The Domain of Drudgery

“The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” – H. L. Mencken

The word of the day, from, is iatrogenic, means, “(of a medical disorder) caused by the diagnosis, manner, or treatment of a physician.”

Today is Smile Power Day. Smile at people today. Make them wonder what you’re up to.

Did I mention that C got a raise? I can’t remember. That happened Monday, I think. It’s a nice one, too.

C’s step-dad is going to be moving, soon. I think the move is scheduled on June 25. He’s moving to a place that is closer to his son and daughter-in-law, and will have some assistance for him.

This is also palindrome week. It’s a little more than a week, as it actually began last Friday. A palindrome is, of course, a word or phrase (or in this case, dates) that is the same forwards and backwards. For example, “a car, a man, a maraca.” Obviously, punctuation does not have to be the same, just the letters. “A nut for a jar of tuna.” “Aibohphobia” (the fear of palindromes). Anyway, the reason this is palindrome week is that, from June 10, 2016 to June 19, 2016, the dates, in mm/ff/yy format, are palindromes! 6/10/16, 6/11/16, 6/12/16, and so on.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us!
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalm 80:1-7

From the very beginning of creation, when God said, “Let there be light,” to the end of Revelation, that says, “They will see his face, . . . And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light,” we see the mighty acts of God “under the image of light, his shining forth in creation and redemption.”

“‘Light of light, enlighten me, now anew the day is dawning; sun of grace, the shadows flee; brighten Thou my Sabbath morning; with Thy joyous sunshine blest, happy is my day of rest’ (Benjamin Schmolck, ‘Light of Light, Enlighten Me,’ translated by Catherine Winkworth). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Get a Move On

. . .make every effort to supplement . . .
2 Peter 1:5

In verse 4, Peter tells us that we have “become partakers of the divine nature.” Chambers says that we now need to “screw your attention down and form habits, give diligence, concentration.” We are not born with habits; “we have to form habits on the basis of the new life God has put into us.” The exciting thing about this, to me, is that this is what the spiritual disciplines are all about. The timing of these readings, this year, is spot on. I am right in the middle of beginning to study and develop these disciplines in my life.

You see, we aren’t supposed to be illuminated all the time. We are to be “the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God. Drudgery is the touchstone of character.” We tend to look for these grand things to do, but we need to focus on being obedient in the routines, the drudgery, of life. “Learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God.”

“The tiniest detail in which I obey has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it.”

Father, make me obedient in the domain of drudgery. Help me to develop the habits in the disciplines, habits that will make my life, my common, ordinary life exhibit the marvel of your grace.

Come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.

Your Love Never Fails

Good morning. It seems to be Monday, again. Monday, June 15, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is gossamer. According to them, gossamer is an adjective, meaning, “extremely light, delicate, or tenuous.” But those of us in the know, know that gossamer is really a noun.

Today is Smile Power Day. Some people say that humans are the only creatures that can smile. I disagree. I’ve seen my cats smile. I don’t care what you say. Anyway, today is a day to try to influence the people around you with the most pleasant of expressions, the smile. Not one of those “wicked, evil, grins,” either. I’m talking a genuine, “Hey, how are you doing, I really care about you” smile. Smile power, baby!

We managed to get some rest yesterday evening, which was nice. By the time we got the groceries, delivered them to Christi’s mother, and got home, it was almost 5:00 PM. We had picked up food at Subway on the way home, so that was our lunch/dinner for the day. I had a Spicy Italian sandwich. While not their healthiest fare, it is certainly delicious.

Back to work today, for what will hopefully be a more normal week. I think we did two weeks last week! Christi will have her after-work bowling league tomorrow afternoon, which works out fine, because I have Huddle tomorrow. I’m still looking into community band possibilities, and may have found one in Southlake that might work.

People keep asking me what I want for Father’s Day. There’s really only one thing I wish I could have.


Of Solomon. Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!
May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!

Psalm 72:1-6

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

(From Solid Joys)

As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:5

Today’s reading is “The Honeymoon That Never Ends.”

God does good things for his people, and, in doing so, does not act begrudgingly, as a parent who is giving in to the constant whinings of a child. “It is like a bridegroom showing affection to his bride.” And we have to notice that this analogy is used frequently in God’s Word.

We joke about relationships. We say “The honeymoon is over.” And this does seem to occur in all human marriages. It is because we are finite beings. It is impossible for us to sustain that kind of intensity for a lifetime. “But God says his joy over his people is like a bridegroom over a bride.

“He is talking about honeymoon intensity and honeymoon pleasures and honeymoon energy and excitement and enthusiasm and enjoyment. He is trying to get into our hearts what he means when he says he rejoices over us with all his heart.”

And this “honeymoon” will never end. Our relationship with God in Christ will get “more and more beautiful forever.” And somehow, he will make sure that we are not bored with him “for the next trillion ages of millenniums.”

Father, I pray for understanding and realization of this truth. Help me to see and know this love that you have for your people. I also pray that you would help us have a better grasp that, while you do love us individually, this love is for your Church, the collective body of believers that will, one day, become the bride of Christ. This understanding helps us get away from the “me mentality,” and into a more corporate mindset, where we think more highly of others than of ourselves. Oh, how difficult this is for American people! While it is a land of great opportunity, it is also a land of great selfishness, and this gets greater as time goes by. I pray for your Church in America, that we would have more of an “us” mentality than a “me” mentality, in preparation for the day when we are united with the bridegroom for all eternity.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe travel to and from work. May this week be less stressful and busy than the last one. I pray for Christi’s work day, that some of the stress would be alleviated and that the drama level would decrease drastically. I pray for your great love to rain down on Stephanie, Rachel and Justin, and my mother. I pray that your grace would fill the lives of the ladies who are helping my mother, during the last two months. Please show them great favor for their kindness.

Your grace is sufficient.

Consider the love that God has for us, today; for us, his Church. Consider the “honeymoon” that will not ever end.

Numbers 6 24-26

Grace and peace, friends.

With My Whole Heart

“Do you hunger for Jesus Christ? Do you yearn to spend time alone with him in prayer? Is he the most important person in your life? Does he fill your soul like a song of joy? Is he on your lips as a shout of praise? Do you eagerly turn to his memoirs, his personal testament, his Gospels, to learn more of him? Are you making the effort to die to anything and everything that would inhibit, diminish, or threaten your friendship?”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Sunday, June 15, 2014. Today is Father’s Day. I would like to take this moment to wish my own father, Ken Bickley, a Happy Father’s Day. I am so thankful that I have had such a positive role-model to look up to all these years. You have been a constant source of inspiration and wisdom (not to mention quite a few good books to read!). I thank God for you and Mom every day.

Today is also Smile Power Day. It is truly amazing how much power something as simple as a smile can have. Give it a try. Smile at someone today.

Yesterday was a great day. Stephanie and Megan had a great time together, and we also had a great lunch with our old friend Lindsey and her husband Eric. It was our first time to meet him, and we seemed to all get along really well. We took them to lunch at Fogata’s.

After going home and resting a little more, we headed up to church, taking Megan with us. She seems to have really enjoyed our time there last night. After church, we had a church-wide dinner meeting at, guess where . . . Fogata’s! While it seems redundant, we had planned the lunch with Lindsey a few weeks before the church dinner was planned. We had the largest attendance we have had since Easter last night. It created a small problem (not a bad one, though), in that we had told Fogata’s that we expected thirty people, give or take ten. When we saw how many people were at the worship service, Christi called them and said it would definitely be closer to the forty mark. Turns out, we had over fifty people at dinner! We had to add two tables to what was already set up. And we counted at least ten more people that were not there last night!

As well as the dinner, we were also celebrating one year with Jacob Seay as our pastor. He was totally surprised at this, having no idea we had this planned. One of our members created a memory book for him, from Shutterfly, in which many of us submitted emails written to Jacob, letting him know our feelings about him for the past year. It was a beautiful book, full of pictures of all of us, our email letters, and some pictures that some of us sent in that showed notes that we had taken of his sermons. I may see if I can get a copy of the book, I liked it so much. There was also cake! Yes, cake! Very good cake!

Let there be cake!
Let there be cake!

We are very grateful for our church family at The Exchange, and are looking forward to more years ahead, with Jacob as our pastor.

Today, Rachel and Justin are supposed to be coming over for lunch and hanging out. Not sure what we will do after lunch, but Christi is cooking baked potatoes and steaks for lunch. YUM!!! My stomach just growled!

Christi starts back to work tomorrow, at her new job!!! Thank you, Jesus!! Ironically, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am off tomorrow, because this coming Saturday is my Saturday to work.


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

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:3
Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!
Psalm 102:1-2
The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation.
Psalm 18:46
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and it so shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

“Holy Father, creator and sustaining wisdom of all this is, both in heaven and on earth,
take from me those thoughts, actions and objects that are hurtful. Give me instead those
things that are profitable for me and all who seek rightly to praise you. I ask this grace
in the company of all believers and through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is,
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.”

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Hunger For Jesus.”

What if your entire life and future of both you and your family, even your eternal destiny, depended on the personal relationship you had with your pastor? “Wouldn’t you arrange to spend considerably more time with him than you do now?” Would you try (with his help, of course) to overcome character defects that you knew were not pleasing to him? If you got called away on business, wouldn’t you drop him a line more often, or perhaps email or text him?

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1

“And if he confided to you that he kept a diary of personal memoirs, which were the deepest whisperings of his inner self, wouldn’t you be anxious not only to read them but to steep yourself in them so that you might know and love him more?”

Every disciple must answer these questions with complete honesty. “Do you hunger for Jesus Christ? Do you yearn to spend time alone with him in prayer? Is he the most important person in your life? Does he fill your soul like a song of joy? Is he on your lips as a shout of praise? Do you eagerly turn to his memoirs, his personal testament, his Gospels, to learn more of him? Are you making the effort to die to anything and everything that would inhibit, diminish, or threaten your friendship?”

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10


Father, I confess that there are still many things that distract me from my relationship with Christ. Even as I type this prayer, I am distracted by other things on this computer. These are such difficult questions! Because, deep in our hearts, I believe that every Christian would have to answer many of them, “No.” But yes, I do hunger for more of Christ in my life. I do yearn to spend more time alone with him in prayer. Is he the most important person in my life? Probably not. I yearn for him to be more important in my life than other people or things. Does he fill my soul? Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no, just has there are times when he is on my lips like a shout of praise, and there are other times that he is not. I pray for more consistency in my walk with Christ. Give me more of a desire to engulf myself in the words of the Gospels, that very place where I can learn the most about my Savior, his ways, and his words. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth, and that I might desire more intensely to die to “anything and everything that would inhibit, diminish, or threaten” my relationship with Christ.

I pray for this day. I pray that you keep Rachel and Justin safe as they travel down here to visit with us. I pray that we will have a great Father’s Day visit with them. I also pray for children everywhere, both young and old, that they might experience joy today, either in visiting with or remembering their fathers. If they cannot come up with good memories of their earthly fathers, I pray that they would enjoy some special time with you, our heavenly father.

I pray for Christi as she gets closer to her first day back at work. Give her wisdom, discernment, and confidence. Help her to do her best in this new job.

Your grace is sufficient.

Yes, these are difficult questions that our brother Brennan has asked. I do not believe they are designed to induce guilt, because I don’t know anyone who can answer all of these questions affirmatively all the time. What they are intended for, I believe, is to inspire a deeper desire to know Jesus more and more, and to have deeper communion with him on a regular basis. After all, our future DOES depend on our relationship with him!

Grace and peace, friends.

The Discipline of Meditation

Ah, it’s Saturday morning. June 15, 2013. Five more work days on this account, and I get a week off. We’re thinking about going to Galveston. Haven’t found a place to stay yet, though. We can’t afford to go back to Cancun, just yet, so Galveston is the closest thing we have. We might even consider South Padre. Christi’s looking into that right now.

Today, we are traveling to a much closer place, Mineral Wells, where we will celebrate Father’s Day with my Dad. We’re going today, because we have a lot going on tomorrow. We’re saying “Farewell” to two of our pastors tomorrow at church, and that’s going to eat into the afternoon time. Rachel and Justin will be coming over, I think, so our family will be together for the afternoon.

Amber the Cat ate a little bit of food on her own, both last night and this morning! We are so happy. There were a few tears of joy last night, when she followed me into the kitchen/breakfast nook and managed to get up on the breakfast table, her usual place to eat. I sprinkled some of her usual treats on the table. She nuzzled them around a bit, but never picked one up. So I put some of the kitten food that we got with Trixie on the table, and Amber started eating it! A wonderful development!

Today is “Smile Power Day.” It’s true; there’s a lot of power in a smile. Smile at someone today.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1381, at the height of the “Peasants’ Revolt,” one of the leaders of said revolt, Wat Tyler, was killed after drawing a knife during parley with King Richard II, after the peasants occupied London. Tyler drew a knife during a scuffle, but was killed by the sword of William Walworth, the Mayor of London, who had accompanied King Richard to the parley. As the peasant army reached for their weapons, “Richard rode out to them alone, ordering them to obey him, their true King. Miraculously, the mob obeyed, and the crowd dispersed. The Peasants’ Revolt was over.” Soon afterward, the other leader of the revolt, John Ball, was caught and hanged.

Today’s birthday is Waylon Jennings, born on this date in 1937. I picked Waylon, well, because he was a legend. I’m not the biggest fan of country music, but I do appreciate the pure country of Waylon and have always enjoyed the work he did with Willie. I have, in fact, been to Luckenbach, Texas. We lost Waylon in 2002. Here is a video clip of Waylon doing “Good Hearted Woman.” He is joined by Willie, and, apparently, a host of other stars. He’s being introduced by Chet Atkins, and I swear that’s Michael McDonald playing piano behind him.

Honorable mentions go to Edvard Grieg, 1843, Harry Nilsson, 1941, Julie Hagerty, 1955, Wade Boggs, 1958, Helen Hunt, 1963, Bif Naked, 1971, Neil Patrick Harris, 1973, and Tim Lincecum, 1984.


In case anyone is curious (if anyone has happened to notice the tag, The Divine Hours on all of these posts), I begin each day’s devotional by praying through the “Morning Office” in The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle. The scripture references that follow are taken from that book, and occasionally one of the prayers in the book. However, I always quote the ESV, where she uses The Jerusalem Bible in the book.

Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. Psalm 85:7
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! Psalm 65:4
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! Psalm 84:1
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2

Father, I pray for a vision of your steadfast love this morning. You have brought me near, to dwell in your courts. May I truly be satisfied with this goodness that you have shown me. My heart and flesh sing songs of praise to you, my God!

Today, in A Year With God, I begin a section on the discipline of Meditation. Meditation is defined as, “Prayerful rumination upon God, his Word, and his world.” Right off the bat, the book acknowledges what I already know. “Many of us worry that ‘meditation’ has a ring of the occult or of Eastern religion.” I would add “New Age” to that, although the term “New Age” has been around for so long that it could hardly be called “New” any more. But scripture is replete with “references to God’s people meditating on his word, pondering Jesus or ‘higher things,’ reflecting on the beauty of creation.” Eastern meditation seeks to empty the mind, while, in Christian meditation, we seek “to fill ourselves with God, to form a more complete attachment to Christ.” We attempt to be more attentive to God in meditation. We desire to allow God to direct our thoughts. While it is true that meditation is closely linked with prayer, the focus is more on listening than talking. It is “more devotional than analytical.”

Our society is losing touch with the art of this discipline, as we seek to do everything faster and easier. We “want to learn and pray and read as quickly as we can, so we can get to the next item on our to-do list.” The act of meditation, “thinking about God with no set agenda,” is a difficult task for us. This makes it all the more essential in our spiritual formation. In Psalm 145:5, David says, On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

The first reading begins the first ten day segment and is called “Meditating on Scripture.” The scripture reading is 2 Timothy 2:7.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

The task, right off, is to spend the next ten days meditating over a specific passage. ” . . . ponder it, think it over, and muse on it until it becomes part of us.” A very short passage is recommended, perhaps just one sentence. Suggestions range from the “I am” statements of Jesus, a proverb, a line or stanza from one of the Psalms, or a teaching from an epistle.

“Aim to enter the passage as an active participant, imagining yourself hearing Jesus say the words, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of that day.” (Not so sure I want to experience the smells, thank you very much.) The task is not to study the passage, but, rather “to be initiated into the reality of which the passage speaks.” (Richard Foster) Jesus taught us that he is still with us, to teach us and to instruct us. We want to allow him to do just that in this process.

I will begin this task by meditating on my “life verse,” which is Psalm 86:11. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Father, as I begin this next task, learning more on the discipline of meditation, teach me something new. Show me something new about yourself as I meditate on different brief passages of scripture. Draw me deeply in that reality that is expressed. Teach me to walk in your truths, to abide in your word. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. May my thinking on your word become as natural as breathing. May your word fill me like the air that surrounds me.

I pray for this day and this weekend. Give us safe travel to Mineral Wells, later, as well as safe travel for Rachel and Justin as the come down from Denton. May our time with my parents be blessed and relaxing. I also pray for tomorrow’s time at church. I know it will be emotionally charged, but I pray, too, that worship will happen, and that we will not focus too much on what we are losing, but on what you have planned for us. It’s all about you, Lord, it’s not about Joel and Ben. May you fill the worship band with your Spirit as we worship you with our instruments and our voices. May you fill Jacob with your Spirit as he preaches to us, and takes over the leadership of our church.

Your grace is sufficient.

I’m excited about re-learning and advancing in this discipline. I’ve kind of lost touch with it. I pray that others might join me in meditating on God’s Word.

Grace and peace, friends.