Rumors or Reality

Good morning. It is Wednesday, the nineteenth of January, 2022, in the second week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,323

Only four days until Hamilton! I’ve gotten both emails and phone calls encouraging me to visit the Bass Performance Hall website to see protocols for entering the theater, so it appears to be on schedule.

I’m up before C, this morning. She gets up at 6:45 when she’s working from home. I sometimes sleep until she gets up, but this morning, I was awake, so I got up. I will admit it was a rough night of sleep with the new CPAP machine. It’s different, and I think the pressure is lower. I just have to get used to it. I believe it will get better.

I work from 9:15-6:15 today, in circulation. The schedule has settled back into normality, now, so that’s good. Last night went well, and there were only a couple of carts to be shelved. A third one was added, later, by the tech services folks, but I didn’t have time to get to it.

I’m moving on to the devotional, because I don’t want to run out of time.


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

open to the word of God.

Heart humbled to his will.

offered is the servant of God."

“In all that is going on around me, all the movement, all the noise, Can I find a moment of calmness and stillness now, Can I feel God’s presence here,  And surrender myself to it, Opening myself to listen to God’s word?”

Father, still my heart and soul as I enter into Your presence, seeking life and wisdom from Your Word. Guide my meditations, this morning.

And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." 
And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth." 

And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!" 

Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. 
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 
And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 
And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 
The Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field." 
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 
This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 
and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand." 
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 
And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. 
The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 
Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 
(1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51 ESV)

This is a long, familiar, passage of Scripture, often referred to as the story of David and Goliath. Often cited in sporting events, we see an underdog defeating the favorite “champion.” We often celebrate when an underdog wins (unless the favorite was the team we always root for, of course).

But we go deeper into this story. The thing that I take away from it is nestled in verse 37. The faith of David is seen in his statement to Saul. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul had no comeback to this, and simply told David to go, “and the LORD be with you.”

It is easy to see David as being cocky and arrogant in this story. He was young. We really don’t know, I don’t think, how old he was, but they keep calling him a “youth.” The Hebrew word is “na’ar,” which literally means, “a boy” or “a girl,” somewhere between birth through adolescence. But he was old enough to have worked as a shepherd, and he had, reportedly, killed a lion and a bear in that service. And arrogant as he seemed, he credited the Lord with those feats.

And he was ready to give God all the glory in this battle, as well. As we look at the different “players” in this story, Saul, Goliath (and his shield-bearer), David, and God (mentioned eight times), I see God as the most important. That may be obvious to some, but maybe not to others. I believe that the Lord directed that stone, as it flew from the slingshot in David’s hand.

There is an aspect to this story that we don’t, I believe, often consider. In the midst of the miracle, there is something we miss. David was a child. Maybe he was twelve or thirteen. Maybe. But he was most definitely younger, by at least a few years, than the minimum age that we in the U.S. determine a young man or woman old enough to go to war. He grew up in a culture that was well-familiar with battle and war. And he willingly, as a child, went out to fight against and kill a man.

This is not simply some fairy tale, with a glamorous ending. This is life in the trenches, and, perhaps something that should be considered as we ponder the miracle. To me, it is chilling. It is brutal. But, to David, it seems to have been just another day. The reason I even bring this up is because it is far too easy for us, sitting in our easy chairs, to judge others.

I never had to go fight in a war. I was never in the military. I missed out on the draft, by the grace of God, I say. Others weren’t so lucky. Some of my friends enlisted and served willingly. God had other plans for my life. And I am grateful beyond measure that I never had to face any of that. So I read this story, now, from a slightly different perspective, understanding that I don’t truly understand anything about war and its elements. There is also a lot I don’t understand about how God works and the things He does. But I, like David, trust Him to fight my “battles” for me.

Father, in this tale of underdog beats champion, I see Your strength and I see Your purpose. I see Your orchestration of events. But it is easy for me to look at this history, which I have read hundreds of time, and see how You worked through it. In fact, every time I read it, I can see more of You. It’s not so easy to look at current circumstances and feel the same way, because we haven’t seen the outcome. We have no idea what is “around the bend” for us. What I do know, though, is that, as I walk in Your Kingdom, this world is a perfectly safe place for me to be. And, like David, I trust in Your hand to provide and protect me. And, like Job, I can firmly say, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”

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 so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

(From Pray As You Go)

As I quoted a verse from Job, it reminds me of Eugene H. Peterson’s chapters on Job in Symphony of Salvation. I find it interesting that Peterson thought Job to be important enough to dedicate four chapters to the book. The fourth one is called “Entering the Suffering,” and primarily deals with our tendency, as humans, to try to prevent and/or alleviate suffering.

Peterson cautions against doing like Jobs “friends,” who pontificated while believing that they could actually “fix” his troubles, or make him “better.” I addressed that in a previous blog entry.

“We may look at our suffering friends and imagine how they could have better marriages, better-behaved children, better mental and emotional health.” The first thing we need to know is that, regardless of how well-intentioned (or even accurate) our assessment may be, “we don’t really understand the full nature of our friends’ problems.” Never, EVER tell someone, “I know how you fell.”

No. You don’t. Even if you have been through the same thing, yourself, you most certainly DO NOT KNOW HOW THEY FEEL!

A second thing to understand is that they may not want our help or advice. Notice that Job never asked his friends for advice.

There is an ironic third thing to understand. “More often than not, people do not suffer less when they are committed to following God, but more. When these people go through suffering, their lives are often transformed, deepened, marked with beauty and holiness, in remarkable ways that could never have been anticipated before the suffering.” This thought is directed more toward people who have this fallacious idea that God never wants His people to suffer.

So, looking back up there at our natural tendency, which is to prevent or alleviate suffering, perhaps we should not focus on that, but, rather, simply focus on “entering the suffering, participating insofar as we are able – entering the mystery and looking around for God.” Don’t feel sorry for the person who is suffering. “Look up to them, learn from them, and – if they will let us – join them in protest and prayer.”

Granted, it is difficult to know exactly how to follow Job’s lead, here. But we do know that God finally spoke. His answer, though, wasn’t exactly what Job was looking for.

And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: . . . 
Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much!  . . . 
"And have you ever ordered Morning, 'Get up!' told Dawn, 'Get to work!' So you could seize Earth like a blanket and shake out the wicked like cockroaches? . . . 
"Can you get the attention of the clouds, and commission a shower of rain? Can you take charge of the lightning bolts and have them report to you for orders? 
(Job 38:1, 4, 12-13, 34-35 MSG)

The book of Job should be read “prayerfully and meditatively” as we face questions that arise during suffering, when our lives don’t turn out the way we planned or expected. We can ask the questions . . . there is no harm in this. We may get stock answers from “friends,” but we keep asking, maintaining our dignity in suffering. Eventually, we realize that “suffering calls our lives into question, not God’s. The tables are turned: God-Alive is present to us. God is speaking to us.”

“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
(Job 42:5-6 MSG)

Father, may we all stop living by rumors and strive to know You in reality.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I pray that, as I walk through this day, I will be aware of the suffering of people. Perhaps not anyone I encounter directly, but simply knowing that there are people who are suffering. If any of my friends enter into such suffering, help me have the wisdom to enter into it with them, not offering advice or help, but, rather, simply being with them. When things don’t go the way we expect, may Your Spirit enable us to ask hard questions of You, boldly, not unlike David as he faced Goliath, knowing that You can take it, and will not be angered or offended at our questions. Most of all, make Yourself known to us, through all of our life-circumstances, good or “bad.” All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The revelation of GOD is whole and pulls our lives together. 
The signposts of GOD are clear and point out the right road. 
The life-maps of GOD are right, showing the way to joy. 
The directions of GOD are plain and easy on the eyes. 
GOD's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, 
with a lifetime guarantee. 
The decisions of GOD are accurate down to the nth degree. 
God's Word is better than a diamond, 
better than a diamond set between emeralds. 
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring, 
better than red, ripe strawberries. 
(Psalms 19:7-10 MSG)

Today I am grateful:

1. that I have the ability to read, and comprehend what I read
2. for the ability to quiet my soul and know the presence of God
3. that I have learned to trust in the Lord in all circumstances
4. that my life has been relatively free from suffering and has been peaceful
5. for the Word of God and the value it has in my life

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalms 19:14 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Into the Deep

Today is Wednesday, the seventeenth of February, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,987

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lent Season. It is also St. Patrick’s Day. In the past, I would try to wear green. But then, it was pointed out to me that, since I am not Catholic, I should wear orange. I’m wearing grey this morning.

I am typing on my PC in my studio, this morning! Yes, our power returned at approximately 2:30 PM, yesterday afternoon. It was slightly comical, actually. Let’s begin, though, with the firewood story.

It was 53 degrees in the house. It had gotten down to 52, but that’s as cold as it got in our house. We attribute this to the fact that our house has always leaned toward the warm side, which makes it tough to cool in the summer. However, after the last 48 hours, I will not ever complain about that again, because I know some folks who had temps in the thirties in their homes.

We had two fake fireplace logs. Yes, we were pathetically unprepared for this. I promise we won’t be caught off-guard like that again. Some good people brought us some firewood. A family in our little church, who lives across the street from the house where we meet and have nights of worship, has a large amount of wood in their back yard. Brandon and Terry, the other two leaders in our church, along with Brent, who lives across the street, loaded up the back of Brandon’s truck and brought a huge amount of wood to us.

So we were able to have a nice fire going. We rearranged the furniture so that our long couch was facing the fire (about five feet away), and C’s recliner was right there at the end of the couch. So we were enjoying the heat of the fire. We had had our lunch. C and S had sandwiches, and I had a can of tuna. We also had cold, leftover Pecan-crusted chicken. I held my two pieces of the first on a fork for a few seconds. It didn’t warm it a whole lot, but gave it a nice, smoky flavor.

All of a sudden, something beeped. Tessie (dog) barked. I turned to look toward where the beep had come from, and said, “What was that?” expecting another smoke alarm failing, or something like that. It didn’t even dawn on me. Then I saw C’s face, and I realized what had happened, just as I heard the sound of the fan from the bedroom. The power was on!

There was a brief moment where we almost wept for joy, but even that joy was tainted by not knowing if it would stay on. We sprung into action. C ran into the kitchen and turned on the coffee maker. I grabbed electronic devices and got them plugged in to charge. I turned the heat thermostat down to 68, as recommended by the PTB’s. I figured we had endured 53, so 68 should be a walk in the park, you know. I went ahead an reset the clocks on the stove and the microwave.

You know what we did next? Instead of jumping on our computers or turning the TV on, we sat back down on the couch and recliner, in front of the fire and enjoyed it a little while longer.

It is now 8:00 AM on Wednesday. The power stayed on all night. I suppose, after I finish my blogging, this morning, I will bring the food in from the back porch. I know that there are still some folks who don’t have power, yet, so we will be praying hard for them, today, and seeing if there is anything we can do to help. There are horror stories on TV . . . icicles hanging from ceiling fans in homes, water raining down from the ceiling of the Fort Worth Hilton, churches completely flooded.

Most of Galveston and the Gulf Coast is without power, as well. It was 23 degrees in Galveston, yesterday, and the beach was white! The winter storm warning spanned the entire state of Texas! It’s going to take some time to recover from this. Yet another chapter in what has been the strangest twelve months of my life.

Obviously, I’m not at work, this morning. We have been told that we are expected to be there tomorrow, if at all possible. We received communication that, if we could not make it in on Thursday, we would be charged PTO. This makes me think that we will not be charged PTO for these three days. However, I’m also not sure we will be paid if we don’t use PTO. That is unclear at this point. So, tomorrow, I will get up and get ready, and see how the roads look. It is only supposed to reach 30 degrees today, according to one weather app, but another says only 27. I don’t think that’s going to be enough to clear things up. We got more snow, overnight, but not a lot in Fort Worth. Denton and northern areas got more.

I’ll move on to the more important part of my morning.


“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)

May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the LORD answer all your prayers.
(Psalms 20:4-5 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • For electricity; for lights, for heat, for COFFEE
  • For wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ; we help take care of each other
  • For conveniences that we often take for granted
  • That we never had any water issues at our house
  • For the season of Lent
  • That through everything that has happened in the last twelve months, if we are truly paying attention, You are drawing us deeper

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

“For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
(Genesis 3:19 NLT)

As we enter into the Lent season, it is important to realize the purpose. It doesn’t have to be joyless, but it is an intentional entering into the suffering of Jesus, through fasting or other forms of self-denial. This is something that is growing less and less popular in our culture.

“The spare and sober nature of Lent is healthy for the heart and true to the gospel, scrubbing away frothy spirituality by calling us to say no to ourselves in order to experience a greater yes in Jesus.”



The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
(Psalms 145:8 NLT)


For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
(Psalms 51:1-6 NIV)


Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come.
(Joel 2:1-2 NIV)

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 NIV)


Psalm 51 is always a great confessional psalm, and is certainly a good prayer for the Lent season. “Have mercy on me,” is always a cry worthy of the child of God. “Wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Of course, the thing is, post-Jesus, our sins are always cleansed. But the major point of this comes in the next verses. We must be aware of our sin. “I know my transgression,” says David. This is an important perspective as we enter Lent. We have to be aware of our transgressions. This, again, is not a popular sentiment in our culture.

If we observe the season, even in times outside of Lent, we can learn this wisdom from God, “in that secret place.”

The passage in Joel calls us to repentance, to “fasting and weeping and mourning.” It was a common practice to tear clothes in sorrow, but Joel calls us to “rend” our hearts, rather than our clothing. But I love the reasoning for returning to the Lord. “He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

This is the perfect time to consider all of these things. I am looking forward to this Lent season. I seem to be in a better place to observe it, this year, as I feel like I have made significant spiritual progress in the last year.

I believe I have determined what I will “give up” for Lent. I won’t say, here, except to say that it is not a tangible thing; it’s an attitude, something mental/emotional.

Father, even though the season of Lent is not something specifically called for in Scripture, I am glad for the opportunity to embrace the suffering of our Savior and enter into an attitude of self-denial, even if it is for something small and seemingly insignificant. It may not be insignificant for me, though. Maybe it is a part of my life that needs to be permanently eliminated. Give me strength during this forty-day period, and remind me minute by minute of what I have purposed to do (or not do) in my spirit. I am thankful for the inspiration for the season. And I pray for everyone who has purposed in their heart to give something up for this period, whether it be tangible, such as a kind of food or drink or other activity, or something spiritual or mental. All glory to You, Lord!

"Holy God, 
corruption is everywhere.
For too long sin and disobedience has been our master,
ever since the fall of Adam and Eve.
And still today,
I look around and see this sin
that poisons our life.
We're all natural born sinners,
corrupt from conception on.
And I stand among another generation of
such born sinners.
Lord, have mercy.
(Heidelberg Catechism 7)


Redeem us from all wickedness, purify us and make us your very own, eager to do what is good.
(see Titus 2:14)”

And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled.
(Ezra 8:21 NLT)

When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail. He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning. And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes. When Queen Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was deeply distressed. She sent clothing to him to replace the burlap, but he refused it.
(Esther 4:1-4 NLT)

Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time:
“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
This time Jonah obeyed the LORD’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds:
“Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”
The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
(Jonah 3:1-10 NLT)

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.”
(Revelation 2:4-5 NLT)

We are now moving into the text of the actual letters to the seven churches, in Revelation. First up is Ephesus, and the book chapter is entitled, “The Test of Our Love.”

Peterson begins by pointing out the magnificent accomplishes of human beings. Unlike animals, we are not simply content to “fill our stomachs, find shelter, mate, and frolic a little in the sun on occasion.” We build large, impressive buildings, we create huge rockets, capable of traversing thousands and thousands of miles in space, we build super-computers (ironically getting smaller and smaller in size), we accomplish amazing physical feats of athleticism, we create inspirational and mind-boggling art and music, and we have accomplished amazing medical things. We have also learned how to grow food to feed a hungry world.

But, Peterson, opines, the best thing we do as humans is love. “When we are living at our best, with all our energies focused, all our abilities alert and involved, doing what we were created to do, we love.” On the other hand, no matter what else we accomplish, if we do not love, “it is not satisfactory.” Paul addressed this fact in the famous chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.

The question remains, though . . . “Why don’t we love more? Why aren’t we better at it? Why do we settle for so much less? Why do we get diverted and distracted from a life of love?”

We will attempt to answer those questions as we continue in the book.

(From This Hallelujah Banquet, by Eugene H. Peterson)

May the God of your father help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb.
(Genesis 49:25 NLT)

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said,
“Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.”
For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon,
“Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”
And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
(Luke 5:4-11 NLT)

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.
(1 Corinthians 2:10-13 NLT)

Jesus told Simon to cast his nets “out where it is deeper.” The fish were not located in the shallow water. When Simon did what Jesus said, they got so many fish that their nets began to tear.

“The blessings of God aren’t found in the shallow waters.”

This is something we all need to hear. Many Christians don’t ever get out of the shallow waters. I have spent way too much time there, in my own life. Recently, though, I have begun to get deeper. And it has a positive effect on my life. It also makes some things that used to be important not so important, any more.

We like to stay by the “shore,” where things are more comfortable. Sure, we read the Bible, but we only see the surface, “the shallow of the Word.” We pray, but our prayers stay shallow, typically dealing only with physical problems. We even tend to stay in the shallow parts of God’s love, which, as the poet expressed so well is so deep that, if we were to write it all down with ink that filled the oceans, it would drain the oceans dry.

“But if you want the blessings of God, you must leave the shallow and launch out away from the shore, away from its distractions, away from the old and the familiar, and into the deep . . . into the deep waters of faith, the deep waters of His presence, the deep of His Word, the deep of worship, the deep of His joy, the deep of His Spirit, and the deep of His heart. That’s where your blessings are waiting to be found.”

And, “miracles so big that your net will break.”

We have spent time, in the past year, wondering why we don’t see some of the miracles that the Apostles did in the book of Acts. Of course, we know that the Apostles, themselves, did no miracles. They were simply channels. Nevertheless, why do we not see such things today. Perhaps because we have not launched into the deep.

The Mission: Launch out into the deep waters of God today. And there let down your net that it might break with His blessings.”

(From The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn)

Father, I read this, and I think, “I want to go deeper, but I don’t know how to swim” (from a song by Delirious). Is it fear that keeps us from going deeper? It’s like venturing out into the waves of the ocean. It’s fun, it’s exhilarating, but we don’t know where the ledge is, where we take a step and plummet into the depths, over our heads. Well, I think I’m ready to plummet, Father. This week has, hopefully, taught me some things. Last night, as we celebrated having power for the first time in almost 35 hours, we realized that we had made it through, and made it through well. We didn’t break down. We didn’t fight; we didn’t yell at each other; we didn’t EVER despair. We were certainly tempted to. But the whole time, we were focused, thinking, “We will get through this. We are okay.” We kind of just hummed along. It was uncomfortable, but there are others who are more uncomfortable. There are still people without power, and there are some who, just this morning, have lost power for the first time.

Draw us deeper, O Lord, deeper into Your well of the Spirit. Show us how to find the “blessings” that will break our nets. However, may we be seeking You and Your Face and Your Name, more than we seek blessing. I am certainly interested in blessings. But I am more interested in becoming who/what You desire for me to become. I believe You are more interested in what I become than in what I do. During this season of Lent, show me what I need to find in You. Draw me deeper.

Lord, I lift up communities, both local and national, and especially in the areas that are effected by this huge winter storm outbreak. Please restore power where it needs to be restored! We need Your supernatural help, because our governments are inept. I lift up the continent of Africa, today, praying for all general needs that occur in their countries. And I pray for those who work to lobby for justice and peace in our land and in our world.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

“Prayer Is Suffering’s Best Result”

Today is Monday, May 8, 2017.

Word of the Day

Hypostatize ~ to treat or regard (a concept, idea, etc.) as a distinct substance or reality.

Today is No Socks Day. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could get away with that today. I didn’t wear any socks yesterday or Saturday, can that count?


My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. 
Psalm 71:8
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 71:17
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 15:26-27
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. 
that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. 
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah. 
  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 
God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Psalm 67
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 so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
The Gloria

(From Living the Message)

Eugene H. Peterson continues on the topic of suffering. He makes note of the last verse of Lamentations, which says, unless you have utterly rejected us, and you remain exceedingly angry with us. (Lamentations 5:22)

It seems very blunt. But also note that this is an expression of prayer, what Peterson calls “the most personal of relationships.” And, indeed, it is. When I am praying, I am the closest to God, because I am involved in intimated conversation with him. I am not just reading off a grocery list of prayer requests. I am pouring out my heart to him.

“Prayer is suffering’s best result. In prayer, God’s anger is neither sentimentally glossed nor cynically debunked, but seized as a lever to pry open the doors of redemption.” The sufferer “does not ask God to think well of him or her, but asks that God will enact redemption.”

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees.
2 Corinthians 12:7 (The Message)

Father, when I find myself suffering, even for the simplest of reasons, draw me closer to you in prayer. When I find myself celebrating, no matter what the occasion, draw me closer to you in prayer. May I find myself in the state of “the most personal of relationships” constantly throughout the day. Help me to “pray without ceasing.”
Even so, 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.


Today is Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Quote of the Day

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?” ~ Steven Wright

Word of the Day

Milliner ~ a person who designs, makes, or sells hats for women.

Today is Join Hands Day. Not so much about shaking hands or holding hands, Join Hands Day is about unifying older and younger generations in our communities. Believe it or not, we can both learn from each other.

The last several days, I have run out of time in the mornings, and since I have started doing the devotional portion first, that means either quotes, words, and holidays, or personal thoughts get left out. Sometimes, both.

Not that there has been much going on in our relatively normal lives, anyway. We are getting closer to our sort of “family reunion” weekend, which is May 20-21, at my uncle’s house in east Texas. We are taking my mother to visit her twin brother for a weekend. It will be short, as we will drive out on Saturday morning and come back Sunday evening. Mama’s going to stay at uncle’s house, and we’ll stay at a hotel in Henderson. I’m hoping all of my cousins can make it, as well as some of their kids. Looking forward to a great time. Especially looking forward to NOT having to attend a funeral.

We have mailed a check for our house rental in Oregon! That trip is less than a month away, now, and we are also excited about this one. We are looking forward to some peace and quiet on the Pacific Northwest coast, as well as some road trips to nearby waterfalls and other scenery.

Tonight, we are having our regular Night of Worship, but it will be at a nearby church facility that has opted to share their building with us, at least for this one event. There is a possibility, I guess, that we might continue there throughout the summer months, as well. We shall see.

Baseball hasn’t been very exciting, so far. The Rangers are playing poorly, and have yet to crack the .500 mark. They are in and out of last place by a half game or so. The Red Sox are playing mediocre baseball, hovering around third place. As of today, they are only one game over .500.

Oh, and the reason this is late, today, is that my Fitbit Alta quit connecting to the app on my phone, and I wasted about an hour and a half trying to fix it. No success. So I guess I’ll be Fitbitless for a while.

Update. While I was chatting online with a Fitbit representative, the fool thing just suddenly started working. Technology. Sigh.


Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
Psalm 29:2
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:
Psalm 44:1
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:4

(From Living the Message)

Today’s reading is “Where the Sufferer Is, God Is.”

“The biblical revelation neither explains nor eliminates suffering.” One result of this truth is a myriad of people (well-meaning people, even) making stuff up about suffering. That’s what we do, especially preachers. Not all of them, mind you. But there is a certain pride that tempts the preacher. Pride that makes him unable to ever say, “I don’t know.” So, when faced with a question that he doesn’t know, he makes up an answer. Then people listen to those made-up answers and begin to proclaim them as truth. This is where we get things like “God will never give you more than you can handle,” or, even worse, “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s where we get “All babies who die automatically go to heaven.” We don’t know that. We just don’t. But we pretend to, because it makes us feel better.

The same goes for suffering. In some camps, there is a prevalent idea that, if you’re suffering, you did something wrong. But, in the words of Eugene H. Peterson, “Scripture is not a lecture from God, pointing the finger at unfortunate sufferers and saying, ‘I told you so: here and here and here is where you went wrong; no you are paying for it.'” Scripture also does not provide us with a five-step easy solution to eliminate suffering from our lives. We don’t see a progression from “more to less suffering from Egyptian bondage to wilderness wandering, to kingless anarchy, to Assyrian siege, to Babylonian captivity, to Roman crucifixion, to Neronian/Domitian holocaust.” What Scripture does show us, though, is “God entering into the life of suffering humanity, accepting and sharing the suffering.”

“The suffering is there, and where the sufferer is, God is.”

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Isaiah 53:4 (ESV)

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
Romans 5:8 (The Message)

Father, may we be faithful to your Word when we address issues in our lives. May we not work so hard to understand suffering, but more to understand that, in the midst of suffering, you are there, even if, and especially if, we do not understand it. Help us to not make up answers that we don’t have, but to rely on your Spirit for wisdom and understanding. Take away any pride from us that would cause us to rely on our own, feeble, wisdom. Instead, help us to seek your wisdom in all things. Help us to seek first your kingdom, above all else.
Even so, 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.

Should We Choose Suffering?

Good morning. We have finally arrived at Friday. August 10, 2012. Alright!! Today is “National Lazy Day.” I can most certainly get into that. I think it should have been combined with “Book Lover’s Day,” which was yesterday. That way, I could be lazy and read a book.

On this date in 1846, the Smithsonian Institute was created. On this date in 1776, London learned that the Americans had written a “declaration of independence.” News didn’t travel quite as fast back then, huh? On this date in 1937, the first electric guitar patent was awarded to the “Electro String Corporation.” It was for an instrument known as the “Rickenbacker Frying Pan.”

And on this date in 1981, Pete Rose set the National League hit record with his 3631st hit. Oddly enough, the man whose record he broke, Stan Musial, got his last two hits in 1963, against the Cincinnati Reds and their rookie second baseman, Pete Rose.

Father, I’m running behind, this morning, so I pray that you would show me something in the brief time I have left. I pray for focus later, as I get my prayers in.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 71. No composer is listed for this one.

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

The psalm continues along that same line, being a wonderful psalm of hope and praise to God. This is a composer who understands that God has been with him since before his life began.

My Utmost For His Highest

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:19

“To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing.” I agree with that statement 100%. I have known people in my life who would choose one option over another because it would make them suffer; because they liked it less than the other option, thinking that, surely, God would not want them to be that happy. I cannot understand that mindset. As Chambers says, “No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.” We also had better not interfere with the suffering of another saint.

“The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God.” It is not the ones who sympathize with us who strengthen us. If we accept sympathy, it makes us think that God is dealing unfairly with us. Remember Jesus’s response to Peter in Matthew 16:23? “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Jesus did not need Peter’s sympathy.

If we listen to the world, we will think that God wastes his saints by placing them in totally useless places. Don’t be guilty of saying that God will place you in such and such a place because you are so useful. “God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is.”

Father, I hope I am learning to submit to your will and accept where you place me. I have gone long enough thinking that you will surely do a certain thing with me because of the talent that you have given me. If you do that thing, very well. If you don’t do that thing, very well. It is up to you. I belong to you, I do not belong to myself. I am yours to do with as you see fit. Place me wherever you will be glorified the most. I will gladly submit.

I pray for strength and wisdom in this prayer ministry. As I go forward, I ask you to teach me more about how to pray for other people. Empower me by your Spirit to follow your direction, even when it comes in the most unusual places. Make me more aware of my surroundings and how they might relate to the ministry of prayer.

I pray for this day, Lord. Give me a smooth day at work, and I pray that Christi will have a good day as she works from home. I also pray that, as she visits the podiatrist again today, that some kind of hope might be received. I continue to pray that you heal her foot pain, whatever the cause may be.

I pray for some rest this weekend, even though it looks busy.

Give me clarity and focus as I pray on my drive to work today.

May we all have a healthy, God-driven attitude toward his will for our lives, regardless of the suffering involved.

Grace and peace, friends.