Adventure Time

“There are days when the world is bright with meaning and every bird and flower a witness to the glory; we dance and sing with the innocence of animals. But those days are then snatched by the starless nights when the dark has seeped into our souls and we cower in fear and despair, pulling the covers over our heads.”

It’s Tuesday, the nineteenth of July, 2022, in the sixteenth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ dwell within you!

Day 23,504

I got all the things accomplished yesterday. It was quite productive, and turned out pretty well. I wound up only needing one new tire (for now), and I have to say, I love the company where I get my tires done. We have been going to Hamm’s for quite a while, now, and they are honest, reliable people. They could have easily sold me four new tires, yesterday, but told me that the other three tires were okay for now. They showed me the bad one, so I’m confident that that was what I needed.

I got the oil changed pretty quickly after that, as well. I was home, with Sonic drinks, shortly after noon, which isn’t bad. Turns out mid-morning on Mondays is a good time to do things.

I haven’t updated the weather, here, lately, so I’ll do that, today.

It’s hot.

I’m still keeping my spreadsheet going, and found a website that helps me keep up better, because Reliant’s app is always at least two days behind. So the highest temperature, to date, was yesterday, when it hit 110 (that’s 43.3c for those reading anywhere but the U.S.). It is projected to be that hat again today.

We did have two days, last week, that did not reach 100, so that streak ended at ten days. The current streak is at three. We have had 23 days, now of triple-digit temperatures. The ten-day forecast calls for another 110 degree day tomorrow, followed by temps closer to 100 for the rest of the visible forecast. That gives me some hope that it might drop below 100 somewhere in there.

As for rain, there is virtually no chance in the next ten days, with one day having a 21% chance (and that depends on which weather site you look at – Wunderground only gives a 15% chance for that day).

It has still not rained since June 3.

But even bigger news is the European heat wave, right now. It hit 40c yesterday, in London, and airports are shutting down because the runways are melting. Many people there do not have A/C. At least, in Texas, we expect it to be hot.

It’s my busy week at the library, so I’ll be working tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, and Saturday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord our God, we rejoice that we may be called your children. In our weakness we ask you to shelter us in your hands. Strengthen us in the hope and faith that our lives will surely go the right way, not through our strength but through your protection. Grant that through your Spirit we may come to know more and more that you are with us. Help us to be alert in our daily life and to listen whenever you want to say something to us. Reveal the power and glory of your kingdom in many people, to the glory of your name, and hasten the coming on earth of all that is good and true. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9–10 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that, when I am weak (and acknowledge that weakness), in Him I am strong
2. that His grace is sufficient
3. for this journey, this "adventure" of faith, trusting that life in God's Kingdom is far better than I could ever imagine
4. for the community of saints; oh, how we need each other!
5. for the mystery of resurrection and the adventure it brings us

For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!
(Amos 4:13 ESV)


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

“Adventure is not outside man, it’s within.” ~ George Eliot

Adventure. It is defined as, “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” As a verb, it means, “engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.”

You won’t find the word anywhere in the Bible, but that’s okay, because we don’t just pray words that are in Scripture.

Admittedly, some folks are more adventurous than others. We have had adventures in Mexico, some more fun than others. We ziplined, we drove a Hummer, we held a baby crocodile, we had a snake around our shoulders, we rode four-wheelers through the jungle. We even rode a bus to Walmart.

“Adventures” can be fun. They can also be dangerous and risky. People have lost their lives attempting adventure.

I suppose the journey of faith can be described as an adventure. In this journey, every step is a step into the unknown. Someone once described faith as walking up to the edge of the light and taking one more step. But, in reality, walking in faith is never knowing what is coming next.

Now what this truly means is that every human being on the planet is walking in faith, whether they know it or not. Who or what that faith is placed in is a different story. But everyone who takes a step forward or gets in a car to drive or ride somewhere is acting in faith.

I am on a journey of faith, walking in God’s Kingdom. I trust in Him, in His reality. I trust that things in God’s Kingdom are far better than I could ever imagine, no matter what I see in the world around me. And let me tell you, the world around me doesn’t look very promising, right now.


Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
(Matthew 26:36-38 ESV)

When Jesus was approaching the most traumatic time He would experience while He walked on earth, He brought His best friends along. He expressed His heart to them, His trouble and sorrow.

Jesus. The Son of God. God incarnate. Needed His friends.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 ESV)

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
(John 15:15 ESV)

Jesus calls us “friends.” He does not call us “servants.” The old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” How often do we stop to think that He also considers us “friends?”

If Jesus, God incarnate, needed His friends around at this most important juncture of His life, how much more do we need each other?


In this life of adventure, Peterson chimes in (although he doesn’t use the word). “There is a lot we don’t know. There are days, many of them, when we don’t know what is going on. Events tumble out randomly, it seems. . . . There are days when the world is bright with meaning and every bird and flower a witness to the glory; we dance and sing with the innocence of animals. But those days are then snatched by the starless nights when the dark has seeped into our souls and we cower in fear and despair, pulling the covers over our heads.”

Try to imagine what Peter and John must have felt when they stood in front of an empty tomb, not yet comprehending what had happened. “Not only was the body gone from the tomb, but the meaning was gone from their lives.”

They had such high hopes. Jesus, when He was alive, “had convinced the two men that their lives had purpose, that it was worthwhile to live, that everything fit together in a design of salvation, and that love was possible.”

And now, not only was the living Jesus gone, so was the dead Jesus. But in the midst of this mystery (adventure?), “They spotted a clue. They used their heads. they followed the clue. And it led them to resurrection.

“There are clues everywhere, still. It is up to the curious to pick them up, follow them, make the correct deductions from them, and live before the mystery of life in a believing faith.”

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


Father, this life is full of adventure, but those adventures are not always fun or enjoyable. In fact, we seem to be in the midst of an adventure that I would just as soon end. But it continues, and so must we. I pray for the faith to continue to walk in Your Kingdom, and to continue to believe that things are far better than I could ever imagine, and far better than they seem.

I praise You for the resurrection, and for the “clues” that we still have around us. Help us to not get bogged down in circumstance; help us to see that “reality” is not necessarily what we can see with our eyes and hear with our ears. Rather, give us the faith to be able to see and hear what is truly reality in Your Kingdom.

I pray for unity within the Body of Christ. We need each other more than ever, and yet we are terribly divided over issues and “causes” that are not necessarily relevant to the Kingdom. Help us to remember that the only “cause” worthy of our attention is the cause of Jesus and love. I believe it’s okay to support a cause, but if that cause divides brothers and sisters in Christ, then please God, give us the sense to step back and re-think it!

I continue to pray for relief from this heat wave, which now is affecting more than just Texas. I pray for people in Europe who are experiencing unusual heat, right now. Give them relief, as well. I also pray for rain in our area. The forecast doesn’t give much hope, but You are the God of hope, and control things that the forecast can only guess about. I pray for relief, Father, and I know that I am not alone.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus! Come and set things right, and take us to the place You have prepared for us, that where You are, there we may also be.


Grace and peace, friends.

Your Name Alone

Good morning. Today is Thursday, the thirtieth of December, 2021, the sixth day of Christmas.

May the peace of Christ be with you today.

Day 23,303

Only two more days until 2022!!

Temperatures continue to be unseasonably warm (albeit comfortable) as we have a projected high of 76 in DFW today. However, the weekend looks like it will be, how you say, “brisk.” No, let’s don’t mess around. It’s going to be freakin’ cold Sunday and Monday mornings. We’re talking in the twenties, and low twenties, at that. In fact, Saturday’s temps will go from a high of 73 to a low Sunday morning of 20! At least the temperature is supposed to get above freezing Sunday afternoon before dropping back down to 24 Monday morning. And both days are slated to be “sunny.”

Not a lot happened, yesterday. I got a package returned to Amazon, via the UPS store, and picked up Sonic drinks while out. There seems to be a growing shortage of Sprite Zero at the Sonics, so C had to drink Diet Coke. We got our grocery delivery from Albertsons and everything was good on that, except they were out of Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar products. No worries. If we run out, we have plenty of Coke Zero. And if we run out of that, we have plenty of water.

C has a prescription ready to pick up at CVS, and I tried to get it yesterday, but the line was wrapped around the building, and she said she didn’t have to have it until Friday. So I will try again today.

We made chili for dinner last night, the first meal we’ve cooked since Christmas. We don’t normally have chili on Wednesday, so that was a departure from our normal schedule. Which is fine, because the “schedule” has been anything but normal this week. So much so that I’m still having trouble remembering what day it is. I do know that tomorrow is Friday, and I am supposed to work. So I will need to get to bed at a more decent time tonight, and get up before 9:00, because I’m supposed to be at work by 9:15. And I don’t want to have to rush through the last blog of the year, right?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Lord, I dedicate this day to You.
May my feet walk only where You want them to walk.
May my eyes see only what You want them to see.
May my ears hear only what You want them to hear.
May my mouth say only what You want it to say.
May my mind think only what You want it to think.
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
 Praise befits the upright. 
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; 
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 
Sing to him a new song; 
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 
For the word of the LORD is upright, 
and all his work is done in faithfulness. 
(Psalms 33:1-4 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the ability and skill to "make melody to Him," and to sing new songs to the Lord
2. for the steadfast love of the Lord, which endures forever (see Psalm 136)
3. for the promise of Home
4. that only the name of the Lord is worthy to be exalted
5. for the many names of God and what they all mean for us

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
(Psalms 36:5 NIV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 
"I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, 
but will have the light of life." 
(John 8:12 ESV)

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
(John 17:16 ESV)

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of her;
 she shall not be moved; 
God will help her when morning dawns. 
(Psalms 46:4-5 ESV)

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
(Hebrews 13:14 ESV)

"Let not your hearts be troubled. 
Believe in God; believe also in me. 
In my Father's house are many rooms. 
If it were not so, would I have told you 
that I go to prepare a place for you? 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come again and will take you to myself, 
that where I am you may be also."
(John 14:1-3 ESV)
He will come again,
and will take us to Himself;
I long to be Home.

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

CHRISTMAS – DAY SIX

INVITATION

Shout praises to the LORD,
 everyone on this earth. 
Be joyful and sing as you come in to worship the LORD! 
(Psalms 100:1-2 CEV)

As I pause, this morning, I’m reflecting on Home. While there is nothing I can do to hasten my arrival there (it is God’s purpose that keeps me here), I can express my desire to be there, and, hopefully, prepare myself for the eventual transition. Dallas Willard once opined that some people’s transition from this life to the next might be so smooth that they don’t even realize that they “died.”

BIBLE SONG

Praise the LORD. 

Praise the LORD from the heavens; 
praise him in the heights above. 
Praise him, all his angels; 
praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 
Praise him, sun and moon; 
praise him, all you shining stars. 
Praise him, you highest heavens 
and you waters above the skies. 

Let them praise the name of the LORD, 
for his name alone is exalted; 
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.  
And he has raised up for his people a horn, 
the praise of all his faithful servants, 
of Israel, the people close to his heart. 

Praise the LORD.
(Psalms 148:1-4, 13-14 NIV)

BIBLE READING

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 
(Luke 2:36-40 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I read these passages again, I look for words or ideas that stir within me, lingering over them, giving them my attention. I pray my life to God, resting in His presence.

In the midst of Psalm 148, such a great panoply of praise, one phrase catches my attention, today. It comes in verse 13: “His name alone is exalted.”

We “praise” a lot of things and people in this world. WE speak fondly of our favorite places, people, foods, books, songs, games, and so on. But there is only One who deserves to truly be worshiped.

He goes by many names. 
YHWH (Yahweh or Jehovah) - I AM
El Shaddai - God Almighty
Adonai
Elohim
El Elyon
El Olam

There are many suffixes to the name, Jehovah. 

Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is Peace
Jehovah Jireh - The Lord will Provide
Jehovah Tsidkenu - The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah Nissi - The Lord is my Banner
Jehovah Sabbaoth - The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah Maccaddeshcem (M'Kaddesh) - The Lord who Sanctifies
Jehovah Rohi - The Lord my Shepherd
Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is there
Jehovah Rapha - The Lord who Heals

I’m sure I have not exhausted the list . . . these are just some of the “bigger” ones, or more well-known names of God.

Consider today . . . who do you need God to be in your life today? Call on the Name of God that you need the most today. Do you need peace? Do you have physical needs of provision? Do you need protection? Do you need healing? Or do you just need to know that He is there? Call on Him, and He will answer. If you seek Him with all your heart, He will hear you and He will make Himself known to you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)

Father, I don’t know if I can truthfully say that I have ever sought You with “all my heart.” For surely, there is always a piece of my heart that longs for the things of this world. Otherwise, I would have ceased chasing after anything sinful, long ago. So I need You to do what Psalm 86:11 asks for. Unite my heart to fear Your Name. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. My heart’s desire is to be whole-hearted toward You, so that I might truly know You and see Your face. I know that, someday, I will see what can be seen of You, in glory, and I truly long for that day, because I grow weary of the fight in this world. Yet I know that I am still here for a purpose, and I want to fulfill that purpose for You. So keep drawing me closer, and keep showing me Yourself, that I might come closer to calling on You with my whole heart.

Your Name, alone, is to be exalted and worshiped. Help me to worship You more faithfully, Father. And for anyone who stumbles across this, today, Lord, I pray that one of those many names of Yours will inspire them to call upon You for whatever they need in Your life. Show Yourself, faithfully, to all who call upon You, that Your name may be glorified, on earth as it is in heaven. I seek no recognition, as I am only a channel of the words that Your Holy Spirit puts in my brain and on my heart. I pray that I am “hearing” correctly, though. Let me never say or do anything that brings dishonor to Your Holy Name!

Father, please give Your children the commitment to do justice and love mercy. I pray for the rights and protection of children in our land and around the world. And, for anyone who is lonely, today, may You, Jehovah Shammah, show Yourself to them as their faithful companion.

BLESSING

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people.
(Luke 1:68 CEV)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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

Grace and peace, friends.