephanie in the room. She had a very bright, positive, countenance, and was very good at drawing Stephanie out. This was obvious, because, when we talked to her, it seems that Stephanie told her pretty much exactly the same things that we checked off on the form we were given. The psychologist told us that we had given her very good information. It will take about two weeks to get the report, which will let us know if Stephanie is eligible for additional service.

We barely had time to get Stephanie home and get up to church on time, to begin preparations for the evening’s activities. But we made it. The prayer gathering, in my opinion, was extremely good. There were some deep prayers that happened, and I think that there was a strong sense of God’s presence in the room. Our worship gathering was good, as Jacob finished the second part of what I still believe to be the best sermon I have ever heard. He finished talking about Psalm 37:1-7. Last week, the two points were that we need to trust in the Lord and do good, and that we need to delight ourselves in the Lord, which means that we should treasure God above all things. This week’s two points were that we need to commit our way to the Lord, which essentially means wrapping up our entire lives in a bundle and handing it over to him, and don’t take it back. The problem is that tend to be okay with giving everything over, but we frequently take it back when things get iffy. The last point was that we need to be still before the Lord. The passage finished up with the same idea that it began with. “Fret not.”

Today, we have grocery shopping, and then Christi is going to lunch with some friends from Supermedia/Verizon at 1:00, during which time I plan to go see Jurassic World. It also starts at 1:00 at the theater that I currently like to go to.

After all that is done, if we have the energy, we might go bowling. We are also considering joining a bowling league for the fall. We are currently looking at a couple of leagues that are on Sunday evenings, beginning in September.

On this date in 1692, five women (Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, and Rebecca Nurse) were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1879, Doc Holliday killed his first man, after the man shot up his saloon in New Mexico.

Today’s birthdays include Lizzie Borden (took an ax, and so on . . .), Charles Horace Mayo (American surgeon/founder of clinic), A.J. Cronin (Scottish writer), George McGovern (American politician), Vikki Carr (American singer), Brian May (English guitarist/Queen), Beverly Archer (American actress), Lisa Lampanelli (American comedienne), Anthony Edwards (American actor), Benedict Cumberbatch (British actor), Vinessa Shaw (American actress), and Jared Padalecki (American actor/Supernatural).

Brian May, guitar player and co-founding member of Queen, was born on this date in 1647, and turns 68 today. Here is their song “’39,” which, over time, has become my favorite Queen song. Brian May actually sings lead on this song.

Joe Flynn, Lefty Frizzell, and Bill Bright are among those who passed away on July 19.


As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
Psalm 84:6

” . . . those who have true heart religion, and who sincerely serve God, direct their steps to the sanctuary of God, not only when the way is easy and cheerful, under the shade and through delightful paths, but also when they must walk through rugged and barren deserts.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame, p. 201)

(From Solid Joys)

In the midst of my continued reading about prayer, comes this gem from Solid Joys, called, “His Timing Is Perfect.”

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Any kind of ministry that we do is in the future. It may be a decade away, a month away, or it may be mere moments away. The point is, we always have time to fret about our ability to perform ministry. “When this happens, we must turn to prayer.”

“Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry. Timing is everything.”

What if the needed grace came too early? Or, even worse, what if it came too late? Piper lets us in on a translation secret. He says that the more traditional translation (cited above) hides a precious promise. He gives us a more literal rendering of the Greek text. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help.” Rather than simply “grace to help in time of need,” it becomes much more urgent “grace for a well-timed help.”

“The point is that prayer is the way to find future grace for a well-timed help.” The grace that we need always comes from the “throne of grace,” just in time. Our King, who sits on that “throne of grace,” “sets the times by his own authority.”

As we recognize that God’s timing is perfect, we rarely find that it is the same as our timing. Moses wrote in the Psalms, For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. On a global level, we see in Acts 17:26 that God sets the time periods and boundaries of the nations: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. But on a more personal level, in Psalm 31:15, David says, My times are in your hand.

So when we are concerned about the timing of God’s future grace, we must turn to the throne of grace, in prayer. “Nothing can hinder God’s plan to send grace when it will be best for us. Future grace is always well-timed.”

Father, may we truly understand the truth of this little verse, and know that your grace is always perfectly timed. Let us turn to your throne of grace when we are in need, sending up prayers that we might eagerly receive the future grace, that will always come just in time for the need that we will experience. When we relate this to ministry, whatever ours might be, this is nothing short of phenomenal! If we truly believe the truth of this verse, we would never fret about anything relating to ministry. I pray that Christians the world over would know this truth and understand how it relates to them, from the aspect of world missions all the way down to the smallest detail of their lives. Your grace is “well-timed help,” Lord! Hallelujah!

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s safety as she runs errands for us and her parents, as well as for when she drives to Grapevine later for her lunch. I pray that she will have a good time reconnecting with old friends and work associates, many of whom she has not seen in quite some time. I pray for the rest of our day, that we will have some good rest as we prepare for the week ahead.

May your grace rain down on the rest of our family, as well. For Stephanie, as we wait for the results from yesterday’s interviews, for Rachel and Justin, as they go into another new week, and for my mother, as she continues to take care of business in her life. May we all know your well-timed grace each day.

Your grace is sufficient.

Having never seen this particular rendering of this verse before, I am grateful for John Piper’s word today. Even the reading, itself, is “well-timed.”


Grace and peace, friends.

Ready To Live and Die For Him

“Perhaps the only honest measure of the recklessness of my confidence is my readiness for martyrdom. Not only my willingness to die for him and the sake of the gospel, but to live for him one day at a time.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 1! March! That means February is over! I don’t care if it’s going to drop all the way to 20 degrees tomorrow! It won’t be February, so it will be okay! Also. . . 30 days until Opening Day!

Today is World Compliment Day. If observed by everyone, today would be the most positive day in the history of ever! By the way, I love what you’ve done with your blog theme! 😀

Work days are threatening to be extremely stressful. Next week will be the busiest week since I have been working on this account. They tell me they have had weeks like this before, but they also had more people then. Due to the account going away, we have reduced personnel to a bare minimum. Should be interesting. On a positive note, I have an interview with the ops manager of one of our other facilities, Monday morning at 10:00! He called me yesterday. That was totally unexpected. Here’s hoping we get along great, and he has a spot for me that can wait until mid-April.

Christi didn’t hear anything from prospective jobs yesterday, but has a phone interview Monday afternoon, rescheduled from the electrical emergency that occurred last Wednesday. We are hoping she will hear something from BNSF before then, as well.


It was on this date in 1692 that the tragic Salem Witch Hunt began, spurred by the ignorant diagnosis of a doctor, corroborated by a nine-year-old (Elizabeth Parris) and an eleven-year-old (Abigail Williams). It all began the month before when the two girls began “experiencing fits and other mysterious maladies.” The doctor decided that they were “suffering from the effects of witchcraft.” Others soon joined in with their mysterious afflictions, and suddenly Salem was awash with a frenzy of accusations and incriminations, none being based on anything remotely resembling fact. Initially, on this date, Sarah Goode, Sarah Osbourne, and an Indian slave from Barbados, named Tituba, were accused. The slave, “possibly under coercion” (ya think??), confessed later that day. This, of course, encouraged the PTBs to seek out more “witches.” Most of the accused were middle-aged women, but there were a few men, as well, and, reportedly, even one four-year-old child (??). The first to actually be convicted (not until June) was Bridget Bishop, who was, subsequently, hanged on June 10. Seventeen more were hanged and one man was “pressed” to death (crushed by rocks piled on top of him until he died). In all, 19 innocent people were killed because of the sensationalistic testimonies that began with a couple of pre-adolescent girls.

“In October 1692, Governor William Phipps of Massachusetts ordered the Court of Oyer and Terminer dissolved and replaced with the Superior Court of Judicature, which forbade the type of sensational testimony allowed in the earlier trials. Executions ceased, and the Superior Court eventually released all those awaiting trial and pardoned those sentenced to death. The Salem witch trials, which resulted in the executions of 19 innocent women and men, had effectively ended.”

It is my understanding that at least one of the girls later recanted. Too little, too late, though. For the record, no “witches” were ever burned in the U.S.

It all reminds me of this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

There are 279 names on the birthday list for today at (I began providing the link, just in case you want to look at it yourself. You might find some you know that I did not include.) Among those “famous” birthdays are Sandro Botticelli, Renaissance painter, 1445, Glenn Miller, trombone player/bandleader, 1904, David Niven, actor, 1910, Harry Caray, sportscaster, 1914, Dinah Shore, singer, 1917, William M. Gaines, publisher (MAD Magazine), 1922, Pete Rozelle, NFL commissioner, 1926, Harry Belafonte, singer, 1927, Sonny James, singer, 1929, Joan Hackett, actress, 1933, Jim Ed Brown, country singer, 1934, Roger Daltrey, singer, 1944, Alan Thicke, actor, 1947, Ron Howard, actor/director, 1954, Catherine Bach, actress, 1954, Dan Michaels, musician/producer/lyricon player extraordinaire (The Choir), 1963, and Jensen Ackles, actor (Supernatural), 1978.

Dan Michaels is a wonderful person who happens to be the sax/lyricon player in one of my all-time favorite groups, The Choir. I’ve met him several times, and he is a very kind and friendly man. And he has an awesome beard. (At least he did in 2012.) He can be heard wailing on the sax in this studio recording of “Circle Slide,” the title track of that album from 1990.


(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Psalm 147:1
Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the
gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.

Psalm 146:4-5
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!
Psalm 71:1

“Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works
and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that I, putting
away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of public
worship, and grant as well that my Sabbath upon earth may be a preparation
for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “No Reservations.”

“Reckless confidence for me is the unshakable conviction that Jesus and the Father love me in a way that defies imagination.” I must accept, “without reservation,” all that my Father has ordained for me. I must have the attitude of Christ in the Garden, when he prayed, Not as I will, but as you will. Perhaps I can even mimic the prayer of Dag Hammarskjold, “For all that has been, thanks. For all that shall be, yes.”

“Perhaps the only honest measure of the recklessness of my confidence is my readiness for martyrdom. Not only my willingness to die for him and the sake of the gospel, but to live for him one day at a time.”

And we have confidence in the Lord about you,
that you are doing and will do the things that we command.

2 Thessalonians 3:4

Father, these readings continue to stir my heart deeply. Every day, it seems that you point me further down this path of self-denial, along with a reckless abandonment of trusting in you. My confidence in your ability to take care of me is growing daily. I find that I am not nearly as stressed out by Christi losing her job as I might have been a year ago. It helps, of course, that she’s already getting interviews. But even so, my confidence is strong. I pray that you keep bringing me these readings, and pointing me toward scriptures that drive this point into me until I finally get it. Don’t let up on me until I’m what/who you desire for me to be. And don’t let up then, either! I trust in you, Father!

I pray for this day. Soon, we will head out for our weekly Saturday errands. I pray that you keep us safe as we are out and about. I lift up our weekly worship gathering for this evening. May we truly worship you with all our hearts. As we gather for prayer, beforehand, I ask that we would pray diligently for the matters at hand. Give our pastor wisdom, courage, and strength as he leads us.

Keep me mindful, throughout this day and the next, as we rest, of your care for us, your love for us, and for the needs of all around me, whether they be physical needs, spiritual needs, or otherwise. May I always be ready to pray when a need comes to my attention.

Your grace is sufficient.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die.” When we “choose” the cross, we must be ready to both die and live for Christ.

Grace and peace, friends.

Union With Him

Good morning. It’s Friday morning October 12, 2012. Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to the most wonderful woman in the world.

I’m sitting on the deck of the Cedar Cabin at Paluxy River Bed Cabins, enjoying the peace and serenity. No, I’m not watching a Joss Whedon movie. I’m writing this on my iPhone, on the WP app.

Today is “International Moment of Frustration Scream Day.” I am NOT anticipating any of those today.

On this in 1492, Christopher Columbus’s expedition landed in the Caribbean at The Bahamas. He thought he had reached South Asia.
This date in 1582 does not exist in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, due to the implementation of the Gregorian calendar!
On this date in 1692, the Salem Witch trials were ended by a letter from the Massachusetts governor. No “witches” were burned in Salem.
On this date in 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in US schools, as part of a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.
On this date in 1979, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy was published. Written by Douglass Adams, it was the first book of the “trilogy.”
Today’s birthdays include Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872, Aleister Crowley, 1875, Luciano Pavarotti, 1935, Tony Kubek, 1935, Hugh Jackman, 1968, Kirk Cameron, 1970.

Today, we plan to visit the “dump show” at the Glen Rose Expo Ctr. That’s pretty much it.

Father, I pray that you teach me something this morning as I look into your word in this peaceful setting.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 119:121-128. Since I’m not on my ‘puter, I won’t be pasting the whole segment.

123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
How many of us, as time goes by, find ourselves long more and more for Christ’s return?

124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!
One of the things I love about the Psalms is the veritable plethora (yes, I just said that) of ready-made prayers, such as the above two verses. I can simply echo those statements to the Lord, and they come straight from my heart.

Today’s reading in My Utmost For His Highest is called “Getting Into God’s Stride.” The reference is Genesis 5:24, which says, “Enoch walked with God.” A rather astounding passage.

Chambers says, “The test of a man’s religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting on.” If you have been following me through this book, you know that this is a recurring theme. It is not an easy thing to get into God’s stride. Sometimes, it requires a sort of “second wind,” spiritually (or third). Once we find ourselves in stride with God, his life is all there is in us; the only characteristic that will manifest itself. In my life, I have known one, maybe two people who fit that description.

“It is difficult to get into stride with God, because when we start walking with Him we find He has outstripped us before we have taken three steps.” His ways are not our ways and we must get used to his ways. Jesus did not work from his own standpoint, but only from his Father’s. But know this: God will not wait for us!. If we tarry, we will find ourselves in his dust, and an opportunity missed!

We learn Spiritual truth in the atmosphere of the Spirit, not by “intellectual reasoning.” Things become possible that were not possible. “Getting into the stride of God means nothing less than union with Himself.” But this does not happen quickly. For example, I’ve been at it for years. We must not give up!

Father, as I sit in this beautiful place, I first give you thanks for letting us get away like this. Thank you for Christi and for 27 years of marriage, hopefully a positive example for others in this world today. The peacefulness of this setting makes it easier to focus on you and your word.

I pray for a deeper union with you in my life. I deeply desire to “get into stride with you.” I’ve been left in your dust before. It’s not a good feeling, and I don’t want to experience it again! That’s why I keep praying, please don’t let me mess it up this time. I want to know you more! Teach me your ways! “Give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!” I don’t know how else to say this…you know my heart, Lord.

Give me wisdom as I ponder a possible opportunity that was presented to me Tuesday.

I pray for this day. May Christi and I continue to experience your perfect peace during this time; a total absence of stress, which is exactly what I feel at this moment! Thank you, Lord!

I will seek that perfect union with God in Christ. I want to get into his stride.

Grace and peace, friends.