Deep and Wide

Today is Saturday, May 30, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,724

35 days until July 4

Let’s see . . . C’s doctor called yesterday and told her what she had already learned from the lab report that she received. No Diverticulitis, only Diverticulosis. Strangely, there was no further instruction. So C persisted a little bit, and the lady who called said she would talk to the doctor.

Luna (cat) continues to get bolder and wander around the house. She seems fearless, jumping from surfaces at least ten times her height. Seriously . . . can you imagine jumping off of a two-story apartment roof, landing on your feet, and scurrying away?

Neither can I.

I took this picture last night. Luna loves this fuzzy brown blanket (it’s no wonder . . . these things feel amazing) and falls asleep on it. Tessie (dog) fell asleep right next to her.

Luna really blends in, but those little spots of white are her paw and . . . well, I’m not really sure. Heh. Anyway, that’s her.

We have our WW virtual meeting in about 45 minutes. I’m not sure what’s happening after today. The last communication we had from WW about meetings was that the virtual meetings would continue until May 30. That’s today. Hopefully, we will find out something today. I’m not in a hurry to mingle with other people, yet, other than our small church gathering, which will be happening tomorrow. I’m more comfortable being around those people, perhaps because I know them better. Anyway, I expect to post another two pounds or so loss for this week, based on my initial weight after getting up, this morning. I haven’t done my “official” weigh-in, yet. To date, I have lost 40 pounds since we started WW, at the first of February.

C did the grocery shopping yesterday afternoon, so we don’t have to do that today. However, the store had absolutely none of our preferred soft drink choices (Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper, Cherry Coke Zero, and Sprite Zero). That’s the second weekend in a row that this was the case. So one of us may visit a different store today to see if we can find those.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

Attention, all! See the marvels of GOD! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
(Psalms 46:8 MSG)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the weekend, to rest up for another work week
  2. That You make life enjoyable
  3. That You care for us
  4. That You are a stronghold in the day of trouble
  5. That You are GOOD!

O LORD, . . . answer us when we call.
(Psalms 20:9 ESV)

Strong God, I’m watching you do it, I can always count on you.
(Psalms 59:9 MSG)

GOD’s plan for the world stands up, all his designs are made to last.
(Psalms 33:11 MSG)

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
(John 14:23-26 ESV)

You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah. Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips— for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?” But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision. O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
(Psalms 59:5-9 ESV)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(Kyrie)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”


So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
(Ecclesiastes 2:17-25 ESV)

“Without God as our center, life’s pleasures and sorrows lead only to disillusionment.” (Sheridan Voysey, Our Daily Bread)


Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
(Psalms 34:8 ESV)

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
(Nahum 1:7 ESV)

Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
(Philippians 4:5-7 MSG)

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” What a wonderful statement, perhaps even a promise. I don’t see it so much as a promise, though, as simply a statement of fact! It is an indisputable fact that God cares for you.

There are so many of these facts in the Bible. Things that we might call promises, but are so much more than that. If we can truly “taste and see that the LORD is good,” we just might be able to live in the light of these facts. Take the one from Nahum (how many of us have read anything from Nahum in the last year or so?), that says, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.”

Belief. That’s what it takes. And, my friends, I struggle with that daily. “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” I tend to cry out that phrase daily.

As Paul suggests, we should not be anxious, but, instead, pray. Take those anxieties to Him. As Peterson paraphrased, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Paul prays this for us, in Ephesians:

I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength— that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19 MSG)


Father, help me to taste and see that You are good. Help me to believe that You are perfectly good, the embodiment of the very idea of “good.” You are a stronghold in the day of trouble, and You do care for us! I pray, along with Paul, that all of us who call the name of Jesus will live in this and understand “the extravagant dimensions” of His love! Help us to know the breadth, the length, the depth, and the height of Your love for us in Christ Jesus!

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to not be anxious.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

I Want to Know You

Today is Friday, May 29, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,723

36 days until July 4th

There’s not a lot to report, this morning. Unfortunately, the “free” lunch at work today is going to be pizza. I won’t be partaking, as one slice of pepperoni pizza is a whopping ten WW points! My typical lunch, at work, is around four points. And normally more food than a single slice of pizza. I have been able to adapt the sandwiches with chips, and they are pretty filling. But a couple slices of pizza for twenty points? No thank you. I’m grateful for the company-provided lunches, so don’t misunderstand. My health journey is more important, though.

Also? Tomorrow is my weigh-in day for WW. If they were providing pizza on, say, Wednesday, it might be a different story. Hahaha!

As of yet, we have no plans for the weekend, other than our usual grocery shopping. We are, as previously stated, planning to meet together for our worship time, Sunday. We are really looking forward to that. Except for, you know, having to put on real pants. I’m not looking forward to that part.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD, who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
(Psalms 135:1-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That You are my God, and that You hear my prayers
  2. That, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10)
  3. For the gift of the Holy Spirit, celebrated this coming Sunday
  4. That You know the number of the stars, and all of their names (Psalm 147)
  5. That You, Creator of the universe, desire intimacy with mankind! O, what is man, that You are mindful of us?

I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
(Psalms 140:6 ESV)

For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
(Psalms 97:9 ESV)

Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done.
(Psalms 64:9 ESV)

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
(John 20:19-23 ESV)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
(Psalms 147:1-12 ESV)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.”


For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD of hosts is his name: “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” Thus says the LORD: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 31:33-37 ESV)

Jeremiah considers “the immensity of God as Creator and Sustainer of the earth and beyond.” Here, the Creator of the universe is promising that all mankind will know Him intimately. The beautiful words in verse 34 promise forgiveness and that our sins will be remembered no more.

“We’ll never finish exploring the immeasurable vastness of the heavens and depths of the earth’s foundations. But we can stand in awe at the complexity of the universe and trust the maker of the moon–and everything else.”

(Xochitl Dixon, Our Daily Bread)

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name, in all the earth!” What are we that You are mindful of us?? Yet, You are, and You declare that we will know You, intimately! I fall on my knees in awe and amazement of You and Your words and works. I want to know You, Lord. I want to see Your face and hear Your voice. I want to know You.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to know You!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Reflect His Loving Heart

Today is Thursday, May 28, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you.

Day 22,722

37 days until July 4th.

C already got the lab report from her CT scan yesterday. The good news that it ruled out the worst case scenario. The not-so-good news is that it really didn’t tell us anything new. However, the doctor has not contacted her, yet, so he may have more information. It is still saying that she has diverticulosis. But it has, apparently, not progressed into diverticulitis, yet. We’ll see what the doctor has to say, probably today or tomorrow.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
(Psalms 96:2-4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the good news from C’s CT scan, yesterday
  2. For Your abundant mercy (Psalm 69:16)
  3. For Your commands to generosity, and the promised rewards
  4. For Pentecost
  5. For timely words of wisdom, provided by Your Spirit

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
(Psalms 69:16 ESV)

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation—
(Psalms 18:46 ESV)

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
(Psalms 104:31-32 ESV)

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
(Acts 2:1-3 ESV)

The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
(Psalms 33:13-22 ESV)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”


“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
(Luke 6:32-38 ESV)

“We don’t give to get things; we give because God delights in our generosity. Our love for others reflects His loving heart toward us.”
(Remi Oyedele, Our Daily Bread)


To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
(Proverbs 15:23 ESV)

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
(Proverbs 3:27 ESV)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
(Romans 12:15 ESV)

“Father, give me the words that others need to hear.”
(Pam Kidd, Daily Guideposts 2020)

There’s a lot of talk about doing good in these verses (both this set and the ones from Our Daily Bread).

Jesus frequently repeats His commands to love our enemies and to do good to those who “hate” us. This speaks volumes to my heart, especially in today’s political climate in the USA. Indeed, it is difficult to show love to someone who so hatefully proclaims their opinion in social media, especially when that someone claims to be a Christ-follower.

But if you are truly following Christ, your message would not be one of hate, would it? Also but, as I’ve said before, if you hate the haters, you’re also a hater.

So I pray. I pray for Christ to inhabit my words and my thoughts, via the Holy Spirit. I pray for the Holy Trinity to be active in my life and deeds. There’s at least one particular person at work that I struggle to love. I need to overcome that, and the only way to do so is through Christ. I am a Christ-follower. Therefore, I must love my “enemies.”

It is not an option.

It is not negotiable.


Father, I still need Your help. As if there will ever be a time when I do not need Your help. So the word “still” shouldn’t be in that first sentence. I need Your help. Sometimes, that is all I know how to pray.

HELP! Help me! “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” God, help me to love the unlovable. Help me to do good to all people, even to those who might hate me. Help me (and thank You) be more generous with my resources. Also, direct me, show me, where to share those resources.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us praise as we petition.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)

He Sets the Lonely in Families

God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
(Psalms 68:6 NIV)

Today is Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,721

38 days until July 4 (the next U.S. holiday)

C has a doctor appointment, this morning, to get CT scan on her stomach, as we continue to try to diagnose her digestive issues. She was already diagnosed with diverticulosis. The doctor has opined that it may have turned into diverticulitis. He has also stated that, depending on what this scan reveals, he may order a colonoscopy. Naturally, we are concerned with what might be found in these tests.

Luna (cat) continues to embed herself in our hearts. Yesterday, she fell asleep on a soft blanket, right next to Rocky (also cat). She seems to have taken to him as her protector, and he apparently doesn’t mind one bit.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
(Psalms 96:9 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the life that You have blessed us with, and Your presence in this life
  2. That You place the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6)
  3. For the example of the Holy Trinity, the perfect example of a loving relationship
  4. For what Your Church has meant to me, all of my life
  5. For Your great love that never fails

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
(Psalms 67:1 ESV)

Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
(Psalms 119:164 ESV)

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
(Psalms 25:8 ESV)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
(John 7:37-39 ESV)

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 117:1-2 ESV)

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
(Psalms 68:1-6 NIV)

Sometimes, it is said that, in this world, the strong eat the weak. We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “Only the strong survive.” Well, verse 5 shows us how God feels about the weak and defenseless. And this is not the only place in Scripture we see this. The New Testament also has allusions to the thought that God cares for the widows and orphans, the poor and the needy.

Because God cares for them, “we should be famous for sacrificially loving the poor and marginalized. This reflects the Gospel itself, for God does not call people to earn salvation by strength. He came in weakness to die for us, to save only those who admit their spiritual helplessness.”

We also thrive in a family. Therefore, the Church of God is a “family” for those without earthly families. Again, while it is more than just these, the widows and orphans are perfect examples. We are united by the “life blood” of the Holy Spirit. In God’s family, we all have fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, even children. “God sets the lonely in families.”

But note the warning at the end. “The rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

“Lord, I praise you that you created us in your image–to live well only in deep, loving relationships. Thank you for your great gift of the church, your family. Help me make my church not merely a club or association but a band of brothers and sisters, especially for those who are otherwise alone. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

I might add, here, that the perfect example of this type of family relationship is the Holy Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in the perfect relationship, an example of perfect love for all of us.


Father, I praise You for Your family. Thank You for the example of the Holy Trinity. Help us to love each other the way You, the Son, and the Spirit love one another. Thank You for putting the lonely in families. There have been times in my past when the Church was all I had, beside my parents. I’m also grateful for the loving earthly family You placed me in. What a blessing, as I realize that there are many who do not have such a family.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to love as the Trinity loves.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Gracious Words Are Like A Honeycomb

Today is Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,720

39 days until July 4

Yesterday was a strange day, unfortunately. It wasn’t a bad day. But I started trying to mess with Pro Tools and see if I could record something. I thought it would be a good idea to buy this book (Kindle version), Pro Tools For Dummies. I’ve had some of those “dummies” books before. They’re pretty good. I would up returning this one for a refund. It certainly wasn’t for “dummies.” Allegedly eight books in one (coming in around 800 pages!), it was well into book four before the act of recording was even suggested. Needless to say, I never got anything recorded. I did manage to get some sound from my keyboard through the software and into the speakers. But it wouldn’t record anything. So I gave up. Not permanently, I don’t think. I have a buddy who’s real good at this stuff. Maybe post-pandemic (if such a thing exists), I can get him over here to help me. The edition of Pro Tools I have, though, is on a subscription basis, paid for a year. If I don’t get something figured out by the time my subscription ends, I think I’ll ditch it. I’m too old to be stressing out over something like this. Maybe I’m just supposed to play the music, not record it.

The rest of the day was pretty much chilling out. I played some on the PS4 (currently playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, as I never finished it), we had eggs and accessories for brunch, and everyone did their own thing for dinner. We watched a couple episodes of Almost Paradise, with Christian Kane. It continues to entertain.

Sadly (or maybe not), it’s back to work this morning. C is still working from home, at least for another week or so, but they are talking about going back to the office soon.

All those thunderstorms that had been predicted for this week seem to have vanished. And it’s only supposed to get up to 77 degrees for a high today. Lovely!


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Enter, Lord Christ–
I have joy in Your coming.
You have given me life;
and I welcome Your coming.
I turn now to face You,
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord;
be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
be blessed and be bright,
my neighbors, my loved ones
be blessed in Your sight.
You have given me life
and I welcome Your coming.
Be with me, Lord,
I have joy, I have joy.”
(Celtic Daily Prayer)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
(Psalms 51:15 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For a new work week (and shorter), with new opportunities to serve God and people
  2. For a cool day, weather-wise
  3. For gracious words that are sweeter than honey
  4. That You will raise us up, swallowing our mortality in real life
  5. That You have blessed us that we might bless others

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalms 119:18 ESV)

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
(Psalms 86:12 ESV)

For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?—
(Psalms 18:31 ESV)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
(Matthew 7:15-20 ESV)

Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.
(Psalms 119:137-144 ESV)

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
(Proverbs 16:1-2 ESV)

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
(Proverbs 16:21-24 ESV)

“We all can benefit by gracing our opinions and thoughts with godly and prudent sweetness. In Solomon’s words, ‘To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue’ (v. 1).

“What is your way of speaking when talking about a hot and divisive topic? When you allow God’s Spirit to sweeten your tongue, what changes in your words?” (Patricia Raybon, Our Daily Bread)


Father, throughout this day, may I season my words with grace, and may they be as sweet as honey from the comb. If I must discuss a divisive topic, may I speak with words that come from Your Spirit, and may my heart be reflective of those words.

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us praise as we petition.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Praise and Petition

Today is Monday, May 25, 2020, in the seventh week of Easter. Peace be with you!

Day 22,719

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It is the day when we remember all military service people who have died. To my knowledge, I had two grandfathers and an uncle who served. There may be more that I’m unaware of.

We had a great virtual worship gathering, yesterday morning. We discussed three passages in Paul’s epistles, each one being a different prayer that he prayed for those who would read the letter. Then we finished by looking at the “Lord’s Prayer” from Matthew 6. We spent a good deal of time praying for each other, afterward. And we have planned to reunite next Sunday at Brandon and Kristin’s house. A Zoom gathering will still be available for those who are not ready to meet together, yet. Those who wish to wear masks will do so. “Social distancing” will be encouraged.

C and I have been watching a show from the WGN network, called “Almost Paradise.” It features one of our favorite actors, Christian Kane, as a “retired” DEA agent who has bought a gift shop in a beachside resort in the Philippines. The problem is, he just can’t seem to get away from the crime and drama, so he winds up helping the local police department in each episode. Christian Kane plays Eliot Spencer in “Leverage” (which, by the way, is scheduled to come back sans Timothy Hutton), and Alex Walker, his character in “Almost Paradise,” seems to be pretty much the same character, except in this show, he doesn’t take all the ammo out of the guns. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Kane first appeared on our radar when he played Lindsey McDonald in twenty-one episodes of “Angel,” the “Buffy” spin-off.

Today, there are no plans. We are, of course, off work. There’s a nice steady rain going on outside. Actually, according to the forecast, it’s going to rain pretty much for the rest of May. Yesterday, the forecast showed rain all the way until June 2. That has backed off a little, as of this morning.

As mentioned, previously, today is also the 63rd anniversary of my parents’ wedding. My father passed from this life to the next a little over five years ago. My mother was actually able to get out of the house last Thursday, when she went to Stephenville with a couple of friends. I don’t believe she got out of the car. Her friend’s son needed to take care of some business down there (I think it’s “down”), and suggested that his mom and mine travel with him. She had a great time. That makes me happy.


TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father."
Charles de Foucauld

Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
(Psalms 96:2-3 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the gentle rain outside
  2. For the good discussion we had in yesterday’s worship gathering
  3. For Your commandment to love one another
  4. That You call us “friends”
  5. That You have not rejected my prayers or withheld Your love from me (Psalm 66:20)

O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
(Psalms 5:3 ESV)

Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
(Psalms 21:13 ESV)

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
(Psalms 96:11-13 ESV)

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
(Luke 1:39-45 ESV)

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
(Psalms 147:7-11 ESV)

Even so come, Lord Jesus!

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

(John 15:9-17 ESV)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
(1 John 4:7-11 ESV)


I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
(Psalms 66:17-20 NIV)

There are two principles of prayer represented in this passage. First, praise should always accompany petition. The psalmist cries out to the Lord, but also has praise on his tongue. “Expressions of need should go along with confession of God’s greatness . . . and thanks to him ahead of any answer for whatever his wise response and timing will be. This settles the heart even before you get any answer.”

I like this notion of settling the heart. If I decide, ahead of time, to be satisfied with whatever answer God gives me, in response to my prayer, it will be that much better for me.

The other principle seen is “not perfect holiness but a sincere willingness to turn away from sin” (see verse 18). Joshua learned, in chapter seven of the bible book named after him, that it is useless to ask God for something when you are being disobedient.

“Lord, show me my ‘cherished’ sins–the ones I confess but into which I keep falling. This is because I want to stop but I don’t want to stop. Don’t let me dishonor you by being divided in my loyalties. Amen.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)


Father, as I have prayed countless times, teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your name. Help me to stand firm against temptations to fall into the same old sins again and again. I do not cherish them in my heart. To be sure, I loathe them. Yet, as Paul describes in Romans 7, I find myself doing what I do not want to do. Yet, if I truly did not want to do it, I would not do it. Mold me and make me, after Thy will!

Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us praise as we petition.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:
(Job 5:8-9 ESV)