Faith vs. Works

Good morning. It is Friday, July 10, 2015. We made to Friday.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is nobbler. This is an old English word that has several meanings, beginning with “A person that hits; something used for hitting.” In historical usage, it was “A person who strikes or hits; spec. one formerly employed to strike inattentive members of a church congregation with a rod.” In slang usage, it can mean “A small quantity of alcoholic drink. Also: a small glass or container for alcoholic drink.” It can also mean “A dishonest person, a swindler; a pickpocket.”

Today is, once again, Teddy Bear Picnic Day. I guess if you’re a kid with a teddy bear, it is more likely to be possible on a Friday, since you are not in school right now. But for me, I have to work, so no teddy bear picnics for me today. 😦

Christi wound up not making Huddle last night, as she got off work late and had a terrible headache. We spent the evening relaxing, and she feels better this morning. I didn’t get any practice in, either. Perhaps I will play some, this evening, as it will be one week since I have practiced or played. I realize that no one in the community band is expecting virtuosity from me, but I still would like to get my chops back to at least close to where they were 20-30 years ago.

Today being Friday, I may have to work late, though, as I seem to be stuck in a job where that happens almost every Friday. I know. At least I have a job, right?

As far as I know, there is nothing special going on this weekend. I think Stephanie has a “horse outing” scheduled with our friends from church.

Oh, yes. In exactly three months from today, we fly to Cancun and Playa del Carmen!


Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

Psalm 81:13-16

(From Solid Joys)

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Matthew 7:22

Today’s reading is “Proud Work vs. Humble Faith.”

What is the difference between the heart of faith and the heart of works?

“The heart of works gets satisfaction from the ego-boost of accomplishing something in its own power.” Impossible-seeming physical activities (Spartan race, anyone?), extra responsibilities at work, fasting for a week, all done in the spirit of self-satisfaction, conquering a challenge, these things define a heart that is oriented around works. This heart has a love of independence and self-direction, and “sets out to prove its superiority through self-denial, courage, and personal greatness.” This person is assertive, autonomous, and triumphant.

There is a radical difference in the heart of faith, although its desires are no less “strong as it looks to the future. But what it desires is the fullest satisfaction of experiencing all that God is for us in Jesus.” The heart of faith takes great joy in seeing God overcome an obstacle. The works heart glorifies self, while the faith heart rejoices to see God glorified.

In reality, there is a fine line of difference between these tow, and often, we cannot see the difference, ourselves. It is possible to be overly judgmental toward people, guessing where their hearts are, but we honestly don’t know, unless they express it, themselves.

“In its religious form, works accepts the challenge of morality, conquers its obstacles through great exertion, and offers the victory to God as a payment for his approval and recompense. Faith, too, accepts the challenge of morality, but only as an occasion to become the instrument of God’s power. And when the victory comes, faith rejoices that all the glory and thanks belong to God.”

I believe this is an important reading for us to ponder. Where is my heart? I tend to shy away from great challenges that would prove my superiority, opting instead for quiet, behind-the-scenes exertions, such as intercessory prayer. But that doesn’t mean my heart is totally faith-oriented either. I find myself longing for encouraging words of affirmation from people, and nave to fight the urge to be upset when I’m not recognized for something. I dare say that most of us, if we are honest, fight this battle daily, the battle between having a heart of works and a heart of faith.

Father, I pray for my heart to be dominated by faith rather than works. May the goal of my life be to glorify you and not draw attention to myself. May my prayers be lifted up to you in quiet confidence that you hear, and that your heart’s desire is that your name be lifted high and glorified. Glorify your name, O Lord, in all the earth! I long to see your name hallowed by all people, in all the earth. May I be an instrument of your grace and mercy, as I pray for your will to be done, on earth, as in heaven. May your Kingdom come, Lord!

I pray for this day, that our trip to work be safe and smooth. May our work day be smooth, as well, and I pray that we not have to work late, this evening. Your will be done, though. I pray for Christi’s headache, that it would bother her today. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her today. May you strengthen Rachel to do whatever she needs to do to get finished with her Master’s program and move on to what she really wants to do in life. I pray, also, for Justin, that you would empower him to do whatever he needs to do. Encourage my mother, today, in whatever she finds herself doing, as well.

Your grace is truly sufficient, Lord, in all things.

Faith vs. works . . . it’s a daily battle. May faith win out, every time.

Grace and peace, friends.


“Rejoice in the Lord always! Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.”~~Brennan Manning, channeling Paul

Good morning. It is pre-Friday, July 10, 2014.

Today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. I remember this one from last year. It seems that it should always be on a weekend, though. Who has time for a picnic on Thursday??

Christi’s job situation is about the same. However, I think she is making strides, especially in sticking up for herself and speaking up about things that are just crazy. I think that’s a good thing. I’m praying that she can speak some sense into the operation and get things calmed down a bit. It would be good for everyone.

Stephanie is back over at Megan’s house, at least for last night, maybe for tonight, too. I think we need a break from this. 😀

As of last night’s fourth consecutive loss, the Texas Rangers are now worse than the Houston Astros. By one percentage point. So, this morning, the Rangers and the Red Sox are both in last place. What a great season.


This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8

(From The Divine Hours)

But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 115:18
Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
Psalm 86:16
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
Psalm 32:7
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
Psalm 54:4
But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 68:3-5

“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father,
you have brought me in safety to this new day:
Preserve me with your mighty power,
that I may not fall into sin,
nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose;
through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Rejoice! Rejoice!”

Brennan refers to the act of rejoicing as “good humor.” He says that good humor helps us be victorious over “that subtle form of egotism that would make [us] pose as a martyr or at least a victim, that makes [us] always want to be noticed, consoled, or placed on a pedestal.” It also makes the life of our community “richer and more delightful.”

In Philippians, Paul exhorted the Christian community to rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always! Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.”

Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say,

Philippians 4:4


Father, help me to rejoice more. Just this morning, after reading this, I am more inclined to be rejoicing! Even though there are plenty of struggles and trials to be concerned about, there is much, much more in our lives to be rejoicing about! I pray that I will be more unselfish today. I pray that anxiety will be dismissed from my mind, and that I will trust you implicitly! May I be faithful in letting my request be made known to you, and that your peace will surround my heart and my mind, guarding them from anything that would harm or distract me.

I pray for this day. May we have safe passage to and from work today. I pray that Christi will continue to make headway in her work situations. I pray for your intervention in the operations, and that she will be successful today. I pray for Stephanie today, that you would give her peace and understanding. I pray for Megan’s comfort, as her pet guinea pig died on Sunday. I know how much things like that affect people like Stephanie and Megan. She is very distraught.

Your grace is sufficient, Lord. Fill us.

Rejoice in the Lord!! I will say it again! Rejoice!!

Grace and peace, friends.

Even If I Ran Away

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Hump day.

Today is Bear Picnic Day. Oh. I’m sorry. Teddy Bear Picnic Day! Yes. Today is the day to take your teddy bear on a picnic. Obviously, whoever made this list doesn’t live in Texas. It’s a bit hot for picnics right now. Even for a teddy bear.

Christi had another doctor visit yesterday, and the doctor said she could see no evidence of the fracture!!! Hallelujah!! There is one last visit in four weeks, and Christi is still not supposed to do any jumping or standing on tip-toe, but she can return to doing some impact-type exercise or activity. No jogging or jumping, though, nothing that pounds on the feet. That is so awesome!

Her dinner last night with her friend went very well, and she got some very good advice. That’s pretty much all I can say about that right now. Everything is else is humming along normally. I’m continuing to learn new things at my job, even if somewhat randomly. The training process leaves much to be desired. 😀

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this day in 1099, the “greatest of Spanish folk heroes, knight and conqueror, scourge of the Moors, faithful defender of Christian Spain,” Roderigo Diaz de Bivar, known in history as El Cid, died while the city he ruled was under siege. At the age of 56, El Cid was ailing, and King Bucar of the Moors was attacking his city, Valencia. But he gave deathbed instructions that were followed. “El Cid’s generals waited twelve days and then strapped his armored body upright on his faithful horse Bavieca. At midnight, with El Cid in the lead, the entire army rode through the city gates. Then, as the noble corpse moved forward with the baggage train, the Spanish knights turned and attacked the sleeping Moors from behind.” A contemporary account described it as such: “It seemed to King Bucar that before them came a knight of great stature upon a white horse with a bloody cross, who bore in one hand a white banner and in the other a sword which seemed of fire and he made great mortality among the Moors . . . And King Bucar and the other kings were so dismayed they never checked the reins until they had ridden into the sea.” El Cid’s body was taken to the monastery of San Pedro de Cardena where it sat on an ivory chair for ten years before being buried. “Not surprisingly, a superstitious cult soon grew up around the tomb.”

Today’s birthday is (in spite of it being John Calvin’s birthday), Ron Glass, born on this date in 1945. While some may know him from his stint on Barney Miller, all the really cool people know him as “Shepherd Book” from Firefly, and Serenity. I found this cool vlog about him on You Tube.

Honorable mentions go to Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010, Fred Gwynne, 1926-1993, Arlo Guthrie, 66, David Brinkley, 1920-2003, John Calvin, 1509-1564, Phyllis Smith, 62, Gina Bellman, 47, and Bela Fleck, 55.


Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80:7
But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused? Psalm 76:7
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
Psalm 33:6-11

“O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your servant who calls upon you, and
grant that I may know and understand what things I ought to do, and that I
also may have the grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Father, I pray that you would teach me something that I may take through the rest of this day.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “I Alone Am Left.” The scripture reading comes from 1 Kings 19.

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life. (1-3a)

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. (4a)
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. (5-6a)
And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (8-10)

Elijah goes in to the wilderness, once again, for refuge. It might be wise to note that he wasn’t exactly looking for God, in this instance, as he was running from his life from probably the most wicked woman to ever grace the face of the earth. “But even in Elijah’s running away, God met him in his solitude.” Even Elijah, this man who lived an amazing life with great power and firsthand experiences with God, needed some solitude and refreshment, where God could meet him alone. Now, here’s the question? When have we sought solitude for some other reason than meeting God? I know I have. But the amazing thing is, sometimes he meets us there, even though we aren’t exactly looking for him. There is just something about being alone that allows us to commune more intimately with God. And if the place is “desolate,” away from everything else, that opportunity seems to be even more heightened. For me, I keep going back to the ocean. I “ran away” to Galveston, not necessarily seeking the Lord, just getting away from the normal drudgery of everyday life. Yet, as I sat on the beach (not totally alone, but kind of by myself), God came to me and communed with me. He will meet us in the most amazing places.

This reading reminded me of one of my current favorite worship songs, “Your Love Never Fails.” (Not the fake Newsboys version.) There is a line in the song that says, “Nothing can separate, even if I ran away, your love never fails.” You see? Elijah was running (not so much from God as from Jezebel), and God met him! Even when we try to run away, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! His love never fails!!

Father, I confess that I run away too often. I am shamed by the number of times in my life that I have run away. But you meet me, nonetheless. I praise you for your consistency with me. As I continue to seek out places of solitude during my days, I pray that you will meet me. Your love never fails!

I pray for this day, Lord. May our work day be smooth and productive. May Stephanie be drawn closer to you. May your blessings continue to rain down on our family, no matter where we may be.

Your grace is sufficient.

His love never fails, even if we run away.

Grace and peace, friends.