Holy, Holy, Holy

Today is Sunday, the twenty-first of August, 2022, in the 21st week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,537 (the number of days since I was born)

Our high temperature, yesterday, turned out to be well below the predicted high. We only hit 89 degrees. The forecast was for 96. It’s currently 77, this morning, but quite humid out there. I was outside double-checking air pressure in tires before our trip to Mineral Wells, and I was working up a little bit of a sweat. Supposedly, there was a tiny bit of rain at Meacham Field, but I don’t know if it rained any at our house or not. The record high for yesterday’s date is 108.

Looking forward, we still have five out of the next ten days predicted at below 90. The other five are either at 90 or 91.

The Texas Rangers managed to beat the Twins, last night, 4-3 in ten innings. This puts them at 54-66, still in third place in the AL West. They are 22 games out of first, and 10.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They play again, this afternoon, at 1:10 PM CDT.

The Red Sox beat the Orioles, also 4-3, last night. This puts them at 60-61, back within one game of .500. They keep bouncing around this point. They remain in last place in the AL East, thirteen games out of first place and five out of a Wild Card spot. They play the O’s again tonight, at 7:10 PM EDT, another ESPN game.

The Dodgers continue their roll, now at 83-36, for the best MLB record. The Nationals remain on the bottom, at 41-81. The Cardinals continue to streak, now having won six consecutive games. The Giants, unfortunately, also continue to streak, now having lost four straight games. The Dodgers have a +257 run differential, while the Nats are now at -208. The Rangers are back at -3, and the Red Sox are at -35.

We will be leaving for Mineral Wells at about 8:45, this morning, where we will attend worship at First Baptist Church. After that, we will have lunch at Taqueria La Estrella. Then we will drop Mama off at her house, and take S out to the home of the pastor of FBC, who has a horse, a donkey, and some rabbits, where S will have a chance (weather permitting) to interact with some furry friends.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, let our thoughts be filled with all that is honorable, just, pure, gracious, good, and praiseworthy. We want to await your Spirit, not giving way to anxiety, but showing ourselves worthy to be your children. We want to be your children, who can rise above even the most difficult conditions and maintain a quiet trust, to the glory of your Spirit within us. Protect us now and always in your divine peace. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:8-9 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that there are things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, on which we can fix our minds and hearts
2. for the many blessings God has lavished on me and my family; in the words of David, "Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?"
3. for the intercession of the Holy Spirit when I don't know what to pray
4. that the Lord peaks to us in various ways; Father, help me to listen
5. for the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who was, who is, and who is to come

Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.
(1 Samuel 3:9 NIV)

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 NIV)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:1-3 NIV)

“The brightest of living beings, they who are ever before and around and above the throne, find their glory in adoring and proclaiming the holiness of God. Surely for us too there can be no higher honor than to study and know, to worship and adore, and to proclaim and show forth the glory of the Thrice-Holy One.” (Andrew Murray)

The repetition of “holy,” three times, can have multiple meanings. For example, the Lord is often referred to as “Him who was and is and is to come.” But more than likely, it is in reference to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Godhead, three in one, the Holy Trinity. God, the Father, is “the Almighty: the Eternal Source.” We see “the present manifestation in the Son,” and “the future perfecting of the revelation of God in the Spirit’s work in His church.”

“Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God almighty! which was and is and is to come! I worship you as the Triune God. With face veiled and feet covered, I would bow in deep humility and silence, till your mercy lifts me as on eagles’ wings to behold your glory.” (Murray)


Father, may I be faithful to listen to me, and may I always be willing to, as Samuel, say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Help me to also be faithful to always worship You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to be more humble in my attentiveness to You and Your ways. May we, Your people, never approach You flippantly, but always in awe, reverently, and in the proper kind of fear.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Peace Like A River

Today is Sunday, the fourteenth of August, 2022, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you!

Day 23,530

We hit a high of 98 degrees, yesterday, for our fourth consecutive day under 100. The record high for yesterday’s date is 105. I wonder if that was 1980? The ten-day forecast still includes six days of under-100 temperatures, but the next four are 100+. The great news is that at the end of the ten days, I’m seeing two days that will possible be below 90! The not-so-good news is that we likely aren’t going to get any more rain until around August 21.

I have an adventure tomorrow. I get to take S’s guinea pig, Princess, to an exotic animal doctor to have her eye looked at. It’s been a little cloudy of late, although it seems a little better this morning, and she has exhibited a bit of a head tilt, which may mean she has some inner ear trouble going on.

We have our church gathering, this morning, at 10:15, and it looks like most of us will actually be there. However, we will not be there next Sunday, as we will be traveling to FBC Mineral Wells as part of S’s birthday celebration. Oh, I didn’t put that up there, did I? S turns 29 in only FIVE MORE DAYS! We should probably get that cookie cake ordered, huh?

C and I have scheduled a Glen Rose trip in October for our anniversary. It will be the weekend before the actual anniversary, which is October 12. It’s been a while since we have been to Paluxy River Bed Cabins, so we are very excited about that.

The Texas Rangers snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Mariners, by winning 7-4, last night. That losing streak was exclusively against the Mariners, by the way. They are now 50-63 (finally won that fiftieth game), still in third place by a half game, 23 games out of first place, and 9.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. They play Seattle again today, at 1:35 CDT, with Martin Perez taking the mound. The Rangers have 49 games left in 2022.

The Boston Red Sox lost to the Yankees, 3-2 (I think that’s the same score they won by, the night before), to make them 56-59 for the season. They remain in last place in the AL East, 16.5 games out of first place, and 4.5 out of a Wild Card spot. They will play the Yankees again, this evening (it’s an ESPN game). The Red Sox have 47 games left in 2022.

The LA Dodgers can’t seem to lose, now. They continue to be the best team in MLB with a 79-33 record, twelve straight wins, and a run differential of +251. The Washington Nationals remain on the bottom, at 38-77, and a -204 run differential. The Athletics of Oakland, however, have the current losing streak at seven games. The Texas Rangers have a run differential of -4, and the REd S

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, grant that we may heed your commandments, that our peace may be like a river and our righteousness like the waves of the sea. Be with us through your Spirit, we pray. Speak with us and tell us what we need to hear so that we can understand what draws us always nearer to you. Show the might of your hand to help us and all people. Even under judgment we shall not despair, we shall not lose courage because of troubles and distress. Come with your strength, that we may grow strong to overcome the world through Jesus Christ the Savior. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
(Isaiah 48:18 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the possibility of peace "like a river," by heeding the commands of God (loving God and loving people)
2. for an understanding of what draws us nearer to God
3. for the strength to overcome the world through Jesus Christ the Savior
4. for the songs that my God sings over me
5. for the encouragement to always be growing, moving forward in Christ, and the knowledge that, if I am walking with Him, He will lead

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
(John 1:29-34 NIV)

Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD; she does not draw near to her God. Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning. Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law.
(Zephaniah 3:1-4 ESV)

“On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”
(Zephaniah 3:11-13 ESV)

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
(Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
(2 Peter 3:18 ESV, emphasis added)

“A faith walk is measured by forward movement. And when we walk with Jesus, He takes the lead.” (Shawnelle Eliasen)

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
(Luke 17:5 ESV)

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
(Hebrews 6:1-2 ESV)


I could have easily stopped, today, after that bit from Plough about having peace like a river. I kept on reading my prescribed readings, though, from my various devotional materials.

Here’s the thing. Do you have peace in your life? And I’m strictly speaking to believers, here, because I know a bunch who don’t live like they have peace. And the reason for this? It’s right there in Isaiah!

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
(Isaiah 48:18 NIV)

The problem is that we seem to be getting bogged down in what those commands are. Let’s go over that again. I will never get tired of quoting Jesus Christ on this, because it is simply the essence of life.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:34-40 NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 NIV)

When we don’t have peace in our lives, it is very likely because we are not heeding those commands.

Another thing that happens when we heed those commands is that we grow. We move forward. I love the quote from Shawnelle Eliason, this morning. When I walk in faith, I will move forward. And Jesus will take the lead, if I am truly following Him.

There’s one final thought, here, from Andrew Murray. “We find the Christian life difficult because we seek for God’s blessing while we live according to our own will. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to watch and see that sin does not overtake us and that we do not wander too far from the path.”

If we are heeding His commands, we will be entirely at His disposal, we will be moving forward in our faith walk, and we will have peace like a river.

Today's sources:
YouVersion Bible reading plan
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, help me, today, to enjoy this peace. Help me to focus only on obeying/heeding those two commands (three if we add that “new command” from Jesus) to love You, love my neighbor, and especially love the saints. If I can do those things, I will have peace, my walk will be moving forward, and, more importantly, my life will be Yours, to do with as You will.

I pray for all of Your children, today, that they might experience this peace in their lives by heeding Your commands and loving. It truly is all about love, Father.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 NIV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Humbled or Exalted

Today is Sunday, the seventh of August, 2022, in the nineteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,523

Only twelve days until S turns 29!

We didn’t hit 100 for a high temp, yesterday. I knew that, when we were leaving the library, yesterday, one of my friends there commented that it had only hit 99 there. The official report closest to my house says it only got up to 98. Today’s predicted high is 100. Beginning next Tuesday, we might see four straight days of below-100 temps, and a possible high on Wednesday of only 94, along with some possible thunderstorms that evening.

Dane Dunning had a tremendous outing, last night, as the Texas Rangers defeated the Other Sox 8-0. He pitched seven innings, giving up no runs and only one hit. Adolis Garcia had five RBIs in the game. I started to say they won the series, but they have one more game with them this afternoon, at 1:35 CDT, in Arlington. They are now 48-59 on the season, still in third place in the AL West, 21 games behind first place, and nine out of a Wild Card spot.

Boston lost another game to the KC Royals, 5-4 on a walk-off home run. They are now 54-55 on the season, still in last place in the AL East. They are 16.5 games out of first place, and now four games out of a Wild Card spot. They play KC again, this afternoon, at 1:10 CDT in KC.

The LA Dodgers are now decisively the best MLB team, with a 74-33 record. The Washington Nationals continue to be firmly entrenched in the cellar, with 36-73. The Dodgers also have the longest current winning streak, at seven games. The Nationals and the (hahahahaha!!!) YANKEES are tied for the longest current losing streak, at four consecutive games. The Dodgers also have the best run differential, at +222, while the Nats have the worst at -184. After last night, the Rangers are back in the positive column with +5, and the Red Sox continue to go backwards, now with -22.

The big news of the day, which I have avoided mentioning, is that I have a colonoscopy scheduled for tomorrow at noon. My diet has been moderately restricted since Friday (no raw fruits or vegetables, no high fiber foods, such as whole wheat bread, no nuts or legumes of any kind), and, as of noon today, I can have no solid foods at all. Oddly, Jell-o counts as a “clear liquid” (scratching my head over that one), but I don’t have any anyway, so I will be drinking lots of water today. I also have to start drinking the prep this evening at 6 PM. One dose then, and another dose tomorrow morning, at 6 AM (five hours before my 11 AM arrival time). After 8 AM tomorrow morning, I can have nothing even to drink.

Good times.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, as your children we come into your presence so that you may lead us with the light that streams out from you. We come to your light seeking an inner birth to make us what your children ought to be. Bless us as we thank you for all your goodness and for the powerful help you have given many among us. Accept the thanks we offer you, and grant that we never forget the good you are doing for us. Help us to go forward, always forward, until your kingdom is completed. May it not be in vain that we live in the Lord Jesus and in love to you, the God and Father of all. May it not be in vain that we bring you our requests and prayers for your kingdom to come soon. Yes, Lord Jesus, come! Come soon to this earth so that all people may acknowledge the true God and may love you. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
(John 12:36 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the light, streaming out from God, that leads us into His Kingdom
2. that the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed
3. that "if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all"
4. that "everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened"
5. for the Holy Spirit, and His many ministries in the lives of the saints

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
(Psalms 9:9-10 ESV)

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
(Mark 9:33-37 ESV)

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:9-13 ESV)

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed.”

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

These are statements, truths, that would lead us to humility, if we are paying attention. If the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, we would do well to pay more attention to the oppressed and come to their aid. The words of Jesus scream in our ears about this.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
(Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)

The body of Christ is in much need of humility, these days. Even when directed to ask, that we might receive, seek, that we might find, and knock, that the door might be opened, we need to do those things with great humility.

And it is far better to humble oneself willingly than for it to be forced upon one.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
(Matthew 23:12 ESV)

Today’s source was Daily Guideposts 2022


Father, I pray for more humility in my life. I realize the dangers of this prayer, as it is akin to praying for more faith, which brings about more testing. But I know that I need to be more humble in all things, so please make it so.

Help me also to have the faith (in humility) to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking, that I might find You and be more intimately connected to You. May Your Spirit reign in my heart and in my life, that I might know You more.

I pray for this procedure coming up and for the preparations that come with it. I confess that I am dreading this, and pray that everything goes well for it. I also pray for good results from the procedure, itself.

But more than that, I pray for the body of Christ, that all we do in Your name will draw people toward You, rather than push people away.

Even so, please come soon, Lord Jesus!


"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

Grace and peace, friends.

From Death to Knowledge to Obedience

Today is Sunday, the thirty-first of July, 2022, in the eighteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you, today!

"I really wish you an ever deeper peace. I know that that peace quite often lives underneath the turmoils and anxieties of our heart and doesn’t always mean inner harmony or emotional tranquility. That peace that God gives us quite often is beyond our thoughts and feelings, and we have to really trust that peace is there for us to claim even in the midst of our moments of despair."
(Henri Nouwen)

Day 23,516

Nineteen days until S turns 29!

We got a long-awaited break from the heat wave, yesterday. I mean, 99 is still hot, but it’s better than the triple-digit temperatures we have been enduring. And it rained again, more in some areas than others. We drove through quite a rain shower on the way home from Mineral Wells, but I don’t think it rained nearly that much at our house. The average temps for July 30 are 97/73. The record temps are 107/65. The forecast for the next ten days predicts 100+ for five of those days, and then, beginning August 5, the next five days are predicted to be below 100. We shall see if that holds true.

I had a most wonderful time with my high school bandmates (and even a couple of their mothers showed up), as we met for lunch yesterday. There were three from my own class (class of ’76), a couple from the class of ’75, one who I’m not sure was ’75 or ’74, and then one who was probably either class of ’72 or ’73. After our lunch, a handful of us got to go over to the high school and visit with the current band director and a couple of his assistants, and we got to see their band hall. I was shocked (my, how time flies) when it was pointed out that they have been in that “new” band hall for 23 years!

What made it even more special was the way we were received and treated by them. I mean, we were practically treated like royalty! Of course, most of us were part of the first band to ever get the “Sweepstakes” award, which is a first division in all three categories of marching contest, concert contest, and sight-reading contest, which, I think, happened in 1975. One of the assistants even insisted on taking a photo of all of us, so we posed in front of our old band banner that the current band director found stored in a closet.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, with all our hearts we come before your countenance. Our hearts shall always be in your presence, asking, longing, and believing that you will guide our affairs aright. Protect us, for you are our God and Father. Protect all who are in danger or who must go into danger. Make known your great love and your living presence to the hearts of the dying. Draw our hearts together so that we may have community in you, our faith and hope set on you alone. Protect us during the night, and help us to be at peace about all our concerns because they are in your hands. Every concern of every person is in your hands. We ourselves are in your hands, Lord God, our Father, and there we want to remain. Your hands can heal and restore everything. Praised be your name! Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)(emphasis mine)

Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.
(Psalms 4:6 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the wonderful time I had with my high school classmates, yesterday
2. that all of my concerns are in God's hands
3. that every concern of every person is in His hands
4. that there is nothing or no one that is insignificant in God's Kingdom; even the littlest things matter - nothing is wasted, nothing goes unnoticed
5. for everyday miracles that often go unnoticed; I took a breath, I see colors, I hear music and other sounds, birds fly, rain fell yesterday, the sun, moon, and stars continue on the paths to which they were appointed
6. for more rain showers, yesterday

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 
"Death is swallowed up in victory." 
"O death, where is your victory? 
O death, where is your sting?" 
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:50-58 ESV)

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
(John 1:48 ESV)

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
(Psalms 104:34 ESV)

Glory in his holy name;
 let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! 
Seek the LORD and his strength; 
seek his presence continually!
(Psalms 105:3-4 ESV)
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, 
but walk in his ways!
(Psalms 119:2-3 ESV)
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; 
you discern my thoughts from afar. 
You search out my path and my lying down 
and are acquainted with all my ways. 
Even before a word is on my tongue, 
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 
You hem me in, behind and before, 
and lay your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 
it is high; I cannot attain it.
(Psalms 139:1-6 ESV)

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
(John 6:11-12 NIV)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)

“O, death, where is your victory? O, death, where is your sting?”

Even at my age, death seems like a distant thing. Even though I don’t know if I will finish this sentence, death doesn’t often seem like reality. I know it is, of course, because family members and friends have died, over the years.

It is quite tempting, at times, to adopt solipsism as a philosophy.

Nevertheless, when I do think about death, it is a strange feeling. I know people contradict themselves constantly. They claim to be atheists, and don’t seem to believe in any kind of afterlife, but then, when their favorite rock stars die, they talk about what a great band there must be, “up there.” What? Up where?

Furthermore, I cannot fathom, whatsoever, the concept of not existing. Have you ever tried it? Just try it for a few minutes. Try to consider what it would be like to have never existed. Then try to think about what it would be like to no longer exist, if you believed, as some, that this life is all there is. It makes my head hurt.

I believe that we were created to be eternal beings. I believe, along with Dallas Willard, that “We are unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.” And I believe, along with a multitude of saints, that Jesus Christ has won the victory for us.

Related to that, I also believe what Scripture teaches about how I am known by God. Jesus saw Nathaniel, before Phillip called him, sitting under a fig tree. Jesus knew Nathaniel before Nathaniel got to Him. Jesus knew me long before I was called into His Kingdom. He continues to know me, down to the knowing of what I’m going to say (or type) before I do so.

Now, when we speak of “miracles,” we usually think about such times as when Jesus turned water into wine, or when he fed thousands of people with a little boy’s sack lunch. And, of course, we think of the miracle of all miracles, the resurrection of Christ, from the dead.

I consider God’s knowledge of us to also be a miracle. As the psalmist proclaimed, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” And it is through this knowledge that I can begin to know His will for me. Is that too far a reach? I don’t think so.

It stands to reason that, if God knows me the way Scripture says He does, then it is also true what Paul declares in Ephesians.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

When Jesus chose His disciples, the works that they would do had already been prepared for them. When Jesus chose you and me, the same is true.

There has been a lot of talk, and many, many books written, about finding God’s will for our lives. There have also been myriads of questionnaires, designed to tell people what their “spiritual gifts” are.

I don’t pay any attention to most of those, any more. For one thing, I learned that it is possible to answer the questions on those questionnaires so that the answer comes out what you want it to be.

Here’s the thing. If we can embrace the truth about how completely God knows us, and simply walk in that, we won’t have to search for God’s will or His wisdom. And, if we must seek, the place to look is deep within our own hearts.

No, I’m not saying “follow your heart.” That is the worst advice anyone every gave. I’m saying that that is where God works, and that is the purpose of meditation and contemplation, two disciplines that have been widely neglected in the contemporary evangelical community.

“Learn that God’s working, and the place where He gives His life and light, is in the heart, deeper than all our thoughts. Any uncertainty about God’s will makes joyful obedience impossible.” (Andrew Murray)

Wait. When did he start talking about obedience?

Well, it’s all related. If I am not confident about God’s will for my life, then how can I be joyfully obeying? On the other hand, if I am confident that God will direct my steps on the path that He has appointed for me, walking in those “good works” for which He has prepared me beforehand, then I am also confident that whatever I am doing is His will, and I don’t have to seek for it.

Consider, said Jesus. We worry too much about too many things. The disciples had food for a few days after Jesus fed those thousands. One time, there was a basket apiece left over. Another time, there were seven baskets left over. They were eyewitnesses to these events, and, bless their hearts, they still struggled to believe the things Jesus said.

He doesn’t make it hard. We make it hard.

“Life is a series of a thousand tiny miracles. Notice them.” (Quoted in Pray a Word a Day, as “Inspirational Christian quote,” but found to be attributed to Roald Dahl)

Today's sources:
Pray a Word a Day
Daily Guideposts 2022
Power in Prayer, by Andrew Murray

Father, I thank You for more rain, yesterday, and that our temperature was a bit lower. The relief was much needed. I also thank You for the wonderful time of memory-sharing that we had, yesterday, as a group of former high school bandmates met for lunch. I’m hoping we can do more of that.

Lord, You know me, as the psalmist says, in Your Word. You know me, as has been said, better than I know myself. And I take comfort in this, because You love me, anyway. That’s right. You know all of the nooks and crannies of what makes me, me. You know how I am apt to react to any given circumstance, You know my tendency toward being judgmental, You know my anger issues, and You know my impatience with things and people, yet You love me anyway, with an everlasting love that won’t quit.

I praise You for that love. I also thank You for how You have arranged things in my life, and for the “good works” that You prepared in advance for me. Now, I know that I can only be aware of those things when I encounter them and walk in them. I won’t likely know about them until I’m in the middle of them. I believe that Your will for me is being worked out on a daily basis and revealed to me only as I spend time searching my heart for the ways You work within me. I have confidence, as I meditate and contemplate, that Your grace and mercy will be revealed in me, and that I will embrace Your knowledge of me in all things.

I thank You for Christ’s victory over death, so that death, itself, has no sway over us. Oh, sure, our physical bodies will die, someday, as we all do. But that is not the final word for us, because we are unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in Your great universe. There will be, as promised in Scripture, a new heaven and new earth that will appear when Christ returns to set all things right. And we pray,

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Peace, Not Prosperity

Today is Sunday, the twenty-fourth of July, 2022, in the seventeenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!

Day 23,509

Yesterday’s high temp hit 100 degrees in my area, to make our total days of triple-digit temperatures 28, with the current streak at eight days. The current forecast shows only next Saturday (July 30) being below 100. It has been fifty days since it rained. There is a 35% chance of rain next Friday, and 22% on Saturday.

We are planning a trip to Mineral Wells, next Saturday, as I have a lunch gathering with some high school band classmates, along with our director. I’m concerned that the house will be too hot to work in, but we will see how it goes.

My day at the library yesterday was pretty good. It didn’t seem very busy at the circ desk, but a lot of books were returned, so we kept busy emptying out the book drops.

The Texas Rangers lost another game to the Athletics, last night, 3-1. They are now nine games below .500, at 42-51. They remain in third place in the AL West, twenty games out of first, and eight games out of the Wild Card race. They play again in Oakland at 3:07 CDT, today. Martin Perez is starting, so there is some hope, but the bats have to work, too.

The Red Sox lost another game to the Blue Jays, but it was a bit closer, this time. It was 4-1, this time. The Sox are only one game above .500, now, at 48-47. They remain in fourth place in the AL East, and are now only a half game ahead of last place. They are 16.5 out of first place, and three games out of the Wild Card race. They play Toronto again today, in Boston, at 1:35 EDT.

The Nationals continue to have the worst MLB record, at 31-65. The Dodgers are within a half game of catching the Yankees with the best record. Those Dodgers also own the best current win streak, at seven consecutive games. The other LA team, the Angels, has the longest current losing streak, at five games. The Red Sox have lost four in a row. The Nationals still have the worst run differential, at -163. The Rangers are still in the green, but barely, with +4, and the Red Sox have dropped to -8.

At this point, I’m losing hope that either of my teams will see any playoff action, this season. I know there’s still a lot of baseball left, but it’s just not looking good. To make matters worse, Rafael Devers has been placed on the IL for the Sox. It’s just a hamstring, so maybe it won’t be for long.

We have our church gathering this morning at 10:15, and then we have a show that we are attending, in Irving, at 2:30. That’s pretty much it for the day.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we bow down before you in this time when you have brought us hardships and judgment. Change this earthly age, we beseech you. Bring in something from heaven so that your will may be done and your mercy come to all nations. Strengthen us on all our ways, we pray. We thank you for all you have done for us. May your name be praised and glorified at all times. We want to follow you and to remain in your heavenly life. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 
(Hebrews 10:35–36 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the confidence I have in God, that I will be "richly rewarded"
2. for the peace that God gives us
3. that God dwells with us, within us, and not in any building
4. for God's Word, and the hope for proper understanding of it
5. for the community of saints, and the hope for unity within it

Today’s word, from Pray A Word A Day, is prosper.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

This is a dangerous word. And the writer of today’s reading claims that the Hebrew word for prosper means “to push forward, to pass through, to get on.” However, that doesn’t appear to be the word used in Jeremiah 29:11. There is a Hebrew word that does mean that, but the word in Jeremiah 29:11 is shalom!

That word can be translated as prosperity, but usually, it means “peace,” and that is how the KJV translates it. The ESV uses the word “welfare,” the NLT says “good,” and Peterson, The Message, says “to take care of you.”

I like this verse, but we have to be careful with verses like this. This is not a “promise” that we can “claim” for ourselves. Context is everything! And in this case, it is important to look at the verse before it.

“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
(Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV)

Here’s the thing. I do believe that God’s plans for me are good. But this passage is explicitly written to Israel, and any attempt to “claim” it for ourselves is misguided. Nevertheless, I believe we can take comfort for it, as well as the following verses that do promise that if we seek the Lord we will find Him.


My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
(Ezekiel 37:27 ESV)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
(1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV)


Father, I thank You for the peace that dwells within me. I pray for proper understanding of Your Word and that misinformation would not be spread lightly. Help us to understand the difference between peace and prosperity, especially when we get caught up in material things. I believe that my “prosperity” comes in spiritual things, and I believe that You have granted me peace through Your Spirit, because of Your Son. Help me to call on You and seek You wholeheartedly, that I might find You, because You are not making it difficult for us to find You.

Your dwelling place is, indeed, with us, within us, both individually, and as Your Church, the Body of Christ. I pray for unity as we realize this in our lives.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
(John 14:27 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Simplify

It is Sunday, the seventeenth of July, 2022, in the sixteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart today!

Day 23,502

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, light of humankind in Jesus Christ, full of joy and trust we ask that we may have access to your almighty power, your power against all darkness, sin, death, and bondage. May we feel close to your almighty power. Hear our weeping, for we are and remain your children, to whom you have promised redemption and deliverance. Together we hold fast to this promise and stand before you saying, "We are your children in Jesus Christ the Savior, whom you have sent to us." Hear your children. Bless us each one, and bless us as one people, allowed to serve you in the misery of our world. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn. 
(Isaiah 61:1–2 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the power of God against all darkness, sin, death, and bondage
2. for promised redemption and deliverance through Jesus Christ
3. for the discipline of simplicity; may I continue to improve in that
4. for my morning coffee
5. for chances to have some alone time with my wife

"Obviously, while I love all, I must, like Christ, have a special love for the poor. At the last judgement, we shall all be judged by the treatment we have given to Christ, to Christ in the person of those who are hungry or thirsty, who are dirty, wounded, and oppressed."
(Don Helder Camara, Daily Dig from Plough.com)

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
(1 Kings 18:21 ESV)

Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, "Israel shall be your name," and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time." And they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time." And they did it a third time. And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. 
And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back." Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God." And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape." And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.
(1 Kings 18:30-40 ESV)

Today’s word, from Pray A Word A Day, is simplify.

“Our life is frittered away by detail. . . . Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

This is a word that goes right alongside yesterday’s word of balance. Our society is also way too complex, between all the doing, and all the acquiring. The reading only addresses the physical things, like all the latest technology that we seem to think we have to have.

I used to think that I had to keep up with musical technology, and have the latest gadget attached to my keyboards and what-not.

But the simplification goes beyond just the physical, as well. We also need to simplify our schedules. Many people, especially with younger children, seem to be going, going, going, all the time, with barely time to stop and breathe.

It is no wonder that we are a nation that is direly in need of therapy.

Perhaps if we worked to put God first, the other things would either fall into order, or, perhaps, many of them would fall away completely, when we discover that we don’t need them at all.


Father, I pray that that You continue to lead me down a path of simplicity. I know that I am pretty wrapped up in today’s technologies, but I try to use them for good, and to proclaim You throughout the world. I pray that my words reach ears (and eyes) that are open to Your Spirit and attuned to Your grace, that they may be drawn into Your Kingdom, that we may walk together.

I pray for this nation, that our society might find a way to balance and simplify itself. I also pray for the region in which I live, that we might have relief from this heat wave, and please, Father, send some rain to us.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

Grace and peace, friends.

Beating A Dead Horse?

Today is Sunday, the tenth of July, 2022, in the fifteenth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,495

Time is short, this morning, as I slept later than usual, so I’m moving on to the devotional. We are going to our house church, so I have to be done in less than an hour.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, strengthen in us all that comes from you and is eternal, all that is good and right and genuine. Let this shape our outward life and help us triumph over need and death. Help us to wait quietly, even when we don't know the answers to our questions, because we are certain that the outcome will be good and life-giving, to the glory of your Spirit and your name. We entrust ourselves to your hands. Stay with us, that we may receive your calling for our lives. Stay with us, so that in all our work and activity we may be aware of your guiding Spirit at work in our hearts. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
(Psalms 95:6-7 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the presence of God, who stays with us, that we may be aware of His guidance in all our work and activity
2. that I am part of "the people of his pasture"
3. for a pretty good night's sleep
4. for the desire in my heart to be obedient to the "greatest commandments"
5. for the commands of Jesus to love

I’m sharing a piece, one stanza of one of Daryl Madden’s poems, this morning, because of the important message of that one stanza. If all people who call the name of Jesus would simply do this, what a change would come in our world!

If Jesus is our first
Thought before we act
We’d be more kind and loving
And peaceful that’s a fact

You can check out the rest of that poem, as well as others, at the link on his name, above.


And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
(Mark 15:33-39 ESV)


Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is obedience. That’s not a popular word, in recent days, as the idea requires submission. And I’m not talking about the “submission” to which people eagerly refer when giving their misguided advice about husbands and wives. I’m talking about submission to any authority.

But here’s the thing. Oh, wait. First the quote. Again, not a Scripture reference, although I’m sure one could have been found.

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience?” ~ Elizabeth Elliot

The problem with this is that there are too many differing opinions on what it means to be “obeying in the thing that lies before us today?”

However, there is merit in looking at some of the examples of which Mrs. Elliot is speaking.

Abram (his name had not yet been changed) left his homeland. Saul/Paul turned from his destructive ways and began preaching the Gospel. Mary agreed to be the mother of Jesus. Jesus obediently went to the cross.

“Seemingly small,” Elizabeth??? Hah!

Now, here’s the thing. In order for us, today, to be practicing “obedience,” . . . Oh. Wait, again.

The Greek word that is translated “obedience,” hupakoe, literally means “attentive hearkening.” The word doesn’t appear in the Old Testament, not in that form. I looked up various occurrences of “obey,” and the general meaning of the Hebrew word was the same.

NOW, here’s the thing! In order for us, today, to be practicing “obedience,” we essentially have two things to do. (There he goes again!) You know. You’ve read it here so many times, you’re surely weary of seeing it. But, apparently, not enough people have read it or “attentively hearkened.”

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:28-31 ESV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35 ESV)

Remember Daryl’s poem from up there?

If Jesus is our first
Thought before we act
We’d be more kind and loving
And peaceful that’s a fact

These are the “seemingly small act[s] of obedience” that could change the world.


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)


These acts of obedience, besides showing the world who the true disciples of Christ are, also help us to grow, inwardly. We cannot afford to be lethargic (I confess I have been guilty of this, from time to time) about our Christianity. Because of the actions of some, the word has different meanings to different people. Right now, in the US, the word “Christian” is definitely suspect. If you don’t understand why, you are not paying attention. You are not “attentively hearkening.”

It is more important than ever for us to be obedient to those commands of Jesus. Once again, He has told us that those are the only ones that matter, because, if we obey those, we have fulfilled the entirety of the law and prophets. Paul agrees with Jesus, and tells us the same thing.

So, please. “Just do it.”


Father, I just pray that Your people would all “attentively hearken” to the commands of Jesus, so that our world would change. I’m weary, Father. Really weary. But I must continue. I must continue to grow inwardly, and not be lethargic about what it means to be a Christian.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

What A Powerful Name

Today is Sunday, the third of July, 2022, in the fourteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be in your heart today.

Day 23,488

Yesterday was a busy day. We traveled back to Mineral Wells, to Mama’s house, and did some more, um, not exactly “cleaning,” but we went through some drawers and things and identified some things that could be thrown out and some things that probably need to be shredded. We’re getting closer to the time when we will need a trailer or truck to move a few big items, and then we can plan the estate sale. We were tired when we got home, but it was a good day.

I cooked my “signature” burgers for dinner. For some reason, S really, really likes my burgers. That’s pretty much all that happened.

The Texas Rangers beat the Mets, yesterday, 7-3, so they are tied for this series. The rubber game will be this afternoon. The Rangers are 37-39 for the season, still in second place in the AL West, now a game ahead of Seattle. The Angels have dropped to fourth place. I don’t hear anyone complaining about that. The Rangers are still 12.5 out of first, though, and still four games out of the Wild Card.

The Red Sox lost another game to the Cubs, 3-1. They are 43-35 for the season, and that loss dropped them back into third place in the AL East, a half game behind Toronto. They are 14.5 out of first place, and currently have the second Wild Card spot. As it stands, right now, the AL East still has all three of the Wild Card spots. MLB is ignoring my complaint.

Until further notice, the Yankees have the best MLB record and run differential. I refuse to type that any more. The Athletics still have the worst record, at 26-54. I will type that all day. Unfortunately, the Houston Astros have the longest current win streak, at five games. The Reds and Orioles are tied with the longest losing streak, at four games. The Athletics also have the worst run differential, having been outscored by 115 runs. However, the Nationals and Pirates are both at -114. The Rangers are at +16, and the Red Sox are at +57.

Our house church is not meeting, this morning, due to too many people being on vacations and/or cruises (I’m not jealous at all)(actually I’m not . . . I hope they are having wonderful times . . . I’m retired, working at the library; how could I be jealous of anyone??).

We’re not sure what we are doing for lunch today. We recently (a couple days ago) started doing the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) thing again, so we may give Applebee’s another try. They have some pretty healthy options, while our favorite BBQ place doesn’t really. That’s a shame, because I really like the people at that place.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for the work you are doing. We thank you for working through people of all kinds and of all vocations and through the many hearts that know your goodness. We thank you for the great work led by the Lord Jesus, who will overcome the world with patience and with gentleness. He will overcome the world, opening the door wide for all, including the poorest of the poor, to come to you, their Father in heaven. Grant that with the light we have been given we may remain firm and true. Do not let us come into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:4-6 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that He who began a good work in us will complete it
2. that Jesus has overcome the world, and has opened wide the doors to the Kingdom of God
3. that I need never feel lost because Jesus is always with me
4. that the name of Jesus makes the darkness tremble and silences fear
5. that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
(Mark 12:17 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”
(Mark 12:24 ESV)


Today’s word, from Pray a Word a Day, is bewildered. This should be interesting.

“I weren’t never lost, but I was bewildered a time or two.” ~ Daniel Boone

Okay. First of all, that quote is highly suspect. I can’t verify that exact quote anywhere, but I see a couple that are similar, but with much better grammar.

There’s this one, from Goodreads: “I’ve never been lost, but I was mighty turned around for three days once.”

Then there’s this one from BrainyQuote: “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”

So apparently, Boone did say something similar to the quote used by the Guideposts folks.

Believe it or not, the word “bewildered” actually appears in Scripture, at least in the NLT, two times.

The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.
[Shorter Ending of Mark]
Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
(Mark 16:8 NLT)

When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
(Acts 2:6 NLT)

It also appears in Acts 2:6 in the ESV, but in Mark, the word is translated as “astonishment.”

The Greek word in Mark is ekstasis, which, as it turns out, can be translated either as “bewildered,” or “amazement,” or “astonishment.” However, the Acts 2 passage uses a different Greek word, sugcheo, which is translated “confounded” in KJV. The NLT and ESV are the only major translations in which the word “bewildered” is found. Not that that is at all relevant to today’s point.

Which is that, in Christ, we might get confused, we might get bewildered, or confounded, but we are never “lost.”

There are several important verses to remember when we feel that way.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20 NLT)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
(John 14:16 NLT)

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
(Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

And one of my very favorites:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 NIV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalms 23:4 NIV)

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
(1 John 4:18 NLT)

More verses to assuage our bewilderment. More promises from our Father and our Savior.

"Peace, bring it all to peace
The storm's surrounding me
Let it break at Your Name.

"Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble . . ."

We will experience confusion in our lives. There will be times of bewilderment. God never promises that we will not experience these things. He will not keep “bad” things from happening to us. He did not even keep “bad” things from happening to Himself!!

But what He will do is deliver us from the bewilderment, the confusion, the confoundment. (Is that even a word??)

And as simple as it may sound, sometimes all we need is the name of Jesus. His name cannot be overcome. His name silences fear. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lost (yes, I do feel lost, sometimes), all I need do is say the name . . .

“Jesus, Jesus.”


For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 NLT)

Most popular translations use the word “all” in this verse: “I can do all things . . .” Whichever word we read, there is a sense of maturity in the statement that Paul makes, here. It’s almost in passing, and it’s easy to miss. I say that, but people love to quote that verse. Yet, they frequently quote it out of context, just as they do Philippians 4:19.

What is the context of verse 13?

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
(Philippians 4:10-14 NIV)

We foolishly believe that, by changing who we are, or changing our circumstances, that we can become content. This was briefly referenced, last week, when talking about how much is enough.

If I can just get one more guitar. If I only had a few more thousand dollars in my bank account. If I could get a different job. If I could move away from this state, or even this country.

All of these thoughts are immature, in their nature. “There is a great deal we can do nothing about: weather, other people’s emotions and attitudes, and economic conditions. But there is one way we can do much: offer up the centers of our lives in acts of love and faith, risking our beings in relationship with God.”

When we do this, and couple it with Paul’s attitude, “That becomes an all that suffuses life with contented strength.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)


Father, Your presence is amazing. I love being able to live and walk in the confidence that You are here/near all the time, and that You/Jesus will never forsake me. I know that I sometimes take this for granted and do not remind myself of this truth frequently enough. And sometimes I do allow myself to feel lost, bewildered, or confused/confounded. At those times, Your Holy Spirit reminds me of the truth. I am never alone; I am no longer lost, and will never be again. There is no need for bewilderment; there is no need for me to react the way I frequently do when silly things happen, when technology refuses to work properly. Help me to remember that these are all “footstool” problems, and have no eternal bearing whatsoever on my life, either here on this earth, or in eternity when I reach Home.

I praise You for Your promises of deliverance and Your presence. I praise You for Your promises of peace. Help me to embrace this peace and walk in it every day. Yes, the world appears to be burning, but we, as Your children, can walk in the fire the way the three Hebrew children did in Daniel, as long as that fourth “person” is walking beside us.

Jesus, may I say Your name a lot, each day, or at least think it, especially when I get confused or feel lost. Your name is powerful; Your name is beautiful; Your name is wonderful; and Your name makes the darkness tremble.

And yes, I can do all things through You.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


Grace and peace, friends.

Extravagant Love

Today is Sunday, the nineteenth of June, 2022, in the twelfth week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,474

Today is Father’s Day, so I wish a happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. I hope you are able to love on your kids today, and spend some time with them. Some of us will have to love some of our offspring from afar, and that’s okay, too. My father, of course, has been gone for seven years, now, and is still sorely missed. But he is more than fondly remembered for the love that he showed and care that he gave.

Today is also Juneteenth, but that holiday will be observed tomorrow. Since it was finally made a federal holiday last year, most banks will be closed, as well as the post office. I’m not sure about the library where I work, but I don’t ever work on Mondays, anyway.

The Rangers game was terrible, yesterday. Taylor Hearne did not have his best stuff, and they lost 14-7. It was actually quite a bit worse than the score indicates, too. But today’s another day. They are 31-34 for the season, still in second place, nine games out of first. They are also still four games out in the Wild Card race. They will play Detroit again today, in Detroit, at 12:40 CDT, with Dane Dunning taking the mound to try to win the series.

Almost as if the two teams are joined at the hip, the Red Sox also suffered an embarrassing loss, yesterday, losing to the Cardinals 11-2. They are now 35-31 for the season, still in fourth place, 1.5 behind Tampa and 14.5 behind the You-Know-Whos. They have another game with St. Louis today.

The Yankees have the highest everything right now. Best record, 49-16, highest run differential (+144), and longest win streak (nine games). Massive sighs. The Athletics have the worst record, at 22-45. The Nationals, though, have the worst run differential, at -115, as well as the longest losing streak, at eight games. The Rangers’ run differential sits at zero, today, and the Sox are at +45, after losing by nine runs, yesterday.

In the PWBA, the top 30 are currently in the fourth round of qualifying in the U.S. Women’s Open in South Glens Falls, NY. After three rounds, the top thirty were, in order, Cherie Tan (Singapore), Jordan Richard, Lindsay Boomershine (I like her name), Shayna Ng (another Singapore bowler), Shannon Sellens, Stefanie Johnson (from Texas), Erin McCarthy, Hui Fen New (Singapore), Shannon O’Keefe, Danielle McEwan, Rocio Restrepo, Birgit Noreiks (Germany), Liz Johnson, Daphne Tan (Singapore, Cherie’s sister), Dasha Kovalova (Ukraine), Verity Crawley (England), Missy Parkin, Bryanna Cote, Kerry Smith, Kayla Bandy, Clara Guerrero (Columbia), Chelsey Klingler, Sydney Brummett, Breanna Clemmer, Olivia Farwell, Hope Gramly (also from Texas), Jenny Wegner (Sweden), Diana Zavjalova (Latvia), Jen Higgins, and Josie Barnes.

This morning’s round will cut to the top 24, who will bowl in match play one round this evening, and two rounds tomorrow, to determine the top five, who will be on the live TV broadcast Tuesday night.

We aren’t going to church, today, as C has not been feeling well. She does not have Covid, though. Just some kind of cold or allergies, or something.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord, O great and almighty God, we thank you that you have given us the Savior, in whom we can become united and have peace on earth. May he, the Savior, work powerfully among us. May your Spirit come into people’s hearts so that they learn to acknowledge you as their leader and their God and to rejoice in their lives, which are intended for eternal life. Bless us through your Word and through all the good you do for us. Constantly renew and strengthen us in faith and in patience through the grace you send us. Remember all the peoples who should become yours in the name of Jesus Christ. May they all confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the honor of God the Father. We praise you for the promise you have given us of a wonderful new day of help for all. We praise you that you have created all people to recognize their true calling and their way to salvation. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
(Isaiah 54:10 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for that unfailing love and unshakable covenant of peace from God, our Father
2. for the love that I had from my earthly father for all the years he was with us, and that he did his best to train me up in the love of the Lord
3. for the faithful love of my two wonderful daughters
4. for the extravagant love that our Father in heaven has lavished upon us
5. for the equality of all people in Jesus Christ (the reality is not necessarily realized, but it is still the reality . . . the ground is level at the foot of the cross)

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
(Mark 4:30-32 NIV)


The prayer word for today, from Pray a Word a Day, is extravagant. You have to look pretty extensively to find that word in any version of the Bible. It occurs a single time in the NLT, in Revelation 18:3, in reference to the sins of the Great Babylon. It does not appear in NIV, ESV, or KJV.

However, Eugene Peterson likes the word, apparently, and it occurs multiple times in The Message. This particular verse is featured in today’s reading.

I’ll make a list of GOD’s gracious dealings, all the things GOD has done that need praising, All the generous bounties of GOD, his great goodness to the family of Israel— Compassion lavished, love extravagant.
(Isaiah 63:7 MSG)

And what a word to describe the love of God for us. Extravagant! There are, of course, many other words that have been used, over the years, to describe God’s love. Frederick M. Lehman may have said it best, in 1917, when he wrote the song, The Love of God. In the chorus (or refrain, if you prefer, he wrote:

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
the saints’ and angels’ song.

And then, the last verse, one of my favorite hymn verses of all time:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made;
were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,
and ev’ryone a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky.

He doesn’t use the word “extravagant,” but it certainly fits.

Father, I praise You for Your extravagant love. Your love split seas and rivers in half, crumbled walls, even made the sun move backwards. Your love created things out of nothing, and miraculously fed your people with food from heaven. And then, when we thought it couldn’t get any more extravagant, Your love died for us, and then rose from the grave so that we could live in eternal glory in Your Kingdom. Extravagant, indeed. Thank You, Lord. Thank You.


So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,
(Galatians 3:26 NIV)

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 NIV)

Father, today, I pray for racial equality in our land, and throughout the world. If we truly believe the words of Paul in Galatians, let us strive to make things better for all people, because we see all people as equals in Christ. The ground is level at the foot of the cross! And it is back to Your extravagant love that has provided this truth for us!


Eugene Peterson continues writing on the Sabbath. He makes a bold claim: “Keeping the Sabbath is easy: we pray and we play, two things we were pretty good at as children and can always pick up again with a little encouragement.”

He calls praying a “great act of freedom in relation to heaven.” Through prayer, we exercise our “bodies and minds in acts of adoration and commitment, practices of supplication and praise, and ventures of forgiving and giving.”

He calls playing a “great act of freedom in relation to earth.” Through playing, we “exercise our bodies and minds in games and walks, in amusement and reading, in visiting and picnicking, in puttering and writing.”

Easy, he says, yet we, in our society find it so hard. Part of the reason for that is that our culture doesn’t encourage us to keep a Sabbath. In fact, if anything, it is out to steal it from us. For many of us (and I have been fortunate in this respect, for most of my adult life), we are expected to work our jobs, seven days a week. Many people find themselves unable to attend worship services because of the demands of the job, as accomplishment and profit are king in America.

And the bottom line, says Peterson is that “after a few years of Sabbath breaking, we are passive consumers of expensive trash and anxious hurriers after trash pleasures.”

Ouch. Explicitly descriptive, but truthful.

“We lose our God and our dignity at about the same time.” And this is why Peterson encourages us to keep a Sabbath. “Guard the day. Protect the leisure for praying and playing.” And for those of you who think you are too mature to “play,” I give you this:

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson, except for the nose-thumbing)

Father, I praise You for the Sabbath. I thank You for the command that we have a day to rest, a day to pray, and a day to play. I realize Your command said nothing about playing, but I find myself in agreement with Peterson, whom I respect deeply, and trust just as deeply. I pray that You would remind all of us, frequently, that we need to take a day off to pray and play, a day off from the hustle and bustle that this culture demands from us. I also pray that, not just on the Sabbath, but all days, that You would help us to demolish the very concept of “hurry,” as it steals from us in many ways. You are not in a hurry. Why should we be?

Sometimes I find myself in a hurry to be Home. I also need not do that. Help me to live the life that You have planned for me, at the pace You have planned. I do pray that I will accomplish all that You have for me to do, and that I will reach and inspire all that You have for me to reach. May my presence in social media platforms be one that shows love and forgiveness to all, and inspires all to know the kind of gratitude that we should have toward You.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!


I realize Mercy Me changed the meter, but I’m okay with that.

Grace and peace, friends.

Pay Attention

Today is Sunday, the fifth of June, 2022, Pentecost Sunday.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,460 (the number of days since I was born)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that you are so near us and that we may be near you. We thank you that throughout our days we may be people who listen to you with all our hearts and minds, a listening people who can receive what is good and true for our lives and who can witness to the power you give us through the Savior. Protect us in all things. Look into our hearts and into the situation of each one of us, where many things are still faulty and unclear. Deliver us from evil, for the kingdom shall be yours. From you the power shall come. Your glory shall radiate from our lives, and we shall praise and thank you forevermore. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
(Isaiah 12:2 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that God is near to us and we may be near to Him
2. that God has a clear view of all things in my life that is yet faulty and unclear
3. for the greatness of our God, even though that word falls far short of getting it; we cannot fully comprehend His majesty and glory
4. that God allows us to take part in the work that He does on this earth
5. for the joy we receive from meeting together to praise God
What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. 
We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. 
All of us must come to you. 
Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. 
What joy for those you choose to bring near, 
those who live in your holy courts. 
What festivities await us inside your holy Temple.
 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
 O God our savior. 
You are the hope of everyone on earth, 
even those who sail on distant seas.
(Psalms 65:1-5 NLT)

The prayer word for today is “attention.”

Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry.
(Psalms 86:6 NLT)

In this context, the psalmist is asking God to pay attention to him.

Pay attention, GOD, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help.
(Psalms 86:6 MSG)

But attention works several ways. While it is perfectly fine to entreat the Lord to pay attention, or hear, us, we must also pay attention to Him.

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”
(Mark 9:7 NLT)

I didn’t notice that little bit that says, “Listen to him,” until probably less than a decade ago. It was at that point that I began paying much closer attention to those “red letters,” the words of Jesus. And it was at that point that I began focusing so much more on love instead of judgment.

But there is one more aspect of attention, isn’t there (at least)? We must, absolutely must, pay attention to one another.

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ 
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ 
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ 
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
(Matthew 25:31-46 NLT)

It is crucial that we pay attention to what is going on around us. We must keep, not only our spiritual eyes, but our physical eyes open. Why? Because, as James tells us, “faith without works is dead.” This does not mean, at all, that we are working for our salvation. Rather, it means that, if we are not doing the work, there is no faith! Faith proves itself by the works that it does.

If we claim to be following Christ and do nothing whatsoever to help the hungry or thirsty or stranger or naked or sick or in prison, then we are just blowing smoke. If we are only offering “thoughts and prayers” to people, we are doing no good. I am, of course, in no way diminishing the efficacy of prayer. But that phrase has become a substitute for action.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
(James 2:14-20 NLT)

Pay attention!

Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.
(Psalms 145:3 NLT)

GOD is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness.
(Psalms 145:3 MSG)

“How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you!”
(2 Samuel 7:22 NLT)

“Look, God is greater than we can understand. His years cannot be counted.”
(Job 36:26 NLT)

How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!
(Psalms 147:5 NLT)

How do you describe God? Is “great” adequate? What about “magnificent?” We have many words. Marvelous and glorious; strong, powerful.

There are four phrases in the above verses that really speak to me. In 2 Samuel, it says, “There is no one like you.” In Psalm 145, it says “he can never be praised enough.” In Job 36, it says, “God is greater than we can understand.” And, in Psalm 147, “His understanding is beyond comprehension.”

We try, because we have to. We need words to tell our God how great we think He is. But those words fall so far short that it’s almost ridiculous. We must acknowledge the truth of those four phrases. It is beyond comprehension. We simply cannot truly fathom how great our God is.

I am somewhat blown away by the following video. It is Chris Tomlin’s song “How Great Our God.” But it is being sung in many different languages. I got some serious chill bumps as I listened and watched. How fun is it, how stirring is it, to listen to a song you know being sung in another language? Because you know what they are saying, even though you don’t understand the language.

Celebrate the greatness of our God with me. Use whatever words you have. He will still be magnified and glorified, even though He is so much greater than we could ever understand.

Pay attention!

Father, today, help me to pay attention. May I pay attention to You, and may I pay attention to my brothers and sisters, as well as everyone else around me. Help me to keep my eyes open to what is going on around me. Help me to see what You are doing around me, that I might join in and support Your “cause,” which is the only cause truly worthy of my support.

I know You do not need my support. You do not need anything from us. If you were hungry, you would not tell us, because You own the cattle on a thousand hills! But You choose to utilize us in Your work.

I praise You for Your greatness, Lord. Your majesty, Your glory, Your magnificence. You are marvelous and wonderful and every one of those words, even if we combine them all into one thought, are nowhere enough to describe You. Even the nonsense word that Mary Poppins made up doesn’t come close. But yet we must try. We must use words, because that’s what we have. We have language. So help us to use our language appropriately. When we try to describe You, help us to have the right attitude and motivation behind that description. And help us, dear Lord, to never take Your name in vain. Help us to honor You properly, and honor the name of Jesus in the best ways.

All praise to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Do not be one who stretches out the hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving. If you earn something by working with your hands, you shall give a ransom for your sins. You shall not hesitate to give, nor shall you grumble when giving, for you will know who is the good paymaster of the reward. You shall not turn away from someone in need, but shall share everything with your brother or sister, and do not claim that anything is your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more so in perishable things!
(The Didache, Daily Dig from Plough.com)

Grace and peace, friends.