Today is Wednesday, the twenty-eighth of July, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,148

Twenty-two days until S’s birthday!

S and I are going to attend a Texas Rangers baseball game, tonight! It will be our first time in the new stadium, as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rangers finally won a game, last night, beating the D-backs 5-4. I have to admit that I was concerned, since the D-backs are currently (and have been for most of the year) the worst team in MLB. The Rangers, however, appear to be contesting that “honor.”

We will be joining a group from FBC Mineral Wells for this event, tonight, so that will be fun. I know S is really looking forward to this.

Things are moving in a positive direction, for me. Not very rapidly, still, but that’s okay. After notifying my doctor’s office that the sleep study people had not received the referral, I received word that they resubmitted the referral. Finally, I got a call from Blackstone and was informed that my device will be sent to my home, and after using it for two nights, I will return it to them. After they get it back, the data will be sent to my doctor’s office, and, provided they don’t manage to lose it or something, we will then be able to know if I need a new CPAP machine. Unfortunately, the soonest Blackstone can ship the unit is August 5, which is next Friday. Oh, well.

I also got my fingerprinting scheduled, finally. I never got an email from them, so I finally went back to the website where I registered, and found a link to schedule the appointment. So that will happen Monday morning at 10:00 AM. Then I have the interview with the Hurst library Monday afternoon at 2:00 PM. There may not be a light at the end of this tunnel, yet, but at least I’m in the tunnel.


Glory to You, Lord God of our fathers;
You are worthy of praise;
glory to You.
Glory to You for the radiance of Your holy Name;
we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever.
Glory to You in the splendor of Your temple;
on the throne of Your majesty, glory to You.
Glory to You, seated between the Cherubim;
we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever.
Glory to You, beholding the depths;
in the high vault of heaven, glory to You.
Glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever.

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. that things are moving in a positive direction for me;
2. for the chance to have some fun and fellowship tonight;
3. for upcoming endings that are new beginnings;
4. that You are always working Your plan;
5. that You will do whatever You say You will do (in Your own time).

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



GOD always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does.
(Psalms 145:13 MSG)

I pause to consider the truth that You always do what You say You will do. I also acknowledge that sometimes we are mistaken about what we think You said You will do.


Of David.

To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
(Psalms 28:1-2, 6-9 NIV)


Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
(Genesis 18:10-15 NIV)


As I read these passages again, more slowly, with more intention, I look for words and phrases that speak to my spirit. I try to allow the Holy Spirit to guide this time, which requires me to also try to not center in on things that I have noticed before. My goal is to keep the Word of God fresh in my heart and mind.

Have you ever had periods of time where it seemed as though the Lord was being silent? I have, and I feel relatively positive that you have, too. It is easy to understand what David means when he says, “I will be like those who go down to the pit.” That’s exactly how I felt last Wednesday afternoon, for about forty-five minutes, as I sat alone in that CareNow exam room, thinking that my early retirement dreams had been shattered.

I cried out to God. My state of mind went back and forth between anger and despair. But it wasn’t too long before I was echoing David’s joyfulness in verses 6-9, because God was not silent for long. While it is true that things have not worked out exactly as I had hoped and planned, things are working out, and they will, I am fully persuaded, work out for the best, no matter what happens.

And that is what finding peace is all about. We have to stop focusing so much on what we want to happen. We need to be at a place where we are okay, at peace, with whatever happens, even if, and especially if, it is not quite what we hoped or planned. God knows best, not me. And I trust in Him. His mercy reigns and rules over my life, and I trust Him.

Abraham and Sarah are a perfect example. Things had not worked out the way they thought they would. But God had a plan, and He was working it. And He is working it in His own time, not ours. Which can be disconcerting when we remember that a day to the Lord is like a thousand years, and vice versa.

“Hold on, Lord! I don’t exactly have a thousand years!”

I imagine the Lord might chuckle a little at that. Because He does know exactly how long we do have. But He is not bound by time. We’ve discussed that before, here. God exists outside of time. And He is not in a hurry.

And because God is not in a hurry, I am getting better at not being in a hurry, too.

Father, I praise You that You have not been silent, and that I am not like those who go down to the pit. You have produced a lasting peace in my soul. You have led me down a path that does not produce hurry in my life. I am at peace with Your plan for me, and I will wait for You to work it out. Doesn’t mean I will sit on my buns and do nothing, mind you. But it does mean that I will stop being impatient (hopefully) and be content with where You have me.

Whatever happens, I pray that, going forward, I will experience new and fresh ways to minister to people, in whatever job I find myself in. Keep my eyes open, looking for ways to serve and minister in Your Name.

I pray, this morning, for all governments, world leaders, and the various needs in our world. Help us to not be so self-centered when we consider needs, but turn our eyes outward, more globally than nationally. I pray specifically for my own continent, this morning, that of North America. May Your presence be felt in our land, today. I also lift up all who are incarcerated in any fashion, and those who have or are in the process of committing criminal activities. May Your Holy Spirit surround them today, and make them change their minds.

"Promise-making God,
I get Sarah's laughter.
It's the sad snicker that covers a cracked heart.
Faith withers when life feels wrung dry and past its best-used-by date.
For all who feel life has passed them by and find that faith comes hard,
create through your Holy Spirit the laughter of love,
the faith that your promises are true,
and the hope that in Jesus the best is yet to be.


I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
(Jeremiah 29:11 MSG)

He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.
(Psalms 33:5 NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
(Philippians 4:8 NLT)

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
(Isaiah 1:18 NLT)

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
(Hebrews 10:10-14 NLT)

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
(Hebrews 10:18-22 NLT)

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!

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Waiting For the Kingdom

Today is Saturday, the third of April, 2021, in Holy Week. The last day of Lent.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,032 (palindromic!)

Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow!

We made it to the weekend! It was definitely a challenging week, as work seemed extra busy and more demanding, this past week. I get an extra day off this coming week, as I will be taking S to get her second vaccine shot on Tuesday morning. And, as of yesterday, I guess I am considered, officially, “fully vaccinated,” as it has been two weeks since my second shot.

I will, however, continue to keep safe distances and wear a mask any time I am around other people.

That includes tomorrow morning’s church gathering, as we have decided to meet in person, in the back yard of our host home. The weather looks like it will be nice, although, perhaps, cloudy.

Boston lost their opening game to the Orioles, 3-0. Not a bad score, but the O’s outhit the Sox 9-2. Meanwhile, the Astros lead the AL West at 2-0, and the Rays lead the AL East at 2-0. In the NL, the Mets and Nationals have yet to play. I’m not sure what’s going on, there, whether it is weather-related or COVID-related.

Both the Rangers and the Red Sox will play again today. Kohei Arihara will take the mound for Texas, against former Ranger Mike Minor for KC. Gametime at Kaufman Stadium is 1:10 CDT. Also, looking at the schedule, I see that the Mets and Nationals postponement is, indeed, COVID-related. So it’s already started.

And the Rangers plan to open the ballpark at 100% capacity for the home opener on Monday.

We have our WW Workshop at 10:30, this morning, after which we will pick up our grocery order at Kroger (we decided to try them again, but C will likely make a trip to a different store because, of course, no one store has everything that we like . . . that would be too convenient). After our Saturday brunch, we have a new bed to set up for S. Supposedly, it is “easy” to set up, and requires no tools. We shall see about that.


I’ll begin this morning with a poem by Christina Rosetti, A Better Resurrection

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb'd too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm'd with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish'd thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.
For the LORD hears the cries of the needy;
he does not despise his imprisoned people.
Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them.
(Psalms 69:32-34 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • that I have seen You at work (but make me more humble)
  • that You hear the cries of the needy
  • for patience in the waiting
  • for the boldness of Joseph of Arimathea
  • that You have been our dwelling place throughout the generations

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



The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
(John 1:29 NIV)

I am pausing to quietly reflect on the work of God, who hears the cries of the needy and does not despise His imprisoned people.


My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
(Psalms 22:2 NIV)

But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
(Psalms 22:19-23 NIV)


Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
(Luke 23:50-56 NIV)


As I rest in God’s presence, I read these passages again, asking the Holy Spirit to draw me in and speak to me.

I confess that I’m feeling a bit “scattered,” this morning, but I will try to make sense of the thoughts in my head.

The psalmist seems to be making a desperate cry to God. He feels, perhaps not ignored, but that God is not answering. I have known the restless night; I have a friend who struggles with anxiety and restless nights. I have experienced nights that, when I have to get up in the middle of the night, if I allow my thoughts to drift toward work, I have a very difficult time getting back to sleep.

But the psalmist also knows the strength of the Lord. He has faith in God. I believe that he does not doubt that God will, in due time, help him and strengthen him.

We get a glimpse of Joseph of Arimathea in Luke’s Gospel. It is pointed out that he “had not consented to their decision and action.” “Their” meaning the Council, the Sanhedrin, of which he was a member. Luke also declares that Joseph was “waiting for the kingdom of God.

Matthew tells us that Joseph had become a disciple of Jesus (27:57).

What draws me in, though, is the bit about how he was waiting for the kingdom. While it is true that we are currently part of God’s kingdom, and we have asserted that the kingdom of God is not something that we have to wait to enter after we die, there is still a sense in which we are all waiting for it. I suppose you could say we are waiting for its fulfillment; its ultimate realization. Yes, we walk in the kingdom, now, and it is here and available, and has been ever since Jesus came on the scene. But it is also not yet fully here.

And what better day to stress this idea of waiting than Holy Saturday? We are in the middle of the silence, perhaps the darkest day in the history of mankind. This is a day when Jesus’s band of brothers and sisters sat in stunned disbelief, having no clue what was coming next (even though Jesus had told them). It was the darkest of all Sabbaths.

Father, during this day of darkness and hopelessness, I pray that You will speak to us. We, of course, know how this part of the story played out. But if we put ourselves in the place of a few dozen followers of Christ, roughly two thousand years ago, we find ourselves in a state of desperate unknowing. There are few things that are worse than unknowing. I can imagine the knot in the stomachs of the eleven remaining disciples and the women who followed Jesus. I can feel the hopelessness, and imagine that they slept very little over the course of the nights following the crucifixion. I can also imagine the fear that they felt.

In our modern times, it seems as though You have been silent for a long time. The wicked flourish, seemingly without consequence. Our government is filled with corruption and lies, from the national level down to the local levels. Your people, to some degree, seem to have lost sight of You and begun to follow people instead. Have mercy on us, Lord! Show Your face! Show Your strength and Your power! We wait for You, Lord; I wait for You. I will not put my trust in princes, kings, governors, or presidents; my trust is in You alone! May Your Church wait for You, Lord, and not run ahead; we cannot follow if we are ahead of You. Teach us to wait.

Forsaken God,
you really did die.
The cross was no theater or mere metaphor;
you weren't whisked away badly injured yet alive.
You set out to save,
and you went all the way to death,
fulfilling God's justice and truth,
fully paying for my sin.
And so today,
between the cross and the resurrection,
I wait for your salvation to dawn again in my life.
(Heidelberg Catechism 40-41)


In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
(Revelation 5:12 NIV)

Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
(John 19:42 NIV)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb . . .
(John 20:1 NIV)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
(Psalms 90:1-4 NIV)

So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
(Mark 15:46 NIV)

Lord, You truly are our “dwelling place.” May it be so today, as in all days, as we silently ponder the meaning of these days in history. We wait for You, for the return of Your Son, sometimes patiently, sometimes not so much. We must remember that truth that a thousand years in Your sight are like a day. And if the Son was in the grave three days and three nights, perhaps we still have a while to wait. So let us wait; let us wait in eager anticipation with the joy of hope in our hearts. In a sense, we are like the disciples on that Saturday. We are in the long “Saturday” of our own, as we wait for the Bridegroom to return to claim His Bride. Keep us faithful and watchful, Lord!

This morning, I pray that the Church, Your people, would work toward the “common good” and the benefit of all people. Inspire us, Father, to not simply look out for our own well-being, but for that of our neighbors, as well. I also pray that Your Church would experience the true care and love of community together. I lift up all missionaries, this morning, who are serving You far from their original homes.

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!

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Grace and peace, friends.


It’s Friday morning, January 6, 2012. It’s 44 degrees this morning in Fort Worth. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

There’s not a whole lot to report about yesterday…it was just a day. Nothing remarkable happened, except that we lived and breathed. It was one of those “life goes on” kind of days. So I’m moving right on to the devotional today.

My Utmost For His Highest

From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 12:8

Today’s reading is very profound, in my opinion. It begins with this statement: “Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.” Read that again. “Worship is giving God the best that He has given you.” It goes on to caution us in what we do with our best. If we get a blessing, we should turn right around and give it back to God. What’s that line in Matt Redman’s song? “Every blessing you pour out, I’ll turn back to praise…blessed be the name of the Lord…” Yes.

Then, Chambers turns and talks about this thing called “private profound communion” with God. He points out Abram’s pitching of his tent between Bethel and Ai. Right between God and the world. “The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him.” That statement is like some really good beef jerky. You could chew on it for a long time. And we should, because it is always wrong to hurry when communion with God is on the line. “…there is always plenty of time to worship God.” Finally, Chamber says that the idea that there are three stages of spiritual life–“worship, waiting, and work”–is wrong. “God’s idea is that the three should go together.” What a revolutionary idea! He describes Jesus as being “unhasting and unresting.” I don’t know if I agree 100% with that…I seem to recall Jesus resting a bit, but I get the point. The three concepts should all go together in our lives. We can work while we wait. We can worship while we work. And we can certainly wait while we worship.

Tabletalk Magazine

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

Today’s reading deals with the third Q&A of the Heidelberg Catechism. The original text of this question says, “Whence knowest thou thy misery?” Let’s simplify that a little. Basically, it means, “..how can we even begin to realize the seriousness of our sin?” The answer is, through God’s law (see the above Scripture verse). All humanity, as descendants of Adam, are “under sin” and cannot do anything to become righteous before God, including keeping God’s law. “…the Lord’s commandments expose the ‘sinfulness’ of our sin and the pervasiveness of our corruption.”

You see, the commandments don’t just address physical acts. They address the heart, as seen by the commandment on coveting. But they also address motivation, as seen in the Sermon on the Mount.

“As we study God’s law, we should be seeing areas of our lives where we still fall short of His demands, and if that is not happening, we are probably not truly understanding His commandments.” The purpose of the Law is to show us those shortcomings.

The Bible Panorama

Matthew 5:27-48; Genesis 16-17

In the remainder of Matthew 5, Jesus sets forth some difficult and revolutionary teachings. He begins by calling for some “Drastic” (27-30) measures against sin. While not truly calling for self-mutilation, Jesus is showing us the serious nature of sin, by calling for self-denial, and examination of the motives of the heart. “…hatred and anger in the heart count as murder, and lust counts as adultery” Again, this shows the true meaning of the law, as discussed above, and gets around those who believe that they are righteous because they have supposedly kept the physical aspects of the law. Jesus then teaches about “Divorce” (31-32), showing the permanent nature of marriage in God’s eyes, and allowing for divorce only in the case of marital infidelity. Taking this into consideration, there are many people in Hollywood who are polygamists. I’m just sayin’. There is a “Directness” (33-37) involving our speech. We should say what we mean. “Our language and conduct should be such that we need not invoke oaths to make people believe we are telling the truth.” Amen. Finally, Jesus speaks of “Doing” (38-48) good to others. Even when we have a legal right or when our enemies oppose us, we should do good to them! This is very important! Our generosity shows our desire to follow God’s direction. His perfection is our standard.

Genesis 16–This chapter begins with a blatant display of “Unbelief.” (1-4a) Sarai and Abram act as if they don’t believe God, and try to “help him out” a bit. This is “Unsatisfactory” (4b-5) and results in friction between Sarai and Hagar. This results in Sarai’s “Unfair” treatment of Hagar (6). However, God shows his “Unconditional” love for Hagar (7-14) and confirms that her son, to be named Ishmael, will live, and father a great nation. In verses 15-16, we see the middle-eastern situation begin to “Unfold,” as Ishmael will become the father of the Arab nation. Abraham was 86 at the time.

Genesis 17–First there is “Promise of Covenant” (1-8). God appears again to Abram, who is now 99, and promises once again that Sarai will have a son. At this point, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham. Here begins the “Practice of Circumcision,” (9-14) as Abraham is commanded to be circumcised, along with every male in his community. This will be the sign of the covenant. There is, again, a “Prophecy of Childbearing,” (15-16) and God changes Sarai’s name to Sarah. In verses 17-22, There is “Preciseness of Confirmation,” as God confirms that Ishmael will, indeed, become a great nation, but it the child that Sarah will bear that will “be the beneficiary of [God’s] covenant with Abraham.” Finally, we see the “Priority of Command,” (23-27) as Abraham trusts and believes what God has told him, and obeys the command of circumcision.

One major thing that is seen in these two chapters is the danger of trying to “help” God. Too often, we don’t really believe that God is going to do what he said he will do, so we try to speed things along a bit. In this particular case, this attempt to “help” God resulted in centuries of fighting between two nations. Talk about your “butterfly effect.”

It’s amazing to me how all of this fits together this morning. I began with a reading that talked about combining worshiping, waiting, and working. The final reading showed the value of the concept of waiting. Abram and Sarai decided that they couldn’t wait. The results had an effect on the entire history of the world.

At the Throne of Grace

The Scripture preceding today’s prayer is Romans 2:1-8. The prayer is called “Pursuing the Perfect Righteousness of Christ.”

Lord of glory, we know that You are a righteous God
who holds every person justly responsible for his or her own sins.
This is consistent with Your holy nature.
We cannot condemn the sins of others without condemning our own selves, for we are not free from sin.
We deserve your judgment, yet You withhold that judgment because You are rich in kindness, longsuffering, tolerance,
and patience for the purpose of leading us to repentance.
You mercifully warn us that those who remain unrepentant are storing up wrath
for that final day when the fullness of Your wrath will be revealed.

We know that in the end everyone will be brought before Your judgment throne.
The passage we have just read says those who do evil will perish,
and those who do good will enter into eternal life.
We confess that we have done evil, and we stand in need of Your grace and forgiveness.

Yet Your Word also teaches from cover to cover that salvation
is not a reward for good works; eternal life is granted to sinners like us
by grace alone through faith alone.
We furthermore know and freely confess that the good works done by believers
are fruits of Your saving work, not the cause of it.
So our only claim to heaven is grounded in the promise that Christ is our righteousness;
His own perfection covers believers like a spotless garment.

We also confess that it is not within our capability to anything truly good or contribute any merit
toward our salvation.
Left completely to ourselves, we would do nothing but evil.
Even the very best of our works are flawed by fleshly imperfections and tainted with mixed motives.

Thus we understand and confess that those whom this text speaks of as “doing good” receive eternal life because of Christ’s work,
not as a reward for their own works.
Whatever is truly good in any of our deeds is the fruit of Your grace and empowerment.

Our hope therefore lies not in any merit or good works of our own.
We trust Christ alone for salvation,
and we humbly and fervently pray that
our lives might reflect His character,
show forth the glory of His righteousness,
and be living examples of His goodness.
Clothe us not only in His righteousness, but also in His wisdom, His virtue, His holiness, and His humility.
Conform us perfectly to His image, according to Your eternal purpose.

We do not deserve such favor. On the contrary, our only plea is that of the publican who prayed,
“God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”
And when we come to that final judgment, may we be found in Christ–
and therefore in the company of the One who, by perseverance in doing good,
sought for glory and honor and immortality on our behalf.
In the words of the apostle Paul, may we be found in Christ,
not having a righteousness of our own derived from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ,
the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

We ask these things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived and died and rose again in order that we might have life.

Father, it is my desire to give you back the best of what you have given me. When you give me blessings, I truly desire to turn them back to praise. Let me never be guilty of running ahead of you to try to “help” you. I pray that I might master the concept of worshiping, waiting, and working, all at the same time. Let Jesus by my master example, Father. Let me study more, the life of my Savior, so that I might see how he achieved this. Show me how to truly worship you; show me how to wait and work at the same time. But teach me how to wait when you say wait. This has been difficult for me. But I feel that I have learned during this time.

Help me to always be aware of the seriousness of sin. You have granted me repentance in my life. I praise you for that. However, there still remains the desires of the flesh that need to be denied. Help me to examine the motives of my heart as I deal with anger and greed. Purify my heart as I lust after the things of this world. Teach me to worship.

Father, I pray for this day. This last work day of the week. Stephanie will meet again with her teacher this afternoon. I pray that this will go well. I pray for Christi and her work situation. Lessen the stress at her job. I pray that my work day will go smoothly, and that our deliveries (once again being called for on Saturday) will go smoothly tomorrow.

I pray for the father of a friend of a friend. (You understand, Lord, and that’s all that matters.) Reports last night that he was in ICU. I pray for healing and comfort.

Your grace is sufficient.

Worship, wait, and work. All together. We can do this!

Grace and peace, friends.