Turn, Turn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Today is Wednesday, the ninth of March, 2022, in the first week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts today.

Today’s header photo is courtesy of Paul Militaru, from Romania. Please check out his awesome photography at the link provided.

Day 23,372

The A/C and heater people are supposed to arrive, this morning, between 9 and 10. The work should take most of the day. It is currently pretty cool outside, at 36 degrees, but should get up to around 60 by mid-afternoon.

An update on my computer situation. I finally got all of the files moved to Dropbox, but when I opened up the PC, I couldn’t tell which part was which. I’m also not 100% sure which part is making the noise, so I’m not going to try to swap out the hard drive myself. I have talked to the Computer Center manager at the library, so when I go to work Friday, I will take it with me, and he has agreed to look at it. I’ll take the new hard drive with me, as well.

There’s not much else to talk about, this morning. I’m starting a new devotional book, as I finished Symphony of Salvation, yesterday. The new one is also by Eugene Peterson, called On Living Well.

You might notice that I have not addressed world events that are going on. That is intentional. There are plenty of places you can read/hear about that. My purpose here is to present the Word of God in the best way I can, as positively as I can. My goal is encouragement, not discouragement. I know that I occasionally point out issues and shortcomings in the Church. But that is because I love the Church and I want to see her flourish.


Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place -
the Most High, who is my refuge -
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
(Psalm 91:9-10)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the Church, the community of saints, faithful and true 
2. for angels who minister to the saints
3. for Salt of the Sound and their beautiful, inspiring music
4. for the way God works in my devotionals
5. for those times when the things of earth go strangely dim

John Henry Newman speaks of Daniel’s two recorded fasts. The first one, I believe was for ten days, in which neither Daniel nor the three Hebrews we know as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ate any meat or any of the king’s delicacies. The second was for three weeks.

The result of the first fast was that Daniel and his three friends were all stronger and healthier than the king’s people. On the second fast, Daniel was visited by an angel.

Newman keys in on the angel visit, and notes that, when Jesus was fasting in the desert for forty days, He was visited and helped by angels. “And so we too may well believe, and take comfort in the thought, that even now, Angels are especially sent to those who thus seek God.” Newman then takes note that Elijah, as well, was strengthened by an angel. We also have record of Cornelius, the Gentile, being visited by an angel when he was fasting.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
(Psalm 91:11-12)

The devil is well-aware of this promise, says Newman, “for he used it in that very hour of temptation. He knows full well what our power is, and what is his own weakness. So we have nothing to fear while we remain within the shadow of the throne of the Almighty.”

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
(Psalm 91:7)

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands."
(Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:5 ESV)

“The Word was first. The Word was previous to everything else. Before we were conceived and took shape in our mothers’ wombs, before we were born, before anything happened, there was the Word.”

Before anything else existed, sun, moon, stars, trees, flowers, fish, governments, hospitals, schools, “there was the Word.”

I can’t paraphrase this stuff . . . it’s too good.

“If the Word were not first, everything else would have gone awry. If the Word were second – or third or fourth – we would have lost touch with the deep, divine rhythms of creation. If the Word were pushed out of the way and made to be a servant to the action and program, we would have lost connection with the vast interior springs of redemption that flow out of our Lord, the Word made flesh.

“When the Word is treated casually or carelessly, we wander away from the essential personal intimacies that God creates . . . by his Word.” (Emphasis mine)

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

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

It is the season of Lent. We are “supposed” to give up something. I did see a TikTok by a reverend that I respect and follow, suggesting that, maybe, instead of trying to force ourselves to give up something, perhaps we should try to add something positive, such as trying to pray for a person every day.

But this is a “season,” as indicated in Ecclesiastes 3. Almost everyone is familiar with the next ten verses or so of that chapter. Pete Seeger helped us all with that. The Byrds probably made it more famous than Pete, but he wrote the song.

I’ve read over this many, many times, in my life, but it is always “time” to look them over again. The many “times” or “seasons” that the writer of Ecclesiastes notes are as follows:

A time to for birth and a time for death
A time to plant and a time to reap
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to destroy and a time to construct
A time to cry and a time to laugh
A time to lament and at time to cheer
A time to make love and a time to abstain
A time to embrace and a time to part
A time to search and a time to count your losses
A time to hold on and a time to let go (there's a whole bunch of us who need to learn that one)
A time to rip out and a time to mend
A time to shut up and a time to speak up
A time to love and a time to hate
A time to wage war and a time to make peace
(I used The Message for these)

And, as we work our way through the season of Lent, perhaps giving things up and perhaps adding things, there is one thing that we need to do. We need to “Turn” our eyes upon Jesus. It is always time for that.

Today’s prayer word is “ponder.” Isn’t that fitting, based on what I’ve just written?

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.
(Philippians 4:8 NIV)

“Ponder,” of course, means “to think about.” To think about carefully, to chew over, to meditate. Unfortunately, we tend to ponder over the wrong things, sometimes.

I have to interrupt myself and simply be awestruck over how my Father works these things out, how all of this works together, this morning. The writer of today’s reading, identified only as “Becky,” writes about trying to go to sleep at night, but as soon as her head hits the pillow, she starts pondering her day, her family members, and then the world and the future and . . . well, you get the picture.

In her case, “ponder” is more like “worry.” And I have most certainly been there. But the writer of Philippians would have us ponder different things. And I’m sure, if he were around today, he would agree with the song above the purple line, and say that all of the things in that verse are summed up by saying, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Because, most assuredly, when you do that, the things of earth grow strangely dim.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, help us all to turn our eyes upon Jesus, during these times, so that the things of earth will grow strangely dim. Not that we stop caring, may it never be! But that we stop worrying, fretting, fearing. We are Your children . . . have mercy on us . . . teach us how to obey Your commands to “fear not.” Help us to live Isaiah 41:10 every day, ever minute, throughout all of those many “seasons” listed above. There is NEVER any reason for us to fear, Father!

NOTHING can separate me from Your love in Christ Jesus. None of the things mentioned in those two verse, nor anything else that we could possibly imagine. And, most beautifully, not even my sin can separate me, because of the powerful and efficacious work of my savior Jesus Christ, my Lord! Your Word made flesh, existing before there was anything else, and who will come again to make all things right.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

True Freedom

Today is Saturday, the twenty-ninth of May, 2021, in the first week of Ordinary Time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,088

Two days until Memorial Day, and the long weekend has begun.

Today should prove to be somewhat a relaxing day. We have our grocery order in, and will pick it up right after our WW workshop, which is at 10:30 AM. I should lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 pounds since my last weigh-in, which was two weeks ago.

We will, of course, have to make a trip to a different grocery store. There seems to be some kind of conspiracy afoot, which prohibits us from being able to get everything we want/like at the same grocery store. For example, we like Kraft’s fat free shredded cheese, which can be found at Walmart Neighborhood Market or Winco, but not Albertson’s or Kroger. We like Nick’s ice cream, which can only be found at Albertson’s in our area. Albertson’s, apparently, does not carry Del Monte vegetables (at least they aren’t available to order on line), and we like Del Monte’s zesty chili flavor diced tomatoes, which we use in our “homemade” chili on Monday nights. Walmart doesn’t have the brand/type of microwave popcorn that we want.

So you see the dilemma. This week, we placed the online order at Walmart Neighborhood Market, but a trip to Albertson’s (at least) will be necessary for the Nick’s ice cream. Their “Triple Choklad” is the bomb. It’s Swedish ice cream, low fat and sugar, and a whole pint can be eaten for nine WW Smartpoints. I usually eat half of the pint for four points.

Some good news, continued results from our weight loss journey. I checked my blood pressure this morning, and it was 94/59, which is right on the cusp of being too low. The top number is okay, but the bottom is below 60, which is considered low. I shot off a message to my doctor, who replied back, telling me to hold off on my bp meds for today, and resume them tomorrow, but stop taking the hydrochlorothiazide. Continue checking the bp. If it elevates to normal range, stick with the current dose of Lisinopril (40mg) with no HCT. If it stays below 100 on the top, cut the Lisinopril in half.

One of my “whys” for being in WW is to reduce/eliminate medications. So it’s working. I have recently had my diabetes med cut in half, and now the bp med is being reduced. Perhaps, after my next checkup in August, I can eliminate the cholesterol medication, as well. I don’t know, though. I do eat an awful lot of eggs, since they are zero points on our WW plan. Hahaha!

Anyway, as of this morning, in my “birthday suit,” I am 12.8 pounds away from being in “Onederland” (that’s under 200 pounds in WW jargon). Based on my current rate, that should be achievable by the end of July, I think. Which means that, by my next doctor visit, I should be under 200 pounds, even in clothes! That will be call for a great celebration.

Tomorrow, as previously mentioned, we will be heading to Mineral Wells, to FBC, so that S can join the church, as a “non-resident” member. She is very excited about this.

Monday will be a day to rest and refresh. And hopefully get the pool equipment repaired.


"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)

The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
(Psalms 22:26 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for another long weekend to rest and refresh
2. for the way I have felt Your presence through this past week
3. for the color purple
4. for the freedom of walking in Your Word
5. that You make everything beautiful in its time

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



I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
(Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV)

As I briefly pause, this morning, I am pondering the beauty of colors in the world, and giving thanks to You for all the different colors that we can see.


May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise;
then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame,
for I delight in your commands because I love them.
I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.
(Psalms 119:41-48 NIV)


The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
(Acts 5:12-16 NIV)


As I read these passages, I linger, inviting the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts and meditations. What words or phrases speak to me, giving me insight into my relationship with Christ? What do I learn, resting in His presence, this morning?

I am especially drawn to Psalm 119:45, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” I believe this relates to Jesus’s statement that the truth will set us free. I do believe that there is a certain freedom that is a benefit of walking on the path of God’s Word. If we consider that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that adds even more to this thought.

Jesus is the Truth, so I can walk in freedom. This does not mean that I can do anything I want to do. There are too many people who mistakenly believe that that is what is meant by “freedom.”

But what it does mean is that I don’t have to worry about what others think about me. It means that I don’t have to conform to the world and its belief systems. It means that I don’t have to be influenced by popular culture. And it means that my only “influencer” is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, holy Trinity.

When I read the passage from Acts, I wonder, as I have before, if we will ever see such testimony of the power of God in our modern society. People were trying to position themselves so that even Peter’s shadow could pass over them! Where is that kind of faith today? Instead, we have the almost comic displays, with people like Benny Hinn and the like.

The only solution I can come up with is more prayer and more centering on God’s Word, focusing on His power in our lives. And it means more righteous living. Not that my righteousness can accomplish anything, because it can’t. But by being attached to the vine, this branch can bear much fruit, and that is the only way that it can bear fruit.

Father, I thank You for the freedom in which I can walk, when I am following Your path, Your Way, which is Jesus and His teachings and example. I have two jobs in my life: to love You and to love people. Everything else is peripheral, including my opinions about things, which are not in the “job description” for those two jobs. Help me to remember that those are my two jobs, the two greatest commands, and that Jesus gave us a “new commandment” to love one another, even more deeply than we love our “neighbor.” Help met to daily walk in that freedom, and show us Your power in our world, Lord! I want to be able to point to Your works and show people, to boast in Your power and majesty!

what a wonder you've given me in the Holy Spirit.
Not some impersonal energy or vague force but your life,
your very presence in me.
Thank you for the peace,
and all your blessings the Holy Spirit pours out in my life.
As you make me share in all Christ's blessings,
may I share the miracle and wonder of your life with all.
(Heidelberg Catechism 53)


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 NIV)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)

Lord, may we make time, today, tomorrow, and ever day, for what is really important.

Lord, may Your Church flourish throughout the world. May we present worship that glorifies You, and may our worship gather, unite, and bless Your people, as well as everyone else around us. Make us a blessing even to people who do not believe. I especially pray for those who work in caring for the youngest of children. Make their spirits gentle and loving.

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

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

You saw that coming, right?

Grace and peace, friends! Shalom Aleichem!

Living In Christ

To have a Christ-centered life means “to live in the heart of Jesus, to share his tastes and aversions, to have the same interests, affections, and attitudes, to be motivated in everything by his loving compassion. It means making the habitual thought patters of Jesus Christ so completely your own that truly ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.'”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 13, 2014.

Today is French Fries Day. I love me some good French Fries. I prefer the more difficult to find “crinkle cut” version. Braum’s still makes those. I just wish they would make them crispier. Over all, though, I still hold the opinion that the best French Fries (at least fast-food-wise) are still be found at McDonald’s.

Let’s see. . . what’s goin’ on? Yesterday, Christi managed to finally help her mother get the remote control fob for the used Hyundai that they bought a few weeks before they moved to a different apartment. They had to go to a different dealership (not the place that they bought the car) and have one programmed for the car. This took a while, so while they were doing that, I got the leak in my tire fixed. Discount Tire did it for free. It had a nail right in the center of the tread, which is very good, because that is easily fixed. Then I went on across the street to Kroger and did our grocery shopping for the week. Christi still wasn’t home when I got home, so I put away the groceries, did the dishes, and had just turned on the X-Box when she got home. We all went across the street to Fogata’s for lunch, and then headed over to church. Christi got really tired after lunch, so she decided to go home before the service started (we came in two cars, because she had planned to go out after church with one of the other ladies). Stephanie stayed with me. Our pastor preached a really good sermon last night. However, I’m thinking he might get a few negative emails after he compared the “Tea Party” to the New Testament Pharisees. I really enjoyed that comparison, myself. He normally doesn’t get political at all, and that was pretty much the extent of it last night.

After church, Stephanie and I grabbed some Whataburger and went home. We watched some TV while eating, and that was pretty much it for the night. Christi has to do some work today, and I plan on taking advantage of an opportunity to just rest.

(Source: This Day In History)

It was on this date in 2010 that George Steinbrenner, owner of the Evil Empire, passed away. Under the leadership of his sons, the team has never been the same. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

July 13 is the birthday of Harrison Ford, Patrick Stewart, Julius Caesar (maybe), Yadier Molina, Cheech Marin, Bob Crane, Didi Conn, Fran Kranz, Roger McGuinn, Charles Scribner, Jr., Shin-Soo Choo, and Jean Luc Picard.

Fran Kranz is an actor who has been in a couple of Joss Whedon productions. He played “Topher” in Dollhouse, “Marty” in Cabin In the Woods, and “Claudio” in Much Ado About Nothing. Here is a clip that someone put together, a compilation of his dialogue as “Topher.”

Just for kicks, here is a clip of The Byrds (Roger McGuinn) singing “My Back Pages.”


Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Psalm 95:1
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.
Psalm 28:2
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
Psalm 118:26
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Psalm 119:103-104

The prayer for the week:

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.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “A New Creation.”

“For Paul, a new creation meant a total renovation of the inner self, a change of mind and heart.”

“To be ‘in Christ,’ he told the Philippians, means to have in you the mind of Christ Jesus, to think as Christ thought, to have the ideals that Christ had, to throb with the desires that filled Christ’s heart, to replace all your natural actions to persons, events, and circumstances with the response of Jesus Christ.”

To have a Christ-centered life means “to live in the heart of Jesus, to share his tastes and aversions, to have the same interests, affections, and attitudes, to be motivated in everything by his loving compassion. It means making the habitual thought patters of Jesus Christ so completely your own that truly ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.'”

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away;
behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Father, it is all too obvious that I have not yet fully realized this ability to live “in Christ.” And I need readings like this today to keep me aware of the fact that I do not “live in the heart of Jesus.” At least not consistently. I believe that there are some days that I come close. I don’t “share his tastes and aversions” consistently, because I don’t take the time to study his life to find out what his tastes and aversions are. Lord, I pray that your Spirit would impress upon me the necessity to learn the interests, affections, and attitudes of Jesus. Sure, I pray for the Beatitudes and fruit of the Spirit to take root and grow in my life every day. But I truly need to take more time to study and know Christ’s life, desires, and attitudes. And, honestly, this has been a conviction that has been growing in recent weeks. So it’s time to do something about it, isn’t it? I pray for inspiration, for conviction, and for commitment. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Don’t let me go to sleep at night without reading something about Jesus, that I might know him more and understand his life better. Make me a true disciple, and teach me how to make other disciples.

I pray for the remainder of this day, that we may find time to rest and relax. I pray that Christi can get her work done, and that tomorrow will be a better day for her than Friday was. I pray that you keep working through her at this job, to bring progress and improvement to their systems. Increase her confidence in what she is doing. I also pray for Stephanie, that you will always draw her closer to you and show her your unfailing love.

Your grace is sufficient.

It is my heart’s true desire to live “in Christ.” Maybe someday, I will get there.

Grace and peace, friends.