Am I Listening?

“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.”~~Rupert Brooke

Today’s word of the day, from, is groggery. A groggery is “a slightly disreputable barroom.” Best stay away from those, right?

Today is Radio Day, a day formed in 2011, to celebrate the importance of radio communication, which, in some parts of the world, still remains the primary means of information and communication.

I didn’t get up until 9:30, this morning, hence the late-ish blog entry.

I worked about an hour late, yesterday, as did Christi, so we wound up having a late dinner. We called out for Asian food at our usual place, and had it delivered. We watched a few TV shows, then Christi went to bed, and I stayed up, as is my custom, to play Fallout 4. After a couple of hours, I noticed I was having a hard time staying awake, so I went on to bed, as well. It’s been a touch week. We’re all hoping for some better weeks ahead. And, of course, we are praying and hoping for some good news next week.

We got our taxes filed today, finally. We’re getting a small amount back, this year. I don’t know what else will be going on today. Christi is still coughing quite bit, from whatever ailment she has had this week, so I don’t know if we’ll get to the grocery store today, or not. The manager of our Kroger store, who is also our pastor’s dad, is in the hospital with double pneumonia! He’s doing better, I hear, but will remain in the hospital, at least through today.

I’m rambling a bit, so I should probably get on to other things.

On this date in 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to face heresy charges. You see, he believed that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Scandalous! You can read the story at

Today’s birthdays include:

1599–Pope Alexander VII
1885–Bess Truman, First Lady
1891–Grant Wood, American painter
1919–Tennessee Ernie Ford, American musician
1923–Chuck Yeager, American pilot
1933–Kim Novak, American actress
1934–George Segal, American actor
1938–Oliver Reed, English actor
1942–Peter Tork, American musician, The Monkees
1942–Carol Lynley, American actress
1944–Jerry Springer, American TV host
1944–Stockard Channing, American actress
1950–Peter Gabriel, English musician
1951–David Naughton, American actor/singer, “I’m A Pepper”
1961–Henry Rollins, American musician
1976–Feist, Canadian singer/songwriter

Peter Tork is an American musician and actor, most famously known as the bass player for The Monkees. He is 74 years old today. Here is my favorite song by The Monkees.

Catherine Howard, Cotton Mather, Richard Wagner, David Janssen, Waylon Jennings, Dick Weber, and Nelson Briles are among notable deaths on this date.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Psalm 25:6-10

“God likes our sins even less than our neighbors do. But he treats them far differently.” Isn’t that the truth? We humans tend to judge, reject, and condemn people for being flawed (as we all are), but God “instructs” us, he “leads” us, and he “teaches us. “Our sins are an occasion not for harsh rejection, but for loving reconciliation.”

“I confess my sins to you, O Lord, confident that you will not reject this sinner, but find new ways to share your forgiveness and steadfast love, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Today’s reading is “The Devotion of Hearing.”

And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:10

Just because I have listened to one thing God says to me is not a guarantee that I will listen to all that he says. I tend to be obtuse toward many things that God tries to speak to me, and this is one way that I demonstrate disrespect toward him. Most of us would shudder to think that we had disobeyed the voice of Jesus at any point. But the thing that hinders me from hearing is that I am frequently too focused on other things. “It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear him.” May we have more of the attitude of little Samuel, who, upon hearing the voice of God (after Eli set him straight about who it was that was calling him), eagerly proclaimed, “Speak, for your servant hears!”

May we hear God’s voice today!

Father, I confess that I don’t always listen to you. Even when I am supposed to be concentrating on these devotions, my mind and heart are drawn away by other things, from finances to entertainment. May I be more focused on you, that my life may be more consistent and stable. I have confidence that you hear me; may I cause you to have confidence that I hear you, as well.

I pray, still, for our friend and brother, Greg, that you might clear out his lungs and heal him.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Failure IS An Option

Good morning. It is Saturday, September 20, 2014. I have to hurry this morning, because I have an 8:00 appointment to get a recall notice service performed on my car. The dealership is in Irving, so I’ll need to leave pretty soon.

(Thanks to Robert Warden for suggesting that song.)

Today is Gymnastics Day. I have had a great appreciation for gymnasts for many years. It’s one of my favorite part of the Olympics. The amount of strength and stamina that a gymnast must have is amazing. Some of the things that they do on parallel bars, rings, and that beam thing are phenomenal.

There’s not much to write about, personally, so I’m going to move on to the devotional portion right away.

We’ll have our Anchor prayer gathering at 4:45 this evening, followed by our worship time at 5:45. We are having a family fellowship time after the worship tonight, with food and some wacky games (or so I hear). We are The Exchange.


Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:9-10

(From The Divine Hours)

Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalm 103:20-22
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Psalm 118:22-23

Today’s Gospel Reading

“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. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:7-11

This is an often quoted passage, and is usually applied to either faith or prayer. Or praying with faith. I believe the point Jesus is trying to make is that our Father is eager to give us good things. He is not a stern taskmaster, just waiting for us to fail so he can punish us. Jesus has taken the punishment for our sin, and their remains “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” God will give us what we need. Now, I’m not a believer in the idea that he will give us everything we ask for. I don’t believe that Jesus teaches that, even though some of his statements can be interpreted that way. If that were true, I would have a lot of things that were most definitely wrong or not good for me.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Success in Failure.”

Who among us has not failed? If you say you haven’t, just move on and read someone else’s blog. You’re either delusional or a pathological liar. I can identify with Brennan, this morning, as there have been times in my life when I have failed miserably, and saw “my life as a complete waste – not only for the things I was doing, but for the things I wasn’t doing, the meager, paltry, stingy response I was making to Christ in the least of my brothers.” There were feelings of “discontent, guilt, fear, shame, and unbearable hypocrisy.”

But Brennan says that “living out of the center” has taught him that “every failure succeeds in some way.” When we fail, there is opportunity to humble ourselves. When we fail, we learn “to be with the failure of others.” If we never failed, how would we ever minister to others or understand the depths of the human heart?

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Proverbs 16:19

Father, I thank you for the failures in my life, even as dismal as they have been. I praise you that you took those failures and brought me through to where I am today. Not that I have “arrived,” by any stretch of the imagination. I still fail, sometimes very badly. And you still pick me up and bring me along, sometimes having to retrace steps that have already been taken. Your patience with me is astounding. I thank you that you still have work for me to do. May I be faithful to do it.

I pray for this day. I pray that the car work will be done quickly, and properly. I pray for Christi as she has to do the things she normally does this morning, and is not feeling well. I pray that you bring healing on her as she continues to sleep this morning. May our worship time tonight be honoring and glorifying to your name. May our fellowship together be pleasing in your sight.

The next time you fail, stop and think about where you’ve been and where you are. Allow God to turn your failure into success. Run to Jesus.

Grace and peace, friends.

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.

Celebration in Suffering

Good morning. I think it’s Monday. December 30, 2013. One more wake-up left in this year. 47 days until pitchers and catchers report. 91 days until Opening day. For all but twelve teams, football season is over.

Today is “National Bicarbonate of Soda Day.” We know this more commonly as “baking soda.” Baking soda has many uses. Just click on the above link to find out about them.

We had a delicious lunch yesterday, with Rachel and Justin, and watched many episodes of Adventure Time on Netflix. Adventure Time is a Cartoon Network production that is very strange and entertaining. It features Jake the Dog, Finn the Human, Princess Bubblegum, Lady Rainicorn, and Marceline the Vampire Queen, just to name a few. After they left, Christi and I watched more Parenthood.

We were planning to go to Mineral Wells today, to do some work around my parents’ house, but Christi just isn’t feeling up to it today. She still has a rough cough and is not feeling well. Plus, today’s high is only going to get to the lower forties, and some of the work is in the back yard. We will see about going on Wednesday or next Sunday, whenever Christi is feeling better.

I just had a brief interruption to go buy the donuts.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this date in 1916, the murder of one Grigory Yefimovich Novykh occurred. If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, you don’t recognize that name. Perhaps you recognize the name Rasputin? As the gramophone played Yankee Doodle, Prince Feliks Yusupov offered Rasputin “two cakes laced with cyanide of potassium, along with a similarly doctored glass of Madeira. Yet despite a dosage theoretically ‘enough to kill a horse,’ the intended murder victim, a bearded and brooding holy man, continued to chat calmly with his host.
“After the clock chimed midnight Yusupov could wait no longer. Drawing a revolver, he shot his visitor in the back, knocking him to the ground. but instead of dying the victim rose to his feet and charged out into the garden. There another assassin waited. He shot the holy man twice, and then the two murderers rolled him up in a blue rug and pushed their grisly package through a hole they had carved through the frozen surface of the Moika Canal on the Neva River. When the body was recovered three days later, water was found in the lungs. The murdered man had finally drowned, after surviving both poison and bullets.”

Today’s birthdays are Rudyard Kipling, author, 1865, Jack Lord, actor, 1928, Del Shannon, singer, 1934, Sandy Koufax, pitcher, 1935, John Hartford, country singer, 1937, Paul Stookey, 1937, Mel Renfro, football player in the Landry era, 1941, Fred Ward, actor, 1942, Michael Nesmith, 1942, Davy Jones, 1945, Jeff Lynne, musician, 1947, Tracey Ullman, singer, 1959, A.J. Pierzynski, catcher, 1976, Grant Balfour, pitcher, 1977, and Eliza Dushka, 1980.

Wow, so many to choose from today. Well, Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones were part of a sixties group created for a TV show, called The Monkees. Sadly, Davy left us last year (2012). Here is a video of them “performing” “Daydream Believer.”


(From The Divine Hours)

Psa 103:20-22 Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psa 119:19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!
Psa 56:12-13 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Eph 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than
all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, forever and ever. Amen.

“Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your
incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in my heart,
may shine forth in my life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

Today’s reading in A Year With God is “Celebrating in Times of Suffering.” The scripture reading is Isaiah 51:9-11.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD;
awake, as in days of old, the generations of long
ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who
pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up
the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made
the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to
pass over? And the ransomed of the LORD shall
return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting
joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain
gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

“These words are written to Israel in exile.” The writer calls out to God and remembers His great deeds on behalf of Israel. He also prophesies that the people, “the ransomed of the LORD,” will return to their land, with singing and everlasting joy! As we find ourselves in times of suffering, it is important that we take time to call out to God, remembering that he has done great things for us in the past, and also knowing that he will deliver us in the future! “Reaching for everlasting joy through singing, dancing, and praising is essential even and perhaps especially in times of sadness, because it returns our focus to God.” Here is a quote from Dallas Willard in The Spirit of the Disciplines:

“Celebration heartily done makes our deprivations and sorrows
seem small, and we find in it great strength to do the will of
our God because his goodness becomes so real to us.”

Father, teach us to celebrate, even when we are suffering. There seems to be a lot of suffering in the lives of people whom we are close to. Sometimes, we think we are suffering, but then we see someone else, and realize we are okay. Our trials are minuscule in comparison. Nevertheless, when we are going through a trial, it seems serious; it seems large; and, sometimes, it seems insurmountable. Take us through these trials and sufferings with our eyes fixed on you, celebrating your grace, your mercy, your wonderful deeds in our lives, and throwing ourselves into worship and celebration with abandonment. Would that we could get our eyes off of ourselves long enough to celebrate in all circumstances. Teach us these things, O Lord!

I pray that Christi will begin to feel better today, and that we will be able to get out on Wednesday. I pray for everyone who will be traveling anywhere tomorrow, especially for those who will be out and about after midnight tomorrow night, celebrating a new year as 2014 arrives. Keep people safe. I pray that anyone who partakes too much in the celebrations will find someone else to drive them home. Take us into this new year with our eyes on you, looking ahead, not backwards.

Your grace is sufficient.

If you are suffering right now, in the midst of some kind of trial or tragedy, try to take your eyes off of your circumstances and look up; lift up your head, your redemption draweth nigh. . .

Grace and peace, friends.