Never

Today is Saturday, the eighth of January, 2022, in the second week of Christmas.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,312

Fifteen days until Hamilton!

Yesterday was a sad day, as we learned of the deaths of two more entertainment giants. First, I learned that Sidney Poitier passed away at the age of 94. Most people remember him for To Sir With Love, but I remember him more for A Patch of Blue. Minutes after I learned of his passing, I learned that Peter Bogdanovich, director of The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, and Mask, among others, had also passed away, at the age of 82. Both of them died on Thursday.

It was, of course, another great day at the library. In addition to working the computer center, which seemed busier than usual, with more people needing extended help, I was asked to jump over and do some shelving for the last couple of hours. Due to some unusual “projects” going on at the time, the shelving hall had gotten very backed up. There’s a chance that I might be doing a little more of that today, in between my times at the circulation desk. I believe my manager sent out an email asking the circ manager if I could do shelving during my “off-desk” hours.

Of course, I’m totally fine with this. Whatever they need me to do, I’m cool with.

Today, I am due in at 9:30, working until 6:15.

It is currently 45 degrees (which I believe is warmer than yesterday’s high), and is projected to reach 64 later today. It is currently cloudy, but is expected to be clear, this evening. Tonight’s low is expected to be 45. The temp range for the next week seems a bit more “normal” for this time of year, ranging from just below freezing in the morning to as high as 68 one day.

I finished reading A Slow Fire Burning, by Paula Hawkins, last night, and posted my review of it in my other blog. I am currently reading, at the recommendation of one of the librarians, Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins, by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens). This volume contains both stories, along with quite a bit of critical content. I will try to get through all of the critical content after reading the stories. After completing two books in the first week of 2022, I am ahead of schedule on my reading challenge for the year. I’m sure that will not last long.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Little Quiet Moments, by Daryl Madden

In the midst of life
An offer here for free
To take a little moment
To be still and be

A moment to ponder
A change of attitude
Practicing of wonder
To foster gratitude

A moment of dwelling
With our being whole
To open to Spirit
And center the soul

A moment of vision
Perspective to see
Of the infinite ways
That Gods’ blessing me

Little quiet moments
An insight of gleaning
That seem to give the rest
Extra special meaning

This poem inspired by a quote from Fred Rogers: “How many times have you noticed that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?” Please check out more of Daryl’s inspiration and meditative poetry at the link provided above.

You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for books and the authors who write them
2. for all of my new friends at the Hurst Public Library
3. for the fullness of joy in the presence of the Father
4. that I have a part in God's story, no matter how small it may seem
5. that God will never leave us or forsake us

Today, in Symphony of Salvation, by Eugene H. Peterson, we get to the book of Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth was an “outsider,” not born into the faith. “But she came to find herself gathered into the story and given a quiet and obscure part that proved critical to the way everything turned out.”

In the midst of all the great names of faith (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon), we find this ordinary, seemingly random person. You and I, along with Ruth, might find ourselves saying, “Surely there is no way that I can have any significant part on such a stage.”

Of course, Ruth said no such thing, because she wasn’t even aware that there was a stage. But we, as we look back on this story, can easily find ourselves wondering how we, as similarly ordinary people, can possibly have a part in God’s great plan.

Says Peterson, “The book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or ‘out of it,’ as irreplaceable in the full telling of God’s story. We count–every last one of us–and what we do counts.”

“Blessed be GOD! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life.”
(Ruth 4:14 MSG)

As Rich Mullins said, in "Who God Is Gonna Use," 
"You never know who God is gonna use
A princess or a baby
Maybe even you or me."
"Behold, I will do a new thing . . ."
(Isaiah 43:19)

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.
(Job 12:12 ESV)

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 
They are planted in the house of the LORD; 
they flourish in the courts of our God. 
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 
to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. 
(Psalms 92:12-15 ESV)

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
(Proverbs 16:31 ESV)

That Isaiah verse has popped up a lot, since January 1. I suppose that is always a theme for the “New Year,” that God is doing a “new thing.” But then, He is always doing a “new thing,” isn’t He? We read that favorite verse from Lamentations frequently, that talks about His mercies being “new every morning.” We wake up every morning to a new day. And who doesn’t remember the old cliche, from the seventies, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” (Okay, maybe it was earlier than the seventies.)

Cliche as it is, it’s true. Every day is the “first day of the rest of your life.” What do we do about that? And, no matter how old we get (I’m almost 64, now), God can and will keep using us to do “new things.” We are never too old to be a part of God’s great story!

Speaking of “never,” that happens to be today’s prayer word in Pray a Word a Day. Harriet Beecher Stowe is quoted as saying, “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

The word “never” occurs in 186 verses in the Bible (in the English Standard Version). The first four of those are in Genesis 8 and 9, when God promises that He will never again destroy the earth in the way that He did in the flood. In Judges 2:1, “the angel of the LORD” says, “I will never break my covenant with you.”

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
(Psalms 34:5 ESV)

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
(Psalms 55:22 ESV)

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.
(Psalms 112:6 ESV)

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
(Isaiah 51:6 ESV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.
(Daniel 6:26 ESV)

The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
(Zephaniah 3:15 ESV)

but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
(John 4:14 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
(John 6:35-37 ESV)

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:28 ESV)

There are many more occurrences of the word, a number of them more negative. But the point I make, here, is that God has made promises that He will not leave us, and that those of us who believe in Jesus and follow Him, will not be put to shame, cast out, or perish. There are other places where the word “never” is exclusively used in the KJV, but the ESV uses a word such as “not.” Deuteronomy 31:8 is one such place.

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV)

In light of all of those “nevers,” I think it is safe to say that we, as His children, should “never give up,” because it’s “never too late.” You see, if our God is always in the business of doing “new things,” then we are “never” too old to be included in those “new things.” I’m wearing out my ” key, here.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” we’ve all heard. I disagree, because I’m an “old dog” and I learn “new tricks” almost every day.

God is doing a “new thing.” You never know who He is going to use in His plan. Remember, He even used a donkey once (go back and listen to that Rich Mullins song again). He used some real jerks in the story (go back and read about Judges in yesterday’s blog). He used a “nobody” like Ruth to be the great-grandmother of King David, in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

I won’t be in the lineage of a Savior, but I know for a fact that God has used me in peoples’ lives. I am confident that He will continue to do so, even though, in the grand scheme of things, I’m pretty much a nobody. But you know what?

Everybody is somebody to somebody.

Father, I am grateful to know that You will never give up on me. Because of that, I will also never give up on You and what You can do in someone’s life, or in the life of our world and culture. I will never stop calling out to You; I will never stop worshiping You; I will never stop singing and playing my instruments to You. And I believe that, no matter how old I live to be, that You will continue to do new and fresh things within me and those around me.

I continue (because I will never give up) to pray that You will intervene and eradicate the plague that surrounds us. To all appearances, it is getting worse, daily. The country where I live had 850,000 new cases yesterday, a new record. But You know this. I implore You (yes, a fancy word for “beg”) to rid us of this disease, Father. I pray that the cases will stop, that the hospitals and their workers will get some relief. I also pray that people would stop being so mean to one another. Help us to love again, Lord. Help me to do my part, even more than my part, to spread love in this world.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, 
have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
(Agnus Dei)

Grace and peace, friends.

For Such A Time As This

Today is Saturday, March 4, 2017. Six days until our Glen Rose weekend!!

Quotes of the Day

“The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.” ~ David Friedman

“Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.” ~ H. L. Mencken

“A true lover always feels in debt to the one he loves.” ~ Ralph W. Sockman

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Word of the Day

Lotus-eater ~ a person who leads a life of dreamy, indolent ease, indifferent to the busy world; daydreamer.

Alternate Word of the Day

Nugatory ~ of little or no consequence : trifling, inconsequential

Today is Marching Band Day. As I shared on Facebook, my memories of Mineral Wells High School and ETSU marching bands are some of the happiest, most hard-working days of my youth. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. I look back with pride on the accomplishments of those bands. I was part of the first band to ever win the Sweepstakes award at MWHS. And with the ETSU band, we (thanks to our director, James Keene) helped usher in an era of corp-style marching bands in colleges, which influenced high schools all over Texas.

We made it to Saturday! Yesterday was a pretty good day at work, with no major crises for me. C seems to be feeling better, after a checkup with her doctor on Thursday. He made some initial diagnoses and prescribed medication. Her bloodwork also showed a Vitamin D deficiency, so he has told her to start taking some of that. It makes sense. Vitamin D is, apparently, the one we get from exposure to sunlight. Since we hardly ever go outside except to walk from the car to a building or vice versa, that makes sense.

As previously mentioned, tonight is our monthly Night of Worship. C and I will be going to the host’s home at around 3:00 PM today, to set up and rehearse. She will be running the lyric slides on the Mac while we play and sing. I still have to print my music and go over a few songs, so I should probably get moving with this blog thing.

30 days until Opening Day!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

I will call upon God, and the LORD will deliver me. In the evening, in the morning, and at the noonday, he will hear my voice. He will bring me safely back . . . God who is enthroned of old, will hear me.

Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Psalm 85:7
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!
Psalm 65:4
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah. 
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Psalm 84:4-5
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

Psalm 59:16-17
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Psalm 84:2

(From The President’s Devotional)

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14

These words were spoken to Esther by her cousin Mordecai. On a side note, I just figured out that Mordecai was not, in fact, Esther’s uncle, but was her cousin. She was his uncle’s daughter, which makes them cousins. Anyway. Mordecai, along with the rest of the Jews were about to be eradicated from the land where they were living, by King Ahasuerus. It wasn’t really the king’s idea, but that of a wicked servant named Haman, who hated Mordecai.

Esther had an opportunity to approach the king and save her people, but was afraid. Mordecai challenged her with the words from the above verse.

Who knows?

“Perhaps we are right here, right now, for a very particular reason. To declare a bold word. To write a brave phrase. To take a new step. To tell a hard truth.”

Either way, God’s will will be done. His purpose will be achieved. “But maybe, just maybe, this is our time. Such a time as this.”

“Lord, if this is my time, my time to do a new thing, give me the courage to act boldly, unafraid. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, I have felt your words in my heart, recently. I have felt the nudge of your Spirit, directing me in a certain direction. I pray for wisdom. I pray for you words to continue to speak to me, and that you would enable me to do that which you have chosen me to do. I am experiencing both anticipation and apprehension at the future, for I know not exactly where you are leading me. But that is what faith is all about, isn’t it? Do in me and with me what you will, my God.

I pray especially for tonight’s Night of Worship. I pray for your anointing on Brandon, Terry, Jared, Alex, Christi, Kristin, and myself. I pray for your Spirit to be active all through the afternoon’s rehearsals and the night’s worship. Make your presence known to us in a powerful way. If you choose to fill the place so strongly that we can’t even sing or talk, that would be awesome. I pray for restoration, filling, healing, salvation, and anything else that you want to do tonight. This night is all about you!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

This reading made me think of this song by Rich Mullins, and while looking for a video, I ran across him saying this (remember that an “ass” is a donkey): “God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and he has been speaking through asses ever since. So if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself.” So there you go.

Grace and peace, friends.